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FS Fine Points

Powerful Symbols From The Ho Tu and Lo Shu Squares


Feng shui has ancient beginnings, and what we have today are legends that focus on two mathematical diagrams that are said to represent the energies of the Universe. In feng shui terminology, we identify these two diagrams as the Ho Tu and the Lo Shu squares and they are mathematical because they comprise arrangements of numbers that unlock many of the secrets of time and space feng shui. These numbers also reveal movements, which over time have become powerful symbols of protection.

According to legend, sometime in the fifth century BC, China's legendary founding emperor Fu Hsi was walking along the Yellow River when a beautiful white horse emerged from the river. This was no ordinary horse, for it had the head of a dragon, and on its flank were a pattern of black and white dots. This diagram of dots came to be regarded as the Ho Tu or map of the river. The diagram of dots was changed into four sets of 2-number combinations in the cardinal directions of North, South, East and West.

Thus 9 in the South paired with 4. And 3 in the East paired with 8. Then 1 in the North paired with 6. And 7 in the West paired with 2. In the center was the number 5.


The Ho Tu combination of numbers were later to reveal many of the secrets of the Zuan Kong system of Flying Star feng shui, which is the formula that enables the feng shui practitioner to practise the complete systems of time and space feng
shui. But the Ho Tu numbers are also connected to a second set of mathematical numbers.

This was the Lo Shu Square of numbers, which also appeared as a diagram of dots. But it did not come until about 2000 years later during the time of the Hsia dynasty. This time, the diagram was revealed as a diagram of dots on the back of a tortoise that emerged from the River Lo. Hence the diagram of black and white dots came to be known as the Lo Shu Square.

The square is the basis of all compass formula feng shui interpretations of Chi energy. The Lo Shu reveals the movement and changes of Chi energy over time and features prominently in advanced formulas and methods of feng shui.

The origins of both the Ho Tu and the Lo Shu are definitely mysterious, shrouded as they are in legend, but they reveal important associations with the celestial creatures of the Chinese pantheon, the Dragon Horse and the Tortoise.

More importantly, the diagram maps also contain powerful symbols of protection and enhancement, and over the centuries, scholars have added layers of progressively complex yet amazingly astute interpretations to the numerology embedded within the two mathematical diagrams of dots.


The Swastika
The two squares do not exist as two independent diagrams. The sequence, combination and arrangement of the numbers 1 to 9 in both the squares are definitely interconnected to each other. And in the connection, we can see how a powerful and mysterious symbol emerges, a symbol which has long been associated with Buddhism, and which in recent years became associated with probably the most feared dictator of the twentieth century - the man who caused the death of more millions of people than any other. I am of course referring to the swastika, the emblem of the Nazi party of Germany and of Hitler.

Combining the Ho Tu with the Lo Shu, we derive the left turning swastika. This is also considered the counter-clockwise moving swastika. This symbol is a Buddhist symbol, but Taoists who use it regard it as a most powerful symbol of protection. The anti-clockwise movement is said to point to the future and is representative of heaven energy.



Certainly, the swastika brought immense power to the Nazis, but because they used their power to cause death and destruction, their power did not last. More significantly, the Nazi swastika is moving clockwise, while the Taoist version moves counter-clockwise. And the Nazi swastika was turned into a fire symbol with the points on top.

The Swastika did NOT originate as a Nazi symbol of hatred. Interestingly, SWASTIKA is derived from the Sanskrit word SVASTIKAH, which means 'being fortunate'. Shown here is the Hindu Svastikah - note it is turning anti-clockwise and is very similar to the Buddhist symbol. And it is a square, not pointed like the Nazi symbol.


The Sigil
Feng shui experts point to another powerful symbol of protection and this is derived from the Lo Shu Square. This symbol is believed to create powerful good feng shui luck throughout time, causing those who display it, wear it or have it somehow embedded within their space, to always enjoy the benefits of good energy. This symbol is said to overcome the vagaries of time, the disharmonies of yin and yang, as well as the imbalances brought about by element shortages or excesses.

In Chinese esoteric sciences, this symbol is similar to the Nine Emperor symbol. In Sanskrit literature, the sigil invokes the blessings of divine beings, attracts good fortune, wards off the evil eye and distances the jealous mind.

Those who follow the Kabballah refer to it as the Sigil of Saturn. In feng shui circles, these two symbols are well known as powerful symbols of good feng shui protection.

You can draw and keep these symbols near you to attract good fortune and protection. Or you can wear these symbols on your body as fine jewellery.

The Magic Of Lo Shui And Ho Tu Numbers
1.   Any three numbers in the arrangement added vertically, horizontally or diagonally, adds up to 15, which is the number of nights it takes for the new moon to become the full moon. 15 is the number of days in a waxing or waning cycle of the moon, theirby making it a very significant number in time feng shui.
2.   From the arrangement of the numbers we can find the powerful sign of the sigil embedded within. This is a much-lauded symbol of divine protection, which is featured also in other cultural traditions.
3.   Embedded within the Lo Shu numbers are the Ho Tu numbers and from the Ho Tu numbers, we can develop the left-turning swastika. This counter-clockwise movement of the swastika expresses future time. The Book of Changes describes it this way: "The clockwise movement is cumulative and expanding and manifests the events that are passing. The opposite backward movement reflects the time of the future and as it moves, the seeds of the future take form. To know this movement is to know the future. In symbolic terms, if we understand how a tree is contracted into a seed, we will surely understand the future unfolding of the seed into a tree."
4.   In the combinations of the Ho Tu, note that the 5 is pivotal. The four sets of Ho Tu combinations require 5 to form the combination. Thus 1 plus 5 is 6, so 1 and 6 are one combination. 2 plus 5 is 7, so 2 and 7 are another combination. 3 plus 5 is 8, so 3 and 8 is a third combination. And 4 plus 5 is 9, so 4 and 9 is a combination.


The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World(Nov/Dec 2004)". To subscribe, please click here.