Category Archives: Feng Shui

Feng Shui

Pole and Corner Sha

During an audit, the practitioner would first examine the surroundings especially at the facing and sitting side to look for auspicious land form and identify inauspicious sha generating structures.

He would also look out of the house though the doors and windows to look for shas that may penetrate the house through them. Since the main door affects the luck of all of the occupants in a house, special attention is given to ensure that it is free from shas.

Pole Sha

Pole Sha

The main door of your house should not open directly into a pole like structure, the more common ones of which includes the porch column and the lamp post. Stand at the main door and look straight out in the direction perpendicular of the door as shown in the diagram. The column or post should not be in front of the main door using the lines extended from the edge of the door as a guide.

If they are within the dotted lines and near the door, then it is a sha. If they are outside as in position “a” and “b” or very far away as in position “c”, then it is not a problem. Traditional believe is such a sha can cause health and money problem for occupants of the house.

Corner Sha

Corner Sha

In addition a corner structure either directly in front or behind the main door (as shown) is not favorable.

We should also keep an eye on sha created by the corners of buildings in the near vicinity of the house. This kind or corner sha is also quite common in areas with many apartment block located nearby to each other.

A corner sha is more serious if it attacks the main door or the mouth of qi of a property. In this case, it can affect the luck of all of the occupants of the house. A corner sha that attacks say through the windows of a room is less serious and would likely only affect the occupants of the room.

Wind Blade Sha

Wind Blade Sha

Another kind of sha is the Wind Blade sha that is generated by two buildings a right angle to each other as shown. The effect of a Wind Blade sha is less than that of a Corner Sha and the inauspicious effect is likely limited to the room in the house affected by the sha.

A variation of the wall blade sha is the Sky Chop Sha that is formed when a property faces gap between two buildings. The wind accelerates in the gap and rushes towards the property at the end.

In an earlier article, you read about the Sound Sha. A good example is living close to a noisy waterfall or next to a a busy highway.

Something similar is the Reflected Light sha. Many modern buildings use glass panels which at a certain angle may reflect sunlight at your house.

Sky Chop Sha

Sky Chop Sha

Then there is the Smell Sha. A good example is a house located closed to a lake with rotting vegetation. When the wind blows pass the lake towards your house, you are exposed to waves of bad smell which is considered a sha!

The land that the house sits on should be “healthy”. You can assess the health by looking at the flora and fauna. A thriving community of fauna together with lush vegetation shows the presence of strong qi. Land where the vegetation is sparse or turning yellow suggest weak qi.

When selecting a house we should avoid houses that are built on top of a landfill. Unless property treated and maintained, contaminants from the land-field may leak into the surroundings. Methane gas may also leak into the environment. Both of which are detrimental to health.

We should also avoid houses built on former mining land, water logged or swampy land. Unless they are property treated they then to be less stable and the qi tend to be weak.

Finally we should avoid land that was previously used for biological or chemical testing.

You may be interest to know that in the old days, practitioner taste the soil to determine the quality. Thankfully it is not require today!

Shape and Size Matters

In Feng Shui, it is considered inauspicious to live near to a graveyard or funeral home. It is acceptable if you are far away enough and cannot see or do not have a clear view.

The Graveyard is considered a sha and can result in matters related to health – both physical and mental.

The roof top of some buildings looks like a Chinese tombstone. This considered a sha and the resulting effect is much like that of living near a graveyard.

Another variation of this Chinese tombstone is a roof that looks like a Chinese coffin!

Roof Sha

Roof Sha

While in the subject or roofs, I would like to touch on sha generated by convention Gable type roof which is quite common and the newer single pitch roof which is currently in fashion.

The single pitch roof act like a blade. It is usually not a problem unless the houses are of different number of levels or on uneven land as shown in the diagram.

Gable type roof are not usually a problem unless the top roof line cuts into your house as shown in the diagram

Gable Roof

Gable Roof

It is also inauspicious if your property is sandwich between two excessively tall properties of the left and right or at the front and back. Such configuration can result affect the career and fortune of occupants and caused depression.

In an earlier article I talk about the dangerous effect of high tension pylon near your property. The electromagetic fields generated can cause health problems especially from lonfg term exposure. But what about substations usually found a single storey buildings found in housing estates?

Tall Building Sha

Tall Building Sha

In my opinion, they are not dangerous. Even though the transformers inside emit electric and magnetic fields, they are shielded by the walls of these single storey buildings. Furthermore they are usually a distance from the houses and there are usually plants or wall in between forming another layer of protection.

Even so, I would not advice you to buy one because it is likely to affect the resale value as home buyers can be overly sensitive to having them near their house.

In commercial complexes these transformers rooms are integrated into the building. I would advice against having an office next to the room. Even though it is shielded by the walls, it is still quite near.

In the rural areas especially, instead of substations, they may come in the form of pole transformers. These are step down transformers that convert high voltage to low voltage that we use in our houses. These are usually mounted on poles outside the house.

My advice is still the same, that is to stay a distance from them just to be on the safe side.

A Word About Water

In Feng Shui, water can be good or bad. Good water also called “sentimental” water and is clean and flows slowly. Bad water is called “merciless” water and they are polluted or stagnant and when flows fast and straight.

Bad water can be a sha!

But first a little bit more about water. Clean, pristine water that meanders is usually found in rural area. In the cities such water is hard to find. Also in the cities, natural waterways are straightened to improve drainage. In the process, water speeds up and becomes merciless water. Or is it?

In my opinion, straight waterways are not necessarily merciless unless it flows very quickly. And less than clean water can still be considered “sentimental” water if it supports a thriving aquatic community.

Now back to bad water and sha.

Water falling off from high ground into a pool like a waterfall can be a sha. While a waterfall can be quite a tourist attraction, it is not suitable near a residence as the turbulence gives out a lot of sha qi. Usually the noisier it is, the worst the sha.

A common rule of thumb is if you are far enough not to see or hear it, it is okay.

Water should not flow perpendicularly towards or away from a house. When it flows perpendicular towards the house, it call clashing water and it is similar to a house facing a T junction or facing a lane.

Clashing Water

Clashing Water

It is worse if the water flowing towards the house is from a high ground. Then water is likely to accelerate and “shoot” at the house.

Also look out for drainage outlet from your opposite neighbor’s house shooting straight at your property. It is detrimental over the long run.

It is also bad if the water flows perpendicularly away from the house. It drains the qi from the property and such water is known as “Pulling Nose Water”.

Pulling Nose

Pulling Nose

River meanders naturally and properties can be found on the inside and outside of the bend. Properties on the outside of the bend or the convex side are less favored as the qi on this side is more aggressive.

In practice, this is not a problem unless the bend is unusually sharp and the rivers flows very quickly.

Like the water fall example above, any kind of water that creates a lot of noise is not favorable and can be consider a sha. Examples include sea water crashing to rocks, rapids or white water, water crashing into each other as in a confluence or a drain discharging into a river. The key consideration is the loud noise generate. It is a sha if it is very loud. Okay if not.

Cutting Feet Water

Cutting Feet Water

Finally it is what is commonly referred to as “Cutting Feet” water. This is water that runs laterally across the front door of a house. IN an urban setting, most of the time it is mad made. Some designers think it is artistic to artificial water running under a bridge at the entrance of a house.

Cutting feet water is considered very negative and can lead to financial losses!

Back Mountain Facing Water

Most Feng Shui enthusiasts know that it is favorable if a house is backed by a hill or higher land and faces water (e.g. lake) or a lower terrain. Such a configurable is good for money, relationship and health luck.

The reverse, Back Water Facing Mountain is unfavorable and suggest obstruction ahead without support that can lead to a decline in fortune.

While it is favorable to have mountain for support at the back and water in front suggesting a clear unobstructed path to money, I would like to suggest some qualifiers.

First the mountain at the back cannot be too near or too high. Otherwise it becomes a sha. Secondly the water at the facing cannot be too near or slopes down excessively which can result in health problems.

nountain-water

steep-mountain-water

Finally the mountain at the back should be covered with lush greenery which indicated the presence of strong qi. In Feng Shui such as mountain is known as a Green Dragon and is revered.

A mountain that is bare or rocky with sparse vegetation or with rocks jutting out is not favorable and is known as a Sick Dragon. It is considered a sha and can depreciate the quality of the house, most of the time with problems affecting relationship and health.

It is also unfavorable if the house is located very close to a cliff. In Feng Shui, this is known as the Head Pouring Water sha as water can fall off the cliff onto the house causing damage. It also does not take much common sense to know that water and mud can fall on the house and when there is a mudslide and bury the house.

A house should also not face a long downward sloping road at it may cause money loss and health problem related to the lower abdomen.

pouring-head-water

steep-slope

What about if the land on the left or right is higher that yours? It is not a problem if the difference in the height between the land (and the house) on the your left and right is small e.g. 2 feet. However if the difference is great then the Green Dragon and White Tiger comes into play.

Traditionally the Green Dragon is associated with the male and is auspicious while the White Tiger is associated with the female is considered inauspicious (though I do not totally subscribe to this belief).

The left side when looking out of the house is the Dragon side while the right side is the Tiger side. Conventional thinking prefers the left side to be high so that it benefits the male in the family. Traditionally it is the male the brings the bacon home so benefiting the male makes sense. However in modern society, females contribute significantly to the family too and nowadays (at least in my opinion) it is okay too if the Tiger side is slightly stronger.

But why was it considered inauspicious. I suppose in a male dominated society if the woman in the house is too powerful or dominant, it is inauspicious!

Today? Perhaps not!

Inside and Outside of a Bend

Rivers meander naturally and roads curves. Thus a house could be located on the inside or outside of a bend of a road or river.

reverse-bowIn Feng Shui, it is favorable for a house to be located on the inside of a bend. This is also called the “Jade Belt Around the Waist” formation and occupants are said to safe from harm.

The opposite or the outside of the bend is undesirable. It is also called the Reverse Bow Sha and can caused career and money problem as well as relationship issues.

A lot depends on the intensity of the Sha Qi generated. It is greater if the water or traffic flow is fast or heavy. The effect is also greater if the house is located nearer the bend. It is also greater if the bend is more extreme e.g. like a semi-circle.

In the past, Reverse Bow Sha typically affect landed properties. However these days it is not uncommon for elevated highways to be a few storey high and apartments can be affected too if you are located on the wrong side of the bend of a busy highway.

Yet another modern example is the elevated light rail that can affect you much like the elevated highway.

Encircle Water ShaWhile it is not favorable to live or work in a house located on the outside of a bend (Reverse Bow Sha), it is believed that such places have a positive effect on those dealing with Martial arts and Chinese medicine. True or not? Why not do some research yourself!

The landscape design of some modern communities may include roads (or an artificial river) encircling houses within.

This layout is not viewed positively in Feng Shui as it may lead to money losses for those living within. The worst affected will be the ones living in the house that faces the exist as shown.

auspicious-waterIn the case of a artificially created river, the water quality can be poor and may create health problems for the occupants of houses nearby.

If you have the opportunity to buy a property located near a river, select one that is on the inside of a bend or one that faces a meandering river. When a river meanders, it slows down and the good qi accumulate.

External Sha Qi or Killing Energy

In Feng Shui, the presence of Sha Qi or Killing Energy generating objects and structures in the exterior or interior of the house, if near enough, can depreciate the good quality of the house or sections of the house. This in turn can produce an inauspicious effect on the occupants of the house.

Sha Qi is created by natural or man-made structures found in the house surroundings and also within the house. When found externally they are known as exterior sha. A good example is the high tension pylon. When found within the house they are known as interior sha. These interior sha as caused by design and construction of the house. A good example is the overhead beam cutting across a bed below.

The effect on the house and its occupants depends on the intensity of the Sha Qi which in turn is determined by the shape, size and distance from the house. For example the Sha Qi generated by a multi-storey office complex would be far greater that that of a two storey house. Similarly the Sha Qi generated by a structure 10 meters away would be far stronger than by a similar structure 100 meters away.

Depending on the intensity, direction, form and type of the Sha Qi it can depreciate the quality of the whole house or just a section of the house. For example a busy road ‘attacking’ the facing of the house can depreciate the good quality of the house while a less busy road ‘attacking’ from the side of the house may affect only areas at the side of the house.

The most effective way to deal with exterior sha is to avoid them completely. This is why during a house selection audit, practitioners always advice against buying a house affected by a nearby Sha.

They next most effective way to deal with Sha is to block the Sha Qi generated. Let me explain with an extreme example of a house that is ‘attacked’ from all four sides by busy T junction roads.

We can quite effectively ‘block’ the Sha Qi ‘attacking’ the sides and back of the house by building high walls. At the facing side, building a high wall is not practical. Therefore we need to look at others means such as re-positioning and/or reorienting the main door to avoid the busy road.

t-junction

t-junction-wall

In this and following articles, I will highlight the more common Shas, its effect and suggest ways to deal with them.

I shall start with Shas linked to road systems.

The intensity of the Sha Qi and the effects on the occupants depends on the size and traffic of the ‘attacking’ road. A narrower road with less busy traffic may only affect a room in the house, while a wider road with busy traffic can affect the whole house.

t-junction-narrow
t-junction-wide

The negative effects of road shas to the occupants are injuries, money loss or betrayal.

A variation of the T junction sha is the Y junction or Scissor Sha.

y-junction

Yet another variation is facing an alley or back lane. The back lane or alley can cause wind to accelerate which in turn is a sha when it hit the house in the way.

back-lane-sha

The best ways to deal with these kind of sha is to try to block them using a wall of by planting trees. Another way is to use a water fountain. And when all else fail, you can revert to traditional cure of using a Ba Gua mirror!

Feng Shui FAQ 6

Does every audit result in and require extensive renovation works for better Feng Shui? Not necessarily. Is there a way to have good Feng Shui with minimal renovations? There is. Find out how.

Another popular is questions is whether they need to change their Feng Shui every year? Plus a popular misconception about the auspicious move date and time.

The auspicious time that you gave me to move is between 9 am and 11 am is too short for me to move everything into the house.

clockI get this question more often than expected. The home owner mistakes the time span as the time the period where he should move everything into the house.

This is not true. It is actually the time that you should first arrive at the house and move yourself and some existing items into the house. You can then move the rest of the items in the next hour, later in the afternoon, tomorrow, the day after, next week and do on.

It is a best practice to move existing items into the house on the auspicious date and time or after. You can however move new items for the house such as the stove, dining table etc before the auspicious date and time.

Do I need to change my Feng Shui every year?

Feng Shui recommendations such as the location and orientation of the main door, bed, stove etc that a practitioner provide can be for a lifetime, a period e.g. 20 years, for a few years until a desire outcome or just for the current year.

Recommendations that derived from a person’s BaZi are usually for a lifetime. Recommendations based on non-time based systems such as the Eight Mansions are also meant for a lifetime. However for time-based systems such as the Xuan Kong Flying Star, recommendations may be valid for a certain period only usually a span of 20 years or less.

Recommendations are also sometime given to invoke an outcome e.g. has a child or a girlfriend. These kind of recommendations should be used until the outcome is achieved. Otherwise in the example of finding a girlfriend, you may end up with too many!

Finally there is the annual energies that changes every year. These energies interact with the energies inherent in each sector of the house and give an auspicious, inauspicious or neutral outcome for the year.

Practitioners will usually provide recommendation that are valid for the year only to enhance or manage the resultant energy in that sector. Examples include not using a certain sector in that year, placement a item such as a plant or metal object to manage the energy or changing the seating direction e.g. so as not to confront Tai Sui.

The changes that you are require to do to optimize your Feng Shui for the year are usually minor as I have just stated above. You are not required to change the color of your bedroom every year!

During an audit, the practitioner will normally tell you which recommendations are for a lifetime, for a period or for just the year. If not, make sure you ask him.

Does a Feng Shui audit result in the need to carry out extensive renovation works?

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Not necessarily! It depends on the approach that you want to take and also on the type of the property. For example, there is not a lot you can do with an apartment even if you want to.

In an internal audit, the practitioner tries to allocate the most auspicious sectors for the main door, stove and beds. He also try to ensure that the most parts of the house receive enough natural sunlight and is properly ventilated. Plus to make sure that the house adhere to Feng Shui best practices and not break any “rules”. In the process it may result in quite a bit of renovation works especially if the the main door, stove and beds are currently located in inauspicious sectors.

Of course, while this is good approach, it is not the only one. Take an apartment for example. There is not much that you can change. In this case we are limited to using whatever auspicious sectors that are available and using elemental items to modify the energy in the inauspicious or less auspicious sectors (based on the Five Elements) so that we can use them.

Here is a very interesting observation. If you are currently in a good luck cycle or about to move into one, the chance is very high that you will buy a house with good Feng Shui even if you do not resort to using the selection services of a profession consultant. And the converse it also true!

You should consider using the services of a practitioner to select your next house. Here is why. In the selection process, the practitioner will ensure that the facing direction of the house is compatible with your BaZi, that it is one of good quality and with the “correct” surrounding features and free from “sha” or structures that generate killing energy.

An addition, he will also ensure that the layout of the house is optimal or close to it. A house that requires a lot of renovation to make right should be excluded from the selection list. This will result in one that requires none or very little renovations.

From my experience with my clients, the savings that you get from having to do little or no renovations, pays for the selection fees many many times over.

Feng Shui FAQ 4

A newly completed south facing house is good for wealth accumulation. While it may be auspicious for most family members it may not be so for some other. Find out why in this segment.

Also different systems of Feng Shui can result in different sets of recommendation for the same house occupied by the same occupants. How do you resolve these differences? Find out in this segment

Is a South facing house better than a North facing one?

House Facing Direction

House Facing Direction

Some ancient text did state that a south facing house is better than one that face north. I suspect the primary reason was because that undesirable cold winds blow from the north while the desirable heat (at least in the northern country) comes from the south.

Another belief is that a south facing house is good for wealth while a north facing one is north.

How true is this? I can only share with you my observations.

In a hot country like ours, getting heat is not a concern. In fact this is why most developer orientate their properties to face north or south to avoid the morning sun for east facing houses and the evening sun for west facing houses.

Over the years I have consulted on houses that face all the directions. From what I see, you can have good career growth and gain wealth if the house facing is suitable for you, the surrounding land forms are supportive and you are in a decent career and wealth luck cycle.

It may be interesting to note that from a Flying Star perspective, a south facing house in the current period of 8 is classified as “Prosper Water but not Prosper Descendants” meaning that it is good for career growth and wealth accumulation. A north facing house is classified as “Prosper Descendants and not Prosper Water” meaning that it is good for relationships and health.

So which is better? It depends on your needs. If you are in your golden years, have acquire financial security then a north facing house (especially one with a mountain behind) is better than a south facing one.

Conversely, if you are a young fellow with plenty of energy and out to conquer the world, then a south facing one may be better.

For me, I would still give more more priority to your BaZi. Figure out which are your favorable house facing directions based on your date and time of birth and then look for a matching house that means your wealth, health or descendant criteria.

I am from the West Group. Therefore I should occupy a “West” sectors (meaning NE, SW, W or NW) and face one of these directions. However my Feng Shui consultant advise differs. Why?

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The East Life West Life method of Feng Shui separates a person into either one of these groups based the person Kua element which in turn is derived from the Chinese Solar year of birth. For example if your Gua or Kua number is 2, 6, 7 or 8, you belong to the West Life group.

Gua 2 and 8 are earth element while Gua 6 and 7 are metal element. In the theory of the Five Elements, metal produce earth and hence there exist a productive or harmonious relationship.

Based on the Lo Shu, each sector of a property has an element. For example NW and W are Metal while NE and SW are Earth.

In the East-West Life system of Feng Shui, it is auspicious to match the person (based on the element of his Gua) to the element of the sector of the house.

Elements that are similar or in a productive relationship are favorable. Therefore it is auspicious for both a Gua 6 and 7 person (Metal element) to reside in the NW and W sectors which are also Metal (based on the Lo Shu). And also in the NE and SW sectors (Earth element) as there is a productive relationship.

Similarly it is auspicious for a Gua 2 and Gua 8 person (Earth element) to reside in the NE or SW sector (due to same element) and also in the NW & W sectors (due to the productive relationship between metal and earth).

However this is only one approach. The Flying Star system, on the other hand, maps the energy influence on different sectors of the house caused by the movement of the planets. At any time, some sectors of the house are auspicious and some are not. And this quality changes over time.

Therefore a consultant using the East West Life method and another using the Flying Star method will come out with different recommendations. Both are correct. Just the approach is different. It is like you have shingles (or snake). The cure offered by a traditional Chinese sinseh is different from that offered by a doctor trained in Western medicine. However both method will result in a cure!

From the approaches you can see that the East West Life method is suitable if you intend to stay in the house for a very long period. The upside to this method is there is no need to make changes but the downside is that it takes longer for the effect to be felt.

For the Flying Star method, the quality of the energy changes over time and her the house needs to be “adjusted” every 20 years to stay effective. The upside is the effect is felt faster (since you are using current energies) but the downside is that it needs to be renewed every 20 years it will lose its effect and sometimes every turn negative!

Think of it like going from point A to point B, a distance of say 2000 miles. You can drive or fly. Either way you get to your destination but the journey is different!

In the next segment, I will answer questions related to Chinese Astrology in particular BaZi and the Chinese Zodiac.

Feng Shui FAQ 3

Structures that generate “Sha” or “Killing Energy” such as a high tension pylon can depreciate the good quality of a house or certain sectors of the house if they are near enough. The popular question is how near is too near? This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the type and size of the structures.

Take a look as the FAQ below. It may give you an answer.

Plus I have a bonus question and answer on the dragon and tiger. I am referring to the side of the house rather than the animal zodiac!

Is it bad Feng Shui if there is a Tenaga substation next to my house?

I would assume that you are referring to the single storey room-like structure that is commonly found in housing estates. These sub-stations house step-down transformers that convert high tension (or high voltage) into low voltage for distribution to the nearby homes.

From a Feng Shui the qi emitted by these transformers are relative low. Furthermore these qi (both electric and magnetic) are enclosed and shunted by brick walls. It is safe to live next door to one.

However I will still not recommend you buy such a house. Why? Let me explain. Home buyers as a rule are very sensitive about such things. Many worry about high tensions pylons located even as far as 2 km away which from a Feng Shui perspective is harmless or insignificant. Many see having an electrical substation next to the house as dangerous or bad Feng Shui and are likely to refrain from buying the house. This will negatively affect the resale value.

I live on the 34th floor of my apartment. However at ground level, my apartment block faces a T-Junction. Should I worry?

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It is not auspicious if you live in a house that is located at the T of a T-junction and directly facing the incoming room. Worse if the junction is a busy one. However the negative effect is usually limited to the ground, and first floor. Perhaps higher if the junction is a busy one.

If you are located on the 34 floor, you are quite safe. Another example is an apartment unit facing a high tension pylon. These pylon are usually at a certain level for example between the 7th to 9th floor. Again if you are located on the 34 floor, the negative effective is minimal due to the distance and the fact that your downstairs neighbors would have absorbed most of the energy.

In practice, if you must, it is better to buy a unit that is on the opposite side of the pylon. Let you neighbors take the heat!

This brings us to how near is near enough. It depends on the type of sha. This is a very tough question to answer. Feng Shui is an observational meta science. Most of recommendations are based on years of observation. Ideally the further away is better and the safest. But you may wish to take note of a comment by an ancient Master. He says that “sha”, structure and land forms must be relatively near to positively or negatively affect your home. This brings me to a yardstick that I use for deciding whether a “sha” is too near, “When in doubt, stay further away!”.

Is it true that my main door must be on the left or Dragon side of my house (inside looking out)?

The left side of the house (when looking out of the facing) is known as the Dragon side and it is associated with the man of the house. The right side is know as the Tiger side and is associated with the women of the house.

Some schools of thought believe that if the door is on the Dragon side, it will benefit the man of the house. Similarly if the Dragon side of the house is higher.

It is thought that it would be disastrous if the door is on the Tiger side or the Tiger side is higher. Then the woman takes charge and the man is reduced to nothing!

This is of course not necessarily true and most systems of Feng Shui allow doors on the left and right side depending on which is more auspicious.

In any case, it is quite acceptable for the woman in the house to be ‘successful’. It helps with the household expenses. And the man gets to play more golf!

In the next segment, I will answer questions related to the the house facing and Feng Shui systems.

Feng Shui: Frequently Asked Questions 2

In my line of work, in addition to Feng Shui, I do get asked a lot of questions of Chinese astrology. Most are related to the Chinese 12 Animal Zodiac and Ba Zi or the Eight Characters. On the 12 Animal Zodiac side many especially those born in January and February are often confused over their animal sign.

On the Ba Zi side, the most common confusion is over their element. The birth time can also be a real cracker especially if the birth time is very close to on direction on the boundary between two birth hours. Which birth hour should you use to plot your birth chart? Find out how practitioners tackle this problem.

Am I a Cat or a Rat?

The 12 Animal Zodiac

The 12 Animal Zodiac

The Cat is not a member of the Chinese 12 Animal Zodiac. The closest resemblance to the Cat is the Tiger. However the Tiger is a couple of years apart from the Rat and it is unlikely you will mix them up. Confusion can arises between animals of the consecutive Zodiac e.g. between the Rat and the Ox or between the Rooster and the Dog, if you are born in January or February.

Let me explain. The Chinese Lunar New Year does not begin on the 1st Jan. Instead it begins sometime between late January and late February. For example, the Chinese Lunar year began on the 31st Jan in 2014. In the previous year, 2013, it began on the 10 February.

This year 2014 is the year of the Horse. However you are a Horse only if you are born on the 31st January or later. If you are born earlier say on the 28th January 2014, your Chinese Zodiac sign is Snake, the previous animal in the Chinese Zodiac.

To find out your real animal sign, you need to find out the day the Chinese Lunar year began on your year of birth. You can do this by using a 10000 year calendar or one of the tools on the Internet.

My mother tells me that I am Metal element person but now you tell me that I am Wood element. Which one of you is right?

We both are! There is an element associated with your year of birth. For example 2014 is known as the year of the Wood Horse. Your mother is most likely referring to this element (of the year).

Likewise there is an element associated with your day of birth and it is commonly known as the Day Master. The element may or may not be the same as the element of the year.

In the Chinese Astrology system Ba Zi, much of the analysis is done centered around the element of the Day Master. So if you speak to a Chinese astrologer he is most likely refer to this element (of the day).

And that is why you get two different answers.

Is the exact time of birth important in Chinese Astrology?

Most systems of Chinese Astrology such as Ba Zi or Zi Wei Dou Shu, uses your birth hour or “Shi Shen” to draw your birth chart. For example the hours between 11 AM and 1 PM is known as “Zi” hour, the hours between 1 PM and 3 PM as “Chou” hour and so on.

Therefore your birth chart and the subsequent reading is the same whether you are born at 11:28 PM or 12:46 AM. Both the times are within the same birth hour or “Shi Shen”.

The problem comes when you are born at the interval or very close to the interval between two birth hours. For example at 12.58 PM or 1:02 PM. Which do you use? How certain are you that the doctor who delivered you, wrote your birth time correctly. Maybe his watch was fast and you were actually born at 12:58 PM!

The solution is quite simple actually. Print both the charts and figure out which by asking questions and mapping real events to the chart.

When exactly does the Chinese New Year begins?

There are two Chinese Calendars.

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The more popular one is the Chinese Lunar Calendar that marks the start of the Chinese New Year. This calendar is based on the moon’s movement and the start date every year varies between late January and late February.

The other Chinese calendar is the Chinese Solar Calendar which is based on the sun’s movement. It is also known as the Farmers Calendar as it was first used to regulate farming activities. Like the Western calendar is has 365 days more or less in a year but unlike the Western calendar it starts on or around the 4th Feb every year. The start of the Chinese Solar year is also known as “Li Cun” of Start of Spring.

Chinese Astrology systems such as the 12 Animal Zodiac and Zi Wei Dou Shu employs the Chinese Lunar Calendar while Ba Zi and Feng Shui systems tend to use the Chinese Solar Calendar.

The Lunar Calendar is also known as the Yin Calendar while the Solar Calendar is also known as the Yang Calendar. Together they are often referred to as the Yin Yang or Luni-solar Calendar.

In the next segment, I will touch on questions related to “Sha” or “killing energy”.