Posts Tagged ‘Yi’

Snake Diary: what to expect in May 2014.

May 7, 2014

Snake Diary: what to expect in May 2014.

Snakes and Ladders.

May 5th 22:16pm until June 6th 02:32 inclusive. 

Its dark and were wearing sunglasses.

This month is an Earth Snake. The last time the Earth Snake ruled an entire year was 1989. By most accounts that was pretty cataclysmic; as a Tweet correspondent reminded me this week, it was the year of the Second Summer of Love, the year of the smiley. And then there was the peripheral business of the Berlin Wall coming down, the end of the Cold War and of the Soviet Union. Last month the UN made an unequivocal statement on climate change. We are now officially sleepwalking over a precipice wearing sunglasses and state-of-the-art headphones. This month may mirror 1989 in terms of a change in the world order. Not so drastic though; its only a month. 

The Snake in the Snake Month.

Unlike Dragons, Snakes (1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001) get on relatively well among themselves, so a Snake month may bring them agreement and consensus. The Snake works well with teams that include the sensitive Ox  whose gifts include sticking to the point  and the photogenic Rooster – who can both attract attention and keep accounts. The Snake, the seeker after truth, brings something like spin. This Wood Horse year however with its constant bright light, is not the year for concealment. And no human action remains hidden for ever; ask Gerry Adams or Max Clifford. 

Snake Month Animal by Animal.

During the Snake month:

The Dragon finds an audience,

The Horse shares the limelight,

The Sheeps invitation may not be taken up.

The Monkeys charm may not be enough.

The Rooster is in demand as long as the Ox invigilates,

The Dog may feel understood but not necessarily approved of,

The Pig may tire easily,

The Ratmay take up the role of disciplinarian.

The Tiger is apt to maintain a respectful distance,


The gentle Rabbit is often surprised by sudden popularity.

Note: do remember the purpose of this is to foster health, wealth and wisdom; its a foolish Snake who uses the above to disdain Monkeys or avoid Tigers.

The Snake Pillars. How Snake are you?

Birth in the Snake hour (9-7am): children seek truth as do you, later in life.

Birth in the Snake month (May*): suits work in sales & marketing.

Birth on the Snake day: lifelong pursuit of truth, may start late.

Birth in the Snake year: brought up to question.

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

Where to do what, when and why.

At the centre of this months lo shu is the 5, to do with the double-edged sword of power. The 5 of course belongs in the centre. The bench mark lo shu supposedly observed by Fu Xi on the back of a noble turtle had 5 at the centre. So its a return to influence, truth and certainty. Know where your power base is and consider retracing your steps.

This month: the North East which holds the tin yute gwai yan Noble Helper Star is doubly effective because it also holds the monthly 8 Star. If you take no other feng shui advice, perhaps just trust the 8 and locate yourself North East when the opportunity presents itself. 

Forthcoming Events:

*We still have places on Richards Feng Shui Course starting the weekend of 13th/14th September 2014. Early Bird Offers are still available. For those further afield Richard is offering the course via Skype in parallel. 

*If you want to meet Richard in person he is talking at the Astrology Lodge in London on the 7th July 2014. It will be a fascinating & educational evening.He may even joke.

*Enjoying these diaries? You can subscribe to more in-depth bulletins, weekly &/or monthly. For more details on this or with any other queries 

*To keep up to date with Richard, follow his daily tweets  summarising the forthcoming day each morning @fengshuidiaries 

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Earth Snake, May 2014.

Dragon Diary: What to expect in April 2014

April 4, 2014

No Dragon Feet.

Earth Dragon month, Wood Horse year.

April 5th 04:54am.


Rapid Movement.

The Earth-in-Wood that is the Dragon always makes for change. Master Zhongxian Wu suggest we ”purify and change old patterns” while “an unwavering attitude will help us accomplish tasks (now) even if we bump into some tough situations.” It’s moving-on time.

Change, as the man said, is the only constant. But sometimes it can feel overdue. Not possible of course but sometimes we know that that job, that mission, that relationship is over but it limps on. Now may be the time to act. If a change is gonna come, April is the likely time. This as Master Wu implies, may take courage. An Earth Dragon may make it easier – the Earth is always restless – or more difficult because it’s big and solid. The harder they come…. 

The Dragon in the Dragon Month.

Dragons (1964, 1976, 1988, 2000) suffer the so-called self clash; they are not reckoned to play nice among themselves. In fact the Dragon is often said to be the most powerful of the Chinese Zodiac but this power is accompanied by fragile ego. Dragon times like the Dragons themselves are demanding and magical. April is the time of transformation; Spring becomes Summer, Wood becomes Fire, views opened by the fallen leaves close up again; everything changes.. It’s in the air. Not just for Dragons.

So give everyone but especially Dragons, extra space now. In the words of Keane, everyone is changing and neither you nor they know what fresh shape they might be taking up. That last bit isn’t from Keane. 

Dragon Month Animal by Animal.

The Dragon:

Takes the Snake on as apprentice.

Tolerates the competitive Horse.

Sidesteps the Sheep who keeps out of his way too,

Conspires with the Monkey although he knows better.

Joins the Rooster but is likely to get bent out of shape.

Makes peace with the Dog from his current position of strength.

Admires the Pig from a respectful distance.

Is directed by the Rat.

Bamboozles the Ox.

Remains wary of the Tiger.

Allows the Rabbit to draw on his resources.

The Dragon Pillars. How Dragon are you?

Birth in the Dragon hour (7-9am): children inherit opportunity & add drive.

Birth in the Dragon month (April*): unemployable.

Birth on the Dragon day: secretly magical but prone to mood swings.

Birth in the Dragon year: light on the face of it, dark within except when it’s the other way round.

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

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the 6, to do with winning and losing. This is the month of finicky detail.  We can approach it two basic ways: respecting authority or flouting it. Either’s likely to lead to change.

This month: activate or be in the East of whatever space you find yourself. This month it holds the 4 of discovery and all year the 2 of obstacles while its native star is the 3 of moving on. Putting all that together, if you’re brave and hungry for change, hang out East.

Forthcoming Events: 

Feng Shui Course 2014:

If you want to learn more about Feng Shui or want to hone your current skills, Richard’s next Feng Shui Course starts on the weekend of 13th & 14th September 2014 & there are three further weekends in October, November & December. There is still an Early, Early Bird Discount available but not for much longer. For further information, go to Richard’s website or email Also, if you live outside of the UK & want to study with Richard he runs Skype courses concurrently with the UK ones. Do email for more details.

Astrological Lodge of London:

Richard has been invited back to talk Chinese Astrology (Ba Zi) at the Astrological Lodge of London on the 7th July 2014 if you would like to hear him talk in person. More details closer to the time.

Richard Ashworth©, in the month of the Earth Dragon, March 2014.

Fire Rabbit month, Wood Horse year

March 5, 2014

Bunny Hop.

Fire Rabbit month, Wood Horse year.

March 6th 00:09am.


Big Light, Big Heat.

The placid yin Wood of the Rabbit can be an anti-climax after the drama of the Tiger that opens the year. It’s a bit like the time after a tropical dawn. The Sun rises almost instantaneously, a flag hoist aloft, everything is suddenly light. Then it just stays light while we wake and wash and dress and prepare ourselves for the day. Not so exciting. Every single cranny bathes in the light as it spreads but there is little sign of the raw violence of the Tiger. On the other hand, soen, the Wind the embodiment of yin Wood, is all these delicate qualities and as the Book of Changes has it, ultimately adamant. Don’t underestimate the Rabbit. He may be modest but he has influence.

As for the Fire of this Rabbit; traditionally the red Rabbit was a manifestation of a just ruler.

So extravagant metaphor to one side, what does all this mean for those of us living through this year of illumination?

Here are some answers: the Year is ruled by Fire and this Rabbit especially is fuel to the Fire. Whether the focus of the year proves in retrospect to be Russian expansion, LGBT rights, peaking markets, climate change or something else again, it comes gently into light now. Come June the issues will be clear and the process well under way but now they’re subtle. The same kind of thing is true of our own lives. It’s a time to pay close attention.

The Rabbit in the Rabbit Month.

The Rabbit (1963, 1975, 1987, 1999) enjoys the company of other Rabbits. So the Rabbit is generally comfortable during its own month. Comfort however, may not be the most creative experience. The Rabbit is the networker of the Chinese Zodiac; it likes to know exactly where it stands with everyone else. But the safety of familiarity may take up time that might be spent pushing for new frontiers. Better? Worse? Who knows what these words mean?

Tiger Month Animal by Animal.

The Rabbit:

Poses no threat to the Tiger.

Colludes with the Sheep in avoiding risk.

Gives the Pig backbone,

Fires up the Dog.

Resists the Rooster, who may need to develop respect.

Can fleece the Dragon – if the Dragon allows it.

Fuels the Horse but may never receive appropriate credit.

Is often wary of the Rat, who can just be too much.

Puzzles some Monkeys, who expect to do all the puzzling themselves.

Appears (but generally is not) fair game to the Snake.

Draws upon the Oxheightened awareness.

The Rabbit Pillars. How Rabbit are you?

Birth in the Rabbit hour (5-7am): home-loving children, goals whose common feature is security.

Birth in the Rabbit month (March*): working from a place like home.

Birth on the Rabbit day: safety first.

Birth in the Rabbit year: passive, stable, home-loving, friends in high places.

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

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the 7, to do with interruption. It’s a month when many events can most usefully be seen as interludes in bigger ones: the Winter Olympics with its political side-shows is the first part of the Olympics proper; the Olympics themselves, an aspect of the ongoing chest beating of nations. If we get it right, this is the month of the timely intervention. If not we may appear unable to mind our own business or worse (and less truthfully) think that’s true of everybody else.

Hint: anything that appears to apply to everyone else is likely to have its source closer to home.

On the 17th: aim to be in the North East of whatever space you are in. Additionally (or instead) make the North East as noisy and bright as you can all day. This rouses assistance and supports good reputation.

Forthcoming Events:

Richards next Feng Shui course, The Wind that Stops at the Water, starts on the weekend of 13/14th September 2014. More details here.

Early Bird Discounts now available!

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

2014: The Year of the Horse in the Clouds.

January 31, 2014

“When you can tell Fire from Water, you are a Master.”

Grand Master Chan Kun Wah.

Merry Christmas Li Ka Shing.

For more than a thousand years, the town of Godalming, deep in the Surrey woods, has been saved from flood by its Lammas Land. Although it is at the base of the Wey valley, the town generally stays dry however much rain falls. From April to August, this meadow is pasture and it pretty much becomes a lake between November and March.

ImageIt’s been that way since the time of King Alfred. That’s around twelve hundred years. Sometimes on summer afternoons we leave the office, take our meal-deal from Boots down to a park bench and watch the cattle and horses fattening up on the rich grass between the Town Bridge and the Titanic Memorial. Don’t tell me I don’t have a life.

This is feng shui in action; the balance between Heaven, Earth and Human needs, what in Chinese is called tian-ti-ren, the Earth, the Wood and the Water in mutual dependence. Because the land is grazed, saplings never become bushes nor do bushes become trees. The meadow serves as a drain that keeps the buildings dry.

This year for the first time in my lifetime however, some houses were evacuated as the water rose. Half-a-dozen threatened homes is not Bangla Desh or even Tewksbury (which became a mini-Venice with buildings growing out of the flood and roads turning to water courses) but it’s a bench mark. Nor is it the Somerset levels which you’ll know maybe from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon are the lowlands surrounding Glastonbury. They used to be lake throughout the wet season. And are again this year. Something is happening.

We used to know about this stuff. Godalming’s parish church was built on higher ground around the year 811. No building of any age sits as low in the valley as the Lammas Lands. The homes in danger were not ancient but none had been vulnerable before.*

What’s this got to do with the fiery Year of the Wood Horse? Here’s one thing: a respectable method of assessing the coming year is to look at the last one that had the same pillar, the last Wood Horse. That was 1954 which set new records for flooding and coastal erosion. If you seek confirmation that this is sound methodology, 1954 also featured shenanigans in Korea as well as East-West arm-wrestling over nuclear proliferation.

Here’s another thing: when Great Heat encounters Great Cold, Great Water follows. When icebergs and glaciers melt in the heat, sea-level rises. In some ways this year of Fire promises to be a year of Water. Already there’s too much. This year that fact may become impossible to ignore. I surely hope so.

One person who has clearly been able to ignore it is the above Hong Kong mogul who now owns the local utilities. Due to the extraordinary weather, Godalming became a black spot on the National Grid over Christmas. In our house the power was cut four times. Here in the affluent South East of England – spit and you hit a banker – we’re extraordinarily fortunate. Our privileged lives are rarely interrupted by the elements. For the time being it’s the rest of the world I worry about.

It’s pretty easy to peel sprouts in shadow, and in the half-light we got to talk to each other and play board games. In the brief intervals of power supply, my daughters Jess and Hen cooked and then we overate at our leisure. Outside the winds keened and blew the garden chairs around while rain poured and poured and poured. More fell more rapidly than I can remember, sometimes sounding like power drills, sometimes like small animals rushing around on the roof.

Water will not be resisted. It cannot be compressed. This Water is coming from somewhere and it has to go somewhere. We have forgotten how to respect the Water and we have forgotten its power. My suspicion is that 1200 years of flood prevention is about to fail and power cuts will be among the least of our worries. Merry Christmas, Mr Li.

* perhaps read George Monbiot’s Guardian article on this.

The Horse’s Mouth.

“Mouth open, story jump out.” Guyanese proverb.

By the most popular calculation, February 4th 2014 opens the Year of the Wood Horse, known as the Horse in the Clouds. This suggests an image of charging into the air with vision impaired; full steam ahead with the windscreen fogged up. So a year of spontaneity and reaction rather than strategy. Horses can sometimes talk before (and often instead of) thinking. So this Horse Year may be a year of revelation when the deceitful are wrong-footed.


Horses are said to be spontaneous, passionate and outgoing. These qualities can be expected both of people born in Horse years and of the Horse year itself. One theme of the Snake year of 2013 was deception; what you saw was not what you got. In contrast the Horse can be expected to shed light. Whether the issues are global surveillance, the Lockerbie bombing, drones over Pakistan, climate change or show biz scandals, the outcome may be illumination rather than whitewash. The enquiry into the cover-up-of-the-enquiry-into-the-cover-up-of-the-enquiry into the Hillsborough tragedy may name names. Similarly, where so far only one banker has been jailed for treating the interests of client and public as subsidiary to his own, 2014 promises to reveal this as the standard procedure it may be. And it may be that the impending ecological catastrophe is finally addressed.

We are currently walking over an ecological precipice wearing headphones and Google glasses. What happens to the Earth happens on some level to each of us individually. To the extent that I am disheartened, so is the world. It may take a shock to wake us up. The Fire of the Horse year may hold that shock. The Horse is the animal of the blurted-out truth. It just can’t help itself.

Hors d’oeuvres.

Also the Horse is competitive; it likes to dance on tables. And on the average table there’s only room for one dancer. For this and other reasons it is said to suffer the so-called self clash. This means Horses don’t play nicely together.

So even relatively contained Horses like David Cameron and Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs) may find their authority challenged before year’s end. Cameron however need not beware Sheep like Ed Balls or Nick Clegg, both of whom whatever they present, are meek team players. Angela Merkel of course is another Horse and several Masters have seen her recent accident as evidence of the self-clash in action. Also evidence that dancing on tables is safer than skiing.

Horse Trading.

Markets tend to sink in Water-heavy years (like pretty much all of those since 2007) and pick up with Fire. Fire returned in 2013 and peaks with the Horse. Some see this process as literally manic-depressive. Sunshine brings optimism and bull markets, rain the reverse. This enthusiasm may peak like the power of the Sun at mid-summer. Many recommend being out of markets by July. At the extreme of Fire is burn-out but if markets are the measure, this is a boom year.

The price of commodities however continues to be distorted by market manipulation. Such deceit is a Snake type phenomenon. Expect the Horse to bring into light abuses in coffee and cocoa markets and latterly metals. Technically this is to do with a Rooster-Horse clash. Rooster is yin Metal, glamour, the superficial; the Horse represents the light of noon. So expect revelations between June and September. Precisely how that will play out is hard to assess but if you thought bankers only distorted stock and money markets, you don’t know the half of it. And whether that’s good or bad news is simply a question of view point.

Horse Box.

Another method of prognosis consists of assessing the lo shu  or so-called magic square of the year. I won’t digress into why, but take it from me that this year’s key number is 4 which represents academe, discovery, invention and sex scandals. It’s also the number of the eldest daughter. Take these implications together with the nature of the Horse and you have an interesting soup. A year to practise discretion. And forgiveness.

I don’t speculate about celebrities any more because it so easily encourages mean-spiritedness and the press does that so expertly already. However….the Rabbit’s resources are fully drawn upon this year, so Fire Rabbit Andy Murray might just win that second title. It won’t be straightforward though. And English football is always flattered by the Horse, as it was in 2002 and doubly in 1966. Remember that? So we can anticipate a respectable World Cup performance.

The lo shu:



3      8      1

2      4      6

7      9      5

Squire Horse.

Because of the 4 lo shu it’s likely to be a year of career progress for women. Men are typically suspicious of the woman in power because they expect female bosses to be like male bosses, only in skirts. We expect fruitless cleverness and no-winner competition because business seems always to have been like that. Actually there’s another way. Empowerment could replace rivalry for instance. This is a yin (that is female) quality.

Even now, although they account for fewer than 5% of CEO’s of FTSE 500 companies, women hold the reins both of the European Central Bank  and the IMF and now with the appointment of Fire Dog Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Bank. Ms Yellen looks like a very different kind of banker but as you’ll read in my Animal Fortunes the Dog has a job holding onto money this year. Low interest rates are past their sell-by date (although no one has told Wood Snake Mark Carney) but they won’t be coming down significantly any time soon. Nonetheless in a Wood Snake/Fire Dog conflict, don’t put money on the Snake.

Other rising women include Gloria da Piero MP who is a year or so short of prominence. This is a year of learning and of building support for Pigs like her. Wood Horse Angela Merkel’s career is a little further down the road but some sort of challenge looks likely whether within or without Germany.

And finally the London Stock Exchange now boasts two female directors. That’s serious progress. A trend going back several thousand years is changing along with the climate. As the regularity of the cycle of days and seasons became clear, a woman who could feel when an eclipse was coming became less valuable than a man who could calculate and record the next thousand. It’s this type of control that has taken us to the precipice.

Number Five is alive.

The number to watch out for in the Lo shu is always the tricky 5. In 2014 this star falls in the North West, the place of authority. It landed in the centre last year, so many masters predicted upset in “central” places like the Central African Republic and capital cities generally. Riots in Istanbul and Rio among many others, may have proved them right. This year it’s authority that’s at risk. This is a year in which tradition is seriously questioned. If we look at what’s North West of the UK and North West of land masses in general, civil disobedience in North America and South Western Europe look on the cards. Also the Arabian Gulf. And let’s not neglect the North West of the US where a legion of multinationals such as Irish-registered tax dodger Apple and the not-for-profit Starbucks operation make their homes.

Bull in a China shop; a note about the Ox.

The Ox has a distinctive pattern of demanding power and not knowing how to use that power, when to let go of it or when it is starting to fail. Margaret Thatcher and Napoleon come to mind. And Metal Ox Barack Obama. In the Rat year of 2008, Obama could do no wrong. By 2010 he couldn’t get the simplest legislation through congress. This year the Ox is especially favoured by a shower of auxiliary stars. But only this year. If Obama is to leave any sort of legacy, now is the time. This applies to all Oxen. Carpe diem doesn’t mean fish of the day.

Four Horses.

Another traditional method of forecasting is to examine the Hexagrams of the Book of Changes indicated by the year. There are traditionally four. And by my (not 100% orthodox) reckoning this year’s are: Hexagram Numbers 1, 2, 45 and 36. These are Father (ie authority) Mother (the Receptive), Gathering and Brightness Obscured.   

Image1  Father  2 Mother   45 Gathering   36 Brightness Obscured

Each covers a quarter of the year. The way I read it, the year opens with strong leadership, followed by co-operation but in many spheres appears to stall in the 3rd quarter taking us into September. Gathering suggests many possibilities late in the year of which extraordinary convocations are one. Contracts will need renegotiating and predictions adjusted. This may concern Water supply and take place in the Arabian peninsula.

Gathering may well mean literal flooding too although no Chinese authority sees anything other than great heat before the end of er…..Great Heat (chu shu, the 2nd fortnight in August.) The extreme South where the Horse sits, may be hottest. Australia and Brazil and Northern Africa may illustrate the drying power of the year Horse in the South. And unless we wake up, this is only the beginning.

As I said, We are currently walking over an ecological precipice wearing headphones and Google glasses. How to wake up? During 2014 I studied with Andrew Harvey whom I have known since I was a small boy. His idea of Spiritual Activism starts with awareness of a world in which corporate greed, mass hunger and ecological apathy can not coexist. Having attended the various climate change summits, he observed that the powers-that-be are used to overpowering both activists and idealists, the one group susceptible to rough policing and the other ineffectual. Chant “Om” and hug trees with our blessing; it makes no difference anyway. The image of the year for me remains Green Euro MP Caroline Lucas reaching hopelessly for her son’s hand as he is wrenched away by police at the Balcombe fracking protest. Given this failure to change things we simply have to withdraw from blame and take responsibility. Most of the eco-destruction has taken place in my lifetime and the tipping point during the lives of my children – 2006 when oil production peaked. We did this.So if the flood defences of comfortable, affluent Surrey are tested, what about the Netherlands, the Maldives, Bangla Desh? Call me bonkers but I am used to buildings talking to me. Following Andrew’s procedures sometimes I hear the whole planet. And it’s depending on me. That’s you. There is no “we”. Only “I” and “all”.

This may be the last time

So now you know: Wood Horses occur every 60 years. So 1954 and before that 1894, foreshadow 2014. In 1894 interestingly the Harmsworth family which owns the Mail, bought their first newspaper and the city of Shanghai was substantially damaged by fire. It was also the year China and America signed a treaty limiting the numbers of foreign labourers. Notice the echoes.

The year that I see most clearly echoed in 2014 however is 1714. That year saw the accession of the Hanoverian George I – effectively withdrawing independence from Scotland forever. In the following year was the first of the great Highland Uprisings, the violent reaction of the Scots to the end of the Stuart dynasty. The hexagram Gathering may be precisely about this.

So what? We may well yet see a “yes” vote in the Scottish Referendum is what.

A little earlier in 1711, the South Sea Trading Company was incorporated, a further echo from the 18th century. Many believe the junk bonds now pinning interest rates to the floor after bankrolling two generations of investment bankers, were invented by Drexel Burnham in the 1970’s. Not so. It was the creation of the South Sea Company who spent the first decade of the 18th century, buying up the National Debt and selling it back to rich punters. Who could resist? It was guaranteed by government. It couldn’t fail. But it did. In 1720. The corresponding year is 2020. It’s gonna blow.

Richard Ashworth © 2014. Image

Ox Diary January 2014, Wood Horse Year

January 9, 2014

Ox Bow

Wood Ox month, Wood Horse year.

January 6th 20:07pm. 


Now, in the Ox month, human beings having stuffed ourselves either side of the solstice, are designed to lurk in our caves awaiting the spring. For many Masters the Year of the Wood Horse is already here and some are on the watch for the so-called self-clash for Horses. Many would take the recent misfortune of Wood Horse Angela Merkel as evidence. Grand Master Raymond Lo has been facebooking on the subject only this week. His analysis is typically nuanced; Ms Merkel’s mishap is as much to do with her month and day as her year animal, he suggests. I’d say it has much to do with a certain pre-occupation also. Not much time on her hands, I wouldn’t have thought.

Two points to consider perhaps:

1. We’re all so much more than any astrological definition.

2. Information about avoidable events like self-clashes is best used to stay conscious rather than fatalistic. It’s a big year, challenging and essentially positive for Horses and indeed other animals. But stay awake, huh? (Read your Animal Fortune for 2014)

The Ox month Animal by Animal.

The Ox brings power to the elbow of Ox, Snake and Rooster.

And to the Rat. Although Rat’s good fortune depends on following instruction; the Ox month has this kind of effect, especially in a Horse year.

It’s a great month for Dragons; the Ox holds the Noble Helper Star (helpful to all, all year and especially to the Dragon right now) and what is called Dragon Virtue, that is to say prestige.

Monkey’s agility of mind is sharpest this month.

The Pig is in preparation mode while the Horse – need I say? – can be accident-prone.

The Rooster too but the Rooster has a pretty clear road ahead if (s)he will simply keep his/her eyes on the road.

As for the various Oxen: birth in the Ox hour (1-3am) implies an ability to see the paths that lead into the various possible futures; in the Ox month a tendency to dominate at work; on the Ox day the deepest sensitivity.

Tigers generally known for patience and vision, may feel a little weary for now. The Rabbit wants to be home while many Sheep toy with not belonging – not a lasting worry – and the Dog may be recovering from an emotional shock.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is a 9, to do with planning and the future. Which is handy in this down time between the achievement of last year and the promise of this, the Year of the Horse in the Clouds. Bring your head back down to Earth gently, maybe. If you can, locate yourself North East especially at the beginning of the day.

Forthcoming Events: 

Embracing Change: my new video can be seen at: Source TV

Tune-ups: If you would like your home or your office or both calibrated with the energy for 2014 you can book me or one of my Padowans (that is senior students). But book soon as time is short before the energy kicks in.

Ba zi Course 2014: If you are inspired to study with me, my Ba Zi Training starts the weekend of the 18/19th Jan 2014. Ba Zi (or Four Pillars) that is Chinese Astrology is the indispensible building block of authentic Feng Shui.

Freestanding hands-on drill: If you feel confident to tune-up your own space for 2014 we are releasing DIY notes as of now. These cost £50.

Subscription to Auspicious Dates and Hot Spots: You can also subscribe to Richard’s Monthly Auspicious Dates & weekly Hotspots.

If you are interested in any of the above or are otherwise curious please email:

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Wood Ox, Jan 2014.

We’re all into Goethe but some of us are looking at the Stars

August 28, 2010

Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diaries

June/July/Aug 2010


Hour  Day     Month           Year 
 Metal       Water Metal metal
Gung Yum yum gung
Sute Yan ng yan
Dog Tiger Horse tiger


Month:                 Yum ng the water Horse
Solar Fortnight:   Ha gee Summer Solstice


Before we get started….news just in ! Richard will be advising on ‘Big Brother’s Little Brother’, Monday 30th August on Channel 4 at 6pm…..tune in to see Richard try & keep up with the chaos.

 We’re all into Goethe but some of us are looking at the Stars

Right now I’m listening to ‘Violet’ by The National. Or is it ‘National’ by the Violet? Young, bearded, plaid shirts, folk roots, you know the thing. Five bob’s worth of Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, if you like. But these guys sound like they’ve lived a little and don’t stop short for a clever key change when they stumble upon a tune. The songs actually remind me of late 60’s Bee Gees. Should I be ashamed even to think this?

Warren’s in love. Which is great. His business is flourishing, he has a new home and at last, a new love. I don’t know whether it was the attention to the South West of his apartment, the deep soul work we have done centring on his ba zi, where and when we placed the water outside his office or something else. I don’t care really. You can attribute these things any way you like as long as you pay my bill on time. It’s all choice. This is the tao.

‘The acid test of intention,’ as Robert D’Aubigny used to say, ‘Is having things go right.’

Love is not safe. We get no guarantees. We can wait forever and remain bereft or it may be that some wiseacre with a big crystal and some mumbo jumbo magics it up for us. Goethe wrote that the commitment is all; boldness he says, has power of its own. When we take a risk we open ourselves to Heaven.

I am watching on television the hereditary multi-millionare George Osborne announce the hard decisions he is making on behalf of everybody but hereditary millionaires, the non-domiciled and beneficiaries of Private Equity Trusts and I notice that as if by clockwork, the house plants have become less thirsty now the Fire Season has ended and the Metal Season begun. This (the organic process not Osborne’s announcement) happens every year and still I marvel. The tomatoes remain shamelessly green though.

It has, in the words of Paul Weller, been a long hot summer. Also which is not always the same thing, it has been a season full of Fire. Some days because of the way the Animals combine, have been close to 100% Fire. This has made for a certain tenseness, diplomatic incidents, spies being sent home, whistle-blowing, that sort of thing. Spree killing too, as I suggested last December. In my Annual Predictions I warned of a w-shaped recession. I never expected it to be legally enforced. As Osborne insists, we have entered a new era of ‘austerity’ policed by the fabulously wealthy. Just what you’d expect from a Metal Tiger.

I rarely make mobile calls but I deal with an awful lot of email and text. As the Chancellor sets out his store, I flick through my i-phone and come across Donna’s despairing email. No need for despair, I suggest, just get the boulder. I had prescribed a boulder in a carefully calculated location in the North West of her garden. Get bold, get the boulder.

It seems I have landed on a planet where certain things happen that I’d sooner didn’t. I know that to give them attention is to encourage them but it’s as if my universe is a naughty child with a handful of food poised to throw. If I keep my head down he might miss. Reality (whatever that means) appears to include violence, mean spirits unrequited love and coalitions and if I am to be awake, I have to know them. We all live in halls of mirrors and currently these are mine. Just what you’d expect from a Metal Tiger.

The Second Taxi

Warren has been waiting a while for true love. One reason for the movement in his life may be that as an engineer, he is very precise. This makes him great to work with; if I say place water at 154˚ South East, he places it at 154˚, not 153 or 155. And if I say 12 noon on Tuesday, it’s 12 noon on Tuesday.  Also his self-contained office is one of the NE-SW set-ups so favoured in the 8 Fate (until 2016 or 2024 depending on your school of thought).

Claudia emails that her son and his wife are on the brink of a split. Can I help? She sends me a Google Earth link. The front garden tapers sharply. And it’s Southish. If there’s any South West at the front, the wife will feel painfully constricted. I tell Claudia to put a line of pot plants or shrubs across the lawn so as to render it rectangular. But she’s off on holiday tomorrow, she says.

«What if I do it in my mind? Or on paper? What about drawing a line across the lawn with a hoe?»

«Any or all of the above will make some sort of difference,» I reply.

We all have choice, why should this not be hers?

I remember Rory and Julia whose beautiful Tudor house I surveyed several years ago. Their garden shares something of this tapering and I hear they have finally split. There were two major flaws in the property of which this was one, neither soluble without major disruption. They did not make the changes and I understand why but I sigh when I hear. What causes what? They’re both adults. They can choose.

Warren’s beloved is very beautiful and very sincere. She was worth waiting for. I talk through her ba zi with her.

‘I never expected to find someone like him,’ she says. ‘I didn’t know such men existed.’

‘With Warren what you see is what you get,’ I say. ‘Inside is just what’s on the label.’

She is a little shocked, having to adjust to this new good fortune: for so long her life has been all about her remarkable children while she has held relationship at arm’s length. These positions become habits. I feel into her pain. There is a good deal of opening to do. We talk. There’s no trick: just put the feeling you want in the place you want it. It’s not gravity, God’s will or a court order, it’s choice. Warren’s been alone too long and he has his own adjusting to do as well. That day I survey Warren’s new home and find constrictions to the South West and arrange for them to be adjusted rapidly. Let’s put the feeling in the place it ought to be.

At a celebrity wedding a year or so ago, a very beautiful woman asked me why she kept wasting her time with bad news men. Observing it was a «Wing» day on the Chinese calendar when frankness is essential, I asked her whether she had ever read any Sherlock Holmes».

‘No. Should I?’ she answered, furrowing her brow.

‘His advice was always to take the second taxi in the queue.’


‘The driver of the first one might know exactly where to be just when Sherlock wanted a lift and have nastiness in mind’

‘How does that apply to me?’

‘The men who approach a woman as beautiful as you, are likely to be confident. They have the lines, the chat, the attitude which they learned through long practice. You may just be the next exercise.’

‘I like shy men.’

‘Actually, I doubt you’ve ever met one.’

Bolder and Boulder

‘I never believed such a man would come into my life,’ repeats Warren’s beloved.

In my mind I see Rory playing his bagpipes to the moon at midnight. It’s a big garden so he shouldn’t get much thrown at him, I imagine. He’s a good man who deserves all good things. 

The boulder…oh yes, the boulder.

Earlier this year I surveyed Donna’s magnificent property in Cumbria which falls pretty much naturally into a perfect feng shui configuration. Over the years however extensions had weakened the back or mountain. One thing I  suggested to her was a statue to the rear in the North West which represents men and Fathers, neither of which have been entirely under control in her life, as well as a substantial boulder  Some months on, she had not managed to find a boulder. Why not ? These things always have meaning. When all recommendations but one have been completed, what’s not been done is likely to be what’s most important.Get bold, get the boulder.

Peeking Daily.

Richard tweets on Twitter each morning (as FengShuiDiaries) with a summary of the day in terms of the Chinese Calendar. Twitter of course is interactive. Don’t risk getting up without it !

Turkey Shoot.

After Osborne has shot himself in both feet, the hereditary multi-millionaire David Cameron comes onto the screen to commend his deputy’s aim. It’s going to be a hard few years, he warns, for all of us who are not hereditary multi-millionaires, non-doms or financed by Private Equity Funds. I bless him. Political parties know only to elect lovable leaders by now. How confusing is that? The new voters, the 1988 Dragons, 1989 Snakes and 1990 Horses who are inherently stroppy, may not be so easygoing, I think. These sharp young minds must be considering how this happened. The ones who voted Liberal may be feeling as if they were actually born under the sign of the Turkey and close to Christmas at that. I see sit-ins and protests in the near future. No supernatural powers required for this.

I hear Donna’s got the boulder and I hear she may cautiously be considering being in love herself.

Love is not safe and we don’t get its benefits if we will not take its risks. As I said, I seem to have landed on a planet where certain things appear to be so that I would sooner were not. This too shall pass. This is the tao.

©Richard Ashworth 2010


Names have been changed to protect..uh…me.

There’s a guy works down the chipshop, swears he’s Elvis

May 27, 2010

Welcome to Imperial Feng Shui

Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diaries

Solar fortnight beginning:

Wednesday May 5th 2010 23.29 

Hour Day    Month         Year
fire    wood metal metal
bing yute tsun gung
tze muw Si yan
rat rabbit snake tiger


Month:                 tsun si the metal Snake
Solar Fortnight:   lap ha Summer begins

There’s a guy works down the chipshop, swears he’s Elvis

No disrespect meant to Monkeys or Dogs last time. We are all a great deal more than our Year Animals and we all have choice. Some of my best friends are Dogs. And Monkeys. And Rats and Pigs and Roosters and er….let’s move on.

I find myself driving to Tesco to pick up vegetables as there are no more greengrocers in GU7. In the car park a middle-aged man is collecting up the trolleys. He smiles as he works. He is part of the supermarket’s admirable policy of employing adults with special needs. Stacking trolleys seems to be the lowest assignment on the food chain but he’s doing a great job and he appears to be having a fun time on this sunny day.

I go to the coffee shop and start to write up my report for a big surfing store in the West Country. We have recently moved house and for the time being I don’t have an office. Actually I like working in coffee shops anyway.

The store is suffering from the reluctance of  Devon women to see surfer gear as couture. It is also suffering serious Electro Magnetic Stress from the transformers in the spotlights and an office in the very worst possible location. I have just one day to turn this business around. I hope I have time to make a difference. For a variety of reasons Dave needs the business safe and sound by January. Retaining me would be smart but we all have budgets to work to.

Riding the microwave

EMS can be exhausting, in extreme cases it can lead to cancers and tumours. The most common source is mobile phones which someone compared to holding a microwave oven to your ear. Since we could not be hurt by it if we did not feel it, on some level the Devon shoppers will know they risk grilling. In a Tiger Year this will tend to show up in the South West and North East of the shop. One is where the changing rooms are and the other just inside the main door. I breathed into both spots to move it on, we placed crystals and I got Dave, to keep the offending spotlights off as much as possible. More can be done yet.

Through the coffee shop window now I spot, also parking trolleys, a bloke I have noticed before. He must be in his mid 60’s. If I know anything about ba zi, he is a 1944 Wood Monkey. I might be wrong about the year but there’s Monkey in there somewhere. In the Tiger year of course, the Monkey tends to have a hard time. The positions of the two Animals on the compass are opposite, the Monkey is Yang Metal and the Tiger Yang Wood. Metal fights Wood: this is a menu for conflict. So 2010 is unlikely to be his year.

I’ve seen this guy in the village off and on for ages. He worked for a while in one of the off licences – now mostly gone, thanks to Tesco – and in one of the newsagents (some survive because supermarkets don’t deliver, I guess or hold the smaller fiddly items). He’s all there and whether he’s putting the Sunday magazines into a pile of red-tops or carefully putting paper between bottles of Merlot (three for a tenner which is precisely the number that fits into a carrier bag) he has always made each task look as if he’s been doing it all his life. He’s a bit macho about this, a bit rapid. Not married I imagine, not a homeowner, not an obvious success story, I can only guess at his history. At the end of each transaction he says «Much obliged,» as opposed to «Thank you,»  ©Clint Eastwood, Rawhide, 1959, I think.

I watch him puffing and grimacing in the car park. It’s not necessarily my view but it seems to be his that he’s hit the bottom of the pile. I think he might be called Cliff.

Surfin’ so far

Dave, the surfing supremo, is modest about his management skills. He has lost good people he thinks, because he has over-managed. This clearly hurts. I can feel it while he is silent for a moment and on my advice takes a deep breath. Any problem can be solved by correct breathing. When we breathe correctly we feel and there is nothing more real than feeling.

Also a Monkey, he is a thoughtful, gifted and compassionate man. His ba zi suggests someone torn between the examples of a dynamic mother and a more subtle father. He is beating himself up before my eyes; he’s a big guy and I imagine when he beats himself up he stays beaten. This man of all men, needs a smart committed woman.

«If staff move on because you are on their case, they should probably be encouraged to go,» I offer. «Everybody has to adjust to get by in the workplace and at the end of the day, you’re the one whose life savings are at risk.»

I find myself wondering if the end of the day is a good time to surf. I think it must be.

«I’m more hands-off now,» he says.

In my room.

We’re standing outside the shop unit. It’s beautifully fitted out: high ceilings, a beachside theme with beach huts as changing rooms. We’re watching elegant B+ shoppers drive pushchairs past his door towards John Lewis.

The hands off policy has involved occupying a bare box room at the end of the shop beyond the stock room. His desk is the sort of thing you’d get in an auction job lot and it faces a wall. The room is small, square and stuffy and without natural illumination; energy-saving sensors turn lights outside on and off every time someone enters the stock room from the shop as if there were a very small, very quiet discotheque just out of view. It’s quite distracting.

The Flying Stars indicate that the chi pocket here is 5:2. This means he’ll get sick if he stays and it’s no place to achieve anything. But there’s still time, it’s only May. Facing a wall suggests he has turned his back on important information and the scrappy desk implies he is not in charge. He is smart enough and modest enough to admit all of this. He is desperate to succeed and learn. I can only respect that. He talk engagingly of «footfall» and «tribe».

One corner of the stock room holds the 9 Star of future wealth. I recommend he moves out there, and orients his vdu North West to tap into the leading energy of the year. Conveniently he will be backing onto a wall and facing his own t’ang lung (that is acquisitive) direction.

«Spend some money on a really nice desk, put pending work into units behind you – keep them visible – so that the desk remains clear. Make the decor as red and white as you can.»

Red and white means money as any Chinese bank can tell you. Just look at the house colours of HSBC and the Bank of China.

We mumbo and jumbo in the neglected areas of the shop and I leave him a long list of tasks. There’s more.

We had lunch with his wife-to-be. Once invited, she had plenty to say and much of it was very insightful. Their ba zis connect in an interesting way: his Day Animal (Earth Pig, since you asked) appears in her Year and Month. She will understand him well. Above all Dave needs someone to bounce ideas off, someone smart and female who loves him is ideal. Choosing her has been one of his better decisions. That is if you believe men ever choose women as opposed to the converse.

As the ba zi indicated, they had broken up briefly a year or so ago. He tells a farcical story of winning her back by failing to impress with his boat and breaking her father’s nose.

«There was blood everywhere,» he says.

«You slick operator, you. »

Back at Cafe Cohen, I complete the report and drive home.

Feed a man a Fish

On Saturday I return to Tesco. This time we need fish and of course the fishmongers are long gone. I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish. Call me wrong headed but there you go.

Cliff serves me. His barcode reader will not read so he swings briskly round to the neighbouring till as if he has been borrowing barcode readers, man and boy, for decades. I feel a wave of compassion that is close to tears as he swipes my loyalty card. I can see that the barcode reader has been working all along, he only needed to aim it straight. He was just a bit hasty, a bit macho, a bit Clint Eastwood, Rawhide, 1959. He tries so hard.

«Much obliged,» he says, handing my card back.


Visit Taoist China in 2010

My friend Master Howard Choy is taking another group to China this year. Stops include the holy mountain of Wudanshang which I visited with him in 2005. At its summit, the jade-green Taoist temple receives the homage of the 72 lesser mountains in the range, stretching out to the horizon in three directions. Howard is a feng shui and tai chi Master as well as a Native Mandarin speaker who knows and loves the territory.

Details from:

In Space Clearing no one can hear you scream

March 17, 2010

Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diaries

 Solar fortnight beginning: Tuesday February 19th 2010 02.35






















Month:                 mow yan the earth Tiger
Solar Fortnight:   yu shui Rain water


In Space Clearing no one can hear you scream

 The attentive reader will have noticed that this is my first Feng Shui Diary this year. Some of you may have welcomed the break; feng shui can be indigestible and my relentless facetiousness not everyone’s yum cha. And a burst appendix with complications isn’t a great reference. I’m supposed to see these things coming.

It’s 5:30 and I’ve been surveying since 10am. I still get very tired although I recognise that feng shui is not hod-carrying. This smart town house is on the site of a demolished hospital. Interesting. A neighbouring hospital is of course a feng shui no-no but one in the foundations is a different proposition; I can work with that. North-South, it’ll be fine.

 This is the Year of the Tiger, a time of competition and turmoil. The Tiger is strong in my ba zi. A Dragon will advance but he’ll have to be light on his feet.

While I was myself in hospital I took several trips physical and otherwise, around the environment to identify which energies were where. A hospital is no place to go for a rest. If there’s one thing I learned it was to take care in the car parks. The number of shunts I’ve seen. So much distress and distraction. You can see in their eyes that they’d do anything to make a positive difference and bending the car may be the closest they can get.

 For some reason as I write, Levi Stubbs is singing di-di-didit in my head. No one sings di-di-didit like Levi Stubbs. The Four Tops: Simple Game. About 1973. And of course he’s right. I di-di-didit. Silly arse. My story which is a pretty lame one, is that I was too busy: busy maintaining my retainer clients, busy doing surveys as promptly as I can for people who often find it painful to wait, busy handling queries – sometimes very complex – from clients, students, non-clients and people who just want some love. Feng shui is about balance and busyness is one of the most blatant forms of imbalance. And I was, as my Father used to say, tuned to transmit. I was not receiving. Those who would give to me were blocked by my relentless output. Silly arse.

When I was felled we had to let down dozens of clients and every one has been gracious and patient. I am humbled. Some got precious little notice and all had paid in advance. “You give so much,” Sheila says.

“Is that so?” I say. I’d kind of forgotten.

My friend Sadie emails to tell me it’s not too late to ask for help. And today Gemma and Anna, the SoulSisters, (have a look at their FaceBook page) have privileged us with their smiles and light work. Anna is a medium and her principal spirit guide is a scantily clad and fit young Native American. Whatever floats your boat, I say.

Sound and Vision

So on Jan 16th, during the month of the Fire Ox, by some reckoning the last kick of the year of the Earth Ox, by others the first kick of the vengeful Metal Tiger, I underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix and some colourful complications. A fun time was had by all.

As a Dragon I’m always at risk from the Ox. One Ox means «small blockages», two, that in spades. And the Tiger never forgets. My Mother was a Tiger and my older brother. The Ox-Tiger cusp is a risky place. I’m supposed to foresee these things.

For three days I was on morphine. Don’t try this at home. Morphine is everything I’m not about. It is non-feeling, the withdrawal of withdrawals. What little I know about the human condition is that it appears to consist of lessons. God – and I mean every word of this – knows why. These lessons seem to come wrapped up in feelings. If we feel, we learn. If we learn, we may be blessed with uneventful lives. If we won’t learn we are likely to be presented with ever more dramatic challenges. In time if we don’t pay attention, the Universe, God, Spirit or whatever, sends the fire brigade. This is the tao. You don’t of course, have to agree.

Di-di-didit sings Levi Stubbs. I know, I know.

The degree to which we observe the tao is the degree to which we are content. The degree to which we act as if we know better, is the degree of our distress. And it’s no good hiding behind karma or God’s will. This is not a court order; it is pure choice. This is my Universe. I am responsible for it.

So in the Ox month of inflammation in the Ox year of blockages, I sent myself the fire brigade in the form of an inflamed blockage. Silly arse.

And if you can’t immediately see how 2009 was about blockage, ask Barack Obama.

While I was on morphine, hanging between worlds like an out-take from the X-Files, I saw stuff: vision, revelation, epiphany delusion, I leave that judgement to you. One man’s delusion is as good as the next so I’m going to tell you something about mine.

 One was this: Feng Shui has come out of the experiments and speculation of a series of Chinese geniuses. Each of these geniuses however was working for a psychopathic despot who was as likely to deprive the diviner of a limb at a whim as reward him.

 I saw this history going back into the beginning of time. I saw how feng shui like Western Science, is on one level a way to explain the world. A way to control.. These systems are a method of distracting us from the fact that we are each spinning alone in darkness on an imaginary ball of mud. Nothing much will be controlled.

 The Emperors whose patronage fostered this stuff were to a man, ambitious, venal and er….short on empathy. Perhaps the victor ludorum in these pursuits was Qin Shi Huang Di who unified China in the 3rd Century BCE. He burned lots of books but he was a big time sponsor of feng shui. In the end he was poisoned by some infested gunk he had travelled to the Western Sea to take as a potion for immortality. Silly arse.

 On the way home, in the summer heat, his body began to stink. His retainers, nervous of anarchy, told no one and marinated his body with spices. He had of course, before setting out, endowed the vast mausoleum outside Xian that houses the Terracotta Army. And he had tidily arranged his affairs so that the appropriate concubines and retainers were buried alive when the body came home. Not a man you’d invite back to your Auntie’s. Feng shui is tainted with these origins which places a responsibility upon those of us who know it for the most powerful healing tool there is. Healing covers a spectrum from the physical to performance enhancement and first and foremost I am a healer.

I once visited the tomb of a Ming prince in Central China with a feng shui Master. Seven concubines had been buried with this one. Apparently they were dead before burial.

“They die of grief,” the Master told me straightfaced.

The fact is that feng shui Masters down the centuries have pandered to monsters like Qin Shi Huang Di, keeping their heads down and doing a bit of research on the side. The principal occupation of the Chinese Master was bringing his patron more mistresses and a competitive edge.

 While I was horizontal, studded with canulas and bewildered with opiates, it seemed in the haze that I saw Lord McCartney’s 1793 trade mission to the Qian Long Emperor. McCartney’s charge was at all costs to gain access to Chinese spices, silk and tea. He brought a proud selection of the products of the Industrial Revolution to trade: sugar, linen, engines, clocks precise to the micro-second. Qian Long was quite taken with the clocks but ultimately concluded that China did not need any Western tat. This was the Middle Kingdom – better translated as the Centre of the World – China had been the most advanced civilisation since the early centuries AD. The Chinese had been first with paper, gunpowder, archaeology, the compass, a professional Civil Service; you name it, the Chinese thought of it first. Qian Long’s Mandarin advisers however can not have failed to wonder how China could have fallen behind so drastically. The answers to that are long and contentious and include the fact that the sheer efficiency of the Ming and then Qing absolute monarchies tended to stifle invention. To this day the Chinese may make all our training shoes but they don’t design them.

Anyway the English had already encountered peoples from Samoa to Dublin who protested that their civilisations were different and superior. And to the English they were all ‘fuzzie-wuzzies’ who would succumb to bullets and discipline. The sun as they say, never set on the British Empire because no one would trust an Englishman in the dark.

So the English devised a scheme to flood China with addictive drugs. The outcome of this was that by the 1830’s some 1,400 tons of opium was getting into China each year. The cost to Chinese health, wealth and wellbeing is incalculable. There are as many monsters West as East.

In my own drug reverie I saw a Mandarin. He was an older man, cultured and accustomed to power. I knew he was Qing by his pigtail and moustache. He was aflame with a bitter anger as he considered the thousands of opium dens and the state that China had descended to. He compared the addicts created by the British with the Africans slaving in Jamaica, Barbados and the Southern States of the USA, the Magnificent Savage brought to his knees with whips and chains. “At least,” I heard him say, “The black man did not pay to become enslaved.”

There followed two Opium Wars with the British and a bitterness that lasts to this day. The Three Emperors Exhibition of artistic wonders of the Late Qing that visited Europe in 2007 was still echoing Qian Long’s point: we don’t need any of your Western tat. Only they did and do. The Chinese approach to progress had not worked. And the miracle that is modern China is built on Western technology. I’m not to blame for slavery or the Opium Wars but there is a karmic debt here. I am plugging into power that has not all been come by cleanly. Which means I must be super-clean, super-awake, super-benevolent.

I finish surveying the town house. Sometime during the survey I become aware that I have been here once before. It was in the Tiger year of 1962 for the only other major operation I have ever undergone. A part of me is here. Tonsils actually. When I get home my 15-year old son Joey tells me what he has been doing on his music production course. He’s been remixing “I heard it through the Grapevine. “

The drums were muddy so I took them out,” he tells me. Took them out! That’s Benny Benjamin. That’s like touching up the Sistine Chapel. I half-expect him to say that there’s this singer called Marvin something who’s a but whiney so he’s taken him out too. Di-di-didit sings Levi Stubbs.

©Richard Ashworth 2010

Richard Ashworth’s Feng Shui Tune-Up for 2010

January 8, 2010

Welcome to Imperial Feng Shui

Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diaries

Solar fortnight beginning:

Tuesday December 22nd 2009 01.40


Hour  Day Month Year
metal metal fire metal
tsun tsun bing gung
chou chou tze yan
ox ox rat tiger
Month:                 bing tze the fire Rat  
Solar Fortnight:   dung jee Winter Solstice  

 Richard Ashworth’s Feng Shui Tune-Up for 2010 

 Tiger Raw

As promised here is what to do and where to do it in 2010.. My daughter Jessie calls this «Where to put stuff to get stuff » It doesn’t make racy reading. 

Below  is the matrix of how I Tune-up a building for 2010:

 The magic square or lo shu has an 8 at its centre this year. Usable sectors are marked in red and not-so good in black. You locate them by finding the tai chi or heart of your house (the geometric centre) and standing there with a decent compass. You’ll find the tai chi by measuring the widest width by the longest length; where the lines cross is the heart. Feng shui is a very personalied thing: bear in mind that this advice refers only to the pockets of energy for 2010 which are the same in every house. Some aspects of this advice may not suit you or your house; you would need me there to be quite sure. So I’m not to blame if you are for instance oriented NE-SW and you get a plague of boils. Oh and I never said it was easy to follow. Okay?


                                       7       3       5

                             E       6       8       1        W

                                      2       4       9


 1.      De-activate the South East (Water to SE3)

Remove temporary plants, lights, music or crystals placed there  in 2009 as the SE now holds the aggressive Red 7 Star. There may be reasons to maintain activation but the implications of  exciting the 7 Star must be borne in mind. Ground falling away will naturally activate the South East as will water both ofwhich stimulate communication but higher ground in the     South East is physically dangerous this year. Auspiciously timed and placed Water at SE3 (the Snake) where the Moon  sits will encourage ideas to turn to money.

2.      Do not disturb the South West which holds the Year Breaker as well as the 5 yellow. No decorating and especially no  digging, drilling or excavation. If disturbance is absolutely inevitable, ask me for an auspicious moment. This applies even  if the 5 has been banished using the prescribed procedure   during January. Avoid using doors in this location.

3.      Activate the East which holds the 6 of authority and establishment. Activate W1 simultaneously at an auspicious moment to maximize the benefit. Work, play and open doors here. Light and plants are especially effective .

4.      Activate the West 1  for talk and celebration, timely assistance and last-minute preparation. Noise: as loud as you like. No water. Activate W1 simultaneously with E for optimum results at auspicious moment. Work, play and open doors here. Metal objects, the colour white, globes and circles will work here.

5.      East-West Ritual Place three candles in the E and seven at  W1 burning constantly plus a bowl of (new moon charged) crystals to keep these sectors integrated. Fine tuning: take three crystals from East to West at dawn and seven back to West at dusk. Balance the numbers of crystals at new moon.

6.      South: judicious use of S1 & S3

The South holds the argumentative 3 star as well as the Three Curses, making it an area to be cautious of. Both S1 and S3 however can be used to effect breakthrough (and indeed conception) with careful activation. The default quality of the fire of the South is fame and advancement but fire will have a personal significance in each ba zi. Make it light and bright.

7.      North: trigger appropriately along with West.

Carefully placed and timed water will activate career, authority, 0pportunities, relationship and control. Other activation of the  North brings only scandal. The more water and the more active  the more power in 2010.

8.      Use the North West

 The North West is the key from 2009-2011: work, play, open door or window here for wealth. From Jan 5th burn six candles all day here including at least 3 of the hours of darkness.

9.      Keep the tai chi quiet and still.

10.    Stay out of the tai sui in the North East

Sickness and property follow the 2 Star. SW-NE oriented houses risk financial dramas. Avoid using doors here. Higher ground and the taller parts of the building bring property luck out of illness if in the NE. Lower rooms and water the reverse.

 I hope you find this useful.

Next fortnight, the year animals and after that at last my diaries will again be magical, chatty, wise and literate. Watch this space.

 ©Richard Ashworth 2010

Towards 2012: What to expect from the Metal Tiger, Richard Ashworth’s year forecast for 2010

December 30, 2009

Welcome to Imperial Feng Shui

Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diaries

Solar fortnight beginning:

Tuesday December 7th 2009 07.05 

Hour  Day  Month  Year
water fire fire earth
ren bing bing gay
zhen sute tze chou
dragon dog rat ox

Month:                 bing tze the fire Rat
Solar Fortnight:   dau shuut Great snow

Towards 2012: What to expect from the Metal Tiger

Richard Ashworth’s year forecast for 2010

 Notes: This is a summary of general trends divined from the ba zi of the Metal Tiger. Embarrassing errors are close to inevitable and no attempt has been made to be inclusive. Further personalised detail is available by arrangement.

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2010 and 2011, The Run-Up to 2012.

It may be of course that the Mayans just ran out of ink. And if you think they were some race of prehistoric Nostradamus’ just remember that they actually stole their calendar and the accompanying astronomy from their smarter neighbours, the Toltecs.

Sticking strictly to the Chinese Cycles, iE ren zhen, the Water Dragon year 2012, actually mirrors other Water Dragon years such as 208BCE, the year of the unification of China as well as 32BCE which might be the year of the Crucifixion. The Water Dragon of 1412 saw the birth of Joan of Arc who united a whipped France behind her to victory over the invading English. She would be a Dragon, wouldn’t she? There’s no telling them a thing. Other Water Dragon years include 1592, the year of the first English colonies in America and 872 when Alfred (of cakes fame) unified England. These unifyings are probably the types of event to expect in 2012. I expect to be more specific as we get closer. Watch this space.

The Mayans, like the Chinese, thought in terms of a series of bigger and bigger years. For the Chinese the tai sui or great year is 12 years long and mirrors the orbit of Jupiter around the Sun which is a little under 12 Earth years. Our years – the Rat, Ox and indeed Tiger – are in effect months in the greater year. And this mega-year of twelve is itself a month in a bigger year again. If I have understood, the Mayans appear to have been suggesting the loss of two of these maxi-months which in a maxi-year of 144 Earth years amounts to 24 Earth years. They appear to be saying that the world is due to be closed from 2012 until 2036.

Perhaps we can look forward to a concerted response to Global warming. The next Chinese cycle or Fate actually opens in 2016 (or 2024 depending on which teaching you follow) and lasts until 2044 (on which feng shui Masters are agreed). This Fate is numbered 9 which represents both fire and authority. So if this means two decades of Global warming, we’ve got off lightly.

Meanwhile we have 2010 and indeed 2011 to get through. Now, as they say: read on.

Continued after panel.               

Tune Up for 2010 : Last year’s price for next year’s tune up.

 The Metal Tiger of 2010 is very different from the Earth Ox of 2009 and looks quite bleak in terms of what will be on the front pages of the papers. We don’t have to settle for that: we always have choice. Feng shui is doing the right thing in the right place at the right time. There are new places to activate for health, wealth and wisdom and new places to leave still in 2010. And some crucial tricks that must be done before February. We’re charging 2009’s price for 2010’s tune up if you book and pay in 2009. 

Contact Sheila at :

Continued from before panel

 First, in case you don’t want to wade through my reasoning, here are some of the possible key events of 2010:

 Two Elections in the UK following hung Parliament in May.

  • Russians cut off energy supplies in late winter.
  • February: shortlived ASEAN bull market.
  • February: second prong of W-shape recession. Property prices fall as unemployment rockets.
  • February: New England spree killing
  • February: atrocity NE Iraq and/or Afghanistan sets the tone for a year of reprisals. Worst year of American losses since 1973.
  • Terrorist action in a UK garrison town.
  • Police kettling disaster Tyneside or Deeside.
  • Venezuela threatens American oil supplies.
  • Mugabe sticky end mid-year.
  • Politics enters football in a big way in the run-up to the World Cup. England makes it to the finals or semis but does not win. African nations fare better than expected.
  • Osama bin Laden: betrayed by a friend or even a son, April-May 2010. Possible spectacular. And/or Something sudden in April.
  • Proposed drastic UK education cuts modified after vigorous protest late spring, early summer.
  • The Queen delegates to William, preparatory to abdication in 2013 after health scare.
  • Obama back with a bang mid-Summer, a moment of special grace Sep 22nd or so. Ratings bounce back in time for mid-terms following progress in Afghanistan. Congressional witch hunts.
  • Banks attempt to throw off governmental controls; repossessions and foreclosures hit new highs.
  • Strike action in the late autumn in the North.
  • Earthquake and unrest in Assam hits the price of tea.
  • Chinese Moslems introduce suicide bombers; authorities hit back remorselessly.
  • Sudden stock market fall April.
  • Controversial political imprisonment of a woman in March.
  • Tottenham for Europe.
  • Australian cricket in chaos, lose Ashes at home
  • Food quality and pollution issues July South West.
  • November: house market frees up. Some recovery. Aren’t you glad you read this far?

 Gung Yan, the Metal Tiger: Tigger or Shere Khan?

The Tiger, whose qualities include ferocity, patience, vision, rapid movement and long memory is the most feared Animal of the Chinese Zodiac. Many Chinese Masters are at pains to reassure students that the Tiger is not so scary after all which can come off like emphasising the positive aspects of a shark attack. 2010 looks like a formidable year. This is not to say that it can not be satisfying and enjoyable. You and I are each responsible for such choices in our lives. Furthermore in many (but not all) theatres of human activity one man’s loss is another’s gain.

The Tiger is not the most powerful of the Animals; that’s generally reckoned to be the Dragon. Nor is the Tiger the most respected (which is probably the Rat) the most outgoing (Horse) or even the greatest leader (Ox, like Barack Obama but also Hitler, Napoleon and Baroness Thatcher) It is however the Animal the Chinese diviner fears.

To gain some insight as to why, we need only consider that all Tigers are of the Wood element while this Tiger is the Metal variant. The underlying qualities of Wood are youth, movement and aspiration. The Tiger is motivated and unstoppable. The qualities of Metal are age, authority and conservatism. Metal is impassable. To possess both is to be seriously conflicted. Metal clashes Wood.

The Tiger is above all impatient. Tiger energy is visible in nature in the stirrings of early morning and the fresh growth of spring. In point of fact this is precisely how Chinese thinkers millennia ago, arrived at the theory of the Five Elements and ultimately the Year Animals; they observed them in nature. Metal is competitive rather than aspirational. Authority can bide its time but it will win by sheer cunning. Metal belongs to Autumn and the afternoon.

Let’s also emphasis that Wood qualities are not only visible early in the morning and at the quickening of the year but in the years 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986 and 1998 as well as in the character of those born in those years and times. Additionally, those born on a Tiger day (which you will only identify with a Chinese 10,000 year calendar*) are the most Tiger-like of all.  

So the Metal of 2010 is at odds with the Wood of the Tiger. It is the authority that the youthful Tiger natural opposes. It is the natural enemy of wood. Feng shui is the art of coincidence and the plight that Tiger Woods, the golfer whose name echoes the year, finds himself in is illustrative: is he a philanderer or a pillar of family values? It’s tough to be both. The Metal Tiger is an internally and externally conflicted creature. A trapped Tiger will chew its own claws off to escape. This beast is not at peace mostly because it is at war with itself.

* Which with typical Chinese hyperbole usually covers around 180 years.

 A Year of Escalated Conflict: Obama, Hawk or Dork?

An aspect of the Tiger is conflict between young men. The Tiger years of 1914 (commencement of WWI) and of 1854 (the year of the Charge of the Light Brigade) are extreme examples but it is likely that 2010 will see more rather than less war. Escalation of the occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan make this close to inevitable as do those in the Sudan and the Congo. Consult a map if you had forgotten these.

It will take time for the expanded forces to dig into Asia Minor and major losses are likely especially due South early in the Summer following opportunist sallies to the North. The tide does not turn until the autumn at which time Barack Obama may be branded permanently with the familiar reputation of visionary as well the unfamiliar one of hawk. The Chinook-like sound you will hear at Arlington Cemetery as each fresh body is consigned to its grave, is Lyndon Johnson spinning in his. Like you I could cry when I consider the lessons not learned.

There are five Tigers, one per Element. Since there are twelve distinct Animals that’s one Tiger every twelve years. Lyndon Johnson of course was only Vice-President during the escalation in Vietnam in the Tiger year of 1962 and a junior Senator when the Korean War opened in the previous Metal Tiger of 1950 but he was President when it all went out of control in the late 60’s. Expect an American presence in Afghanistan for at least as long as in Vietnam, possibly as long as West Germany.

Confrontation between young males will be also be expressed in some of the most serious student unrest since the early 70’s. Current university undergraduates are of course predominantly 1988 Dragons, 1989 Snakes and 1990 Horses. A student body dominated by Horses and Dragons will not take funding cuts lying down and might even alter the outcome.

A Year of  Financial Turmoil: the i-pod of the Tiger

As the Metal Tiger is marginally less fearsome than the Wood Tiger, so much of the year’s disturbance will probably be economic and social. Is that better or worse? Metal clashing Wood is accountancy taking precedence over Human Resources.

Expect strike action as unemployment figures take flight. There will be especial unrest in the South West of England and indeed in the Southern Mid-West of the USA but effective industrial action is limited to the North East. Any green shoots before November are likely to be the ones displaced manual workers come across digging their allotments to keep busy. This may lead to the rediscovery of small manufacturing as banks discover they can’t charge for money they haven’t lent and 30 years of Thatcherism gives way to a recognition of the need for  profitable employment for all – which may not simply mean jobs, by the way.    

Banks are generally considered to be Metal and this is a year in which the banks declare independence from government. Bank charges rocket and foreclosures proliferate. This is the second downward prong of the W-shaped recession. Property takes a further tumble along with other markets. The only relief is in sharp corrections spring and autumn followed by the first signs of recovery in November.

Manufacturing falls away worldwide as markets recede, especially in Metal sectors such as high tech. As in property there will be plenty of bargains but the moment to buy will remain hard to pick in the volatile climate.

The After Eight Mint: A Year of Weakened Government

One of the sharp market corrections – during the last burst of the Dragon month in the first week in May – probably coincides with the all-change of a UK General Election. But just as the opposite of love is not hate but indifference and the opposite of change not stability but stagnation, settled Labour government is followed by unsettled administration rather than a settled alternative. This echoes the last time Parliament was returned hung, in the Wood Tiger year 1974.

So the result of the spring Election is unlikely to be conclusive and may be followed by a further election in October. Minority and extremist parties over-achieve and turnout is dismal.

Esoterically 2010 is a lo shu 8 year. The current Fate (ie era) in Chinese terms is also 8. Accordingly 2010 typifies the era, so trends and tendencies are doubled up. Both Fate and year concern loyalties, consolidation and entrenched religious views.  

Along with a return to extremist politics comes a return to other fixed positions which serve only to demonstrate their own short shelf life.

This trend is reflected in China, India and Russia as well as the USA where rightwing groups once more confuse God with America and possibly apple pie. Sarah Palin’s following grows but fortunately for Obama the Congressional midterm elections fall at just the right moment. Some ideological purging follows.

In China the forces of democracy start to make real headway preparatory to breakthrough in 2012. Someone already in power backs the democratic movement. Tired of manufacturing the world’s gym shoes, the Chinese who boast a history of aesthetics going back three millennia, demand the right to design and imagine and express themselves safely. The question whether successful capitalism can co-exist with a repressive regime may be settled once and for all by 2013. Er….it’s a no.

 Continues after panel. 

The Next Two Feng Shui Diaries:

 Dated 22nd December: location by location, what to do where in order to be healthy, wealthy and wise in 2010.

Dated 7th January: An outline of the prospects for the year, Animal by Animal.

 Don’t miss next month’s thrilling instalment(s)

 Continued from before panel.

 The I of the Tigris

The Yang Metal of this Tiger is big Metal, powerful Metal. As noted earlier, the Metal of authority, of armies and generals as well as banks is ranged against the progressive aspiration of the Tiger.

Terrorist activity is indicated: Osama bin Laden is in the news in mid-year either because he is betrayed by an intimate, possibly (even a son) or because he is rumoured to be behind a major attack or both. In China, Islamic Fundamentalism goes militant and is not restricted to the South Western provinces. China responds with predictable harshness which may rebound.

In India there are major natural disasters as well as further insurrection. Trouble in Assam to the South East in the Spring may affect the price of tea just as similar forces in Africa impact on the price of Coffee. Starbucks’ look out!

The Russian administration underlines its own insecurity by threatening to close energy supply lines to the EU. The Russian voter shows just how unimpressed he is by anything other than wealth, in the elections that may follow which will tend to firm up ties with the West. It’s the economy, stupid.

Zero years are often years of aftermath: 1990 followed the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1970 the revolutionary 60’s, 1930 the upheaval of the Wall Street Crash. 2010 is more complex as governments attempt to compensate for the forced spending of the last couple of years while facing fresh liquidity challenges. Taxes rise along with real bank charges but not (at least at first) apparent interest rates. The stealth tax is fashionable again.

It’ll all be a lot more obviously joyous in 2011, tsun muw. 2011 is Zebedee, the Rabbit on a spring, who ought to be preceded by the equally bouncy Tigger but er…isn’t.

© Richard Ashworth 2009