Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

Peak pique: the Month of the Water Dog 2018

October 7, 2018
Peak pique: the Month of the Water Dog 2018.
Feng Shui Bulletin for October 2018
(17:36pm 8th October to 20:54pm 7th November 2018 inclusive)

Bo
———-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
Stripping
Hexagram 23

Animal by Animal
During this Water Dog Month,
The Rat is blocked,
The Ox is out on a limb,
The less-thoughtful Tiger limbers up,
The Rabbit pursues advantage,
The Dragon is watchful,
The rash Snake cruises,
The Horse bounds,
The Sheep seeks mediation,
 Monkeys misses the joke,
The Rooster preens,
The Dog blocks,
while
The Pig waits some more.

Remember: Each Pillar of your ba zi represents an aspect of your life:
Year Animal       physicality, heritage, the obvious & immediate;
Month Animal    work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal:         you and your beloved;
Hour Animal:       intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

6 Metal month is about authority, earned and otherwise.
A Dog month about persistence or obstinacy, depending on standpoint.
Most helpful location: West.
Least helpful location: North.
Favoured Animals: Tiger, Horse, Dog, Rabbit.
Especially challenged: Rooster, Dragon, Rat, Monkey, Sheep, Ox.
The Hexagram (above): Bo Stripping, Mountain over Earth, limited support.

Peak pique: Dog Month, Dog Year.

S

5      1      3
4      6      8
9      2      7

Water Dog Month

I was at a local planning meeting this week, mostly a torches and pitchforks affair concerning a proposed massive development. This is SW Surrey and the room was full of money. Nothing brings out the middle-class like a threat to house values. And to be fair, many in the room brought more than nimbyism to the party. But what was being summoned and what will dominate October was the dead hand of entitlement.

Dogs (1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, October & mid-evening births) are stubborn, as Mrs Trump can tell you, no matter how wrong they are.

Three of the last four US Presidents have been Dogs – all but Obama (obviously), grizzled 1946 Fire Dogs.  And they won’t let go. Some would call this white male privilege but equally obviously not all Dogs are any of those things. But they cling on. That’s the central theme of this month, like this year: power that won’t let go. It’s wrapped up with #metoo and the bonkersness of #Brexit of course and the obscenities of human-caused human misery in the Yemen and Myanmar but essentially this month features power that is being challenged and won’t listen.

The Dog is solid and doesn’t easily soften. That’s the pattern of the Kavanaugh hearings; privilege that doesn’t know how out of date or fragile it is. And this month, remember is a Dog month in a Dog year. Peak Dog.

Watch for these dynamics at work – is your management past its sell-by date? – at home – how Edwardian, bless them, are your male relatives? You might perhaps remind them that the last Edward to sit on the throne abdicated in 1936. In our most intimate relationships to what extent are we taking up age-old roles that are out of shelf life?

Technically the Dog is yang Earth by the way and yang Earth characteristics are obviously useful in context. Many 1958 Earth Dogs are powerful businesswomen perhaps because of the very fact that in a male-dominated world they refuse to give up. Fire Dog David Bowie’s longevity as an icon was the envy of his peers, as was that of 1958 Earth Dog Prince. Computer tycoon Bill Gates has Dogs deep in his ba zi also.

Two more things you need to know about this month: one is that the magic square or lo shu has at its centre a Star. The – you guessed it – is the number of the Father, God and Authority, a trinity of symbols lodged pretty close together in most of our psyches. All of which suggests reinforcement of the main theme. Chinese Masters might add that the central Star of the lo shu equally represents capital cities and head offices and indeed the North West. Ken Loach’s new film Peterloo – concerning a popular uprising about social conditions in Manchester, capital of the industrial North West, early in the 19th century – looks extraordinarily timely. Trouble at ’mill this month maybe, that is to ay civil disobedience.

The other thing you may need reminding of is that the Dog fosters proxy conflicts. Current examples include the one between the Saudis and Iran all across the Middle East and the many worldwide between Russia and the USA of which Syria is the most obvious.

Again this dynamic may show up closer to home. Best to be aware of our true motives in any dispute, especially when we are defending a friend or offspring. This will apply most to Sheep (1943, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, July and mid-afternoon births)) and Oxen (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, January and births between 1 & 3am).

This is peak Dog. Peak peak Dog, if you like, will tend to come with Ox and Sheep days the 12th, the 18th, and most particularly the 24th of this month. These promise the most stubborn blockages and immovability of all sorts. Try to remember there’s no point pushing locked doors.

But you can seek a Dragon. Dragons are the solution. For which read intuitive and non-linear behaviour as well as Dragon Days (15th and 27th) when solutions may be suddenly obvious and actual Dragons (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 7-9am, April) in person. These days (and these people) will tend to offer solutions. Otherwise the classical solution would probably be to locate important negotiation South East. Best to know you don’t know and remain very open; as they say, approach the Buddha with an empty rice bowl or as the Tao Te Ching has it: “Solidity is an advantage but it is emptiness that makes a space useful.”

And finally: no astrological analysis will ever do any of us full justice. We always have choice and ultimately nothing can be done to any of us, however unrealistic that may seem. We’re all aware that blame (whether of Dogs, Sheep, Oxen, Dragons or of pundits like me who may cross a line) disempowers us. But we may not understand why.

It may be that blame simply deprives us of power. The delusion that someone else has agency over our problems clearly means that we don’t. And this word agency is the key. There are no coincidences, country and western songs or irony in real life. There is simply choice.

You don’t have to agree of course and there are alternative views running from God’s Will to chaos theory, but it seems to me that I am responsible for my life – not Dogs, Sheep, Oxen or Dragons, though they are helpful guideposts on the way. And for that reason and others I’m running a Transformational Workshop this month (Godalming, the weekend of the 20th/21st  October).

The workshop is as you would expect rooted in Chinese Astrology because that’s what I know, but the map is not, as they say, the territory and the subtext is Reclaiming our Agency. There are just a couple of places left; if you’d like to join us, email Sheila at sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com for details.

There’ll be some radical ideas, some very ancient ones, many from the millennia-long legacy of Chinese thought but some equally old from closer to home. Some will be challenging and some simply comforting but mostly it’ll be an opportunity to peel back the layers of busyness, hurry and worry and return to daily life refreshed, relaxed and relieved. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry; you may even hurl.

To summarise, the conflicts of this disputatious month are not solved by logic or reason but they can be solved. And if noting all these dates is too much like hard work, by the way, all you need do is follow my Tweets (@FengShuiDiaries) Have fun.

Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info

Where to be in October.
Summary: manifestation.
West, InterventionYear Star: 2 Month Star: 8.
For cash flow the usual advice is to follow the 8s and 9s with bright light. Be sure that the location is not otherwise compromised but during October the West is the place for girl talk, a glass or two of a decent wine and a wind-down, setting up success in whatever project is focused upon. All such activity will tend to encourage the 8 Star to deliver, as will Fire in the form of bright light.
To boost: Fire, that is bright light.

Where not to be in October.
Summary: hazardous.
North, Future: Year Star:monthly & annual san sha, wu huang Month Star:2
The visiting 2 and san sha make this area hazardous for women in particular ie the obverse of last month. If you work, sleep or linger here your health and productivity may suffer; your acupuncturist will confirm that kidney – the engine-room of energy creation – and ears may be the most vulnerable. Stay out!
Mitigate: t’ang lung only.
Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info

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

Every month we send paying subscribers a more comprehensive monthly bulletin than this one, covering in detail right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar.

Subscriptions (and further info)Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Bread and circuses : the Month of the Metal Rooster 2018.

September 7, 2018
Bread and circuses : the Month of the Metal Rooster 2018.
Feng Shui Bulletin for September 2018
(01:35 8th September to 17:36pm 8th October 2018 inclusive)Bo
———-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
Stripping
Hexagram 23
 
Animal by Animal

During this metal Rooster Month,
The Rat is a little less loquacious,
The Ox backs up,
The Tiger is unusually defensive,
The Rabbit might wisely watch for deceit,
The Dragon is on a roll,
The Snake too,
The Horse suffers pangs of envy,
The Sheep comforts,
 Monkeys could over-reach,
The Rooster shuffles,
The Dog gives,
while
The patient Pig waits to rise.

Remember: Each Pillar of your ba zi represents an aspect of your life:
Year Animal: physicality, forebears, heritage, the obvious & immediate;
Month Animal: the work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal: you and your beloved;
Hour Animal: intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

AnchorA 7 Metal month is both competitive & perfectionist for better or worse.
A Rooster month may concentrate attention upon the superficial.
Most helpful location: North West if you don’t demand too much.
Least helpful location: North & East – again. Tai chi not much help.
Favoured Animals: Snake, Ox, Dragon.
Especially challenged: Rooster, Rabbit, Dog, Sheep, Pig
Hexagram (above): AnchorBo Stripping, Mountain over Earth, limited support.

Bread & circuses: the Metal Rooster Month September 2018
The Rooster is pure yin Metal and known for an attraction to the metallic and shiny. Typically drawn to bling, he demands fine décor and apparel and can sometimes be graceless in this pursuit. They’re nothing if not competitive and rarely in a straightforward way. The Metal Rooster of this month (and also of 1981, like for instance all-conquering diva Beyonce) has all these qualities twice over.

This month however is also ruled by the lo shu or magic square with 7 at the heart, thus:

S
6      2      4
5      7      9
1      3      8
Rooster Month lo shu

If we factor in the por kwan or “Red Seven”, that’s triple yin Metal.

Globally we can expect bombast and deceit from public figures. Best to question everything. These then are the topics of the month: covert competition, show and display. The perfect time for Fashion Week.

Here’s a one-liner for each Animal this month:
Rat (eg 1948 Earth Rat Prince Charles) Words may come easily but they could well not be heard. That doesn’t mean they’re wasted.

Ox (eg 1949 Earth Ox Jeremy Corbyn) There’s a brief respite but 2018 remains the year of the “bullying Punishment” ie packed with conflict. Worse in October, 2019 too btw but 2020 sees reach catching up with grasp.

Tigers (eg 1974 Wood Tiger Victoria Beckham) the worst of the fighting is over. You won, so forgive and forget already.

Rabbits (eg 1975 Wood Rabbit David Beckham) trust it only if it’s in writing and witnessed. Hair-splitting rebounds. That’s this month only; you return to pole position in October.

Dragons (eg 1964 Wood Dragon Boris Johnson) safe haven until early October. Checking your facts pays huge dividends.

Snakes (eg 1953 Water Snake Tony Blair) You may see no reason for flexibility right now. That will change (for good probably) by early November.

Horses (eg 1966 Fire Horse David Cameron) If you think you can sit out the current chaos, a re-think is overdue. Comfort is over-rated.

Sheep (eg 1931 Metal Sheep Rupert Murdoch) You’ll be needed as back-up and you may have to step up beyond your own troubles to do so.

Monkeys (eg 1956 Fire Monkey Theresa May) time to get real about what is possible. Diligence is not enough.

Roosters (eg 1945 Wood Rooster Aung San Suu Kyi) best to be gracious and especially frank with the competition. It’s too powerful to overcome for now.

Dog (eg 3 of the last 4 American Presidents) try to see that you are nobody’s victim and never were.

Pig (eg 1947 Fire Pig Elton John) You’re due a late flurry. But not quite yet.

If you’ve been paying attention to these articles, you’ll know that the Animal of the Month, Day and Hour of your birth are as meaningful as your Year. So consider each of these if you know how. Better still consult a professional.

Meanwhile perhaps let your one line sit with you for a little while and consider the level on which it may refer to your domestic, business or emotional life and beyond. More on this next month.

Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.

Where to be in September.
Summary: breakthrough, block-busting.
North West, Authority: Year Star: 1 tai sui Month Star: 8.
Creative, abundant month here but activate gently. No loud parties or bright lights but the Metal of er…tasteful music played gently and consistently may encourage breakthrough. Don’t attempt to block the tai sui by facing this way but locating NW may encourage both clear emotional communication and rapid transformation of stuck stuff. 8 and 1 together call for a 6 in the form of actual yang Metal such as silver, cutlery, and Metal objects to induce the proverbially prosperous 168 combination.
To boost: Metal such as Metal objects. Plus music.

Where not to be in September.
Summary: very troubled.
North, Distant Future: Year Star:5 annual san sha wu huang Month Star:3
Contentious as hell; the visiting 3 makes this, the worst location of the year, physically and financially hazardous for young men in particular. If that’s you (or anyway) and you work, sleep or linger here you may find your ideas plagiarised, your receipts disappointing and your health shaky. Could attract unwelcome attention and constant argument too. West Group kuas 2 6 7 8 and Horse and Sheep women remain the most vulnerable. Stay out!
Mitigate: Anchort’ang lung only.

Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.

AOB:

We have space left for just one more student to study ba zi and feng shui with Richard this year. 20 one hour weekly sessions via Skype or Zoom. More info here: http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses

There are two spaces left on Richard’s Transformational Workshop on the weekend of 20/21st October in Godalming, Surrey. Boost your well-being! More info here:  https://bit.ly/2v6Bwvh

Every month we send paying subscribers a more comprehensive monthly bulletin than this one, covering in personalised detail right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar.

Subscriptions and further info on courses or anything else: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from Lebanon to Bermuda, in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and with stars such as Kelly Hoppen and Gillian Anderson. Unusually for a Western Master, he 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 ©2018
www.imperialfengshui.info

Playtime: the Month of the Metal Monkey 2018

August 4, 2018
Playtime: the Month of the Metal Monkey 2018.
Feng Shui Bulletin for August 2018
(22:15pm 7th August to 01:35 8th September 2018 inclusive)
 Kuan
———-
———-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
The Watchtower
Hexagram 20

Animal by Animal
During this metal Monkey Month,
The Rat waxes loquacious,
The Ox holds back,
The more robotic Tiger is unusually aggressive,
The Rabbit stays on the open road,
The Dragon is in-between,
The Snake runs,
The Horse tries to settle,
The Sheep breathes easy,
 Monkey bewares Tiger,
The Rooster awaits,
The Dog waits and watches,
while
The Pig is in proxy conflict.

Remember:             Each Pillar of your ba zi represents an aspect of your life:
Year Animal:          physicality, heritage, the obvious & immediate;
Month Animal:       work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal:            you and your beloved;
Hour Animal:         intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

An 8 Earth month brings rapid results following long term application.
A Monkey month can be playful to the point of neglect.
Most helpful location: tai chi (heart), geometrical centre of your space.
Least helpful location: North – again – and South West.
Favoured Animals: Monkey, Rat, Dragon, Snake.
Especially challenged one way or another: Tiger, Pig, Horse, Dog.
Hexagram (above): Kuan The Watchtower, Wind over Earth, watching & waiting.

Playtime: the Metal Monkey Month August 2018
This year is of course an Earth Dog. Last year was a Fire Rooster and 2019 will be an Earth Pig. This procession, the gan zhi cycle of sixty has been respected in China since 2637 BCE. Twelve Animals, Five Elements hence sixty characters; regardless of equinoxes, leap years or the minute gradations of atomic clocks, the sequence recurs seamlessly. Many people know this.

What they may not know however is that this same sixty-place sequence applies equally to Months, Days and Hours. This Metal Monkey Month will be followed by a Metal Rooster month in September, just as the Metal Monkey Year 1980 was followed by the Metal Rooster of 1981.

And what almost no one knows outside the world of woo-woo is that where our birth fell in these other cycles, Month, Day and Hour, is as meaningful. The Year cycle applies to the physical and obvious (and much more), the Month to the work and educational environments and the Day to our most private selves and relationships. There’s much more of course but perhaps read the following in that light.

August is the “silly season” when news-starved reporters write up the daftest stories. In a Metal Monkey month these tales may be nearer the knuckle than usual and the Monkey, the totem of stand-up comedy, may be tempted to satire. Be careful who you choose as your butt. Tigers for instance may butt back. Every Chinese diviner knows to watch for Tiger Days in the Monkey month because they imply the pointless aggression of road rage. Worse of course if it’s too hot.

The Metal of the month may also be making the Horse (composed of pure Fire) restless. Breathe, open, allow.

Tigers: best to bite it back rather than off. You may be sorely tested this month but every time you contain and express rather than dump your feelings, you get stronger.

Often easily disappointed the Rooster may be feeling let down. If so, seek the Dragon who did it. Apparently. Or better, take responsibility for a viewpoint that can only weaken you. Forgive and rest up for next month; you’re going to need your strength.

Sheep can safely graze after the panic of their own month. The year-long “Bullying Punishment” continues to try them along with Ox and Dog. If an Ox or Dog day brings that familiar sense of unfairness, call your nearest Dragon.

Dogs who have had a similar but less intense experience are relieved of pressure for a while – until October actually.

Oxen, squashed between antagonists recently, can gaze over the hedge with confidence; again until October.

Busy year for Dragons of course, fighting other people’s fires. Favoured by Monkeys, they may be in for unusual good fortune especially on a Basket day like the 5th September. Very creative time too.

Pigs have had their own trying time and can expect further trial by fire in 2019; this month may find them fighting another’s battles.

The Monkey month may bring a soapbox to the Monkey’s brother-in-arms the Rat, who loves to talk. Be careful your tongue doesn’t write cheques the rest of you can’t cash.

Rabbit can cruise, relaxed in the knowledge that they’re on track. Dog month brings pole position and 2019 further advancement still. Happy holidays.

Finally the Snake, the Monkey’s best buddy forges her own fortune from this Metal Month. You are the seeker after Truth; aim to back it however inconvenient.

Where to be in August.
Summary: immediate boost.
Tai chi, Home: Year Star: 9 Month Star: 8.
A place of refuge and recovery as well as creativity and rapid outcomes. The 8 Star may need a little encouragement – bright light and Water both may help – but emphasised by the 9 Star, this is a pretty helpful place to settle and attract abundance of all kinds.
To boost: Bright light or Water (fountain even better) Not both.

Where not to be in August.
Summary: exhausting.
South West, Accumulation: Year Star: 6 Fortune Virtue Month Star: 5.
There’s 6 Metal here all year; add more Metal to dilute the nasty 5 Star. Gender conflict looms, as well as power struggles over misused and/or compromised authority, lack of recognition. Break-ups, argument, illness – lungs, bladder, ears suffer. Steer clear. At the very least you’ll be exhausted lingering or entering any building regularly from the South West in August.
Solution: 6-Pipe Metal Windchime.

Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.

News and Upcoming Events:

Our new teaching term starts 7th September 2018 and we have just two one-to-one Skype/Zoom places available on Fridays. Each Starter Course (Ba Zi and Feng Shui) is made up of 20 one hour sessions with Richard.
He currently teaches and mentors students in time zones as far apart as Seattle, Iowa, Tennessee, Derbyshire and Devon.
More details can be found at:  http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses

Transformational Group Workshop with Richard
The weekend of Oct 20th/21st in Godalming, Surrey.
Further Details: https://bit.ly/2v6Bwvh

Every month we send paying subscribers a more comprehensive monthly bulletin than this one, covering in great detail the right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal plus personalised auspicious dates and much more from the Chinese calendar.
For Subscriptions and Course Info: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from Lebanon to Bermuda, in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and with stars such as Kelly Hoppen and Gillian Anderson. Unusually for a Western Master, he 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

Concerning the Eclipse

July 28, 2018
 

Concerning the Eclipse.

The universe is always talking to us if we will only pay attention. Some messages – predictive text, coincidences, newspaper headlines, the words of a song, minor mishaps – are small. Some are bigger. The powers that be appear to first hint, then jolt, then finally reach for the baseball bat. On this scale an eclipse is pretty big.

It was Derek Walters, still the only Western authority with any kudos among Chinese Masters, who first introduced me to Chinese Astrology. And when he was asked about events likely to follow the 1999 Eclipse said that it suggested the destruction of bridges. This was largely because it fell into the mini-constellation (or Mansion of the Moon) known as Bird that rules bridges and joining. As it happened, shortly thereafter NATO planes destroyed the bridge across the Danube at Belgrade. That same month the bridge connecting the European and Asian parts of Turkey partially collapsed.

Selene the Moon Goddess, like her counterparts Ashtaroth, Cerridwen and Diana represents the wild gentleness perhaps of the yin principle which though it is shared amongst men and women alike is essentially feminine. And a Lunar Eclipse like this one as I write, July 27th 2018, involving as it does the masking of the Moon, is inherently related to woman. Red Moons like Red Tents may indicate natural cycles shared equally by tides, women and the Moon. Clearly the power and the treatment of women is an area that we should be attending to. These goddesses like Shiva are both the destroyers and the preservers; the mothers and the lovers but also the widows.

Back in the 70’s when I was a teen tycoon, I use to put on bands at the Plaza Ballroom in Guildford. Today that turn of the century music hall building is a nasty nightclub and the classic 1890’s brickwork has been painted over. You don’t need to understand sam he feng shui to know that’s sacrilege.

One of those bands was called Casablanca. Casablanca possessed four outstanding assets: two of the most beautiful girl singers I had ever seen* and one lovely song “Concerning the Eclipse,” featuring a sublime solo from 4th asset cult guitarist Barrie Clarke. The moment those women took the stage my attention was drawn irresistibly away from the box office. I was 17. What do you expect?

Eclipses are referred to several times in the Yi Jing, that is I Ching or Book of Changes. Generally not in a cheery way. The word used in point of fact means “regret”. And the Lunar Eclipse tonight, is no exception. There are those who see it as the herald of all sorts of nastiness – war and natural disasters are big favourites.

But I’m not sure about that; as it happens the eclipse by my calculation, falls towards the end of the Lunar Mansion of The Well. The Well rules over natural resources and their preservation. This is not necessarily a poor portent. But it may be a timely reminder: preserve it or lose it. Vaqitas, the mini-dolphins of Baja California are gone as are black rhinos. And the orang utan is on its way as long as we continue to consume palm oil as we do. Is this connected to the wild gentleness of the Moon Goddess? I doubt we need to care for the Earth so much as ensure she continues to care for us.

The hint is pretty emphatic: tonight’s eclipse is almost as prolonged as is physically possible given the speed of movement and relative sizes of Sun and Moon and it’s visible all around the globe other than Greenland, Canada and the USA. Which implies some sort of separation from the New World. There is appropriately a tale that Columbus himself extorted help from the Carib Indians of Jamaica by warning them that if they didn’t cooperate he’d be forced to turn the Moon red. Which he did. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

So here’s an idea: the world has never been more in need of the love and mercy of the yin principle. This theme of separation and resources may indicate that those of us who care about these things may need to regroup. We can perhaps no longer rely on leaders to treat their responsibilities as to the people and the world they preside over rather than to themselves. And it may be that the USA risks no longer being part of the civilised world.  Perhaps the UK too.

Back in the simpler times of 1974, I remember puzzling over Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi. I didn’t really get it for another thirty years or so: when “they cut down all the trees and put them in a tree museum and charge the kids a dollar and a half just to see ’em”, she sang, don’t be surprised if a Big Yellow Taxi takes away your old man. Or children. Or right to reside. Or passport. Or back garden. Or neighbourhood.

The words# of that Casablanca song suggested a connection between emotional and physical eclipses. I remember so well the voices of those lovely women. My attention however, frankly was not upon the words. As I say, I was 17. What do you expect?

*Aliki Ashman and Juanita Franklin since you asked.                                                  #Lyric by David da Costa, as I recall.

 

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info
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Transformation with Richard Ashworth – Just a Few Days to Go!

July 28, 2018
Just a few places left…
If you are planning to attend the Transformational Workshop, there are only a few days left to take advantage of the £50 deposit offer.

The deposit will hold your place at £350* (details below).
After 1st August the cost will be £400.
Please email me at sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com to book.

Transformational Group Workshop with Richard Ashworth.
October 20th/21st, Godalming.

“One day when you conquer yourself and return to true order, the whole world will revert to humanity.Liu I-Ming, The Taoist I Ching” translated by Thomas Cleary.

Chinese healers have been using the ba zi or Four Pillars of Destiny to loosen stuckness, soothe emotional pain and re-set life paths for around two thousand years. I’ve only been doing it for around twenty.

Those twenty years however have enough for me to conclude that it’s the most powerful healing tool I have ever encountered. What I mean by “healing” is the solving of a spectrum with blockages, upset and stuckness at one end and performance enhancement at the other. Actual physical change is of course unusual, at least in the short term. But transformation, that is to say the road that was blocked suddenly and without reason becoming clear is common.

How is it done?

The answer is that the ba zi is a snapshot of the wu xing or Elements – Wood, Water, Fire, Earth, Metal – prevailing at our moment of birth. Because these Elements are overlapping and changing all the time, their cycles can be tracked. It appears that if we can track the cycle, we can influence its course.

Which tends to reveal moments of decision. We are making tens of thousands of decisions every day. And my field work suggests that some of them are clunkers. We so often take a left turn when we might perhaps have gone right or straight ahead and sometimes there are massive consequences. Which is why I sometimes call the ba zi a map of our most likely mistakes.

From where I’m sitting – which you don’t have to agree with, of course – pretty much everything is a choice. And because the gan zhi Cycles of Elements can be in effect wound backwards or forward like the mileometer of car, the ba zi can identify moments of choice: both the helpful and the not so much. And if we can identify a choice we can very often re-choose and reclaim heartbreaks, forgive, mend and get out of our own way. Which can free us to aim for the stars.

You’ll know I expect that I have drafted thousands of these things. I’ve written tens of thousands of words on the subject. I have not however for some while hosted a group intent upon transformation by way of the ba zi.

I am inviting you to join just such a group for a weekend in October. No promises but I’ve got a bit of a track record in this area and the ba zi boasts two thousand years.

There are 20 places maximum in the group and like all our workshops it’ll only take place if the universe appears to want it. It’ll cost you £400 for the two days unless you catch the Early Bird Offer of £350 which expires August 1st. A non refundable deposit of £50 now will be enough to secure your place at that price, the balance is due by the 20th September 2018.

It’s non-residential and will take place in or near Godalming but further details can be obtained from sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

I hope to see you,

Best,
Richard.

Transformation with Richard Ashworth

July 16, 2018
Transformational Group Workshop with Richard Ashworth.
October 20th/21st, Godalming.

 
“One day when you conquer yourself and return to true order, the whole world will revert to humanity.” Liu I-Ming, The Taoist I Ching” translated by Thomas Cleary.

Chinese healers have been using the ba zi or Four Pillars of Destiny to loosen stuckness, soothe emotional pain and re-set life paths for around two thousand years. I’ve only been doing it for around twenty.
Those twenty years however have enough for me to conclude that it’s the most powerful healing tool I have ever encountered. What I mean by “healing” is the solving of a spectrum with blockages, upset and stuckness at one end and performance enhancement at the other. Actual physical change is of course unusual, at least in the short term. But transformation, that is to say the road that was blocked suddenly and without reason becoming clear is common.

How is it done?

The answer is that the ba zi is a snapshot of the wu xing or Elements – Wood, Water, Fire, Earth, Metal – prevailing at our moment of birth. Because these Elements are overlapping and changing all the time, their cycles can be tracked. It appears that if we can track the cycle, we can influence its course.

Which tends to reveal moments of decision. We are making tens of thousands of decisions every day. And my field work suggests that some of them are clunkers. We so often take a left turn when we might perhaps have gone right or straight ahead and sometimes there are massive consequences. Which is why I sometimes call the ba zi a map of our most likely mistakes.

From where I’m sitting – which you don’t have to agree with, of course – pretty much everything is a choice. And because the gan zhi Cycles of Elements can be in effect wound backwards or forward like the mileometer of car, the ba zi can identify moments of choice: both the helpful and the not so much. And if we can identify a choice we can very often re-choose and reclaim heartbreaks, forgive, mend and get out of our own way. Which can free us to aim for the stars.

You’ll know I expect that I have drafted thousands of these things. I’ve written tens of thousands of words on the subject. I have not however for some while hosted a group intent upon transformation by way of the ba zi.

I am inviting you to join just such a group for a weekend in October. No promises but I’ve got a bit of a track record in this area and the ba zi boasts two thousand years.

There are 20 places maximum in the group and like all our workshops it’ll only take place if the universe appears to want it. It’ll cost you £400 for the two days unless you catch the Early Bird Offer of £350 which expires August 1st. A non refundable deposit of £50 now will be enough to secure your place at that price, the balance is due by the 20th September 2018.

It’s non-residential and will take place in or near Godalming but further details can be obtained from sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

I hope to see you,

Best,
Richard.

Bah!: the Month of the Earth Sheep 2018: Lads Done Brilliant

July 6, 2018
Bah!: the Month of the Earth Sheep 2018: Lads Done Brilliant
Bulletin for July 2018
(12:16pm 7th July to 22:15pm 7th August 2018 inclusive)

 Pi
———-
———-
———-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
Hindrance
Hexagram 12

Animal by Animal
During this Earth Sheep Month,
The Rat blocks his own shot,
The Ox may feel outnumbered,
The imprudent Tiger fosters impatience,
The Rabbit finds an open road,
The Dragon mediates,
The Snake’s dignity shines,
The Horse may overreach,
The Sheep may fly solo,
A Monkey might confuse attack with defence.
The Rooster may ride a high Horse,
The Dog experiences separation,
and
The Pig rises to challenges.

Remember: Each Pillar of your ba zi represents an aspect of your life:
Year Animal   physicality, forebears,heritage, the obvious & immediate;
Month Animalwork environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal    you and your beloved;
Hour Animal:   intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

Anchor9 Fire month (especially in a 9 Year) brings attention.
A Sheep month is a time to offer assistance to the helpless.
Most helpful location: South East (especially East Group kuas 1 4 9).
Least helpful location: North – again.
Favoured Animals: Pig, Rabbit, Sheep, Horse.
Especially challenged one way or another: Ox, Rat, Snake, Rooster.
HexagramP’i Hindrance, Heaven over Earth. Yin up, yang down.Anchor

Lads done brilliant: the Earth Sheep Month July 2018
Right now of course most of us are in the grip of a 4-year cycle: the Football World Cup. England last won in the Fire Horse year of 1966 and since then have generally done well in the early stages during June, which is the month of the Horse and the peak of Fire. In the Horse Year 2002 for instance we took Argentina out during the last week in June only to go no further. This Sheep month of July opens at 12:16pm on Saturday, a tantalising three hours short of the kick-off against Sweden,which takes us past the peak. So….we might just win one more but that’s probably it.

The place to start then may be England Football Manager Metal Dog Gareth Southgate: technically the Sheep month brings some sort of break-up for Dogs. Which for him may simply signify a return home, tail and head high. Whereas for shame-resistant, neon-haired Fire Dog Donald Trump it may mean embarrassment that even he can’t spin. Dogs: note.

The Sheep Month is a testing time for the Sheep herself. Your month may involve separation, best to make use of the resultant downtime. Love Island’s Jack Fincham: this means you!  Something similar applies to Oxen who may find their unique combination of deep sensitivity and single-mindedness lays them open to exploitation. A wise man once told me that being 100% open makes for invulnerability, but that 99% is suicidal.

And for the second time this year the Dragon takes up the role of mediator, peace-maker, the joiner-up of disputing parties. Hard to believe this of Wood Dragon Boris Johnson but there you go.

Driven by the Fire which opposes her Watery nature, the Rat may find himself over-busy. Which will come as no surprise to Love Island lovely, Fire Rat Dani Dyer but may shock her Dad; Snakes like National Treasure Sir Daniel may have to contain contradictory emotions this month. Dignity pays off; take gracious champion boxer Anthony Joshua (born an Earth Snake in 1989) as a role model perhaps.

Some Tigers are spoiling for a fight this month, roused by the seasonal heat and Monkeys may find themselves on the wrong end of this. Ba Zi Masters know that Monkey and Tiger days in the summer months call for diligent driving.  Special care you two.

The Rabbit however enjoys an open road. After the mesmerising headlights of 2017, your progress along the soft verge of the year is pretty steady. And especially this month. Good time to seek the attention you often shun.

By contrast you Horses may feel bereft. A playmate may have moved on and you could feel left behind while others frolic. It’s not forever and the Force remains with you all year.

Roosters: your feathers may feel ruffled. Try to be aware that injured pride is only skin deep.

Pigs can generally make hay, so to speak, in a Sheep month. Opportunities abound to which you’re likely to rise if you keep your attention out.

Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.

Where to be in July.
Summary: immediate boost.
South East, Determination: Year Star: 8 Dragon Virtue Month Star: 8. Another great month in the South East – for some the Wealth location in any case. The South East sector (as measured from the tai chi) as well as SE doors and buildings facing SE, remain at their most helpful. brings rapid gain and positive growth of all sorts. There’s advantage to pretty much anyone who positions themselves there about now.
To boost: Bright light; Water fountain, 4(+) green plants.

Where not to be in July.
Summary: depressing and morbid. Still.
North, Distant Future: Year Star Annual san sha, Month Star: 5
The tricky wu huang Yellow is here all year as well as the san sha or “Three Killings”. And now there are two Yellow Fives here. Argh; the worst location of the year just got still worse. So steer clear, apply healing or both. If you work, sleep or linger here you may suffer relationship issues as well as headaches and wild thoughts. West Group kuas 8 and younger Horse and Sheep women remain the most vulnerable. Some financial gain may reduce the sting if you find yourself marooned in the North. May not be worth it.
Solution: AnchorChinese Charm: t’ang lung.

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

Every month we send paying subscribers a more comprehensive monthly bulletin than this one, covering in detail right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar.

Richard teaches both starter and advanced Feng Shui and Ba zi (Chinese Astrology), one to one via Skype or Zoom.

More details at: http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
Subscriptions, courses (and further info)Sheila@imperialfengshui.info
Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

The Sins of the Fathers: Horse Diary 2018

June 29, 2018

The Sins of the Fathers.

According to Muslim teaching, family photographs are tucked away in albums. Nothing that has a soul can be displayed on a wall. There are no photographs on view in Abdul Malik’s house.

Abdul Malik still lives in the West London he was born in. On the westbound Metropolitan Line I think of my father who worked in this part of London for some time. Ours was not a comfortable relationship and some of the memories are not easy.

Abdu Malik is a father, a husband and a devout Muslim. In something like that order. He’s so obviously a good man, fortyish, on his second marriage and very aware of the mess he made of the first one. His seven-year old son bounces back and forth between the living room where I am talking with his Dad and the kitchen where his Mum makes endless cups of tea while half-listening. An inquisitive child, he asks to look at my luo p’an. So I take it out of its case and point out the Chinese Animals near its centre and show him the one he was born under. As we talk he glances back and forth at his Father for approval which is given silently. From time to time Abdul ruffles the small boy’s hair.

“There is a darkness about the house,” Abdul Malik tells me. He reckons it’s located in an upper room. My luo p’an tells me the room is North West, the place of authority, dogma, introspection, self-righteousness and the Father. His own father is long gone and his mother recently deceased.

“What was your father like?” I ask.

Violent and angry is the simple answer. Abdul Malik was regularly cuffed and kicked as he grew up.

“How do you feel about that now?” I ask.

“I’ve forgiven him,” he answers simply.

We look at the room. It’s a bedroom that’s not being used. And there is a kind of cloud suspended there. It catches me in my chest as I enter and I cough. The lungs as it happens are the province of the father.

One of the most educated feng shui practitioners I know once told me that she doesn’t bother to feel anymore. How could that work? How would you know what was wrong with a house without feeling? How would you know you’d made it better? Or not. Human beings are feeling creatures; as the philosopher Barry Gibb once put it: “Everybody spends money to feel better.” I have to add that Sir Barry was responsible for such enigmas as “I stumble and fall but I give you it all,” and “Islands in the stream. How can we be wrong? Sail away with me,” but he’s written some choons for sure.

There is a brooding pain in here. Abdul does not need to be reminded that he is himself a father also, three times over.

“Do you feel it?” Abdul Malik asks me. I nod and breathe in deeply.

I know another European feng shui Master who has placed a hundred Water Dragons but as far as I can tell has never made a positive difference to anybody. Everything he does is dispassionately calculated and he suffers with a constant dry cough. Proper breathing is fundamental to feeling. Most people are trying so hard not to feel.

“Male or female?” Abdul asks. Which is an interesting question.

“Both, I think.”

It’s a given that a North Western room will hold the fatherly qi listed above; that’s where those energies sit. In this one those energies are a bit twisted. And there’s more. I speculate that the father’s violence was not limited to his sons. A long-suffering kind of pained patience hangs here too. How did Abdul Malik’s Mother contain her spouse, I wonder.

Outside there’s an alleyway shared with the neighbour. If you’re old enough to remember it, I dealt with just such a structural flaw on tv’s Housebusters some years ago.  These days that series is shown endlessly on cable at dead of night. Which may explain why I deal with so many insomniacs. Abdul himself works shifts.

The alley is easily attended to – with a charm known as goy moon – as you’ll see if you follow the link above. I make sure the one bed placed over the gap is moved back. Some of the disturbance will be down to that. Classical feng shui theory has a great deal to say about such spots and if nothing else when we know we’re sleeping over a void, we’ll tend to feel exposed.

I tell Abdul to place black tourmaline tumblestones all round the room against the skirting board and keep it in stillness between the next two Remove Days. That’s twelve days.

“After that you take the crystals away and drop them in a river.”

And I have him hang a ba gua mirror on the inside of the bedroom door to reflect upon the whole room meanwhile.

I use the convex ba gua mirror, a feng shui cliché, very seldom; perhaps five times in twenty years of practice. One way or another it’ll clear a room, a house or indeed a street, depending on where we place it. Tourmaline I am told, which is a standard anti woo-woo stone, has special and measurable properties in purifying Water.

“I remember my father punching me across a room,” Abdul Malik tells me.

His wife listens carefully; there are no secrets here. As the voice-over on Desperate Housewives had it: “The measure of his secrecy is the measure of a man’s madness.” His father may have been an observant Muslim but I doubt he was emotionally outgoing. The father’s secrets and lies hang in the air.

Abdul does not pretend to be at peace. Whether we’re talking about a frustrated man in a strange new country, a cabinet minister or Donald Trump, so much male violence resides within false calm. I think again of Abdul Malik’s mother. Arranged marriages are outside my expertise and they seem to work about as well any other variety and I’m not sure any particular arrangement is more violent than another. But she appears to have had quite a row to hoe.

“We tend to think of forgiveness as equanimity in the teeth of other people’s poor behaviour,” I suggest and Abdul nods. “But that’s not actually forgiveness. It’s more like blame. It places us in a position of superiority rather than making for a fresh start.”

He nods again; he can see that.

One of the most difficult things is to mark the card of those we love. We love most and we are most affected by those closest to us. A father loves his son just as a son loves his father; this isn’t Confucian filial piety, it’s nature. Violence complicates the issue. How do we love those who torment us? And how do we forgive them?

The answer is with some difficulty. Abdul has two children by his first marriage. He loves them but they don’t want to see him.

“He loves boxing,” Abdul Malik says of the son he never sees.

It’s when I suggest images of the two teenagers at strategic locations that I am reminded why the walls are bare.

“So your Dad is not the only father who needs forgiveness.”

Abdul nods again, his deep brown eyes ashine with remorse.

“A man as sincere as you will have forgiven your father easily on the surface level. I mean here,” I say and touch my head. “You know enough to realise that he was mistreated by his own father and that he did the best he could with that experience and what he knew.”

As the Book of Changes says: “the only inevitable outcome of violence is further violence.”

“On that level you’ve forgiven him. You wish him nothing but rest. But on the next level down, it’s not so simple. That’s where the chaos is,” I say and point to his chest. “And underneath that there is a completion where everything’s fine.”

“But our minds tend to stop at the top level. We want just to love. We don’t want to go into the risky storm of emotions that are the output of such hurt. We want to go straight to forgiveness without owning the blame that lies between.”

“So what do I do?”

I suggest that at either end of the room-cleansing process, he goes into the room, sits quietly, breathes deeply and simply feels.

“Will that do it?”

“We’ll see.”

In place of the images he can’t display, I suggest he puts symbols. Halfway down the stairs he pins a pair of boxing gloves.

On the Metropolitan Line eastbound, the Bee Gees come up on my playlist. “Saved by the bell on your own carousel,” goes the lyric. “What does that mean?” my father’s voice asks me as if I’d written it myself. Suddenly it’s 1969 and I’m a teenager.

“No idea, Dad. Not the slightest.”

Forgive one father and they’re all forgiven.

Richard Ashworth©2018
www.imperialfengshui.info

 

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

Every month we send paying subscribers a more comprehensive monthly bulletin than this one, covering in detail right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar.

I still have space for one additional Skype/Zoom student right now.
For c
ourses, subscriptions and further infosheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Here Comes the Cavalry: the Month of the Earth Horse 2018

June 8, 2018
Here comes the Cavalry: the Month of the Earth Horse 2018.
Bulletin for June 2018
(01:29 6th June to 12:16pm 7th July 2018 inclusive)

Kou
———-
———-
———-
———-
—-  —-
—-  —-
Coming to Meet
Hexagram 44
 
Animal by Animal
During this Earth Horse Month,
The Rat may experience blockage,
The Ox too,
The Tiger is powered,
The Rabbit needs to pace herself,
The Dragon perseveres,
The Snake holds back then doesn’t,
The Horse may get in his own way,
The Sheep follows,
The Monkey’s aim may not be true
The Rooster risks affront,
The Dog whistles,
and
The Pig is useful.

Remember: Each Pillar of your ba zi represents an aspect of your life:
Year Animal:       physicality, heritage, the obvious & immediate;
Month Animal:    work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal:        you and your beloved;
Hour Animal:       intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

A 1 month supports clear communication.
During a Horse month events move rapidly.
Most helpful location: South East (especially East Group kuas 1 3 4 9).
Least helpful location: North – again.
Favoured Animals: Tiger, Dog, Sheep.
Especially challenged: Horse, Ox, Rat, Dragon, Monkey.
Hexagram (above): Kou Coming to Meet, Father,
Heaven over Wind; the returning darkness.

Here comes the Cavalry: the Earth Horse Month, June 2018
The Horse month marks the summit of the year; the qi or energy has been rising since the last Winter Solstice and now it starts to fall. The growing season has a while to run yet but planting time is mostly over. This is peak Fire; all my sunflowers are out and the hibiscus are in leaf as they begin to consider budding.

Appropriately the Fire of the Horse favours Animals which hold Fire within them; that is to say passion, spontaneity and a need to be seen. Of these the Sheep may be the most favoured, with the Dog and Tiger close behind. Those born under these signs (whether Year, Month, Day or Hour) are at their most powerful now. Your objectives are likely to be bearing fruit but take care: Fire power is incautious and demands immediate results where patience might be more prudent. Now is no time run red lights.

Notable Dogs include three of the last four US Presidents (ie not Obama, bless him) as well as both the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge; among well-known Tigers is Victoria Beckham.

I’ve omitted the Horse, you’ll notice. Why would that be? Well, technically the Horse suffers what is known as the “self-penalty”. This means broadly that Horses don’t much like Horses which includes a distaste for Horse months. The extrovert Horse typically has no space for others seeking the limelight – especially numerous in the Horse month. Angela Merkel: take note. And don’t mistake Mutti’s sensible efficiency for lack of ego; I know a 1954 Wood Horse when I see one.

Of the other Animals, the more modest yin Fire of the Snake may draw them away from things right now and your judgement may not be 100%. Like all things cyclical, this too shall pass. The yin Wood Rabbit may have similar feelings but you remain in pole position throughout 2018; that’ll make up for last year!

Particularly left to draw on their own resources are the Monkey and Rooster, both uncomfortable with the yang Fire which can cloud their thoughts. For the time being these two Metal Animals are respectively, dangerously playful and prone to over-thinking. Something similar is true of the powerful, mercurial Dragon who often becomes stoical now (don’t!), the Ox who may dawdle and the Watery Rat whose articulacy is less welcome than usual. Await August, I should.

If you’re interested in studying Classical Ba Z (which is the art of knowing what happens to which Animal when and indeed why) I have a space for one more one-to-one Skype student on a Thursday or Friday. Apply to Sheila at sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.
Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.

Where to be in June.
Summary: over-the-top creative.
South East, Determination: Year Star: 8 Dragon Virtue Month Star: 9. The South East of your room, apartment, building or office has a free ticket right now. Even facing South East will tend to be rocket fuel. A 9 Star brings attention and the 8 keeps that prominence welcome. Projects are likely to flower and plans to bear fruit. Fill your boots.
Enhancement: Bright light; Water fountain (in or out); four green plants.

Where not to be in June.
Summary: depressing and morbid.
North, Distant Future: Year Star 5 Monthly & Annual san sha,Month Star: 6
The worst location of the year just got worse. If you work, sleep or linger here you may – again – suffer relationship issues as well as headaches and wild thoughts. West Group kuas 2 6 7 8 and younger Horse and Sheep women remain the most vulnerable. The only real difference this month is that you may enjoy a windfall if you find yourself with no choice but to linger in the North. You might prefer a holiday of course.
Solution: Chinese Charm: t’ang lung.

Every month we send paying subscribers a more comprehensive monthly bulletin than this one, covering in detail right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar.

I have space for one additional Skype/Zoom student right now.
For c
ourses, subscriptions and further info: Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth
©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth Feng Shui Diary: Inconstant Moon

May 17, 2018

Inconstant Moon.
“They tell you happiness is an achievable ambition.” Granola Suicide, Consumerist Healthcare” from “Skipping Breakfast”.

Early March; Water Snake Day, (still) Tiger Month, Dog Year, Full Moon.

Everyone knows that the Chinese New Year falls on February 4th. Everyone that is except the Chinese. As it happens, sometimes they down tools and party half-way through January and it can be as late as mid-February. This awkward irregularity is because their New Year is calculated not from the gan zhi cycle of Chinese Animals but like Easter – around a month from now as I write – by a combination of lunar and solar calendars. That is to say it is like Easter, an astrological computation.

The only constant is change which means that everything there is is either growing or decaying. That which is, in Bob Dylan’s words, not busy being born is busy dying; people, beasts, plants, rocks, planets, digestive biscuits, everything. Every minute, every hour brings change and so the Dragon dance has to fall on the right day if it is to bring in what the New Year offers. Many Chinese Masters publish extensive lists of which rituals to perform over the following few days. Getting it right matters. Some would say the timing makes or breaks the year. It’s pretty much literally life and death.

Last night the Arran wind was wild and in the light of a Full Moon blurred by clouds, the breakers were like white spears as they crested and fell. I love a gale but truth to tell, once or twice I was almost bowled over. Walking along the Brodick seafront was like pushing an icy wall and the gust is still sharp against my cheeks this morning as I take the Fisherman’s Path by the water’s edge. My feet slosh and slurp where the Water has settled on the causeway.

I’m listening to Indigo Faelan Azidahaka a.k.a Granola Suicide’s Skipping Breakfast, aching music about the experience of the young, homeless and gender-free. It’s not expert and it’s lo-fi, so you can hear breathing and the squeak of fingers moving on frets. But it’s so real. There’s no pretence here. And one more thing – there’s something I can only call faith in these songs. And I’m not sure that’s what was intended. Which makes the unpolished harmony of the double-tracked voice all the more touching.

The waves aren’t so turbulent this morning but I have to stop short and turn around after a while because great rafts of the causeway have submerged overnight. This exceptionally deep water is the “spring” tide of the Full Moon. My DMs will withstand a couple of inches but the planks are twice that deep. I look across the bay at the dock. It’s empty. There’ll be no ferries today.

Both lunar and solar calendars mark time that is distinct from the Gregorian calendar. The central purpose of that notional ordering of things in which January and October have thirty-one days and November thirty which is employed from London to Ulan Bator, is simply to make sure we all agree what day it is. If you and I set up a meeting for say Tuesday March 21st we want to be sure I don’t arrive on Wednesday 22nd and you on Monday 20th.  Which could be disappointing. But those numbers, 21st 22nd 20th are lifeless; the Gregorian calendar is no use in identifying real time, a real moment. There is nothing absolute about September, April, June and November having thirty days or February twenty eight. The lunar and solar calendars however take us away from such strictly notional timing into more natural rhythms, the gan zhi cycle takes us even further.

This search for real time by way of Sun and Moon and planets has some history of course. And not just in Asia; here in the Western Isles, there’s a longer tradition than most and it’s tied up with the meaning of resurrection and the promises of Christ. To Columba and the Celtic Saints who preached here, correct ritual and timing were more than life or death, they were what ensured redemption and the forgiveness of sin. These missionaries to the Scots, the Britons and the Anglo-Saxons believed that a soul could only be made safe by the grace of Jesus Christ and that it was their duty to let all those in possession of a soul know of this special arrangement. Resurrection of the body is a pretty big deal and like the Chinese New Year it entailed celebration in the right way at the right time.

I’ve been studying the “mysterious doors” of Qi Men Dun Jia. These doors can locate an individual advantageously in space and time or to all intents and purposes disappear them altogether. Qi men starts with the gan zhi cycle, factors in Sun and Moon and the directional implications of feng shui and more that I have not yet mastered.

Before leaving for Arran to begin my research for her I looked at my client Barbara squarely and told her:

“If this works I want all the credit and if it doesn’t, it had nothing to do with me.”
She looked back equally squarely and laughed.
“How are you going to do it?”
“I don’t know yet. Method is only a platform.”

Gavin who runs the little boarding house next to my cottage, is out walking his Lhasa Apsos across the beach. He trained as a ballet dancer, he tells me. And he is banned from two of the six pubs in Brodick. Those are facts that don’t obviously gel. He’s a gentle man who does a mean service wash btw. Lent is no time to get thrown out of pubs, I tell him.

I’m deep into a phone conversation with my youngest son Joey. His band itoldyouiwouldeatyou have a new single out, it’s about the rights of the defenceless to defend themselves. His concerts are intended to be a safe place for the gender-neutral like Indigo. He tells me gender is over and he’s curious as to my take on Jordan Peterson who’s become notorious for resisting non-binary pronouns.

“I can’t argue with his reasoning,” I say, “But I’m not sure he’s wise or kind.”

Joey’s concern is that wisdom and kindness are not priorities to the half-baked alt-righters who quote Peterson to justify all sorts of nastiness. We agree that we can’t blame Peterson for this any more than we can blame Nietszche for Hitler. But Peterson’s card is now marked.

Thwarted by the Water I walk back to the main road via the smaller of Brodick’s two Co-ops where I buy a still-fresh-but-best-before sandwich.

At first I did not sleep well here in my cottage overlooking the bay. On that first night, after eight hours of travel I rushed to bed without consideration of time and space. As you do. And awoke sluggish.
The next morning my luo p’an (or Chinese compass) showed that my head had been pointing West all night, a poor orientation for me at any time. I realised also that there was a broadband router plugged into the wall next to the bed. If we are paying attention, we feel these things. Although I’ll need the internet from time to time, I have disconnected it pro tem and moved the room around. The wall-mounted reading lamps look eccentric now, marooned opposite the bed like hunting trophies.

And I can feel a cat in the cottage somewhere. Not that that’s a problem, I’m fond of cats. Richard Bach wrote once that we always have the same cats and dogs. They follow us from incarnation to incarnation, he reckoned. This one appears to come and go through closed doors, sometimes it rubs against my leg, at other times I simply smell musk. My own cat Lyra died suddenly last year; I like Bach’s idea but I know this cat is not her.

Last night I was invited to dinner with Gavin’s parents who own my cottage. We shared some Arran malt whisky and an excellent vegetable curry with perfect fluffy rice. You can tell a lot about a man by how he cooks rice.

I know Don and June from pioneering spiritual work we did together a quarter century ago. Once bonded, such a connection fades very slowly, it’s as if I last saw them yesterday. They are admirable people, good-hearted, generous and rooted in community and family. We talked mostly politics and children; they have three compared to my six and there was plenty to talk about.

Don asked me about the feng shui of the cottage and I told them how I have moved the bedroom around. He explained that when they came to Arran there was an ancient chalet where the cottage now stands.

“Leaking and falling down,” he says. “We demolished it and started all over again.”

Barbara wants the means to change the world for the better and she has very specific plans. My feng shui has already sold for her houses that had refused to budge. And more. That’s why she’s commissioned me.

“Just tell me what to do,” she asked.
“I can only do that up to a point,” I said, “The only constant is change. Beyond that there are no rules.”
“That sounds like a Chinese fortune cookie.”
“Surprise, surprise.”

The faith of the Celtic Saints was powerful enough to draw them across the stormy Irish Sea first to Iona and Arran and Eigg, Uist and Skye and then to the Scottish mainland and thence to England where they could expect to be greeted by murderous heathen Picts and Anglo-Saxons and lapsed post-Roman Britons, all of whom were at each other’s throats with a savagery unmitigated by respect for the immortal soul. This was the 6th century, the darkest of the Dark Ages. These were brave men.

“Skipping Breakfast” is still playing on my phone and I’m considering whether the coastal path is deliberately positioned to be swamped from time to time, when the music is paused by a call from David. Despite my headphones it’s quite hard to hear him against the roar of the wind.
David has been through a decade of hell, domestic, financial, professional and other. Before I left I positioned him very carefully facing due South.
“Sit there, do whatever comes up. Do nothing important anywhere else.”

This is the second time I’ve given him this kind of advice; last time he wrote a book, his first which was snapped up by an agent, then by a publisher and now he tells me, by Hollywood. He’s called to thank me. He asks what I’m doing in the Hebrides. I explain that I am in pursuit of real time. He knows better than to question me as to what that means.

David’s home is in rural Herefordshire where the A-roads are B-roads and a “neighbour” may actually live ten miles away. That’s just how he likes it and it helps him understand why I’ve chosen the emptiness of Arran to take stock.

Those ten years of upset culminated in a separation. In the South West of his garden a lifesized statue of  Hestia stands. The Roman Goddess representing all the qualities David’s unhappy wife could not finally be at ease with, was placed there to relieve her misery. I don’t think she ever really got his brilliance and now I hear in his voice a man freed of that weight. A Rabbit and therefore traditionally a networker, David has over the years recommended me to many of his friends and associates.

Feng shui, you might say concerns the Cycles of Space where ba zi concerns those of Time. As well as the gan zhi cycle and the wu xing or “Five Elements” (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal) feng shui is of course itself rooted in the cycles of Sun and Moon. One of David’s friends – also with relationship problems – asked me once how a relatively sane, relatively educated person like myself could believe in astrology. Surely such a belief is irrational?

“I don’t believe in astrology, any more than I believe in nuclear fission or capillary action,” I replied. “These are simply things I need to respect in order to navigate my way through life. If I don’t for instance, respect gravity, I’m liable to fall over a lot.”

Furthermore, if the Moon’s phases are coincident with the way plants and animals behave and with a woman’s menstrual cycle, quite apart from tides, it is rash to write off the possibility that larger heavenly bodies, however far away have other effects.

“Astrology,” I suggested,” Is not disproven but unproven. And it’s actually unscientific to discount it.”

And so if real time is a discoverable thing whether we seek the perfect moment or the imitation of Christ, it must take account of the influences of the physical universe. St Columba, for his part was pretty sure that sharing the passion of Christ was the only way to be saved.

Like most of his friends, David is a churchgoer but his book is not in any sense devotional nor is it history. It’s semi-autobiographical, essentially advice for his kids, wise throughout, often screamingly funny. It’s what came out of him when I pointed him in the right direction from the right location at the right time. Manifesting by tapping into creative energy with precise timing and placing is something I do all the time. This is feng shui. But it can be hit or miss and what Barbara wants is more than that.

Since the causeway is flooded, I’m walking the perimeter of the bay now. The road is narrow as I leave the built-up area and the pavement runs out. The road begins to wind and becomes narrower again, so I need to be aware of the traffic; there’s a near-miss with a camper van. I come to a small cemetery from which there’s a startling view across the sound to Merkland Point where the land runs into the sea. And I sit on a mossy wall and eat my slightly soggy sandwich. The tombstones have names like Currie, Mackinnon and Bannatyne. The dates go back into the 18th century but there’s not a single Hamilton. Those’ll be buried on the higher ground by the castle, I guess.

“Skipping,” I have learned is the practice of raiding skips outside supermarkets for wasted food; the cover of Skipping Breakfast shows Indigo aboard just such a skip. I guess that’s where my Co-Op sandwich would have gone had I not intervened. Many supermarkets apparently put bleach on leftover food to discourage the homeless and the hungry.

From the time the Roman legions left in 410 AD, Christian worship was pretty much extinguished throughout Britannia . But somehow by way of St Patrick, a British nobleman taken by Irish slavers from the Northern Cornish coast a few years later, Christianity got to Ireland. And by 563 the Irish prince Colm Cille known to us as Saint Columba, was ready to return the favour, landing on the tiny island of Iona, from whence he proceeded to spread the gospel all over the Inner Hebrides which of course included Holy Isle off Lamlash Bay just a couple of miles South of me here.

A generation after his own landfall Columba sent his kinsman Aidan across country to found a similar mission at Lindisfarne which lay just off the coast of the kingdom of Northumbria, in the extreme North East of England. The King of Northumbria at that time was Oswald, known as Shining Arm or White Arm for his dazzling skill as a warrior.

Lindisfarne was just a beginning. It’s a fact that over the next couple of centuries Celtic missionaries founded churches as far away as Turin and Kiev. It’s also a fact that the bloodthirsty habits of their patrons didn’t necessarily change along with a change of worship. That white arm of Oswald’s would need rinsing of blood many times after his conversion.

It’s also a fact that Columba’s Ionan style of Christianity was in its turn pretty much extinguished throughout the British Isles within a couple of generations as well. Because meanwhile back in Rome, Pope Gregory I was sending St Augustine to convert the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Kent in the South East of England to the Roman way. Once this task had been accomplished in 597, further representatives of Roman orthodoxy were to be despatched to the West and North of Britannia with the same objective. In time they collided with the Irish proceeding South and East.

Here’s the thing: the beliefs of each group were equally rigid but their ideas of orthodoxy and correct ritual were very different. Both considered themselves the preservers of the true message and there was not room for two of these.

I’m walking back towards Brodick now, past the castle with its Victorian ice-house and sculpted gardens set on the commanding heights. Except for the conifers blocking the open space between castle and sound, this is excellent feng shui. I’m cold so I stop for a cup of tea at the Douglas where Gavin is seated at a table with his Lhasa Apsos enjoying a pint of Joker. He offers me one. Feeling a bit of a tightarse, I stick with my tea.

Oswald died in battle not long after his conversion. The trunk of his corpse was separated from his famous white arms – the bones became holy relics – and his head impaled on a stake outside the village in North Wales which in time became Oswestry or “Oswald’s Tree”. Grisly, but nothing he wouldn’t himself have done had he won that last battle. His skull became a relic too.

The Wood Rat AD 664 was the year the two groups of saints met for adjudication at what is known to history as the Synod of Whitby. This is one of a trio of facts generally known about this otherwise relatively obscure Northern seaside town, the others being that it was Dracula’s landing place as well as ground zero for a vast number of fish.

The representatives of Rome were outraged by what was called the “Devil’s Tonsure”; the forehead area of the Irish monks was shaved and the rest of the hair gathered into a ponytail, making them look more like death metallers than like Friar Tuck. There are reasons to suppose that druids had been coiffed in exactly this manner. And there were question marks around the rapidity of the Irish conversion; an entire land had been redeemed inside a century. Perhaps Christianity grafted a little too easily onto pagan practices. It’s certainly true that new churches had been established on existing holy sites in Ireland, something the Pope had expressly forbidden. And there are those who see in the Celtic tradition of the Three Daughters of Dagda the antecedents of a holy trinity that has entered Christianity by some route other than the New Testament. They were all called Bridget by the way. Which if not suspicious is at least not imaginative. And how did Patrick get rid of all those snakes? And then there was the timing of Easter.

The mediator Oswiu, Oswald’s brother as well as successor, later achieved the remarkable feat for a Dark Ages monarch of dying of natural causes. Which may be why on the other er…hand, his arms and head never gained the cachet of his brother’s.

The true er…bone of contention at Whitby was that the two factions calculated Easter differently and no missionary of either persuasion could tolerate the possibility that they were sharing the final passion of Christ on the wrong day. Over time ritual can become empty but both factions believed that getting it right would duplicate the taste, the feel, the nature of that passion. That’s quite a thing.

The Chinese word is qi.

Which is where these notions begin to tie up; the ba zi or “Four Pillars” are a snapshot of the prevailing qi at any given moment. This is the same word as the “qi” in Qi Men Dun Jia which takes the Four Pillars of ba zi as its base and then attempts to account for wider influences starting with Sun and Moon. Qi is generally translated “energy” but makes more sense as “taste” “feel” or “nature”.

I would not have taken up Barbara’s challenge had her own ba zi not been an extraordinary one, speaking of an unusual ability to pounce upon opportunity. I’ve seen this pattern before – I’ve drafted thousands of these things – but never one quite as emphatic. And a strong ba zi gives birth to a strong Qi Men chart. David’s is not unlike hers but it’s more encumbered. Which would come as no surprise to him.

Time has passed and the world has become a different place since David’s first book, so where I have placed him this time is not quite the same: not simply facing South but also glued to his dining room in the Southern part of his home. Out of this window he can pick up on the Fire energy of the South. He can also not help seeing Hestia in the South West.

He’s located here now because the Fire is favourable to him and South being the direction of the Sun, is its source. He is literally in his Element. Cautionary note: Fire does not mean wealth or success for everybody.

But it does mean those things for David and apart from selling the film rights on the first book, he has now written several thousand words of a new one. And overseen by Hestia he’s pulled off a deal that will fund him meanwhile.

At Whitby the Irish were represented by Aidan’s successor, Colman, a simple devout priest; Rome by the wily Wilfrid, twenty or so years younger, ambitious, hungry and a more flexible debater. Rome owned both the history and the future of course. And the Pope. It was always a long shot for the Irish.

First of all, Colman couldn’t speak Anglo-Saxon. Second, Oswy’s wife was a Kentish princess who was probably fed up with fasting when her husband was feasting and vice-versa because they had been calculating the days of Lent that lead up to Easter differently. And thirdly, any trailing edges to the dispute were likely to be settled at sword point.

So Oswy found for Rome. Which may have contributed to his peaceful exit.

I sit with Gavin for a while by the bar at the Douglas and he tells me about his lost love.

“Czech,” he says. He lived with her in a village outside Prague for a while. “We could argue,” he says, sounding like argument is a competitive team game. Like a verbal three-legged race.

The little dogs snuggle against his legs in turn as he opens up. He’s a sweet man and his heart is broken.

I suggest he returns to the Czech Republic maybe.

“Maybe,” he says, stroking an Apso and lifting his glass in salute. As I rise, three pairs of eyes look up at me with the same gently pleading look.

The Moon is still almost full as I walk back up the steps of the snicket to my cottage, the cloud thinner and the Moon brighter but the wind still harsh. I notice that in a garden next to the narrow path there appears to be an avocado tree. Is this a miracle of the Gulf Stream? More likely a rhododendron I guess.

As I climb I’m thinking of Colm Cille on his knees in his tiny cell on windswept Iona and wondering if the saint who put shrines and chapels on so many of these islands, was aware of what would happen when his teachings hit the Roman buffer. And I’m thinking of David tapping into the Sun while he tries to keep his gaze off Hestia and I’m thinking of Gavin in his cups. I don’t know about prayer practice but I do know that Indigo dreams of simply waking up one morning with “two parents a brother and a dog.” And perhaps a sandwich before its sell-by date.

If you subscribe to these things, Christ is reckoned to have risen on the 16th day of Nisan, the Sunday following the Jewish feast of the Passover; that is to say the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Like the Chinese New Year, the date is a combination of solar and lunar timing; actually what we might call an astrological formula.

The Chinese are very practical people for the most part and the meticulous timing of the Dragon Dance of the New Year is to equip them to profit from the newborn qi of the year. But Jesus’ mission as I understand it was a much bigger one, to heal the hurt, the heartbroken, the hungry, the hapless and the homeless, the scrapers and the skippers. He would take on the sins of the world, apparently. Being 100% innocent he could say: “Lay the burden on me, there’s no need to blame or suffer any more. Your souls are saved.” Everyone could take a deep breath and start again. And he was apparently just a bloke; he had no free ticket. That’s a hell of a job description. To truly share that experience is a bit of a mind-blower. And of course the world was off the rails again by Monday morning.

Columba and Gregory’s quest was almost as ambitious: to redeem souls in His name. And it was not only early missionaries who were prepared to kill each other over timing: Greek and Russian churches dispute the dating of Easter to this day. To shorten a long story, real time mattered because it was how the experience was re-created. And to many of the faithful who may have forgotten or never knew about these disputes, it remains crucial.

It turns out that Don and June let a homeless woman live in the delapidated chalet for a short while. Abandoned by her husband, she had been camping with her school age daughter in a tent in the woods above Brodick Castle. The two of them moved into the chalet briefly one Christmas in the late 90’s. Along with their cat.

“It ended in tears of course.”

So mortified was Colman that after his defeat, he took himself and several hundred English converts off to an island off the West coast of Ireland. That too ended in tears as it turns out.

“Do you understand your children” Don had asked me over Arran single malt aged 14 years.

“That would be a rash claim.”.

The wind is loud but I love that sound and as I enter the cottage I open the window to let the roar follow me in. I look out across the bay to Brodick Castle and the almost-Full Moon and something soft brushes against me.

“Hello Lyra,” I say but it’s only the malt talking. I touch my shin briefly, make sure the router is disconnected and sleep the sleep of the saints.

Richard Ashworth© 2018

Altruism Corner:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/uncowed#/ You have of course received this Feng Shui Diary free. In return would you be prepared to assist my friends Chris and Jan Attkins? They are first-class human beings as well as long-term media professionals and they’re making a short film.

The film is about bullying which may be an issue that has affected you or someone close to you. Certainly it has raised its ugly head in our own children’s lives. Chris and Jan are risking £15,000 of their own money on this and they’re crowdfunding the rest.

Would you be prepared to help them out? The link above will allow you to contribute relatively modest sums in return for all sorts of related goodies. Do support them please if you can.

Also do download on Spotify, Granoola Suicide’s album, perhaps one less breakfast skipped:  https://open.spotify.com/album/5lYcLjIXaYjlSg7NF1stLl

Thanks. R&S
Richard Ashworth© 2018
www.imperialfengshui.info