My Feng Shui Glossary
Do you speak Feng Shui? Some terms of this thousand-year-old Chinese art are complex or simply in another language than ours and therefore deserve explanations. This Feng Shui glossary is made for that! I propose to explain you some words, from A to Z, so that the terms I use in my different pages or articles are not difficult to understand. Moreover, this Feng Shui glossary will finally allow to synthesize all the basic notions, the Feng Shui principles, as well as other more practical or pragmatic elements.
Acupuncture: Feng Shui is often called home acupuncture. This science restores the balance of Chi in the body, just as Feng Shui harmonises the balance of Chi in the house.
Address: The number of the street and its name can have an influence on the quality of the energy. This is known as house numerology and bird language.
Animals (celestial) : These are the Black Tortoise, the White Tiger, the Green Dragon and the Red Phoenix. They are analysed in the school of form.
Animals of the Zodiac: there are twelve of them and they represent the earthly branches.
Aquarium: an aquarium can be placed in rooms needing yang activation such as a front star.
Anterior sky arrangement: this is the arrangement of trigrams that symbolises the perfect balance “before the appearances of the world of phenomena”. It represents the ideal world (pakua yin).
Posterior sky arrangement: a pattern of trigrams arranged around the pakua yang, representing the cyclical changes according to the events of the living world (pakua yang).
Aspirations: life aspiration is a school/theory which is part of modern Feng Shui. There are 8 aspirations: career, knowledge, health, prosperity, reputation, relationships, projects and luck. They are usually presented through the lo shu square.
Bagua: this is a mathematical model of Chinese metaphysics. It is a representation of the 8 trigrams which are at the origin of many Feng Shui principles.
Balance: all Feng Shui analysis looks for the balance of energies, especially the balance between yin and yang.
Bazi: this is one of the systems of Chinese astrology (there is also the Dos Shu – purple star). It is called “4 pillars of destiny” and allows a reading of the potentials of an individual.
Ba Zhai: this is the school of the 8 houses or 8 abodes. It defines the 8 directions that influence each person according to their date of birth (Ming Gua).
Bed: one of the most important pieces of furniture in Feng Shui. The location and orientation of the bed is defined according to the Kua Number and the flying stars on the front. The layout of the bedroom is a key step in any expertise.
Bedroom: the layout of the bedroom is fundamental because its configuration can bring many benefits in the field of health and relationships.
Branch: the earth branches are to be related to space, they represent the movement of the Chi in a given place on the Earth. The branches are designated by animal names. They are particularly used in the Bazi theme.
Chinese calendar: the Chinese system has 2 calendars, one based on the cycles of the Moon, the other based on the cycles of the Sun. It is lunisolar.
Center: when the pakua is placed on the floor of the house, it must be placed in the centre. This centre represents the vital energy. It is associated with the earth element.
Chi: this is the vital energy, the Prana, this intrinsic breath is at the origin of everything that determines life. It is the Chi that the Feng Shui expert seeks to identify and harmonise.
Colours: each element has different colour characteristics, which is why Feng Shui can exploit them. Their use is different from that related to colour psychology.
Compass: the Luo pan is the Chinese geomancer’s compass. It consists of 4 to 40 concentric rings surrounding a small compass (indicating magnetic north) and a plate with a square base.
Cycle of control: this is sometimes called the cycle of weakening. Here each element reduces the power of the next element.
Cycle of destruction: this is also called the cycle of domination. It is a cycle of imbalance where each element weakens/destroys the next element.
Cycle of production: it is a harmonious movement where each of the 5 Chinese elements gives birth to the next element and strengthens it
Desk: one of the most important pieces of furniture in Feng Shui, especially in the professional world and/or in case of telecommuting or entrepreneurship. The location and orientation of the desk is defined by the Kua Number and the flying stars on the front.
Flying star diagram: numerical representation of the chi of the house according to its date of construction and its orientation.
Directions: the cardinal directions cover an angle of 90 degrees, Feng Shui also considers the intermediate directions (South West, North East…) covering angles of 45°. There are 4 favourable and 4 unfavourable directions for each individual. They are determined by calculating the Kua number.
Door: it is notably through it that the chi of yang nature enters the house. The front door (main door) is considered to be the mouth of the house.
Dui : trigram corresponding to the West zone and the Kua 7.
Elements: there are 5 Chinese elements (also called wu xing): wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
Energy: Feng Shui is the study of the energy flows of the environment (see Chi).
Energetic cleansing: this involves ridding the place of all energies considered negative. It is mainly done with the help of incense or white sage smoke, sounds (drum, Tibetan bowl, music, triangle, clapping…)…
Entrance: the harmonisation of the entrance is essential. It is the entrance that welcomes the chi into the home.
Feng Shui: Feng Shui is a set of methods and techniques for arranging a place in such a way as to harmonise energy flows.
Formulas: There is a wide range of formulas in Feng Shui. In particular, there are many water formulas
Garden: this allows earth and wood energy to be channelled into the house. Of course, the plants must be in good health and it must not be used as a dumping ground. There is a specific Feng Shui for gardens, which draws beds with precise shapes and uses specific flowers and plants, whose colours are linked to the 5 elements.
Gen: trigram corresponding to the North-East zone and the Kua 8.
Chinese geomancy: another name sometimes given to Feng Shui, but which would be more adapted to the fengshui of forms and landscapes (to be compared to the Feng Shui yin).
Grand Duke of Jupiter (Tai Sui): this is one of the annual plagues. It changes its place every year and occupies 15° of the pakua. In 2022, it sits in NE3 (52.6 – 67.5°).
Eastern Group: The Kua numbers belong to either the Eastern or the Western group. The Eastern group consists of 1, 3, 4 and 9.
Western group: the digits Kua belong to either the Eastern or the Western group. The Western group is composed of 2, 6, 7 and 8.
Gua: Chinese name meaning “trigram“.
Harmonisation: when we talk about harmony in Feng Shui, we are essentially referring to: the balance between yin and yang, the right proportion of the 5 elements, the agreement between the external environment and the internal life, etc.
He Tu (river diagram): this is a set of black and white dots inscribed on the side of a dragon-horse (a unicorn!) that emerged from the Yellow River. It describes an ideal world, in perfect harmony. It is the origin of the lo shu square.
Hexagram: it is composed of two stacked trigrams, so it is a six-line symbol (the source of which is yin and yang). There are 64 of them in the I Ching, “the book of transformations”.
Intersection (T-junction): In the school of form, the positioning of the house or building in relation to the street is studied. When the house faces a T-junction, the Chi is considered to be too violent and acts as a Sheng Chi.
Kan: trigram corresponding to the North zone and the number Kua 1.
Kan Yu or Kwan Yu: this is the oldest art of Feng Shui, the one that determined the best location for the graves.
Kua number (Ming Gua): The Kua number is a number derived from the year of birth. It is the trigram, the lucky star, of an individual.
Kun : trigram corresponding to the South West and the Kua 2.
Land: its shape is studied to determine the quality of the chi it contains.
Li: trigram corresponding in particular to the South zone and the Kua 9.
Living room: the living room is a room whose harmony must be particularly well cared for. It is a room that gathers the members of the house and favourable energies will promote good understanding between parents and children, good harmony between couples, etc.
Location: it is to be distinguished from the orientation. One can be in one area of the pakua and turn towards any of the directions. Location is also the other name for sitting.
Logo: it is recommended to create a Feng Shui logo for your company. The shapes and colours will be determined according to the elements favourable to the Master of the Day of the Bazi theme.
Luo Pan: see Compass
Luo Shu (or Loshu): see Magic Square
Master of the Day: in the bazi theme, the celestial trunk found in the pillar of the day is called the Master of the Day. It is the main reference point of the analysis, it provides the background, the context.
Magic square: Luo Shu or Loshu square: this is a so-called magic square with 9 numbers. It is a powerful symbol in Feng Shui.
Ming Gua: see Kua Figure.
Mirrors: they can help to reflect light, and promote the entry of chi, to compensate for missing corners or narrow corridors. Be careful with their positioning, especially in the entrance and in the room.
Mountains: for the school of form, mountains are essential and represent the source of Heaven’s luck. We will study the different forms of mountains to know their influence and the specific type of energy they bring to the environment.
Music: it helps the circulation of yang energies. I recommend it to activate the energy of the flying stars from the front.
Nine Palaces: this method sectors the house with the LoShu square, i.e. a square with 9 squares (contrary to the sectorisation with the Pakua which looks like a pie of 8 portions)
Chinese New Year: this is the beginning of the lunar year. Each new year means the arrival of new energies (annual flying stars, change of “astrological sign” of the year…).
Orientation: this refers to the cardinal direction in which the person or house faces (see Direction)
Central Palace: this is the middle square of the Loshu square. It represents the centre of the house and includes stars that characterise the intrinsic energy of the house.
Pakua: see Bagua.
Period: Time is a circular movement, whose energy repeats itself. The largest period, the grand cycle is 180 years and is divided into 3 cycles of 60 years each (the upper, middle and lower cycles), which are in turn divided into 3 periods of 20 years. We are currently in period 8, and on 4 February 2024 period 9 will begin (until 3 February 2044).
Pillar: a Bazi theme is called “the 4 Pillars of Fate” because each column represents a Pillar of Life.
Plan: a Feng Shui expertise is done on a precise plan of the house. The centre is determined and then the pakua is placed to sectorise according to the cardinal orientations.
Poison arrow: this is a term I don’t like to use. It is actually a shar chi related to structures such as balcony edges, beams, protruding angles, etc.
Qi: see Chi
Qian: trigram corresponding in particular to the North West zone and the Kua 6.
Qi Men Dun Jia : it is an art used in war strategy. It allows to elaborate predictions, but also to study the Feng Shui of a place.
Qi Men Feng Shui is based on a chart with 8 deities and 8 doors. This chart has 4 levels: spirit, heaven, earth and man.
Remedies: they are sometimes necessary. In my practice, I only use remedies related to the 5 elements (no objects like 3 pasta toads, floating bamboos and co). For example, an aquarium is a powerful water remedy or yang activator; a large metal clock when metal is needed to counteract the effects of a harmful 2 star, etc.
Road: in Feng Shui, the movement of water, rivers and streams was studied. In our urban landscapes, it is the roads that symbolise the flow of water. They can bring good or bad Feng Shui, depending on the configuration.
Room: In each room of the house, the so-called small Tai Ji can be placed. It is done as if the room were a single space and the pakua is placed in the centre. The Feng Shui rules and formulas apply. The allocation of rooms (especially bedroom and office) is part of the recommendations of the Feng Shui expert.
San Sha: one of the annual plagues, known as the 3 evils. In 2022, they cover the extended North, i.e. they extend from NW3 (322.5°) to NE1 (37.5°).
Compass Feng Shui School: The Compass School uses the compass to sectorize the place according to the cardinal directions. It can be either San He or San Yuan.
Flying Stars Feng Shui School: The Flying Stars School or “Xuang Kong Fei Xing” adds a temporal dimension to the analysis. It allows to define the energy diagram of the habitat thanks to the use of numbers from 1 to 9 called stars.
Feng Shui School of Form: this is the oldest school of feng shui. The Form School studies the formations of the landscape to determine if the energy of the place is favourable.
Shapes: the 5 Chinese elements are characterised by a material, a colour or colours, but also by shapes: the square represents the earth, the round is linked to metal, fire is represented by a triangle, the rectangle represents wood and all the wavy shapes are linked to the water element.
See also school of form.
Shar Chi: this is negative Chi, it assaults our senses.
It can result from energy lines created by angles, beams…
We must try to limit their effects.
Sheng Chi: this is a positive Chi, the nourishing Chi. It carries favourable currents. This type of Chi will contribute to our well-being.
Sitting: this is generally the back of the house, or at least the side opposite the front. This is particularly important for the Flying Star School.
Stars: in Feng Shui, these are not real stars in the astral sense. They are represented by numbers whose characteristics are reminiscent of trigrams. They can be front stars, seat stars, water stars, mountain stars, annual stars, monthly stars…
Sui Po: one of the annual plagues, called the Breaker of the Year. In 2002, it is at SO3, and therefore Le extends from 232.6 to 247.5°.
Taiji: it is the symbol that represents the interaction between yin and yang.
Taoism: it advocates intuitive knowledge through communication with the environment, nature and the Dao. Rational thinking is not an appropriate method, instead one must calm one’s mind to let the supreme force reveal the truths of nature. Feng Shui has its origins in the principles of the Tao: Chi (life force), interaction of yin and yang, 5 elements…
Trigram: it is a symbol composed of 3 lines (continuous line to evoke the yang or broken line for the yin). The 8 trigrams, called BaGua, represent the maximum number of combinations of 3 elements of yin or yang nature. In addition to gender (male or female), they are associated with the cardinal orientations and the five elements.
Cosmic trinity: there is that of the sky, that of man and that of the earth.
The chance of heaven is the one we are given at birth. Nothing can be changed.
Man’s luck is the one he can influence through his choices and behaviour.
Finally, the luck of the earth comes from the environment. It is on this last one that Feng Shui can act.
Toilets: let’s avoid demonising them. Today’s conveniences have nothing to do with what was available in China hundreds of years ago. Keep it clean, close the seat, and close the door too. And if this room contains an area or star that is particularly favourable to you, do your crossword puzzle there!
Unicorn: the Chinese unicorn (Chi Lin) has a dragon head, a horse body and fish scales. It is therefore much less pretty than the one that comes out of our rainbows (lol). It is a symbol of abundance, longevity and success.
Universe: it is the whole of everything that exists. For me, it is also the matrix that connects us to each other, it is the Source. It is thanks to the presence of this universal energy that Feng Shui can harmonise the external and internal environment.
Wind: the landscape is shaped by wind (feng) and water (shui). For the Chinese, it is not an element. It is sometimes used to characterise the Chi. For example, a place with a violent wind has a strong chance of having an excessive and thus negative chi.
Window: this is where the yang chi enters the house.
Wu Wang: one of the annual plagues, called the Yellow Five. In 2022, it is imprisoned in the centre, its harmful effect is neutralised.
Wu Xing: this is the Chinese name for the theory of the 5 elements (see Element).
Yang: this is the white part of Taiji. It is the symbol of the masculine, but also of the sky, the summer, the heat, the movement…
Yi King or Yi Jing : it is the Book of Changes or Book of Transformations. It is a classical work serving as a common root for Confucianism and Taoism.
It is also a method of divination using 50 chopsticks.
Yin: This is the black part of Taiji. It is the symbol of the feminine, but also of the earth, the moon, the cold, the calm, the creativity…