Feng Shui Institute: Traditional Chinese Feng Shui

the luo pan chinese compass

Luo Pan compassThe Luo Pan compass (sometimes referred to as a Lo Pan) has been developed in China over the last 2,000 years. As every traditional Feng Shui master of note has added his knowledge and experience to the Luo Pan during this time, it contains the sum total of Feng Shui knowledge to date and is therefore invaluable to a Feng Shui professional.

"Luo" means a net that encompasses everything, whilst "pan" means utensil or plate. This allegorically refers to the union of Heaven and Earth and specifically to the electro magnetic field that holds all matter together.

How is a Luo Pan Different?

Just like any other magnetic compass, the Luo Pan is a direction finder. However, unlike most compasses, a Luo Pan needle points towards the south magnetic pole. A Feng Shui compass also looks very different from normal compasses as the compass itself is embedded into a wood or metal free moving circular plate known as the "Heaven Dial". This is where the rings and Feng Shui formulas are shown.

The Heaven Dial sits on a square wooden base, known as the "Earth Plate" and there is often a spirit level in one corner of the Earth Plate to ensure that the compass is being held level. To find a direction and the specific information regarding that direction, a red wire or thread should cross through the centre of the Luo Pan.

A conventional compass normally only shows four or eight directions and although it can be used for Feng Shui purposes, a Luo Pan shows the full 360 degrees, the twenty four directions known as the "Twenty Four Mountains", as well as various formulas relating to the direction. These all allow the practitioner to be extremely accurate as to the orientation of the building and the specific energy of the direction.

Chinese or English Luo Pan?

The information on a professional Luo Pan is typically written in Chinese, not just because Feng Shui originated in China, but because the many Chinese characters shown on a traditional Luo Pan contain hidden information and formulas that cannot easily be shown or explained using English words. Quite simply, translating all the information shown on a traditional Luo Pan into English would make the Luo Pan impossibly large and unmanageable. Essentially, to get professional Feng Shui results, all the information shown on a traditional Luo Pan should be taken into account, however to practise the basic Bagua system of Feng Shui in your home or office, any compass should suffice and here we show you how to use a basic compass.

Types of Professional Luo Pan

There are two main types of Luo Pan, namely the San He meaning triple combination, which is used at an elementary level and the advanced level of Luo Pan, the San Yuan, meaning three eras. There is also a combined Luo pan called a Zhong He. Luo Pans also come in various sizes ranging from 4" corresponding to the four seasons, 8" based on the Ba Gua and 12" for the twelve Earthly Branches or animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Luo Pan Rings

Some rings on the Luo Pan are paired and cannot not be used alone, some are used for direction only, whilst others carry important messages associated with timing. Although appearing extremely complex, an understanding of the Five Elements allows us to quickly determine the auspiciousness of a direction through the use of the "Twenty Four Mountains".

Although most rings use Five Elements, there are some that are based on the "Twelve Palaces". These stages of life range from birth, through maturity to death and then re-birth, and tell us the strength of an element in a particular direction.

luo pan compass rings
0 Heaven Pool
1 Registration Mark
2 Pre Heaven Trigrams
3 Late Heaven Trigrams
4 24 Mountains
5 Menace & persecution ring
6 Correct needle San Yuan earth plate
7 Auspicious direction in 9 periods
8 San Yuan water dragon gates 8 boundaries
9 Houng Fun wu xing or big wu xing
10 Pre Heaven Luo Shu & qua of square chart
11 64 Gua & positions
12 Pre Heaven 64 Gua & Luo Shu of round chart
13 Hexagram names
14 The 64 hexagrams 9 fate star
15 64 hexagrams & 60 Jia Zi
16 Pre Heaven 64 Gua round charts Luo Shu
17 Father, mother and three Yuan hexagrams
18 Directional hexagrams
19 Running of 384 hexagram lines
20 Sun arrive to mountain and face
21 24 Seasons
22 Qi Men Dun Jia
23 Lunar Mansion degrees
24 Auspicious/Inauspicious positions
25 28 Lunar Mansions
26 360 degrees

The FSI provides training in the application and use of the Chinese compass through one of our feng shui accredited schools or online feng shui courses. You can buy a Luo Pan from us here