Going to see the river man

Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diary

for the month of the Metal Rabbit

Friday March 6th 2011 06.43


Hour Day Month Year
Earth   Metal  Metal Metal
gay gung tsun tsun
muw shen muw muw
Rabbit Monkey Rabbit Rabbit
“Hey, woo works!! Did I ever doubt it?  No. We have had an offer on the house, so the excitement begins!  Was wondering about painting of the gate and the door, will this help the sale to progress smoothly, I wonder ?  Need good dates to do this if so?   Slight panic about where we are going to go, need to find a house by the end of July if all goes according to plan!”

 Going to see the river man.

I’m walking by the river. It’s called the Wey which may be a bit of a clue as to why I have chosen to take the path along its bank back to my office. One of the secrets of feng shui is that most energy is outside. It’s a river; there’s real wind here and real water. I can feel it in the damp turf and the breeze.

I used to walk by here every day. Back then I knew where the otters hid. I knew which trees hanging over the water were awaiting the high wind that would turn them into bridges. I’ve seen this narrow stretch of river so swollen that the banks were ankle deep and so dry I could have waded acros. I’ve seen herons with six-foot wing spans hang over the water like kites.

Once we lived in a house just back from this bank. I remember Joey ambling with me along it when he was a little boy. I remember Zusu the dog scampering into the rushes here in search of her tennis ball and emerging fetid with mud. That was a good time.

I’ve been visiting Carl whose apartment almost overlooks that house. His mother is dying.

“I’m managing the grief,” he says. He means not that he is getting by despite it but that he is administering his pain. It’s the sort of sweet, slightly robotic thing he would say.

“Grief is respectful,” I say. “Human beings are complex, a long time in the making. Rather than manage your grief perhaps you might seek the unmanageable.”

He looks away. I feel the pang. Who am I to make such a suggestion? Apparently it is greater to give than to receive. It’s also a lot easier. I get to be clever; he gets to hurt. I’m not sure that’s a fair distribution.

Carl’s apartment faces ding in the South. This orientation, just off the cardinal point, is sometimes called candle flame. Such a flame is easily blown out. Often it speaks of the fragile ego of the performer and Carl is an actor who became a trainer. He’s a profound, kind and wise man, the sort others depend upon in a crisis. I am here to freshen up his feng shui for the Year of the Metal Rabbit. I have done this every year for the past few and he’s fared pretty well. Last year we agreed it was time for him to set up on his own and we fixed a date. The year that has followed has been his most successful.

«Nothing to do with you being good at what you do or working hard, of course.» I say to him.

He smiles with mixed ruefulness and puzzlement.

This year the South West which represents the Mother, is healthy. Last year it wasn’t; it hosted the wu huang or Five Yellow, the sickness star. I notice that in that location on a shelf behind the television, he has placed a saltwater sickness cure, copied from a Lillian Too book. It’s home made; a pot of salt, saturated with water and topped with six copper coins. It’s quite well put together but it’s not ornamental.

“Not this year,” I tell him. “The cure is not timely.”

Another smile.

He picks it up and we place it in the East which hosts this year’s Five Yellow. The East is the place of the Eldest Son. Eldest sons, men in their prime, the thrusting, the ambitious are all at risk this year. And since they are at risk it may be that we are able to pluck them to safety. Not the Mother; whatever it means, her sickness is over.

Up the steep slope behind the house there is a break in the vegetation. It’s in the North West, the realm of the Father. Something could come tumbling down there. I remember I’ve remarked on this before.

“How’s your Dad?”

“Frantic. She wakes in the night and panics that he has left.”

They’ve talked and talked. Carl has helped every way he can. Such a good man.

Taoists divide events, energy and indeed most other things into the categories Heaven, Man and Earth. Heaven chi is the cards we are dealt, the predicament we find ourselves in when we arrive on Earth. Blue eyes and being born in South East England are Heaven chi. It’s not obvious how we might change this. Earth chi consists of methods like feng shui (and indeed physics) for dealing with the predicament. They’re measurable, these systems. That’s the reason Feng Shui Masters like to call feng shui a science. Human chi is choice and the fact is that Human chi rules Heaven chi. Choice can transform the jam we find ourselves in. But remember that the original choice was ours too. Mine, yours, Carl’s, his Mother’s. The conditions into which we are born include that it all ends. Why would that be? God knows. We appear to be here to learn something but no charm, no elemental cure, no juju, no mumbo-jumbo is going to change these conditions. I remember my own Mother grinning from her hospital bed as if death could at worst be no worse than the worst of her life.

“What’s for sure,” I say, “Is that in time, we lose everything we are attached to. We wouldn’t want not to feel grief and we know as survivors, that our bereavement is a one-at-a-time thing. But for the dying everything is lost.”


“Individuality, these precious identities we build.”

His eyes cloud again. I suggest he breathes deeply into his diaphragm where he has put on a little weight. It’s only a while since Christmas after all.

“After the loss there’s more but none of us is quite sure of that, are we?”


Over his shoulder past the Dylan Moran dvds, I see his book-marked copies of Zhuang Tze, Marianne Williamson and Eckart Tolle.

Time to go. I hug him. He’s a good and serious man.

Everybody dies, I remind myself. I dont know whether that’s a comfort. 

The new leaves of the trees on the banks seem to shiver in the Spring cold and I remember a diagram in an elementary science textbook showing the sun as an orange and explaining that proportionately the Earth was the size of a speck of dust about half a mile away. The big taboos are like this. If the toilet taboo, the fact that nourishment goes through our bodies, is at arm’s length then sex is across the room and death is a mote in the distance, so far away most of us ignore it every day of our lives. And the fact is that once all the speculation is stripped away, all we truly know is that we are each spinning alone in darkness on an imaginary ball of mud. And as Peter Hammill wrote, «the least we can do is wave to each other.»

They say life’s a bitch and then you die. It’s not, I think. It’s great and then you live. And I am down by the river now thinking of Zusu returning the ball to little Joey. I’m not sure of any of these things and I’m pretty suspicious of anybody who is.

I speed up. Time I was back in the office.

Ba Zi (and other) Training this year

Due to my writing commitments we are not running any formal training in the first part of the year. We expect however to put on the ba zi starter course Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars again towards the end of the year as well as one or two advanced events. Let us know if you want to be on the priority booking list and we’ll give you whatever information we have as soon as we have made up our minds.

Corner Kicks

Because of the way this year’s lo shu or magic square coincides with the ho tu diagram, the central feng shui trick is pushing energy through from the sound healthy areas to the less fortunate ones. Last month I told you about the procedure for pacifying the East where the tai sui or year energy is. From this month you can start to push through from the North West and lend the shaky North some of the prosperity of the North West. Again simply place a bowl of 30 small rose quartz tumblestones in the North West and take one through to the North every day. At the New Moon (next one: Friday March 4th 20:47), wash (in springwater) the stones which will by now all be in the North, return them to the North West and carry on. You can do this all year. Watch this space for another wheeze next month.

Feng Shui on tv

The BBC Housebusters tv show has been on again this month. It seems a long time ago but I think it remains the only time Classical feng shui has been highlighted on UK primetime terrestrial tv. If you missed it you can see a short sequence on Youtube just click here and indeed we’ll send you a free dvd of my greatest hits if you email me.

I’ve seen the future and it’s murder II. This time it’s personal.

The pillar  for 2012, the Water Dragon, is the same as 208BCE. This may not immediately mean a great deal but, as it happens, it was the year China was unified by Qin Shi Wang Di following some fifteen years of bloody civil war. This implies some similar upheaval in China in that or the following year, I think. It’s also the same pillar as 1892 when regimes changed in Egypt and 1832 when Egypt defeated Syria in battle. I picked Jordan for trouble early this year though I did not see the other Islamic republics in such turmoil. Given these facts it may be that we’re looking at a Caliphate including Saudi Arabia by 2013. Followers of my predictions will know that this has looked like a possibility since 9/11. If Osama bin Laden has been blessed with anything as coherent as a rationale this was surely it.

 ©Richard Ashworth 2011

 email address:      richardashworth@imperialfengshui.info.

Postal address:     Chestnut Suite, Borough Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2AE.

Telephone:                 +441483 428998

 Names have been changed to protect..uh…me.

My website is still at www.imperialfengshui.info and the first volume of  The Feng Shui Diaries is available from:

Amazon  & Waterstones or indeed Tescos. Do buy it from a bookshop if you can.


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