Form School Feng Shui

We do not exist on earth as a solitary entity. Our earth is constantly interacting energetically with the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets. This interaction is the balance of Heaven and Earth referred to by Feng Shui. These influences have caused mountains, lakes, deserts, valleys, rivers and lakes to be created on the face of the earth by the movement of Qi over time. As such, the study of the influence of Qi and water on earth is key to understanding Feng Shui and the effects of Qi upon a property.

Mountain landforms are Yin (solid, stable, still) in nature, while Water landforms are Yang (fluid, changing, fluid).  A Mountain will affect your health while Water will affect your wealth.

Land Forms and the 5 Elements

Landforms can be classified into the Five Elements according to their shapes. This includes both mountains, or, in an urban environment, buildings:  

  • Mountains/buildings that are sharp and pointed at the top (church spires) are considered Fire in nature.
  • Mountains/buildings  that are relatively flat on top are considered Earth. 
  • Mountains/buildings  with rounded appearances (domes) are associated with Metal.  
  • Mountains/buildings  that have irregular, "wavy" forms are associated with Water.  
  • Mountains/buildings  that are tall and slender are Wood.

While man-made objects do not generate Qi, the shapes can cause them to attract certain types of Qi over time. If a room is filled with sharp-edged, pointed objects the energy attracted will be fast, hot and erratic, much like the flames of a fire. Would you want this energy in your den or family room? Sharp, pointed objects and landforms will cut and slice the Qi of whatever it is facing, destroying it's balance and harmony.  According to Lillian Too in A Master's Course in Feng Shui, architects in certain cities use this principle to attempt to destroy the good Qi of a competitor!

The 4 Celestial Animals

The best way to understand the philosophy behind the Feng Shui of landforms is to think of the qualities of places ancient peoples chose to build dwellings and cities. They looked for protection (health) and a source for food and water (wealth). In this search, they noticed that these landforms resembled and corresponded to giant collections of constellations in the sky. These constellations take the form of the desirable qualities of a good building site—one that would promote both health and wealth. These constellations are:

  • Black Tortoise—7 constellations in the Northern sky
  • White Tiger—7 constellations in the Western sky
  • Red Phoenix—7 constellations in the Southern sky
  • Green Dragon—7 constellations in the Eastern sky

It is assumed that one is facing South when considering these formations. Therefore, according to Master Eva Wong, looking toward the facing direction of the property, the Green Dragon (Yang – money) will be on the left, while the White Tiger (Yin – health) is on the right. The Black Tortoise is located behind the property, and the Red Phoenix occupies the space in front of the property. When these forms exist, the property is both protected and has access to good Qi for the accumulation of wealth. If one form is missing, protection is missing in that direction. If one aspect is too large, it will impede the Qi from entering the property appropriately.

The Green Dragon and White Tiger form the left and right "embrace" of the property. The Red Phoenix, in the front of the property, helps prevent Qi from leaking away.  If it is too large, it will block Qi form entering the property and thus hinder the family wealth .The Black Tortoise acts as a protector and should be the highest of the four landforms. If the Black Tortoise is missing or too small, there can be problems with the residents' descendants. (Think of the phrase "I have your back!" This means the person is watching out for you—looking to protect you from things you cannot see because your back is turned. Likewise, the Black Tortoise represents this type energetic protection for your property. It also represents those who have gone before you— your ancestors. Therefore, it will also affect your descendants.)  If the Black Tortoise is too high, however, it can isolate you too much.

The Green Dragon landform should ideally be higher than the White Tiger landform. If the White Tiger landform is significantly higher it can lead to bodily injury to the occupants. If the Green Dragon landform is so much higher than the White Tiger that it completely throws off the balance of the environment, it can cause money problems.


"The highest goodness resembles water

Water greatly benefits myriad things without contention

It stays in places that people dislike

Therefore it is similar to the Tao"


Lao Tsu, Chapter 8, Dao de Jing




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