Feng Shui

Foundation theories of Feng Shui:

Liangyi or Yin-Yang
Sancai or Three Powers
Sixiang or Four Images
Wuxing or Five Elements
Hetu or River map
Xiantian Bagua or Original Bagua
Houtian Bagua or Later Bagua
Luo Shu or Luo River Chart


In the beginning there was Wuji (Void). Then Wuji gave birth to Taiji (Great Ultimate).

Taiji contains liangyi or two polarities: yin and yang. Taiji in movement generates yang; in rest it generates yin.

Yin and yang are opposites.

Yin and yang depend on each other.

Yin and yang cannot be separated from each other.

Yin and yang change into each other.

Yin and yang contain each other.

They express themselves on three levels: Heaven, earth and human

They produce the four images (sixiang).

The alternation and combination of yin and yang creates five expressions of qi (wuxing).

Thus all the myriad things in the Universe are born.

The written character for yang shows the sunny side of a hill while the character for yin shows the shady side of the hill. Yang is light, yin is darkness. Heaven was created by concentration of yang, earth was created by concentration of yin. Yang is creative, active energy; yin gives form to this energy. Yin conserves, yang disperses.

Yin and yang are relative concepts. A mountain is yang and water is yin, when we compare their relative height (used in Chinese painting). Water is yang and mountain is yin when we compare their activity (used in Feng Shui).

Note: Yang vs. yin is not good vs. bad.

The table shows some attributes assigned to yin-yang:















hours from noon to midnight

hours from midnight to noon







front of the body

back of the body

right side

left side



lower part

upper part

















Shorthand for yin and yang are broken and unbroken lines:



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Taiji expresses itself through three powers (sancai):

The sages of old exhibited in the lines of Yijing the Dao of Heaven calling it 'yin and yang'. They exhibited in them the Dao of earth calling it 'weak and strong', and the Dao of humans calling it 'benevolence and righteousness'.

(Yijing: Shuo Gua Zhuan)

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Yin and yang produce the four images (sixiang): Tai Yang (great yang), Shao Yang (small yang), Shao Yin (small yin) and Tai Yin (great yin).

Tai Yin is at the bottom: north, winter, midnight.

Shao Yang emerges and represents east, spring, morning.

Tai Yang is on the top: south, summer, midday.

Shao Yin emerges and represents west, autumn, evening.

Note: Depending on the source used, the images of Shao Yin and Shao Yang can also be reversed. This is based on the logic that lines emerge from below. Thus "small yang" is the one where yang is emerging from below and "small yin" is the one where yin is emerging from below.

Chinese maps show south at the top and north at the bottom. East is to the left and west is to the right.

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Wuxing or five changes represent different expressions of qi (energy).

Wood is qi in its ascending and growing phase.

Fire is qi in its expanding and radiating phase.

Earth is qi in its centering and stabilizing phase.

Metal is qi in its contracting and condensing phase.

Water is qi in its descending and flowing phase.

Explore some of the wuxing attributes by clicking at the desired element:

The five types of qi interact with each other in different ways. They operate by generating or controlling each other.

Generating Cycle
Xiang Sheng

In the generating or enhancing cycle each element strengthens the next one. Wood feeds fire, fire feeds earth and so on.

The weakening cycle (xiang ruo) is the same, but with opposite point of view. Wood is weakened by fire, fire is weakened by earth etc.

In the overcoming cycle (xiang ni) the enhancing element is too strong for the one being enhanced. Strong water drowns wood, strong wood puts out fire etc.

In the absorbing cycle (xiang qie) an excessive enhanced element absorbs the weak enhancer. Strong wood absorbs weak water, strong fire consumes weak wood etc.

Controlling Cycle
Xiang Ke

In the controlling cycle an element controls another one. Wood controls earth, fire controls metal, earth controls wood etc.

An excessive controller oppresses the controlled element. Strong wood oppresses weak earth, strong fire oppresses weak metal etc.

In the insulting cycle (xiang kong) an excessive controlled element turns back to fight the controller. Strong earth insults weak wood, strong metal attacks weak fire etc.

Function of the cycles

Both the enhancing and controlling cycles are an integral part of laws of nature.

Water helps wood grow and is weakened in the process. If there is a lot of wood, but not enough water, wood absorbs all water. If there is too much water, it makes the wood rot or carries it away.

Earth controls water so that it doesn't drown the world. Instead it is contained and can be made useful. If earth is too strong, it blocks water courses and water becomes useless. If water is too strong, it floods over the earth and washes it away.

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Each of the five types of qi originates from the union of yin and yang. This is shown by the numerology of Hetu or River Map. Also compare it with sixiang.

The five types of qi are shown in their respective directions: water in north, wood in east, fire in south, metal in west, and earth in the center.

Heaven 1 gives birth to water. Earth 6 completes it.
Earth 2 gives birth to fire. Heaven 7 completes it.
Heaven 3 gives birth to wood. Earth 8 completes it.
Earth 4 gives birth to metal. Heaven 9 completes it.
Heaven 5 gives birth to earth. Earth 10 completes it.

Even numbers represent yin and Earth.
Odd numbers represent yang and Heaven.

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Xiantian Bagua

If we take the image of sixiang and add a third yin or yang line on top of each bigram, we derive eight trigrams or bagua. This arrangement is called Xiantian Bagua or Original Bagua.

Click on the guas to find out some of their correspondences:

It is a static image of the physical world.

Qian (Heaven) is above and Kun (Earth) is below.

Li (fire, sun) and Kan (water, moon) shine between Heaven and Earth.

Zhen (thunder) and Xun (wind) excite the atmosphere.

Gen (mountain) and Dui (wetland) interchange their qi and thus provide the geographical environment for human action.

"Thunder moves things;
Wind scatters.
Rain (Kan) moistens.
Sun (Li) dries.
Gen stops;
Dui delights.
Qian rules;
Kun preserves."

(Yijing: Shuo Gua Zhuan)

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Houtian Bagua

In Houtian Bagua or Later Bagua the guas or trigrams are arranged so as to show the dynamic change of time.

"Supreme comes forth in Zhen. Structured in Xun. See each other in Li. Receive service in Kun. Rejoice in Dui. Struggle in Qian. Toil in Kan. Rest in Gen."

Click on the guas to find out some of their correspondences:

"All things originate in Zhen in east.

They are structured in Xun in south-east; orderliness means that all things are pure and equal.

Li denotes brightness, all things see each another; it is the trigram of south. The sages faced south to listen to the ten thousand things; then they administered them well. They took that practice from this trigram.

Kun means the earth (placed at south-west), which nourishes the ten thousand things. Thus it is said 'Receive service from Kun'.

Dui corresponds to mid-autumn (west), when ten thousand things rejoice. Therefore it is said 'Rejoice in Dui'.

Struggles begin in Qian, which is the trigram of north-west. It shows Yin and Yang provoking each other.

Kan is water, the trigram of exact north, where the ten thousand things return to find comfort and rest.

Gen is the trigram of north-east. All things achieve completion and prepare for a new beginning. Hence it is said 'Bring achievement in Gen'."

(Yijing: Shuo Gua Zhuan)

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Click on the numbers to see information about Jiuxing or 9 Stars.

Luoshu is also called the Magic Square. Since ancient times people have been fascinated by its mathematical structure. The numbers in each vertical and horizontal row as well as both diagonal rows add up to 15. The ancient Chinese saw in Luoshu a reflection of Celestial order. Each number was assigned to one of the stars of the most striking asterism in the Northern sky, Beidou or the Big Dipper.

Click on the stars to see their Luoshu numbers and names.


The pattern of Luoshu became a mathematical formula used in calculating the nature of both Terrestrial and Celestial qi. Luoshu itself desribes the qi of Earth (space). In order to map the qi of Heaven (time) the stars are flown along the Luoshu path (5-6-7-8-9-1-2-3-4) either forward or backward. This technique is used in the Xuankong Feixing School to obtain a star chart (energy map) for a building according to its direction and the time of its construction. From this map the fortunes of the house and people residing in it can be read.

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