The oldest form of Feng Shui, the Form School has to do with the shapes and forms of the surrounding landscape and waterways and how they affect people living or working in a structure. The four cardinal compass directions are represented by four animals:
- The Green Dragon of the East
- the White Tiger of the West
- the Red Phoenix of the South and
- the Black Turtle of the North
which refer to the ideal landforms to look for around the outside of your home. Gentle hills at the back of the house offer protection. These are called “Black Turtle”. The “White Tiger” hill to the West of the house also gives protection (this side should be a bit lower than the opposite East side). The “Green Dragon” hills to the East of the house bring abundance and prosperity – these two landforms should ideally be low hills, other buildings, trees etc.
Finally, most importantly, the “Red Phoenix” or “little footstool” (a tiny hill) in the front of the house needs open space to prosper. It represents your opportunities and financial affairs. The 4 celestial animals are also used inside the house for furniture placement, office interior designs, etc.
“Compass School” is a term coined by Westerners to refer to the “Patterns of Chi” School of Feng Shui. Any true form of Feng Shui should involve a Compass. Hence, this term is somewhat humorous, albeit popular. Chinese history books describe how around 2005 BC, a turtle emerged from the River Lo with 9 numbers arranged in a grid on his back. The numbers were arranged in such a way that when they were added vertically, horizontally or diagonally, they always added up to fifteen.
This magic square is part of the Bagua, a tool used to do Feng Shui. Compass School superimposes the Bagua onto a floor plan of the dwelling. Each of the 8 outer squares relate to compass directions, and the center square represents the center of your life (or house). Each compass direction has certain colors and elements associated with it: water, wood, earth, metal, or fire. These colors and elements are used to balance and harmonize the space.
Eight Mansion/Eight House System
Eight Mansion Theory is used to determine your four lucky and four unlucky directions or areas. This way, we can ascertain the compatibility between the person and their dwelling. Each person is either in the East Group or West Group. East Group people have four lucky locations that are opposite to West Group lucky locations. Consequently, it is tricky to Feng Shui a house that contains East Group and West Group people.
Flying Star School
Flying Star is the most advanced level of Feng Shui and adds the time dimension to a building’s energy. A Luo pan compass is used to calculate the facing and sitting degrees of the structure. The date of construction and facing/sitting degree is used to determine energy patterns within. If you’re interested in learning more, we suggest “A Master Course in Feng Shui”, by Eva Wong.
A contemporary western adaptation of ancient Chinese Feng Shui, integrating biology, psychology, cultural anthropology, physics and other environmental considerations to assess how an individual experiences their environment.
Western/BTB (Black Hat Sect Tibetan Buddhist)
I do not condone the “Black Hat School” of Feng Shui. It was developed in the mid-1980s and is a combination of Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, Psychology and Traditional Feng Shui. It is more spiritual than scientific. The dwelling is divided into eight sections and a Bagua map is aligned with the entry door, rather than actual compass directions. Again, I do NOT recommend this school of Feng Shui. It was invented to “make Feng Shui easy”, which is ironic, because
- It only makes it more difficult and
- I have tried it, and it never worked for me.
Many times, clients have hired me after having a “Black Hat” consultation, because they needed to be “straightened out”. Stick with the classic forms of Feng Shui, and you won’t go wrong. They’ve been working for thousands of years.