All manner of things shall be well.

Solar fortnight beginning:

Sunday August 23rd 2009 08.35

Month: Yum Shen, The Water Monkey

Solar Fortnight:  Chu Shu, Limit of Heat

All manner of things shall be well.

Alice wants me to look at her new house in a hurry. Actually I didn’t know she had moved.

It’s the metal season now. The fire of summer but for a brief sharp spit that will come in mid-October, is gone. Although it seems like only a few days since the branches were bare, leaves are already browning and the tomatoes relishing the late summer sun, are finally turning red. Seems like a typical English summer, a tad wet maybe. When I was a boy it seemed to be hot from April to October. Then I thought the summer lasted forever. Now many experts predict that wet summers will become the norm.

Not James Lovelock. Now 91, Lovelock suggests, in his Gaia books, that there is nothing much to be done about global warming. What we have to do, he says, is adjust. We’re going to have to rethink. For decades everything has been getting faster, bigger, easier and more disposable. This may be about to change. Since Darwin we have thought of the passing of time as the same thing as progress. It isn’t. I look at the dinky little cardboard chips that come with my new phone and wonder when these will become so valuable they are fought over.

Which raises another question. How is it that with universal computerisation everything is instantaneous but it still takes three days for a bank credit to show on my account?

As I get into the car to drive to Alice’s new house only a couple of miles from my own, Rajul emails, shaken by a vision of his long dead mother.

“She was beckoning me to join her,” he says.

“Unusual energy this week,” I reassure him. “The veil between the worlds is especially thin. Treat it as a privilege.”

I arrive at Alice’s house which I can see right away is a very poor choice. Why didn’t she contact me before choosing this turkey? These days most Estate Agents put property and orientation online and I can glean what I need to know in minutes; it would have been a moment’s work.

She is waiting out on her driveway for me. Just as well I’m on time. I park and scold her. It’s a sunny day and a light wind plays across the grass. Her compact front lawn is bordered by a fence with open slats. The wind rushes through them.

“You need a Dragon’s Claw,” I tell her.

“Dragon’s Claw?”

“Something to hold the energy. That fence wants to be 4 feet high minimum and the gaps between the slats filled in.”

I guide her eye across the neighbour’s lawn.

“That’s not much better, The fence is just as flimsy. But look there,” I add, pointing two doors away.

The next door neighbour but one has a solid fence on two sides and the garden is rich with flowers, the grass a deeper green.

“They’re getting yours, ” I tell Alice.

We measure the orientation of the house; it’s SW-NE. This is stubborn but a healthy change from her last one where all the trouble was in the North West. The North West means Daddy stuff and that property had a huge shed in the NorthWest full of her father’s tut. She works for him too. And at that time she was at her wit’s end with her partner. That improved. Now that she has moved, she is frantic again. Not a great house, as I said.

Throughout her childhood her parents were on the edge of breaking up. She weeps softly as she tells me. Her father was often angry and her mother cut off from him, flirted with other men and eventually left him for one. She planned her departure tidily for her daughter ‘s last term at school, following ten years of Alice knowing this and dreading the day.

A psychologist once told me that she can spot on an adult’s face the last frozen gesture of the child. Sometimes it’s fear she said, more often dashed hope. She used to wonder what it was that had actually happened to take the child out of paradise. No prizes for guessing this with Alice.

She does not attribute the tears to her parents but to her partner who has now moved out. He is a seeker; last time I surveyed he was off to the Far East to find himself. Where had he been mislaid? Now he thinks they « should not be together for a while. » If we translate that into English it means he does not want to be with her. But he won’t say that; it has to be dressed up in spiritual guff. I am sure he has his own childhood traumas to confront but blokes in kaftans are no different from blokes in suits: as a generality commitment scares the waste products out of them. She is waiting patiently while he solicits divine inspiration and her heart is breaking. I don’t know whether it’s solitude, other women or simply his holy books he is tormenting her with.

Nonetheless since the last survey she has become stronger and more prosperous and more articulate but still she has about her this air of the damaged child. The house is giving me clues. A SouthWesterly position threatens Mummy stuff. I look on my luo pan for the Hexagram for this configuration.

Every possible orientation of a house relates to the changing line of a Hexagram from the Book of Changes. This one is Number 18 with the 2nd line changing. Hexagram 18 is gu, that is Poison. The Chinese think in terms of process. Midday, the hour of the Horse, is not at 12 but from eleven to one. So gu probably means, I explain, not that she is entering a period of upset but that she is being offered the opportunity to emerge from one. The image is of scorpions placed in a vessel and left to fight it out. The Zhou diviners of the 2nd Millennium BC considered the last scorpion standing to be especially magical: no RSPCA in those days of course.

Gu is generally considered to refer to someone encountering deep emotional issues. The text attached to the changing line of the Hexagram* is:

The business of the mother’s, poisoned. Unable to make a divination.

One interpretation is that the problem is her Mother’s behaviour. Broadly I suspect, Alice would do anything rather than gallivant like her mother. She remembers so well her father’s pain. She lived it. Sometimes a child can’t tell where she ends and the parent begins.

The changing line turns the Hexagram to Number 57 sun, which I take to amount to advice to be very thorough in dealing with her upset.

* Wu Jing Nuan edition ISBN 0-9673272-0-2

Walking around the house I find it impossible to obtain consistent measurements. The magnetic needle on my compass is looping the loop. The house appears to have at least two major flaws which make interior decor very low priority:

“There is serious magnetic interference. This is generally caused either by electricity or underground water.”

“Oh dear.”

“And it sits in what is called a Parent String pattern.”

“Is that bad?”

“No actually.”

The Parent String is rather a good configuration as long as the house is regularly shaped. The porch at the rear however has bent it out of shape; it sticks out making the outline irregular. We do some work to restore the outline. But this is a virtual cure which may last three months. The porch actually needs knocking down and it’s not her house.

Alice’s ten-year-old Cyan, hates her partner.

“That’s her business,” she says,

“How long have you been together ?”

“Six years,” she says sheepishly.


We take steps to divert the underground stream that is running under the front of the house. She will need to renew the path with new-moon charged crystals and report back to me as things change. Meanwhile we place moving water very precisely outside in the garden at shen in the South West and a large Buddha opposite in the front garden at yan the Tiger in the North East.

“I am sorry I couldn’t simply adjust your curtains and put in a couple of windchimes but sometimes feng shui isn’t like that. Usually by the way, when major positive change is just round the corner.”

On my way home Lindy calls me. She is inconsolable.

“That guy,” she says,” The Turkish guy. You told me he’d lie to me. How did you know?”

It was the ba zi, your honour.

“The same way I can tell you that you can choose to have the next guy be worth the trouble. There’s a cosmic law: straight after someone who is not quite right comes someone who is. It’s not divine will or a court order. It’s your choice. Honest.”

She rants a while and cries and I remind her that she was fine pre-Turk and she’ll be fine post-Turk.

James Lovelock thinks that temperate islands like ours will be largely unchanged by global warming. We’ll lose some land but it won’t turn to desert as Southern Europe will, he says. Japan, New Zealand and the British Isles may be become very desirable. What we have to do is get ready to adapt. I think he’s probably right. He also suggests that nuclear power is the way forward. Wind power will not provide enough and solar power will not be harnessed in time, while coal and oil just make everything worse. Yup, sticks in my throat too.

I arrive home. It’s Thursday. Tomorrow is the first day of the Reading Festival. We’ve made a deal with Joey, our 14-year old. We won’t let him camp. We’ll take him to the Festival each day. The deal is he sees the bands, we see the car park. In my daughter Jessie’s part of the house – South for showbusiness – three of her four tea-light candles are burning strong as we turn everything off and go to bed.

Richard Ashworth © 2009

Names have been changed to protect..uh…me. My (still) super-duper (still) revamped website is at and The Feng Shui Diaries the book is available now from:
And of course all good bookshops. Do buy it from a bookshop if you can.

49, Midhurst Road,

Fernhurst, Haslemere,

GU27, 3EN

tel: 01428 658900

fax: 01428 658990

One to One Consultations:

Holistic Centre, Godalming, Surrey | tel: 01483 418103

31 Harley St, London W1 | tel: 01428 658900

Corporate and Media Contact:

Peter Dunne. Tel. 07768 617330

© Richard Ashworth 2009

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