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22nd August 2008


Heaven Qi and Earthly Qi

What are their effect on your house feng shui??


In the art of Feng Shui, there are many formulas out there to learn. Some of these formulas seem to contradict each other and students of this art are sometimes confused as to which formula is appropriate for their application. These formulas are commonly classified into “school” or “system”, of which the more well known or common ones are:

1. Purple White/Zibai Jue 紫白決
2. Xuan Kong Flying Star/Xuan Kong Fei Xing 玄空飛星
3. Xuan Kong Da Gua 玄空大卦
4. 8 Mansion/Bazhai 八宅
5. Longmen Ba Da Ju/Qian Kun Guo Bao 龍門八大局 / 乾坤國寶
6. 9 Star Water Method/Jiu Xing Shui Fa 九星水法
7. 28 Lunar Mansions/Qizheng Siyu/Ershi Ba Xing Xiu 二十八星宿 / 七正四余
8. San He Water Method/Sanhe Shui Fa 三合水法
9. San He Mountain Method/Sanhe Shan Fa 三合山法

Other than the ones mentioned above, there are also some other less talked about or “secret” formulas taught by some masters, which are not listed here.

At its core, feng shui is talking about Qi. For a better idea about Qi, you can read my article on Qi by clicking here. Qi can be classified broadly into two basic types, namely Heavenly Qi or Tian Qi 天氣 from above and Earthly Qi or Di Qi 地氣 from below. On a micro scale, you can even classify Qi that comes from 8 directions, 12 directions, 60 directions, 64 directions, 72 directions, 120 direction, or even 384 directions. In this article, let us just confine our discussion to only Heavenly Qi and Earthly Qi.

Qi that originate from the earth are known as Di Qi while Qi that comes from the sky are called Tian Qi. The intrinsic nature of these two types of Qi is fundamentally the same but the sources where they come from are different. In this aspect, we need to be able to differentiate which feng shui formula concerns or deal with what types of Qi in order that its application is appropriate and correct.

As we all know, the origin of the Chinese art of geomancy comes from ancient China. In those early days, Yin House feng shui or feng shui for the graves were more commonly practised until Yang feng shui or feng shui for houses comes along later. As far as Yang House feng shui is concerned, we understand that buildings in ancient China are mostly single storey houses or at the most 2 storeys high. Multi-storey buildings were rare in those days, with the exception of maybe pagodas. For single storey houses, the effect of Qi mainly comes from the earth below because the house is sitting on it and also from the surrounding atmospheric environment it is exposed to. For modern high rise buildings such as apartment blocks or condominiums and towers, homes located high up are mainly affected by Qi from atmospheric environment.

With the awareness of these different types of Qi that affecting both houses and high rise homes, we therefore need to understand deeper into each of the differnt feng shui formulas and choose the ones that suit its application. The key difference is that we must treat house and high rise apartment houses differently when we apply feng shui techniques in our audit. With our understanding so far, we can conclude that Heavenly Qi will always have an effect on all house or building, be it low rise or high rise because Qi comes from the "sky" hitting it from all sides. However, Earthy Qi will largely only affect single story houses because they are built on ground level, which is in direct contact with earth. As houses are located higher up in a building, the effect of the Earthly Qi will gradually decrease as the Qi need to travel upwards and is therefore weakened.

In places where high rise dwellings are common as in Singapore or Hong Kong, we therefore need to place more focus on the effect of Heavenly Qi and less on Earthly Qi. For single storey houses, both types of Qi need to be considered equally. Among the various formula available, which one is suitable to apply and which one to discard? Of course you can always ask your teachers or masters you learned from; they should be able to offer you some advice. Other than this, I hope the following pointers listed below, which are my personal views, will give you something to ponder about and decide.

1. Any formula that deals with the sun, stars, moon or planets (example Jupiter or Tai Sui 太歲) is talking about Heavenly Qi. Same goes for formulas that involve the Luoshu 洛書 number sequence because I think the “flying star” forward and backward patterns has something to do with the way cosmic energy come from the celestial bodies and hitting on the moving planet Earth.

2. Water formulas deal with both types of Qi. Ponds, lakes, rivers or swimming pools are usually located at ground level but the evaporation of water that generate Qi, goes up into the air and surrounding environment. Earthly Qi generated underground flows and comes into contact with the water body and interact with it (think of the classic saying from Guo Pu). Therefore the location of water bodies will have an impact on the Earthly Qi and Heavenly Qi generated. For high rise apartments, which are usually many feet above ground, the effect of water bodies on houses are decreased as they located higher up; it is a matter about proximity to water and the size of the water bodies.

3. Mountain formulas concerns Earthly Qi. Earthly Qi from the mountains that flows underground. They are affected by underground stones, rocks, different soil properties, or underground water stream. Maybe that is why when there are heavy constructions nearby a house, underground fault lines may be disturbed or altered, affecting the magnetic properties and quality of the Qi flow to the houses, creating Sha Qi.

4. Formulas that use the Yijing or "I Ching" trigrams and hexagrams as its core principles involving the use of Early Heaven Bagua 先天八卦 and Later Heaven Bagua 後天八卦 concept will somehow be related to Heavenly and Earthly Qi. We usually learn that Early Heaven is Ti or “Body” while Later Heaven is Yong or “Application”. Early Heaven and Later Heaven Bagua come from the core theories of Hetu 河圖 and Luoshu 洛書. Hetu hovers around the concept about the original state, timelessness, static, directionless, perfect balance and symmetrical attributes of the universe since the beginning of time. Luoshu is about the subsequent changes and transformation effect of the original state to the present state, giving rise to locations and directions, affecting the earth and people. This is why most feng shui formula dealing with locations (palaces) uses the Later Heaven Bagua in its core principle. Time and Space 時空 - both of these two complementary attributes are associated with the interaction of the Heavenly Qi from the sky (Time 時間) and Earthy Qi from the ground (Space 空間). Therefore if a feng shui formula involves the use of Early Heaven and Later Heaven Bagua theory in the system, then Heavenly and Earthly Qi concept would already have been integrated into the formula as a whole.

Having said all these, so the next time you select a formula to audit a yang dwelling for people, you have to give considerations to the effect of both Heavenly Qi and Earthly Qi and whether the dwelling is a high rise apartment or a ground level house. Applying the wrong formula may be harmless or has no effect to the house but you may end up wondering why your feng shui technique does not work or you may think your feng shui teacher is not good enough or taught you the wrong stuff. Think again.

By Cyril Quah

"The Feng Shui Connoisseur"

August 22, 2008

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