Your Questions Answered...

Feng Shui for Modern Living - Answers to your Feng Shui Questions 

Let us try and answer your Feng Shui or Geomancy questions. We will try and provide you with practical and straightforward answers to your questions about Feng Shui, Geomancy, the Feng Shui Professional Program or about the Magazine or Stephen Skinner's books. Email us your question, and our responses will appear here (anonymous, of course!) to help other people. We can't promise to help with every single problem - but will do our best!

If you have any questions - please email me at 

1. In the [Feng Shui for Modern Living Professional Program] Flying Star Geomantic Chart, our living room is in the West. In the Match Family Member for my daughter (Earth 2) it is Auspicious and suggests enhancements of Fire and Earth. Yet in the Match Room Location, it is Inauspicious. For me (Water 1) it is Bad Luck and the Match Room Location remains inauspicious. How is it both Auspicious for my daughter and Inauspicious?

When using Flying Star, you need to treat the readings in a Hierarchical way. If you are interested in a house, and how it relates to its site, then you use the basic readings. These are based on the original build date - which is when the Earth (Dragon) Lines were cut by the foundations, thereby disrupting the Energy.

If you are interested in a specific Room in the House (i.e. where to place a Kitchen or Bathroom) for use by several different people, then again you would use the basic Stars.

However, once you are choosing a Room for an Individual (e.g. your daughter) then you need to consider the relationship between that person's Elements and the Room in question. This then takes precedence over the basic Reading. So, if in your case the Room-Person reading is Auspicious and the Room-Star reading is Inauspicious then you can take the Room-Person reading as the stronger one. You should note that if the Room-Person reading is Auspicious and the Room-Star reading is Very Inauspicious, you should probably use some cures for the Room-Star reading.

2. I contribute 1/3 income and my partner 2/3. Do I apply Feng Shui to the areas of our home that we share to suit her (since it is her life I wish to enhance)? 

Feng Shui is based on the Energy of the site and the Energy/Elements of the people who live there. I guess you live there on a similar basis in terms of time - so the income effect is not relevant. What you need to use Feng Shui for is to make your living environment suitable for both of you. So the common rooms (Living, Dining, Kitchen, Bathroom) should be 'cured' looking at the basic Room-Star relations, whilst your personal rooms should be considered using the Room-Person relations (allowing for any Very Inauspicious Room-Star readings)

3. Based on other reading material, it was my understanding that a water fountain in the South East corner would promote prosperity. Should the fountain be in the North sector instead?

The Feng Shui theories depend on the school that you are using. In the simpler Compass School based on the 8 directions, there is a limited amount of information that can be used for cures. But using Flying Star, you get a much more sophisticated reading, that can be used to affect much smaller areas. For Flying Star you need to look at each section separately (you can even use Flying Star to do Feng Shui for a single Room, diving the Room into 9 sectors). So in Flying Star, if the Cure suggests that you need to enhance the Water element in any given location, then a Fountain would be suitable. The "Fountain in South East" suggestion is from the simpler Compass School which is a much broader (and probably less effective) approach.

You should also note that your own personal feelings and intuition play a large part in Feng Shui. If it is suggested that you need to enhance Water - then the actual cure should be what you feel most appropriate from the suggested options - Water cures, for example, include Fountains, Mirrors, Glassware, Blue flowers, or Irregular Wavy shapes.

4. Our town home is long and narrow. Our entire floor plan seems to fall mainly in the West, Centre and East, with about 10% of each room falling in the South and North sections. Do I ignore the 10% portions?

What you should do is "squeeze" the Feng Shui 9-square diagram so that if fits your house, and the overall shape of the 9-squares is the same as you house plan. Then the Rooms will map better onto the locations.

5. Designing our garden, is the backyard the same as the front yard and are the direction arrows in the software the same (North being bottom)?

As far as Gardens go, you have a choice. Either treat each garden area separately (as you would do with a single Room), in which case they would be the same, or (better in my opinion) look at the whole garden area (including the House) as a single plot. In the second case, your Front garden and Rear garden would depend on the overall alignment of the plot, and your House would take up one or more locations.

6. Does the Feng Shui program use the Solar or Lunar calendar, and what is the HSIA calendar?

There are two main calendars used within Chinese Astrology and Feng Shui. The basic Astrological Calendar is the Lunar Calendar, based on the cycles of the Moon. The Solar (or HSIA - often know as the "Farmer's Calendar") is used for Feng Shui calculations (and by most professionals). The software allows you to use either (or both) Calendars, depending on whether you are looking at the Feng SHui aspects or the Chinese Astrology features.

7. My program says "Happy New Year" but shows the wrong year!

This is due to a delightful confusion in Feng Shui... There are TWO different calendars - depending on whether you use the Lunar or Solar calendar.
1. Run the program and then select the "File" menu.
2. Click on the "System Options" menu item
3. In the "Four Pillars" section click on the "Use Chinese Lunar Dates",
4. Close the program and restart
5. Your Year will become the "Ox"... (assuming this is 2009 and it shows "Rat")

8. Relating to Garden Feng Shui, I gather that you can analyze the whole plot of land, using the centre of the house as the centre, or you can treat the garden as a distinct room, and analyze it on it's own. Is this correct? For now I have been using the compass school and treating the garden as distinct. 

The basic principles of Feng Shui are to do with spaces, layout, arrangement and the interrelationships of the elements - and as such are applicable to all areas of life.

As with any house, you can "zoom" in to use Feng Shui - the whole house, a single room or even just the top of your desk. The same applies to the Garden - but depends on whether the house and garden are an integral whole (e.g. with the House in the middle of the garden with flower beds and lawns all around) or whether (as in my own garden) there is a competely separate section (we own not only the garden behind our home, but also the garden of the house next door (which is like a "Secret Garden").

In the second case you can sensibly use Feng Shui just for the garden, but in the first case I think the two are intertwined.

9. You seem to also infer that you can use Flying Star for the garden. Do you use the Flying Star for the age of the house? The age of the house is determined because of the qi captured when the house was built, does this really impact the garden?

I personally always use Flying Star in preference to Compass School (unless I want to do a "quick" of-the-cuff reading), and for this again it depends on the relationship between the Garden and the House. The concept of Age is based on the date at which (in the case of a house) the foundations were built - which means when the earth was broken and the energy flows of the "Dragon Lines" interrupted. So, for a House/Garden together I would use the Age of the House, but for a separate (or indeed a brand new Garden - such as when a field or meadow is converted to be used as a garden) I would use the Date at which the first bit of the garden was dug. Or, in a recent case for me, when building a new Rock Garden, the date on which the first stone was placed.

10. What are the differences between Daily Almanac, the Tong Shu Weekly Almanac and Chinese Monthly Calendar?

There are several different Prediction methods within Chinese Astrology. The Feng Shui software supports all of them.

1. The Daily Almanac
This is based on the Branch for the Lunar Month and the Animal for the Given Day.
It also takes into account your personal element. (This is an option which you can switch in the System Options window - if switched off it gives general readings). Each day in the Almanac can be Auspicious or Bad for a wide range of activities. This is very useful for accurate planning for meetings, shopping, selling houses etc.

2. The Tong Shu
The Tong Shu is based on the cycle of 28 Lunar Mansions (or Animals) of the Chinese Zodiac. If you click on the "Show Tong Shu Calendar" button you will see how the Constellations are laid out (and also mapped to the Western Zodiac). The readings are based on the Ancient Chinese Almanac, and are somewhat cryptic!

3. The Chinese Monthly Calendar
This is based on the cycle of 60 Stems and Branches for each Day, and just gives one reading for the day. This is fixed for all readings and does not take into account individual birth dates. So this is a much simpler reading and will only give a general picture.

11. What is meant by "Nuclear" in the I Ching reading?

The Nuclear Trigrams are derived from the basic (standard) I Ching Trigrams.

They express the basic Hexagram's essential, concealed, internal nature and quality. They show the inner meaning, or perhaps what is being hidden or suppressed by the questioner. The Nuclear Trigrams are derived from lines 2,3,4,5 of the basic Hexagram.

Lines 2,3,4 form the lower Nuclear Trigram, whilst lines 3,4,5 create the Upper Nuclear Trigram (note that the lines are numbered from the bottom)

Here is an example:

Basic Trigram

======= 6
===  === 5
===  === 4

======= 3
======= 2
===  === 1

will become
===  === (5)
===  === (4)
======= (3)

===  === (4)
======= (3)
======= (2)

Use the Nuclear reading to explore the concealed, hidden or suppressed aspects of the reading

12. Every time I use the I Ching there is a Standard version of results and an Inverse version. Most of the time these results are contradictory and I'm not sure which applies to me or if they both do or what standard and inverse means and I couldn't find it anywhere online.

When you throw the two Trigrams to make the Hexagram for the reading - they end up one on top of the other.

As with all questions - there are often twos sides to the answer. I don't know whether you ever have what my family calls "Heated Discussions" - where you debate an answer from two sides. And it is not always obvious who is right (well, so my wife says)

The same is true of the I Ching. The "Inverse" Hexagram is made from your two original Trigrams, the other way up.

This second reading is intended to help you see things "from the other side". It may well conflict with the original "Standard" reading - but that it is what it is intended to do. You need to reflect on this other view - it may, perhaps, indicate the Down Side of your decision, or make you see a side effect that you hadn't considered.

As with all Feng Shui (and Chinese Astrology) most of the readings are open to your own interpretation.

13. I have lived in my house for many years, but now that I use the Feng Shui program it tells me that several rooms have bad elements. What should I do?

Feng Shui is about Harmony and Balance - and is based on the Energy relations between people and places. The basic principle is that if it feels OK to you - then it is OK. Feng Shui can only suggest that there might be problems. It does not mean that there is a problem.
So if you have been living in a house for a while, and all seems fine - then don't change it just because Feng Shui says so. Feng Shui can only look at the information that you feed it (dates, locations, directions). It cannot look at the actual existing situation.
So for example, if you use Feng Shui and it says that this location is Bad, but you feel fine with it - then it is likely that the Element Balance has already been done. Perhaps the colour of the walls is already correct, or the colour of the carpet, or perhaps you already have a suitable mirror. Perhaps it is your own Element that is doing the balancing (so a Bad room that needs a Water element is fine for a Water person). Most of the time, if the room or house feels OK to you - then it IS OK... just leave it!
Remember that Feng Shui is only a suggestion. It should only be used if you have an actual problem. Do not use Feng Shui to look for problems that are not there - use it to solve problems that you are aware of.