In 2005 in the company of Master Howard Choy, I visited the sacred Taoist complex at Wudan Shang set among the “Seventy Two Mountains” in Hubei, Central China. The breath taking photograph of the green roofs against the azure blue of the sky that adorns the cover of my book the Feng Shui Diaries was taken by feng shui architect Carlo Reyneri that day. Feng Shui carries no essential spiritual baggage but that was an extraordinary day, the sort that stays with us for life. That year we also visited Prince Zhao’s mausoleum where the river has been dried up by the Three Gorges Project as well as Mao Tse Tung’s birthplace in Xiaoshan just outside Changsha, the most tense place on Earth and high above the village at the head of the valley, the tomb of Mao’s grandfather.
Howard tells me he is planning to lead another trip to China in October 2012. I strongly recommend you go. Click here for more info.
Mountains come in a variety of patterns; nine basic and infinite variations and each means something. Morecambe Bay, home of my teacher Master (soon to be Grand Master) Derek Walters is lined with goy moons – the huge gate, Wudan Shang largely with mou kuk (guardian) and t’ang lung – the hungry wolf. I could never make the count seventy- two by the way: sixty-eight, seventy four, sixty-seven? 2011 is the time of the hungry wolf, I think. The kids outside St Pauls Cathedral, in Boston, New York and Seattle recognise this. This is the generation born between 1987 and 1994, that on both sides of the Atlantic, was disenfranchised in 2005 and bitterly disappointed when they got finally to vote in 2008 and 2010 respectively. This generation, the yang (that is outgoing) Animals from Rabbit to Monkey will not take unfairness lying down. The t’ang lungs of Wall Street and the Square Mile draw them like iron filings to a magnet.
The t’ang lung is an upright, trunk-like shape, used in some schools of feng shui as an attractor of wealth and power. The ideal is to find it naturally in the form of hills but it is often synthesised. The bigger and older it is, the more energy a made up one will hold. Examples include Cleopatra’s Needle which was plundered from Egypt in the 19th century (but since the early 19th century has been on the London Embankment) and its twin at the foot of the Champs Elysées.
Interestingly this year the Washington Monument, the World’s best known t’ang lung, has been closed for structural reasons. Those of a conspiratorial turn of mind* consider that the Monument was part of an 18th century Masonic plan to carry the British Empire across the Atlantic. I don’t have time for conspiracy theory but if it was, it does seem to have worked. And I’ve listened to more than one Chinese Master explain exactly what part t’ang lungs might have played. Notice there are one or two in Beijing. It’s also interesting to record that the plot was chosen and the monument designed sixty or so years before it was erected. As if someone was awaiting the perfect moment after the Civil War had been won, the Suez Canal had been cut and the new Fate Cycle begun in 1863.
Similar questions could be asked about the tomb of Mao Tse Tung’s grandfather. How did a penniless peasant get to be buried in pole position? How did those who placed him there six years after his death get the formula so wrong so that instead of three generations of power, he managed just the one? What other puzzles are hidden in the Chinese landscape? If you join Howard Choy’s expedition, you might find out for yourself. He’s a native Mandarin speaker as well as a tai chi, chi gung and feng shui Master, raconteur and good sport. You could not be in safer or more skilled hands.