Feng Shui Terms Explained

Feng shui: (fung schway) means "wind water", the two natural forces that drive qi to a site. Feng shui is the art and science of determining how your environment and home affect you over periods of time.

Qi: (chee) the underlying and unifying substance and soul of all things. Both physical and metaphysical, qi is the nourishing force at the heart, growth, and developement of the heavens, earth and humanity. It is also called "life's breath".

Productive cycle: a cycle of balance and creation. Each phase produces or enhances the succeeding phase. Fire-earth-metal-water-wood (5 phases) represents the productive cycle.

Five phases: five physical elements in nature that represent the movement of qi. The concept of the five phases is the backbone of Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and feng shui.

Flying star: (Xuankong Feixing in Chinese), is a sophisticated and complex system of analyzing how time and space affect a building. The magnetic orientation of the dwelling, along with the year the home was built, are important factors that determine the innate character of a house.

After heaven sequence: (known as the "Hou Tian" in Chinese) this sequence of trigrams denotes motion, transformation, and the interaction of natural and human qi forces. This is the sequence used in feng shui.

Trigram: the eight trigrams are symbols representing transitional phases of all possible heavenly and human situations. Qian, Zhen, Kan, Gen, Kun, Xun, Li and Dui represent the eight trigrams.

Luopan: a compass containing anywhere from 4 to 40 concentric information rings. A compass is the tool of trade in feng shui.

Ming gua: determined by your year of birth and gender, your ming (birth) gua (trigram) is the guardian star (or number) you are born under.

Sheng qi: positive qi carrying auspicious currents that can influence your well-being.

Sha qi: negative qi carrying inauspicious currents that can influence your well-being.

Yin: represents the passive principle in nature exhibited as darkness, cold, and wetness. On a human level, yin symbolizes femininity and inertia. Also, yin represents the realm of the dead.

Yang: represents the active principle in nature exhibited as light, heat, and dryness. On a human level, yang represents masculinity and the positive side of our emotions. Also, yang represents the realm of the living.

24 Mountains: A ring of the Luo Pan divided into 24 sections, each occupying 15° and populated by the eight of the 10 Heavenly Stems, the 12 Earthly Branches and the four diagonal directions represented by the Trigrams Xun, Kun, Gen and Qian. The 24 Mountains ring is used in San Yuan and San He methods to locate certain types of Qi and to read the meaning thereof.

28 Xiu: 28 Constellations divided into the 4 Celestial Animals.

8 House Bright Mirror: Guideline to 8 House School written by the Bamboohead Daoist.

Nine Stars: 9 types of qi represented by the 9 numbers. The living spirits that influence our lives.

Annual stars: Visiting yearly stars to each of the eight palaces.

Application: Refers to the information required for the reading to do the analysis. Eg the formulas, eg mountain/water star.

Ba Bai: 8-White Star in the Nine Stars.

Ba Gua: '8 Phenomenon' (or signs, symbols) represented by Trigrams encircled on an octagonal diagram. There are two sequences of the Trigrams in the Ba Gua which form the Xian Tian Ba Gua and the Hou Tian Ba Gua

Ba Zhai Pai: 8 House School based on House Trigram.

Bai Hu: White Tiger, located to the left of a building when facing it.

Bamboohead Daoist: Author of the 8 House Bright Mirror.

Bigram: Two-lined figure.

Big Dipper, Northern Dipper, Great Bear: Star Constellation visible in the Northern Hemisphere depicting the Nine Stars (now there are seven visible stars), used for navigation and seasonal calculations. The ancients said that which is displayed in Heaven is also displayed on Earth.

Body: Refers to the basic information about the site. Eg the forms, eg time star.

Bridge: An element introduced between two other elements to transform a controlling relationship into a productive relationship. eg fire to bridge wood and earth.

Castle Gate: The palace located on either side of the facing.

Castle Gate Theory: Technique to determine whether the Castle Gate is useful to replace the ruling star.

Central Palace: The location of the central stars of a chart and depicts the overall harmony of the chart. The Central Palace also refers to the pole star around which revolves the 28 constellations which mark the four seasons and the four animals.

Cheng qi: 'Inheriting qi,' to receive qi from the Earth.

Chou Yao Huang Xiang: 'Chou' means to 'select' 'Yao' means the line in the Trigram. 'Huang' is 'change' and 'Shang' is 'image.'  A technique used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui and Shan Shui Long Fan Gua to change the lines of a Trigram and form a new image/meaning.

Chu Kai: 'Chaos' in the beginning of time.

Connected Pearl Sequence: Consecutive numbers in each palace.

Da Gua Pai: A school of Feng Shui which uses the Xian Tian trigrams, Luo Shu numbers and the Hexagrams.

Da Xuan Kong: Feng Shui on the macro scale which uses only the Heaven Chart and the Earth Chart to view the Feng Shui for a city, town or country.

De Ling: Holding the power of the Ling Xing.

Di Li: Earth Theories.  Feng Shui as known in the old days. Now a term for 'geography.'

Di Pan: Earth Chart.  The earth qi which is fixed, indicated by the Luo Shu. One of the three 24 Mountain rings in the San He Luo Pan.

Door Facing: The facing direction of the door (usually front door).

Dragon's Vein: Artery of qi flowing from a mountain or across the landscape.

Du Yin Sha: Lone Yin Sha.  Single tree in front of main external door.

Earth Chart: Di Pan.  Basic, static chart with 5 in the centre tracing the Luo Shu path. This forms the basis of all charts. It is where the Hou Tian Ba Gua comes from. The 8 "countries" (meaning the 8 directions) are where the 8 different basic types of qi come from.

Earthly Branches: The Chinese Calendar is based on a combination of 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches; there are 60 possible combinations equalling a cycle of 60 years. Commonly known as the 12 Animal signs. When located on the 12 Earthly Branches ring of the Luo Pan, each Earthly Branch occupies 30°. When located around the 24 Mountains ring of the Luo Pan, each Earthly Branch occupies 15°.

Earthly Branch Zi 子: The Rat. One of the 24 Mountains located at 352.5° - 7.5°.

Earthly Branch Chou 丑: The Ox. One of the 24 Mountains located at 22.5° - 37.5°.

Earthly Branch Yin 寅: The Tiger. One of the 24 Mountains located at 52.5° - 67.5°.

Earthly Branch Mao 卯: The Rabbit. One of the 24 Mountains located at 82.5° - 97.5°.

Earthly Branch Chen 辰: The Dragon. One of the 24 Mountains located at 112.5° - 127.5°.

Earthly Branch Si 巳: The Snake. One of the 24 Mountains located at 142.5° - 157.5°.

Earthly Branch Wu 午: The Horse. One of the 24 Mountains located at 172.5° - 187.5°.

Earthly Branch Wei 未: The Goat. One of the 24 Mountains located at 202.5° - 217.5°.

Earthly Branch Shen 申: The Monkey. One of the 24 Mountains located at 232.5° - 247.5°.

Earthly Branch You 酉: The Rooster. One of the 24 Mountains located at 261.5° - 277.5°.

Earthly Branch Xu 戌: The Dog. One of the 24 Mountains located at 292.5° - 307.5°.

Earthly Branch Hai 亥: The Pig. One of the 24 Mountains located at 322.5° - 337.5°.

Er He: 2-Black Star in the Nine Stars.

Facing: The yang side of a building.

Fan Yin: Mountain or water star 5 in the central palace flies backward.

Fei Xing: Flying Stars.

Feng Shui 風水: Wind Water.

Fire Mouth: Door/opening of stove.

Five Elements: Wu Xing. Five types of Qi prevailing one after another: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood. The basis for all Feng Shui calculations. Each element is best described in terms of 'personality', colour and shape, rather than physical objects (eg metal is round, silver/golden, not just any piece of metal of any shape).

Form School: The study of the forms and shapes in the environment based on the Five Elements.

Fu Mu San Ban Gua: Has different meanings and structures in different schools of Feng Shui. In Xuan Kong Fei Xing (Flying Stars), whenever the chart structure has the combinations 147, 258, 369.

Fu Wei: 'Crouching Position.'  One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Fu Xi: Prehistoric second emperor of China and founder of the Xian Tian Ba Gua (by popular opinion).&nbsp Was most likely a tribe of people rather than a single person.

Fu Yin: Mountain or water star 5 in the central palace flies forward, Earth chart is repeated, no Yin Yang interaction.

Fu Lu Shou: Popular Chinese deities representing Health; Wealth; Long Life. Also known as the Three Lucky Gods.

Gu Yang Sha: Lone Yang Sha.  Electricity post in front of main external door.

Guest: The star being treated as the guest by the host star.   The energy which is affecting or interacting with the Host.  Eg When the earth chart and the heaven chart are compared, then the earth chart is the host and heaven chart is the guest.

Han Dynasty 漢: 206BC – 220AD.

He Tu: Sequential pairs of elements forming the 'birth' of the 5 elements, 1 & 6 is water, 2 & 7 is fire, 3 & 8 is wood, 4 & 9 is metal. He Tu has more to do with space while Luo Shu has more to do with time.

He Tu Diagram: In the He Tu, 1 and 6 are in the north (at the bottom of the diagram), 2 and 7 are in the south, 3 and 8 are in the east, 4 and 9 are in the west while 5 and 10 are at the centre.

Heart Piercing Sha: Tall post in front of a main external door.

Heaven Chart: Chart in reference to the period star (Ling Xing); or in reference to the construction date.&nbsp Heaven is to do with 'time.'

Heavenly Stems: The Chinese Calendar is based on a combination of 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches; there are 60 possible combinations equalling a cycle of 60 years. When located around the 24 Mountains ring of the Luo Pan, each Heavenly Stem occupies 15°.

Heavenly Stem Jia 甲: Yang Wood. One of the 24 Mountains located at 67.5° - 82.5°.

Heavenly Stem Yi 乙: Yin Wood. One of the 24 Mountains located at 97.5° - 112.5°.

Heavenly Stem Bing 丙: Yang Fire. One of the 24 Mountains located at 157.5° - 172.5°.

Heavenly Stem Ding 丁: Yin Fire. One of the 24 Mountains located at 187.5° - 202.5°.

Heavenly Stem Wu: Yang Earth. Not one of the 24 Mountains. Located in the centre.

Heavenly Stem Ji: Yin Earth. Not one of the 24 Mountains. Located in the centre.

Heavenly Stem Geng 庚: Yang Metal. One of the 24 Mountains located at 247.5° - 261.5°.

Heavenly Stem Xin 辛: Yin Metal. One of the 24 Mountains located at 277.5° - 292.5°.

Heavenly Stem Ren 壬: Yang Water. One of the 24 Mountains located at 337.5° - 352.5°.

Heavenly Stem Gui 癸: Yin Water. One of the 24 Mountains located at 7.5° - 22.5°.

Hexagram: Six-lined figure.

Ho: Chinese for the back door which should remain closed.

Host: The star being used in a particular area. eg a water star is used in a yang area.   The subject in question. Eg when considering the qi at the front door, the water star is the host.

Hou Tian: Things acquired or modified after birth, often incorrectly translated as 'Later Heaven'.

House Trigram: Trigram defined by the sitting direction of a building.

Huang Shi Gong: Yellow Rock Elder.  Legendary author or keeper of the Qing Nan Jing - Cerulean satchel classic.

Huo Hai: Misfortune, mishap.  One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Imprisoned ruling star: Water star located in the central palace.

Jiang Da Hong (Ming-Qing Dynasty): One of the famous Feng Shui masters from the past. He had access to the Prime Minister's library and read all the Feng Shui books, then began advocating the use of Yang House as opposed to Yin House Feng Shui and the use of the Flying Stars (Fei Xing) system.

Jiang Liang: Used the books in the Qing Nan Jing to overthrow the Qin Emperor to establish the Han Dynasty.

Jiu Chi: 9-Purple Star in the Nine Stars.

Ju Men 巨門: 'Huge Door' - 'The Monarch of Sickness', Star 2 in the Flying Stars.

Jue Ming: 'Destiny Totally Vanishing.'  One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Kan Yu: The way of Heaven and the way of Earth.  Together this means the way of time and space.

King Wen: Some say he rearranged the Xian Tian Ba Gua to form the Hou Tian Ba Gua (although others say this was the work of Fu Xi), most agree he attached explanatory statements to the Hexagrams.

Li Ji: The Centre of Reference.  Where the luopan is placed.

Lian Zheng 廉貞: 'Clean & Chaste' - 'The Devil of Ferocity', Star 5 in the Flying Stars.

Lian Zhu San Ban Gua: The second type of San Ban Gua. Lian Zhu means stringed pearls. In each and every palace, the three numbers are consecutive number.

Liang Yi: Two polarities.  Referring to yin and yang.

Ling Shen (Holy 0): The opposite direction to the Zheng Shen, which is also the location of the star 5 in the Time chart for each 20 year Period.  This is where water should be.

Ling Xing: A card issued by the emperor to his officer in charge giving the holder 'power of attorney' to represent the emperor. The ruling star of the 20 year cycle.

The ancients were very careful in choosing the appropriate word when they wanted to introduce a new term. The term 'Ling Xing' was chosen to mean the 'Ruling Star.'

The person who carries the 'Ling Pai' (the card, usually like a long rhombus with one end longer than the other) is described as 'De Ling' meaning holding the Ling Pai. De Ling, of course, also means having power because of this.

Liu Bai: 6-White Star in the Nine Stars.

Liu Sha: 'Six Devils.'  One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Lu Cun 祿存: 'Prosperity Retained' - 'The Phantom of Misfortune', Star 3 in the Flying Stars.

Luo Shu: Chart of the River Luo. Nine Star allocated sequence of numbers used in Feng Shui analysis showing the types of qi coming from the eight directions.  Earth qi is charted by the static Luo Shu (with 5 at the centre). Heaven qi is charted by the dynamic Luo Shu (with the time star at the centre).

Major Void: Boundary between two trigrams, undetermined qi.

Man: Chinese for the front door which should be big and open.

Ming Gua: A person's personal Trigram.

Ming Tang: 'Bright Hall' an open area at the front or entrance where qi can accumulate.

Ming; Yun; Ji Yin De; Du Shu: Fate, destiny; Fortune or luck; Doing good deeds; Education, study of books.

Minor Void: Boundary between first and second mountains, undecided qi.

Monk Yi Xing: Inventor of the 8 House School.

Monthly Stars: Visiting monthly stars to each of the eight palaces.

Mountain Star: Star governing health, relationships and personality in the Flying Stars.

Na Jia: A technique of assigning a Trigram to each of the Twenty-Four Mountains.

Na qi: 'Tapping into qi,' to receive qi from heaven.

Nine Stars: Nine different types of Qi used in the Form School, Flying Stars and other Feng Shui techniques. Associated with Big Dipper and Luo Shu. Hours, days, months, years, units of 20, 60 and 180 years are all described using the Nine Stars. Chinese also call them spirits. Nine Star timekeeping is mainly used in Feng Shui.

Palace: Indicates the relative direction the qi is coming from towards the centre.

Parent Sequence: Each palace in a Flying Stars chart has a corresponding representative from the Upper, Middle and Lower Cycles.

Po Jun 破軍: 'Destructive Army' - 'The Spirit of Solemnity', Star 7 in the Flying Stars.

Qi: Matter and energy in tangible and intangible form.

Qi-mouth: Entry point of qi, usually front door.

Qi Zi: 7-Red Star in the Stars.

Qin Dynasty: 221BC – 206BC.  The Qin emperor unified China for the first time.

Qing Long, Cong Long: Cerulean (green) Dragon located to the right of a building when facing it.

Qing Nan Jing: 'Cerulean Satchel Classic' given to Jiang Liang by the Yellow Rock Elder.

Replacement Stars: Alternative stars used when the compass direction of the facing is almost on the boundary between the first and second mountains or third and first mountains, in other words between the Major or Minor Voids.

Ruler to Measure Heaven: The practice of tracing the path of the Nine Stars on one's own hand.

Rules of Flight: Rules for flying the stars in either the forward or backward sequence.

San Bi: 3-Green Star in the Nine Stars.

San He Pai: 3 Combinations School of Feng Shui.

San Yuan Pai: 3 Cycles 9 Periods School of Feng Shui.

Sha: Evil. Usually refers to some type of negative qi.

Sha Qi: Negative qi emanating from a variety of sources.

Shang Shan Xia Shui: Misplaced mountain at sitting, misplaced water at facing.   Gone up a mountain and down into water.

Shen Zhu Reng (Qing Dynasty): One of the famous Feng Shui masters from the past. He wrote "Shenshi Xuankong Xue" or Master Shen's Xuan Kong Knowledge. He originally studied San He and then changed completely and studied San Yuan, advocating use of the Flying Stars (Fei Xing) system.

Sheng Qi: 'Birth Energy.'  Generating Breath.  The best type of qi.   The best direction. One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Shi Yuan: When a star is out of cycle.

Shuai: Weakening, retreating or decaying.

Shuang Ling Xing Dou Xiang: Double Ruling Star at the facing.

Shuang Ling Xing Dou Zou: Double Ruling Star at the sitting.

Shuo Gua Zhuan: Descriptions of the Trigrams.

Si Lu: 4-Green Star in the Nine Stars.

Si Qi: Dead qi; usually refers to qi out of its cycle.

Si Xiang: Four images.

Sitting: The yin side/back of a building.

Small Tai Ji: The centre of an individual room.

Spring and Autumn Period, Chun Qiu 春秋: 770BC - 476BC (in Eastern Zhou Dynasty). The period Confucius lived.

Sui Po: The opposite direction to the Tai Sui.

Tai Ji: The vibrant part and the soft part that the universe divided into.  The 'Ultimate Greatness'. Also refers to the centre of a building.

Tai Sui or Grand Duke: The annual direction indicated by one of the 12 branches.

Tai Wei: The official name of the Red Bird.

Tai Yang: All yang.

Tan Lang 貪狼: 'Greedy Wolf' – 'The Angel of Sheng Qi', Star 1 in the Flying Stars.

Tang Dynasty 唐: 618AD - 907AD.

Tao: Cloth woven, horizontal and vertical threads.

Three Types of Luck : The Cosmic Trinity.  The study of a person's life palace in relation to the house's chart; Heaven Luck, Earth Luck and Human Luck.

Tian Pan: Heaven Chart or Time Chart.  The heaven qi which changes every twenty years.

Tian Shi: The official name of the dragon, that is 1 – 7, stars number 1 – 7 in the 28 constellations.

Tian Yi: 'Heavenly Doctor.' One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Time Star: The star in the central palace indicating the period in which a building is constructed. The larger, middle star in every palace of a Flying Star chart. The opportunity star.

Trigram: Three-lined figure originating from the Yijing comprised of a combination of yin lines (--), yang lines (-) or a combination of both. The 8 Trigrams form the Ba Gua; each Trigram occupies 45°.

Trigram Dui 兌: Marsh. The youngest daughter.  Metal. Located in the South East in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the West in the Hou Tian Ba Gua.

Trigram Gen 艮: Mountain. The youngest son.  Earth. Located in the North West in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the North East in the Hou Tian Ba Gua. One of the 24 Mountains located at 37.5° - 52.5°.

Trigram Kan 坎: Water. The middle son.  Water. Located in the West in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the North in the Hou Tian Ba Gua.

Trigram Kun 坤: Earth. The mother.  Earth. Located in the North in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the South West in the Hou Tian Ba Gua. One of the 24 Mountains located at 217.5° - 232.5°.

Trigram Li 離: Fire. The middle daughter.  Fire. Located in the East in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the South in the Hou Tian Ba Gua.

Trigram Qian 乾: Heaven. The father.  Metal. Located in the South in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the North West in the Hou Tian Ba Gua. One of the 24 Mountains located at 307.5° - 322.5°.

Trigram Xun 巽: Wind. The eldest daughter.  Wood. Located in the South West in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the South East in the Hou Tian Ba Gua. One of the 24 Mountains located at 127.5° - 142.5°.

Trigram Zhen 震: Thunder. The eldest son.  Wood. Located in the North East in the Xian Tian Ba Gua, in the East in the Hou Tian Ba Gua.

Wang: Prominent or vibrant.

Wang Shan Wang Shui: Fortunate mountain (at sitting), fortunate water (at facing).

Wang Shan Wang Xiang: Fortunate mountain (at sitting), fortunate facing.

Wang Xing: Same as Ling Xing.

Warring States Period: 476BC - 221BC (in Eastern Zhou Dynasty). After Spring Autumn Period.

Water Star: Star governing wealth and prosperity in the Flying Stars.

Wen Qu 文曲: 'Academic Path' - 'The Clever and Indecent Nymph', Star 4 in the Flying Stars.

Wu Gui: 'Five Ghosts.'  One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Wu Huang: 5-Yellow Star in the Nine Stars.

Wu Ji: In the beginning there was nothing, the 'Ultimate Void'.

Wu Ji Da Sha: Yang Earth and Yin Earth Great Sha. 5 yellow.  When the annual 5 flies to a trigram, do not disturb the earth there. Putting metal in between helps but may not be good enough depending on how serious the disturbance is. This affects everyone, no matter what the four pillars are like.

Wu Qu 武曲: 'Military Path' - 'The Angel of Gallantry', Star 6 in the Flying Stars.

Wu Xing: Five phases of qi, the five elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood.

Xia Yu: The great emperor who cured the flooding Yellow River.

Xian Tian 先天: 'Something that comes with birth.' 'Xian' means 'early' or 'before' and 'Tian' means 'heaven'.

Xian Tian Ba Gua 先天八卦: AKA Former Heaven Ba Gua. The original arrangement of the Eight Trigrams

Xiao Wei: The official name of the White Tiger.

Xiao Yin: Young yin.

Xuan Kong Da Gua 玄空大卦: School of Feng Shui based on the 64 Hexagrams (Gua) of the Yijing

Xuan Kong Mi Zhi: Chinese Classic on Xuan Kong Feng Shui.

Xuan Wu: Black Tortoise, located at the back of a building, the most yin side.

Xue: Dragon's Den or Lair, location of a good site.

Xue Xin Fu:
Snow Heart Song.  The most important Feng Shui Classic on forms.

Yan Nian: 'Prolonged Years.' One of the 8 Wandering Stars used in Ba Zhai Feng Shui.

Yang: The light, active, noisy, principle.

Yang Yun Song (Tang Dynasty): One of the respected Feng Shui masters from the past. Founder of the Form School. Also known as 'Yang Saving the Poor' because he used Feng Shui to the help the poor people.

Yao: Any single line of a Bigram, Trigram or Hexagram.

Yellow Rock Elder: Unknown, legendary author of the Qing Nan Jing.

Yi: Short for Yijing.

Yi Bai: 1-White Star in the Nine Stars.

Yijing / Yi Jing / I Ching: Book of Changes.  Ancient Chinese book of divination using the 64 Hexagrams.

Yin: The dark, passive, quiet, principle.

You Bi 右弼: 'Right Assistant' - 'The Angel of Vigour', Star 9 in the Flying Stars.

Yuan: A period of time.  The Lower Yuan is period of 60 years from 1984 – 2044.

Zheng Shen (Holy 1): The location of the ruling star (Ling Xing) on the Earth chart which changes every 20 years. This is where a mountain should be.

Zhou Dynasty: 1122BC – 256BC.

Zhou Fu 左輔: 'Left Assistant' - 'The Angel of Wealth and Happiness', Star 8 in the Flying Stars.

Zhu Jue: Crimson Bird, located at the front of a building, the most yang side.

Zi Wei: The Emperor in Heaven.  Zi Wei is the official name of the 7 stars in the Black Tortoise.

Zi Wei Dou Shu: A type of Chinese Astrology.

copyright 2003-12 Feng Shui Research Centre http://www.fsrc.com.au/

Compiled by Jodi Brunner with thanks to Master Joseph Yu, Paivi Vikki, Jurgen Wessel, Howard Choy, Bing Dong and Gayle Smith.