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Brief History of Feng Shui
by: Fu Gui Consultant



Empirical evidences have been proved that Feng Shui was developed by Chinese peoples since more than five thousand years ago. The basic concept of feng Shui was concluded from observing the natural cycles especially the earth orbit around the sun.

By observing the sky, ancient chinese peoples have known earlier than Western peoples that the sun was the centre of the universe, not the earth. Mean while western peoples knew it in 16th century, when Copernicus, Yohannes Keppler and Galileo Galilei, announced they invention about the movement/orbit of the earth around the sun.


Based on the movement of the earth around the sun, especially when the earth rotates on its axis ( north and south ), emerges the concepts of Yin and Yang. A half part of the earth is bright because of the sunlight shines on it, and the other part is dark. The bright part of the earth is called yang and the other is called yin.

The ancient chinese philosophers applied those natural phenomena against daily life, for example, yang represents heaven and yin represents the earth, yang represents the sun, yin represents the moon, yang represents daylight, yin represents night, yang represents male and yin represents female, yang represents positive and yin represents negative, yang represents hard and yin represents soft, and yang represents hot while yin represents cold, etc.

The entire life of the universe moves continuously in state of balance and harmony, because the interaction of Yang and Yin. When yin becomes stronger than yang and vice versa, the condition becomes unbalanced.

The Symbol of Yin and Yang above, describes that our world has two different or opposite sides, and this implied movement represents the ways in which yin and yang are mutually arising, interdependent, and continuously transforming, one into another. Night becomes day, and day becomes night, birth becomes death, and death becomes birth. The point ( black and white )within the circle represent that there are no absolute thing in this world, both black or white.

So everything is imperfect in nature, everything is relative ( theory of relativity of Albert Einstein ).There are not completely black or white, just as things in our life are not completely perfect, and they cannot exist without each other. Within the kindness there is a little evil, and within the wickedness there is little kindness.
Thus Yin Yang ( balance ) is the basic concept of Feng Shui.



The concept of five elements emerge from the interaction between yin and yang, when yin changes into yang and yang changes into yin. Yin is identical to the night and yang is identical to the day, when yin becomes yang it is called morning, when yang becomes yin it is called afternoon. Night is cold so it is said to be Yin, and the element is Water. When the condition is cool in the morning, the element is Wood. Mean while in the daytime the condition is hot so it is said to be yang, and the element is Fire. When the condition becomes cool again in the afternoon, the element is Metal.

Apart from daily nature observation mentioned above, also made observation of the earth orbit around the sun which is 365 days long (1 year), when the Earth is at its furthest from the sun (aphelion point) from May until July it is categorized Fire element, while the Earth is at its closest to the sun (perihelion point) from November until January it is categorized Water element. Water is identical to the yin and the fire is identical to the yang. When Yin (water) becomes Yang (fire) from February until April, it is categorized by Wood element , and then when Yang (fire) becomes Yin (water) from August until October it is categorized by Metal element.

Based on the rotation of the universe above (per day and per year) emerges four seasons, water element influences from November until January which is called Winter, Wood element influences from February until April is called Spring, Fire element influences from May until July which is called Summer, Metal element influences from August until October is called Autumn.

But then where is the Earth element comes from? Earth element is identical to the planet earth itself. After finding the element 5 in accordance with the energy changes from yin to yang and from yang to yin, then the five elements are about cycles and forms pattern of change and are related to each other. To understand how these cycles and patterns work, they arrange three relationship of the five elements. Those relationships are as follow :

PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP : Wood feeds Fire, Fire produces Earth, Earth contains metal, and Metal gives birth to Water ( through condensation ), Water grows Wood.

DESTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP : Wood mashes Earth, Earth absorbs Water, Water extinguishes Fire, Fire melts Metal, Metal cuts Wood.

DESTRUCTIVE INVERSE RELATIONSHIP : Wood dulls Metal, Metal weaken Fire, Fire evaporates Water, Water erodes Earth, Earth breaks Wood.



Chinese compass ( Luo Pan ) is the result of mapping natural energy changes (from Yang to Yin and vice versa) arising from the movement of sunlight on the earth’s surface for one day or 24 hours. Sunlight moves on the earth’s surface every hour is 15 degrees, for 1 day then the sun will move one full circle (15 degrees x 24 hours = 360 degrees).

Those energy influence, when the sunlight moves on the surface of the earth, are mapped in order to the compass direction. Each energy consists of three elements which are Wood energy is in the east, Metal energy is in the west, Fire energy is in the south, Water energy is in the north, while in the Northeast, Northwest , Southeast and Southwest are Earth energy , plus four Gua (Qian = Heaven, Kun = Earth, Gen = Mountain, Xun = wind ), the total amount of the energy are 24, it is also called 24 Mountain.

Chinese compass is used to knowing the energy in the home or work place. By knowing the energy and its influences, so people can take an advantage of natural energy (5 elements) to achieve balance and harmony between man and his environment.

If the energy between human and his environment ( home / work place ) are balanced, the environment becomes comfortable , so people can rest well, think well, work well and eventually will get optimal results.

Balance is the main purpose of applying Feng Shui in architectural design, it is not related to a particular religion , mystical, and superstition.