Feng shui, which translates to “wind water” was created by the Chinese and dates back centuries. It’s also called the art of placement and continues to be noted by many individuals as either an art form, a science and even a philosophy. In its earliest form, it has been used to look at the land and its position in relation to bodies of water and other pieces of land. This practice was developed to be able to locate optimal areas of settlement, areas which were thought to bring its inhabitants happiness, prosperity and good harvest.
There are many disputed reports of the very beginning of feng shui history as it is difficult to trace the origin back centuries. However the earliest use that could have been documented date back to the Tang Dynasty when emperors sought the services of practitioners to assist with building palaces and tombs designed to guarantee their success and reign of power. SInce that time, many different schools of thought have been developed and many of the original principles have been modified to suit the period. Some schools and modifications have made it more complex and detailed while others manage to make it easy enough to grasp for the average person.
The earliest recorded version is known as the Form School, and the basic principles of this school of thought revolves around the overall landscape and environment. The shape and size of the land is analyzed in great detail and its relative position determines how it will affect its inhabitants. This early type of feng shui primarily focuses on nature and how we are influenced through the environment around us. A good deal has changed since then, but the basic principles still apply in the newer version that is in use today.
The Compass School developed shortly after during the Song Dynasty, and built upon the initial in a good way. New tools and concepts were introduced, which makes it more complex. There are two main sectors that derived from this school of thought, the Flying Star and also the Eight Mansions. The compass was developed at that time and is used to include a person’s date of birth with their feng shui reading, making it more personalized. Practitioners began using the compass in accordance to principles of the Eight Mansions. When the Flying Star was developed, it incorporated yin yang theory and introduced the five elements. All of the major concepts that were introduced then have been passed down and continue to be used today.
The Black Hat Sect School is the most recent of that bunch and was introduced not too long ago. It is a somewhat watered down version of the previous schools of thought. This simplified form makes use of the map bagua and focuses on the layout of a house a lot more than its surroundings. This easy to grasp version is adopted by people all around the world and is mostly practiced today. There have been a lot of changes in feng shui history through the years, but one thing is for certain, this ancient tradition shows no sign of dying out. Its popularity is clear and it will be practiced by countless people for years to come.
About the author: By Amy Xu. Learn more about feng shui origins and all the feng shui basics. Discover the history behind the bagua map and chinese compass, and find out how they have been used over the years.
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