Posts Tagged ‘Ba Zi Courses’

Father along: the Month of the Metal Dog 2017

October 11, 2017
Father along: the Month of the Metal Dog 2017.
My diary for October
(11:47am 8th October to 15:03pm 7th November 2017 inclusive)

Po
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—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
Stripping
Hexagram 23

Animal by Animal
During this Metal Dog Month,
The Rat is wary,
The Ox insists,
The Tiger’s rules prevail,
But the Rabbit’s way works;
The Dragon tacks,
The Snake hides but only for now,
The Horse seeks excellence,
The wise Sheep seeks mediation,
Some moments may pass the Monkey by,
The Rooster rests,
The Dog sticks to it,
and
The Pig awaits advantage.

A 9 month visibility, prominence, fame, spontaneity and snap-judgement.
Most helpful location: South-East. Favoured Animals: Tiger, Horse, Dog, Rabbit.
Especially challenged one way or another: Rooster and Dragon.
The Hexagram (above): Po Stripping. No false moves.

The Year of the Mutt, 2018. Right now I’m working on my Forecast Day for 2018, The Year of the Earth Dog, on Saturday December 2nd in Godalming.  Traditionally Dragon and Rooster are challenged in a Dog year. And Rabbits, Tigers, Horses and the Dog herself are boosted. 2018 echoes previous Dogs like 2006 when the world was in a bit of a pickle and more precisely Earth Dogs like 1838, a year of conflict with China and in the US with Mexico. This time South-East facing houses have a bit of a free ticket and North West not so much. There’s much more; about you, your family, your work and the world in 2018. Join us. Further info: Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Where to be this month.
Summary: the most creative location currently.
South East, Determination: Year Star: 9 Dragon Virtue, Month Star: 8.
Best place yet again as it will be most of next year. Seek out the South East sector (as measured from the tai chi) but also SE doors and buildings facing SE. Eldest Daughter (ie the single but eligible female) will have a good time here about now. Again this applies also to kuas (ask) 1, 3, 4 and 9 who should sleep with head South East for now. Rooster will as ever tend to find assistance and much more here. Use that SE door!
Month Solution: plants, bright light, Water fountain.
Annual Enhancement: Four Plants (eg bamboo stems), Water fountain.
Where not to be this month.
Summary: the least helpful area right now.
North, Distant Future: Year Star 6, Moon. Month Star: 5.
The avuncular 6 is bent out of shape by the 5 this month. Authority may be misused if wielded here. Which like much of this information, reflects the world and the coming Dog month and year. Poor for the older man and the talkative; security is a hazard here now. Worst for West Group kuas (ask), Horses and Sheep. Dragons and Monkeys might gain from the indiscretion but don’t push it.
Month Enhancement: Metal objects , 6 Pipe Metal Windchime, t’ang lung.
Annual Solution: A large (6kg+) rose quartz, a little Metal, occasional Water, shake but don’t stir.

East and West Groups: Everybody falls into either the East or the West Group by virtue of their birth date. The calculation is simple but if you do want to know where you belong, email me at richardashworth@imperialfengshui.info.
Readers Digest version: East Group people best face East, South, South-East and North and/or in buildings and beds backing onto these directions. West Group vice-versa. Sorry it’s fiddly, I’m not making this stuff up.

Know your inner beast. How Dogged are you?
Birth in the Dog Hour (7-9pm)~: a fixed future.
Birth on the Dog Day#: a certain fixity.
Birth in the Dog Month (October)*: clear career path.
Birth in the Dog Year: mate for life.
~ GMT. # You’ll need a Chinese calendar for this. * Caution: Chinese months start later.
Father along.
“He who gives no thought to difficulties in the future is sure to be beset by worries much closer to hand.” Confucius.
Symbolically there’s little difference between Authority, Father and God. It doesn’t matter how feckless or ineffectual a Father is, on some level he is going to represent those things. To his children if to no one else. Many of us feel released when we reach this realisation. I write as the Father of six.
It’s the North West of a building that concerns the Father, so I’m unsurprised when that piece is missing from Rajul and Chandra’s little house in North London. Brother and sister, they’ve decamped from the South Atlantic largely to pursue their dreams away from family disapproval. He wants to manage property, she wants to settle down, both bright, educated, nice-looking people.
Their North West is literally like a slice cut out of a cake. That part of the compass of course often lacks light but here a gap in the trees has made a little sun-trap, conveniently enclosed by picket fence. It is as if their missing Father is waiting for company. Elementally the Father is Metal, I tell them.
“So place Metal here,” I recommend. “Garden furniture or machinery. And occupy the space. Perhaps a barbecue from time to time.” The Fire of this last will stimulate the Metal. “But don’t overdo it. And be aware that Father, your Father, the Father is here.” And not 10,000 miles away.
We talk ba zi. Chandra wants children and domesticity. Some bad experiences have made it hard for her to trust. There are tears in her eyes as we speak.
“Miracles are very simple,” I tell her boldly. She purses her lips.
“Not easy; simple. Chinese thought separates reality into three categories: Heaven, Earth and Human. Tian ti ren. Heaven, tian, is the rules as we find them – light, heat, gravity, those factors that limit us as long as we are flesh. Ti, Earth is what we do about them physically which includes taking shelter, nourishing and caring for ourselves, medicine and indeed feng shui. Human qi – ren – is choice.”
She breathes deeply and sniffles a little. I hold her gaze.
“It’s choice that makes for transformation. And there are perhaps two parts to it. Both are about truth. One is emotional, to do with feelings; it’s yin, that is feminine if you like, lunar and located in the trunk of the body.” I touch my tan tian, just below my sternum, the place where feelings sit.
“The trick here is to breathe, to feel into the feelings there. Some of them we’d rather not have. So much of our time is spent avoiding what we choose to call negative feelings. Drink, soap opera, over-eating, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, they reassure and they distract. And we stay stuck.”
Maybe not rock’n’roll.
“So breathe into those feelings. They’ll hurt at first and then they won’t and then finally they’ll change. And you’ll trust.”
Her deep brown eyes are moist again.
“That’s the first part. Second part is to remember what you want. While you invite those feelings by breathing into them. Consider how you want your life to be in every detail: where you want to be, who with, what you’re doing and so on. Make it rich and real.”
You’ll find this second piece of advice in the biographies of business moguls like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. What you won’t generally come across in such reminiscences is the first part: feeling your feelings and being brave enough to let them transform. Mostly these winners bypassed their feelings. And ultimately it may be that they regret it. Read what Steve Jobs said to his kids when he knew he was dying. Abundance is a much bigger issue than wealth.
“It is not feeling that hurts it is not-feeling that hurts,” I remind Chandra. We do some more mechanical stuff, arrange their beds and furniture, I recommend some changes of décor and locate a Water (that is Wealth) Star at the foot of their stairs and I leave them to it.
I’m the Father of six children. My top priority is to fulfill and not disappoint.
Richard Ashworth © 2017

You can top up daily on Twitter (@FengShuiDiaries), LinkedIn and FaceBook. Best to like my page rather than be my FaceBook friend if you want to avoid rants, cute micropigs and photos of my grandchildren.

We send out 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 to my Retainer Clients. It is also available by subscription.
Subscriptions (and further info)Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

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

And here’s the (Western Astrological) take of the very perceptive Lorna Bevan: 
5D Astrology Report October 2017 – In the Burning Fields

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

September 2017: Richard Talks About the Dog Month and the Dog Year

September 24, 2017
Five students graduated my starter courses last week. This means that they now have a great deal of information and a lifetime to learn how to apply it. Some have been invited to continue on my Mentoring Programme but we now have one or two vacancies from October.

If you’d like to learn Chinese Astrology and/or Authentic Traditional feng shui by Skype this year, do let Sheila know at sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.

There is a new extra-special deal for registering for both courses together.

Read Your Individual Animal Forecast for 2017

December 31, 2016

Animal Fortunes for 2017, The Fire Rooster,
the Year of the Turkey.
“If we meet evil before it becomes reality- before it has even begun to stir – we can master it.”
The Book of Changes Hexagram 19.

Go Directly To Your Animal Fortune for 2017 here.

Everyone knows that the Chinese New Year falls on February 4th. Except the Chinese. Your local take-away actually is likely to be closed overnight the 27th/28th January this year which is when the Lunar New Year starts. And of course it would be ridiculous to think of energy changing instantly from one year to another like a door closing. Nature does not work in straight lines like that; there are a number of markers, as the energy of the Fire Monkey ebbs and the Fire Rooster comes to life. Several of these are now past. And here we are in the sluggish nomanstime between years. A cusp, if you will, this is the time to be making major feng shui changes while the effect of the Monkey can hardly be felt and the Rooster is as yet not quite here. I am now making those annual changes in my own environment and in those of my clients.

So how is the year likely to affect you and me? And what can we do about it? Some answers may be here Animal by Animal, among your forecasts for the year. Please remember however that no astrological analysis is more powerful than your choice and that you always have free will.

Also remember that your ba zi (the snapshot of your moment of birth often misleadingly called a Chinese Horoscope) consists of Four Animals each of which will be affected differently by the new year. What I aim to do when I am hand-drafting a ba zi is to recognise and interpret the blend of these effects that indicate the likely nature of your year. And this year above all is a year of communication. And the fact is that truthful communication can transform anything.
Richard Ashworth © 2017.

Study with Richard in 2017, details here.

More Monkey Business

August 9, 2016
More Monkey Business:  Two Fire Monkeys.

This is for Thea.

Fire  Monkey month in Fire Monkey year. Set the controls for disturbance. On the 18th and the 30th there’ll be three. OMG.

In Chinese myth, the Monkey is an unapologetic beast. He can bound several li to escape the consequences of his actions and in one tale he even leaps to the Moon to delete the record of his wrongdoing from the Akashic record. Bit of a Trump. Or a Johnson. Or an Assad. Or a Pepsico. Or a Goldman Sachs. Continued, as they say on page 94. The key note of the unbalanced Monkey is a shame bypass.

And OMG here comes a double Fire Monkey. The last Fire Monkey month was in 2011, the time of the London Riots, when the frustration more recently expressed in Brexit and elsewhere first boiled over. I’m not suggesting panic in Poundland or mayhem in Morrisons but we are now probably at the peak of the turbulence of the mischievous Monkey. Feng shui aims to give us a measure of control but in a world where last week I could so easily have been in Russell Square, how can any of us expect to control anything?

Technically the magic square or lo shu of this Monkey month has the 5 Star at its centre. The 5 lo shu is reckoned to describe the moment at the beginning of time when nothingness became stuff: two kinds of stuff actually – yin and yang – followed by the “myriad” or “10,000 things”, that is to say everything that we can touch feel or measure. This suggests a month featuring some kind of return to the beginning. It’s a 2 year however, and these two stars combined are generally considered pretty baleful. And for the anoraks out there, the 28 Lunar Mansions are almost in sync with the quarters of the Moon – very very unusual. Run for the hills.

Well no. Feng shui theory considers there to be three realms if you like: the Heavenly, the Earthly and the Human. Heaven was there before the 5 lo shu (in the sense that “before” means anything here); Heaven sets the rules. The Earth operates within those rules to which “models” like feng shui and indeed physics are responses. The rules could have been different – gravity could have gone upwards, the sky could be pink – but they are not. Human beings are considered the interface. It is we who employ methods, systems, sciences if you will within the parameters set by Heaven. Human beings have choice; myths from Prometheus to Adam illustrate this. We have the gift of cocking up but also that of changing the rules.

How do we that? First we recognise Heaven, the limits of our power. There are certain things we can control so let’s control them: our mouths, our actions and reactions and our attitudes for instance. There are certain other things we can’t control; how others behave is one. The hate that is in the world and apparently outside ourselves; we can offer this back to Heaven simply by not subscribing . Jesus had a bit of take on this, if you recall.

Second we do what we can mechanically. This is Earth qi. We inform ourselves and act compassionately and consciously and perhaps take a few risks. We can stand against British companies supplying and training Saudi forces to bomb the supply lines that would otherwise feed Yemeni children – over 5,000 of whom have starved to death during the current forgotten war. We can support media that is genuinely informative – Channel Four News is the only tv news worth attention imho – and papers that need folding. Knowing the facts is not negative.

As for the Earth qi of feng shui, we respect the timing and locations outlined elsewhere in this bulletin. And do it with awareness that the North East means North Eastern Europe (think about it) as well perhaps as your bathroom. We can accept for instance that neither Vladimir Putin nor Boris Johnson as Dragons in a Monkey year are likely to come a cropper.

And thirdly we use the power of choice to choose a better world. This calls for deep honesty about our own laziness and disengagement. It calls for communication and possibly the courage to be outspoken. There is in this world I have landed upon much that I would prefer was not there. Along with you, I choose better. Every day, not just during the Monkey month.

Change may not happen overnight but if we start to make different choices, the world might even be a better place, come September.

Richard Ashworth ©2016

Special (almost) free bonus:
Some years ago a guy rang me and asked if I’d like to record a cd about classical feng shui. I agreed and he arrived with his headphones and plugs, I ran very simply through the meaning of the Zodiac animals and where in my daughter Jessica’s words “to put stuff to get stuff.” It was clear, authentic and simple, he caught me on a very good day. Then he scarpered and I heard no more. Last month a new student told me she’d found me through a wonderful “podcast” which turned out to be this recording. I was never paid but you can get it from Audible for around £4.
Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/2aGaDT8

Footnote: my next ba zi Starter Course starts in September, Early Bird offers are open until 8th August. Details here:
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses

And finally: a limited number of places are still available to study with me one to one via Skype. Email: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Ba Zi: why the greatest generals never go to war.

June 17, 2016
IMG_1182
To hear Richard talking Ba Zi click the pic.
Ba Zi: why the greatest generals never go to war.

“Therefore measure in terms of five things: the way, the weather, the terrain, the leadership and discipline.”.  Sun Tzu. The Art of War.

The story is told of three brothers all of whom were doctors. These three were reckoned to be the greatest healers in all China. So skilled was the youngest that his patients mostly recovered while those of the middle brother invariably returned to health. But the patients of the eldest simply never got ill. Prevention, as they say, is greater than cure. And as Sun Tzu wrote, the greatest generals never go to war.

Probably the elder brother concerned himself with breathing, diet, hydration lifestyle and destiny. Holistic treatment has always been the underlying principle of traditional Chinese medicine. He would have known acupuncture and above all ba zi, which is reckoned to track destiny. Joey Yap, probably the most successful Master in the world, actually uses the term Destiny Code. The ba zi being expressed in terms of the balance of the wu xing or Five Elements, can assess whether we have too much Earth say – leading to sluggishness and a variety of other symptoms – and therefore that we need say Metal (ie focused activity) to remedy the imbalance.

Whether we define healing as solving emotional blockage, enhancing performance or actual physical change, the ba zi is a healing tool. Not I hastily add, that ba zi of itself heals physically. It is diagnosis where feng shui or acupuncture (or tai chi or tcm) are remedy. But as a method of identifying tendencies, physical and other, it has no equal. All three brothers would have thought of it as a map of destiny. The doctor’s job like the general’s, was to see what was coming and the ba zi was how they managed to see it.

In those days remember, the mediaeval times of Song and Ming, a doctor was paid by his patients only as long as they were healthy. Which may have been a motivating factor. When my Father returned from one of the first trade missions to modern China in the early 70’s, I remember him telling me that the Chinese were “the least likely Communists” he’d ever met. Nye Bevan would have approved.

Be that as it may, I have always been wary of Sun Tzu because he assumes enmity and opposition; understandably perhaps given the cruel times in which he lived, but applying those assumptions to feng shui, ba zi or even Qi Men Dun Jia (the current hot divinatory method in feng shui circles) denies any progress during the ensuing millennia.

The fact is that Sun Tzu is the guvnor on winning business in the teeth of opposition and when I first started studying The Art of War in the early 80’s, that was the context. Sun Tzu’s strategies – when your enemy expects you to be slow, move rapidly; when he expects advance, withdraw and so on – are brilliantly applicable if you think of your client as the opposition. Not so great if you want to be of service. Such a philosophy may be everything that is wrong with both politics and business and it runs through finance like the words in a stick of rock. But it doesn’t work and it works even less as a basis for feng shui or ba zi practice.

Which is why it’s important to be aware that the ba zi depends upon benevolence. In 30-odd years in the world of woo-woo™ ba zi is the most powerful healing tool that I have come across. Being a snapshot of the prevailing Elements at the moment of birth it shows potentials, preferences, abilities and above all moments of choice. From where I’m sitting – a position you don’t have to share by the way – everything is choice and if we can identify moments where decisions were made we can un-make them. Consider how a life might be changed that way.

Ba zi lays open the soul to the sensitive practitioner. There is calculation involved and deep learning but at heart it’s an empathetic, instinctive thing. The trick is to know the building blocks so well you can apply them without thinking. And to trust the fact that to think and feel simultaneously is an art but quite possible. Above all to care; as I tell my students, it is unprofessional not to love your client. And perhaps surprisingly easy.

Of course ba zi teaching sooner or later turns transformational. Learning the twenty-two Chinese characters necessary (only twenty two!) requires application but it’s not rocket science. There are rules to be followed, the Animals have traditional relationships, for instance: Horses such as Angela Merkel and David Cameron are deeply challenged in a Monkey Year like 2016; Pigs like David Bowie and Alan Rickman are at risk and Dogs like Prince and George Osborne may miscalculate drastically.

But the teaching always goes transformational. Because the student’s curiosity and crucible is their own ba zi. I’ll use example ba zis to make points – if you looked closely at Gary Glitter’s for instance, you’d tend to feel a great deal less contempt – but everyone wants to know about themselves. Once a Monkey (born 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980 or 1992) learns that Wood and Metal are in eternal opposition and that Tiger and Monkey are respectively yang Wood and yang Metal, they’ll tend to understand more about conflict with a Tiger parent or boss. A Dragon fixated on glamour may recognise the expression of a “secret friendship” with the Rooster. And so on.

The point of this is not to be run by ba zi but to master it. I am myself a Water Dragon and traditionally therefore particularly irked by Earth Dogs of 1958. As it happens, some of my best lady friends are Earth Dogs, some of them very successful business-people. I think they can be a bit dense, they think I go on a bit. We know this about each other. We contain it and rub along. Where’s the problem?

One source of trouble can be being too literal; some trainees and indeed some experts fail to factor in humanity. This tends to put the ba zi rather than the practitioner in charge. The main pitfall however is seeing the world as Sun Tsu does, as a jungle of threats and competition. Some New Age teachers would call this a belief in shortage, others a lapse of faith.

We all possess free will. We are all complex individuals and no woo-woo™ analysis can adequately define us. The ba zi is a guide not a dictator and put simply, the practitioner’s job is to give.

Master Sun, the great teacher of strategy whose wisdom as James Clavell once suggested, might have prevented war in Vietnam and Afghanistan, would not have known the truism that those who can do and those who can’t, teach. Sun himself was prematurely retired from active service by the amputation of both feet (a punishment for telling the hard truth to a minor king probably rather than a mishap). He would have known of Qi Men Dun Jia which dates from his era (the so-called Age of the Warring States 475-221BCE). He might well have approved of the use of his words as part of this very powerful tool of divination (which I don’t yet teach) in a world defined by greed and violence, that is to say shortage and competition. There are things in the world that I would sooner weren’t in it but Sun’s is not the world I choose to live in.

And so I try to practise and teach both feng shui and ba zi as gifts of love rather than as ways to steal a march. Abundance is about much more than wealth and healing is more than band-aids. I’m not teaching dogma and above all I’m not teaching how to win the game of life against stiff competition. What I offer is a method of touching and perhaps understanding the soul.

And that’s why the greatest generals never go to war. In the teeth of Orlando, Iraq, Syria, Burundi, Afghanistan, I try to remember that although Sun Tzu is still in print after all this time and the younger brothers of the story probably got the most approval, it was the eldest that made the most positive difference.

Richard’s next starter Ba Zi Course opens in September 2016 in Godalming but he has a (Friday) slot now vacant to learn via Skype pretty much right away.
For more details go to:
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
Some Early Bird Discounts still apply.
Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Hoarse With No Name: My Diary for the Horse Month 2016

June 1, 2016
Hoarse with no name
My diary for the month of the Wood Horse
(June 5th 14:09 to July 7th 00:33 inclusive)
in the Year of the Fire Monkey.
 Kou
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Meeting
Hexagram 44“Too much Monkey business for me to get involved in.”
Chuck Berry (1956)

The Horse Month
Animal by Animal
During this Wood Horse Month,
The Rat may simply wait,
The Ox may be (way) behind the Rat,
The Tiger sees the breaks,
The smart Rabbit rises to the occasion,
The Dragon reins in,
The Snake could be overawed,
The Horse might pace herself,
The unwary Sheep is under a shadow,
The Monkey demands to be noticed,
The Rooster takes time out,
The Dog obtains a boost,
while
The Pig strikes back.

Know your inner beast. How Horse are you?
Birth in the Horse Hour (11am-1pm)~:      performing children.
Birth on the Horse Day#:                           a tendency to the reckless.
Birth during the Horse Month (June)*:      an extroverted vocation.
Birth in the Horse Year:                            spontaneity in the bloodline.
~ An hour earlier than the clock during British Summertime ie 8-10.
# You’ll need a Chinese calendar. * Caution: Chinese months start later.

Follow Twitter (@FengShuiDiaries) LinkedIn or
like my FaceBook page for further news.

Where to do what, when and why
Summary: The peak of Fire ignites the hunters of the Zodiac: Dog and Tiger (for whom it may be the best month of the year, so fill your boots) as well as the faithful Sheep. It is generally less helpful to Rat and Ox. A 7 month tends to harass some more than others of course and those with 3, 2, 6, 7 and 8 kuas are least vulnerable.

West, Intervention: Year Star: 4 Year Sun, Month Star: 9.
The visiting 9 makes for a magical 9:4 he tu combination in the West right now while the romantic power of the toe far or “plum flower” Star is still there, along with the restorative Sun.

Locate to the West of your home, face West or occupy a West-facing building; these are transformative stars.

Along with superior examination results, 9 brings future plans closer. 4 bamboo stems in 4 glasses of Water can help.

Note: If this is all er…Chinese to you, email me your birth details or more drastically, come and study with me.

Hoarse with no name.
Wood Horse month, Monkey year, the turbulence continues while the Solstice approaches. Notice the creeping yin to the foot of the Hexagram at the top of this page; the qi is already descending. As indeed it was at this time of year, three thousand and seventy four years ago.

At that time, May of 1058 BCE, as it happens a Horse year, the Zhou family rose up against the ruling Shang and wrested from them the “Mandate of Heaven,” that is to say the right to rule China. The Zhou were to hold onto the mandate for the following seven hundred years or so. What inspired rebellion against the tyrants at that exact time was the conjunction of the five visible planets in the night sky. This conjunction happens only once every five hundred and sixteen years. Michael Wood illustrates this with a computer simulation in the first episode of his excellent BBC series “The Story of China.”

As above, so below. So much of feng shui is rooted in astrology. You can for instance, find the group of Stars that are reckoned to have inspired the ideograph of the Monkey to the South West of the night sky. They’re part of the constellation shen, that is Orion. The star formation (whose name I’ve not mastered) making up the character for Horse lies to the South.

Bloodless kou
As does this month’s Hexagram, Kou. As you know, these six-line figures are themselves composed of three-line figures called Trigrams. And each Trigram apart from signifying a member of the Confucian family, a state of being, a location and a million other things, describes a phase of the Moon. Identifying the homes of the Trigrams in the night sky is known as na jia or “assigning the Wood.” Qian (Heaven) for instance with its three unbroken yang lines, stands for the Full Moon and Kun, Earth (three yin lines) for the New Moon. Sometimes these things are hard to observe because of street lights, late-night parties, cats’ eyes and headlamps.

When I was in Menorca writing and researching a couple of years ago, the night sky was almost free of light pollution. And so with feet in the pool and beers in hand, my daughters Jess and Hen and I confirmed that the Moon rose and fell precisely where the na jia indicated. It was, if you will, a sobering moment; there above us was physical evidence of the connectedness of Heaven and Earth. It was as if a huge finger had drawn lines across the Moon.

Just behind the full Moon, the 2016 Solstice falls on June 21st at 06:57, shortly after sunrise. Full Sun and full Moon, full yin and full yang, on a Dog day in a Horse month, it’s almost alight with Fire. And yet the qi is falling. In the Year of the Monkey (who generally stands cautiously clear of the Horse) this makes for quite a chaotic pattern. The Monkey is of course talkative, but this is no month for discussion. Rather it is one of action; some impetuous, some not so well thought-through. Hold tight.

In the desert you can’t remember your name
And this year as I predicted, is definitely shaping up like a Monkey; Paris barricaded, US Presidential nominations haywire, we pretty much already have the Earth Monkey of 1968. All we need is Russian tanks rolling West and British boots on the ground in the Middle East and it’s the Fire Monkey, 1956. Oh and peaking markets. “Déjà vu all over again,” in the words of John Fogerty. As above, so below. My own father’s boots were among those on the ground in the Sinai Desert in 1956.

This Horse month favours Dogs and Sheep and Tigers as ever, although they may present just a little hot-headed. Along with the Horse, they are the hunters of the Zodiac and often the life lesson of the hunter is that life is not as simple as a hunt. The Horse doesn’t much like her own company or talking things out and may fall victim to unforced errors. Let things come to you as they will. The Ox is best lying low but his intimate the Rat, may find that originality is at a rare premium; the smart Rat sticks to their guns. Caution is counselled to Dragons, Snakes will find certain days offer a boost but Rabbits are probably stretched.

As a Dragon, I’ll be tapping the ongoing but quirky support of the Monkey and remaining wary of the rampant Horse.
Richard Ashworth © 2016

www.imperialfengshui.info

Knowing Your Onions: feng shui and Tomatoes, part 2

May 27, 2016

Knowing your onions: the yin and yang of feng shui.

“He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Bob Dylan.

Yes we have no tomatoes.

Some ungenerous people say that Bob Dylan made a career out of just two songs: a slow one and a fast one. And one way to look at feng shui is that it is about only two things: the qualities of yin and yang. In a sense the feng shui Master’s task is to limit yang and encourage yin – perhaps by placing stones – or to boost yang by building a Water fountain, thence health, wealth and wisdom.

The Taoist principle is that existence starts with precisely two qualities or essences: yin which is smaller, still, quiet, dark and subtle, essentially feminine and yang which is larger, outgoing, illuminated, unsubtle and broadly masculine. All that there is, hats, hills, oceans, football, turtles, elephants, Donald Trump’s hair piece, your frying pan and the Chuckle Brothers, are made up of some combination of yin and yang.

You’ll recall that in an earlier blog I compared feng shui to salad; planting lettuce in January against a North-facing wall is not only not bright, it violates the laws of feng shui. Now I have to confess: this is not the whole story. The roots, if you will, are much deeper. Having looked at the wu xing or “Five Elements” we need now to consider yin and yang.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

Feng shui of course would not be a thing at all if its laws were not universal. The idea that it works in China and not elsewhere is as silly as the idea that its fundamentals are a Chinese thing. Waving Cats belong in Chinese restaurants not your front room. Laws are laws. The builders of  Stonehenge, for instance – whoever they were – respected the rule that there is a Ghost Gate North East and a Heaven Gate – a Tiananmen – North West. And the Valley of the Kings straddling the Nile as its celestial counterpart straddles the Milky Way, reflects the Chinese story of the Maiden and the Ox Boy, forever separated by the river of stars between them. And so on. Wherever we travel we find theories of the management of space that map onto one another.

In England I often come across buildings that betray Masonic design. I’m no expert on Masonry but the long eccentric passageways and irregular floor plans are pretty distinctive, quite apart from the symbols over thresholds and fireplaces. Masonic architects are said to have built many of the great mediaeval cathedrals and one stage whisper across the nave at Chartres reveals mastery of acoustics that confirm their designers knew something we still don’t.

Perhaps two things actually: one, that the only constant is change; two, the physical universe is a duality, that is to say made up of two.

Shell Shock.

And as it happens, classical feng shui comes down two lines of descent; one, as discussed before, by way of early observers who noticed that the cycle of the hours of the day mirrored the cycle of the seasons which led to them giving Animal names to days, hours, months, years and indeed locations. The other branch of the family tree proceeds from the discoveries of the diviners of the Zhou Dynasty. I examined the first group or “school” (known as sam he or “Three Harmony”), in my previous article which also had nothing to with tomatoes. Or to jump the gun, turtles.

Thousands of years ago it was the practice of the Zhou diviners of Northern China to bake river-turtles. Not for nourishment or even for entertainment you understand, but for information; they grilled them if you will, and noted the patterns of cracks created by the heat. Inevitably the river turtle became extinct by the way.

The cracks seem to have fallen into two types – long and short. And the diviners appear to have taken short to mean no and long to mean yes. This probably evolved by trial and error. Before the advent of fast food, microwaves, refrigerators or even farming, if diviners could direct the community to where deer or water lay, they would probably have been well rewarded; the Chinese character for divination – xiang – is actually a picture of an elephant or perhaps a mammoth. Now there’s a square meal. In the great tradition of Chinese history, if the diviners called it wrong they probably lost limbs or disposable organs. In time they clearly got it right. A relatively short time probably.* The turtles of course were beyond caring.

*The 4th Century BCE military thinker Sun Tzu, author of the Art of War, was reduced to theory rather than practice after his feet had been cut off for some now-forgotten offence. A little later, the Han historian Ssu Ma Chien was sentenced to death for begging the Emperor to show mercy to a hapless defeated general. This sentence was commuted to the greater (ie more dishonourable) one of castration because of Ssu’s value to the Emperor.

At some point these discoveries map onto ideas about light and dark and become the concepts of yin and yang which are at the core of Taoism. In the beginning, goes the theory, was the mou chi or “great nothingness” and then at some point, it is said the “myriad things” come into being; that is to say, all that exists. The mou chi is not unlike Stephen Hawking’s great “singularity” that (allegedly) precedes the universe; it is followed by the simultaneous birth of two things: yin and yang. One could not logically precede the other because the existence of the “myriad things” requires contrast; we cannot have a depression without a surround, height without base or light without shade. They would not be “myriad” if they weren’t different.

And like so many Chinese ideas, yin/yang theory is an acorn that holds a variety of oaks. It implies for instance the concept of infinity (since contrast is by definition endless) and of relativity (everything is bigger than something and smaller than something else). Chinese thinkers were clear that there are no fixed points long before Newton saw it in the night sky. As Neo says in The Matrix: “there is no spoon.”

Obviously if yin and yang referred to light and shade, they related also to time and place. The night is yin, the day yang; winter yin and summer yang and so on. In time then, inevitably a yin/yang theory of time and place emerged. From this comes the Book of Changes, a work as central to Chinese culture as some combination of Shakespeare, the Bible, Immanuel Kant, Einstein and the Brothers Grimm might be to Western thinking.

What also emerges is a system that identifies the nature of each part of a building. That is to say about half of classical feng shui practice. A skilled sam yuen practitioner can tell you things about each member of the family, what their strengths and weaknesses are and their activities and so on simply by examining your floor plan.

You’re Fired.

How? Well, somewhere along the line, the diviners’ vocabulary of incisions gave rise to the idea of the Trigram (or three-line figure) and Hexagram (six) which allowed them to offer a spectrum of “maybe” answers beyond the stark yin and yang of yes and no. Perhaps this saved lives and limbs. Perhaps it cost them. Your Alan Sugars are pussycats to bearers of ambiguous counsel compared to mediaeval Chinese Emperors*.

*consider the Ming Emperor Hong Wu whose chief claim to the throne was that he’d slain all his male relatives.

Three unbroken lines absolute yang, clearly meant a big Yes and thus daylight, power, authority, Father and the South. Similarly three broken lines implied the opposite: night, darkness, winter and the North. As well as Woman by the by but let’s not go there. In between these extremes were the various Trigrams that mixed yin and yang. This is called today the “Early Heaven Arrangement” of Trigrams and it’s reckoned to date from the moment of creation. In time a Later Heaven Arrangement emerged which relates to the present.

Accordingly the eight possible Trigrams made up of yin (broken) and yang (unbroken) lines each came to represent not only a compass point but also a member of the Confucian family and the qualities associated. Put simply, every space consists of eight locations or “palaces” each of which represents a member of the family and a type of experience or qi. This applies equally to your bedroom your home, your street, neighbourhood, nation and planet. We can literally say that if there is something happening at say the South West, it relates to Mother, Relationship (with a capital “R”) and associated ideas. We can, as you will be surmising, do a great deal with just this information. Lillian Too built a whole career on it. And let me hasten to add, she’s a dozen sorts of genius. As is Bob Dylan btw.

You put one Trigram on top of another and you have a Hexagram. There are sixty four possible Hexagrams made up of yin and yang lines. Put the sixty four together and you have the Book of Changes,

Fast forward to the 10th Century and we have kan yu or di lin practitioners (that is proto-feng shui Masters) practising both “schools” of thought. A further thousand years and by the early 19th century the modern luo pan (or Chinese compass) is incorporating both theories.

And so today the modern practitioner belongs to both “schools”; the sam yuen theories of Flying Star and Eight House (which are centrally expressions of yin and yang) as well as the sam he or Three Harmony theory of the celestial Animals. Bingo.

Richard Ashworth © 2016.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Explore 2016, The Fire Monkey with Richard Ashworth

October 27, 2015
A World going Bananas
2016, The Fire Monkey: a Year of Turbulence.
What to expect and what to do about it,
A day with feng shui man Richard Ashworth
at
The Pepperpot, Godalming.
10 till 5, Saturday December 5th 2015.
Dragons Den’s Kelly Hoppen: Richard is the man I trust with my own office.”

It’s Autumn, the time of Zeun Kong, the Descending of the Hoar Frost. Every day now we move further out of 2015’s Wood Sheep, the Year of Gathering, towards the Fire Monkey, the Year of Turbulence. I imagine you can feel it.

2015 for many of us was about joining and re-joining – relationships, family, clubs, unions, political parties, alliances. Those born in the Year of the Dog, Sheep or Ox may have argued among themselves (Kate & Wills both 1982 Dogs, for instance) and Dragons will have been in some demand as mediators, though not always appreciated (such as Tom Jones born 1940, Vladimir Putin 1952). For the Horse it was very much a year of two halves (consider Angela Merkel 1954 and David Cameron 1966) and for many Roosters (Ed Miliband 1969) a time of opportunities that slipped through the fingers.

You may have experienced unaccountable good fortune in a building facing North or an office to the North West. Rabbits may have made far-reaching decisions. Rats may have been unwary.

The favoured directions and Celestial Animals during the Fire Monkey will be very different. Monkey years often feature revolution and invasion; take 2004 (Iraq) 1992 (Desert Storm) 1980 (Russia into Afghanistan) 1968 (The Paris Barricades, Street Fighting Man, the Prague Spring) and so on. Fire Monkeys even more so: 1956 saw the Suez adventure and the Budapest uprising being savagely put down by Soviet forces. These regions remain flashpoints. And the turbulence extends to home and office – yours and mine. Not very British.

Bond Girl Naomie Harris:You were spot on about property prices.”

Whether domestically, internationally, socially or financially – bank crashes often feature the yang Metal of the Monkey – and in this as in other ways, 2016 is likely to be choppy. Some Animals will fare better than others and some properties will be easier to manage while others could be more demanding. On Saturday December 5th I will be talking about the likely shape of the year, its ups and downs and its impacts upon each of us. We start promptly at 10am at the Pepperpot in Godalming and by 5 you will be equipped with my take on the likely shape of the year, its impact on you, your loved ones, your livelihood and your environment and more to the point, how to survive it and thrive. Do join us.

Richard Ashworth is one of the most in-demand feng shui men in the West. He has worked with a handful of famous people like Gillian Anderson (who says he “inspires both confidence and awe”) and many not so excited about being well known.  Classically trained, it was in 2005 that he completed at Huazhong/Wuhan the only feng shui course yet to be certificated by a Chinese University. As well as the long-odds result of the 2005 Ashes Series, he accurately predicted the distribution of seats in Tony Blair’s second election victory, the assassination of Benassir Bhutto and Scottish Independence in 2014. On this last, he says the jury is still out.

Cost for the day: £125
Early Bird: £85 – paid in full by November 21st.
Places are of course limited.
Sheila@imperialfengshui.info.

Feng Shui Diary: Fire Dog 2015

October 9, 2015

The (9th) month of the Fire Dog 2015.

(Oct 9th 00:09 to Nov 8th 03:25 inclusive) 

 Bo
———-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
To Strip
Hexagram 23

The Dog Month, Animal by Animal.
During this Fire Dog month:
The Rat may suspect covert opposition.
The Ox may be up in arms.
The Tiger may initiate.
The Rabbit may venture.
The Dragon is both challenged and depended upon.
The Snake may be 3rd or 4th in the queue.
The Horse may cast caution to the wind.
The Sheep may be uncharacteristically contentious.
The Monkey may risk loss.
The Rooster may take a break.
The Dog presides.
and
The wise Pig is patient.

The Dog Month: Come again.

“They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom for trying to change the system from within.” Leonard Cohen.

If I were i/c Reincarnation Central I think I’d be directing the zygote of the next Dalai Lama anywhere but Tibet. Silicon Valley, maybe or Singapore. In their native country, Tibetans are vastly out-numbered by imported Han Chinese. They have been deprived of all sorts of civil rights, forcibly relocated disenfranchised, herded and their culture taken from them. Torture and murder at the hands of the occupiers is commonplace. In his autobiography His Holiness even reports crucifixion of alleged freedom fighters.

As it happens, Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama was born in Taktser in the North-Eastern province of Amdo in 1935. That makes him a Wood Pig. It also makes him a weary Pig, I’d guess. He’s been homeless since the Chinese invasion of 1950 which he has used as an opportunity to canvas the world for support and to demonstrate the religion he defines as “kindness”. That’s a lifetime spent trying to get support for a country he has not seen since 1959. It makes Julian Assange look half-hearted.

Wood Pigs are generally gentle, multi-talented and possessed of a wide variety of interests but not usually gifted with patience. Which makes that long fruitless odyssey the more touching. Sixty five years is a lot of patience. What might make sense then is that the Day Animal of his ba zi is the long-suffering Sheep. The Sheep never deserts his post.

Diamond Dogs.
October, the Dog month, the time of the Cold Dew brings the first frost; usually around the second week although recently it has been earlier. I reckon my hibiscus and fuchsia will get by till the sun returns but soon I must gather the succulents and marantas in. This is the month when we perhaps consider the year’s end and the beginning of the next. Which could be why the Dalai Lama has cut short his current British tour and returned home. I write “home” but I mean Dharamsala in Northern India, of course.

This October’s mutt is a Fire Dog – like the year 1946, a year studded with the births of superannuated rock stars like David Gilmour and David Bowie, ex-presidents (George W) Bush and Clinton and er….Donald Trump. The Fire modifying the Dog’s natural Earth is not self-effacing. Accordingly this is a month of public events, of innovation and surprise. It was no surprise that the Dalai Lama’s itinerary included the usual comfort at several hundred pounds a pop, for “mindful” financiers. Every good cause needs money. But at least one of his statements was surprising; that if he were to be reincarnated as a woman, she would have to be very attractive.

Interestingly October is likely to be a month of rebellion and insurrection as the lo shu (or magic square) of the month holds at its centre the 6 which represents Qian the Father and hence authority. Resistance is stiffened by the Dog’s Element which is yang Earth, symbolically Mountain, the immoveable.

Lama Ding Dong.
There seems to be precious little resistance in Tibet any more. But His Holiness is himself the subject of resistance not only from the Chinese authorities (who simply won’t talk with him) but from Shugden Buddhists as well as Western exporters in pursuit of the yen. One thing Tibet has counted on because of our long and deep ties, going back to the mid-18th century, has been British outrage on his nation’s behalf. He isn’t even seeking independence any more – only some measure of autonomy.

During a Sheep year, Dog days – like today – and Dog hours as well as the Dog month tend to be fraught as the Dog is traditionally at odds with the Ox and Sheep; a contretemps that is reckoned to be solved by the Dragon. So if you’ve been a fractious Doggy, Ox, Sheep or indeed a peace-keeping Dragon this year, there’s your rationale. And here’s a warning: October brings such disputes to a head. Anything that needs settling is up for healing this month. Seek mediating Dragons and bring it on.

Rinpoche ricochet.
At the Dalai Lama’s advanced age a succession of one-nighters is a demanding thing. Illness brought on by overwork may be the whole story. Two events however may have lowered his head and raised his temperature: one was reaction to the reincarnation comment. Whether we put this down to unworldliness or a life of celibacy, he repeated it when challenged. Not a thoughtful response perhaps but a human one.

However another surprise, may have been on the Dalai Lama’s mind. You’d need to know a little about Chinese diplomacy to unpack it. I’m referring to George Osborne’s recent sales trip. Osborne’s mission appears to have been to tout to China whatever booty they fancied – nuclear power stations, the National Grid, the Royal Family, Mary Berry, whatever.

So far so predictable, but it may not have been the actual sales pitch that depressed His Holiness, as much as Osborne’s insistence on visiting Xinjiang, the restive home of the Uighurs. This Turkic-speaking minority is mostly Muslim. God – or whichever entity you want to credit – knows what Osborne said privately but the visit implied that Britain sympathised with China and that we are haunted in common by the spectres of separatism and multiculturalism. Count me out of the haunted btw. But under the first category comes the “problem” of Tibet. Oh…. and the second.

I know I bang on a bit but many warm-hearted people queued recently to sign a petition to spare the life of a young man in Saudi Arabia due to be beheaded and crucified basically for thinking the Saud family were a bit crap. Is it only me His Holiness and Richard Gere who remember that the Chinese were committing exactly this outrage in large numbers in recent memory? And finally is it possible that a lifetime of offering mindfulness to financiers at hundreds of pounds a ticket has encouraged rather than challenged China? Is Osborne’s single-minded pursuit of the yen a let-down too far? What do I know?

Where to do what, when and why.
The East is in pole position this month; good for study, preparation and ambitious projects. This is where to sit, face and sleep; remember your sleeping position is where your pillow is btw, not your feet.

Dog Pillars; know your Dog rating.
Birth in the Dog hour (19:00pm-21:00pm): inheritance.
Birth in the Dog month (October*): a single consistent career.
Birth on the Dog day#: success in middle age.
Birth in the Dog year: relatively inflexible parents.
* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.
# Just ask.

Ba Zi Training starts the weekend of January.
For more information go to: http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
or do call +44 1483 428998 or
email me at: richardashworth@imperialfengshui.infoOn Saturday December 5th, 2015, Richard will be spending a day talking about “2016, The Fire Monkey, the Year of Turbulence.” If you would like to join him let us know as places are limited.
Here is a video of Richard talking about Feng Shui.

Richard Ashworth© 2015

www.imperialfengshui.info

Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny – Early Bird Expiring soon

September 24, 2015

The Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny: Early Bird expiring soon.
As the Four Pillars for 2015 suggested nearly a year ago, tides are turning, a certain rebellious energy continues to rise. It’s late September, the time of the stroppy Wood Rooster. June to September was ruled by Hexagram 41 (from The Book of Changes) Sun which you might translate as “Austerity”. You may have noticed. The final quarter is ruled by Number 38 Gui, sometimes called “Diversity”. 2016 will be very different.

I draw most such conclusions from ba zi or “Four Pillars” calculations. These are not rocket science though they demand close attention. Then I kind of “dream” with them in the tradition of the great Chinese Masters. This “dreaming” is as important as the calculations themselves. You might call this something like intuition. I will be teaching both calculation and dreaming in my 2016 course.

Ba zi above all shows moments of change and moments of decision – personal as well as global. If you can “read” ba zi you can with practice “read” a person, a situation, a relationship and the outcome of decisions. If we can identify a moment of decision, often we can change it..

Watch Richard talking ba zi
This January (16th/17th) I’m teaching the first weekend (of four) of my annual starter ba zi course Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny again. No prior knowledge of mumbo jumbo Chinese or other is required. Civilians welcome, do join us.

As for cost, the reason I am writing is that the Early Bird offer expires on the 30th September ’15. Until then the price for the four weekends is only £1350.00. After that it’s back to the full price of £1500.

For more detail about dates etc on the course go to: http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses

Or do call +44 1483 428998 or
email me at: richardashworth@imperialfengshui.info