I’m just back from San Antonio – where I was surveying the Alamo which is an extraordinary place and spooky as hell – only to be confronted with a plague of these “Money Bags” viral emails. These are the ones that point out that there are going to be five weekends this July, which the email says, makes it a magical time and you’d better pass the message on or your hair’ll drop out. Many of you have referred them to me which strikes me as a pretty good idea.
So is this real traditional Chinese feng shui?
Broadly no: classical feng shui draws on the theory of the Five Elements or wu xing. It’s not really bothered by the arbitrary durations of the months of the Gregorian Calendar. Clearly there will be five weekends in each month of thirty-one days approximately once every seven years. The Gan Zi Cycle of Sixty Animals, runs on regardless of this.
There are strict rules as to how the Five Elements interact, they appear for instance in precisely the same order every day and every year: the light of Wood followed by the acceleration of Fire, the taking stock of Metal and the watching and waiting of Water while Earth fills the gaps in between. Dawn and Spring bring fresh light and life, midday and Summer bring rapid movement and visibility, Autumn brings harvesting just as late afternoon is the time for cashing up followed by the dark and cold of Water. The Elements combine and run from Wood Rat to Water Pig and so on and this has been going on forever while the Chinese have been tracking it since at least the 3rd Millennium BCE. This July will be no different.
I’ve only seen “Money Bags” as a viral, never from a feng shui source. Now it may be that some of the information has got lost in transmission (such possibly as full and new moons for instance) but a situation that actually prevails approximately once every seven years is not so rare.
And there’s the possibility that with lost data added back in, some Master with ten times my experience can make some sense of it but its threatening tone, typical of the sort of virals I will not pass on, further suggests a non-professional source. There is a school of thought that employs classical feng shui to instill fear but I’m not keen on that either and I don’t think this is it anyway.
Finally if you’re interested in understanding the cycles of time, you might like to know that I am teaching my Ba Zi starter course Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny again this year, starting in December. Once you’ve completed it you’ll be able to draft a ba zi in Chinese characters – it’s not actually that hard – and begin to interpret. Early Bird Offers are running now.
Richard Ashworth May 2011