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The History of Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an element of the Mysteries of China, but ultimately, it’s transcendent; its inspirational sources are the archetypes of the noumenal realm and its medium is the Tao – the Way of Heaven: the principle of wholeness, and rhythmic balance through cyclic change. Feng Shui acts as the interface between the invisible noumenal realm – ‘Kan’ (Heaven),, and the phenomenal realm – ‘Yu’ (Earth). Previously, Feng Shui was called 'KanYu' – ‘between Heaven and Earth’.

In pre-dynastic times, the antecedent of Feng Shui was Xiangdi. This practice helped the Chinese determine the most appropriate site for settlement and the location of shrines, temples, and fertile lands.

The two most seminal elements of Feng Shui, however, are the “River Chart”, and the “Lo Writing”. The “River Chart” (Ho T'u) was a diagram borne from the Yellow River on the back of a dragon-horse during the reign of the legendary Fu Hsi. Of whom it is said:
"He looked up and contemplated the forms exhibited in the sky (the constellations), and he looked down contemplating the processes taking place on the earth. He contemplated the patterns of the various habitats and places."

The “Lo Writing” (Lo Shu) also emerging from a river - the Lo River, inscribed on the shell of a tortoise. Referred to as the “Ba Gua” or “magic square”, it’s an arrangement of numbers reflecting the cosmological order of the seasons, directions, and 8 trigrams.

Integral to this was the Five Element Theory, having its origins in the dynamics of yin, and yang, it depicts their evolution into five fundamental powers, agents, and phases of change: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The exposition of which was outlined in the Nei Ching, a medical compilation c. 400BC.

From the 11th century BC to 246 BC, divination, and astrology were practiced using oracle bones, and also for determining solar and lunar eclipses. Zhan Bu elucidated the mechanics of water movement, and that of underground streams.

From 475 to 221 BC, the I Ching began to exert a significant influence on Feng Shui. The Form (regulating the Qi), or Mountain Top School focused on landscapes, studying topographical features, soil quality, and watercourses. It located the the Feng Shui or power spots, and mapped the dragon pathways or energy lines of the Earth. Contemporaneously, Taoism and Confucianism, especially the concept of the ‘superior man’ (chün-tzu), began to profoundly influence Feng Shui, introducing the concept of decisive intervention in terrestrial events inspired by the archetypes of heaven.

The next phase of Feng Shui evolution was inspired by Guo Pu's the 'Book of Burial (276 -324), and Form School principles of siting became well established in Chinese literature.

Between 960 – 1279 AD, Feng Shui bifurcated into two major schools -the Form and Compass Schools. The Compass School (Regulating the form of energy), used a form of Ba Gua compass to dowse the Feng Shui of the environment. During the Song Dynasty, the Book of Yin Yang Celestial Poles was written by a Feng Shui master, Wu Jin–Luan, who persuaded Yang Yun-Sung to establish one of the first formal schools of Feng Shui in Take Jingo Province.

These are the major elements in Feng Shui’s development.

About the Author: Independent Author in Thailand

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