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The History of Traditional Chinese Feng Shui

How Feng Shui Began

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Archaeologists and historians know that our current cycle of human evolution began almost 6000 years ago in Sumeria, current day Iraq, with an incredibly advanced civilisation. Following a climatic disorder of literally epic proportions, an exodus ensued, leading to the establishment of advanced civilisations in various parts of the world, such as India, South America and of course China and are often found in these countries cultures, myths and legends. Knowledge and understanding of the beginnings of Feng Shui is an essential basis for the implementation of Feng Shui and forms the backbone of all learning criteria. If you would like to learn more about the history of Feng Shui and more importantly, its significance, please take a look at the Key Concepts Course

The Wandering Tribes
Feng shui history begins with the "Wandering Tribes" that colonised the area now known as China. Their knowledge allowed them to establish an incredibly advanced civilisation alongside the indigenous tribes of the Yangshao and the Lungshan and part of this knowledge is still used today and known as Traditional or Classical Feng Shui.

The Tribes

It is believed that tribal leaders were named after their tribes; Fu Xi was the leader of the Animal Tribes, Shen Nong the leader of the Holy Farmers and Sui Ren, the leader of the Fire Starters.
From a Feng Shui perspective, the most important is Fu Xi, as it was he who is credited with establishing the Eight Trigrams, positioning them in an arrangement known as Xian Tian Ba Gua or "Pre Heaven Ba Gua C3300 BC.

Fu Xi Feng Shui history

Sui REn Feng Shui history

Shen Nong feng shui history

Fu Xi - The Animal Tamers with knowledge of animal husbandry, tanning, ploughing, fishing and music which naturally leads to knowledge of mathematics and geometry. Sui Ren - The Fire Starters, having knowledge of fire, chemistry and chemical process, as well as metalworking and metallurgy. Shen Nong - The Holy Farmers, who are credited with establishing farming, agriculture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

The Early Days

Between 3300 BC and the beginning of the first Dynasty C.2000 BC, much of Chinese history is shrouded in mystery. A notable hero in this period were said to be Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor, who is credited with establishing the Twelve Earthly Branches and the Ten Heavenly Stems C 2736 BC (although a similar system was already in use in Babylon many centuries before). The Stems and Branches are known to Feng Shui practitioners as the Sexagesimal Cycle and is the basis of Chinese Astrology.

Another notable figure is Da Yu, the founder of the first dynasty and inventor of hydraulic engineering. It is also believed that the first compass was invented during this period, consisting of a lodestone attached to a chariot and said to make an army invincible.

Selected Chinese Dynasties and Historical Feng Shui Implications

Dates Dynasty Traditional Feng Shui History
2000-1700 BC Xia Selecting Proper Site Divination - Astrology -Auspicious Date to Move.
1700-1027 BC Shang Oracle bone divination. Writing invented. Sundial used to measure time.
1027-771 BC Western Zhou The Book of Yi written. Sundial used for time.
770-476 BC Spring and Autumn period Lao Zi & Confucius born. The book of Yi becomes Yi Jing (I Ching)
475-221 BC Warring States period Sun Zi & Mencius born. Si Nan (Spoon compass)
221-207 BC Qin Green Satchel First Feng Shui classic written
206 BC-AD 9 / Western Han

Eastern Han
Kan Yu The way of Heaven and Earth. 24 Seasons recorded. Liu Ren Water compass used for divination. The Name of Five Spirits, Ze Ri Method of Selecting Auspicious Dates
Tu Zia Method of Selecting Auspicious Houses, Eight Spirits in Heaven, Eight Directions on Earth, Eight Methods of Selecting Living Site, Fen Ye Concept of Examining Celestial Phenomena, to Predict Good Luck or Ill Luck on Earth, Twelve Feudal Lords on Earth, Twelve Celestial Districts in Heaven, The Rise of Concept of Spirits, Good Spirits, Evil Spirits, Selecting living site or burial place, one should consult the Divine,
Five Phases Wood Fire Earth Metal Water, Five Directions East South West North Centre, Five Sounds Gong Shang Jue Zi Yu, Five Surnames, Eight Spirits in Heaven, Eight Directions on Earth, Eight Kinds of Residences to Select
AD 25-220
AD 265-316 Western Jin Guo Pu (276-324) - The writer of The Book of Burial "By means of Feng Shui one can prevail over god's work, change his own fate, and instantly create good fortune and misfortune."
AD 420-588 Southern Dynasties Qin Nang - Nine volumes of burial books in the Blue Bag, Qin Wu Zi - the name of a Feng Shui practitioner, Qin Wu Shu - Methods of selecting burial site by Qin Wu Zi.
AD 589-960 Late Tang and Five Dynasties Practising the Five Phases Theory became the current fashion. Astrological Copper mirror Found. There were over 120 different schools using Five Phases Theory on selecting burial sites. Theory on selecting burial sites. Books of Five Surname Theory, on selecting living places, on selecting burial sites. Use of Talismans.
AD 960-1368 Southern Song - Ming

East/West System. Flying Stars System Three Yuan Nine Yun System - Three Cycles and Nine Fate System. 4 types of compass needle developed, consisting of Fingernail, wet, dry and hanging methods. Seam needle developed. Yuan - Magnetic tortoise compass developed.
Plum Flower Method devised by Shao Yong, also square and circular arrangements for 64- Hexagrams.

AD 1368-1644 Ming - Qing Development of compass rings. 2 essential classics on the use of Luo Pan written. Birth of Jiang Da Hong - Flying Star Master.
AD 1986 - date "New age Feng Shui" based on the power of a positive mind further developed by Thomas Lin Yun in California USA. Please note that this system is very different from Traditional Feng Shui and has been the main source of confusion about Feng Shui over recent years.
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