What is Feng Shui
Broadly based on the philosophic principals of I Ching and the teachings of former Taoist priests, the art of Feng Shui emerged from the early cultures of Imperial China about one thousand years B.C. Its initial purpose was to identify auspicious burial sites, thereby assuring the immortal souls of departed ancestors a harmonious journey on the path to heavenly paradise.
This ideology largely remained a subject of myth and legend to foreigners for centuries, the theories cloaked in a secrecy forbidden to even the most ardent Sinophiles. But in fact the esoteric knowledge of the East was not so very far removed from our own beliefs. Many European and Mediterranean countries used astrologers to consult the stars and specialist diviners to dowse for places of propitious import here on earth.
Where Oriental practices differed most notably was in their extended application. Feng Shui devotees began comparing rice fields where crops grew in abundance with those whose yields were poor, then broadened their quests still further to include a study of homes wherein persistent ill-fortune seemed to bedevil the hapless occupants for no obvious reason.
The conclusion of the hsien sheng (the foremost Feng Shui masters), was that a hitherto unknown entity was at work. They named it Chi, the vital energy present in all things. It was regarded as no less important than the unseen forces of gravity or magnetism – the latter, incidentally, being another great energy source ascribed to Chinese discovery.
Given the vast size of the country, its provincial war lords and the disadvantages of having numerous religions and dialects to contend with, it is perhaps not surprising that dynasties passed into history before Feng Shui was nationally accepted. Even in some remote areas today, Tibetan and Mongolian traditions continue to clash with Chinese custom. Mandarin, the official language of China, is hardly spoken at all in the far northwest.
Literally meaning Wind and Water, Feng Shui is now mainly used to bring about a general feeling of improved health and happiness to living beings. Notwithstanding this, the quintessence of the art today remains the same ancient practice of manipulating the natural flow of energy existing throughout the universe.
By utilizing the cosmic laws of Heaven’s Chi (astrology), Earth’s Chi (geography) and Human Chi in this way, exponents get Chi to work for you rather than against you, thereby perpetuating skills which have survived China’s turbulent history for over three thousand years.