Posts Tagged ‘year of the wooden horse’

The Bolting Horse

January 21, 2015

The Bolting Horse

Human beings are designed to feast in December and then lie around bloated till February. The Chinese Year kind of respects this. And here I am early Monday morning walking past the line of cars queuing to get into town. The newspapers judge success by “growth” alone; don’t they know that growth must be finite on a finite planet?

This is the noman’s time between the Solstice and the Spring Festival, astride between the new and old Chinese years. Anyone who wants a feng shui man, wants him now, so even I am walking relatively fast. A smart Volkswagen Beetle creeps by at three mph. The driver’s texting; a youngish guy in an inexpensive suit. I overtake again, he creeps past again, balancing his phone between his knees. He looks tired. Bless him.

As usual at this time of year, I’m re-visiting buildings that were fine-tuned for the Year of the Wood Horse, in order to set them up for 2015. Everything needs re-assessing; the West, for instance which has been the most helpful area for twelve months is becoming tricky. Nature doesn’t work in straight lines and this change of overall energy can creep up. Already I’ve had an s.o.s. from Heather whose pregnant daughter is in an otherwise perfectly serviceable West-facing house which has suddenly turned nasty. And another via my website from a lady I don’t know whose domestics are becoming physical. An ornery West can be like that.

Change is constant; how and when it’ll show up, on the other hand, can be very hard to predict. What I can tell you now without getting fiddly, is to stay out of the West and avoid facing South West for long. You can always hire me of course.

What I do feel confident to predict is that 2015, the Year of the Wood Sheep is likely to be very different from the brazen, publicity-seeking Wood Horse; unearthed scandals, misbehaviour, misappropriation wherever we focused, whether Rotherham, Westminster or Capitol Hill.  It will however reflect previous Sheep years to some extent (2003 was the last) and to a much greater extent, previous Wood Sheep years in the 60 year cycle (1955, 1895, 1835, 1775 and so on). I’m talking about this the Year of Gathering, at Rachel Elnaugh’s Source tv event on February 3rd in London. You can also get the gist in this article for Take A Breath magazine. I’m also Tweeting,* FaceBooking and Linking-In what each of us can expect this year, Animal by Animal; forecasts for Rat and Ox are already up

Brand New

And as it happens, on St Martins Lane I bump into Russell Brand; pretty much literally. He has a wild gleam in his eye but the sweet romantic 1975 Wood Rabbit that he is, is actually kind of blessed by the Sheep. We have a short argument.

“Revolution is all very well, I say, “but there’s a general election in a few months.”

“Revolution Now!” he says with that wild gleam.

“The important thing,” I tell him, “is that younger people vote.” Because otherwise the powers-that-be will simply continue to flatter and favour voters – mostly older, mostly settled, and mostly not likely to live to deal with the ecological, financial and military-industrial crunch that is coming.”

“Revolution Now!” he repeats.

Ram Dass once said words to the effect that some of us need to meditate while some of us need to learn our post codes and I’d like to say that I set Russell straight on the point that Revolution Now! is not just politically but also spiritually poor timing but the truth is that I don’t. Advanced thinkers like Andrew Harvey, Karen Armstrong, Caroline Myss and Marianne Williamson are becoming more engaged not less. Instead I apologise for forcing myself upon him, remind him what an admirer I am of his work, shake his hand and withdraw.

He makes good points of course. Just as he remarked on his Trews, on YouTube, David Cameron almost drools as each new threat offers him the chance to impersonate a statesman. Each of the leaders of the big parties subscribes to “austerity” and the fantasy of industrial nations driven by growth living within their means. The Earth is finite, for God’s sake. And they all chop the air meaninglessly with their hands as they talk, in exactly the same way.

And Brand is right as academics Jeffrey Sachs and Naomi Klein will endorse, that the mad “growth” motive of oil giants, banks, IT providers and others is suicidal. There are three Climate Change Summits this year. Some experts like Guy Mcpherson reckon that the stable door is locked and the horse long since bolted; the Sixth Great Extinction is under way. Some like Andrew Harvey , refuse to despair. These gatherings may be a late opportunity to charm the horse back into the stable.

Tuesday morning, the cars are in line once again. My friend Martha in Tennessee whom I teach ba zi and feng shui by Skype, is terrified she is losing her memory so I reassure her that we may lose faculties as we age, but we gain them too. And I talk Marilyn in Vancouver whose son is in rehab, through the process of seeing herself in him so as to pull them both back from the brink. Another day, another Tune-Up, another traffic build-up. Russell Brand says it’s time for Revolution Now! but I think most of these guys would settle for 20 minutes longer in bed.

Richard Ashworth © 2015

www.imperialfengshui.info

*as @FengShuiDiaries

 

Dog Diary: what to expect in October 2014

October 8, 2014

Beyond our kennel.

Dog Month opens: October 8th 18:20pm.

Beyond our kennel.

The festival known as Chung Yeung is celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth Chinese lunar month, hence it is known as the Double Ninth. It’s a public holiday, this year October 1st. That’s one reason the Hong Kong Occupy action took place then. That date meant disruption to business was minimised and also that the famously assiduous student population felt able to cram the streets. I notice that they are dissipating as the total lunar eclipse of the 8th October approaches. I’m clearly not the only person who’s considering this stuff.

Esoterically some view a double nine as dangerously unbalanced, over-spontaneous and potentially hot headed. Others consider it visionary. Either way the choice of date suggests that metaphysics as well as indignation is alive and well among the younger generation of Hong Kong. Not to mention consideration and good manners.

The Dog is both stubborn and restless. So indignation may be the passion of the month. As it happens I’ve received some recognition for my (wrong) prediction of a “Yes” vote in the Scottish referendum but 45% of Scots remain suspicious as the promises made in the dark before the vote appear to be forgotten. The restless energy I overestimated is still abroad. From Catalonia to Quebec it remains unassuaged. History tells us that the parallel Wood Horse year to this one 1714 which also saw the continuing rise of the South Sea Bubble – the world’s first junk bond crisis – was followed by the First Highland Uprising in 1715. What are we to make of that? That the quest for proper representation is far from over is one conclusion. That we’re not going to save the world from itself until the profit motive subordinates itself to human well-being is another. Oil companies paying scientists to lie on their behalf and then believing the lies are like Wile E Coyote sawing off the limb he is sitting upon just as were the officers of the South Sea company selling worthless pieces of paper and then buying them back at a hundred times the selling price.

Traditionally an eclipse, interestingly enough was thought of as the Sky Dog swallowing the Moon. Eclipses are generally considered baleful auguries of course and dogs have a habit of depositing the waste from their swallowings in the most inconvenient places. 

The Dog in the Dog Month.

Dogs (1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006) are loyal, considerate, faithful and often available past their sell-by date. They can have little truck with ramblings like these; in the Dog month otherwise-enigmatic Dragons like me can seem to be psycho-babbling prats. The Dog draws Fire from the reserved Rabbit and watches the back of the security-unconscious Horse while making the Rooster uncomfortable. He may even help the Tiger simmer down. 

Dog Month, Animal by Animal.

During the Dog month:

The Rooster is overdressed.

The Dragon is affronted,

The Ox shies away.

The Snake prepares to bite,

The Monkey extends his break,

The Dog believes in himself, right or wrong.

The Pig prepares,

The Rat drafts a statement.

The Tiger estimates his influence,

The Horse rears up.

The Rabbit steps up.

and

The Sheep is not at home. 

Dog Pillars. Find your inner Dog.

Birth in the Dog hour (19:00pm-21:00pm): conservative children.

Birth in the Dog month (August*): unsatisfied doing work without variety.

Birth on the Dog day#: partners of lifelong loyalty.

Birth in the Dog year: fixed views that life may moderate.

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

# Just ask.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the fiery 9. The 9 amplifies. So the volume is turned up on whatever processes are already underway. In a 4 year, which is itself about invention, a 9 month offers something like prophecy. What outcome is to be predicted from the current circumstances?

This month: South West, Accumulation: 1, 6. A transformational he tu combination and still the best location, front door and way to face in 2014. Add Earth for a boost; 1:6:8 is generally reckoned to bring money. The Sun of healing remains alongside the helpful tin yute gwai yan. This location suits low, flat, rectangular furnishings so you can be there and be square.

 

Sat 18th October: Richard will be talking at the London School of Astrology’s ‘Improve Your Life’ Day. Expect lame jokes, occasional poignance included in the ticket price. More details at: http://bit.ly/1pMiz4Z

Auspicious Dates and Places

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

Richard Ashworth©, late in the month of the Water Rooster, 2014.

Ba Zi, a lifetime’s journey

September 18, 2014

Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars of Destiny in 2015 – the Year of the Wood Sheep

Richard’s Starter Ba zi Course for 2015 starts the weekend of 17th/18th January 2015. It is the first of four weekends.

He is considered by the Grand Masters in Singapore to be a Master of ba zi. His approach is unique, compassionate & spookily insightful.

He has been teaching ba zi for six years and his teaching leads you to knowledge of ba zi & of yourself that is valuable & rare. No one else in the UK is teaching ba zi in this depth. You can also take his course via Skype.

Here is Richard speaking about ba zi both its nature and his teaching:

http://vimeo.com/106476595

The Early, Early Bird offer of £1200 for this course expires on 1st October 2014. However the first five people who get back to me quoting ‘ba zi 5’ will get the full course for £1,000!* So be quick.

Here is what just some of his recent students have said:

“I have studied ba zi with Richard Ashworth since the start of 2014. What I like about Richard’s teaching is, he actually prepares you to see things in your own way. Which allows you freedom of thoughts in your studying. He has a vast sea of knowledge that it keeps students on their toes in keeping pace with it. There are a few new things in the course which books and other courses do not offer especially drafting a life house in ba zi. As I am a Teacher in another field too, I do understand how important the beginning is for any study and he certainly helps create a unique vision of the subject. Most importantly Richard is a very attentive teacher who will guide you on all questions.” Swananda, UK.

” I studied ba zi with Richard for two years. He made a fairly comprehensive and difficult subject accessible and interesting. I use what I have learned daily and also to look back at difficult times to further understand my journey. Well worth the journey” Sue, UK.

“I’ve been practicing feng shui for twenty years but never was able to master ba zi through books on the subject. It took Richard’s thorough instruction and patient guidance for me to comprehend this critical complement to my professional practice”Nancy, USA (studies via Skype).


“As a teacher, Richard is one of the most insightful, intelligent and knowledgeable practitioners I have ever known. He teaches with great patience, compassion and passion. If you ever have the opportunity to study with him, you can be sure that you will come out of the experience far more able, inspired and insightful than before you embarked on his programme. I would highly recommend engaging with him, if not as a teacher, then as a practitioner. I guarantee you will be forever changed for the better as a result.”
 Jocelyn, UK

“Learning Ba Zi with Master teacher, Richard Ashworth, is nothing short of amazing! His program offers a wonderful, in depth introduction into the broad field of personal Feng Shui. The quality, integrity and level of the information and knowledge taught in his presentations and course work brings ancient teachings to life, as well as provides the student with practical Ba Zi tools that integrates both intellectual and intuitive perspectives. Richard’s keen ability to blend complex concepts of space and time, into simple, repeatable patterns along with his insightful and creative application of Ba Zi principles into everyday life situations is inspirational, healing and transforming. The vision and relevancy Richard brings to the curriculum is invaluable to anyone interested in pursuing the study of Feng Shui” Diana, USA. (studies via Skype).

“I first met Richard Ashworth when he charted my ba zi in 2008. He was spot on with my chart by explaining what had happened in my past and what may happen in my future. I then went on to join Richard’s ba zi courses, he is an excellent teacher making the courses both lively, informative and interesting. Richard Ashworth changed my life not only by attending his courses but by making me believe in myself” Janine, UK.

“I feel very privileged to study with Master Richard. His kind and patient approach allows everyone in the room to relax and learn. He sometimes (all the time) even cracked the odd joke! Studying ba zi was a very daunting and exciting prospect as I had no idea what I was getting myself into but with Richard’s guidance I felt comfortable enough to ask questions, express my opinions ang get in touch with the Tao!” Rebecca, UK.

For more details go to:  www.imperialfengshui.info/courses or email: sheila@imperialfengshui.info  or call 01483 428998.

I never fail to be astonished by Richard’s relentless and dedicated quest to unravel the secrets of the Ba Zi. His researches have taken him to many parts of the globe to learn from traditional masters and in turn to share his discoveries with them. Few, if any, western teachers would surpass his knowledge of this particular field of Chinese traditional culture. Derek Walters, Author of the Complete Guide to Chinese Astrology.

*full payment to be made by 30/09/14

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

September 14, 2014

Chicken Busy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Careless Whisper. 

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

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

Plugs. 

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

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

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

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

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

Sloping Off. 

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

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

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

“Gravity,” he laughs.

“Exactly.”

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

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

“Perhaps two hundred years old,” Luke guesses.

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

The Birds and the Bees. 

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Ashworth © 2014.

Rooster Diary: what to expect in September 2014

September 5, 2014

Rooster Diary: what to expect in September 2014.

Chicken Nuggets.

Rooster Month opens: September 8th 02:21am. 

Chicken Nuggets.

Often this time of year feels more like a parting than does the New Year itself. Autumn has a very distinctive taste; endings are beginning just as beginnings are ending. There’s a new school year, a return to work after a break and so on. And this month of the Harvest Moon, the Zhong Qiu moon, generally reckoned to be the brightest and fullest of the year. Change is the only contant. Everything that is, expanding or contracting. In September we look both back and forwards. 

The Rooster in the Rooster Month.

Roosters (1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005) punch above their weight especially relationshipwise but a typical weakness is vanity. The Rooster month can bend the Dragon out of shape, brighten things up for the Ox and Snake and provoke the Rabbit into action. The Rooster naturally glittering, however suffers the so-called self-clash which can mean a month of rivalry and ruffled feathers. Best to come down off your perch. 

Rooster Month, Animal by Animal.

During the Rooster month:

Roosters are best advised to make space.

The Dragon can lose his way,

The Ox tidies up.

The Snake shines,

The Monkey takes a break,

The Dog leads reluctantly,

The Pig is waiting for something,

The Ratmay not trust smooth words.

The Tiger marks time,

The Horse seeks a niche.

The Rabbit is challenged.

and

The Sheep offers a home. 

The Rooster Pillars. Find your inner Rooster.

Birth in the Rooster hour (17:00pm-19:00pm): glamorous children.

Birth in the Rooster month (August*): work in design, fashion or finance.

Birth on the Rooster day#: attracted to all things bling.

Birth in the Rooster year: life lessons relating to relationship. Early choices.

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

# Just ask. 

Where to do what, when and why.

This months lo shu is the 1, to do with Water, circularity, communications and pitfalls. Talk, talk, talk is the trick. Complete emotional disclosure throws off chains while it opens hearts and doors. In a 4 year, a 1 month offers a turbo charge.What was your objective as the year opened? Do you remember? Are you still on track? Are you even accountable? Talk.

This month: In the West we have the 6 annual and the monthly 3 stars.This makes for conflict with authority. Often that conflict is intergenerational; youth versus experience, passion versus planning and so on. All of which can be so creative. In addition for the technically-minded, West is the primary wealth location of the year, holding the windfall pin choi star as well as the Moon which maintains stability and integrity and finally the hot Red Matchmaker which speaks for itself. Take a risk, live a little; add Metal if you want to keep the lid on, Wood or even better Fire if its time it blew. You know who you are. 

Auspicious Dates and Places

Every month Richard compiles for his retainer clients at vast expense, a detailed bulletin of the current auspicious dates, places and procedures for health, wealth and wisdom. Now you can subscribe. If youre interested in receiving that bulletin along with his daily Hot Spots, contact becciimperialfengshui@gmail.com 

For more detail on Richard’s talks & courses in the next few months please click here.

 

Richard Ashworth©, late in the month of the Water Monkey, Sept 2014.

Find Out Where Richard is and When in the Coming Months

August 21, 2014

The Horse Out of the Clouds

September 2014

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

Living Life and Loving It.

Broadcast Wednesday 20th August 2014

NaturalHealthRadio.co.uk

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

The Source Equinox ‘Art of Peace’ Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A First Course in Chinese Astrology.

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

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

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

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Monkey Diary: what to expect in August 2014

August 7, 2014

Monkey Diary: what to expect in August 2014.

The wrench of the Monkey.

Monkey Month opens: August 7th 23:02pm.

 

Clueless in Gaza

The Monkey is a rebel, the Water Monkey defiant. Take these qualities together and you have a decision to make: are you part of the problem or part of the solution? There’s always upheaval in a Monkey month. Just when you thought it was safe to bag your place with a beach towel, a bank collapses, Gorbachev is ousted, there are riots in London or the Great War starts.

Karen Armstrong, perhaps the most important thinker of the 21st century – I won’t add the qualification “female” – in her Brief History of Islam, calls the modern predicament facing the Muslim world, Islam Agonistes. This is a reference to Milton’s Samson, blind and abandoned in the temple at Gaza, chained between two pillars so that his only hope of redemption is to pull the roof down onto the Philistines, killing both them and himself. The world’s first suicide terrorist; go figure.

Meanwhile you may like to read this beautiful piece written by my son Jaime, who is qualified to comment on this Gaza hideousness:

framingthequestion.wordpress.com  

 

The Monkey in the Monkey Month.

Monkeys (1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004) don’t like to get over-involved. They are often inclined to mischief before they lend a hand. When you double these qualities up you get what’s often termed the silly season; celebrities caught with too much cellulite or too little, comedians eating hamsters and so on. All three wise Monkeys keep themselves to themselves while the Monkey month offers a break to the over-worked Dragon, harmony to the unheard Rat and support – which may not always be comfortable – to the Snake. The Tiger is best biding time and marshalling resources, the Pig minding his own business. 

 

Monkey Month Animal by Animal.

During the Monkey month:

Dragons are relieved.

The Snake receives love, tough and otherwise,

The Horse seeks (and may find) hidden treasure.

The Monkey chatters,

The Rooster stays aloof,

The Dog picks up stragglers,

The Pig puzzles,

The Rat unburdens.

The Ox charges – sometimes too much.

The Tiger seeks heart,

The Sheep takes time off – and offers it to others.

and

The Rabbit becomes restless. 

 

The Monkey Pillars. Find your inner Monkey.

Birth in the Monkey hour (15:00pm-17:00pm): ingenious, technically-minded children.

Birth in the Monkey month (August*): hands-on work. Or absolutely not.

Birth on the Monkey day#: playful, musical, mechanically-minded, logical.

Birth in the Monkey year: tricky, rebellious heritage.

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

# Just ask.

 

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the 2, to do with the Mother, security, property, relationship, settling down, acquisitions and impediments. That’s a wide and contradictory range. In a 4 year, a 2 month offers choice. Do you appear to be presented with an opportunity or a burden? Upset and satisfaction are both a function of the meaning we add to events.

This month: the 8 Star is in the South West. Sit here, face this way, arrange to be in a building backing this way or activate the South West area for long term co-operation. is the Mother; however she presents herself, she wants your dreams to come true.

 

ALSO FOR YOUR ATTENTION:

Richard is a panellist at The Source Equinox ‘Art of Peace’ Experience

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

**************************************

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

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

Sheep Diary: what to expect in July 2014.

July 4, 2014
 

Sheep Diary: what to expect in July 2014.

Sheep at half the price.

Sheep Month opens: July 7th 12:57pm. 

Sheepish

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

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

The Sheep in the Sheep Month.

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

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

Sheep Month Animal by Animal.

During the Sheep month:

Some Dragons may experience minor but fair and direct challenge.

The Snake may feel rushed,

The Horse may remain in charge,

The Monkey might wisely look over his shoulder,

The Rooster begins to shine once more,

The Dog may part company,

The Pig may not partake,

The Rat may button his lip.

The Ox may choose diplomacy.

The Tiger may be above it all,

and

The Rabbit may simply enjoy being home.

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

The Sheep Pillars. How Sheepish are you?

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

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

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

Birth in the Sheep year: idealistic parents.

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

# Just ask. 

Where to do what, when and why.

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

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

Also for your attention:

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

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

Book both courses together for a further discount.

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

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

Richard is talking Ba Zi at the London Astrology Lodge:

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

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

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

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

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

www.imperialfengshui.info

It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses

June 24, 2014

It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Dedicated to Maurice Willmott.

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

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

Meme Girls

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

Turning Turtle

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

Fossil Fools

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

Economic Migrants.

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

Short Films.

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

False Smooth Snakes.

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

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

www.imperialfengshui.info

What Richard is doing…where & when

June 20, 2014

Hi:

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

 Ba Zi at the London Astrology Lodge:

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

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

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

More details here. 

Starter Feng Shui Course:

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

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

Early Bird Offers are still available.

More details here. 

  Starter ba zi Course:

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

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

Again open to all curious souls…

Early Bird offers are very much available.

More details here. 

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

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

 Advanced Ba Zi:

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

 Feng Shui at the London School of Astrology:

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

 

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

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

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sheila

www.imperialfengshui.info