On this cover’s issue is a contemporary edition of an ancient Geomancer’s tool – the feng shui luo pan – which sets out the arrangement of important formulas that I use to decipher the flows and concentrations of energy in buildings, land areas and other structures whose feng shui I wish to check out. These are the formulas of wind and water principles that make up the body of knowledge used in feng shui. There is a beautiful legend associated with its origins. It is said that the luo pan was given to the Yellow Emperor by the Lady of the Nine Heavens. She taught the Emperor the use of the luo pan and the Emperor applied its secrets to successfully unify the warring states into a single country… I like to believe this legend because I love the notion that formula feng shui was a gift from the cosmic realms.
This luo pan contains formulas that can be applied to modern day homes and buildings, amongst which are the more popular ones that address time and space principles of the practice. The presentation of formulas on this luo pan is intended to make them easy to read and even easier to use. This is a fourth generation luo pan as it took me several years to perfect its design, discarding formulas on yin feng shui and including only yang feng shui principles of practice. I wanted the luo pan to be as user friendly as a modern day computer and as accurate as its ancient ancestor. So the compass needle placed in the center had to be specially sourced. And for the past several years, I have been teaching my advanced courses in feng shui using this luo pan.
The antique luo pans used by old masters of the art were almost all designed in code. Unless one has been directly tutored by the Master himself (usually each Master designs his or her own luo pan), the special way the formulas have been placed on to the compass will usually be unintelligible. Only another Master who is sufficiently knowledgeable can maybe unlock the secrets of another Master’s luo pan. Otherwise on superficial examination, it almost appears as if the numbers indicated are not in their correct order, or there might seem to be variations in the directions with their matching elements and the trigrams. Once you understand how to decipher the luo pan, everything becomes crystal clear and then it is like suddenly knowing how to use a computer! This is the case with my luo pan. The numbers, colours and symbols placed around the rings are incredibly easy to unravel once one knows how.
But anyone who has even a small knowledge of feng shui practice, and is familiar with the compass formulas of feng shui, will easily recognize the meanings of the first few rings. These show the eight directions, the nine Lo Shu numbers, the four pairs of Ho Tu numbers, the eight trigrams and the 24 mountains. But as the luo pan rings get bigger, radiating outwards, more formulas are offered and it is these that contain the more advanced calculations that are so precious for us.
Using the luo pan makes it simple for the feng shui Consultant to instantly get a snapshot of the quality of energy flows, thereby making feng shui investigations faster and more accurate. This is what makes the more advanced and powerful water flow formulas and flying star orientations accessible. Once the Practitioner is able to read the compass correctly, understanding the meanings of the numbers and their combinations, and the correlations between directions, trigrams, elements and numbers, becomes easy. There is also less chance of mistakes in calculations being made.
There is something magical about using a feng shui luo pan. In and of itself, the tool becomes a great symbol of good feng shui. When one uses the same compass over and again, it becomes a reliable partner in one’s ongoing practice. The compass then takes on a life of its own.