Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Hoppen’

Little Red Rooster

September 8, 2016

Little Red Rooster
My diary for the month of the Fire Rooster
(Sept7th 13:48pm to 05:59 Oct 8th inclusive)
in the Year of the Fire Monkey.

Kuan
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The Watchtower
Hexagram 20

“Everything that gives off light is dependent upon something to which it clings.”
The Book of Changes.

The Rooster Month
Animal by Animal
During this Fire Rooster Month,
The Rat may feel disinformed,
The Ox whistles nonchalantly,
The Tiger is bemused,
The Rabbit chooses his moment,
The Dragon flies high,
The Snake emerges,
The Horse stamps,
The Sheep’s support may go uncredited,
The Monkey takes a back seat,
The Rooster is surprisingly bashful,
The Dog waits his turn,
while
The Pig seizes the initiative.

Know your inner beast. How Rooster are you?
Birth in the Rooster Hour (3-5pm)~: numerate kids.
Birth on the Rooster Day#: pride that can go either way.
Birth during the Rooster Month (September)*: work with design.
Birth in the Rooster Year: flirtatious parents.
~ An hour earlier than the clock during British Summertime ie 8-10.
# You’ll need a Chinese calendar for this. * Caution: Chinese months start later.

Where to do what, when and why
Summary: Two locations again

South, Bright Future: Year Star: 6, annual san sha, Month Star: 8.
To encourage a bright future, it’s best for East Group people to locate or face South again. South–facing windows and doors are favoured as is the South of your home/office. “Bright future” btw means plan, plot, visualise and wait; whatever Barthes and Derrida may think, the future is a little down the line. No complaints that nothing happened in the first three minutes following the change, please.
Note: To sleep facing South means toes North, pillow South.

West, Intervention: Year Star: 4 Year, Sun, Month Star: 6.
For West Group people West (who’da thought it?) remains a top location. The single female could successfully seek company here. Positive intervention may bring windfalls too. Locating yourself West, facing West or occupying a West-facing building is pretty sound. Same with West-opening doors.
Note: To sleep facing West means toes East, pillow West.

East and West Groups: Everybody falls into either East or West Group by virtue of their birth date. The calculation is simple but if you want to know where you belong, email me at richardashworth@imperialfengshui.info.
Readers Digest version: East Group people are best facing East, South, South-East and North and/or in buildings and beds backing onto these directions. West Group vice-versa.

My actual Diary
Little Red Rooster.
I have a stopover in a dinky little hotel while I’m working on integrating a house and workshop into an ancient group of hills. I can’t tell you more about this right now, if ever.

But staying away from home gives me a chance to read extra-curricular stuff; in this case Barney Hoskyns’ Trampled Underfoot about the infamous exploits of Led Zeppelin. Coincidentally (in the sense that there is such a thing) today the  redtops are reporting that a US court has let Led Zeppelin get away with yet another “inspiration” – this time having cut and pasted Taurus by Spirit into the introduction to Stairway to Heaven. And as it turns out, I’m listening to Nessun Dorma played by Jeff Beck. Beck is the most lyrical of guitar players. Check out his version of Somewhere over the Rainbow if you doubt me. Such an emphatic touch. Beck was with Jimmy Page in the Yardbirds of course. So it’s fair to say that Page was, far from being the greatest guitar player in the world, not even the best in the Yardbirds.

As it happens, Willie Dixon’s Little Red Rooster is not on the rollcast of blues and folk artists plundered by Zeppelin: Howlin’ Wolf, Bert Jansch, Muddy Waters, it really is a long list .

Anyway a red rooster is clearly Fire, not say Wood or Metal. This Fire Rooster month prefigures 2017. So obviously enough similar forces affect both and consequently, similar events can be expected. Both month and year are Fire Roosters: a boisterous bird that tends to be glamorous and charismatic. The Rooster is also logical to a fault. A balanced one is a valuable friend while you have her attention; out of control this is a bombastic show-off, mouth disengaged from mind and heart. Current potential and actual world leaders fit this bill pretty well, as did Led Zeppelin. The Rooster is inherently Metal and Fire attacks Metal. Own goals and friendly fire are likely this month. Along with plagiarism.

The “Star” at the centre of the lo shu or magic square is a 4 which relates both to innovation and copying. The 4 is puckish but generally benevolent. It sits to the South East which means that some Western interpretations of feng shui limit its influence to “Wealth” which is over-simplistic. Wealthy or not, the Rooster is yin, (ie principally to do with the feminine) and it’s sometimes termed the por kwan. The por kwan or  “broken soldier” often possesses the “poison tongue”; words that can kill at fifty paces.

But it’s not a time to hold your tongue. It’s actually a very good month to say in a new way things that need saying, as long as you’re truly well-intentioned. Anything can be communicated in a way that’s healing. Let me emphasise that this is not an appeal on behalf of pc central but a warning to consider the impact, accuracy and intention of words. In NLP theory “the meaning of a communication” is reckoned to be “the reaction it elicits.” It’s black and white, we don’t get to say “I didn’t mean that,” when we bruise with a careless phrase. On one hand then, this is the month of the apology, on the other it’s foot-in-the-mouth-Month. Watch the front pages.

A dozen semi-literate black songwriters died in penury when a small cheque from Page might have pulled them out of the gutter and at this moment in time when there is more inequality than ever and more denial of the fact, we are at a er… crossroads, so to speak. The Monkey year has as predicted been chaotic. But nothing is written in stone. One man’s chaos is another’s opportunity.  Next year’s Rooster, like this month’s could go either way.

And there is really nothing, no magic, no mumbo-jumbo, no recherché formula, more powerful than telling someone something nice that’s true.
See Hexagram 27 perhaps.

Richard Ashworth © 2016

Special (almost) free bonus:
Some years ago a guy rang me and asked if I’d like to record a cd about classical feng shui. I agreed and he arrived with his headphones and plugs, I ran very simply through the meaning of the Zodiac animals and where in my daughter Jessica’s words “to put stuff to get stuff.” It was clear, authentic and simple, he caught me on a very good day. Then he scarpered and I heard no more. Last month a new student told me she’d found me through a wonderful “podcast” which turned out to be this recording. I was never paid but you can get it from Audible for around £4. Now I know how Howlin’ Wolf felt.
Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/2aGaDT8Footnote: my next ba zi Starter Course starts on the weekend of September 17th/18th. Details here:
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/coursesAnd finally: a limited number of places are still available to study with me one to one via Skype. Email: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com
Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

More Monkey Business

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

This is for Thea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth ©2016

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

SNAFU Manchu My diary for the month of the Wood Sheep

July 7, 2016
SNAFU Manchu
My diary for the month of the Wood Sheep
(July 7th 00:33 to August 7th 10:39am inclusive)
in the Year of the Fire Monkey.
 

Dun
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Withdrawal
Hexagram 33

“Whoever can comprehend this exchange could rule the world.” Confucius.

The Sheep Month
Animal by Animal
During this Wood Sheep Month,
The Rat may appear sidelined,
The Ox may be confronted,
The wise Tiger holds back for now,
Fortune favours the brave Rabbit,
The Dragon is on cruise control,
The Snake seeks advantage,
The humble Horse finds comfort,
The Sheep rules – if that’s okay,
The Monkey is quietly agitated,
The Rooster could be oblivious,
The Dog is consistent,
while
The Pig gains a further foothold.
 
Know your inner beast. How Sheep are you?
Birth in the Sheep Hour (1-3pm)~: age disgracefully.
Birth on the Sheep Day#: the pivot and the ridgepole.
Birth during the Sheep Month (July)*: selfless work.
Birth in the Sheep Year: idealism, 60’s consciousness.

~ An hour earlier than the clock during British Summertime ie 8-10.
# You’ll need a Chinese calendar for this.
*Caution: Chinese months start later.

Where to do what, when and why

Summary: There is a choice of helpful locations this month. One suits the West Group of people, the other the East Group. If as is likely, this means nothing to you, just ask: richardashworthfengshui@gmail.com . Meanwhile remember to be gentle.

West, Intervention: Year Star: 4 Year Sun, Month Star: 8.
The visiting 8 suggests the West helps the creative this month. The monthly san sha makes it fragile, so be gentle and await inspiration. Writer’s block, tricky plotting and the equivalent knots relating to art, sculpture, dance design and so on will tend to loosen in the West right now. The romantic toe far or “plum flower” Star is still here which means that affairs of the heart may distract in the nicest possible way. Trust this as part of the creative process, sex and creativity are inextricably linked, as geniuses like Picasso and Dali insisted. They also (consider Prince and Marvin Gaye for instance) bring healing. Which is the job of the restorative Sun sitting due West all year at the Rooster.

So locate yourself West, face West, enter through a Western door or occupy a West-facing building but don’t make too much commotion; no parties, keep music down and infrequent. West Group kuas: 2, (especially) 6, 7, 8*: are suited. Mechanically a Water fountain is a boost. And occasional bright light – not too bright.

East, Ambition: Year Star: 9 Dragon Virtue Month Star: 4
The 9/4 is combination stud muffin, sex kitten and student. Often of course found in the same package – which may make it hard to concentrate. Dragon Virtue looks after reputation and a Water Feature will continue to boost ambition. But locating or facing East may prove distracting. Either way keep adding More Wood! Best for East Group people: 3 4 9 1.

*Note: These are calculated from birth details; everybody is one or the other. If this is all er…Chinese to you, email me your birth details or more drastically, study ba zi that is Four Pllars (the Cycle of Time) with me.

SNAFU Manchu:
My diary for the month of the Wood Sheep.
Politics Alert: if all you want is dates and places, read no further.

Chinese Masters can relish predicting plagues of boils. I generally don’t do it because it’s just too easy. Furthermore there is a thin line between identifying the future and creating it. What I have been pretty explicit about though for several years is the Fire Monkey’s likely turbulence and the spread of the global unrest that’s been brewing since at least 2010.

As it happens I was at a love-in for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt just before the referendum and I found myself reluctantly agreeing with him about Remaining. He stands of course for the vested interests of the City whereas I feel more representative of my children the future, cooperation and generally saying yes to stuff. But he was adamant that Brexit formed the greatest threat to British sovereignty (whatever that is) since Suez. What year would that have been? You’re right, the Fire Monkey of 1956.

In the years leading up to the current Monkey, global turbulence took the many contradictory forms of the Scottish Referendum, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution and popular support for Podemos in Spain as well as thrusts for independence in places such as Catalonia, right wing movements like UKIP all over Europe, Donald Chump’s bid for power and of course Brexit. These are the forces channelled, rabble-roused and then abandoned by Boris, Gove and Farage. Not that there is that much to choose between the above sociopaths and Cameron, Osborne and indeed Trump; all spouting negative, lowest common denominator crowd-pleasing stuff designed to bring out the worst. This is the code of the above-it-all.

And it is in the teeth of this that the efforts of the Greek popular movement Syriza have been so poignant. Did you know that Mario Draghi the President  of the European Central Bank now enforcing privatisation, pension cuts and sliced-up public services, is the same man who while he was at Goldman Sachs, advised the Greek Government (for a vast commission) as they fudged their figures in order to “converge” and join the Euro? You couldn’t make it up.

Anyway now that we’re in the eye of the storm let’s try to explain how events fall into the gan zi cycles of time and perhaps look at what comes next.
No Wise Monkeys.
As you have learned, if we want a guide to what’s likely to happen in a Fire Monkey year, we look closely at previous Monkeys and extremely closely at Fire Monkeys. This means going back in sequences first of twelve years and then of sixty in order to consider how past events may recur in a more modern context.

Which takes us back first to the Wood Monkey of 2004 when the principal topic of interest on this isolated little island was the invasion of Iraq. Twelve years previously British boots had also been on the ground in that long-suffering part of the world and in 1980 the Russians blundered into Iraq themselves. 1968 brought escalation of the American invasion of South East Asia as well as street riots in Paris; plus, as they say, ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Excuse my French. Monkey means chaos and specifically invasion. I write as the Chilcot Enquiry reveals its findings.

Then we go deeper. 1956, like 1896, 1836, 1776, 1716 and even 1536 are multiples of sixty years apart. Each is not just a Monkey but a Fire Monkey. The key events I have long seen in these Monkeys were Suez (1956) The Alamo (1836), the American Declaration of Independence (1776) and the inflation of the South Sea Bubble (1716). I’ve been banging on about parallels to these (and particularly this last) for a very long time. But it took a conversation with my friend, the very perceptive Sarah Fenton to get me to look as far back as 1536.

Remember the Alamo!
1956: Suez. Briefly, events in Egypt that year suggest we really could still be stupid enough to try and solve Middle-Eastern questions with bombs. Gun boat diplomacy worked in the Boer War, why not in 1956 and indeed 2016? Watch this space.

1836: The Alamo. Early in the morning of March 6th 1836 the Alamo mission house packed with American settlers, in San Antonio, Texas (or rather Tejas) in Northern Mexico was wiped out by several thousand troops under the dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The Americans had been paid by the Mexican government to migrate there and clear the territory of natives; even then it was common knowledge that American people took to gun violence like no other. Empresarios such as Sam Houston – who would go on to be the first Governor of the new American territory of Texas – and William Travis (played by Laurence Harvey in the John Wayne movie) had made substantial incomes from brokering this migration.

Suffice it to say that by the end of the year, Texas was American. In US myth the Alamo is the story of gallant Davy Crockett (Wayne) inspiring the settlers to stand for justice and the American way in the face of tyranny. The fact is that to this day, Texas is largely Hispanic not because of incursions from the South but because the Mexicans were there already. In Mexico.

Fast-forward to today, Chump is having fun winding up Hispanic-American tension. A wall (“that they’ll pay for”) running say, from Laredo to Baja California would more than likely be the popular success its equivalents in Berlin and Palestine have proved to be. But that issue – Hispanic rights – will be pivotal to the result of the election. And Chump will ride that horse as far as it will go. See above.

You can’t shoot without a gun.
1776: The American Constitution, perhaps still the greatest product of the human mind, is augmented by the 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights, the second of which permits Americans to bear arms. And kill each other. I see this amendment itself being amended by the end of the next Presidential term but there will be plenty of resistance first. August will tell.

1716: The South Sea Bubble. I’ve written about this more than once before. In that Fire Monkey year, the South Sea Trading Company had for six years or so been selling off the British National Debt at many times its face value. Today we’d call these investments junk bonds. By 1720 the bottom fell out of the market and ruined thousands. If this is predictive, a life-changing market “correction” is on its way right now, perhaps the biggest since 1929. Which is not all bad by the way, in that a fresh start might pull money back onshore, bring down property prices and lead to the reform of corporate governance while restricting global inequality along with the consumption of hydrocarbons.

1536: #Brexit1, The Dissolution of the Monasteries. Ann Boleyn is said to have refused to let Henry VIII have his wicked way with her unless she was first made Queen. In his desperation to get his leg over, Henry ushered in the English Reformation, consequently finding himself in possession of huge tracts of church land. This land and the other riches of the church belonged (if they belonged to anybody) to the congregations whose alms had built them up. Undeterred Henry shared them out among the wealthy. That this was a parallel with the distribution of the wealth of the common people among the rich and undeserving that has accelerated over these first two decades of the 21st century, has been clear to me for a very long time. But it took a conversation with the above-mentioned Sarah Fenton to have me realise that it equally represented a cutting off from the Catholic Church, the Pope and thus a break with Europe.  Oops.

And from that a further insight: the new barons had more wealth than they knew what to do with. Many including Henry’s son and successor, Edward VI set up schools on some of the land they’d received in this massive windfall. These (Rugby 1567, Harrow 1572, Westminster 1560 and so on) form the backbone of the English Public (that is Private) School system – the method by which the English middle class ensure their children emerge into adulthood as repressed and dissociated as they are themselves. If you want to understand how deeply Cameron, Johnson, Farage and the rest of them don’t give a damn, you perhaps need to understand this uniquely British institution. And 1536 is when Henry’s incontinence gives it birth.

It was the Duke of Wellington who remarked that the Battle of Waterloo had been won on the playing fields of Eton. That and every other triumph of the British Empire; only the British Public Schoolboy could believe he had a right to invade India, China, Malaysia, the list is long. Only British Public School boys could have massacred natives and then gone home for a game of cricket followed by a gin and tonic. Only British Public Schoolboys could have engineered Brexit and then to a man scarpered. The roots are in the Fire Monkey of 1536 which goes some way to explaining why we remain ruled by sociopaths.

Darling Buds.
The Sheep month is likely to be conciliatory to Horses like Cameron and Merkel, harsh upon Oxen such as Barack Obama and Yanis Varoufakis and to put thoughtful Rats like Owen Jones onto the back foot. It’s not a harsh month, more like a backwater of temporary calm. Dragons – Farage, Johnson, Putin and Russell Brand – get time out. Pigs many of whom have had a hard year to date. break through as do the hard-working Rabbits. The smarter Snake will pick jewels from the rubble, but it’s risky. Dogs are a special case though; it may have escaped your notice that Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton and candidate Donald Chump share more than a thick skin. All three were born in the same Fire Dog year, 1946. So in a sense Chump represents business as usual with added shamelessness. This month will tend to put these qualities into sharp relief.

On the other hand the next Chinese month is a Fire Monkey itself, starting 7th August when the events at the peak of the year will be echoed by way of a reaction. Hang onto your hats. Theresa May btw – who’d have thought it? – was herself born in the Year of the Fire Monkey 1956.
Richard Ashworth © 2016. 7th July 2016

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

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

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.imperialfengshui.info

Knowing Your Onions: feng shui and Tomatoes, part 2

May 27, 2016

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

“He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Bob Dylan.

Yes we have no tomatoes.

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

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

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

Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

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

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

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

Shell Shock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re Fired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth © 2016.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Darkness at Noon. Total Solar Eclipse 9:33 am Friday 20th March.

March 19, 2015

Darkness at Noon.

Total Solar Eclipse 9:33 am Friday 20th March.

Poles, Soul and Sockets

The ancient Chinese word for “eclipse” also means “regret”, I tell my daughter Jessie as I drive her to Homebase in Walthamstow. That in itself might be reason enough to stay indoors next Friday. To the Chinese diviner, going back to Dong Gong in the Yuan Dynasty, the eclipse is always a warning.

We are moving her room around to respect the energy of the new Sheep year and right now we’re in pursuit of a pole that we can cut to fit her wardrobe so as to hang her clothes. The measuring has been tricky and I’m no handy man. As well as positioning the pole so that someone under five feet tall doesn’t get lost in there, we have to leave space underneath for her shoes. It was Jessie who once told me “When you’re tired of shoes, you’re tired of living.” That btw suggests that several of my A-list clients are especially hungry for life.

In the shop we faff between a metal pole that calls for a new bracket and one that looks marginally too thick. In any case I’m not confident we can cut the metal. As we debate, a tall Afro-Caribbean man in Homebase livery walks by. Jessie tells him our problem. He is quiet and at first I mistake his silence for disinterest or incomprehension. Then he gestures confidently for us to follow him. We are led to the land of wooden poles; it’s like a little forest. Deftly he fits a pole to the bracket we have brought. Then he asks Jessie whether she has a lot of clothes. Does the Dalai Lama like red? Is Edward Snowdens’ phone number unlisted? Babatunde smiles and takes us to broom handles.

“In Nigeria'” he tells us, “We say if a thing has no mouth to speak, it can not outwit you.” The broom handles are significantly stronger and precisely the correct gauge. We all shake hands and we head for the checkout. Babatunde is beaming. So is Jessie.

“What an amazing man,” she says.

In the car, I’m back on topic:

“Consider how remarkable it is that a small celestial body which is relatively close should appear just about identical in size to a vast one millions of miles further away. Only this fluke makes an eclipse possible. It’s enough to make a person religious.”

“Remarkable indeed,” says Jessie as we stop for a cup of tea. “I promise to stay indoors.”

In the teashop, the sound system is playing the Motown classic “How Sweet it is (to be loved by you)” by Junior Walker and the All Stars. On vinyl; which is different, a deeper warmer sound. Digital is some programmer’s decision, vinyl what actually happened in the studio. The record still sounds so fresh and full of life. That fabulously throaty sax is like a voice hoarse with song. You can almost hear Junior spit. Funny how back in the seventies when some people thought Emerson Lake and Palmer were important, that so many of us dismissed this life-affirming music as disposable. The young guy serving invites me to select the next record as we leave. I go for “Reggae Got Soul” by Toots and the Maytals. Somewhere in the multiverse I was Toots’ bass player.

Well, Well, Well.

By some calculations, Friday’s eclipse falls under the sign of The Well which relates to the care of natural resources. Confucius refers to the bucket which is dropped into the well and the rope which secures it. You don’t, as William Bell wrote, miss your water till your well run dry.

Arriving back, Henni Jessie’s twin is agonising over an email from a respected young auteur who wants their immediate attention. The fact is that they’re busy close to 24/7 writing films to order till September. Where do they fit him in? Eventually she sends a sweet response letting him know that they may have a window at the end of April. If I received that, I think, the sweetness itself might be enough.

We rearrange Jessie’s bedroom so that her head points North West (which suits her West Life kua, based on her date of birth) and I put up a shelf where we are satisfied it poses no threat. It’s actually as important that her head is not to the South West (which in 2015 is poisonous to all) as that she sleeps to support relationship – which is what North West does for her. Jessie knows that feng shui is a very personalised thing; she was my best student before she got successful.

Right now they’re turning two novels into screenplays, in-between the treatments for tv shows and calls from their agent(s) here and in the USA. They’re a whole cottage industry. When they were tots, they’d wrangle for hours over the motivations of their soft toys. Now it’s the characters in their movies.

Solar eclipses visible in the UK, like the one due on March 20th, are quite unusual. The last as it happens was August 1999. It started mid-morning. I remember the strange chill; not night but not day either, a palpable not-rightness about it. Jess and Hen were very young then. I didn’t know how to read the portents at the timebut my teacher Derek Walters, correctly predicted bridges collapsing on the Danube and the Bosphorus. This was because the darkest shadow of the eclipse fell over Eastern Europe and Eurasia and was ruled by the Mansion of the Moon known as “Bird” which relates to crossings, fences, borders, bridges and transitions.

Astronomers had calculated that Cornwall was the only part of the UK that would experience complete dark. In anticipation of that, every trader in Cornwall prepared for a bonanza.Which never came. On the other hand a generation later the Cornish peninsula has become the go-to county for the second homes of the helicopter class. The Bird, as I say rules transitions as well as crossing and bridges.

Partial and Total Occlusion.

Watching my daughters gently handling deals and the complexity of plot and character, I remember someone writing that the reason men fear women as bosses is that it would be the same only in skirts. Such a misunderstanding. That’s not yin power; that’s yang in drag. Two pintsize dynamos churning out world class movie scripts is yin power.

Chinese diviners treat the path of the darkness – as Derek did – as an indication of its meaning. This Friday’s eclipse starting many thousands of miles East, follows some interesting divides. It tracks the Southern perimeter of Norway, cuts off Scotland at Hadrian’s Wall and includes all of Ireland, along the way taking in the Ukraine in its entirety. The line of least darkness within the shadow appears to stop at the Straits of Hormuz, so as to contain all of the Middle Eastern war zone but stopping short of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. As it happens, the 20th March falls on a Wood Sheep day, the same qi as the year. Which indicates a lasting effect. What would Dong Gong make of this?

Once I think, we were all in touch with the rhythms of the Earth. But at some point, perhaps six thousand years ago, the consensus seems to have emerged that any number of women who could feel one eclipse at a time were of lesser value than one man with a formula that could predict a thousand such events. And the world changed. And perhaps it hasn’t changed back. The inevitable vulnerability of constantly-pregnant women gave the world to men, calculation and record-keeping. The first king was also the first priest as well as the first banker, the first general and the first conman, I think. These are truly the oldest professions; it was the brazen proposition of the gilded and oiled priest-king that he should be allocated the prettiest virgins, the best meats and the tastiest wines in return for ensuring that spring would continue to follow winter and that buds would return to the trees. And celestial events such as eclipses could be predicted with certainty. From this computers, fibre-optics, nuclear fission, money markets, war and extinctions.

A Room of Ones Own.

Next we fix Henrietta’s room. No bodged carpentry required. All I have to do is re-orient her head away from South West. No hanging space to make, not so many shoes to allow for. But her bed is pretty bloody heavy. She and Jessie live together and write together but they’re very different women.

I finish up. We’ve re-organised every room. We aim to do this every year. Henrietta mentions a script we had talked of collaborating on, based on an idea I worked on some time ago.

“The production company just didn’t get it,” she says. They wanted cliche villains and plot that would make the world a sadder and more frightened place. Jess and Hen just don’t do that.

Right now World War 3 could break out in any of half-a-dozen regions. The forces of Onan (look it up) threaten creatures from the vaquita (or miniature dolphin) in Baja California to the orangutan in Indonesia. Last week the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced plans to open one of the Mountain Gorilla’s last habitats to oil exploration.  But there is still choice.

We can hold back the forces that have filled the oceans with plastic. I shop at Sainsbury’s; some of those bags must be mine. Perhaps we can even clean up our act soon enough to keep climate change down to a liveable 2° Centigrade. The odds aren’t looking good but it may be that gentleness, the yin, can return to its place of power, if we will let it.

Babatunde said: “If a thing has no mouth to speak, it can not outwit you.”

Whether we are smart enough to outwit ourselves is the question. I remind myself that the Moon – only a few thousand miles across and as close as the width of a dozen worlds – can blot out the Sun. I don’t know why it matters but it does.

Richard Ashworth © 2015.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Rabbit Diary: overview of March 2015

March 6, 2015

Rabbit over the Moon

Rabbit Month opens: March 6th 05:56am.

Rabbit over the Moon

Spring is springing up all around us. The days are longer, the light is brighter, new birds chirrup the day into life each morning. This energy of stirring is called Wood. As of 5.50 on the morning of the 6th March we enter the yin Wood of the Rabbit month. The Wood is gentler and in less of a hurry than the yang Wood of the Tiger month but equally insistent. Summer is just around the corner.

In Chinese culture the Rabbit is often associated with the Moon. This may be because of the folk tale of the beautiful Cheng’e – a kind of Chinese Helen of Troy – who found herself marooned on the Moon with only the Jade Rabbit for company. Or it may be due to something even older and more mysterious.

Be that as it may, in ancient China pregnant women were denied rabbit meat for fear of giving birth to a child with a hare lip. What is perhaps interesting (and ancient) about that is the term “hare” lip. How does such a disfigurement resemble either hares or rabbits so closely that the idea would develop in regions close to 10,000 miles apart? Go figure. 

Eclipsed

This particular Rabbit month is dominated by two eclipses; one total and solar on the 20th of March and a lesser lunar one on the 5th April. Generally eclipses are indicators of tricky times to come and although Chinese diviners have made a whole art of their interpretation, the traditional blanket advice is simply to stay indoors. Staring at the penumbra can of course damage the eyes in any case.

An eclipse that falls on a Wood Sheep day during a Wood Sheep year as the first of these does, is implying an outcome that will hang over the whole year. One that is accompanied by the Hexagram Well signifies issues to do with the conservation of resources. The so-called Officer of the day is Stable which implies an unchanging condition and the other indicator Neck (as in “getting it in the..”) is no more promising.

There’s more about this on the News page of my website but for now my advice is to simply stay out of its way – if only to preserve your eyesight.

Where to do what, when and why.

One of the things I have picked up visiting South East Asia is how much feng shui Masters disagree. As they say about solicitors: if you consult three, you get four different opinions.

One thing they all agree on this year though is that the North is the principal location of wealth. And this month, the yearly 8 Star generally reckoned benevolent whenever and wherever it appears – is joined by the 9 of forward planning. The toe far Romance Star is here too. Toe far is selective however, only favouring certain Animals depending on where it falls. In the North it indicates company for Rabbit, Sheep and Pig. Wealth is not so picky though. So having at least a small bowl of Water in the North from the 21st March to the 5th April may prove shrewd. For either outcome, some authorities suggest additionally some sand, crystals or a swathe of yellow.

The Rabbit in the Rabbit Month.

In contrast to the Tiger, the Rabbit (1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011) is generally reckoned to be sensitive, home loving, a diplomat and a networker. Where the Tiger is yang Wood – thrusting towards the Sun like the tree trunks of the rainforest, the Rabbit is yin; like grass, petals, leaves. It is as the Book of Changes has it, the breeze, “gentle and thorough but ultimately adamant.” These are the qualities to expect in a Rabbit month; a low-key insistence and constant movement, in contrast perhaps to the rush of February. This soft insistence is especially effective as the Sheep of the year is a booster of the Rabbit. Diplomacy sounds like the best approach.

Since last month I referenced Victoria Beckham as an archetypical Tiger, it’s interesting note that her husband David is a Rabbit. David appears to be one of those people that arrive once in a generation, issued with some sort of free ticket; a man with whom nobody appears to have an issue. As we discussed last month, Victoria has something to do with that but David’s apparently guileless affability is typically Rabbit. This man knows how to get on with people.

The Rabbit month is the peak of the Spring, the coming-to-life of the New Year. And the Rabbit is nothing if not optimistic. He always knows there is better to come. Yin Wood, like yang Wood expands. But softly; the days are gently getting longer and the temperature rising, not long till Summer.

The Rabbit is subtle, she is the entertainer; not in the sense that he can’t keep from dancing on tables like the Horse or testing his allure like the Rooster, but that he sees that everyone at the party has a drink and is talking to someone sympathetic. She is the best hostess and the best networker. If you want to be networked upwards, ask a Rabbit. Her iPhone is priceless.

The Rabbit’s contacts will include many Sheep with whom they share a yin Wood docility and Pigs who are just as home-loving. Surprisingly perhaps many Rabbits are tight with Dogs which perhaps underlines their gift for diplomacy. The Rabbit is said to bring penury to the Dragon; perhaps that’s why the beginning of the tax year falls on April 5th, the day the Rabbit month becomes the Dragon. This year btw the Dragon calls the shots.

The shameless Rooster tends to press the average Rabbit’s buttons (but you might never know) and the Rat may not always appreciate her. In 2015 the Year of Gathering, the Rabbit advances in gentle, gradual leaps and bounds. For many this is the month of leaps and bounds; Rabbits, Pigs and Sheep at the front of the queue. Caution: Dragons and Roosters.

Rabbit Month, Animal by Animal.

During this Earth Rabbit month:

The Rat may not offer appreciation readily.

The Ox could feel isolated.

The Tiger tends to the anti-climactic.

The Rabbit hops to it.

The Dragon may throw caution to the winds. Best not to.

The Snake is past the crisis.

The Horsemay be especially inappropriate.

The Sheep is central.

The Monkey is peripheral.

The Rooster may err through restlessness.

The Dog may be tamed.

and

The Pig is busy.

Rabbit Pillars; know your Rabbit rating.

Birth in the Rabbit hour (05:00pm-07:00am): settled retirement.

Birth in the Rabbit month (March*): work in reception, pr, hr. Not er.

Birth on the Rabbit day#: the most considerate.

Birth in the Rabbit year: contact list to die for.

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

# Just ask.

The Body Map Rap

I studied the Book of Changes for several years with master acupuncturist Peter Firebrace – which was a unique learning experience. He is also a songwriter and a bit of a wag, as you may discover in ‘Body Map Race’ 

Richard Ashworth©, late in the month of the Tiger, 2015.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Imperial Feng Shui – what’s happening

February 26, 2015

Imperial Feng Shui – what’s happening

Urban Quality: feng shui on the streets.

Over the weekend of May 9th/10th  Manuela Madeddu will be addressing the 9th Feng Shui Society Conference in London. Manuela is a gifted architect who brings something very fresh to the proceedings; her obsession is urban quality; that is the design of the spaces we share. Manuela is a senior student of mine and a member of my Padowan mentoring programme. I recommend you attend. Also my good friend Victor Garza, the only Mexican I know resident in Central China, is talking. He’s always entertaining and enlightening. We will be there in support too. And if you’re considering studying with me you can ask Manuela in person what you might be letting yourself in for.

In your own time: learn feng shui & ba zi via Skype.

And if you were thinking of feng shui study, you might like also to know the following:

“Bless you. You’ve saved my life, Richard, literally and figuratively. I’m getting so much more than feng shui from working with you. And, I sing your praises for that, literally and figuratively.”
Nancy C.

Nancy’s in Tennessee, a place known for singing, as it happens. When we first offered Skype, I had no idea how much I would learn. Of course now we can fit in with your 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 total beginners straight off the street as well as professionals and others whose skill lay between the two. Some people need more visual material, some more; some flourish one-to-one and some wither in classes and so on. It’s been a whole education. Not least for me.

Announcement: My ba zi (Chinese Astrology) and feng shui  courses are mutually complementary (ie if you attend one in person or via Skype, you may well want to attend both). If you book and pay now for both courses, instead of £3000 for the two, you pay only £2000. If this sounds like your sort of thing, now’s the time to let us know.  If you’d like to discuss your suitability or indeed mine, please email me at richardashworthfengshui@gmail.com or call the office on 01483 428998

 

Tune Up Kits for 2015, the Wood Sheep, Year of Gathering.

In Singapore there are feng shui Masters everywhere. And every year the energy changes; actually the distribution of qi is changing every second but the annual change is long-lasting enough to give each year a whole new identity.  So most Novembers I go to South East Asia to find out what they’re expecting of the New Year. I didn’t do it this time. Consequently all my Animal Forecasts and my Overview of the Year were done from first principles. And because every year is different, the locations and orientations of our desks, beds, offices and streets mean very different things. Sometimes a Western door is especially helpful, sometimes working in the North East will support expansion and so on.  Which is by way of letting you know that my Tune Up Kit for 2015 which tells you what to do where and why is now available. It costs £50 or £100 with a one-hour Skype call and comes with unlimited email back up. Email becci@imperialfengshui.info if you want a pack. It’s a big word, unlimited, so compassion, please.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth © 2015

Wool Gathering: 2015, The Year of the Wood Sheep

February 21, 2015

Wool Gathering

2015: The Year of the Wood Sheep

The Year of Gathering.

“Only when there is an invisible bond between government and people so that the people are sheltered by their government as ground Water is sheltered by the Earth, is it possible to wage a victorious war.”The Book of Changes, Wilhelm edition.

 It’s all about tomatoes.

Sometimes when I’m asked for a scientific explanation of feng shui I say something like: “If you plant tomatoes in January, don’t expect great salads. Worse if you put them against a North-facing wall.”

We all know this really. Each of us is subject to the integrity of time and space; everything is growing or shrinking, accreting or eroding. In the words of Bob Dylan: everyone is “busy being born or busy dying.” This applies equally to people, rocks, tower blocks, penguins and pangolins. As well as tomatoes.

The cycles that a series of Chinese geniuses drew from such observations over millennia imply that Sheep years – every twelve – are quite alike and Wood Sheep years – every sixty – very much alike. That to keep it very simple, is the basis of this forecast; think of it as something to do with tomatoes.

Dragon Rules.

As it happens, last year I predicted – wrongly – a “yes” vote in the Scottish Referendum. This forecast was derived from the nature of previous Wood Horse years, going back – in steps of 60 years – centuries, principally to the formative years 1708-20 to which I have referred before and to which I shall return in this piece.

I was wrong but I had read the energy right and following that result, a wave of resentment swept around the world: to the umbrella kids in Hong Kong, to separatist Catalonia and Quebec, even Ukraine and back again to Britain where the right-wing UK Independence Party has fed ravenously upon it. More recently it has shown up in Greece, the cradle of democracy. Spain is probably next; that wave is still cresting and it very much characterises the year. This is after all, the Year of Gathering.

Note: this is not a which-Animal-am-I-will-I-have-a-good-year kind of forecast. Those are covered by my Animal by Animal forecasts.

And to see me say pretty much this please have a look at the talk  I gave for Rachel Elnaugh’s Source TV New Year event.

2014 was a Wood Horse like 1714 just as 2015 is a Wood Sheep like 1955, 1895, 1835, 1775 and 1715. 1714 saw the accession of George 1st, the first Hanoverian, a German prince parachuted in to make sure that the Scottish Stuart Kings were gone forever, turning the United Kingdom the Scots had joined less than decade before as partners into serfdom. What followed in 1715 was the First Highland Uprising. The highlanders got as far as Lancashire.

I’m not suggesting street-fighting in Preston this year, but these are parallels. As I say energy, process, is easy to read. How it manifests not so much. I suspect however that we are far from having heard the last of Scottish Independence. Or of the Umbrella Revolution.  That wave of energy, that demand to be properly represented and address the issues that matter – among them the environment, inequality, and the way we treat women – is still running wild. In 2015 it focuses.

It’s not essentially racist or nationalistic – whatever right wing enthusiasts may hope. But it’s restless. Let’s remember that the Sheep is the year of the idealist. Currently this wave is supporting the rise of the Greens in the UK as well as poleaxing the three major parties. I’m not yet ready to predict how the votes will fall in the General Election. All I will say is this: the smaller parties will achieve results no one is yet dreaming of. Parliament will not be so much hung as drawn and quartered.

To go a bit further, the balance of power in the UK will be held by 1964 Wood Dragon Nigel Farage just as globally, it will be wielded by 1952 Water Dragon Vladimir Putin. That’s how the year shapes up; the Dragon rules. Look forward to many more photo-opportunities of the Russian President in homo-erotic poses. Expect some Chinese faces in these pictures as that particular team gathers.

Meanwhile the Pig is supported by the Sheep so it’s probable 1947 Fire Pig Hillary Clinton will run for President and that ISIL firebrand 1971 Pig Abu Bakhar al-Baghdadi will be rampant for a while yet. Both will tend to be supported by this need to gather, to define sides.

What we can do ourselves is to commit, to join, to stand up and be counted, hug trees if we must but as Ram Dass said “learn our zipcodes.” Being informed is not negative. Being negative is being negative. But we must oppose what needs opposing.

A Copper’s Slips Now.

This Sheep year follows the frenetic revelations of the Horse of 2014, which saw public exposure of a series of abuses of power. Exposure is the nature of the fiery Horse. August bodies such as the CIA, FIFA and South Yorkshire Police were embarrassed by their own corruption, incompetence and reluctance to own up. As indeed they should have been. The Yorkshire force even bodged the cover-up of the cover-up of their own disgraceful handling of both the Hillsborough disaster and the Rotherham abuses. And let’s not even raise the Miners’ Strike; same force, same violent idiocy. Peter Sellers would have done it better.

It doesn’t take psychic powers to conclude that such powers-that-be are as likely to be more discreet as to be more considerate next time; the Sheep’s yin Earth nature, standing for tolerance, forgiveness, cooperation, family, joining and groups, will tend to slow up revelations. The Sheep does not embarrass her associates as the Horse can. So it will probably not be a year in which public irresponsibility is seen to have consequences. This won’t however be because it’s not going on but because it will be obscured. There will for instance be much to prevent courageous whistle-blowers such as Ed Snowden or 1967 Fire Sheep Tom Watson MP adding to their existing public testimony. The influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News International including the ludicrous Fox News will continue to grow. Legislation to check that is unlikely.

All You Need Is Love.

1967 the Summer of Love, was a Sheep year. Among the many very positive Sheep qualities is commitment. So this is a year of marriage, partnership and embarking upon long term undertakings. Renewal of vows is on the cards. It’s a time to return to family. If you have neglected children, siblings or partners, now’s the time to get on the case.  Yin Earth is about home and its protection. We need to be there.

This extends to the Earth herself. A Wood Sheep year includes an aspect of self-harm. Wood clashes or attacks the yin Earth. In this Year of Gathering, sides are drawn. This may not prove to be the year of fracking and shale retrieval. If it isn’t, it’ll be because the artificially low oil price has made random-acupuncture-of the-Earth-with-poisons less profitable for the time being and therefore a lower priority. It’s likely to be a year when statutes and equipment line up quietly to await opportunity. Don’t expect to see much of Caroline Lucas fronting protest groups. The thing to oppose will have been hidden. At least until the autumn.

And there are three Earth Climate Summits during this year. It is just possible that we’ll learn something and change our ways in time to forestall what’s already being called the 6th Great Extinction. In my office building people still put milk bottles in for landfill despite there being a re-cycling skip and just a few hundred miles South of feng shui central in Singapore, the last few habitats of the orang utan are under imminent threat right now. You want to change this? Suggest Santander Bank stops financing it. But remember perhaps that if you wear stuff or eat stuff, you’re part of the problem too. Let’s oppose what needs opposing but not waste time pointing fingers.

Peaking Ducks

Feng shui is doing the right thing in the right place at the right time and in a Sheep year, projects that require many ducks falling neatly into a row will work out as long as they’re stuck to. The only difference between success and failure is completion, isn’t it? There is the danger that many – Dogs, Sheep and Oxen in particular – will give up just as they break through. Any of the above Animals who prove sick or accident-prone this year may simply be running from opportunity. By the way the Dragon, in the form of actual Dragons born in 1952, 64, 76, 88, 2000 and 2014, is the answer. The Dragon brings magic. The Dragon’s location is the South East of the compass, his time April and the hours between 7 and 9am. This year these may be the right times and places.

Spirit Level.

The Sheep is reckoned the most spiritual of Animals, so perversely the (largely unimportant) disputes between science and faith, religion and spirituality, Sunni and Shia will tend to be fanned on her watch. The Middle East may polarise. In the last Sheep year the West blundered into Iraq despite sixteen million protesters.

The Sheep hour is the post-prandial siesta time between 1 and 3pm. And so it’s often a time to consider progress half-way through a process. Perhaps this is why she also has a reputation for being able to re-consider a position and climb down. One outcome of the embarrassments of 2014 could be a reassessment of attitudes. There are likely to be major unexpected treaties towards the end of the year.

Because the Sheep is inherently yin Earth, it can be co-operative, self-reliant, disciplined and influential. An out-of-balance Wood Sheep though is internally conflicted, unstable, liable to self-harm. So although this Sheep year, like other Sheep years has the biddable, friendly, family-loving qualities of the Sheep, it’s kind of split. The image of the Wood digging into the Earth of the Sheep is one of self-attack. Psychologically then it’s a year of self-doubt as we juggle our many roles: consumer, polluter activist, denier. We’re all all of these, of course. And the Earth itself probably has little attachment to the hairless monkeys on her surface. As Sacred Activist and visionary Andrew Harvey has it, in time Earth will shrug the disturbance off, one way or another. And yes this very important thinker is a Dragon: Water 1952.

The Sheep is a joiner, a disciple, a follower. But this year is one in which we may determine which side we’re on. The trick is perhaps to know this and be responsible while opposing what needs to be opposed. And continuing to love.

There are no Blue Meanies; it’s us. But the Beatles were right, all you need is love. On the other hand if we were doing it right the Earth would be a safer place by now.

3’s a Crowd.

Technically this year is also for other reasons a 3 lo shu year which means it’s a year of dispute. Simmering disagreement may spill into frank opposition and be solved by communication. These kinds of events will be the keynote of the last quarter of the year; this will tend to be true in commerce, diplomacy and warfare. “Plateau” situations resolve for better or worse in a 3 year. 3 represents the raw contentious yang Wood energy of ambition, assertiveness, getting things done, the qualities of youth, especially of the young man. Contention is not of itself of course negative and if you want more of it, for whatever reason, occupy and activate the East. If you’re feeling really stroppy go South.

The lap yum or “note” of the year Metal in the Sand means it’s a year of conservation; that means care with resources. Or carelessness. This is the year of parties lining up: polluters & the ecologically aware, business and spirit, money and quality of life. The Sheep has even the most reluctant of us playing well with others. But extremely selectively. And at this point in history we seem unable to be at our best other than in competition. So it’s by extension a year of competition.

The Year Hexagram 48 Jing the Well, from the Book of Changes, underlines this; it is about the conservation of resources. As Mississippi Fred McDowell had it: “You don’t miss your Water till your well run dry”. Jing is about the quality of Water and about the bucket we send down into the Well to draw the Water

Not that this is much of a surprise. As the next Chinese Fate Period (9) opens sometime between 2017 and 2024, these issues become central. 9 means Fire, so global warming and its implications such as the custodianship of Water. The disputes of the 21st century will be mostly about land and Water.

The Great Year.

So we’re in the middle of a 60 year Cycle, precisely the 8th stop in one that began in 2008. Previous Sheep years, multiples of twelve years ago will be somewhat like this one. And previous Wood Sheep years will be extremey like this one.

Let’s go back in multiples of 60: in 1955 the courageous Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Mississippi bus thus bringing to the attention of the world the two great truths highlighted by the life of Martin Luther King – as played by the remarkable David Oyelowo in Selma – that you can’t shoot someone without a gun and that black citizens have the same rights as white ones. In 2015, the events in Ferguson Mississippi are mirrored and re-doubled.

Another event that took place in 1955 was the resignation of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister to be replaced by Sir Anthony Eden who is best remembered for the last flourish of British gun boat diplomacy: the Suez adventure in 1956 – that is to say the next year in the cycle, a Fire Monkey just like 2016. Watch this space. And the Middle East.

An interesting astrological fact about 2014/5 is that it’s the first time since 1938 that the Moon has been new on the day of the Winter Solstice. You may remember that the following year featured some excitement.

Forever Blowing Bubbles.

Finally, if you think junk bonds were invented by Drexel Burnham in the 1980’s think again. Blame the South Sea Trading Company, established 1708. This corporation bought up the British national debt and then re-sold it as investment bonds. The bonds offered decent interest and were reckoned 100% secure; it was guaranteed by the British Empire wasn’t it? So the bonds changed hands over the next few year at thousands of percent of their face value. Until 1720 when the Bubble burst, spreading ruin across the developed world; not at that time such a big expanse, pretty much the British Empire (including the USA) and Europe. 1708 sits in the same point in the cycle as 2008 and 1720 as 2020. That is to say that since the Banking Collapse of 2008 we have been reliving the same cycle. Without apparently learning much. I know I bang on about this, but as George Santayana wrote: “Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

If we go back far enough in point of fact, we find that 1797 – which saw William Wallace’s response to early English expansionism at Sterling Bridge – reflects 2017, the year after next. Not such a great prognosis.

Mel Gibson: note. Time for Braveheart II – This time it’s Colonial?

If you follow the maths further, 2015 drops into the same spot in the cycle as 1775 which fell between the Boston Tea Party and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. 2016 is like 1776, a Fire Monkey. There is a time of turbulence coming. That year is also the same as 1836, the year of the Alamo. That connection of itself stands examination.

Going further back, fans of “Wolf Hall” are probably unlikely to have noticed that 1535 was an even earlier echo. What happened then? Henry VIII confiscated the Church property which had been funded by the poor in order to give it to newly-created Barons who frankly had enough already; a pretty literal activity of taking from the poor and giving to the rich. As I write, the ceo of Citigroup has been paid around $13m for presiding over a further year of failure and corruption.

That’s the Wood Sheep. A year of joining,  a year of gathering. It’s possible at year’s end that we will share a coherent strategy for adapting to climate change and that some of the two billion currently going to bed hungry will have been relieved. Or that the orang utan, the tiger or the snow-leopard will have some sort of future to look forward to.  

We’re all consumers and polluters but we can wake up to that. We’re all voters and we can make sure we use our votes and encourage others – especially – our children to do so too. That wave of energy is still cresting. We can take it anywhere we want. Can’t we? Let’s be very careful where we plant our tomatoes.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth ©2015.

Animal Forecast 2015: 12. A Rasher Time, outlook for the Pig in 2015

February 19, 2015

Who is a Pig?

Years:  1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007.
Month*:  November
Hour: 09:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Day: ask us

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

What is a Pig?
The weakness and the strength of the yin water Pig is to think they know what is good for them. Generally they do, and the maddening thing is that they are actually right often enough to make advice close to impossible. By extension this means you  may believe you know what is right for everybody else.

Versatile and wilful, gifted at whatever they do, the Pig is the sign of the inventor. Edison was a Pig, as is Hillary Clinton and Wikileaker Julian Assange. Perfectly-balanced Pigs can literally almost do anything but they don’t always handle the truth well. They don’t much like reflective advice from others and they often hate not to know for sure. Vagueness is very uncomfortable for the Pig, this trio of the multi-gifted being no exception: Edison was of course an obsessive patenter, Hillary determined to get Wall Street onside in the teeth of her liberal credentials  and Assange, confident that he knows better than anyone else what the world needs to know. This does not make any of them mistaken but the truth can be a moveable feast.

The Pig is communicative because it is a water sign. A balanced Pig (perhaps March birth around mid-afternoon) is a great audience and typically gets the listening/talking ratio just right. An unbalanced Pig can shoot off at the mouth and give (or take) away the farm before she knows it. Does any of this sound like – to pluck a name from nowhere – Earth Pig Simon Cowell?

More likely, you are prone to withdrawing into silence. The Pig can sulk but can also withdraw simply out of disinterest and be perfectly cheerful when challenged on the withdrawal. The Pig child needs just the right mixture of carrot and stick. Too much stick and he is suppressed or resentful. Too much carrot and he can be smug. The balanced Pig is the most sensitive of the animals. The unbalanced Pig suffers an empathy bypass. As the parent of a Pig, just remember you are instrumental in this process. Your Piglet does not need to become a boor.

The Pig embodies the wood of creativity so they can be as adept with the written as the spoken word as well as the yang earth that makes them able to concentrate deeply. Many Pigs prefer to study in noisy rooms and many are effortless A-students as teachers of  first year undergraduates of 2015 may notice.

The Pig does not tend to like the Snake; one way or another they immobilise each other. The Snake’s intimate, the Monkey, can be a source of annoyance also.

The Pig’s most natural team is with the Rabbit and the Sheep. This is a domestic alliance. Together these three naturally make anywhere home. A perfect family might be Pig father, Rabbit mother and Sheep first-born. Once home, the Rabbit entertains while the Sheep ensures compatibility and the Pig does skilfully the tasks that are beyond her partners.

Traditionally the Pig also enjoys the company of the Tiger. You might think she’d be more cautious but she knows that the Tiger is uninterested in conquering anyone he considers easy meat. Of course he’s missing something here but the Pig’s fearless approach often disarms the Tiger before he realises.  And by the bye,  Pig’s literary ambition may burgeon in a Tiger year and flourish in a Rabbit one.
Although she may herself be more adventurous, the Pig also understands the loyal and consistent Dog. She respects the fact that every home needs its guardian. These two will tend to develop a camaraderie with its own distinctive banter. The Pig respects the Dog’s diligence and the Dog knows the Pig will compensate for his weakness.

The Pig also operates well as factotum for a group consisting of the Snake (whom she can’t otherwise stand for any length of time) the Monkey (see above) and the Tiger. For these she is, interestingly, the peacemaker and setter of standards. Without the Pig this grouping whose common interest is travel and mobility, can’t get off the ground.
One final note: the Pig suffers what is called the self curse. That is to say that she has limited patience with other Pigs. The Chinese character for a house is one Pig under a roof. Just the one.

Pig in Wood Sheep Year.

Stars include: secondary tin yute, pin choi

The Pig is puzzled this year. New and unexpected challenges have emerged; mostly pretty exciting. The Wood of the Wood Sheep ensures you have power and support. The danger is that you could be veering off track or withdrawing. You move so fast. You’re empowered but you’ve bitten off a lot. And you are so prone to believing the discouraging nonsense that sometimes sits between your ears; a mash-up of many unhelpful voices filtered through your own. Don’t treat it as an authority. The theme of the year is knowing your excuses and exploding them.

Traditionally the Pig is empowered by the Sheep. With the Rabbit,  a partnership is formed whose principal strength is in the home. So in a year in which this team dominates, expect to be home a great deal. You’ll like that; cooking for yourself and whoever cares to join you.  Define home a bit more widely also, perhaps; call your Mum occasionally and remake those other bonds you may have taken for granted.  You can take them for granted btw, but I shouldn’t.

Last year was very much a year of learning. This is more a time of teaching. You know things – perceptions as well as straightforward facts – that others need to know. You never talk down. You never under-estimate. You will be heard. Rely on that. If you’re not heard, is because you’re not speaking up. That’s yin Water.

On the world stage Hillary Clinton is a Pig and this is a big year for her, possibly the biggest of her life. Like Ms C, this year you define yourself. Step up to the plate. Take that risk. You will be supported; you do have a considerable team to call on. They’ve always known they can call on you and they are themselves in turn ready for your call.  This year don’t let those excuses your fertile mind gives birth to so easily, convince you anything you truly want is not possible. It is. You may have multiple ambitions; entertain them all.

 

This year is the first of a two-part offensive. In 2016 you rise to some sort of prominence. It may be that you have to wait till then or even the year after for the full reward you are due.  Meanwhile seek   diplomatic Rabbits to network for you but be prepared to do it for yourself. Find team-playing Sheep to build connections for you and the occasional Tiger to bust through barriers. If you can’t find such individuals, locate these qualities in yourself. The Pig is nothing if not versatile; you are Wood, Water and Earth, you can fit in and shine anywhere.

Blatant self-promotion may be distasteful to you. Examine whether this judgement  is useful but anyway be clear of the difference between yang marketing – you need me, buy now – and yin – I’m available if you’re up to it. Best times for advancement may be March and July. Be imaginative, be flexible, be brazen but above all, get on with it.

Elementally seek Wood, which is creativity.  It’s what the Pig is said to give birth to. Generally this can be interpreted as the written word. Locate the East and be there. Get up early in the morning and wring every gram of brightness out of the spring time.

You are so bright, show the world.

Health: some possible blockages. Eat wisely.

Money: no noticeable change. Yet.

Relationship: varied.

Feng Shui: The Rabbit in the East offers you breakthrough. Activate the Rat (due North) for relationship – whatever you mean by that. The Tiger (NE3) holds Dragon Virtue (for enhanced reputation) which may be the key this year.

Readers’ Digest Version: breakthrough if you want it.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Tiger, 2015.