Feng Shui: Cosmological Concepts and Schools of Thought

Since the dawn of time, when humanity first arose, successive rulers, have monitored the movements of the sun, moon, and stars. Their understanding grew clearer as they continued their efforts during the reigns of the Five Emperors and the Three Kings. Gazing up, they pondered the signs in the sky; looking down, they discovered parallels on the ground. There were five planets in the sky and five elements on Earth.

Men live following the nature of terrestrial things by the laws revealed by the heavenly signs. Heaven and Earth give birth to the six Ch’i [yin and yang, wind and rain, dark and light], from which the Five Element Feng Shui [metal, wood, water, fire, and Earth] are born. The Five Flavors [sour, salty, caustic, bitter, and sweet], the Five Colors [vivid, yellow, scarlet, white, and black], and the Five Modes [in music] derive from man’s usage of these elements. But when these are indulged excessively, confusion ensues, and man loses sight of his essence.

The Five Element Feng Shui were not regarded as static objects but stepped into the extraordinary, everlasting processes of cosmic transformation. Since the Elements were products of the fluctuating yin and yang and throbbing qi, they were susceptible to change. In the Mutual Production order (sheng), wood gives rise to fire, fire gives rise to Earth in the form of ash, and soil gives rise to metal growing in its ores. Another series is known as the Mutual Conquest order (ke), in which fire defeats metal by melting it, metal defeats wood by slicing it, and wood conquers Earth by originating from it.

The Production or Conquest order of events can account for an abundance of dynamic interactions. This kind of thinking was also created during the Qin and Han dynasties and was later embraced by fengshui handbook authors. The original concept of the Five Element Feng Shui emerged in the context of competing for Chinese schools of thought, where each participant was aware of the philosophical and ideological options offered by the other schools. Other schools, notably the Legalists and Mohists, as well as several subsequent Confucian intellectuals, criticized this method of tackling social issues.

The difficulty of translating Chinese philosophical words into western languages has led to the growing use of terms such as yin, yang, qi, and fengshui in their original Mandarin Chinese form. In Chinese, the Five Element Feng Shui are literally ‘five movements’ (wuxing). Joseph Needham, the preeminent scholar on Chinese science and civilization, has stated that ‘Five Phases’ is a more appropriate title for the Chinese Five Element Feng Shui than ‘Five Agents,’ as it more accurately conveys the concept of cyclical transition. A related point made by Needham is that, in contrast to the prevalent particle thinking of European antiquity, Chinese naturalist philosophy gave importance to a wave style of thought.

Overall, Feng shui primarily employs the five element feng shui to manipulate space energy. The ancient Taoist idea of the Five Element Feng Shui demonstrates how nature seeks equilibrium. The resonances of Earth, metal, water, wood, and fire are predictable. We can aid clients in achieving stability by observing patterns in their life and environment and comprehending their interactions. Each element represents a different material and form of energy with specific attributes. Energy imbalances in individuals and spaces can be problematic. By spotting trends, Feng shui practitioners apply the five-element theory to create harmony and balance in a home or life. Color may add a missing aspect to your decor. Each element has corresponding colors that can be incorporated into your home or wardrobe to increase its presence in your life.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings