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What is Feng Shui?
Feng means "wind," and shui means "water" (pronounced fung-shway). In Chinese culture, gentle wind and smooth water have always been associated with a good harvest and good health, while harsh winds and stagnant water have been linked to famine and disease. Therefore, "good" feng-shui has come to mean good livelihood and fortune, and "bad" feng-shui has come to mean hardship and misfortune.
Feng-shui is not a superstition or a set of do's and don'ts. It is the art and science of understanding the forces of nature in order to design houses and workplaces that blend with the environment instead of clashing with it. It aims to help us live in harmony with the world by promoting the flow of positive energy and neutralizing or avoiding negative or destructive energy.
What use does the compass serve?
The Chinese Feng Shui Compass, is an ancient tool that has been in use by feng shui masters for thousands of years. The Compass measures the good "chi" energy in a room and can help determine where the favourable and not so favourable feng shui zones are in a house.
The geomantic compass is called the "lo-p'an." ("Lo" means "everything," and "p'an" means "bowl." Thus, the lo-p'an is a bowl containing the key to the mysteries of the universe.) The geomantic compass of traditional Chinese feng-shui consists of bands of concentric rings arranged around a magnetic needle. Two most important rings in the compass shown here are the Pre-celestial ring and the Twenty-four Directions ring.
The Pre-celestial (or Earlier Heaven) ring is the one closest to the center. The trigrams imprinted around this ring describe the realm of underlying reality and the unchanging laws of existence. Energy in this realm is present in all things, and can be tapped to influence the flow of energy in the land.
The Twenty-four Directions ring (the third ring from the center) is used to determine the facing direction of a site. The markings on this ring correspond to the eight standard compass directions subdivided into three segments each. In traditional Chinese feng-shui, the direction in which a building faces is determined by a twenty-four-point compass like this one rather than an eight-point compass.