The Essentials

  • Yin and Yang
  • San He: 4 celestial animals
  • 5 Elements
  • Bagua- technique for finding your own gua

Yin and Yang

The very bases of Feng Shui rest on the principle of the Yin and Yang and are essential to the understanding of this science.

Yin and Yang are two energies: one passive, the other active. It is the concept of duality. All Yin contains Yang and vice versa. They are two cosmic forces that give balance to life and model it. They are opposites in a continual state of ebb and flow. Opposite forces that complement each other. High and low, day and night, love and hate, nothing exists in an absolute form, nothing is self sufficient.

The representation of the Yin and Yang let us surmise that we are part of a cycle, that nothing is permanent: through all, we must attain an equilibrium. IT IS THE GOAL OF FENG SHUI,

to reach balance and harmony, the coexistence of Yin and Yang.

The Qi (energy) is the product of a blend of Yin and Yang in our environment: water and the mountains. Yin is represented by the mountain, because Yin is passivity, stillness and Yang is water, all that moves and is active.

If we look at it in every day life, the rooms where activity is prevalent are Yang, for example the main front door. The rooms where you relax, are Yin, for example the bedroom.

If we apply this to the human being, one who is intellectual or more spiritual is more Yin and inversly, the practical one, the athletic , one who is down to earth is Yang. None of us is all one or the other, we are a mixture of both.

San He: 4 celestial animals

We refer here to the school of form, San He. The starting point is the front door, the mouth of the Qi.

One of the  goasl of Feng Shui is to find the perfect location to sit a house. The site is the first thing that we analyse in a reading. We have  to remember that 70% of the results depend on the outside configuration, the manner in which house sits in the environment.

We always look for the security provided by the 4 celestial animals. They are a landscape formation made of mountains or buildings in the city. This configuration protects the house from the aggression of the wind.

Stand behind the main entrance door and note what surrounds you outside:

THE TURTLE (mountains or houses or buildings): should ideally be situated behing the house, to protect the back of the house, to bring in the house, stability, health and family harmony. It would look like the back of a chair, strenghtening it’s back.

THE DRAGON (left of the house), it represents the paternal authority, financial prosperity and the career. Always standing with your back to the front door, you would have a mountain or house or building- like the left arm of the chair.

THE TIGER (right of the house), is the representation of the women, notoriety, communication. The right arm of the chair.

THE PHENIX (in front of the house) is the blend of Yin and Yang. It should be in the form of a small mound, nothing to do with the size of the turtle in the back, it should not block the view. It is an area that should welcome the Qi. It represents the opportunities for future development.

The base of all good Feng Shui resides in these principles.


5 elements are also derived from the Yin and Yang. These elements correspond to the cycle of the 5 transformations. The elements interact together. They represent 5 types of energy and they are linked to 3 cycles of the Qi.

These 5 elements are FIRE – EARTH – METAL- WATER- WOOD  and they interact in 3 cycles:

The productive cycle, the weakening cycle and the controling cycle.

A:  The Production cycle


FIRE produces EARTH which in turn produces METAL  that transforms into  liquid, WATER which in turn nourishes WOOD  that feeds FIRE

B:  The Weakening Cycle


This cycle is not aggressive but it reduces in a natural way, the strength of an element if we need to do so.

FIRE can be attenuated by  EARTH and it is itself weakened by METAL (to remove metal from earth, you have to break it). In turn, METAL is weakened when it is liquified and

WATER is exhausted by nourishing WOOD which  is weakened by feeding FIRE.

C: The Control Cycle


This cycle is really aggressive and should not be used needlessly.

FIRE melts METAL which in turn cuts WOOD which, with its roots takes vital elements from EARTH that stops WATER  that extinguishes FIRE


Trigrams are intimately linked to Yin and Yang:

To compose a trigram, you need three lines, the cosmic Trinity, Heaven, Man and Earth.

A broken line is Yin and a full one is Yang.

The trigrams start from the absolutely pure Yin, 3 broken lines superposed to absolutely pure Yang, 3 full lines superimposed passing through combinaisons of Yin and Yang.

There exists 8 base trigrams that form 64 combinaisons or hexagrams. They are the base of the Yi Jing or the Book of Transformations.

The 8 trigrams or guas are associated to a cardinal direction, an element, parts of the body, sicknesses, an animal, a colour, a character…… Depending of our year of birth, our month of birth, we have a particular gua . This gua represents the relation between the person and his living space and environment. It is very important in the Ba Zhai system of analysis (when we subdivide the house or appartment into “palaces”)

Method for calculating the Ming Gua or life trigram


The solar Chinese New Year starts the 4 th of February. Anyone born before this date, belongs to the year before and must do calculations accordingly.



The two last numbers of the year of birth are added together to the smallest number and then substracted from 10 (constant number)



  • Man born 6th June 1962.

After the 4th of February, so we add 6+2= 8 then substracted from 10 – 8= 2

His Gua is 2   Kun

  • If the result is  10 or over, we add both numbers before substracting from 10

6th June 1986, we add 8 +6 = 14  we then add 1+4= 5 then substracting from 10-5= 5

5 for a man transforms into 2  Kun

  • If a man is born 3rd of January 1998

Before the 4th of Feb, we take the year before 1997

9+7= 16 and  1+6= 7 and 10 – 7= 3 Gua, Zhen












The two last numbers of the year of birth are added together, to the smallest number and added to 5 (constant number)



  • Woman born June 6th 1953

5+3= 8 to which we add 5  –  8+5 =  13  , we reduce it to the smallest 1+3= 4 Xun

  • If the total is 5 for a woman, it is transformed into 8 Gen Gua

3rd of February 1928. Birth before the 4th of February, we consider year 1927

2+ 7 = 9 to which we add 5      9+5= 14 and 1+4 = 5  transformed into 8 Gen Gua





Take the 2 last numbers of the year of birth, add them together.  Substract that number from 9 (constant number from  year 2000)



  • 14th of January 2014- before Feb 4th so 2013

1 +3 = 4  substracted from 9       9 – 4 = 5 which transforms into 2 Kun Gua



Take the last 2 numbers of the year of birth, add them together and then add the 6 (constant number)


  • 5th of February 2008 –  0+8=  8 we then add 6     8+6= 14   1+ 4 =  5

For women, number 5 transforms into 8  Gen Gua


The Guas are grouped in 2 categories, the East and the West. Each of these groups have directions that are favourable and unfavourable.

East Guas:   1 – 3 – 4 – 9  Favorable directions: North – South- East-  South-East

West Guas: 2 – 6 – 7 – 8 Favorable directions: West-  North-West   – North-East- South-West

Reference chart to find rapidly your Ming Gua, in relation to your year of birth

Please remember that the  solar chinese new year starts the 4th of February



9 8 7 6 2 4 3 2 1
1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918
1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927
1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936
1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954
1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963
1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972
1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981
1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 8




The goal of Feng Shui is to find an equilibrium Yin-Yang. The human being reacts to the environment depending on which Gua he is. We also look for a balance of the Elements.

Remember: Feng Shui results depend 70% on the outside environment (San He- forms of the land) and 30% the inside of the house.

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