Posts Tagged ‘Book of Changes’

Four places left & Early Bird Expiring

November 16, 2015
A World going Bananas
2016, The Fire Monkey: a Year of Turbulence.
JUST FOUR PLACES LEFT AND EARLY BIRD ABOUT TO EXPIRE!
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.”

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

Courses Offer July 2015

July 31, 2015

“Bless you. You’ve saved my life, Richard, literally and figuratively. I’m getting so much more than feng shui from studying with you.”
Nancy, Tennessee.

Learning feng shui and Chinese Astrology one-to-one via Skype.
Nancy’s in Tennessee. When we first offered Skype, I had no idea how much teaching that way was actually going to teach me. Of course it meant we can fit in with the individual’s own schedule; we can link up whether you’re in Singapore, Berlin or London. Or Tennessee. And within limits we can make sessions longer or shorter and more or less frequent.

What I hadn’t realised was how this would open us up to students of greater or lesser accomplishment: this year I have taught beginners straight off the street as well as professionals and enthusiasts. Some people need more visual material, some more examples; some flourish one-to-one while some wither in classes and so on. It’s been a whole education

Which has led us to offer starter feng shui and ba zi courses both live and one-to-one by Skype on schedules (within reason) to suit you.

Offer Announcement: These courses are mutually complementary (ie if you attend one, you may want to attend both). So if you book and pay for both by the 7th August 2015, instead of £3000, you pay only £2000.
If this sounds like your sort of thing, now’s the time to let us know.
To discuss your suitability or indeed mine, please email me at richardashworthfengshui@gmail.com or call the office on 01483 428998.

1. Discover the Secrets of ba zi, the Four Pillars of Destiny.

“Great to see you and very annoying at the same time: it’s almost unbearable to be seen for what I really am.”
Alice, Surbiton.

One reason I teach ba zi, the feng shui of the person (often misleadingly known as the Chinese Horoscope) before teaching houses and spaces, is that knowledge of the person’s likely choices, opportunities, destiny and nature, is integral to dealing with their environment.

We are all making decisions all the time; some trivial, some vital, some conscious, some so fast we are hard-pressed to identify them. Some lead to triumph and some to heartbreak. What if we were to locate these moments of decision and re-examine them? How life-changing might that be?

Ba zi is of course a lifetime study but upon successful completion of Discover the Secrets, you will know how to pinpoint these moments as well as the meaning, implications and relationships of the Stems and Branches (or Animals) be able to draft ba zi in Chinese characters (it’s not actually that hard) and have everything you need to start to interpret. You may want then to apply for our mentoring programme.

Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars
Standard course: 16 Sessions of one hour                     £1500
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
Additional catch-up, mentoring and group sessions are available.

2. The Wind that Stops at the Water.

“All is well here and C. has moved back in. My prayers were answered! The NW bit worked!  She has been lovely ever since and I think the episode has made her appreciate her home. Thanks so much for all your help.”
Karen. Surrey.

Authentic Chinese feng shui consists broadly of two strands. Sam yuen (or “Mystery of the Void”) involves the Trigrams from the Book of Changes (or Yi). Under this heading come the commonly used Flying Star and Eight House methods and much more. Mastery of these models allows us to adapt and optimise the energy (or qi) within buildings.

The other strand is called sam he (that is “Three Harmony”) and essentially concerns the relationships between the Chinese Zodiac Animals. This mirrors the principles of ba zi and leads to the life-enhancing methods of yang gong, which is used in the design of the Water Dragons employed in South East Asia to attract health, wealth and wisdom.

On this course we will study the origins of feng shui in the Book of Changes followed by the theory and practice of Flying Star, Eight House and other authentic Chinese methods as well as a brief introduction to Xuan Kong Da Gua, Imperial Heaven Stars and Yang Gong methods and also exploring the use and validity of non-traditional approaches.

Learn the real thing this year.

The Wind that Stops at the Water
Standard course: 16 Sessions of one hour             £1500
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/the-wind-that-stops-at-the-water
Additional catch-up, mentoring and group sessions are available

Offer Announcement: These courses are mutually complementary (ie if you attend one, you may want to attend both). So if you book and pay for both by the 7th August 2015, instead of £3000, you pay only £2000.
If this sounds like your sort of thing, now’s the time to let us know.
To discuss your suitability or indeed mine, please email me at richardashworthfengshui@gmail.com or call the office on 01483 428998.

Also coming up:

A rapid introduction to Chinese Astrology.
On the evening of Tuesday the 8th September, I’m talking to the College of Psychic Studies in London (www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk) about the place of intuition in classical feng shui: This will be followed by a one-day workshop on the Saturday 19th September: The ba zi: a map of our most likely mistakes, which will be something of a crash course. You may find this especially useful if you know very little about the subject and would like to know more. We’re telegraphing it now because the opening module of my next Feng Shui Starter Course The Wind that Stops at the Water, is the weekend in-between (12th/13th September) and you might use the talk as an introduction.

Richard Ashworth©, the day of the four Sheep, 2015.
www.imperialfengshui.com

Ox Diary: what to expect in January 2015

January 6, 2015

Ox Diary: what to expect in January 2015.

The Ox takes a Bow.

Ox Month opens: January 6th 00:57am.

Ox takes a bow.

Now, in the sluggish Ox-time we prepare for the New Year. The Ox of January is a symbol of fortitude and stamina, occupying this slow period between the year’s end and its regeneration. December is slow and dark, February is fresh. Inbetween is neither one thing nor the other, short days, long lights, new purpose taking time to form. “Blue Monday,” supposedly the most depressing day of the year, falls on the 26th January when holidays, paydays and clement weather are furthest away in either direction.

But this is a time literally of re-creation. An ancient Chinese proverb says that ”the new-born Ox-calf does not fear the Tiger.” This may simply be an oriental way of warning fools not to rush in but the terminology is astrological: the Ox Boy and his lost partner nu the Maiden, are separated in the night sky by the vastness of the Milky Way. Year succeeds year and the less we resist change, separation and novelty, the easier it may be to adapt appropriately.

The years as I have written many times, do not change like the opening and closing of a door. Nature does not work in straight lines and there are good reasons for putting the beginning of the year as early as December 19th – when the esoteric kua numbers of the days start to be counted upwards rather than downwards – or as late as February 19th and the Chinese (Lunar) New Year Festival. There are those who are pedantic about each of these calculations and indeed about several more. All of which simply emphasizes the sleepy chaos of the Ox month.

So this is the time to start the he tu journeys prescribed for the year and to-rethink sleeping and working positions while the qi remains weak. It’s hard to stumble into an inauspicious location and trigger a plague of boils right now but equally, few dramatic reversals are likely to be conjured up. All of this information was included in our 13th December workshop btw and will shortly appear in writing. There’ll be more.

The Ox in the Ox Month.

Ox (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) are by common consent the tyrants of the Chinese Zodiac. If that seems sweeping, consider again that Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte and Margaret Thatcher were all born in Ox Years. And Barack Obama.

In the Ox month we reluctantly uncurl and pick up where we left off. As you’d expect, the typical Ox has no problem with consistency. In fact sticking to a position beyond its sell-by date may be the Ox’s downfall. Consider the Oxen above. They also share somewhat the Ox’s other failing, that of not knowing when their influence is fading.

The Ox’s cohorts are Snake and Rooster who can be inventive and seductive respectively, while the Ox keeps them to the agenda. The Rat may feel that his or her arms are tied for the time being while that agenda continues to vary from his own.

The Ox spats with the incoming Sheep and indeed this year focuses around the four Earth Animals – Ox, Sheep, Dragon, Dog – and the so-called Bullying Punishment which is relieved by the Four Earths. This year features team-building revolving around the Dragon who brings magical release to a stuck situation. If I remind you of two prominent Dragons, Farage and Putin, this may start to make sense, especially if we factor in the Obama Ox, Sheep Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond along with Dog George Osborne.

This is the Year of Gathering, not one of uncovering like 2014 and most of what matters will be out of the public gaze. Do not expect the CIA, Goldman Sachs, GCHQ or those in charge of investigating the various abuses that came to light in the bright year of the Horse to report rapidly or fully.

Early in the Cameron administration, a ship ran aground on the South Coast. Sheila and myself, both brought up by the sea in traditional wrecking country, looked up from our armchairs and smiled at each other ruefully at the BBC announcer’s admonition to the curious that the cargo was “hazardous”.

“It’s valuable,” we said simultaneously. And indeed the hold was full of shiny new motorbikes. Now, the Ox month, is the time to pay close attention to what is not being said.

Ox Month, Animal by Animal.

During this Ox month:

The Rat reluctantly takes orders.

The Ox sticks to the point.

The Tiger flirts with impatience.

The Rabbit finds gratitude.

The Dragon becomes essential.

The Snake dictates what is dealt with.

The Horse defends the indefensible.

The Sheep may withdraw before joining.

The Monkey may feel left out.

The Rooster is flattered.

The Dog narrowly avoids break-up.

and

The Pig gets a second chance.

Ox Pillars; know your Ox rating.

Birth in the Ox hour (01:00pm-03:00am): children of faith.

Birth in the Ox month (January*): leadership.

Birth on the Ox day#: ignoring shelf-life.

Birth in the Ox year: born to a spiritual or religious tradition.

* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.

# Just ask.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the authoritative year 6. In a 3 year like 2015, authority is unlikely to be respected consistently;this trend is magnified in the Eastern part of any space right now. This makes the East however along with the North, literally a plum location in the coming Sheep Year. Because both of these hold toe far or “Plum Flower” stars. This means they can be activated to attract or strengthen one-to-one (generally romantic) relationship for those born in the years of the Horse, Dog and Tiger (East) and Rabbit, Sheep and Pig (North). Such “activation” is best customised, but simply placing “sentimental” (that is flowing) Water North now and in the East from February may bear interesting fruit. Let me know.

Coming Shortly: Richard will be posting both his Animal Fortunes for 2015 & his general forecast for 2015, the Year of the Wood Sheep on his website & via Twitter (@fengshuidiaries). Watch this space.

Your home/office space aligned for 2015: to get the best of the new energies, Richard is booking in Tune-Ups NOW. Email: Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Ba Zi Starter Course: Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars opens the weekend of 17/18th January 2015.

Auspicious Dates and Places: Every month Richard compiles for his retainer clients at vast expense, a detailed bulletin of the current auspicious dates, places and procedures for health, wealth and wisdom. Now you can subscribe at a little less than vast expanse. If you’re interested in receiving that bulletin along with his daily Hot Spots, contact Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

 Richard Ashworth©, towards the end of the month of the Rat, 2015.

www.imperialfengshuifengshui.info

Richard Ashworth©, towards the end of the month of the Rat, 2015.

Rat Diary: what to expect in December 2014. The Rodent less travelled.

December 9, 2014

Rat Diary: what to expect in December 2014.

The Rodent less travelled.

Rat Month opens: December 7th 14:11pm. 

The Rodent less travelled.

The Rat by contrast with the Pig, is yang Water. The Rat is the communicator and the keeper of secrets, so this frantic year will have been a challenge. The Rat is uncomfortable with the spontaneous, extrovert Fire of the Horse. Rat achievements are a slower burn. This month’s Fire Rat however brings the sort of invention and innovation that takes courage to be true to; the Fire that moderates this particular Rat is an inventive spark, almost as if it were a hybrid Horse-Rat. The month is full of opportunities for originality but they may not run along safe paths.

By way of illustration, two of the season’s big movies are The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. The first concerns Alan Turing, the genius who fronted the Enigma team, saving an estimated 14 million lives and shortening World War II by years. He has been a fascination of mine since I studied the proto-AI of Turing machines as a Philosophy undergraduate in the 70’s. No one knew he was a hero then though it was common knowledge that he had died in disgrace. As it turns out, he was convicted of the victimless crime of being gay. He was, just to make my point, a 1912 Water Rat.

Stephen Hawking by contrast is a Water Horse (a hybrid Rat-Horse, if you like) who has had to cope with increasing debility as his mind has groped to embrace the entire universe. But again his career might be summarised as the tension between genius and its expression. Like Turing and like this month. Use it wisely.

A similar tension as it happens, informed my friend, shaman and healer Maurice Willmott who died last week. He was a very special, gifted and good man whose cause of death read “motor neurones disease” but who had, by his account given up on a venal world that had disappointed him. Bless him wherever he may be.

The Rat in the Rat Month.

Rats (1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008) are the talkers of the Chinese Zodiac and the keepers of secrets. In the Rat month we gather round the fire and catch up. At this time a young Rat may give away the farm by over-emoting (more battle-scarred ones let you do the talking). Typically the Rat forms a team with Monkey and Dragon for whom individually he may actually have little time; he needs an outcome if he is to consort with them. So December finds the otherwise often frivolous Monkey focused and the Dragon holding his own ego in a looser grip. The Rat has a rather one-sided affinity with the Ox who will tend to boss him around. Who’d have thought a Zodiac Animal represented by Margaret Thatcher, Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama and Napoleon Bonaparte might have ideas about their right to rule?

The Rat is not generally comfortable with the Horse but this is the frank antipathy of introvert for extrovert. The Rat’s difficulty with next year’s Sheep however comes under the category “covert”. If all of this forms the right cocktail, the Rat presides over a calm culmination to a turbulent year. If not, things could be explosive all the way to the Spring Festival.

Rat Month, Animal by Animal.

During the Rat month:

The Rat chances his arm.

The Ox takes charge.

The Tiger bides his time.

The Rabbit may nurse grievance

The Dragon chills for once.

The Snake holes up.

The Horse is wrong-footed.

The Sheep is distant.

The Monkey sobers up.

The Rooster runs out of words.

The Dog is in the manger.

and

The Pig opens up.

Rat Pillars; know your Rat rating.

Birth in the Rat hour (23:00pm-01:00am): voluble, articulate children.

Birth in the Rat month (December*): work in communication.

Birth on the Rat day#: articulate, communicative.

Birth in the Rat year: loquacious heritage.

* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.

# Just ask.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the intrusive 7. In a 4 year, the theme of a month can be tolerance or the lack of it. Consideration for our neighbours is the answer.

Here are a couple of dates that may help with that. They are calculated using the Tung Shu or “Farmers’ Almanac” and take account of a variety of esoteric criteria including the Twelve Officers, Mansions of the Moon and the calculations of the 13th Century diviner Dong Gong.

27th   December    favours      :        Monkey, Dragon, Rat, patient Snakes.

                                     Do                        make a firm irrevocable start.

26th December     challenges  :        Ox

Dont:                  invest deeply in the way things are going.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

December 13th : One Day examining with Richard what’s in store for 2015, the Year of the Wood Sheep: For you, your animal sign, your house, the world. Just a couple of places left!! Price: £100. Email: becciimperialfengshui@gmail.com to book your place.

An Introduction to Feng Shui: It’s all about meaning. Join me for an introduction to Classical Feng Shui on December 14th with the Circle of Divine in London. Have a look at the Facebook page: FESTIVE SPECIAL :Conscious Lifestyle choices to create wealth, health & harmony for 2015 or email Becci.

Tune-Ups for your home /office : Get your space aligned to get the best of  the new energies for 2015, Richard is booking in Tune-Ups  now for the New Year. Email: Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Ba Zi Starter Course: Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars opens the weekend of 17/18th January 2015. Early Bird Available.

Contactbecciimperialfengshui@gmail.com

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Fire Rat, 2014.

www.imperialfengshui.info

 

Pig Diary: what to expect in November 2014

November 7, 2014

Pig Diary: what to expect in November 2014.

Stye Guru.

Pig Month opens: November 7th 21:36pm.

Stye Guru.

The Pig is yin Water. Water is cold and dark and November is the month when the cold sets in. All Water in the world is constantly in search of all other Water and so Water is communication. One distinctive weakness then of Pigs is that they may communicate too little. This is yin and yang. Typically Pigs look as if they have it all under control until suddenly they don’t and they haven’t set up the support system required to deal with a crisis. So if the crisis is ebola, this is a poor month for it to be on the rise. However, the Wood Dog of the October just gone and the Water Rooster before it, are often times of mysterious ailments. The Wood Pig that is now upon us carries no such overtone. This should mean that the outbreak comes under control. Typically just as any crisis – famine, dispossession, epidemic – approaches the privileged, it is contained. This I think, will be no different. The USA is more likely to quarantine anyone who enters the country from anywhere East of Charlotte, North Carolina than to succumb. In this country we’ll hire more foreign health professionals and blame them for stealing our jobs. So crisis over. For the time being.

Meanwhile it’s telling that the Pig suffers the so-called “self-clash” which means that Pigs generally don’t prosper much in Pig months. For this reason and others, I expect the resistible rise of 1971 Water Pig Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi to slow this month. Recruiting figures are down because it’s just possible that an organisation that kills Christian and Sunni indiscriminately and seeks out Shias for special extermination, has lost all claim to being any sort of Islamist set-up. Abu Bakr’s pr campaign trope of deterring aid workers and curbing the freedom of the press by the novel expedient of decapitation can only appeal to psychopaths. That’s the tale of one Pig in a Pig month.

The Pig in the Pig Month.

Pigs (1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007) are generally sweethearts. The Pig is multi-talented and domesticated; the Chinese ideograph for home is a Pig under a roof. Pig men can often cook to a high standard and Pig women are multi-taskers par excellence; take new Granny Hillary Clinton, pounding the marginal states while she considers whether she’ll stand for President in 2016. (She will). Because they’re often very smart, a Pig weakness can be the tendency to think they know better than others what is good for them (Julian Assange, Ron Paul). They can be boars. But that’s sow biz.

The Pig has a love-hate relationship with the Snake and achieves most as the star of a Rabbit-Pig-Sheep charm offensive.

Pig Month, Animal by Animal.

During the Pig month:

The Rat is flattered.

The Ox is less vocal,

The Tiger is especially creative.

The Rabbit cares for the home,

The Dragon takes a break.

The Snake rethinks,

The Horse could be embarrassed.

The Sheep canvasses,

The Monkey stands back.

The Rooster stands back too, but further.

The Dog waits his turn,

and

The Pig falters.

Pig Pillars; find your inner Swine.

Birth in the Pig hour (21:00pm-23:00pm): taciturn children.

Birth in the Pig month (November*): work involves subtle communication.

Birth on the Pig day#: versatile, multitalented.

Birth in the Pig year: busy parents.

* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.

# Just ask.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the auspicious 8. The 8 delivers. In a 4 year, which is itself about invention, an 8 month is often about children’s welfare.

This month: West, Interference: 6, 1. A transformational he tu combination and still the primary wealth location in 2014. Again add Earth for the auspicious 1:6:8. A large crystal, a low, square, heavy table and/or total stillness may do the trick.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

An Introduction to Feng Shui: It’s all about meaning. Join me for an introduction to Classical Feng Shui on December 14th with the Circle of Divine in London. Have a look at the Facebook page: : FESTIVE SPECIAL :Conscious Lifestyle choices to create wealth, health & harmony for 2015

December 13th One Day examining with Richard what’s in store for 2015, the Year of the Wood Sheep: For you, your animal sign, your house, the world. Early Bird Price: £80 until 1st December. Full price: £100. Email Becci to book your place.

Ba Zi Starter Course: Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars opens the weekend of 17/18th January 2015. Or learn by Skype. Early Bird Available.

Contact: becci@imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth©, late in the month of the Wood Dog, 2014.

Chicken Busy. Rooster Month; bak lo, the Season of White Dew

September 14, 2014

Chicken Busy.

Rooster Month; bak lo, the Season of White Dew. 

“Divinity is knowing where to start.” Our Lost Infantry – Scissor Fight. 

It’s the Rooster month, the month of Zhong Qiu, that is the Harvest Moon, said to be the brightest and fullest. It’s the counting-up time of the year. A good time to re-think, reinvent and restructure. Also to move house. Last night’s moon was a perfect half-circle I noticed, as it rose in the halflight that is neither Summer nor quite Autumn. It’s a writer’s cliché that as the leaves fall, the mind turns to sunsets but there it is.

The first weeks of September are the traditional time for starting wars and blowing things up and as I park in the lane, having failed twice to spot Luke and Lisa’s new home, an excitable American with a serious lack of imagination hijacks Facebook on my ipad to welcome Armageddon and the “end times”. Do me a favour.

And talking of popular times and place for dispute, this summer I’ve been working on a watermill on the Serbian-Romanian border (which after a huge amount of earth-moving will become a Water Dragon) as well as a villa in Cyprus with close-to-perfect feng shui and a tower near Kingston where the front door is having an argument with the Water that flows through the garden. But the most arresting project has been this semi-detached cottage out in the woods of the Surrey Hills. Let me tell you why.

Luke’s a musician, Lisa works for a children’s charity. They’re both Pigs, that is multi-talented with a wide sphere of interests and skills as well as a need for space. The Chinese character for a home is a pig under a roof; note, just the one. They’re wide-open, sweet young people who look as if mutual tolerance is as easy to them as falling off the logs that surround their home. But when you consider it, their needs are very different; he for instance needs space and the safety to make noise, she some quiet to think. Forest all around suits them both.

Careless Whisper. 

I’ve also been working with the publishers of a Southern European tabloid. They have been suffering malicious gossip. Gossip? A tabloid? Who’d have thought it? As it turns out, the South of their basement houses a natural spring which has overflowed in the unprecedented floods of the Horse year. The South is the closest to the Sun, hence the place of visibility and publicity, Water is communication – a thimbleful spilled in the English Channel at Zeebrugge also raises sea level off Zanzibar. Put the two together, karmic issues aside, you get uncontrolled rumour.

The complete cure is a sam he (that is Three Harmony or yang gong) formula involving housing and redirecting the spring. Meanwhile I’ve given them as a band-aid, a procedure involving the addition of Earth in the form of several huge crystals. It’s a funny old building still featuring a huge ancient printing press to which Hitler apparently took a particular aversion. The Gestapo are said to have imprisoned it in its own custom-built cage. Now that’s what I call a proportionate response.

Plugs. 

I first learned complex sam he formulae with Master Chan Kun Wah in the late 90’s. At that time I had just sold the insurance business I had been running in parallel with my woo-woo studies for twenty years and was in the lucky position of being able to study pretty much full time. What this meant was that I’d sit in a room with Master Chan once a month or so along with Gill Hale and Jon Sandifer and Sylvia Bennett and others frantically writing down every word. Then I’d go home and spend the next month working out what the hell he’d said.

Sam he formulae, arguably the most powerful, longest-lasting and most effective of all, pivot on the concept of the qi (pronounced chi) form. These are the methods the Grand Masters save for billionaires.

Identifying the qi form, which dictates the quality of energy entering a building is a judgement call; what you’re effectively doing is reading the trail of qi. This depends on a subtle blend of feeling, measurement and guesswork. It’s one of the key skills of feng shui. And I’ve lost track of the number of times Master Chan taught a complex formula which I was just about able to grasp and concluded by saying that the calculation all depends on the qi form. That’s traditional Chinese teaching methods for you.

What I’ve learned in the years since is that the key to qi form is finding the qi mouth. This is usually, but not always, the low point of the compound, that is to say where Water gathers. It can be miles away and in an urban environment almost impossible to locate.

When you find the qi mouth, what’s required is to “plug” it. This means placing a bridge, stones or some other obstruction to tame the outgoing flow. If you get it precisely right, the house receives the full benefit of the energy that is otherwise running loose in the landscape. So for instance, if I get the mill right, another billionaire is created. Often I use boulders. Sometimes I have to re-angle doors to accommodate the qi mouth. Which can be fiddly. The rules for this were formulated around eleven hundred years ago in the T’ang Dynasty.

Sloping Off. 

This idea of qi is elusive. The ancient tradition is that it “comes down the mountain on the wind and stops at the Water”. That’s the Book of Odes (c300BCE.) These days quantum theorists are happy saying that mass is simply very condensed energy. Consider how much goes into putting the mass into a mountain, even a small hill like the one behind Luke and Lisa’s new home. I seem to recall from elementary Physics that height is sometimes called potential energy.” Maybe that’s the simplest way to look at it; once we’ve found the Mountain (that is height) we’ve found the source of the qi and the Water will be at its foot.

Luke’s day job is as a gardener. He understands seasons and cyclical change. He has the leathery glow of a man who loves the outdoors. He tells me how drastically bird life has reduced since he’s been working; no orioles, sparrow and finch numbers hugely down. He readily gets the idea of qi form.

“Sometimes,” I say, “People are startled when I find the height and then point to Water.”

“Gravity,” he laughs.

“Exactly.”

The cottage backs onto an incline running left to right as you look out.

I follow with my eye the slope down the meadow behind the house. There is woodland in every direction but this one. At the summit there is a much bigger house. It’s a dull day so although I’m looking South, I’m not dazzled. Tracking the qi down the hill, the gradient flattens almost due West and I’m about to note down exactly where when I realise there’s no need. Precisely on the qi mouth there’s an ancient willow. It’s been pollarded and pruned once or twice as there are several generations of branches sprouting like hedgehog’s quills around it but the trunk is fully a yard in diameter. There’s your qi mouth.

“Perhaps two hundred years old,” Luke guesses.

And there’s your plug. Perfect sam he; no need to reangle doors, nothing fiddly required. The woodland cares for this house just as indeed it should.

The Birds and the Bees. 

Inside the house there are boxes everywhere. I suggest – counter-intuitively – that they sleep in the slightly smaller back bedroom. Then I identify work spaces for them. On different floors.

In the dining room there is retained energy. Calling it woo-woo™ is as specific as I’m going to get. I tend to think in terms of Chinese metaphors. That’s what they’re for. The more personal I make it, the fewer methods there are to approach it. I used to spend a lot of time “moving on” such spots of energy. I’m not sure whether it was principally for me, them or the client. It certainly made me feel clever and sensitive.

In this case I suggest we let it be. It’s not doing any harm and it seems to be linked to a picture of Lisa’s brother on the mantelpiece. I feel into it; there’s a whole story here. Another time. All I do for now is suggest they arrange the dining room table at an angle to the walls so as to pick up their best directions.

We sit, we look at ba zis. The ba zis raise some issues that may have been floating over them, as yet undiscussed. Lisa’s a bright sensitive woman, Luke equally so but the fact is as a general rule, that when it comes to relationships women are usually smarter. At some point a woman will ask where the relationship is going and a man may reply: “Going? I didn’t know it had to go anywhere.” Luke knows that everything that is not growing is shrinking. Cycles are no mystery. As Bob Dylan wrote ”Everything not busy being born is busy dying.”

Click here to hear me speaking about ba zi, the most powerful model for transformation I know.

Richard Ashworth © 2014.

Find Out Where Richard is and When in the Coming Months

August 21, 2014

The Horse Out of the Clouds

September 2014

Where you can catch up with Richard over the next few weeks. 

Living Life and Loving It.

Broadcast Wednesday 20th August 2014

NaturalHealthRadio.co.uk

“I’ve been weird a long time.” Richard opens up to Natural Health Radio‘s Louise Johnson about where he came from, what he has learned and from whom and what it is that makes authentic Chinese feng shui “the most powerful healing model I’ve ever come across.” 

The Source Equinox ‘Art of Peace’ Experience

23rd September 2014 at 7pm
Venue – TBC (Central London)
http://source.tv/events/source-equinox-celebration/

The Course in Miracles advises that we simply “open our eyes and look upon a happy world of safety and peace.” These are turbulent times and views vary as to how (and if) world peace may be brought about. On the 23rd September Richard joins a panel of world-respected thinkers and visionaries including Dragon’s Den’s Rachel Elnaugh at this event, focused on global healing and world peace. Eight radical  speakers address a global audience followed by an open debate. Join us live or via worldwide streaming.

Improve Your Life with Body Language, Feng Shui and Palmistry at the London School of Astrology.

18th October 2014, 10.45 – 16.45 (Richard 15.15 – 16.45)
Venue – Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ
http://www.londonschoolofastrology.co.uk/seminars.html

Few people believe today that you can be a feng shui Master in 25 minutes after purchasing a book for 99p from the motorway services. Nonetheless at this all-day event Richard will aim to introduce authentic Chinese feng shui simply. Essentially he will outline the ideas of the tao, yin and yang, the Hexagrams of the Book of Changes and the wu xing (or Five Elements) and the methods of life-enhancement they have given rise to and leave newcomers and veterans alike with some simple actions to take away and use.

What to expect in 2015, the Year of the Wood Sheep

A day with Richard Ashworth
12th – 13th December 2014, 10.00 – 17.00
Details – TBC (Central London)
More details on the Wood Sheep Year

Everything that is is growing or falling away, expanding or contracting. The only constant is change. And so every year the energy changes; useful pockets replace tricky ones and vice-versa. Obviously energy doesn’t change like a door shutting but it stands to reason that as the world turns, everything changes. Richard explains how the Sheep year is likely to fall, how this affects the interior and exterior of your home or office and you personally, whether you are a Sheep, Dragon or whatever.

The Wind that stops at the Water: An Introductory Professional Feng Shui Course

13th – 14th September 2014, 10.00 – 17.00
11th – 12th October 2014, 10.00 – 17.00
8th – 9th November 2014, 10.00 – 17.00
6th – 7th December 2014, 10.00 – 17.00
Venue – TBC (Godalming, Surrey)
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/the-wind-that-stops-at-the-water

What precisely is feng shui? Well, as you will discover it isn’t precisely anything. Some Masters define feng shui simply as “doing the right thing in the right place at the right time”, others as harmony with the environment, others again as some mystical hybrid of magic and precision. It isn’t interior design and it involves no essential spiritual practice. It isn’t even really about buildings. Rather it concerns the people who live in them, their health, wealth and wellbeing. This is not a modular course but essentially Richard teaching the methods he has learned from a variety of Masters, developed and used with measurable success all over the world over a number of years. You will discover that there is no such thing as a routine survey and that the heart of Classical feng shui is to treat the person in the building by addressing the building. 

Starter Ba Zi Course: Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny.

A First Course in Chinese Astrology.

17th – 18th January 2015, 10.00 – 17.00
21st – 22nd February 2015, 10.00 – 17.00
21st – 22nd March 2015, 10.00 – 17.00
25th – 26th April, 10.00 – 17.00
Venue – TBC (Godalming, Surrey)
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses

What drives you? Why do you do the things you do? No Classical Feng Shui Master would think of conducting a feng shui survey without drafting a ba zi, the key to understanding the people within the building. The ba zi, a snapshot of the prevailing Elements at birth, can show character, appetites, skills, possible futures and possible pasts. Because it is constructed in terms of the Five Elements, it shows how pitfalls may be avoided and decisions improved. Above all it shows moments of choice. Some of our choices are wise, some not so much. Learn how to locate them. What has been chosen can be unchosen or rechosen. Know yourself, know your friends and family.

For more details on any of the above events please, email: becciimperialfengshui@gmail.com or call: o1483 428998 or visit the Contacts Page on Richard’s website.

Share this article

Sheep Diary: what to expect in July 2014.

July 4, 2014
 

Sheep Diary: what to expect in July 2014.

Sheep at half the price.

Sheep Month opens: July 7th 12:57pm. 

Sheepish

The Sheep month of a Horse year is a time of co-operation. The Sheep can not help but form teams of which typically the Horse is leader. Theres still plenty of Fire – hard to miss as we look out of our windows upon this blazing summer.

But the Sheep is Earth-in-Fire. Initiative is not the average Sheeps strength. This is one reason I consistently refer to the Chinese Animal as Sheep rather than Goat; for one thing the Sheep is yin (ie broadly feminine) while the Goat is a very yang kind of symbol in many cultures. For another the Sheep is well-mannered while the Goat can be aggressive. So expect gentle herding in July and a gathering of groups, some demonstrations, many petitions and lowish-key protest. 

The Sheep in the Sheep Month.

Sheep (1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003) co-operate. They tend to be lieutenants rather than generals. This tendency to second-in-command is accentuated in a Horse year. Horse and Sheep are best mates but the Horse is in charge. The Horse is impetuous and spontaneous and the attendant Sheep is check and balance. So Sheep are likely to be even more considerate, organised and selfless than usual around now under their own sign.

Sheep months tend to favour the home-loving Rabbit and Pig as well as the Horse  currently probably over-turbocharged itself at the expense of the Ox and to some extent Rat, the talkers of the Chinese Zodiac. So just one caveat: its a dutiful, altruistic month for Sheep but not necessarily a communicative one. The smart Sheep uses this information to be especially out there. 

Sheep Month Animal by Animal.

During the Sheep month:

Some Dragons may experience minor but fair and direct challenge.

The Snake may feel rushed,

The Horse may remain in charge,

The Monkey might wisely look over his shoulder,

The Rooster begins to shine once more,

The Dog may part company,

The Pig may not partake,

The Rat may button his lip.

The Ox may choose diplomacy.

The Tiger may be above it all,

and

The Rabbit may simply enjoy being home.

Note: last month I missed out the Snake. Not on purpose. But that gives a pretty accurate view of the Snake in a Horse month in a Horse year; over-shadowed. Snakes may feel like commenting. 

The Sheep Pillars. How Sheepish are you?

Birth in the Sheep hour (13:00pm-15:00pm): obedient, cooperative mutually-bonded children.

Birth in the Sheep month (July*): it hurts not to work as a team

Birth on the Sheep day#: able to contain otherwise dysfunctional family.

Birth in the Sheep year: idealistic parents.

* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.

# Just ask. 

Where to do what, when and why.

This months lo shu is the 3, to do with the Eldest Son, the ambitious, but unsubtle aspirational. In a 4 year it may be that a 3 month pumps up the volume of the young male voice. This is the month when targets for the year are revealed as achievable or otherwise.

This month: the 9 Star is in the South West. In a 4 year this may mean that for the time being, kun the Mother, the totem of relationship, is biding her time. Expect an announcement from Hillary Clinton in September perhaps. 

Also for your attention:

Learn authentic Chinese feng shui: Richard’s Starter Feng Shui Course The Wind that Stops at the Water runs this autumn over four weekends starting 13th September. 

Learn ba zi: Richards next ba zi courseDiscover the Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny, starts January 17/18th 2015.

Book both courses together for a further discount.

Richard now teaches via Skype: both feng shui & ba zi (including advanced) on a one to one basis for those who live abroad or can’t travel. This offers the opportunity to work at your own pace.

Go to: www.imperialfengshui.info/courses for more information.

Richard is talking Ba Zi at the London Astrology Lodge:

Monday 7th July at 7pm, Astrological Lodge of London at The Theosophical Society, 50, Gloucester Place, London W1 8EA.

Richard will be looking at times, places and people and explaining to the Astrological Lodge ba zi’s roots in the tao, yin and yang and the five elementsorwu xing. Along the way he will examine some historical events, to see if indeed they fall into cycles.

Astrologers, feng shui people, sceptics, cynics, civilians, all welcome. More details here. 

Finally, read Richard’s last beautiful diary, “Its Dark and we are Wearing Sunglasses” here.

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Metal Sheep, July 2014.

www.imperialfengshui.info

It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses

June 24, 2014

It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Dedicated to Maurice Willmott.

“Late last night I heard the screen door slam and a big yellow taxi took away my old man.” Joni Mitchell. Big Yellow Taxi.

The Dark Newt of the Soul.
Menorca, Dragon Month, Horse Year.
While I’m here I swim daily; a few more lengths every morning. I like the sensation of my muscles stretching with the regular exercise. I feel my waist tightening and my shoulder joints.
In the Commentaries to the Book of Changes, Confucius counsels that destiny emerges from character. There are no free tickets or free lunches. We may spend a lifetime looking for short cuts but eventually our lives match us. Everything is chosen. Which is great or not depending on how we view ourselves and the justice of the cosmos.
Much of feng shui of course derives from the Book of Changes (or Yi) ; which consists of just sixty four diagrams made up of six lines each. Between them they say pretty much everything there is to be said; sixty four Hexagrams, sixty-four expressions of the human predicament with six ways out each. The Hexagrams themselves break down into two Trigrams, each of which represents a situation, a feeling, a thought, a member of the Confucian family and a thousand other things. And a great deal of authentic feng shui comes straight out of the Yi. There have been times in my life when it has been the only voice I trusted.
Last year on my final swim, I came across a frog in the pool; a Menorcan stripeless tree frog which is longer, thinner and a brighter green than ours and with its big eyes, more like a proper Disney frog. You might think that a swimming pool would be frog paradise. I guess he did too. Except for the chlorine and the fact that he couldn’t jump out because the ledge was too high and there’s no traction on water. He struggled a little – only a baby, I think – but eventually, cupped in my hand, I placed him gently on the perimeter and he bounced off. Today, a year later almost the same thing happens; apparently identical frog, same situation but on day one. I take that as progress.
It’s April, I’m here studying, researching and writing again. And thinking. What I’m studying is yang gong, the method used by inscrutable nonagenarian Grand Masters to turn external Water into vast assets for Asian billionaires. Which came first the Dragon or the billions? you might ask. Water is certainly the key to feng shui but what I can tell you is that it wasn’t until the 20th century that the feng shui man saw his job as placing Water relative to the building as opposed to the other way round. That makes a lot of what calls itself feng shui pretty silly.
I’m also studying the Yi but then I’m always studying the Yi.
What I’m thinking about is my peers who seem to be dropping like flies. The nearest I’ve had to a close male friend in my adult life, tai chi Master, skilled musician, thirty years a fireman, peerless husband, father and grandfather and all round good egg Alan Briggs, died suddenly in November. Without warning he suffered a massive heart attack in the arms of his beloved wife of forty years. He was a remarkable man.
Everybody dies and there are worse ways to go, but of my British feng shui peers, Master Jon Sandifer died a little earlier and Rob Grey just a little after. The world is the lesser for their loss and now my friend, shaman and miracle worker Maurice Willmott has made the dubious choice of contracting motor neurones disease. It’s a hard time for healers.
From where I’m sitting all death is suicide and I’m wondering why these men made these choices and I’m thinking it’s because each saw the way the world is right now and recoiled helpless. You don’t have to agree of course.

Meme Girls

It’s unseasonably warm but a villa-owner can’t rely on that; hence this sun-spattered place that sleeps eight is empty but for myself and my daughters, Jessica and Henrietta. It’s predictably cuboid – including garage – except for a two-storey turret to the East. Up there you can see across the heathland all the way out to sea. I’ve done that many times. But the wrought-iron steps have succumbed to time and weather and on this visit they are roped off.
This quiet dwelling, way out in the biosfera is owned by my friends Gemma and Anna who save souls as Taylor Light Creates (TLC – geddit?). Anna is a gifted psychic. I call her the Happy Medium. And Gemma who teaches Alexander Technique, is simply the single most gracious person I know.
The villa was built by their Father back in the 70’s; not it seems, a happy man. Not then, not now. He died young in the 1990’s. There is a paved area at the back that is almost always in shade. They tell me he used to lurk there.
Up in the sky a bird of prey hovers over something. It’s not that big – more likely a peregrine than an eagle or a buzzard, I guess; a rare or endangered species for sure. A few lizards are about and I doubt the bird would chance its wing with a tortoise. There are no fast roads here serving up splattered rabbit or badger. Es Grau has rats just like everywhere else in the world. Polecats too, but nothing bigger and I imagine even these small predators are a bit heavy for a falcon. Also a bit aggressive.
Jessica and Henrietta are twins of 26, identically tiny, brilliant and beautiful but very different people. It’s great to have them here with me; apart from it being high time we caught up, their relentless work ethic pulls me into its orbit. I cannot help but study. But the fact is that I love wrestling these obscure formulae into submission. And before you gasp at my erudition, let me clarify; I’m studying the text in a translation by Hung Hin Cheong, (kindly published by Joey Yap’s Mastery Academy) along with notes I’ve accumulated from various sources over the last two decades.
As well as a writer, Jessie is an actress and herein lies heartbreak. In 2006 she made a big movie with Anne Hathaway and since then she’s done respectable work – some of it high profile – but nothing that has matched up. Despite their writing success, she hasn’t been happy away from the camera. But Jessie’s a trooper and she also has an uncanny sense of the structure of a story.
They’ve tolerated my particular brand of mumbo jumbo all their lives and they play along as I make sure they’re seated South to suit their ba zis. They chunter and banter while they work at the kitchen table, almost like a single person talking to herself.
The bird lingers, tacking into the thermal, close to motionless in the new warmth. Perhaps it’s just playing; there are worse ways to spend a spring morning. There are worse ways to spend a life actually.
Morning turns to afternoon and eventually evening when Jess and Hen down tools and we prepare a meal. Henrietta wants to watch the sun set over the Balearics so we eat outside under the Western portico. As it happens, a quirk of our location is that the sun’s final descent actually happens out of sight. The bushes in the way are tall and these young women aren’t. The glow is pretty magnificent though.
“I wanted to see the sun set,” says Henrietta.
The Moon is new, so darkness falls rapidly. It remains warm despite a slight breeze as we share a beer by the pool. I sit between them, my feet dangling in the deep end; theirs don’t quite reach. It is the breeze that makes the Balearics comfortable even at the peak of summer.
“You might have seen it on tip-toes.”
She frowns.
“Before the month is over I’ll show you something magic in the moonrise.” I say and I explain to her how the phases of the Moon can be represented as Trigrams. “
“Three unbroken lines, maximum yang; full Moon,” I tell her but it doesn’t satisfy her.
Jessie has the recent UN press release about climate change on a Twitter link on her phone.
“By most accounts peak oil production was reached in 2006,” she reads.
Master Chan Kun Wah once told me I would be a Master when I could tell Water from Fire. Estimates of how far seas will rise this century vary from a few centimetres to metres. Great Ice meets Great Fire leads to Great Water. I have an idea that I may be close to understanding. And I think of the vast tonnes of ancient glacial ice floating like sugarcubes in the English Channel.
The report makes it clear that we are collectively walking over an ecological cliff edge. No surprise there. Shameless corporate greed, reckless burning of oil and gas, plus half-baked government have made this inevitable. Every generation believes the world will barely outlive them but even those of us who know this, are concerned about the world we are passing on to our children. If you believe Guy McPherson or James Lovelock we may not even manage that.
When I was last in Singapore, not two hundred miles away in Indonesia, a motorway was driven through the one of the last habitats of the orang utan, man’s closest relative on Earth. These are dark times. The three of us hold hands. The nature reserve suddenly seems small and ever so fragile. This blackness is what Alan saw, I think. He was too smart and had seen too much of the world not to see the same night-black that Maurice is recoiling from. It’s dark, as Elwood says in Blues Brothers, and we’re wearing sunglasses.
There’s plenty of room in the villa. The master bedroom with its en suite sits in the West. There are other bedrooms but in 2014 both North and North West are troublesome. So Jess and Hen go West and I go North East. They get the ensuite, I get shuttered windows that open onto the rear.
I shift my room around so that my head is South East and I can back onto a wall. As a bonus I’ll be able to see the sun as it rises because there are no bushes in the way on this side of the house. I sit lotus-fashion on the bed and watch the night gather. Then I pick up Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong which Henni has recommended. It’s beautifully written but I can’t be bothered with it. In the night I hear the shutters rattle. It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Turning Turtle

I wake thinking of Gemma and Anna’s father and how these magnificent women have turned hurt into healing. They say it takes three generations to make a writer; this may be true of healers too. My own father claimed that he had always wanted to write but that a raft of practicalities got in the way: family, career, mortgage, you know the riff. Bless him; it wasn’t true. No one forces these things upon us; they’re not destiny, God’s will or a court order. We always retain choice even when we imprison ourselves in the realities we buy into. And for myself, I don’t live by writing as these two do. Jon Sandifer had seven children and a chronic weakness of the kidney, I remember. And I think of Alan tuning his guitar with one hand and a rollie in the other, considering the future he might share with his children and grandchildren.
Another morning, another swim. I’m up to twenty lengths now. After a few arguments with Spotify, I’ve rediscovered the music of Style Council, Paul Weller’s jazzy 80’s combo. As I dry myself and make tea, I’m playing Paris Match on my laptop. That smoky vocal is by Tracy Thorn out of Everything but the Girl. I know it’s contentious but I think this is Paul Weller’s best music. For me the Jam were fatuously rebellious and these days Weller seems to be duplicating the 70’s music he claimed to hold in contempt in ’78. Bless him, his perma-frown and his funny haircut.
There are no falcons today, but a single lizard scurries back and forth across the pebbled drive. The sun is already high.
Unimpressed by my choice of music, Hen and Jess rise early, put on a playlist and get writing. Screenwriting is an interminable business. First you write a pitch, then a treatment, then a spec. Then if that stimulates the right juices, a producer demands a rewrite. Then the sources of finance – the BFI for instance – demand further re-writes, then send “notes” with requests ranging from corrected punctuation to what can amount to yet more rewrites. All before the film goes into what the industry calls “pre-production”.
Meanwhile Jess and Hen have been writing on Fresh Meat – cool comedy if you’re young enough to recognise cool – as well as for Children’s BBC and fulfilling a series of other people’s commissions. It’s creative but not entirely theirs. What they’re here for is to put to bed the final “notes” to Olivia and Jim, one of their original screenplays. And get it made ie into production. They’re aiming to write a spec for a new movie too, something it’s been tough to fit in between the commissions. Sounds ambitious.
“We never get time,” says Henni, with deep frustration. Where have I heard that tone before?
They write through the day. I study. When they get excitable it’s hard to concentrate around them, so I repair outside. It’s 30 degrees. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
There’s another bird up there, it could be a falcon or eagle or even a coot; it’s swooping and gliding not hovering.
Yang gong is not derived from the Book of Changes so much as from careful study of nature. Sometimes I’m asked for a scientific explanation of feng shui and I tend to say something like: “If you plant your tomatoes on a North-facing wall don’t expect great salads. Worse if it’s January.” We’re all subject to these forces – men, women, frogs, firemen. That’s feng shui. That’s yang gong.
I look out over the front garden, still spring-green. The qi – for which also read energy, water, traffic and gradient – slips away to the South. The villa was built in the early 70’s when what is called the Wealth or Water Star was where it should be, in the swimming pool. Now it’s at the back. And the house is in some need of repair. Armed with that information I can tell Gemma and Anna how to restore it to its former glory. And perhaps put the paved area at rest.
Later Jess, Hen and I watch Parks and Recreation and we laugh like goons. Rob Lowe does not seem to have aged since the West Wing. I love the sound of the girls’ laughter.

Fossil Fools

Marianne Williamson is planning to stand for Congress. This extraordinary woman’s Course in Miracles-based teaching has already changed the world. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,” comes from her book A Return to Love, although it’s often attributed to Nelson Mandela. If she is dipping her fingers into the murk of politics, something’s moving. Bless him. Nonetheless I continue to lecture my daughters on peak oil production.
“Fossil fuels had become too hard to extract. So prices could only rise. It was time to stop.”
“Presumably that wasn’t news,” says Henni with customary irony.
Of course not. Instead however of taking this gentle hint from the powers-that-be at face value, oil producers got more and more ingenious.
“Fracking may pre-empt being held to ransom by Gazprom but random rape of the environment with poisons doesn’t seem a longterm alternative,” I say bleakly.
It’s a windless night but the shutters are rattling as I drop off to sleep. I wake to a blazing sunrise over the Eastern hills. The thin linen curtains are no match for the sunlight.

Economic Migrants.

Feng shui was developed by a series of Chinese geniuses over millennia. Che Ying who pioneered modern yang gong in the 17th Century was one; Grand Master Yang Yum Song – from whose nickname yang gong is derived -another. It’s his sketchy 11th century illustrations that Che Ying tidies up in his classic Direct Pointers to True Earthly Principles. These are what are called Sam He or Three Harmony methods as opposed to the Sam Yuen methods which use the Hexagrams and Trigrams of the Book of Changes.
Sam Yuen allocates each Hexagram of the Yi to a particular point both on the calendar and on the clock. Also on the map; this is called na jia – “positioning yang Wood” and it corresponds with the rising and setting position of the Moon.
This morning we get up, drive the hire car slowly to the other side of the reserve and recycle plastic, paper and glass. The glass is the plum job; you the bottles smash satisfyingly against each other as they drop into the container. We argue over which of us gets to do it. Somewhere there’s a landfill that is this much less full, somewhere an oil well that need not produce quite as much. You do what you can, don’t you?
Back at the villa, I tell them about na jia. Out here in the wilds there is so little light pollution that there’s a decent chance I can fix the positions of the changing moon relatively accurately.
“You mean the Book of Changes can tell you where the Moon is going to rise and set?”
“Pretty much.”
“Awesome.”
Studying yang gong involves reading translations of Che Ying and Zhao Yu Cai formulae spliced into five hundred pages of diagrams. Here’s the basic principle: feng shui is a real thing. Power, energy, qi is stored compressed and then released. Think of the energy that went into putting up mountains. That energy flows down on the wind from the heights. When it meets sufficient Water, it is held where we can use it. What Che Ying and Zhao Yu Cai concern themselves with is where the Water goes. This may be the big secret of authentic Chinese feng shui.
As the days go by, the Beach Boys and Neil Young are leavened with Taylor Swift and the eternal lentil and vegetable stew with fish. Each morning we swim. We shower, we dry, we chat, but we’re at work before nine.
Jess and Hen argue over the new script. It’s nuclear in the front room where we’re all working. That’s the thing about twins. Born together they’re as close as close can be. Which means they feel safe to tear strips out of each other. They know they’ll eventually complete the dispute and settle and everything will be fine again. Ten days in, they’ve handled the pre-production notes and written a draft script for a short film and started their spec but now they’re at another impasse.
I suggest we take a walk.
“We might see one or two tortoises,”
“As long as they’re not in too much of a hurry,” Henni says.
“I don’t know whether what we’re writing is any good,” says Jessie, as we walk the gravel path through the gorse. She is anguished. Every writer gets to this point. To make it any good, they must devote themselves 100% to what they are writing and meanwhile refuse all opportunities to live lives, make money, hedge their bets. And at the end they may decide it’s bollocks. We stitch these things together and we hope they make sense.
A screenplay is generally ninety pages long. They have got to around thirty and it sounds pretty lively but Jess isn’t sure it’s real. She’s still distressed.
“You write and gravity kind of takes you,” she says. “And it may go in a wrong direction that it’s really hard to pull it back from.”
Between the hills there’s a break opening onto a lake dotted with coots. The birds twitter in the afternoon stillness. It’s a little known fact that the Eurasian Coot winters at Es Grau before returning North. Although Menorca is a small island, the heath appears to stretch forever in three directions and I find myself wondering how many centuries coots have been coming here and what cataclysm it would take to stop them.
“I’m not sure it’s got any shape,” Jessie says. And then she adds bitterly: “And I want to be acting anyway.”
“And here we are,” says Henni. “Writing. In Menorca. Not acting.” She is gentle and reassuring but there is no deflecting Henrietta. She’s four-foot-eleven of sheer will.
They talk it through. They won’t write pantomime villains or violence and the story must grow from the characters.
“It has to be honest,” says Henni.
It becomes obvious to all of us that the script is real, also engaging and beautiful.

Short Films.

“What is it about tortoises and feng shui?” Henni asks as we walk on.
“Actually it’s turtles, specifically Asian River Turtles whose lower shell or plastron is roughly square and the upper shell roughly circular; that’s the traditional Chinese representation of Heaven and Earth. Tortoise shells are very similar.”
“Uh-huh.”
I explain that the early Chinese divined from lines breaking up the patterns on the backs of the turtles.
“The patterns evolved into a “language” of two types of line – broken that is yin, and unbroken or yang. Broken broadly means “no” and unbroken “yes”.
“Like a binary code?”
“Exactly.”
“How did they make the lines appear?”
“By baking the shells. They actually made the river turtle extinct.”
“Yuk.”
Day sixteen of the Moon that was new when we arrived; dusk is approaching. We talk by the pool. In addition to completing the “notes” and the short film, they have a brand-new 90-page spec. That’s some work for a couple of weeks and they’re here for two more yet.
This Moon is the Peony Moon; it’s close to full. Full yang, that is as bright as it can be, represents the Trigram Qian, the Father, three unbroken lines. So according to the na jia formula, the Moon should rise between 7 and 9pm at chia, that is between 67½ and 82½ degrees East. I know precisely where that is and I point – out beyond the paving to the rear, over the hills, almost opposite the setting sun. And sure enough there it is, just becoming visible; the Moon rising against the cloud in accord with the ancient measurement.
“Awesome,” they say in unison.
The spec concerns two mutually dependent sisters who fall out. Write what you know, Jessie says. They may make it the first film of their own as yet unchristened production company, they tell me. I suggest “Short Films” as a name. Neither is impressed.
The Moon is now gone. It’s dark, quiet but for crickets. We retire. I sit on my bed and listen to the shutters. I’m still not tempted by Birdsong. I listen into a webcast: Andrew Harvey’s extraordinary work in what he calls Sacred Activism which offers a middle-ground between anarchy and tree-hugging. It’s close to midnight but something’s happening.
My Father could navigate by dead reckoning. He’d have spotted the Moon rising though he’d have made nothing of it. To him there was a simple linear explanation to everything.
When I was perhaps eight, we slept under the stars. Pointing above, “There’s Polaris,” he said. “That means North Star. If you’re lost, find that one and you’re home. Part of the Great Bear or Ursa Major also known as The Dipper.”
“What about South?” I remember asking.
“There’s no star due South,” he said. “You find the Southern Cross and estimate.”
“How?”
I don’t remember understanding the answer.

False Smooth Snakes.

The next night as we sip beer again, there is not a frog or tortoise to be seen. This may be because two snakes are fighting by the pool. Combat appears to consist of one sinking its fangs into the other’s back, letting go and then offering itself for the favour to be returned. None of the hissing and posing you might expect.
“This isn’t the Jungle Book,” says Jessie, by way of explanation.
These snakes, according to Wikipedia, are examples of the Menorcan false smooth snake, whose bite is fatal to small rodents but no risk to us. They look pretty forbidding, just the same. We keep our distance; this is not a bar fight to break up. I have a suspicion they might actually be shagging. Probably a better idea.
Just as every pessimist thinks himself a realist, every generation believes the world will be hard pressed to survive them but even those of us who know that, are concerned by the horrors we see and those we see coming. And we suspect that we might be the first generation to be right. But you know what? I’m on the side of the angels. I fear what I see but I choose something better. I prefer to concentrate on the Tessla car, Marianne Williamson’s campaign, Anna Friel saving the gorillas. As Oscar Wilde wrote: we are all of us in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.
Having looked closely at a few tortoises now – like me and unlike their aquatic cousins, reluctant to swim in cold water – I conclude that given an infinite number of Chinese river turtles and a very long time, one shell might emerge dotted precisely like the lo shu or magic square of Chinese folklore. And it’s certainly true that the upper shell is domed like the sky and the lower squareish.
I rarely write these long pieces any more. Here are some reasons: the social media people tell me to write shorter, more frequent articles and link them to Twitter, FaceBook, Linked-In, Grinder (I made that up). Secondly I’m busy. Also the most engaging bits of my writing apparently are those about people. And some people don’t like being written about. Finally the power of these pieces comes of poignance. And poignance is next door to impotence and I refuse to believe nothing can be done.
Tonight the sky is totally clear sky over the heath and bumpy hills and Henrietta is satisfied with the sunset and the sudden blackness that follows. I point out the Big Dipper, the engine room of Chinese Astrology. We notice the pointer which indicates seasons and directions and I explain that it is this motion that is reflected on the shell of the tortoise. And hence much of traditional feng shui. We talk about Maurice and the fighting snakes.

Richard Ashworth ©2014.
Post script: the film Olivia and Jim is now in pre-production according to IMDB, the film-maker’s bible.

www.imperialfengshui.info

What Richard is doing…where & when

June 20, 2014

Hi:

I thought it was about time I sent out one of my newsletters to let you know what Richard is up to in the next few months & where & when! So…

 Ba Zi at the London Astrology Lodge:

Monday 7th July at 7pm, Astrological Lodge of London at The Theosophical Society, 50 Gloucester Place, London W1 8EA

Richard will be looking at times, places and people and explaining to the Astrological Lodge, ba zi’s roots in the tao, yin and yang and the Five Elements or wu xing. Along the way he will examine some historical events, to see if indeed they fall into cycles.

Astrologers, feng shui people, sceptics, cynics, civilians, all welcome.

More details here. 

Starter Feng Shui Course:

13 & 14th September 2014 is the first weekend (of four) of Richard’s Starter Feng Shui Course.

For anyone who wants to become expert in the theory and practice of  feng shui. This course opens to a lifetime of study which may excite enthusiasts, the curious and anyone who would like to better understand themselves and the world around them. Grounding in feng shui principles desirable but not essential.

Early Bird Offers are still available.

More details here. 

  Starter ba zi Course:

17th & 18th January 2015 is the first weekend of his starter ba zi course.

Richard is world famous for his ba zi work & his course is honestly incredible!

Again open to all curious souls…

Early Bird offers are very much available.

More details here. 

 If you book both courses together further discounts are on offer. 

 Richard now teaches via Skype both feng shui & ba zi on a one to one basis with weekly sessions so if you can’t travel or you live abroad, this is a perfect option & Richard loves doing it!

 Advanced Ba Zi:

As Richard is finding teaching via Skype so successful he is now offering one to one sessions in Advanced ba zi. His studies with the Masters have given him so much he can now pass on to those wishing to take the study of ba zi much further & deeper.

 Feng Shui at the London School of Astrology:

On Saturday 18th October at the London School of Astrology at The Friends Meeting House, 173, Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ, Richard is talking feng shui to western Astrologers…should be fun. More details to come.

 

So that’s pretty much it for now, if you have any questions please do email me on sheila@imperialfengshui.info

or call the office on  +44 (0)1483 428998 or visit the website:  www.imperialfengshui.info.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sheila

www.imperialfengshui.info