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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

Scales: the Month of the Fire Snake 2018

May 4, 2018
Scales: the Month of the Fire Snake 2018.
Bulletin for May 2018
(04:20 5th May to 01:29 6th June 2018 inclusive)Qian
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
Heaven
Hexagram 1

Animal by Animal
During this Fire Snake Month,
The Rat comes and goes,
The resilient Ox has risen,
The Tiger is best advised not to conspire,
The Rabbit is just a little vulnerable,
The Dragon finds followers,
The Snake jumps obstacles,
The Horse is at half power,
The Sheep comes and goes,
The Monkey risks mischief,
The Rooster may prove reckless,
The Dog is back on track,
and
The Pig is wary.

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.2 month implies accumulation.
A Snake month is often hard to categorise.
Most helpful location: SW (especially for West Group kuas 2 6 7 8).
Least helpful location: North.
Favoured Animals: Snake, Rooster, Ox and Monkey.
Especially challenged one way or another: Pig, Tiger, Rabbit, Sheep.
Hexagram (above): Qian Heaven, Father, Heaven over Heaven. Peak.

Scales: the Fire Snake Month May 2018
The predicted burst of Fire in the Dragon month appears to have had a dramatic impact on global affairs. If unexpected heat was your experience domestically or professionally then May could be both relief and anti-climax.

The yin Fire of the Snake falls at the beginning of Summer (technically lap ha) that is to say it’s light and warm rather than blazing hot. She is often misunderstood because her mission is truth. Interestingly some call the Snake the sign of the politician and it’s true that a younger soul may interpret this as carte blanche to fib – take triple Snake Tony Blair – but the mature Snake turns the quest for truth into reverence for Truth.

Meanwhile this month, along with the Snake herself, the Monkey is boosted – especially in relation to things technical and hands-on. As is the Ox; your nature is to stick to the point and you are sensitive to deviation. Trust in this ability will tend to build up the power you’ll need in July. And you Roosters who may still be strutting in your second consecutive month of power: be sure to be nice to people; there are roadblocks ahead. These four Animals are connected by the precision of Metal – in some cases engineering and in some glamour. Accuracy is the watchword of your month.

Pig and Snake are often mutually intolerant and the Pig’s patience may be tried in the Snake Month. The Pig’s buddy, the Tiger can’t generally face down the Snake and so is best advised to maintain a low profile.

The Sheep, like the Rabbit 30˚ away, will tend to lose the 50-50 ball this month. Rabbits – curb your ambition just for now. Sheep: where you belong may vary.

The average Rat is impatient with the flurry of the summer months and is better employed planning than pushing boundaries at this time. This is the nature of Water. The Dragon who is the Rat’s partner in the Water Triad (along with the Monkey) may seem more interesting than before. For their part many Dragons will be exhausted after the hurly-burly of April – which may not be entirely over. Rest. If you can.

Which leaves the Dog. In your year you are pretty sure of yourself. But last month may have shaken you and you may need the first half of this month to recover and be ready for the roller-coaster of June and for July’s fresh challenges.
Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.

Where to be in May.
Summary: gains to be made.
South West, Accumulation: Year Star: Fortune Virtue Month Star: 8
Add Water (eg an indoor fountain) for a magical 1:6:8 combination. Whoever is here may enjoy gains material and otherwise this month. More about success and accumulation than relationship which is of course otherwise the role of the South West.
Enhancement: Bright light and/or Water.

Where not to be in May.
Summary: toxic.
North, Distant Future: Year Star san sha wu huang Month Star: 7
If you work, sleep or linger here you may suffer relationship issues as well as food poisoning. West Group kuas 2 6 7 8 and younger Horse and Sheep women remain the most vulnerable, while some Dragons, Oxen, Monkeys and Rats with East Group kuas may still get away with it
Solution: Chinese Charms: t’ang lung, wu lou, Red Six.

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 © 2018
www.imperialfengshui.info

Fire Dragon Bulletin 2018

April 4, 2018

Another Monthly Bulletin in our new format; it tells you briefly how the month may turn out for you as well as where to concentrate for best outcomes. And this time, a little more about the nature of the month. There’s no actual Feng Shui Diary here. Which as it is not so time-sensitive, will be with you later in the month. Watch this space.
Meanwhile you can top up daily on Twitter (@FengShuiDiaries), LinkedIn and FaceBook. Best to like my page rather than be my friend if you’d prefer to avoid politics, rants, cute micropigs and photos of my grandchildren.
Summary: a month when breakthrough of one sort or another is inevitable.
Info, diary, assistance: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Busting out all over: the Month of the Fire Dragon 2018.
Bulletin for April 2018
(04:20 5th April to 21:31 5th May 2018 inclusive)Kuai
—-  —-
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
Breakthrough
Hexagram 43Animal by Animal
During this Fire Dragon Month,
The Rat declares,
The Ox lies low,
The Tiger may feel defensive,
The Rabbit has free reign,
The Dragon may find ego in the mirror,
The Snake looks for examples to follow,
The Horse may jump the gun,
The Sheep recovers and contributes,
The Monkey improvises,
The Rooster calls the shots,
The Dog may feel affronted,
and
The Pig wander.

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.

3 month centres on aspiration, possibly not without drama.
A Dragon month promises rapid change.
Most helpful location: South East.
Least helpful location: North.
Favoured Animals: Monkey, Rat, Rooster.
Especially challenged one way or another: Dog, Rabbit, Tiger, Horse.
The Hexagram (above): Kuai Breakthrough; Lake over Heaven.

Busting out all over: the Fire Dragon Month April 2018
One way of tracking the year is by way of the Hexagrams from the Yi Jing or Book of Changes. Technically each quarter is ruled by a Hexagram. Covering the first three months is Number 15, Qian which counsels Humility. From March 21st (the Vernal Equinox) to June 22nd (the Summer Solstice) is overseen by Zhen, Number 51 (sometimes known as the Shocking). Socially, internationally, at home or in the office, in our deepest and in our most shallow relationships, this is the tone of the next three months. There is as much positive as negative in this btw.
Zhen is also the name for April (from late on the 5th) the month of the Dragon. So this theme is concentrated right now and the Dragon herself whose weakness is often ego may find her reputation challenged  This is known as a “self clash”, if you’re smart you’ll turn it to your advantage.
Meanwhile the Dragon’s associates Monkey and Rat prosper in their different ways: Monkeys are likely to be even more outspoken than usual while the Rat’s opinion is much sought after and she’s glad to oblige.
The Dragon’s “secret friend” the Rooster may be tempted to strut a little based on recent triumphs; caution. On the other hand the Dog – unusually for this their own year – may be on the back paw although their favourite the Rabbit’s special relationship with the magical Dragon means Rabbits can be sure of a loan (not necessarily simply financial) if needed.
For the typical Snake this is a time of learning, for the Horse one when he may well be alternately hurried and held up. The Sheep tends to follow the Horse around but this month could be busy seeking various sorts of membership. The Pig is likely to put in a lot of miles. The Ox will be relieved to know they are out of trouble for now.
All those boosted by the fresh Wood Power of the Dragon might helpfully remember that acting outrageously can lead to outrage. Knowing this the smarter Tiger holds back for the time being.
And finally it’s also little known that every Dog year holds an explosion within it about a third of the way through. Put simply, there is a burst of Fire coming. Yes that’s also due now. But then things always happen rapidly in a Dragon month.
Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.

Where to be in April.
Summary: the place of creativity and windfalls.
South East, Determination: Year Star: Dragon Virtue Month Star: 2
The South East sector as well as SE doors and buildings facing SE are pretty good now.  Bright light may encourage windfalls and creativity with only a slight risk of blockages physical and otherwise. Could be frisky too and this is the place for new ideas and daring for at least the next five months. brings further acquisition, gain and positive growth of all sorts. Fill your boots.
Enhancement: Bright light.

Where not to be in April.
Summary: accident-prone.
South, Bright Future: Year Star san sha wu huang Month Star: 7
Oops, neighbour trouble. The often fouls things up. In the South this could mean very public mistakes and possible robbery or accident with all but the youngest females in the cross-hairs. Curious and inventive women otherwise nurtured here this year, are probably best elsewhere for now. The South is still welcoming to kuas 1 and 9, plus Dog, Tiger and Sheep. As ever much the same applies to a South-facing house btw. This month don’t be here, face this way, or enter the house by this door if you have alternatives.
Solution: Anchora bowl of Water changed daily plus Wood – four plants.

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from the 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”.
We send out to Retainer Clients a (much) more 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. It is available by subscription.
Subscriptions (and further info)Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

 

Richard Ashworth’s Diary from the Hebrides: Refugee

March 16, 2018

Refugee.

“The least we can do is wave to each other”. Peter Hammill.

Right now I’m hiding on the Isle of Arran for a few weeks to write and research. As I look across the roofs through my cottage window, I’m listening to Karla Bonoff’s plaintive version of “The Water is Wide”, a traditional Scottish tune dating from at least the 18th century. It’s not really about Water by the way.

On my morning walk I pass what appears to be The Sporran Arts Club. I blink, no it’s the Arran Sports Club. It’s February, neither as quiet or as cold as I expected but quite sleepy nonetheless. An LED sign in a coffee shop window blinks “Closed” welcomingly. The spring sunlight plays across the bay; dappled stripes are divided by lighter channels. Snow-capped across the water stands Goat Fell (elevation 974m) high over the protective arm of the sound; in the lee, Brodick Castle ancient seat of the Hamilton family, stands out from the pines in its Victorian splendour. Uncrenellated red brick is not really my idea of a castle and feng shui bore that I am, I note that the conifers in front have grown so tall as to block the space directly in front. Such an open space (known as ming tang) represents the future, here an impeded one.

Flat-topped goy moon hills embrace the sea. The Chinese words translate as something like “open gate”. These are welcoming slopes. The land meets the Water too gradually for a natural harbour but it makes for a sheltered beach. Such feng shui implies openness and comfort rather than power or wealth. Hong Kong it isn’t but it is a place where people belong.

Feng shui is sometimes defined as “doing the right thing at the right time in the right place.” Which will do. I have a brief to research for a client and I have a book to write. The research is into timing. Since our understanding of time is principally derived from the Sun’s apparent journey across the sky and that journey always starts East and concludes West, time and place like the Arran sea and the sky, fold into one. I am in the extreme North West of Britain which right now is a powerful place to be. This is early in Spring, the season of Wood. And one expression of Wood is the written word.

The proposed book is a follow-up to my “Feng Shui Diaries” which despite modest sales appears to have changed lives from Russia to Vancouver by way of Bermuda, Poland, Spain, Kuala Lumpur and other exotic points too numerous to list. I stopped writing the regular diary entries that make that book up for several reasons: one was that miracles don’t happen every fortnight. Another was that I feared twisting the truth to make a better story. Reading it back now as the cold weather sets in around my cottage here, I am happy I never did that. The third reason was that so many people don’t want to be written about. This includes the famous and – wait for it – those who sought me out over thousands of miles because of that book. Go figure.

Someone once said that they didn’t know the secret of success was but they were pretty sure it wasn’t achieved by pleasing everybody. The Feng Shui Diaries has some good jokes in it and it’s mostly stories of course but some found it too technical and some not technical enough. I notice that its author was a simpler, gentler person than the one writing this.

The bulk of Brodick Castle dates from 1844. Fifteen years before that, a ship load of crofters set sail for a new life in Canada. They had little choice; the Duke of Hamilton had taken their homes. Brodick Heritage Museum dismisses such “clearances” as something like necessary modernisation. They’re currently embroiled in an argument with local historians who see it a bit differently. My son Jaime who is a proper professional historian tells me history is always about the present day. The only constant is change and yet nothing changes.

To everything there is a season. The task my client has set me is identifying her perfect moment for certain types of action. To do that I have to delve into real time; that is not time as dictated by clocks and calendars. It’s time as marked by the Sun, the Moon and nature itself. We all recognise it, I think. Before we’re fully awake and reach for ipad, phone or laptop, we are all able to tune into what season it is, what day of the week and what time. We are not distinct from nature but part of it. This morning I woke at 5:30; I knew by the light that it was Spring and barely dawn. It was cold but not the ambient cold of Winter, dark but not night. And there’s more.

Up to a point I can do this detective work with ba zi (or Four Pillars, sometimes misleadingly referred to as the Chinese Horoscope). Ba zi which is probably what I’m best known for, is drawn from the Gan Zhicycle of 60 Animals which is not subject to the phases of either Sun or Moon. But what I plan to do is work with a more demanding method of divination called Qi Men Dun Jia. Qi Men is relatively simple to calculate (though the Masters whose material I have studied disagree over how) but lengthy. It starts with ba zi and then factors in Sun, Moon and much more. Because calculation is lengthy there are Qi Men apps for phone and tablet. I don’t use these for ba zi and I’m not about to for Qi Men. To do that is to completely miss the point.

At the weekend I trek to Lamlash, some four miles away cross-country. The initial climb simply follows Strathwhillan Burn. When the burn peters out at the summit, another replaces it following the downward slope. Mountain follows Water, Water follows Mountain and Mountain follows Water.

It’s cold but the sun is shining. I notice where moss has run rampant in shadow and where stretches of trees are starkly brown against the green of their neighbours and I climb to a plateau by the main road from where as I marvel at the view, I call my son Alex at work. It’s Sunday but he’s an industrious man. It’s the first time in a while we’ve both had time to catch up. I thank the pace of the island for this opportunity.

It was an anomaly in Scottish property law that allowed the  laird to turf out tenants whose families had been in Brodick or Lamlash or Whiting for centuries. As I walk I’m thinking of those families huddled together against the Atlantic gale, knowing they had several weeks to brave followed by a future that was at best uncertain in a land where they owned nothing. That much is history but it’s the image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015 that keeps superimposing itself. A refugee is a refugee is a refugee. I don’t know how many of the crofters made it but I do know that little Alan’s parents were also heading for Canada where they had family.

The last few hundred yards of the walk into Lamlash are across the camber of the slope and parallel with the main road, so I cross several burns running right to left under the road. Now there are houses either side and I am relieved to find a bus stop. The time table tells me there’s a bus back to Brodick in four hours’ time. There are actually five buses running today, Sunday. I’m impressed; that’s five more than in rural Surrey. Transport – don’t start me talking; privatisation plus monopoly equals chaos. All part I guess, of the periodic “need for reform” as the museum put it.

There’s an extraordinary view across Lamlash Bay to Holy Isle. Like other such isles around the Northern coasts of Britain, the island is named for the monks and kings who settled there down the ages. St Columba himself was based on Iona just a few miles North and it’s likely he sent a cell of monks here possibly including his most famous successor St Aidan.

I sit on a bench a while taking in the view. Then I investigate ferries across to the island.

“Not before Easter,” says the boat man dourly.

Then I stop for a pot of tea and I buy some local marmalade. As I walk back towards the bus stop, my attention is drawn to a monument to the displaced crofters by the side of the road. Funded from Canada it lists many of the individual economic migrants by name. Most ended up in Quebec, many gravitated to Nova Scotia where some erected crofts which wouldn’t look out of place right here.

The bus is on time and the return journey takes about quarter of an hour. The map made Lamlash look so distant and walking is such an on-the-ground experience. My ipad tells me the rest of the country is snow bound but none has fallen here. It’s cold and windy now so I stop at the Douglas in Brodick for a further cup of tea.

3 million Scots emigrated following the clearances. These were rural people used to rising with the Sun and resting when it set. They did what work they had to, then rested, danced, constructed and repaired things, cared for their children and wrote and sang songs like “The Water is Wide.” It wasn’t perfect of course; they lacked penicillin, flush toilets and tv remotes but they worked as they had to and prior to lightbulbs and central heating, lived pretty much in tune with nature.

Unlike Alan Kurdi, many of these economic migrants didn’t of course venture far from home. Many ended up in the satanic mills of Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and even distant London. And there they became part of a system that paid them just enough to keep returning at 7am each morning.

Looking out over the goy moon hills from the Douglas, I remember that it was Cecil Sharp, famous for his far and wide search for folk song who tidied up the lyrics to the “Water is Wide.” He concluded that there was no such thing as a London folk song.
Richard Ashworth © 2018

For more information on Richard’s courses and services, please email sheilaashworth@gmail.com or visit his website.

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Wood Rabbit Bulletin: What to put Where and When this Month

March 5, 2018

Another Monthly Bulletin in our new format; it tells you briefly how the month may turn out for you as well as where to concentrate for best outcomes. And this time, a little more about the nature of the month. There’s no actual Feng Shui Diary here. Which as it is not so time-sensitive, will be with you later in the month. Watch this space.
Meanwhile you can top up daily on Twitter (@FengShuiDiaries), LinkedIn and FaceBook. Best to like my page rather than be my friend if you’d prefer to avoid politics, rants, cute micropigs and photos of my grandchildren.
Summary: a month when the way power is handled has profound repercussions.
Info, diary, assistance: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Budding: the Month of the Wood Rabbit 2018.
Bulletin for March 2018
(23:25 5th March to 04:20 5th April 2018 inclusive)

Da Zhuang
—-  —-
—-  —-
———-
———-
———-
———-
Great Power
Hexagram 34

Animal by Animal
During this Wood Rabbit Month,
The Rat may feel unrecognised,
The slower Ox may be over-ambitious,
The Tiger awaits developments,
The Rabbit travels hopefully far and wide,
The Dragon checks their change,
The smart Snake does not over-exert herself,
The Horse is surprised by the attention,
The Sheep participates,
The Monkey recovers,
The Rooster is opposed,
The Dog chases more than his tail,
and
The Pig can be rasher than usual.

Remember: Each Pillar of your ba zi representsRichard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from the 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”.
We send out to Retainer Clients a (much) more 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. It is available by subscription.
Subscriptions (and further info): Sheila@imperialfengshui.info
Richard Ashworth©
http://www.imperialfengshui.info an aspect of your life:

Year Animal: physicality, forebears, heritage, the obvious and immediate;
Month Animal: the work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal: you and your beloved;
Hour Animal: your most intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

A 4 month is all about curiosity, invention and the yin.
A Rabbit month sees shoots become buds.
Most helpful location: South (for East Group kuas 1 3 4 9)
South West (West Group 2 6 7 8).
Favoured Animals: Pig, Rabbit, Sheep, Dog.
Especially challenged one way or another: Rooster, Dragon, Ox, Snake.
The Hexagram (above): Da Zhuang Great Power; Thunder over Heaven.

Budding:
Animal Fortunes for the Wood Rabbit Month March 2018
In so many cultures the Rabbit represents the re-emergence of life: buds becoming shoots, lambs in the field and the beginnings of leaves on the tree. The corresponding Hexagram from the Yi Jing or Book of Changes however is Da Zhuang, Thunder over Heaven, that is to say the Eldest Son taking precedence over the Father; meaning Great Power and the wielding thereof. This may seem a little previous so early in the year but traditionally Da Zhuang is taken as a cautionary sign; life is returning but don’t overplay your hand.
Da Zhuang is what is called a “Tidal” Hexagram. There are as you may have noticed twelve, one per month. You may even have observed that as Winter gives way to Summer, the yang (that is unbroken) lines creep up the image. The qi is growing and gaining strength as it journeys from mid-winter to mid-summer.
The Book of Changes suggest that destiny emerges from character. Luck is a function of who we are. Chinese culture interestingly is very reluctant to reward anything but hard graft. What we can do however is seize the time.
Richard Ashworth ©2018.
http://www.imperialfengshui.info.
 
Where to be in March.
Summary: the place where things are happening now.
South, Bright Future: Year Star: 4 Month Star: 8
Full of creative, manifesting energy, an 8 in the South attracts desirable attention especially for the inventive and ambitious woman. South is still best for kuas 1 and 9, as well as Dog, Tiger and Sheep. Much the same applies to a South-facing house btw. Be here, face this way, enter the house by this door.
Enhancement: Bright light; a Water fountain may help – just for now.Anchor

Where not to be in March.
Summary: morbid.
North, Distant Future: Year Star 5 san sha wu huang Month Star: 9
The tricky 5 is here all year. Nasty; get used to it. A 9 which otherwise might be helpful, just magnifies the effect. The best you can say is that there are no secrets here right now but there may be all sorts of inflammation.  Don’t work, here, sleep here or linger. Avoid North even as an orientation. West Group kuas 2 6 7 8, Horse and Sheep are the most vulnerable as the san sha or “Three Evils” settles in for the year.
Solution: t’ang lung or Metal stuff, 6-Pipe Metal Windchime, Red 6, wu lou – take your pick. Best to stay clear though.

Take a look at your Aniimal Fortune for 2018, the Year of the Earth Dog

And here’s the (Western Astrological) take of the very perceptive Lorna Bevan:5D Astrology Report March 2018 New Creations from Old Modalities
Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from the 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”.
We send out to Retainer Clients a (much) more 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. It is available by subscription.
Subscriptions (and further info): Sheila@imperialfengshui.info
Richard Ashworth©
http://www.imperialfengshui.info

The Pig in the Year of the Earth Dog 2018

February 24, 2018

Pig 2018

Who is a Pig?
Years:  1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007.
Month*:  November
Hour: 09:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Day: ask us
* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too.
 
What is a Pig?
The weakness and the strength of the yin water Pig is to think they know what is good for them. Generally they do, and the maddening thing is that they are actually right often enough to make advice close to impossible. By extension this means you may believe you know what is right for everybody else.
Versatile and wilful, gifted at whatever they do, the Pig is the sign of the inventor. Edison was a Pig, as is Hillary Clinton and Wikileaker Julian Assange. Perfectly-balanced Pigs can literally do almost anything but they don’t always handle the truth well. They don’t much like reflective advice from others and they often hate not to know for sure. Remember Fire Pig Elton John in “Tantrums and Tiaras”?
But vagueness is also uncomfortable for the Pig: Edison was of course an obsessive patenter, Hillary determined to get Wall Street onside in the teeth of her liberal credentials and Assange, confident that he knows better than anyone else what the world needs to know. This does not make any of them mistaken but the truth can be a moveable feast.
The Pig is communicative because it is a water sign. A balanced Pig (perhaps March birth around mid-afternoon) is a great audience and typically gets the listening/talking ratio just right. An unbalanced Pig can shoot off at the mouth and give (or take) away the farm before she knows it. Does any of this sound like – to pluck a name from nowhere – Earth Pig Simon Cowell?
More likely, you are prone to withdrawing into silence. The Pig can sulk but can also withdraw simply out of disinterest and be perfectly cheerful when challenged on the withdrawal. The Pig child needs just the right mixture of carrot and stick. Too much disincentive and he is suppressed or resentful. Too much carrot and he can be smug. The balanced Pig is the most sensitive of the animals; the unbalanced Pig suffers an empathy bypass. As the parent of a Pig, just remember you are instrumental in this process. Your Piglet does not need to become a boor.
The Pig embodies the wood of creativity so they can be as adept with the written as the spoken word as well as the yang earth that makes them able to concentrate deeply. Many Pigs prefer to study in noisy rooms and many are effortless A-students as teachers of third year undergraduates of 2017 may notice. Bear in mind though that there is a near-epidemic of depression and anxiety among millennials and that Water is the associated element. Don’t ever take a Pig’s good cheer for granted.
The Pig does not tend to like the Snake; one way or another they immobilise each other. The Snake’s intimate, the Monkey, can be a source of annoyance also.
The Pig’s most natural team is with the Rabbit and the Sheep. This is a domestic alliance. Together these three naturally make anywhere home. A perfect family might be Pig father, Rabbit mother and Sheep first-born. Once home, the Rabbit entertains while the Sheep ensures compatibility and the Pig does skilfully the tasks that are beyond her partners.
Traditionally the Pig also enjoys the company of the Tiger as Water Pig David Furnish can attest. You might think she’d be more cautious but she knows that the Tiger is uninterested in conquering anyone he considers easy meat. Of course he’s missing something here but the Pig’s fearless approach often disarms the Tiger before he realises.  And by the bye, Pig’s literary ambition may burgeon in a Tiger year and flourish in a Rabbit one.
Although she may herself be more adventurous, the Pig also understands the loyal and consistent Dog. She respects the fact that every home needs its guardian. These two will tend to develop a camaraderie with its own distinctive banter. The Pig respects the Dog’s diligence and the Dog knows the Pig will compensate for his weakness.
The Pig also operates well as factotum for a group consisting of the Snake (whom she can’t otherwise stand for any length of time) the Monkey (see above) and the Tiger. For these she is, interestingly, the peacemaker and setter of standards. Without the Pig this grouping whose common interest is travel and mobility, can’t get off the ground.
One final note: the Pig suffers what is called the self curse. That is to say that she has limited patience with other Pigs. The Chinese character for a house is one Pig under a roof. Just the one.

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info