A Beginner's Guide to the Ba Gua: Understanding the Feng Shui Energy Map

A Beginner’s Guide to the Ba Gua

Understanding the Feng Shui Energy Map


Stephanie Roberts Serrano

Lotus Pond Press, LLC

Olympia, WA

Copyright Information

A Beginner’s Guide to the Ba Gua:

Understanding the Feng Shui Energy Map

published by

Lotus Pond Press, LLC
PO Box 7483
Olympia, WA 98507

ISBN-10: 1-931383-20-0

ISBN-13: 978-1-931383-20-2

copyright © 2016 Stephanie Roberts Serrano

all rights reserved

All photographs in this book are either public domain or used with permission.

Ba gua and house diagrams were created by the author.


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Ba Gua Questions & Answers

My Feng Shui Story

The Clutter-Feng Shui Connection

Chapter 1: Evolution of the Modern Ba Gua

The Legend of Fu Xi

Eight Qualities of Energy

King Wen

The Eight Aspirations

Chapter 2: Other Energy Maps

Flying Stars

Lucky & Unlucky Directions

Modern Factors

Retroactive Misfits

A New Alternative

Chapter 3: The Compass or the Doorway?

Eight Trigrams, Two Ways

So Which One is Right?

Comparing the Compass and Doorway Ba Guas

Symbolic Experience

Which Ba Gua Will You Use?

Chapter 4: Next Steps

Essential Feng Shui Concepts

Fast Feng Shui Resources

About the Author

Image Credits


Feng shui (say “fung shway”) began in China over 3000 years ago as a method for analyzing the chi, or energy, of a structure based on its location in the surrounding landscape. It was first used to locate auspicious burial sites, the belief being that happy, comfortable ancestors would ensure success and good fortune for their living descendants.

Over time, this practice began to be applied to the houses of the living, too, and theories about auspicious or unlucky arrangement of rooms developed.

A number of different styles and methods of feng shui have developed over the centuries. Some very old methods are still practiced today, and new variations on traditional feng shui have evolved to meet the needs and expectations of a modern audience. This can be a source of confusion, as the differences between the methods often outnumber their similarities.

Traditional Chinese methods of feng shui have withstood the test of time, not just in China, but around the globe. Why, then, have new approaches – including the modern ba gua, a form of energy map – emerged in recent decades? Is there really a need to reinvent the wheel? What does the modern ba gua have to offer, and why might you want to use it?

The purpose of this short ebook is to answer those questions by providing you with an overview of the various methods of feng shui in use today. I’ll introduce you to the different forms of the ba gua, help you choose which style of feng shui will best suit your home and personality, and suggest some first steps for using feng shui successfully in your home. You’ll gain a basic understanding of the pros and cons of different feng shui systems, and learn why I’m a fan of the modern approach while honoring what the traditional schools have to offer.

Ba Gua Questions & Answers

The ebook you’re reading now provides a general overview of the different forms of the feng shui ba gua and how that energy map is used. Actually applying the ba gua to your home or office layout is likely to raise some questions, such as:

p<>{color:#000;}. Is my garage or carport part of the ba gua?

p<>{color:#000;}. Which door do I use as the “front” door?

p<>{color:#000;}. My home is an odd shape; what does that do to the ba gua?

p<>{color:#000;}. Is this part that sticks out an “extension” of the ba gua, or is a chunk missing, and what might the effects of that be?

Based on years of receiving questions like these in my inbox, I’ve compiled an in-depth, 36-page companion ebook that answers all these common (and some not so common) ba gua questions.

The Ba Gua Q+A ebook is in PDF format, and is completely FREE when you sign up for the Fast Feng Shui email newsletter. Click here to subscribe, and get instant access to the Ba Gua Q+A ebook.

My Feng Shui Story

You may be wondering who I am, and what qualifies me to be your guide to this esssential feng shui tool called the ba gua.

At the time I began my feng shui journey in the mid-1990s, I’d been a successful instructional designer in the corporate field for almost 15 years. My job was to meet with content experts at a client company and find out all about whatever topic would be turned into an employee training program. Then I’d organize the material into a logical sequence, figure out how to communicate so others could learn it easily, and create a program that made the learning process engaging and fun.

The work was challenging enough to be interesting, and I was good at it, but it did not nourish my soul. When I began to look around for something new and different to do, I thought about what I might also be good at, and enjoy more. I’d always loved decorating and rearranging my own home, so interior design was an appealing possibility, and the emerging field of personal coaching was intriguing as well. If only there were a career that combined them both…

One day, at a friend’s apartment, I picked up a book from the coffee table. It was an introduction to what would become the modern feng shui movement. What a revelation! I was entranced by the idea that how we arrange our spaces can profoundly affect our ability to enjoy a happy life and achieve the success we desire.

Even better, it seemed to me that feng shui was a perfect marriage of interior design and personal coaching. I wanted more! I signed up for a weekend workshop, and from there enrolled in a year-long professional feng shui certification program, followed by a multi-year intensive in the Black Tibetan Buddhist, or “BTB” school, from which my own practice developed.

As you can imagine, all of these feng shui studies were accompanied by making significant changes to my own home and home office. The deeper I got into feng shui, the deeper the changes I felt inspired to make in all areas of my life.

In the summer of 1999, I gave up my corporate work and moved from New York City to Hawaii with the man who would become my husband. Once settled in our new home, I began to put my training and information-organizing skills to work by writing my first Fast Feng Shui book.

Back in New York, I’d discovered that many of my feng shui clients had scheduled a consultation because the reading they’d done on their own had left them confused and overwhelmed by conflicting and unclear advice – especially about how to use the feng shui energy map called the ba gua. With all those years of corporate training development under my belt, I knew I could do a better job of explaining feng shui to a modern audience, and that’s how the Fast Feng Shui book series began.

The Clutter-Feng Shui Connection

Over the next few years I wrote several more feng shui books, and then woke up one day to discover that while I was cranking out feng shui books and blog posts, I’d let a good amount of clutter pile up.

If you know even a little bit about feng shui, you’ve learned that clutter is a huge feng shui no-no! It was time to get serious about decluttering. I knew that many feng shui readers struggled with their own clutter as well. So while I was decluttering my own home, I set out to create a program that would teach people how to clear their clutter in a way that would dovetail with the modern shui practice. I’d collect all of the strategies that had worked for me in the past, put them to use again, and really explore what goes on in our minds and hearts when we have trouble making decisions about our stuff.

The original Clutter-Free Forever Home Coaching Program launched in 2003. It was a great success with customers, who reported that they were able to make progress on their clutter for the first time in years – sometimes even decades – and that learning to see their clutter from a new perspective had changed their lives.

Eventually I turned that program into an ebook called Clutter Clearing from the Inside Out, and now that material has been expanded and updated into an online, video-based program, which you can learn more about here.

Further Steps on the Path

This ebook that you are reading now represents the first step on a new pathway in my own feng shui journey. Over time it will be accompanied by more special topic reports and online training programs. My goal is to guide, support, and encourage you as you use the modern practice of feng shui to create positive changes in your own life.

If you’d like to be among the first to hear about these new ebooks and products as they are developed, sign up for your free copy of the Ba Gua Q&A ebook , and you’ll be on my email list for future news and updates.

CHAPTER 1: Evolution of the Modern Ba Gua

The Ba Gua (“eight areas”) is a map of the invisible world. It defines what areas within your home – or even within a room in your home – influence which aspects of your life experience. At first glance, the ba gua can seem rather random: who says the ‘wealth’ area is that corner over there, and ‘career’ is here? The answer is found in the Taoist philosophy of ancient China.

In this chapter, we take a look at where the ba gua came from and how it has evolved into the essential feng shui diagram that we use today.

The Legend of Fu Xi

One day, a long, long time ago, the Emperor Fu Xi was meditating beside the River Luo when a tortoise crawled out of the water near where the Emperor sat. The tortoise, tired by the effort of hauling himself up out of the river, settled down for a rest. The Emperor was intrigued by the markings on the tortoise’s shell. From his deep meditative state, he gazed at the subtle patterning until a hidden order was revealed.

Fu Xi’s mystical vision had to do with an arrangement of specific qualities of energy symbolized by eight trigrams (trigram = a set of three lines). These trigrams are the foundation of the I Ching. Also known as The Book of Changes, this ancient philosophical text is viewed as a microcosm of the universe and consulted as a source of profound guidance for navigating the confusion and upheaval of human life. The same eight trigrams that combine into the 64 possible hexagrams (six line sets) of the I Ching, also form the ba gua. By understanding the trigrams, we understand the ba gua as a map of our personal world.

Eight Qualities of Energy

Let’s begin at the very beginning, when a formless infinity split into two qualities of energy: yang and yin. Yang is active, creative, bright, expansive. Yin – quiet, dark, gentle, receptive – is Yang’s counterpart. These two essential types of energy, are shown by either a solid (yang) line or a broken (yin) line:

Because these energies are not static and separate, but always exist in a dynamic relationship, we look at what happens to the single lines when they are combined. By adding a yang line or a yin line to each of the two original lines (one yang and one yin), we arrive at four possible combinations:

When this process is repeated, each of the four two-line combinations can receive another yang line on top, or a yin line, and thus we arrive at the eight trigrams:

These eight trigrams describe eight essential qualities of chi, that mysterious life force energy that permeates all things:

These are just a few of the many attributes given to each trigram. For our purposes, it is enough to recognized that each trigram has specific characteristics, and that a ba gua (“eight areas”) is a diagram of how these trigrams are arranged in space.

The Early Heaven Sequence

In the Fu Xi ba gua, we see a symmetrical arrangement, in which each trigram sits across from its opposite. Here, everything is in perfect balance, with heaven above, earth below, fire on the left and water on the right, with thunder and wind and mountain and lake forming the diagonal pairs.

This arrangement of the trigrams is called the EARLY HEAVEN sequence. It represents an idealized but empty cosmos, before the creation of the visible, tangible world.

The problem with the EARLY HEAVEN ba gua is that is it static and unchanging. It therefore is not suitable for describing a physical existance in which everything is always in a state of change. As feng shui evolved from a method for locating auspicious burial sites, to a practice for siting favorable houses for the living, a new arrangement of the ba gua was needed.

King Wen

King Wen, founder of the Zhou dynasty in the 11th century BC and the first epic hero of ancient Chinese history, is credited with inventing the LATER HEAVEN ba gua, which describes the dynamic, changing interactions of yin and yang in a natural sequence:

We begin at the center left side as spring arrives with the rumble of THUNDER, followed by the WIND that leads to the FIRE of summer’s heat. As we arrive at the right side of the diagram, autum brings the maturity and wisdom of EARTH, which turns inward in a time of reflection, characterized as LAKE. In winter, we turn inward, connecting with our inner spirit and the concept of HEAVEN, and immersing ourselves in the deep WATER of silent meditation… until the earliest hints of coming spring appear in clouds forming over the MOUNTAINs, and again the rumbles of thunder are heard.

In this ba gua we see the tai chi symbol placed in the center. This symbol represents the ever-changing dynamic tension between yang and yin. As one increases, the other decreases, until a point is reached where the one that was expanding can increase no further, and the roles are reversed in an ongoing cycle of growth and decay.

This dynamic LATER HEAVEN arrangement of the trigrams is the ba gua that is used in feng shui today.

The Eight Aspirations

Although exterior factors and landscape forms are important aspects of feng shui, the ba gua is most specifically used to assess the qualities of an interior space. The ba gua assists you in analyzing the energy in your home, diagnosing weaknesses to be adjusted or corrected, and identifying positive aspects that can be strengthened for even greater benefit.

When we analyze the layout of your space, we look at which areas of your home are associated with which of the eight qualities of chi described by the trigrams. Modern feng shui associates each trigram with a specific life aspiration, or an area of concern, focus, and priority.

While each trigram carries multiple meanings, you are most likely to see the modern ba gua simplified to just the eight aspirations:

The ba gua shows us where each of these energies is found in your home. We’ll get into more detail on how the ba gua energy map is used in Chapter 3. First, I want to briefly discuss some other forms of feng shui charts and energy maps that can cause a great deal of confusion to a newcomer.

CHAPTER 2: Other Energy Maps

Some of the confusion surrounding the ba gua comes from the fact that it is just one of a variety of energy maps used by various forms of feng shui to analyze the energy of a home. In this chapter, I’ll briefly review these other methods, so you understand what they are and can decide whether or not you’d like to explore them further on your own.

Flying Stars

Feng shui professionals who say they practice “Traditional Chinese Feng Shui” are usually referring to the Flying Stars method. This practice uses an elaborate chart of numbers (“stars”) calculated for a building based on the structure’s compass orientation and year of construction. Overlaid on this chart are more numbers that represent current influences:

Some number patterns or combinations are thought to be especially auspicious. Others imply possible health, financial, marital, legal or other problems for the occupant. Various remedies are recommended for unfortunate star combinations to control or reduce their influence for whatever period of time that influence is active.

The Flyings Stars method does provide unique information that you won’t get from other systems, which may or may not be helpful to you depending on your circumstances. If you are building a new house, for example, it makes sense to fine-tune facing direction and room location to take advantage of the best available star combinations and, as much as possible, avoid inauspicious influences in the most imporant areas of your home. If you are looking to buy or lease an existing home, and can gather the necessary data, it’s wise to check for inauspicious flying stars before committing.

Unfortunately, while the Flying Stars method can be immensely useful, it does require specific and accurate information. If you don’t know what year your home was built, have no way to learn if major renovations or roof work have ever been done, can’t get an accurate compass reading (very common in city locations), or aren’t sure which is the “facing” or “sitting” direction, you will not be able to use the Flying Stars method.

Even if you do have the necessary data for accurate Flying Star calculations, what do you do if you live in an apartment and discover that the prescribed remedy for an inauspicious star combination is to “construct a hill in the back and place a water feature at the front of the property”? That’s difficult to do when you live in a 14th floor apartment, or if you are a tenant in a rental property. And good luck figuring out what actions to take if you live in the Southern Hemisphere: there’s vigorous ongoing debate about whether to follow the classical arrangement of the stars or flip everything around backwards if you’re “down under.”

Lucky & Unlucky Directions

The Eight Mansions (ba zhai) method of feng shui defines auspicious and unfortunate sectors of a home according to the “facing direction” of the home. Every individual also has a kua number – based on gender and year of birth – that defines which directions are fortunate or unfortunate for that person.

There are four lucky and four unlucky directions (with slightly different flavors, which we won’t get into here) for each house facing direction (N, S, E, SE, etc.), and four lucky and four unlucky personal directions for each kua number. Certain homes are considered more suitable than others for a particular occupant, based on that person’s kua number.

This method of feng shui advises sleeping, sitting, working, cooking, and eating in a lucky sector of the home while facing a lucky direction. In theory this is helpful stuff, and I do try to take lucky directions into account for key locations such as desk placement in my home office. In practice, however, it can be difficult to follow these recommendations while also meeting other requirements of good feng shui.

Placing your desk in a “lucky” sector of the house, for example, may mean putting it in your kitchen or bedroom, which are both inappropriate locations for a workspace, according to other feng shui guidelines. And even if you can put your desk, for example, in a good location, facing a lucky direction while you sit at that desk might expose to you to some form of sha chi (harmful energy) depending on the layout of that room.

Working on notebook computers and portable devices, as many of us now do, provides greater flexibility so far as choosing a “desk” location. It also means that attempting good locations and orientations becomes one more thing to either factor into our busy days or decide we’re going to ignore.

Right now, as I’m writing this paragraph, I’m on a notebook computer at my living room coffee table. Lucky directions have nothing to do with this decision, as my reason for being down here rather than upstairs in my home office is to keep an eye on our cat, outside on the deck, to make sure she doesn’t crawl over the railing into our neighbor’s yard. I tried ignoring her desire to go outside for a while, but she was so persistent pest I moved my work downstairs to accommodate her.

Like the Flying Stars, the Eight Mansions method of feng shui can be either very helpful, or a source of inapplicable and frustrating advice. You might consult a book or website that teaches this method and encounter advice such as “the Six Devils sector is a good location for the kitchen, because the stove will burn up the evil influence.” Unless you are building a custom-designed house or are prepared to engage in extensive renovations, this kind of recommendation is unlikely to be helpful.

Things become even more complicated for a couple, because a home that is “lucky” for one of you might be “unlucky” for the other. If one of you has a “west group” kua number and the other an “east group” number, you won’t be able to arrange key furniture such as the bed in a way that will suit both of you. Traditional advice was to prioritize the husband’s kua number when faced with a tricky feng shui choice, assuming that the “husband” is male and that the female wife plays a secondary role in household economics and decisions. That kind of advice is outdated and inappropriate to modern households, even those with a stay-at-home spouse, and is less than useful for couples who both “bring home the bacon.”

Modern Factors

All of the compass-based assessments of lucky or unlucky orientations are based on the assumption that we are affected in subtle ways by the geophysics of the Earth, such as the North-South magnetic polarity of our planet. While this is true, it’s also important to keep in mind that these influences are overwhelmed in many situations by the electromagnetic fields of appliances, wiring, and wireless communication networks, and can be distorted by steel support beams, plumbing, and underground utilities.

The bottom line is that creating good feng shui in any space usually requires making compromises and choices among the various options available, and in my experience the “lucky direction” options are often the first to go.

Retroactive Misfits

The real problem with both of these traditional methods—Flying Stars and Eight Mansions—is that they evolved to help people choose or build an auspiciously located and oriented home. Put the house data into a formula, and you get back a thumbs-up or thumbs-down verdict on whether or not it would be a good place for you and your family to live. It is assumed that if the verdict is unfavorable you will choose to live somewhere else.

But these days most of us apply feng shui retroactively. We hear something about feng shui, are curious about it, and decide to learn more. Our hope is to improve the space we are already living in: a space that, in most cases, was neither constructed nor chosen with feng shui guidelines in mind. The old school Chinese methods of feng shui can be very helpful in some situations. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee they’ll provide useful advice if you’ve just signed a 30-year mortgage on a house and want to know what you can do to make the best of it, warts and all.

A New Alternative

In Chapter One you learned about the evolution of the taoist trigram system first into the balanced but static Early Heaven ba gua, and then into the more dynamic Later Heaven arrangement that is the basis of the modern ba gua.

Contemporary Western feng shui addresses the need for a method that can be used where the compass-based rules of placement are difficult or impossible to follow, by focusing on creating a healthy flow of chi through a space. These modern practices are based on using the ba gua as a map of “Life Aspirations” that associates specific areas of the home with specific aspects of your life. Challenging layout issues and various forms of negative energy (sha chi) are identified and removed or neutralized. Remedies such as faceted crystal balls and wind chimes are placed to help welcome opportunities and encourage progress. Imagery such as paintings, photographs, and art objects is chosen and placed to enhance and reinforce your intention.

Comparing the concept of the ba gua with the complexities of the Flying Stars and Eight Mansions methods of feng shui, it’s easily apparent that the ba gua, with its eight life aspiration sections, is a more accessible method than calculating complicated star charts or worrying whether “unlucky” directions make half of your home unusable.

In the modern practice of feng shui, there are no “lucky” or “unlucky” parts of the ba gua, just eight different aspects of a healthy and satisfying life, which are the same for everyone, regardless of gender and year of birth. You don’t need to know what year your home was built, its construction or reconstruction history, or whether your front door is the facing direction, the sitting direction, or somewhere in between. The ba gua frees the modern practice of feng shui from many of the arcane and obscure rules and restrictions that make the Flying Stars method best pursued by experts.

Another key feature of contemporary feng shui is its strong emphasis on the power of your intention to shift the energy of your home and initiate significant changes in your life. Non-traditional cures are welcomed, so you can choose feng shui accessories that suit your taste and decorating style, rather than relying on oriental objects and symbols (tortoises, bamboo flutes, etc.) that may have no cultural significance for you. The modern ba gua brings feng shui into a contemporary realm and within easy reach of today’s DIY culture.

This self-directed aspect of contemporary feng shui is a key factor in its popularity with modern users. Western culture has trained us to question authority and value self-determination, and these values are not always a good fit with the more traditional feng shui teachings, which tend toward dogmatic “do” and “don’t” rules.

Some traditionalists balk at this evolution, and insist that the Flying Stars method is “the only true feng shui.” Others believe that the Eight Mansions method is the correct way to go. I count myself among the practitioners who recognize that all methods of feng shui, both ancient and modern, contribute valuable aspects to the practice

In spite of my deep respect for the traditional practice, I do have a strong personal preference for the flexibility and client-focused approach of contemporary western feng shui, which allows for a greater degree of collaboration and personalization. At its best, contemporary western feng shui becomes a path for personal growth and self-actualization and is a valuable tool in the quest for a deeper connection to Spirit. Yes, it is a different practice in many ways from the classical Chinese compass-oriented feng shui. Times have changed, and feng shui is changing, too. I, for one, see nothing wrong with that.

There are, however, two different ways to use the modern ba gua, and that is the focus of our next chapter.

CHAPTER 3: The Compass or the Doorway?

Much of the confusion that besets newcomers to feng shui arises because the modern ba gua can be used in two different ways depending on which style of feng shui is being practiced. Some practitioners use the ba gua according to the compass directions, while in Contemporary Western Feng Shui we align the ba gua to the doorway.

Understanding the difference between these two approaches — and deciding which method feels most appropriate to you — is the focus of this chapter, and an important first step in applying feng shui to your home.

Eight Trigrams, Two Ways

Compass-based practitioners who use the modern ba gua divide a space into eight wedges according to the compass directions, following the Later Heaven arrangement of the eight trigrams and their associated “Life Aspirations.” Sometimes a 9-unit grid is used, but the pie-slice method more accurately matches the compass sectors so I recommend it if you are going to follow the compass. Note that the ba gua shows South at the top and North at the bottom, a Chinese custom. I have color coded the ba gua sectors in these diagrams for easier comparison:

Contemporary Western feng shui places the ba gua according to the location of the entry.

When we use the modern ba gua to map the chi of an interior space, the original octagonal shape is expanded at the corners into a square, which is then stretched sideways or lengthwise as needed to cover the layout of a structure or a room within that structure.

This version of the ba gua is divded into a nine-unit grid of equal areas without regard to the compass directions.

This is a radical departure from all of the earlier methods of feng shui! And it makes the ba gua exquisitely flexible, useful, and accessible to anyone wishing to explore how the layout and arrangement of his or her home is affecting their life experience.

So Which One is Right?

“Now, wait just a minute,” you may be saying. “You’re telling me that there’s this thing called the ba gua, that’s a map of the energy influences in my home, but that some people place it according to the compass and other people use it a whole other way? That’s crazytalk! They can’t both be right. That’s just not possible!”

This reaction is certainly understandable. And it overlooks one very important factor: you, with your unique personality and mindset and viewpoint and desires, are one of the strongest factors in the energy of your home. I’m going to get a little woo-woo on you here – as if the whole idea of feng shui weren’t already strange enough! – and say something that most feng shui teachers don’t address, and that’s the idea that feng shui works from the inside out as much as it works from the outside in.

Sometimes we focus so much on how our home environment is affecting us that we forget that our own physical presence and emotional state are huge influences on the energy in our homes. This means that how you place your feng shui symbols and remedies (hopefully with confidence and eager aniticipation of a positive outcome) is as important as where you place them. It also means that if you choose to follow the doorway method rather than the compass directions, your focus on and use of that method contribute to making it work for you.

On the other hand, if you’re a solidly left-brain, show-me-the-science type with more faith in statistics than in intuition, you’re probably going to be more comfortable keeping the ba gua firmly tied to the compass directions. If you think the doorway orientation doesn’t make any sense and is just a bunch of hooey, then it’s unlikely that this approach will work well for you.

I believe that all styles of feng shui offer insight and value, that no one method is more correct or better than the others: they are simply different. My choice is to practice Contempory Western Feng Shui, not only for the reasons give here, but because the contemporary method of working with the ba gua more closely reflects my perspective on how we experience what we call “reality.” Your choice may be different, and that’s fine, too.

And it’s perfectly fine if you’re still on the fence, not sure which approach will be right for you. Let’s take a closer look at how these two approaches to the ba gua play out in exploring where the eight life aspiration sectors land on your floor plan. You’ll get a better sense of how this all works.

Here’s another home layout example, showing the exterior and interior walls, so you can see how the rooms are laid out, as well as two porch areas indicated by the pale yellow shading.

The red arrow points to the front door, and the blue arrow indicates that this house is situated exactly in a north-south orientation, with the front door on the south side of the house and the back patio and yard to the north.

Comparing the Compass and Doorway Ba Guas

Let’s take a look at the key differences between the compass and doorway methods, by applying each ba gua to this house layout. We’ll do the compass ba gua first.

The compass method assigns the CAREER area (I’m using just one “aspiration” here as an example) to the north sector of a space. For this home, we rotate the ba gua to put the north sector at the top and place the center at the center of the house.

Like many contemporary American homes, this house is not a tidy shape, so I’m going to estimate that the center of the mass of this house is somewhere left of center in the living room. (There are ways to calculate this point more precisely, that are beyond the scope of this book. For the purposes of this example, a guesstimate is close enough.) I’ve indicated that point with a red dot.

Now we can place the compass ba gua, with the north sector at the top, over the house layout, centered on the red dot.

Here you see that, because of the irregular outline of the house, the sectors of the ba gua are not equally represented. In fact, there is very little of the north, or Career, sector – indicated by blue shading – in this house. A good part of that wedge is outside on the back patio, which is not part of the home interior. Just two small areas of darker shading represent the career sector within the house.

Imagine that you are looking for a new job, and would like to make some feng shui adjustments or activations to your career sector. Not only is very little of the career sector available here, a good part of it is in front of a large double door. It’s going to be difficult to place any feng shui remedies in these small locations!

But all is not lost. Remember that the ba gua applies to ANY space. That means that we can look at the career sector in each of the main rooms of this house for ways to enhance our career chi.

Let’s use the compass ba gua to find the career area in some key spaces within this home, starting with the foyer, because the main entrance is an important aspect of the feng shui of your home.

Here the north sector is the open passage to the living room, directly ahead of you as you enter through the front door. Not much you’ll be able to do there.

The room to the left of the foyer (diagram below) is designed for use as a den or home office, and here the career sector is to the right as you enter the room, around the center portion of the wall facing the windows. This could be a good place to feature a career enhancement of some kind.

When we move from the foyer, where career was directly ahead of us,into the livingroom (diagram below), the career sector is now further to the left, where there’s a potentially useful spot between the two double doors that lead to the patio.

Let’s look at the bedrooms.

The two front bedrooms each have a good career portion of the room. In room 4, the career sector is to your immediate left when standing in the doorway, and in room 5 it’s farther to the left, in the middle of the north side of the room.

Unfortunately, if these rooms are being used as bedrooms for your children, they won’t be a good place for feng shui adjustments directed at improving your work life.

Let’s look at the master bedroom.

Here, as in the living room, the career sector is in the middle of the far side of the room, although in this bedroom it’s ahead of you to the right and in the living room it was ahead of you and to the left.

With the compass method, it’s easy to see by looking at the floor plan that the ba guas for each room are all aligned to the compass the same way:

The problem is that as you enter each room and move through the space there’s no consistency to the location of the Career sector (or any other area) relative to your position.

This means that you experience the locations of the ba gua sectors differently in every room. Depending on which room you are in, the same sector of the ba gua might be ahead of or beside you, or to your right or left, or even behind you.

Let’s take a quick look at another example using this same home layout. This time, let’s imagine that things have been a bit challenging for you financially this past year. You’d like to apply feng shui to improving your financial situation.

You’re now familiar with how the compass ba gua applies to this home and the rooms within it. Here’s the compass ba gua for this house again, this time with the Wealth area highlighted . That’s the southeast sector if you are using the compass ba gua:

And here’s the Wealth sector, according to the compass method, highlighted for some of the rooms in this home.

Again it’s easy to see that as you move through this home, the wealth sector, while always in the SE, is in a different part of each room: sometimes close to the door, maybe on the left, maybe on the right, and other times on the far side of the space.

Using the ba gua according to the doorway solves this problem of inconsistency in how you experience the ba gua as you move through your space.

Symbolic Experience

When we use the ba gua according to the doorway, the relative locations of the guas reflect our life experience in a symbolic way. With this method, when we step into a building or a room, the Career area (which represents our life path or journey as well as the specific work that we do) is in the center of side of the room through which we enter. Knowledge/Spirituality and Helpful Friends (things that help us reach our goals) are on either side of Career providing a foundation for our progress:

“Wealth” “Fame” and “Romance” (what we aspire to in life) are always on the far side of the room. We move toward these goals as we move into the space:

As we move further into the space, Family and Children/Creativity are with us on either side, accompanying us on our journey and reminding us to strive for a balanced life:

Feng shui is about the impact of our space on our experience, so it makes sense to me that this key tool should be used experientially. The compass directions simply don’t offer this kind of metaphysical correlation between the areas of influence in a space and how we move through that space and through our lives.

Let’s wrap up this section with a quick look at how this plays out in our example house layout. In our previous view of this home, we looked at the wealth sectors according to the compass ba gua. Let’s see how locating the wealth areas works out using the doorway method;

A few quick points before we move on:

p<>{color:#000;}. With the doorway orientation, we ignore the compass directions, so it doesn’t matter which way is North (or any other direction).

p<>{color:#000;}. The bottom edge of the ba gua grid is placed at the main entry/front door to the home. In this example, that means some parts of the ba gua (indicated by the dotted lines) are outside the footprint of the home. This often happens, and strategies for addressing this situation, while

p<>{color:#000;}. The top edge of the ba gua is aligned to the largest portion of the back wall of the house. Part of the master bedroom extends out beyond the ba gua. This is usually a good thing, and you can learn why, and how to take advantage of this ba gua situation, in my other books as well.

The key feature I’d like you to notice here is that the WEALTH section of the doorway ba gua is the back left corner of the space, relative to the main entry. Here, you can see that the wealth area for this home is the back half of the garage. Hmmm. That’s less than ideal. If you want to make some feng shui adjustments to improve your money chi, once again it will be useful to look at the ba gua for the individual rooms in this house.

Let’s look at how that plays out:

At first glance this may look a bit more chaotic than the compass ba gua version. But when you are in your space, you don’t see the bird’s-eye view of the entire structure the way we do when looking at a floor plan. From within your space, you experience one room at a time.

Looking at the location of the wealth area in each main room according to the doorway ba gua, you can see that:

p<>{color:#000;}. When you step through the front door into the foyer, the wealth area is at the far left.

p<>{color:#000;}. When you enter the study/den, the wealth area is at the far left.

p<>{color:#000;}. When you walk into the living room, the wealth area is at the far left.

p<>{color:#000;}. When you step from the living room into the kitchen, the wealth area is at the far left.

p<>{color:#000;}. When you enter each of the bedrooms, the wealth area is at the far left.

As you move through your home, you experience the ba gua for each room in exactly the same way. This consistency of experience is, in my opinion, one of the great advantages of the doorway method for placing the modern ba gua.

Which Ba Gua Will You Use?

Given that our world and lifestyles have changed dramatically over the past few thousand years, I believe that it is reasonable to expect that feng shui would evolve to accommodate and reflect our contemporary cultures and attitudes. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to use the ba gua, just different ways. I don’t ignore the compass directions or methods in my practice, but I give the doorway ba gua the greatest consideration because that is my preference.

If you are new to feng shui, and have a strong intuitive pull to one ba gua method or the other then go ahead and follow your intuition. If you don’t have an inner sense of which method you’d like to use, then I recommend that you start with the doorway method first.

If you are already experienced in feng shui and are accustomed to analyzing your space by the compass directions, you may want to take a look at what the doorway ba gua has to offer!

Now that you have a good understanding of the different forms of the modern ba gua and how they are used, let’s explore some next steps on your feng shui journey.

Chapter 4: Next Steps

Got questions about the ba gua? Hop on over to FastFengShui.com, and download a copy of the PDF ebook, Ba Gua Q+A: Questions and Answers About the Feng Shui Energy Map. It’s free to FFS subscribers!

Got a compass? If you want to use the compass ba gua, you’ll need to know the orientation of your home. You could:

p<>{color:#000;}. Check existing blue-prints or home layout diagrams provided by your builder or the previous owner. These sometimes have a North indicator arrow.

p<>{color:#000;}. Check your town or county website. You may find a tax-plat map online that will provide the compass orientation of the land your home is built on.

p<>{color:#000;}. Stand outside your house facing the front door and take a compass reading. If possible, it’s a good idea to take readings from several places around the house, in case of magnetic interference; underground cables or other factors can sometimes skew your compass reading.

p<>{color:#000;}. Enter your address into Google Earth or another online mapping software and assess the position of your home using the North indicator on the screen.

Got your home or apartment floor plan? Make several photocopies, so you can sketch out the compass and doorway ba guas and see how they apply to your home.

No floorplan available? Draw it yourself. You could:

p<>{color:#000;}. Use a tape measure to calculate the size of each room in your home, and sketch it out to scale on a piece of graph paper. Tape multiple sheets together for a larger scale drawing or to accommodate a large home layout. It’s important to keep the scale consistent, but you don’t need to worry about being to-the-inch accurate.

p<>{color:#000;}. Use a graphics program on your computer to create a layout diagram of your space.

Place the ba gua on your home layout. Using either the compass or the doorway ba gua (or one of each on separate copies of your floor plan), get a general sense of which areas of your home correspond to key areas of the ba gua. What’s most important to you right now? Where is the ‘Wealth’ area in your home? What about ‘Fame,’ ‘Romance,’ or ‘Children”?

Innies and Outies? Are there parts of your home that sit outside the doorway ba gua? Are there parts of the ba gua that are outside your home? These could be valuable extensions of certain areas, or you may be faced with making feng shui corrections for “missing areas.” The Ba Gua Q+A ebook provides an overview of how to know what you’re dealing with. Strategies for corrections, where necessary, are covered in my other Fast Feng Shui books and will be explored in depth in upcoming ba gua training programs.

Look at the ba gua for important rooms in your home. How does the ba gua fit your living room, your bedroom, your home office? What about the kitchen? Where do the bathrooms fall on the ba gua? Where do you have areas of overlap: for example, is there a room in your home that is in the Romance area? Where is the Romance area within that room? It could be a powerful place for a feng shui cure or enhancement to help bring a new love relationship into your life.

Essential Feng Shui Concepts

I probably don’t need to tell you that learning to use the ba gua is just one aspect of successful feng shui. Applying feng shui to your home is a three step process that involves analyzing your floor plan (with the help of the ba gua), diagnosing feng shui strengths and weaknesses in your home layout and furnisings, and developing and implementing a customized strategy for taking advantage of those strengths and remedying the weaknesses.

As you move deeper into the first stage of exploring the ba gua of your home, you’ll also want to become familiar with other key feng shui concepts. Think of these as your Feng Shui Tool Kit, which you will use to analyze your space and choose and implement appropriate changes. In addition to the ba gua, these include:

p<>{color:#000;}. the five feng shui elements, and how they interact

p<>{color:#000;}. principles of chi flow

p<>{color:#000;}. common (and uncommon) feng shui cures, rituals, and imagery

p<>{color:#000;}. the impact that your own thoughts, feelings, and energy have on the process, and how you can strategically apply the Law of Attraction to create greater feng shui success

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve received questions from readers who try to feng shui their home without first learning these essential foundations, and then wonder why they are not getting the results desired. I’m as fond as anyone of feng shui accessories like lucky cat coin banks (I’ve got one in my office), wind chimes, water fountains, and faceted crystal balls. But as wonderful as these items are, they won’t do you much good if you don’t know where — and why — to use them.

I’ll be sharing a lot more about all of this in future special reports in this series, as well as in online training programs. Be sure to get on the Fast Feng Shui list and be the first to hear about new products as they become available. I look forward to continuing to guide you on your feng shui journey!

Fast Feng Shui Resources

Eager for more? Be sure to watch for my upcoming Ba Gua Bootcamp online training program. This program is currently in development, and I’ll be reaching out to my subscribers when it’s ready for beta testing. If you’d like the opportunity to be part of the advance list, be sure to opt-in to the Fast Feng Shui newsletter (and get your free Ba Gua Q+A PDF) here.

You can get started on the DIY path right away by going to the products page at FastFengShui.com for more information and links to any of these titles.

(FYI: Some of these titles were published under my maiden name, Stephanie Roberts. We’re in the process of rereleasing these as by Stephanie Serrano. Whichever name you see on the cover, all of these books are by me. Enjoy!)

Fast Feng Shui:

[9 Simple Principles for Transforming Your Life
by Energizing Your Home]


9 Steps on the Path to Abundance

Fast Feng Shui for Singles

108 Ways to Heal Your Home and Attract Romance

Fast Feng Shui for Your Home Office

Creating a Workspace that Works for You

Clutter Clearing from the Inside Out

[How to Reclaim Your Home and Your Life
in 6 Easy Steps]

The Fast Feng Shui Guide to Lucky Bamboo

About the Author

Stephanie Roberts Serrano is an author, artist, feng shuista, and entrepreneur who is equally inspired by the beauty of the natural world and the mysteries of Spirit. In addition to writing and teaching about feng shui, clutter clearing, and the law of attraction, she is also the author of a novel, Lethal Blossom, an accomplished art quilter, an avid knitter and a lazy yogini. After 16 years in Hawaii, Stephanie and her busband have recently moved to Olympia, WA.






A Beginner's Guide to the Ba Gua: Understanding the Feng Shui Energy Map

The feng shui Ba Gua is a map of the invisible world. It defines what areas within your home influence which aspects of your life experience. It’s an essential feng shui tool, and the source of a great deal of confusion to many newcomers to feng shui, who are likely to find conflicting or contradictory information in the various books and websites they encounter. A key factor in the confusion that surrounds feng shui today is that different styles and methods of feng shui have developed over the centuries. Some very old methods are still practiced today, while new variations have evolved to meet the needs and expectations of a modern audience. Traditional Chinese methods of feng shui have withstood the test of time, not just in China, but around the globe. Why, then, have new approaches – including the modern ba gua – emerged in recent decades? Is there really a need to reinvent the wheel? What does the modern ba gua have to offer, and why might you want to use it? The purpose of this free ebook is to answer those questions by providing you with an overview of the various methods of feng shui in use today. I’ll introduce you to the different forms of the ba gua, help you choose which style of feng shui will best suit your home and personality, and suggest some first steps for using feng shui successfully in your home. You’ll gain a basic understanding of the pros and cons of different feng shui systems, and learn why I’m a fan of the modern approach while honoring what the traditional schools have to offer. Whether you are new to feng shui or just curious about what the different methods have to offer, A Beginner’s Guide to the Ba Gua provides valuable insight for your feng shui journey.

  • Author: LotusPondPress
  • Published: 2016-07-18 21:05:18
  • Words: 8619
A Beginner's Guide to the Ba Gua: Understanding the Feng Shui Energy Map A Beginner's Guide to the Ba Gua: Understanding the Feng Shui Energy Map