What Feng Shui Is Not
From the many questions we receive from readers, clients, and students, there is great
confusion about the different schools of feng shui: “They all conflict.” “Which one is
right?” “How do I activate my wealth corner?” “Where is my wealth corner?” To address
these concerns, we have added information to this chapter—information that will help you separate fact from falsehood; information that will help set you on the proper feng
Unfortunately, feng shui is plagued with many misconceptions. Largely steeped in myth
and superstition, a discriminating feng shui enthusiast can easily learn to distinguish faux
from authentic schools of feng shui by a number of telltale factors. Here are some attributes
associated with faux schools of feng shui:
◆ They are often linked with Life Aspirations or Black Sect (also known as Black Hat
Sect Tantric Buddhist feng shui) theory. Developed during the 1970s and 1980s
respectively, these commercialized schools are referred to as “modern” or “Western”
schools of feng shui.
◆ They divide a home into eight “life aspirations” or eight “life stations” of career,
knowledge, family, wealth, fame, marriage, children, and helpful people.
◆ They use the location of the front door to determine the orientation of the eight life
aspirations/stations. See the following figures (Life Aspirations theory and Black
◆ They match each of the five phases of qi (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood) with
its affiliated direction. Stated another way, fire “activates” the southern fame aspiration/
station; earth activates the northeastern knowledge and southwestern marriage
sectors; metal activates the western children and northwestern helpful people sectors;
water activates the northern career sector; and wood activates the eastern family
and southeastern wealth sectors. The five phases is the subject of Chapter 6,
“The Principle of the Five Phases.”
◆ They also use “cures” such as mirrors, crystals, bamboo flutes, red ribbons, and statues
or sculptures of fu dogs, frogs, and cats, among other things, to “activate” the
eight life aspirations/stations. Statements like “A mirror will help to ward off evil
spirits,” “A fish tank placed in the north will bring prosperity,” or “Hanging bells
inside your door will ring in joy and happiness” are commonplace among these
It’s a pity these inaccuracies have clouded the nature of feng shui. In fact, these widespread
assumptions have made the practice seem like a fad reserved for the gullible and
eccentric. As you get further along into this book, you’ll understand how these misrepresentations
have never been part of classical feng shui. For example, 2 + 2 = 4, correct?
Could you be convinced otherwise?
Just to set the record straight, feng shui is not a charming Eastern philosophy grounded
in superstition. It is not a religion, nor does it derive from any religion. Feng shui does
not provide elixirs or cure-alls for your problems. It is not magic. It is not a New Age discovery.
Feng shui will not reduce your wrinkles, zap your fat, or help you win the lottery.
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