The term “Bagua” refers to 8 symbols known as the 8 Trigrams which are made up of sequences of three lines (solid and/or broken) placed in a vertical row, one on top of the other. The 8 Trigrams are Qian (Heaven), Zhen (Thunder), Kan (Water), Gen (Mountain), Kun (Earth), Xun (Wind), Li (Fire) and Dui (Lake).
From a generalised perspective, when looking at a Trigram, the bottom line represents Earth, the middle line represents Humankind and the top line represents Heaven. You can tell if a Trigram is considered yin or yang by looking for the line within the Trigram that is different from the other 2 lines. If it’s a solid line then the Trigram is yang and if it’s a broken line, the Trigram is yin. If the Trigram has 3 solid lines then it is yang and if it has 3 broken lines, it is yin.
When the Trigrams are combined (ie doubled), they become 8 x 8 different combinations known as Hexagrams, which are explored in detail within the ‘I-Ching’ (also known as the ‘Yijing’ or ‘Book of Changes’), which originated around 2205B.C.E. The meanings associated with the 64 Hexagram combinations provide a blue print for exploring and understanding the various underlying patterns and cycles in nature and the unseen energy forces around us.
“The broken and unbroken lines correspond to the dots and dashes of the binary code exactly …. Scientists have also discovered that the 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching correspond to the 64 DNA genetic code that are the basis of all life on the planet. It is thus possible that in the I Ching lie the hidden meanings to life’s existence.” (Flying Star Feng Shui for the Master Practitioner, 2002 by Lillian Too, p10)
There are 2 sequences of the 8 Trigrams used in Xuan Kong (Time & Space) Feng Shui - the Xian Tian Bagua (also known as the Before Heaven sequence of Trigrams) and the Hou Tian Bagua (also known as the After Heaven sequence of Trigrams), and they are used to observe the cyclic interaction of yin and yang qi and determine how the movement of qi affects people.
The Xian Tian Bagua represents the ‘body’ as well as the ideal harmonious balance of human and natural forces while the Hou Tian Bagua represents the ‘application’ or ‘yong’ (ie energy in motion and the potential for yin/yang transformation as human and natural forces interact with each other).
“The eight trigrams represent transitional stages of all possible natural and human situations” (p35, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feng Shui - 3rd Edition, by Elizabeth Moran, Master Joseph Yu and Master Val Biktashev)
Trigrams are the foundation of yin and yang philosophy with the Qian Trigram (made up of 3 solid lines) representing Heaven/Yang qi and the Kun Trigram (made up of 3 broken lines) representing Earth/Yin qi.
“When the world began, there was Heaven and Earth. Heaven mated with the Earth and gave birth to everything in the world” (King Wen, Zhou Dynasty, 1122-256 BC).
For many people in the western world the term “Bagua” is known for having 8 specific Life Aspiration labels that correspond to various directions and elements. This concept was invented in America around the late 1970’s and has been simplified even further to a “Fixed Bagua Map” which no longer includes any actual compass-based aspect, other than being orientated from an external doorway leading into a building and/or the doorway leading into internal rooms.
Many clutter busters, space clearers and interior designers incorporate this simplified 8 Aspiration Fixed Bagua concept into their work and automatically label it Feng Shui. So, it is then assumed for example, the North sector and/or the front centre section of any home, business or internal room automatically corresponds to the “Career” location. This method then automatically allocates the water element to this area and dictates you can improve your “Career Luck” by decorating with a water feature and also by nurturing the water element with metal element colours and forms in conjunction with placing a plethora of symbolic objects in this location to support “Career Luck” for all the occupants living or working in the building.
And here is the problem - you see this is not authentic Classical Feng Shui, but rather a fun, quick fix, easy to apply, one size fits all approach that corresponds very much to an individual’s Mankind Luck (ie the individual’s personal aspirations). The westernized new age quick fix simplified Bagua approach does not address the inherent qi (transformative energy) of the surrounding land form, (which corresponds to your “Earth” (Di) energy and has a significant impact on the actual Feng Shui affecting any building) or the time period of construction and compass orientation of the building itself, which reveals the internal flow of qi affecting the occupants.
Ideally, when examining the Feng Shui affecting a building, we use all five of our senses while observing the yin/yang interaction of Time (eg the applicable Fei Xing indicators of energy flow), Space (the surrounding landform) and Action (how the people using the space interact with it) in order to ascertain which locations are deemed auspicious and which locations are deemed potentially harmful.
Note: the concept of Qi itself is a very complicated and fascinating topic and while in this article I refer to Qi as ‘transformative energy’ this is the most simple identifier of Qi in the english language although in reality it falls far short of the myriad of complex meaning behind the multi-layered concept of Qi.
While applying the new age 8 Aspiration Bagua Methods to their home or business, most people feel empowered that they are affecting positive change in their life. This is great as long as they realise they are focusing positive energy on their individual Mankind Luck when doing so (ie their internal qi which corresponds to their personal aspirations, goals, intentions, education, values and desires in life), however they are NOT addressing the actual Feng Shui because this method does not examine the actual flow of energy and unseen forces actually affecting the building.
Classical Feng Shui examines the macro and micro Earth qi (ie external environment as well as inside a building) in order to determine who is being affected by what type of energy, where it is occurring, what the most likely result will be and how to balance, retain, protect and harmonise this energy flow inside and outside so the building is fundamentally nurturing its occupants.
Xuan Kong Da Gua is a specialised branch of Feng Shui that allows the practitioner to access a higher vibrational level of timely nurturing qi affecting the construction of a building in conjunction with specific periods in time. This method is great for fine tuning and connecting the occupant’s personal date of birth Hexagram qi to the design and specific orientation of their home or business, strategic date selection, activation of water features and so on.
Many Classical Feng Shui practitioners examine the 4 Pillars astrology of their clients and address the inherent strengths and weaknesses, character traits, clashes and combinations of qi and periods of time (ie Luck Pillars) deemed most favourable to them personally. This astrological practice examines the individual’s Heaven Luck which cannot be changed, however it can be navigated with advice given in regard to which area of their life is currently affected in a potentially positive or negative way and recommendations on how to better deal with and approach the peaks and troughs in their life accordingly.
Space clearing is a wonderful practice for addressing built-up energy or energy voids lingering inside and around a building via the residual interaction of people via arguments, sickness, unhealthy pastimes, depression, predecessor/ghostly phenomena in conjunction with an assessment of underlying qi affecting the building via the surrounding landform.
Now, for those who want to practice the simplified new age 8 Aspiration Bagua Methods to their home or business, I strongly recommend you avoid painting walls red (eg DO NOT assume the SW sector and/or far right corner of the building or internal room automatically benefits your love and relationships by adding large amounts of fire element colour) and avoid using large water features (eg DO NOT assume you are automatically enhancing your abundance luck by placing a large fountain in the SE sector and/or far left corner of the building or internal room). For some homes, this may be fine, however for others it can be rather disastrous.
The reason I give you these 2 specific pieces of advice is because in the 18 plus years I have been practicing Xuan Kong Feng Shui professionally, I have repeatedly come across heart breaking examples where people did add a dominant red wall or a large water feature to their home/property according to the simplified 8 Aspiration Bagua methods which soon resulted in devastating consequences.
For example, the case where a lady painted the walls of her SW sector bedroom red in the hope of stimulating enhanced love energy with her partner. Soon after the colour change her partner hung himself in their bedroom.
I was asked to visit this home around a year after the tragic incident had occurred, and I had no idea about the history of the occupants when I arrived. According to a Classical San He and Fei Xing/Flying Star Feng Shui assessment of the home and surrounding landform, there was sha (negative) external mountain qi affecting the SW sector, the internal energy in the SW sector was inherently negative and needed a LOT of protective metal element and the room required regular access to the ruling 8 energy (which was currently blocked). I told the client the red walls in the SW sector of her home were potentially quite dangerous and should be replaced as soon as possible with metal element colour and forms, recommended a different bed orientation to draw in more supportive qi for her Ming Gua (also known as your Kua or Guardian Energy) and advised screening of the negative landform outside the bedroom window.
At this point of the consultation the client burst into tears and explained what had happened shortly after painting her SW sector bedroom walls red in the hope of attracting more love qi according to the 8 Aspiration Bagua compass method. She tragically lost her partner, fell into severe depression and had been suffering ongoing abdominal issues.
Of course, this could all merely be coincidence and I did not examine the 4 Pillars astrology of her former partner’s birth chart, however the negative energy created by the surrounding landform and addition of fire element to the SW sector of this specific home is exactly what the Xuan Kong Feng Shui analysis indicated.
A second example is the case of an affluent client who lived in a West facing home with the main entry located in the Northwest sector. According to the Fei Xing/Flying Star Feng Shui natal chart of the building, the main entry was very positive for the client and her family because it generated the ruling 8 qi in the water star, so I advised adding a beautiful water feature to the Ming Tang in this location and positioned it according to 9 Star Water Method which supported a Ju Men water dragon for enhanced income luck. This worked VERY well for them.
Then in early 2006 I heard back from the client asking if I could advise about putting a pool in the West sector of their property. I strongly advised against putting a pool in the West sector of their property because it would unbalance the inherent qi and increase the probability of significant money loss due to legal problems, theft and deception. I emphasized the fact that the annual 5 Yellow energy was currently affecting the West sector of their property and if they chose to ignore my advice, the inherent negative flying star combination, negative surrounding landform feature in this sector of the property, plus the trigger of excavating and adding a large body of water to the West sector that year would greatly increase the probability of severe financial loss and legal problems affecting the occupants.
Of course, the front of their home theoretically corresponded to the “Career” location according to the Fixed 8 Aspiration Bagua method and the West sector is known as the “Children and Creativity” location which corresponds to Metal and is in harmony with Water according to the Compass version of the new age 8 Aspirations Bagua method.
I next heard from the client around 7 months later. She was in tears and re-read my recommendations back to me over the phone in ironic hind-sight and confessed they had decided to ignore my advice and had dug up the West sector in front of their home and installed the pool. Since then, her husband’s work place had unexpectedly gone bankrupt and he was left holding the blame as one of the financial advisors, while the CEO had fled the country. Their bank accounts were frozen and they were faced with a lengthy court case and terrible emotional and financial stress.
I have many other examples of negative repercussions occurring to the client’s health and/or finance qi when adding a large body of water or painting a large area red in their home according to the new age 8 Aspirations Bagua methods, so like I said earlier, it’s fine to use this method with positive symbols and linking them to your intentions as per your Mankind Luck, just don’t confuse the issue and assume you are also addressing the actual Feng Shui of your home or business in the process.