One of the grievances mentioned when the anti-Western Boxer Rebellion erupted was that
Westerners were violating the basic principles of feng shui in their construction of
railroads and other conspicuous public structures throughout China. At the time,
Westerners had little idea of, or interest in, such Chinese traditions. After Richard
Nixon journeyed to the People's Republic of China in 1972, feng shui became somewhat of
an industry in the USA.
It has since been reinvented by New Age entrepreneurs for Western consumption. Feng shui
speaks to the profound role of magic, mystery, and order in American life. The following
list does not exhaust the modern varieties.
Black Sectâalso called BTB Feng Shuiâdoes not match documentary or archaeological
evidence, or what is known of the history of Tantra in China.It relies on
"transcendental" methods, the concept of clutter as metaphor for life circumstances, and
the use of affirmations or intentions to achieve results. The BTB Ba gua was developed
by Lin Yun. Each of the eight sectors that were once aligned to compass points now
represents a particular area of one's life.
In contemporary China, practitioners of the divination systems of Qi Men Dun Jia and Da
Liu Ren adopt these modes of divination for highly detailed and analytic problem-solving
in Feng Shui.
Feng shui today
Today, feng shui is practiced not only by the Chinese, but also by Westerners. However,
with the passage of time and feng shui's popularization in the West, much of the
knowledge behind it has been lost in translation, not paid proper attention to, frowned
upon, or scorned.
Robert T. Carroll sums up what feng shui has become in some cases: ""âŚ feng shui has
become an aspect of interior decorating in the Western world and alleged masters of feng
shui now hire themselves out for hefty sums to tell people such as Donald Trump which
way his doors and other things should hang. Feng shui has also become another New Age
"energy" scam with arrays of metaphysical products âŚ offered for sale to help you
improve your health, maximize your potential, and guarantee fulfillment of some fortune
Others have noted how, when feng shui is not applied properly, or rather, without common
sense, it can even harm the environment, such as was the case of people planting "lucky
bamboo" in ecosystems that could not handle them. Still others are simply skeptical.
Nevertheless, even modern feng shui is not always looked at as a superstitious scam. Many
people believe it is important and very helpful in living a prosperous and healthy life
either avoiding or blocking negative energies that might otherwise have bad effects.
Many of the higher-level forms of feng shui are not so easily practiced without either
connections, or a certain amount of wealth because the hiring of an expert, the great
altering of architecture or design, and the moving from place to place that is sometimes
necessary requires a lot of money. Because of this, some people of the lower classes
lose faith in feng shui, saying that it is only a game for the wealthy. Others, however,
practice less expensive forms of Feng Shui, including hanging special (but cheap)
mirrors, forks, or woks in doorways to deflect negative energy.
Even today feng shui is so important to some people that they use it for healing
purposes, separate from western medical practice, in addition to using it to guide their
businesses and create a peaceful atmosphere in their homes. In 2005, even Disney
acknowledged feng shui as an important part of Chinese culture by shifting the main gate
to Hong Kong Disneyland by twelve degrees in their building plans, among many other
actions suggested by the master planner of architecture and design at Walt Disney
Imagineering, Wing Chao, in an effort to incorporate local culture into the theme park
The practice of Feng Shui is diverse and multi-faceted. There are many different schools
and perspectives. The International Feng Shui Guild (IFSG) is a non-profit professional
organization that presents the full diversity of Feng Shui.
At Singapore Polytechnic and other institutions like the New York College of Health
Professions, many students (including engineers and interior designers) take courses on
feng shui every year and go on to become feng shui (or geomancy) consultants
Two diagrams known as bagua (or pa kua) loom large in feng shui, and both predate their
mentions in the Yijing (or I Ching). The Lo (River) Chart (Luoshu, or Later Heaven
Sequence) was developed first. The Luoshu and the River Chart (Hetu, or Early Heaven
Sequence) are linked to astronomical events of the sixth millennium BC, and with the
Turtle Calendar from the time of Yao. The Turtle Calendar of Yao (found in the Yaodian
section of the Shangshu or Book of Documents) dates to 2300 BC, plus or minus 250 years.
In Yaodian, the cardinal directions are determined by the marker-stars of the
mega-constellations known as the Four Celestial Animals
: the Green Dragon (Spring equinox)Niao (Bird), α Hydrae
: the Red Phoenix (Summer solstice)Huo (Fire), α Scorpionis
: the White Tiger (Autumn equinox)Xu (Emptiness, Void), α
Aquarii, β Aquarii
: the Dark Turtle (Winter solstice)Mao (Hair), η Tauri (the
The diagrams are also linked with the sifang (four directions) method of divination used
during the Shang dynasty. The sifang is much older, however. It was used at Niuheliang,
and figured large in Hongshan culture's astronomy. And it is this area of China that is
linked to Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, who allegedly invented the south-pointing spoon