We all live in Halls of Mirrors so it’s a good idea to smile

Welcome to Imperial Feng Shui

 Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diary

for the month of the Water Snake

Wednesday May 6th 2011 05.24





















“Looks like I will be able to take redundancy at work shortly.  Thank you for that – it didn’t look like it was going to be a possibility!”

Tara, Surrey.

We all live in Halls of Mirrors so it’s a good idea to smile.

The Dragon month of sudden change ends with a bang rather than a wimper as Osama Bin Laden is eliminated on a Remove day. Such a day is traditionally for removing vermin. Psychopath and murderer he may have been but execution without trial is exactly what the War on Terr was against, wasn’t it? Funny game, football.

Jim’s driver, Tim picks me up from my office and drives me out into the Berkshire countryside. It’s a beautiful day, at least twenty five degrees. We talk. Or mostly, he does. Wives, stray children, lost grandchildren, the way he tells it, he’s had a hell of a time.

“I don’t want to bore you with my sob stories,” he says.

“We all have them.”

You can’t move for horses and stables in this part of the world. You wouldn’t expect this but I’ve drafted several ba zis for horses. I mean for their owners or prospective owners of course. Horses can’t read Chinese.

In Joey’s copy of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, the Lord of Dreams,  dressed like a Rock Star in long leather coat, tousled Pete Doherty hair and shades, visits the Land of the Dead to retrieve a talisman. There follows the sort of fight sequence that my inner adolescent used to buy comics for. Then the Sandman passes through the realm of suicide where each self-destroyed soul has become a tree. Since his previous visit a century or so before, he observes, a copse has become a forest. Comics were so much simpler when Superman could overcome anything but kryptonite.

Jim is a visionary. A big hearted, charismatic and extraordinarily smart Fire Rooster, he has been ill for over a year. And now he’s back, winding up and wise-cracking and charming the world into an armlock. He greets me with a huge hug.

Fire Roosters can get ruffled feathers. This is the proudest animal and also in some ways the most honourable. That’s quite a combination and the Rooster, as you might expect, is prone to withdrawal and depression. Depression is sulking for bigger children and if we know that, we are likely to dignify our withdrawal with some sort of medical evidence. I write as someone nearly taken out with sudden peritonitis just over a year ago btw.

In 2009, Jim negotiated a deal big enough to change their life forever. And in 2010 the deal was reneged on. He spent a year ill, twitching with resentment and frustration. Now the deal is completed and he’s healthy. Traditionally of course in a Tiger year, the Rooster does suffer issues of good and bad faith but we all have choice.

Being a Fire Rooster makes him 54 this year and he and Sally have bought a house to see out their days: a sprawling Jacobean place, room enough for their many children. It abutts a horse-racing stables which they are also buying,

“The stables don’t make any money but they’re part of history,” Jim says. “They’re supposed to be here so we’ll subsidise them.”

Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny 2011/12

After a long inner armwrestle, Richard has decided to teach starter ba zi again this year. Ba zi of course is a life study. Discover the Secrets will set you on the road. By the end of it you will be able to draft fluently in Chinese – it’s not that tricky really – and begin to develop your own method of interpretation based on the insights passed down by Chinese Masters since the Tang Dynasty.

Click here to get more details.

You’ve missed the give-away price for booking during April but there are Early Bird deals up to November. Book now and avoid the crush !

Jim’s a big, energetic man with an embarrassment bypass. He’s installing an anaerobic converter.

“Literally turns shit to money,” he tells me with typical precision. He is a man of a thousand schemes, any one of whch would take up the energy of half-a-dozen lesser men. On the wall by the front door is a picture of him with various England Rugby players. In it, he looks just a tiny bit abashed. Not a look he tends to do in real life.

During the year he was off, I continued to advise Sally. Outside the kitchen we’re talking in, hangs a huge convex mirror I put there in 2009. It faces uphill into a long alleyway. Such an alleyway is a massive build-up of negative chi. And it was all focused on the kitchen. The mirror reflects it back. The previous couple sold when the wife died. I guessed she spent a lot of time in this room. It’s a great house but you can’t overlook the inconvenience of a recent death.

It’s morning. Outside the courtyard is full of steaming horses and tiny people with sponges and combs. Lots of flys too.

What an anaerobic converter actually does is to take horse manure underground where it is processed. Eventually it will replace other fuels to heat the whole complex. It also turns out dried horse manure, one of the most powerful fertilisers known to man. I imagine in addition that it will thin the fly population.

Jim tells me they want to extend the house so as to exaggerate what is already an «L» shaped floor plan. He has a sheaf of plans for me to look at. There’s no planning issue because that part of the house dates only from the 1950’s.

Mediaeval feng shui men taught their students that an “L” was the “hatchet” shape: sharp and dangerous. What I’ve discovered is that there are at least two drawbacks: one is that the geometrical heart or tai chi can be outside the house, the other that it will lack one or more of the nine palaces into which the traditional ground plan is traditionally divided. The orientation of certain buildings is especially fortunate at certain times. This house is on just such an orientation and now, the 8 Fate, is just such a time. The rule is that it can be fortunate for three generations but the advantage is lost if a palace is missing. What we need to do is square the ground plan off not distort it further.

I look at the architects’ plans and I have to take a deep breath and explain that what he has in mind is very poor feng shui. The plans alone probably cost several thousand pounds.

There’s more yet: it turns out that the purlin or purloin which is a cross beam that should take the load of the roof has come away from the supporting walls. Since the mid-19th century the house has had no visible means of support. This is a hell of a metaphor for an entrepreneur.

To his great credit, Jim agrees to adopt my suggestions and go back to the drawing board. We meet the architect, a gracious man with a very impressive sports car. I have no idea what make. He takes it all in his stride and agrees to look at other ways of doing this. In the process we discover an opportunity to place photo-voltaic cells on the new roof pitch. The converter will take the house off the grid, the panels might turn Jim and Sally into nett exporters of energy.

Drawing on the Water Dragon Classic* I calculate a new position for the swimming pool. It has been allowed to get stagnant which is as important to correct as anything else here. Out in the garden Tim is hand building a tree house for Martin, Jim and Sally’s youngest. Martin is wandering around with a useful-looking stick. The tree house is a miniature penthouse with lapped planks and a proper floor. Drops of sweat on his forehead, tongue out, Tim doesn’t look down as I look up.

Sally drives me to Newbury Station. Adele is on the radio. Great song, great voice. I think of the forest in Sandman’s hell and the voice of one of the trees: “I thought it would all be finished,” it says over and over again.

The sun blazes over Membury.

“Why,” Lily Allen sings, “Would I want to be anywhere else?”

* Much of which has been translated by Stephen Skinner and Er Choon Haw.   ISBN 0-9547639-5-5

Plum Jobs

Grand Master Raymond Lo without whom ba zi might never have made it to Europe, always emphasises that the starting point for any feng shui formula is whether it is timely. This is as true of work on relationship as on any other aspiration.

Traditionally one of the most powerful ways of attracting relationship is to place water in the Plum Flower spot. The Plum Flower or toe far is the irresistible star. There is a Plum Flower in every house just as there is for every person. The catch though is that it’s not always any good for you. There are a variety of toe fars: strong toe far, weak toe far and salty toe far (don’t ask) among many. We don’t want the wrong one. Which we get depends on when we do it.

The trick is to be timely. This year, as you know, the best sectors are West, North West, South East, South West and North East. If your toe far is in one of these spots, this may be the year you get lucky.

$64000 question: how do you know?

Aha: the toe fars only live at the cardinal points which makes West, that is the Rooster, the only usable one this year. Who does it serve? Dragon, Rat, Monkey is the answer for reasons I won’t explain now.

How do you use it? Most popular authorities state baldly to place a bowl of water there. I’m not sure this takes account of timeliness nor location and I’m not sure we ever want much water in the West. So I suggest either Metal which of course is what the West is made up of or if there’s plenty of Metal there already, perhaps a little Fire to warm it up. Even a little Wood – a pot plant perhaps – will give the Metal something to get its teeth into. Wood is a slow burn though.

Throne together

An avalanche of Bank Holidays and in there somewhere Kate and Wills are getting married. I’m taking this opportunity to blow my own trumpet and point out that I predicted this in writing in 2006. And that btw, was when they were, like Ross and Rachel, on a break. Both Water Dogs; faithful, loyal, and once their minds are made up, they’re made up. We could do worse for monarchy.

©Richard Ashworth 2011

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One Response to “We all live in Halls of Mirrors so it’s a good idea to smile”

  1. House Plans - Home 29628 project Says:

    […] Anyone can also check out this related post: https://richardashworth.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/we-all-live-in-halls-of-mirrors-so-it%E2%80%99s-a-go… Additionally you can look at this related post: […]

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