Golden Pig Diary: A wet day in Dublin.

The below is simply a diary entry, no places times or predictions.
From now we plan to put out one of these diaries around the middle of each month.
A bulletin that will include times, places and predictions will generally come to you at the beginning of each Chinese month.
We hope that pleases you
. Do let us know. Or not.

Golden Pig Diary: A wet day in Dublin.

Dora used to be an on-line psychic. She has hung up her crystal ball now but back in the day she was a hotline to the world of shadows. She has been my client a long time. She’s no longer young but she’s still as sharp as a Stanley knife when she chooses to be.

She lives in Shropshire. So I’m on my way to her today by way of the IQ test that is Birmingham New Street. The station is like a hall of mirrors, glass walls preventing anyone without a helicopter moving from platform to platform. I notice a coffee shop claiming their brews are “temperature profiled”. Good to know. But even if I still drank coffee, it’s tantalisingly out of reach. I find myself pressed up against a glass barrier like the cover of David Bowie’s “Lodger”. I imagine this is how a rat feels in a maze. I have ten minutes to change trains. I just make it. I guess a rat would do it quicker.

The first time Dora called me in was because she was plagued by disembodied spirits. Occupational hazard, I guess. Restless entities and unbalanced energy were her stock in trade. But it was getting uncomfortable. Could I move them out of the house? Well of course; a little mumbo jumbo and Bob’s your uncle. Two weeks later she called to complain that business was very slow.

That’s Dora.

Early in our acquaintance we established that her marriage had not been a success.

“He wasn’t kind to me,” she told me and paused a moment and sniffed. Then she made some tea and offered me a toasted teacake.

Her ba zi suggested her husband had been both unreliable and deceitful. Mo yuk over loy hong in the Day Pillar, if you understand these things. She’s been alone since she kicked him out. At first she seemed such a sad and bitter old thing but I tinkered with the house over time and made her laugh once or twice and things settled.

Frankly that wasn’t a great house, set halfway up a windswept incline and overlooking strip-mined hills. There are many such settlements along the Welsh Borders: three or four terraced Nessa-and-Stacey streets between summits limp with straggly grass and loose pebbles, the Dragon seed – loong mai – long exhausted.

Technically Dora belongs to what is called the East Group. This means she’s best suited to a house that backs onto South, North, East or South East. That house apart from anything else backed onto the North East, so it wasn’t much help. I gave her some guidance as to what to look for next: level ground, height behind, lesser height either side, open space in front and so on.

“And for you, it should face South3.”

“It should face South?”

“Yes, but a few degrees clockwise of due South.”

“That’s South West.”

“Imagine a compass broken up into twenty-four equal sections.”

She screws up her face.

“That’s not easy.”

I draw her a circle showing the twenty-four sections.

“There you are, each compass point covers three sections or “mountains”.”

She frowns.

“So South consists of South1, just anticlockwise of due South, due South (that is South2) and South3 just clockwise of due South. South 3, that’s the direction you want to face.”

“That’s South West.”

So she moved. To this nightmare. Needless to say she didn’t run it past me before she purchased. Two years on I’m down here to assess it.

She is as you may have gleaned, headstrong and er…parsimonious. And this second house (which actually faces North East) may be the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s on flat lifeless ground, plagued with maggots and stroppy neighbours. There are high windows next door which overlook her bedroom – technically Peeping Qi – and a catalogue of more subtle flaws.

“What’s wrong with it?” she asks me for the fifth time at least. She winces at the pain from recent orthodontistry following a hip operation. It wouldn’t take clairvoyance to suspect there’s a health issue here. She often appears aggressive which I put down to her various ailments. And loneliness.

“I’m sleeping in the direction you told me to,” she complains.

“I guess that’s not enough,” I say.

We sit outside in the sun, batting away horse-flies and look at the lifeless flat land stretching a dozen miles beyond her back garden. The rear of the house wants the support of height. No help there. Or anywhere.

Historically the feng shui man’s task was to place the building appropriately in the landscape. But these days of course most of my job is compensating for houses that are all wrong: a Water fountain here, a windchime there and I can make most places habitable. Not this one. As the man said, If I were you I wouldn’t start from here.

She agrees to look for another.

“South3,” I remind her. “Ding is the Chinese name. Between 187½˚ and 202½˚South, slightly West of South.”

And if it faces South of course, the walls will be oriented East, West, North and South. This will mean not only that the house suits her but that there are three supportive walls to put her bed against.

On the way back she calls again.

“I’ve found one. Can you tell me whether it’s any good from there?”

I juggle my shoulder bag and take-away tea and anchor my phone under my chin.

“If you give me enough information.”

She emails me the agents’ details. The crucial compass orientation is unclear. I’m on a Cross-Country train now consisting of four carriages holding six carriages worth of people. An indulgent ticket-inspector overlooks the fact that I’m in First Class with a 2nd–class ticket.

I examine the details and, signal alternately surging and flatlining, I look on Google maps.

“Could be facing South or South West,” I tell Dora. “I can only be sure onsite.”

“I’ll measure it,” she says. She knows I will charge her half a day if I have to come down to the Marches again.

“Fine. You have a box compass?”

“What do you mean?”

“A compass with a square edge.”

“I’ll get one.”

She rings again. I coach her through a compass reading.

“It’s South West,” she says firmly.

“What’s the compass reading?”

“West of South. That’s South West,” she says defiantly.

“The actual number.”

“192 degrees.”

“That’s South3. The front will be North3 ie 12 degrees North.”

“Is that what I want?”

There’s more; it faces open ground. There’s height behind and a little to either side and the rooms are apportioned nicely.

“I can’t be sure without looking at it onsite but from what you’ve told me it’s pretty much perfect.”

“I’ll go and check.”

Next day I fly to Dublin, one of my favourite cities. But not when it’s raining. I walk from my hotel to the residential area South of the city where I’m going to be working. The gutters are literally flooded – five or six inches of water on the pavement. My client is in a bad way, depressed, anxious and in physical pain and suddenly my wet foot doesn’t seem so important. I rarely make promises but she called because she’s read my book, the Feng Shui Diaries and thinks I may be able to help her.

The house is quite tricky, especially this year but there are decent flying stars – that is pockets of energy – to work with. And she’s very stuck. But there’s a magical moment when we talk about her past and how the house relates to it and we can both begin to see the way through.

“Seen through the prism of the tao, everything is for learning and everything in our life is chosen.”

“Hmm,” she says but I can see it’s rung a bell.

“Which means that pretty much anything we’ve chosen – pain, stuckness, frustration, misfortune – can be unchosen. On one level all feng shui is simply a mechanism for re-choosing. That’s the upside, the downside is that we have to own that we’ve made some pretty poor decisions.”

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“And almost nothing’s fixed in stone.”

She’s going to need more; I outline the he tu journeys round the house and identify spots to work and rest. She’s so restless, returning to a computer game on her phone once in a lull. She’s not sleeping well so I address that.

“People aren’t woken by thoughts but by feelings. We are feeling creatures. If you wake in the night, sit up in bed and take two deep breaths. And feel whatever’s there. Make no attempt to heal it or make it better, to understand it or work it out. Just breathe.”

I’m walking back with my wheelie and shoulder bag. It’s raining hard. I’m on the route of the Air Coach back to the airport and I stop at a bus shelter. They’re every half hour and there’s one due now but my outstretched arm is not assertive enough to get the driver’s attention. Another half hour to wait. And I’m quite wet. I can see my reflection in the glass of the bus time table; I’m overdue for a haircut and in this state I look like a bedraggled Balkan dictator.

So I stumble into a coffee shop (Insomnia – not such a great name for a chain of coffee shops) and drip dry. No temperature profiling as far as I can see. Maybe the technology hasn’t made it to Ballsbridge. Anyway I’m drinking tea. My phone goes. Dora.

“I’ve measured it.”

“And?”

“192 degrees.”

“Brilliant. Well done.”

“That’s South West.”

Richard Ashworth © 2017

We send out a comprehensive monthly bulletin covering in detail, the right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar to my Retainer Clients. It is also available by subscription.
Subscriptions (and further info): Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from the Lebanon to Bermuda and with stars such as Kelly Hoppen and Gillian Anderson and unusually for a Western Master, has addressed the Grand Masters at the International Feng Shui Conference in Singapore. His day job remains “walking round people’s spaces being enigmatic”.

Richard Ashworth©

www.imperialfengshui.info

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