LILLIAN TOO revisits the PA KUA, the principal symbol of feng shui, and explains how its eight sides signify eight kinds of luck. The compass is essential to applying this method and those wanting to activate all eight sides of their homes must learn to use the compass to determine directional locations of their homes.
Here Lillian Too shows you how to actualize the manifestations of the eight different dimensions of luck. Practicing this method requires a good understanding of the base trigrams placed around the Pa Kua.
It is actually the trigrams – three rows of broken and unbroken lines – that give meaning to the eight sided Pa Kua, this almost universal symbol of feng shui. Not many people realize just how potent this symbol is; nor is it sufficiently acknowledged that it is the trigrams, the essence of the I Ching, that give potency and power to the Pa Kua.
The Trigrams in themselves are innocent looking three-lined symbols but in fact when arranged in certain formations, they can unlock different kinds of energies that cause good luck or misfortune luck to be released.
The trigrams reveal a great and overwhelming amount of information and much of their meanings are shrouded in mysterious, symbolic manifestations. Students of the I Ching have the greatest respect for the Trigrams as these symbols form the underpinnings of the hexagrams that make up the I Ching. In feng shui practice, the Trigrams are as important and should be viewed as the origin of many feng shui techniques.
For purposes of practicing feng shui, we should be aware of the Yang Pa Kua and the Yin Pa Kua, with the arrangement of the trigrams around the eight sides of the Pa Kua being the differentiating factor. The Yang Pa Kua is described as having the later heaven arrangement of trigrams around the eight sides, while the Yin Pa Kua has the early arrangement of trigrams. These two Pa Kuas are shown below. Study them carefully and notice how the two diagrams show the different placements of the eight trigrams in both of the Pa Kua symbols e.g. see that the trigram chien (three unbroken lines) are placed in the South in the Yin Pa Kua and placed Northwest in the Yang Pa Kua.
In advanced feng shui formulas that address the positioning and siting of graveyard burial grounds for ancestors, both the Pa Kuas are used to derive the most optimum positioning of ancestors graves, but for Yang Dwellings i.e. for houses occupied by the living, only the Yang Pa Kua is used. Hence it is the Yang arrangement of trigrams that is of interest to us when we practice Eight Directions Feng Shui. It is nevertheless useful to also be aware of the existence of the Yin Pa Kua and to know that Pa Kuas derive their potency from the trigrams. It is the Yin Pa Kua for instance that is effective in creating a defensive shield against physical structures in the environment that send secret poison arrows that bring misfortune.
THE PA KUA AS A SYMBOL
I am not in favour of using the Pa Kua mirror remedy as a symbolic cure because it is too powerful; it harms those who use it as much as it hurts the affliction that it reflects. Thus some of you may have seen books on feng shui that have the Pa Kua on the cover. Such books of course break the first rule of feng shui which is never to place the Pa Kua directly facing anyone as it theoretically “pushes them away” – especially the Yin Pa Kua. Needless to say, such feng shui books are usually not very successful.
The Pa Kua mirror should also likewise not be placed above doors to subdue straight roads or triangular rooflines directly hitting at your door. It is much better to use other cures and remedies.
Some years ago I advised a feng shui Master who had set up his center of excellence in partnership with a talented young student of his; I advised them not to use the pa kua as the logo of their new company. Unfortunately they did not take my advice so I was not surprised when the partnership dissolved with many recriminations after only three years and they each went their separate ways.
In the same way, it is really silly to wear the Yin Pa Kua symbol as a pendant as this is the surest way of pushing people away from you. I remember years ago I told a young lady in London about this because I saw her wear a silver pendant of the yin Pa Kua, something she had picked up in the flea market at Covent Garden. She had asked me why she could never succeed in attracting guys despite using all the love symbols to activate her relationship corner. I told her that her silver Pa Kua pendant was the culprit. Appalled, she threw it away after I told her that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. She met someone a week after that and today she is happily married with two beautiful children.
USING THE PA KUA SYMBOL IN FENG SHUI
While it is not advisable to display the Pa Kua symbol with its eight trigrams high up with a mirror, using the Pa Kua shape is perfectly fine. The important thing is not to let the Pa Kua directly face anyone as this causes misfortune and accidents to befall those directly “hit” by the Pa Kua. So do not hang a Pa Kua symbol above your main door; but it is fine to have a Pa Kua shaped dining table, although a round dining table is a whole load more auspicious.
It is excellent to study each of the trigrams around the Later Heaven Pa Kua with a view to getting clues to the meanings of each of the eight sides of this symbol. In doing this, the reference point is always the compass. Each of the sides is always referred to in terms of a compass direction. We recognize eight directions, each one corresponding to one of the eight sides of the Pa Kua with each direction making up 45 degrees of the compass
Each direction location of the Pa Kua is influenced by the trigram placed there, by the number that belongs to the direction according to the Lo Shu magic square and an element.
Anyone wishing to study or understand the basics of feng shui practice should remember these three important “attributes” of the Pa Kua’s eight sides. This is because these attributes unlock many of the secrets of this living skill. In ancient times, old style feng shui masters had different names for the directions of the compass; and they also had different names for each of the trigrams. Ancient classics on the subject rarely if ever refer to each of the directions directly. These would always be referred to by their coded names as a result of which literal translations of ancient classics were confusing and not easily understood.
Contemporary feng shui however has been considerably simplified and this is because modern practitioners such as myself prefer to extract the essence of what is important and do away with the old style rhetoric associated with formula feng shui. I also prefer to refer to the directions directly rather than by their “classical names”. This makes for much less confusion.
THE PA KUA’S EIGHT DIMENSIONS OF LUCK
The eight sides of the Pa Kua each represent one important type of luck. The Chinese believe that if anyone has ample reserves of each of these eight types of luck aspirations, his/her life is considered to be full and overflowing from a material viewpoint. Thus it is really useful to fully understand each of the attributes of the eight directions thereby using them to arrange the layout and placement of furniture and decorative items in each of the eight corners.
This same logic also applies to the eight corners of every important room. You will need to invest in a good compass if you have not already got one, and you should try to be as accurate as you can when determining the eight direction locations of your home and of each room individually.
This part of the home or of any important room where you spend a considerable amount of time is the Career corner of your house. The North brings you the luck of good recurrent income and it can be made auspicious with the presence of water. So placing an aquarium or a specially designed water feature in this part of the house is very beneficial in terms of ensuring the security of the family. If you have a toilet here, it is important to make sure the water feature is placed just outside the toilet and not inside. The Trigram here is Kan which many see as the danger trigram and quite rightly of course, as this corner governs one’s livelihood. If the north of the home is afflicted, i.e. hurt in any way by any kind of feng shui affliction, it is sure to be a source of grave danger for the family. So this corner should preferably not be missing, cluttered or be hit by a poison arrow.
This is the Recognition corner of any home. Its trigram here is Li which stands for the brightness of fire. So the element here is fire, and the more brightly lit the South corner of your house is, the better will be your good name. Residents of the household will become highly respected and looked up to and those wanting fame and fortune can also succeed. Recognition also brings promotion luck. If you are in a high profile job or you are in line for upward mobility within your company then you must ensure that the South of your house is not harmed in any way by a physical structure, or by the presence of a store room or toilet. This corner should also not be missing.
To energize the South it is a good idea to have a bright light here and the best kind will be a chandelier that has many bright lights and faceted crystals that multiply the effect of the light. Something red here is also very beneficial. If you are in a profession which requires popularity, then the South corner becomes really important for you.
This is the corner of the house which stands for the overall Health of the family and in many ways also reflects the general well being and harmony that prevails within the family. As such it is a very important corner of the home. The East is also the direction that corresponds to the eldest son and heir of the family, so it has great significance in the overall scheme of things. When it is missing, it will seriously hurt the family’s male heir and in some cases it could also create obstacles to the success of the eldest son. Thus this part of the house affects the luck of your eldest boy. In some cases, the lack of a male heir can be the result of a missing East corner. When the East corner is harmed by physical structures in the environment such as the presence of a dead tree or a large building, the health of the family gets hurt.
To strengthen the health and physical wellbeing of the family, this corner should be decorated with lots of healthy plants and trees. The element of the East is wood and the trigram here is Chen, so the presence of wood or water energy here is most beneficial.
The dominant color here should reflect the wood element. The East is also the place of the Dragon, so placing the image of Dragons here will energize this part of the home.
This corner of the house signifies the luck of descendants. It also symbolizes the wellbeing of the family’s children and is responsible for the levels of creativity achieved by residents. The West is the corner that determines how blessed the household can be in terms of having children. The Chinese of course believe that when one has no descendants, one’s life is incomplete, so from this viewpoint, the West corner should not be missing at all. The trigram here is Tui which also stands for the lake and the young girl. So if there is a lake visible from your West corner, there should be a window opening to the view of water. The West is also the place of the white Tiger so this part of the house is naturally well protected. To activate the luck of descendents, it is beneficial to place a pair of autumn bird in this part of the home.
This part of the home is often described as probably the most important corner of the home simply because the SW represents the matriarch of the family. The trigram of the SW is Kun, a very important trigram that signifies the nurturing energy of the mother. If this corner is missing, it means the mother will either be out of the house a great deal or could even be lost to the family. Young men in the house will find it hard to find themselves suitable wives, and children will suffer from the absence of the mother. If the SW is afflicted in any way, it will hurt the mother.
This part of the house represents the luck of love, marriage or romance. When this corner is harmed in any way, the love lives of residents suffer. To ensure a good relationship with your partner therefore it is important to nurture the SW corner. Make sure its element of earth is suitably energized with the presence of fire energy such as lights as fire produces earth. The SW of any house must be well lit and if possible there should also be a window here so that the benevolent cosmic chi of the Universe can flow unimpeded into this part of the home. Those wanting to strengthen their romance luck should place all the symbols of love in this part of the home.
This part of the home is as vital as the SW to the overall wellbeing of the household and this is because the NW corner represents the luck of the father, the male breadwinner, the patriarch! The NW corner should never be missing as its absence signifies the loss of the father figure in that household. Another consequence is that the husband will work abroad for extended periods of time or be sent overseas for some reason or other. Women wanting to find a suitable partner could also find it hard to do so if the NW corner is missing. Meanwhile, if a store room is located in the NW it will seriously curtail the advancement luck of the patriarch and should there be a toilet here, this will likewise cause stagnating luck for the man of the house. In short, do pay careful attention to the NW of your house.
Meanwhile, also note that it is extremely beneficial to activate the NW as this not only brings luck to the patriarch, it also attracts influential mentors whose patronage and influence will bring beneficial luck to residents. You can do this simply by incorporating three solid lines into the décor of this part of the house. This will reflect the trigram that rules this part of the house which is chien. Another way to activate the NW is by placing the image of an Emperor here.
This part of the house is represented by the very auspicious trigram Sun, which not only indicates that it stands for the eldest daughter of the house, but it also indicates the wind that brings good news hidden within which is the continuous appreciation of asset wealth luck. This sector of the house thus symbolizes the growth in wealth of the household and when this sector is missing it means that residents simply never get any kind of good news.
The SE corner of the home requires strong wood energy to ensure there is growth continuously of the positive kind. Energy here radiates upwards and outwards so placing water here which feeds the wood chi is beneficial.
Finally, the NE corner of the home or in fact of any important room within the home stands for the knowledge sector. Here the trigram is Ken which means the mountain, within which is a silent, BIG storehouse of knowledge and more important, of the secrets of the Earth. Here the mountain signifies a time of preparation when the voice is silent and the actions are stilled and only the mind is active expanding its store of knowledge. Thus this corner stands for the rise and development of wisdom. This trigram here implies that the energy emanating from this corner of the home is what brings the luck of personal growth. For the young people of the house who are still at school or in various stages of their childhood development, this corner should not be missing. Instead, the NE should be clearly visible and effectively energized to ensure excellent education and examination luck. What is needed here is earth energy which is produced by fire, so keeping the NE well lit is most beneficial.