The analysis and methods that are generally referred to by the term Feng Shui deal with the physical environment: the mountains, hills, rivers, lakes and so forth in the countryside, and the buildings, trees, roads and road junctions in urban landscapes. These will all cast a Feng Shui influence on the lives of humans living in or amongst them. This is so from the structural design of a house to the smallest decorative objects and artwork. This is actually what is meant by the “Form School” of Feng Shui (xíng fǎ fēng shuǐ, 风水形法).
This Feng Shui analysis is important but it does not give a full picture of what is going on in the environment. For a complete assessment, it is necessary to study the Flying Stars (fēi xīng, 飞星), which are often referred to as the software of Feng Shui. This practice comes under the category of the “Compass School”. The 9 Stars of the Flying Star school most probably originate from the constellation of the Big Dipper. They represent nine types of subtle and abstract influences affecting our lives through time and space. Just like all the other stars, their influence cycles through time. They change with time and their impact is directional.
These changes take place in a very predictable pattern. In Flying Star systems, time is divided into 180-year cycles. Each cycle is divided again into three 60-year periods, known as Upper, Middle and Lower. Each period is divided into three ages of 20 years. In the year 2004 we have just entered the age of 8 that will last until the year 2024.
When making a Flying Star assessment for a house, the age of the house is one important factor. The other important piece of information needed is the direction in which the house is facing; this needs to be measured with an accurate compass. When both the age and the facing of the house are known, it is possible to draw a Flying Star chart.
This depends upon the basic Flying Star 20-year cycle, but use is also made of more minor cycles, changing through the years, months and days. These combine together and cast an influence in the environment.
This cyclic nature makes it possible to predict future influences in the environment. Since these influences are governed by the five basic elementary energies they can in turn be manipulated by those same forces. The five elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. There are nine stars in the Flying Star system, which comes from the original Lo-Shu diagram. This diagram can be traced back about 6000 years, supposedly to a vision of the sage Fuxi. He is said to have seen a magic turtle with mysterious markings on its back, rising from the River Lo. For this reason the diagram is called Lo-Shu, meaning diagram of the Lo River. The nine stars are listed below together with their element and symbolical meaning.
Nr. 1, Water. Academic star, distant prosperity
Nr. 3, Yang Wood. Anger, conflict, robbery
Nr. 4, Yin Wood. Sex and romance
Nr. 5, Yin & Yang Earth. Misfortune, bad luck
Nr. 6, Yang Metal. Legal trouble
Nr. 7, Yin Metal. Dated prosperity
Nr. 8, Yang Earth. Current prosperity
Nr. 9, Fire. Coming Prosperity, fire hazard
When a chart is drawn for a particular property, depending on the main Flying Star at the time – the 20 year periods – the other eight Stars are allocated throughout the building in a regular fashion, arranged in the main cardinal and intermediate directions. These eight stars are classified into two groups, known as Mountain stars and Water stars.
The exact symbolic meanings of the stars are not static. For example, Chinese families believe that giving their children rooms associated with Nr 1 Water star will improve their chances for academic achievements. But, if Nr. 1 is not a current star (as it is right now, in 2004), this will only make the children lazy. (Nr. 1 Water star at the moment is quite neutral. From year 2014 it will be more beneficial, representing future prosperity.)
Each number also corresponds with various other factors, such as a trigram from the arrangement given in the I Ching, a family member, direction, and bodily part. For example, Nr. 6 is associated with the trigram Heaven of the I Ching, represents the father in the family, the northwest direction and the head as the external body part and lungs as internal organ.
For example, take the case when the master bedroom of a property is situated in the northwest of the house and the father’s Kua (or personal number, calculated from the year of birth) is in the same sector as the bedroom. If the year star 5 (Misfortune) and the month star 2 (Sickness) visit the northwest sector, it can be predicted in which month the father will receive a head injury and perhaps have to be hospitalised.
In a similar way, an entrance door associated with the prosperous Water star 8, if it is well aspected, can bring a lot of prosperity and happiness throughout the age associated with Nr. 8.
An example of a Flying Star chart is shown at the top of this page. The large numbers in the middle of the squares are the Lo-Shu numbers. Small numbers on the top right show the Water stars and on the top left are the Mountain stars. Year and month stars for that particular year and month are on the bottom right and left.
Water stars symbolise the prosperity of the house and thrive when associated with open spaces, large doors and windows, and activity in general.
Mountain stars symbolise the harmony and health of the household. These stars thrive in enclosed and quiet spaces. For example, if the Mountain star 8 is situated at the entrance door with a big open space in front, difficult relationships are to be expected in the household. However, the same star situated in a bedroom with small windows looking at a garden wall or tall trees will ensure a harmonious relationship for the couple. This information comes from a very old Chinese text called “Green Bag of Mystery” where it is said, “The dragon of the Mountain shall not go to the Water and the dragon of the Water shall not go to the Mountain”.
On a practical level, after the Flying Star chart has been analysed, the beneficial stars are encouraged and harmful stars drained by manipulating them with the five elements. It is possible to bring a total transformation to any living- or work-space with the proper cures.
For example, normally a 5 Water star trapped in the middle of a workspace would not indicate any harm, because it is inactive. But all manner of problems could start if a skylight should be opened at its location in the middle of the property in order to access more light. The skylight would release the trapped trouble star 5 and make it active, thereby causing problems. So, as a Feng Shui cure, it can be suggested to cover the skylight with a blind. The result would be that the problems disappear. This is not magic, but a matter of spotting an error and correcting it.