New age thinking is based on grossly misinterpreted ancient thinking. If I’m following a trail and it goes off a cliff, I’m not going to jump off.
Feng shui has two elements to it. One spatial, one temporal. The temporal element is where the astronomy kicks in. The Chinese adjusted their positioning of new architecture as well as their location of entirely new communities and grave yards over time according to an observed cycle. Some critics say their use of magnetic compasses would have lead them to error. This ignores what the compasses were for. They were not concerned with geographical direction as much as they were trying to discern current chi flow. Solar weather would naturally be a part of this. Some theorize that it may be the primary element of feng shui and is referenced culturally. The son of heaven, as the emperor was referred to, was also symbolized by an actual solar symbol, and the state of being of the emperor was thought to reflect the state of being of the entire empire. Similar thinking is reflected in the records left by the Mayan people, even connecting their emperor to the sun as well. They even found a pyramid off the Chinese coast. I would say the evidence of a connection is pretty solid.
What are some of the principles used in Feng Shui? The four animals are also four constellations, the dragon, the phoenix, the tiger and the turtle, and their influences corresponded to different phases they observed nature to go through. Geophysical faults were referred to as dragon paths, loosely translated, and if I recall correctly, fault lines do show spikes in activity during solar storms. They observed a pattern of polarity in energy flow in the environment and that was the reason for their concern with spatial location and orientation.
We’ve had lots of minor earthquakes on the northern islands. Has there been solar activity as well? Recently yes, there has. The sun has been at the peak of its eleven year cycle, and recently something sort of strange happened, the suns magnetic poles flipped. The strange part being that only one pole relocated. The other hasn’t yet moved. They don’t know how this would even be possible, but it’s apparently so.
When did this happen? Is the sun going to kill us? Recently it was in science news sites, and no. We aren’t in danger but the auroras are much stronger. More intense solar wind is hitting our atmosphere.
What are the phoenix, tiger and turtle? The blue dragon, the red phoenix, the white tiger, and the dark turtle are directions as well as traits observed in the chi, and their interaction was observed to fluctuate. Sometimes the dragon would be ascendant, sometimes the dark turtle, etc. The emperor was seen as being an incarnation of the dragon. The empress was seen as an embodiment of the phoenix. Dragon = yang. Phoenix = yin. This is why you see the two images paired so often in Chinese art.
So you arrange objects to get the mix of the four types of chi that you want? Five types, and no. The chi can’t be artificially brewed like that. Everything in existence is seem as a manifestation of one of the five phases of chi. The four animals are the governors of the behaviour of earth, but not all the elements present in heaven. The earth was seen as square. The heavens were seen as round.
What makes the fifth one? Void is the fifth element.
Blue dragon = water? Red phoenix = fire? White tiger = air? Dark turtle = earth? No air element. Air is chi. Earth, water, fire, metal, and wood are the earthly elements, and they exist in two sets of relationships, one yang and one yin.
White tiger sounds like an eighties glam rock band. They would have gotten their name, if they had existed, from the cultural reference as many cultures did. The bad white snake got their name from an old fairy tale which was an old alchemical allegory.
What am I doing in feng shui placement other then promoting chi flow? Ordering chi interactions constructively. They say chi scatters with the wind and pools with the water. This is what lead to calling Chinese geomancy feng shui instead of kan yu which roughly meant the tao of heaven and earth. In feng shui, if you put adversarial elements next to each other, like a lot of metal around a farmers field, you create shar or negative chi, where as if you make certain to run a flow of water through the farmers field, you support positive chi.
I’m reminded of those hot houses. The produce does not taste the same as it would grown on a vine in your backyard. Hot house plants do seem to be sort of anemic compared to naturally grown plants.
So metal and wood shouldn’t be together? Or metal and earth? Well, it’s more about phases. Metal and earth should be together. Chi happens before the physical elements. The physical elements being more side effects of the behaviour of chi than absolute examples or governing presences. If the state or phase of chi that corresponds to wood is strong enough, the superficial presence of metal will do no real harm. It’s more about the generating and countering dynamic then fixed states of being.
Amount and type matter? Yes. This was the emphasis of Chinese alchemy. They didn’t believe they could change what was present in the world or the body, but they did believe they could change the relationship of these things in a way that supported the three stars principle. The three stars were their basis for recognizing order in the heavens where the animals corresponded to zones in the sky. One of the three stars was the planet Jupiter which, unlike in western astrology, was seen as lucky.
Again we see the duality. In the west, magick and the unknown is bad, evil. In the east, magick and the unknown were seen as natural, even potentially good though not necessarily taken as an absolute good.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.