“Feng Shui can be seen as the practice of being in the right place, at the right time. Being in the right time cannot be compared to being in the right place. Being in the right place cannot be compared to doing the right thing”
The Emperor Guangshi. 407-411AD.
The History of Feng Shui
Feng Shui is as old as the hills and that is literally where it originated! From the mountainous south western region of China during the Han Dynasty (200 B.C. – 200 A.D.), the earliest known records of Feng Shui can be established. The mountains and hills of this region gave way to the development of the predecessor of modern Feng Shui which is known as the Form School. The rugged typography of this region of south western China provided the inspiration for finding the most auspicious sites – initially for dwellings and burial sites. Form School Feng Shui was traditionally intended to find locations within the landscape that had beneficial Chi energy, that protected the inhabitants or, as in the case of burial sites, allowed their Chi not only to be protected but to remain in the “background” as support for their descendants. This early appreciation that our landscape is a living, breathing entity charged by Chi energy provides the backbone to traditional Form School Feng Shui. Chi energy can be potentially distracting/destructive as well as harmonious/energising. With trained experience and intuition, early practitioners could detect where this auspicious Chi presented itself and guide those who were not aware of its subtle presence as to where to locate dwellings or burial sites.
This perception of our landscape and immediate environment being a living, harmonious organism is also underlying early Chinese and even current Chinese appreciation of how our own bodies work and function. Acupuncture is a fine example of how a skilled practitioner in this field can detect where the Chi is blocked or hyperactive within a client and knows how to restore this imbalance through appropriate treatment. However, both systems have one major factor in common. This is that prevention is better than cure! Feed, fuel and energise the body appropriately and it will be of great service, while at the same time, locating your home in a well protected yet energising location will provide the best benefits for the inhabitants.
The Form School was further refined much later in A.D. 888 by the teachings and practice of Yang Yun Sung who was, at the time, an adviser to the Emperor. Most scholars accept him as the forefather of this modern interpretation of Feng Shui which is known as the Compass School. His works are still regarded as classics and some 100 years later, during the Song Dynasty, they were adapted and further refined by Wang Chih who is now regarded as the main influence in the majority of material that is studied and practised nowadays associated with the Compass School of Feng Shui. This approach to Feng Shui developed in the flat south eastern plains of China where it was naturally difficult to use the mountainous landscape that was the influence and inspiration of Form School Feng Shui which developed in the south west.
The Compass School incorporates many aspects of the Form School – in fact all modern systems will still acknowledge that as the first practical step to take. In reality, this means being aware of how Chi energy is flowing, not just within the home but how it also approaches it. Being able to assess whether Chi energy is benefitting the property or “attacking” the property is fundamental Form School work. Do you or your home have what is known as support behind you – this is represented by having the mountain behind you for support, which is drawn directly from the Form School. However, the Compass School brings in more depth, it is more scientific than practical and has evolved in many different directions over the last few centuries. Not all the approaches interface with each other but what they do have in common is a fundamental appreciation of Chi and discovering “where we are” both in time in space.