Posts Tagged ‘chinese astrology’

Transformation with Richard Ashworth

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

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

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

How is it done?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope to see you,

Best,
Richard.

The Sins of the Fathers: Horse Diary 2018

June 29, 2018

The Sins of the Fathers.

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

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

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

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

“What was your father like?” I ask.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Both, I think.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He nods again; he can see that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“So what do I do?”

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

“Will that do it?”

“We’ll see.”

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

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

“No idea, Dad. Not the slightest.”

Forgive one father and they’re all forgiven.

Richard Ashworth©2018
www.imperialfengshui.info

 

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth Feng Shui Diary: Inconstant Moon

May 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Chinese word is qi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I suggest he returns to the Czech Republic maybe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It ended in tears of course.”

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

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

“That would be a rash claim.”.

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

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

Richard Ashworth© 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Scales: the Month of the Fire Snake 2018

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

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

Remember: Each Pillar of your ba zi represents an aspect of your life:

Year Animal:       physicality, heritage, the obvious & immediate;
Month Animal:    work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal:        you and your beloved;
Hour Animal:      intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.2 month implies accumulation.
A Snake month is often hard to categorise.
Most helpful location: SW (especially for West Group kuas 2 6 7 8).
Least helpful location: North.
Favoured Animals: Snake, Rooster, Ox and Monkey.
Especially challenged one way or another: Pig, Tiger, Rabbit, Sheep.
Hexagram (above): Qian Heaven, Father, Heaven over Heaven. Peak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from Lebanon to Bermuda, in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and with stars such as Kelly Hoppen and Gillian Anderson. Unusually for a Western Master, he has addressed the Grand Masters at the International Feng Shui Conference in Singapore. His day job remains “walking round people’s spaces being enigmatic”.
Every month we send paying subscribers a more comprehensive monthly bulletin than this one, covering in detail right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar.
Subscriptions (and further info)Sheila@imperialfengshui.info
Richard Ashworth © 2018
www.imperialfengshui.info

Fire Dragon Bulletin 2018

April 4, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from the Lebanon to Bermuda, in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and with stars such as Kelly Hoppen and Gillian Anderson. Unusually for a Western Master, he has addressed the Grand Masters at the International Feng Shui Conference in Singapore. His day job remains “walking round people’s spaces being enigmatic”.
We send out to Retainer Clients a (much) more comprehensive monthly bulletin covering in detail, the right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar. It is available by subscription.
Subscriptions (and further info)Sheila@imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

 

Richard Ashworth’s Diary from the Hebrides: Refugee

March 16, 2018

Refugee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

The Snake in the Year of the Earth Dog 2018

February 18, 2018

Snake 2018

Who is a Snake?

Years:  1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001.
Month*:  May
Hour: 09:00 am – 11.00am
Day: ask us
* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too. 

What is a Snake?

The balanced or mature Snake has absolute integrity; this is the goal to strive for.

Snake is yin fire and sits flanked by Horse and the Dragon, possibly the most powerful pair of animals in the Zodiac and certainly among the most difficult stools to fall between. So a typical weakness of the Snake is indecision. Next to that is lack of commitment and finally a propensity for sudden and uncharacteristic dishonesty. The Snake is the prisoner who breaks at the threat of torture; a reasonable decision if you know you’re going to give in anyway. Snakes being of Candle Flame fire, are easily discouraged and sometimes they should be. A Snake may even stick long term with an inappropriate choice so as to put off making any choice at all.

The most powerful Snake in the world right now is probably Xi Jinping, born in Snake in the Grass year 1953 and appointed at a time when the internal tensions in China – between efficiency and self- expression, between industrial wealth and rural poverty and between cohesion and corruption – were quite stark. Repetitive tasks for cheap labour have been travelling East from Europe since the 18 th century. Once the last few hundred million Chinese have been urbanised, there’s nowhere else for manufacture to go because growth can’t go on forever. This is the conundrum that faces Xi. The smartest and bravest Snakes confront it head on, the typical Snake pretends there’s no issue and proceeds to “reform”. Do not deceive yourself that the Chinese authorities are no longer imprisoning the innocent without trial or protecting those of the corrupt who can be discreet. In Tibet some of the actions sanctioned by Xi – torture, dispossession, summary execution – make Assad (1965 Wood Snake) look like Paddington Bear. These are karmically at least, very young Snakes to whom the truth is a flexible tool but this is your shadow figure, your worst, most plausible self, walking.

It can be different. And if it is your dreams come true. The Snake remains the seeker after truth. This can mean that an immature or unbalanced one is a purveyor of untruths. The balanced or mature Snake, as I said, reveres the truth and calls out falsehood. But meanwhile what you see may not be what you get. Taking into account the Umbrella sit-ins in Hong Kong and a push-me- pull-you approach to liberal reforms, you might well say that about Mr Xi. Compare perhaps with triple 1953 Snake (year, month, day) Tony Blair. But also with 1941 Metal Snake Bernie Sanders.

So the choice for the Snake is between opposites: the extroversion of the Horse and the subtlety of the Dragon, instinct and logic, process and end product, long and short term, relationship and freedom, employment or entrepreneurship. In the face of this dilemma, a balanced Snake will often develop sufficient charm to get through without having to make the hard decisions. Typically in a relationship, the Snake of either gender is not the decision maker and the decisions she has not made may include that of being committed to the relationship. The partner of the Snake (best choice probably Ox or Rooster though Monkey lady and Snake man works well) would be well-advised to drag at least this minimum communication from the Snake early on. Interestingly the water Snake of 1953 is one of the best makers and keepers of relationship of all 60 pillars.

One of the advantages of being between the autocratic Dragon and the unruly Horse is that the Snake has her ego in check. Many would consider her wise because what she has to say is well-considered and she never says too much. The Snake can be a brilliant collaborator, especially with the Ox and the Rooster who are in a sense similar to her two neighbours: the Rooster is blatant and the Ox determined while the Snake anchors them to each other. There may be moments of doubt when the Snake’s loyalty wavers. At such times, the Snake asks searching questions which should have been settled long ago and then usually re-commits. The high minded Brutus was probably a Snake. Not Judas though. To know this, grants the Snake both power and integrity. Snakes who know themselves earn undying trust.

The Snake can also work with the Dragon in what is called the House of Magic. Only the Snake can subordinate ego to the extent that the Dragon demands, while also keeping up. One ideal vocation for a Snake is high-level p.a. Usually (and wisely) the Snake opts for the role of No 2 rather than Big Chief.

Being substantially of yin fire, the Snake often has intellectual and visual gifts. She makes a good critic as her judgement is good and she is not out to destroy egos. She will generally have natural and effortless style.

The Snake’s relationship with the Monkey is a love-hate one. Both have hands-on and logical abilityand both attract the occasional tussle but where the Monkey welcomes the opportunity for mischief, the Snake treats dispute as a necessary and regrettable evil. When a Tiger appears either in the form of a Tiger-born person or a Tiger year like 2010, this misunderstanding can turn nasty. In the Metal times of 2016 and 2017 however, the issues are very different.

The Snake is opposed to the Pig and as both of these are members of the informal group sometimes called the Four Terminals or Stations, they can impede each other’s movement. Snakes may develop mobility issues in a Pig year (or month) and vice versa. Your momentum may for instance slow in November this year. Be sure to have achieved your year goals by then.

The Snake prefers a short menu and yes/no questions. In a Rat year the Snake may be overwhelmed; there is just too much choice, The Snake’s dreams may come true only for her to run in the opposite direction. Often communication has to be wrenched from the Snake and in the water years of Rat and Pig there is little support for the tight-lipped. In a typical Ox year there is just enough water but not too much. This makes scope for just the restricted level of communication the Snake prefers. The Rooster year on the other hand is very different.

Snakes have a complex relationship with fire. They are not usually sun-worshippers but often their skin needs just a little regular sun and without it they may fall prey to easily avoided ailments such as vitamin D deficiency.

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

The Rabbit in the Year of the Earth Dog 2018

February 16, 2018

Rabbit 2018

Who is a Rabbit?

Years:  1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011.
Month*:  March
Hour: 05:00 am – 07:00 am
Day: ask us

* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too.

What is a Rabbit?

The Rabbit is yin wood, which makes him essentially gentle and domestic. Her time is early morning; the legend has it that she and the Rooster swapped places which is why the cock of the Chinese Zodiac crows not at dawn but at dusk. Accordingly the Rabbit rules the Spring – think of March Hares and Easter Bunnies – and the Rooster the autumn.

The Rabbit is subtle, in keeping with his yin nature. He provides service readily and is often suited to catering and caring. But her preparedness to roll up her sleeves makes her the unexpected queen of networking. If you want to be introduced to the person in charge, ask a Rabbit. As a business person however, you open deals much better than you close them. There is no hardness about you. Do not confuse hard with tough; the Rabbit is the most resilient of all Animals.

You are accordingly well able to wait your turn; vigilance and patience are typical. Natural allies are the Pig and the Sheep. This is a house-proud team and the Rabbit is a team player. Your unexpected friend is the Dog who values your ability to charm without threat.

The Rabbit also belongs to the gathering known as the Flowers of Love (or Plumflowers) along with the Horse, the Rooster and Rat. She may often find herself clearing up behind these three extroverts and quite often the cuddle-bunny will obtain a life partner from the leavings of more obviously glamorous colleagues. Be aware that these extroverts and schemers need you in order to function properly.

The Rabbit tends to be conservative with a small “c”. Early rising is typical but this tendency to the yang of early alertness may be demonstrated by the yin of sleeping in. Lazybones or insomniac, sleeping is an issue. This is better cured by adjusting your timing than by pharmaceuticals.

Because of the unflattering connotations of the local word for Rabbit, in Vietnam this Animal is called the Cat. Intuitively this does not sit right. The ideogram so clearly has ears. Yin wood relates to the eyes and to the Spring, leaves and flowers and grass, none of which are feline attributes.

In some ways the Rabbit epitomises yin. Yang wood may be best characterised as an outwards and upwards movement like the growth of a tree. Yin wood is more of a pure outward expansion like the spreading of grass. What these two expressions of wood have in common is irresistibility. But they are very different types of irresistibility. To counter yang wood we need yang metal: an axe will cut down the biggest tree. But you could attack a lawn with that same axe and not remove all the grass in a lifetime. This is the power of yin wood. I often use Water Rabbit Michelle Obama as a good example of such irresistibility. Remember her on the stump for Hillary? A month of that and Trump would have been consigned to history.

Wood is both stubborn and flexible. Yin wood (as characterised by soen, the wind of the South East) is thorough as well as organised. Hexagram 53 of the Book of Changes, Gradual Progress describes the ability of the little tree to grow on the hilltop despite the wind, either by throwing itself absolutely upon the mercy of the tao or following a detailed plan that it follows meticulously. Or some combination.

The Dragon is said to lose money when the Rabbit arrives. This may be because the Dragon is distracted by a neighbour so apparently different in nature. The Rabbit is a borrower as well as a burrower and the Dragon thinks little of tomorrow. So this is not generally a great pairing but the fact is that the Rabbit sitting between the Tiger and the Dragon shares qualities with both. Partnership with the Tiger is sometimes formalised as the House of Diplomacy. The Rabbit offers carrot while the Tiger wields a stick. This arrangement exemplifies the truism that more is achieved with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.

Other prominent Rabbits include Russell Brand, who despite his wild exterior, is that most romantic of Animals, the 1975 Wood Rabbit. Wood represents bone, spine and hair as well as eyes: the light is fire but the receiving organ is wood. The Rabbit is often not strong in these regards, unlike the Tiger. This is yin and yang.


Richard Ashworth
©
www.imperialfengshui.info

A leap in the dark: the Month of the Wood Tiger 2018

February 7, 2018

Another Monthly Bulletin in our new format; it tells you briefly how the month may turn out for you as well as where to concentrate for best outcomes. And this time, a little more about the nature of the month. There’s no actual Feng Shui Diary here. Which as it is not so time-sensitive, will be with you later in the month. Watch this space.

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

Summary: a month when patience and integrity are the central virtues.

Info, diary, assistance: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

A leap in the dark: the Month of the Wood Tiger 2018.

Bulletin for February 2018

(05:38 4th Feb to 23:25 5th March 2018 inclusive)

 Tai

—-  —-

—-  —-

—-  —-

———-

———-

———-

Peace

Hexagram 211

 

Animal by Animal

During this Wood Tiger Month,

The Rat could be startled,

The Ox can breathe again,

The Tiger may overstep,

The Rabbit consolidates;

The Dragon abbreviates,

The Snake is gentle with him or herself,

The Horse may run amok,

The Sheep is back in,

 A smarter Monkey holds back,

The Rooster risks confusion,

The Dog feels very secure,

and

The Pig is finding meaning.

 

Remember: the 4 Pillars of your ba zi relate to Year, Month, Day and Hour of birth. Each represents different aspects of your life:              

Year Animal: physicality, forebears, heritage, the obvious and immediate;

Month Animal: the work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;

Day Animal: you and your beloved;

Hour Animal: your most intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

 

A 5 month features a return to base.

A Tiger month favours the rapid advance that follows patience.

Most helpful location: South (for East Group kuas 1 3 4 9)

North East (West Group 2 6 7 8).

Favoured Animals: Tiger, Horse, Dog, Pig.

Especially challenged one way or another: Monkey, Snake, Rat, Dragon.

The Hexagram (above): Tai, Peace; Earth over Heaven. Co-operation.

A Leap in the Dark:

Animal Fortunes for the Wood Tiger Month February 2018

The 4th February brings in the Tiger month. This is lap chun, the Spring Festival. And by most accounts sometime between the 4th and the 16th of February we also enter the Year of the Earth Dog. This means that our personal Fate or Destiny as represented by our Zodiac Animals, is subject to two new and powerful influences pretty much simultaneously.

Dog and Tiger are natural team-mates. Technically they combine to make Fire along with the Horse. So this is typically a month of passion and spontaneity and all three can expect a boost of energy all year. As can the Rabbit who is the Dog’s so-called “secret friend”. Which may come as a surprise; you might expect the Rabbit to live in terror of the Dog but no, this connection is an example of the Rabbit’s networking ability. If you want a hot line to movers and shakers ask a Rabbit.

For this month however the domestically-inclined Rabbit is mostly best staying home as the Tiger’s energy is a bit fast and furious for her. The Dragon on the other hand, although challenged by the Dog can generally keep a Tiger at a distance; a fast month for you Dragons, promising acceleration in mid-year. Equally the Snake may find the Fire of the month dazzling after the clarity of January. The untimely Fire makes this a month (as well as a year) of revelations and limelight for many of us.

The Sheep and Ox are likely to be snared by what is known as the “Bullying Punishment” intermittently during the year. Both may feel a little taken for granted right now; better that than the interventions and triangular relationships that can follow in July and October. The Monkey is at odds with the Tiger at the best of times, so your best bet may be routine for now. Roosters understand neither Dog nor Tiger; theirs is a yin Metal world of precision and proportion which makes it hard to maintain that immaculate front under Fire. The position of the Pig however as secret friend of the Tiger and neighbour to the Dog makes both his year and month periods of finding direction. Few Rats on the other hand will find this a straightforward time; they’re used to talking long and hard ahead of action, while the Fire creatures Dog, Tiger and Horse think the other way round. Stand back and allow what will be to be. The only constant of course is change.

There’s much more to say; watch this space.

Richard Ashworth ©2018.

http://www.imperialfengshui.info. 

Where to be in February.

Summary: the place of creativity.

North East, Wealth Star: Year Star: 4/3 gip sat, Month Star:

8 is the best, it’s immediate and helpful. To kuas 2 6 7 & 8 in particular. Abundance is a bigger issue than money but the 8 may be the key to both. Bright light will encourage it as long as the underlying longer-term Stars are playing ball – which will be an issue related to the individual dwelling. Continues to be the location to settle in for concentration; outcome may be more commercial than usual.

Enhancement: Bright light.

Where not to be in February.

Summary: morbid all year.

Tai chi, Home: Year Star: 1/9 Month Star: 5.

For some this month may be as ferocious as the Tiger and as cantankerous as the 5 Star. Challenging. Don’t allow yourself to be marooned at the heart of the house and make it worse. A 5 in the heart of a building is only of help to very skilled Masters. The rest of us are best standing back. Don’t try this at home kids.

Solution: t’ang lung or Metal ie Metal stuff, 6-Pipe Metal Windchime, Red 6, wu lou – take your pick. Best to stay clear.

In the video I refer to remarkable anaysis of Harvey Weinstein’s ba zi by my student Seattle-based Stephanie Stewart. What drives a man like that? Now you know. Here’s the link: https://stephaniejstewart.com/harvey-weinstein-release-the-hounds/

 

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

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

Subscriptions (and further info): Sheila@imperialfengshui.info 

And here’s the (Western Astrological) take of the very perceptive Lorna Bevan:
5D Astrology Report February 2018 Eclipsed and Uplevelled

Talk, Talk: the Month of the Water Rat 2017

December 8, 2017

This is the second Monthly Bulletin in our new format. It tells you briefly how the month may turn out for you as well as where to concentrate for best outcomes. And this month, a little about Remove Days and how to use them. There’s no actual Feng Shui Diary here. Which as it is not so time-sensitive, will be with you later in the month. Watch this space.
Meanwhile you can top up daily on Twitter (@FengShuiDiaries), LinkedIn and FaceBook. Best to like my page rather than be my friend if you’d prefer to avoid politics, rants, cute micropigs and photos of my grandchildren.
Info, diary, assistancesheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Brief introduction: a month of restoration, a time to invite and/or initiate positive intervention.

Talk, Talk: the Month of the Water Rat 2017.
Bulletin for December 2017
(07:40am 7th December to 18:26pm 5th Jan 2018 inclusive) Fu
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
———-
Earth
Hexagram 24Animal by Animal
During this Water Rat Month,
The Rat talks,
The Ox prepares for power,
The Tiger revs up,
The wise Rabbit burrows – for now;
The Dragon breaks through,
The Snake breathes again,
The Horse rears up,
The smart Sheep falls back,
The Monkey jokes,
The Rooster is finally ready,
The Dog may feel uprooted,
and
The Pig now has space.

Remember: the 4 Pillars of your ba zi relate to Year, Month, Day and Hour of birth. Each represents different aspects of your life:
Year Animal: physicality, forebears, heritage, the obvious and immediate;
Month Animal: the work environment, education, peers, siblings, exes;
Day Animal: you and your beloved;
Hour Animal: your most intimate thoughts, children, dreams, the future.

A 7 month promises er interference, interruption & ultimately intervention.
A Rat month favours communication.
Most helpful location: East.
Favoured Animals: Monkey, Rat, Dragon, Ox.
Especially challenged one way or another: Horse, Sheep.
Hexagram: Fu, The Return; Earth over Thunder. I’m back & I’m proud.
Remove Days:
Remove is one of the so-called “Daily Officers” which run in a twelve-day cycle. The Officers indicate what kind of behaviour is broadly appropriate day by day. Just to make it easy, other things may make such a day dangerous or unhelpful. The process of assessing which is which is called Ze Ri, that is Date Selection. The Chinese have been using this method to time important events for literally thousands of years and part of my work is identifying helpful dates for weddings, journeys and so on.
Remove days are for the disposal of the unwanted; could be anything from unwelcome weight or vermin to what goes into the bin while spring-cleaning, even jettisoning stubborn furniture that won’t recycle. Remove Days are most effective when, like last month they coincide with a Full Moon. But be careful what you wish away; logically Remove days are ideal for surgery and other procedures but also for break-ups. As I say, discretion is good.
This month unusually there are two generally helpful Remove Days: the 16th and 28th December. The 16th supports a moving-on, a rejection of nostalgia and past hurt. It’s probably of most use to Pig, Dog. Sheep and Rabbit. The next on the 28th just after Christmas, is handily timed for a big day of recycling and returning unwanted items! Also starting weight-removing diets and jettisoning old habits. It favours SnakeRooster, Ox and Rat, but may be helpful to all.

Where to be in December.
Summary: the place of power.
North West, Authority: Year Star: 2 Month Star: 8. Special Star: Sun.
Helpful. The return of benign authority.  A good space for Dads and for communication with Dads. This is among other things a month of mending fences. With the 2, the makes a transformational 10. This combination also suggests acquisition especially of property. Facing this way or sleeping with our heads at this end of the bed will tend to emphasise power – especially if your kua (a simple calculation based on your date of birth– which we can do for you) belongs to what is known as the West Group. Empowering also for Rabbit, Dog, Sheep and Tiger.
Enhancement: Bright light (that is Fire) and/or Metal.
Where not to be in December.
Summary: debilitating for now.
South, Bright Future: Year Star: wu huang, Month Star: 2.
2 and together are reckoned to herald minor sickness; the older woman being the likely fall-gal. So there’s little change here just yet and the t’ang lung charm (we can supply these) remains the most elegant solution. Harshest for kuas 2, 6, 7 and 8, Rat and Ox, the actual nature of the 5’s mischief is indicated by its location and company so embarrassment remains the down side. Metal will weaken the effect of both stars. Spousal dispute is another outcome. You know the drill: stay away if you can.
Solution: Metal objects , 6 Pipe Metal Windchime, wu lout’ang lung.

Talking about 2018, The Year of the Earth Dog:

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He has worked from the Lebanon to Bermuda, in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and with stars such as Kelly Hoppen and Gillian Anderson. Unusually for a Western Master, he has addressed the Grand Masters at the International Feng Shui Conference in Singapore. His day job remains “walking round people’s spaces being enigmatic”.
We send out to Retainer Clients a (much) more comprehensive monthly bulletin covering in detail, the right places to be (and when) as well as helpful days Animal by Animal and much more from the Chinese calendar. It is available by subscription.
Subscriptions (and further info)Sheila@imperialfengshui.info
And here’s the (Western Astrological) take of the very perceptive Lorna Bevan: 5D Astrology Report 2018 – Matter Meets MysteryRichard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info