on Feng Shui
on Feng Shui

Article FS09/aug1

Prof. Dr. Ong Hean-Tatt 3rd August 2009

Special articles from Dr. Ong's monumental scientific astronomical research into Chinese astrology.
Gui Management Centre is making available preliminary findings of our highly scientific research into Chinese astrology and Feng Shui, backed up by intensive analysis of the ancient texts. The series of articles on Zi Wei Dou Shu are:


Ever since the problems of errors in dating in Feng Shui and astrology have been highlighted in our website, books and courses, several practitioners have asked how to correct. The answers can be too complicated to deal adequately in a short write-up and this article will only attempt to stress certain points.

Early, we have noted these major errors:

  • 1. The precession of the equinoxes will cause the zodiac signs to shift one sign every 2,000 years. What is called the Year of Tiger is actually the Year of Rabbit.

    This particular error will cause the largest far ranging deviations in predictions.

  • 2. The current Chinese calendar was formulated by Emperor Yao, circa 2405 BC. The astronomical event controlling the Xuan Kong 20 years "Yun" is the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, whose periodicity is not exactly 20 years but 19.84 years. The advance of 0.16 year is insignificant in the short term. But, every 2,000 years or so, an extra cycle has to be added, which is done by the Hebrews astrologers. The Chinese calendar has never corrected for this deviation of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which had jumped about 2 cycles. What is called Period 8 by the Xuan Kong schools is actually Period 1!

    This error will make a mess of most Xuan Kong calculations.

Both errors arise because practitioners resort to use of calendars, whose dates are only approximations of actual astronomical movements. There is nothing faulty with calendars which were devised primarily for administrative purposes. Calendars necessarily deviated all the time from astronomical movements and thus underwent calendrical reforms all the time down the ages. In the short term the deviations are small and insignificant and practitioners could use the calendars. It is only through the long term when deviations would build up to significant differences that caution has to be taken.

  • As long as these calendars were used for the administrative purposes they were designed for it would be okay. Once one attempts to use it for astrology there would be mayhem.

Some thought that simple corrections could be made by shifting the zodiac signs in the Four Pillars one sign and the Xuan Kong Fei Xing calculations by calculating for Period 1 instead of Period 8. The issue is more complex than that.

We have to understand that the Feng Shui and astrology timing involves real astronomical movements and events. The Feng Shui and astrology effects do not appear by magic but must have real scientific basis in physical geography and astronomy. Many people who blissfully manipulate the calendrical formulas are somewhat naive.

We should be looking for the actual astronomical markers to really know what dating to apply. Both Yang Yun Sung in the Tang dynasty and Jiang Da Hong in the Ming dynasty were aware of the far greater accuracy of directly looking for the astronomical markers over the use of calendar dates:

  • Towards the end of the text of Qing Nang Aow Yi, Yang Yun Sung referred to the constellations, which compose a Time mechanism:

    QNAY 3.85, 3.86: Once again you are advised to identify the constellation, so that the good and bad, disaster and prosperity would happen like a miracle.

    QNAY 3.21, 3.22: Understand Xuan Kong within the Five Elements. QNAY 3.23, 3.24: Understand these methods, need not have to find the Na Jia.

  • Jang Yao (Chang Iau, student of Jiang Da Hong) had recorded:

    I asked the way of Na Jia if it matches with the way of setting the stars? Master said: "One is one, two is two. Now, people who talk about Na Jia only use the base/body. Only Xuan Kong is the true Na Jia."

    The Na Jia refers to a sort of calendrical dating involving the 24 Mountains.

The real approach is look for the planets and stars and know their positional timing. That way, you can never get their astrological timing wrong.


Many practitioners think they know a lot about Zi Wei Dou Shu Purple Star astrology or even Ba Zi. But as long as they do not comprehend its scientific basis, their so-called "deep" knowledge is surprisingly superficial!

Scientific Perspective

The problem with the use of calendars in Feng Shui and astrology is the question of which one truly reflects the astronomical markers? Is it the luni-solar calendar or the solar calendar, or neither? Our research into these calendars indicates certain weaknesses:

  • 1. The solar calendar misses out the Moon cycle effects which have to be accepted as a major astrological factor.

  • 2. The luni-solar calendar has a rather arbitrary designation of the inter-calary months. There were different ways of placing the inter-calary months since the Shang dynasty up to the Manchu Qing dynasty. So, a particular month can have different Four Pillars signs down the ages.

    In fact, the Four Pillars markers from the solar calendar often have some differences from those of the luni-solar calendar, especially with respect to the months.

None of these calendars will faithfully comprehensively reflect astronomical movements. Each calendar may have one or two points superior to those in another calendar. Accuracy in time marking of astronomical events is best obtained through direct observations of the planets and stars.

Much problems and controversies in Feng Shui and astrology are due to lack of scientific knowledge in physical geography and astronomy. Too often, practitioners have indulged in arbitrary mustical superstitious explanations, which make it anyone's guess is as good as another's.


The Chinese calendars do not necessarily reflect true astronomical movements. Hence use of such calendars can give wrong astrology dating.


In Zi Wei Dou Shu research, I will normally cast initial charts based on both solar and luni-solar calendars and various adjustments. It is possible to come up with 6 or so different charts. Invariably, unadjusted luni-solar and solar calendars often give readings which do not fit. This indicates that direct usages of either luni-solar or solar calendars may no longer follow actual astronomical influence.

A surprising thing is that adjusted solar calendar timings gave more accurate readings than use of the luni-solar calendar! The major reason appears to be that the solar calendar may track better the Four Pillars sign of the month than the luni-solar calendar. In Zi Wei Dou Shu the day according to the lunar cycle is of course important and central as it is used to locate the Zi Wei star.

There are a few levels of adjustments useful to improve astrological prognosis. In one level of adjustment of the solar calendar dating yields a chart which practically fit 100%, but the same adjustment is not as good as another for another person. This indicates that the mere adjustments in calendar dates still miss out some important astronomical relationships. I am aware of what these astronomical relationships could be but will require more research to iron them out.

The overall research finding is that trying to adjust the current solar or luni-solar calendars will still not eradicate some errors. This sort of problem will also exist in Hindu and Western astrology.

Exact timing may be obtained if we resort to ephemeris of the planets and stars. This tool is usable only when we know the actual relationships between the astronomical movements or events and the so-called astrological effects. This may be more possible in Hindu and Western astrology where actual planets are referred to. But what are these planets Zi Wei Dou Shu and Ba Zi have long forgotten. A major aspect of our research is trying to regain the actual relationships between the astronomical movements or events and the so-called astrological effects - this is going to take time.

It is not easy to convey the complicated reasoning in a short article here. I am afraid that you will have to attend one of our courses to really find out the details.


A number of levels of adjustments to the dates is required to improve the accuracy of the Zi Wei Dou Shu readings


The issue of errors in dating also spills over into other fields of Chinese geomancy.

I have also taught courses in Ba Zi and made Ba Zi calculations. There is a sinking feeling that the Ba Zi readings will miss certain things. Perhaps, more scientific research can markedly improve the application of Ba Zi. I believe that Zi Wei Dou and Ba Zi are valid astrological systems which can be markedly improved with scientific research.

The same thing cannot be said for the way the current Plum Blossom Mei Hua fortune telling is made. I had a very good scientific look at it and was very disappointed. They appeal to "intuition" but it is just a cover for reckless arbitrariness which smacks of "a lucky lottery draw sort of thing" - a Chinese lucky cookie thing. It is almost like Tarot card readings which however should be done only by people with true psychic ability.

Then we have the datings used in the Xuan Kong schools. It is not as simple as adjusting Period 8 to Period 1 for all the Xuan Kong schools of Fei Xing, Da Gua and Liu Fa and even 8 Mansions. (Bear in mind that Fei Xing uses a 9 Yuns formula while Liu Fa uses a 8 Yuns formula - which is right?).

In 1928 Tan Yang Wu the famous Xuan Kong Fei Xing master renounced Flying Star to take up Liu Fa. Liu Fa attacked the Fei Xing's use of the physical door or entrance to start the flight of the numbers. This is because in traditional Chinese architecture, practically all premises faced the auspicious South and hardly would face say North. Liu Fa starts another type of "flight of the numbers" by using the Yun number.

  • Tan Yang Wu was involved more seriously in cases of Xuan Kong Fei Xing than most others. His denouncement is significant as this means that Tan Yang Wu knew that the Fei Xing cases under him had no good track record. The failure rate in his Fei Xing cases was high enough to make him abandon Fei Xing for Liu Fa. In truth, Tan Yang Wu essentially labeled Fei Xing as a fraud.

    However, Master Sui Beng, who was a student of Tan Yang Wu, attacked Liu Fa as he regarded Fei Xing's 9 Yuns to be more accurate than Liu Fa's 8 Yuns. So, the debate goes on and on.

These Xuan Kong schools, including Da Gua and Eight Mansions, attacked each other, even though they claim to refer to the same ancient Feng Shui texts, particularly Tian Yu Jing, Heaven Jade Classic. My detailed study of this Tian Yu Jing and Tan Yang Wu's Xuan Kong Beng Yi, the Liu Fa bible, indicates that many masters did not understand both Tian Yu Jing and Qing Nang Aow Yi. The major reason is that they lacked sufficient knowledge of physical geography and astronomy to understand what were written.

The true reading of the ancient Feng Shui texts confirms the testimony of the traditional Chinese architecture that the premise must have a South frontage. All Xuan Kong Time calculations cannot and must not change this South frontage. The Liu Fa group is a bit more accurate in that they use the Yuns to fly the numbers - only their 8 Yuns do not tally with the scientific astronomical cycles of the 20 years Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions.

  • In brief, the ancient Feng Shui texts like that of Tian Yu Jing apply to a premise with a South frontage. Once the South frontage is secured, astrological dating was used to time and place certain important rituals in the Ming Tang.

    Our research in this area is ongoing.

Why don't enroll in our courses to learn more details? You probably have to go through some astronomy before grasping.


The outermost ring of the 28 Lunar Constellations along with some rings of stars are actually meant for astrology and not for Feng Shui! Modern practitioners are confused what the Luopan is!

Zi Wei Dou Shu uses the lunar cycle to obtain the day factor to use in the placing of the Zi Wei star. However, this day factor may be related to the position of the Moon against the 28 Lunar Constellations background.

Parting Advice

With respect to the uncertainty about astrological dating, I would like to enclose a significant observation made by Confucius:

  • 56. The Master said, "The shell and stalks employed by the great men must be held in awe and reverence. But the son of Heaven does not divine by the stalks. While the princes are keeping guard in their states, they divine by stalks. When the son of Heaven is on the road (traveling), he (also) divines by the stalks. In any other state but their own they do not divine by the stalks. They consult the tortoise shell about the chambers and apartments of the houses (where they lodge). The son of Heaven does not so consult the tortoise shell; he stays always in the grand ancestral temples."
    57. The Master said, "The men of rank, on occasions of special respect, use their sacrificial vessels. On this account they do not fail to observe set seasons and days, and do not act contrary to the intimations of the shell and stalks; thus seeking to serve with reverence the ruler and their superiors... (Li Chi, Book of Rites. Legge 1967. Volume 2:349-351)

The emperor did not have to consult astrology when he was staying within the ancestral temple.

While Confucius agreed that astrological dating can affect human welfare, it is overrode by the Form Luan Tuo Feng Shui established in the "ancestral temple". It is important to first establish the Form Luan Tuo Feng Shui of the premises before attempting to apply dating, if any.

Confucius' statement above also indicates that the ancient emperors used to consult both astrology and Feng Shui together. Astrology and Feng Shui were not practised separately but in integration. "How?" is one final thing research should uncover, and it may be the real basis of the currently ill-understood confused Xuan Kong Feng Shui.


The surface of the Sun is not homogeneous. The different segments on the surface of the Sun emit different solar radiation. As the Earth orbits around the Sun, the Earth will receive different solar radiation through the months and seasons of the year.

This heterogeneous surface of the Sun is a major astronomical basis of Zi Wei Dou Shu

Towards an Advance Scientific Zi Wei Dou Shu

We have gone a very far journey in our research into the scientific basis of Feng Shui and astrology. Not only the scientific basis of Zi Wei Dou Shu has been found, but the implication is far reaching in that it is now possible to realise how scientific is the whole field of astrology, including Western, Hindu and other notable astrological systems. Astrology is a scientific fact!

Pertinent scientific highlights are:

  • Many of the stars of Zi Wei Dou Shu relate to various parts of the unequal 28 Lunar Constellations.
  • The Zi Wei and Tian Fu stars are actually transformations of the "nine stars" of the Lo Shu.
  • Certain stars are connected with the mysteries of the Zi-Wu-Mao-You directions often noted in ancient geomantic documents like Yang Yun Sung's Tian Yu Jing (Heaven Jade Classic).
  • Conjunctions of the planets account for some of the Zi Wei Dou Shu stars.

The Zi Wei Dou Shu stars are not "imaginary stars" but real astronomical bodies and formations!

Gui Management Centre is making available preliminary findings of our highly scientific research into Chinese astrology and Feng Shui, backed up by intensive analysis of the ancient texts. Many findings are new and may disturb current views, but practitioners should be proactive to advance further.

The series of articles on Zi Wei Dou Shu are listed in the beginning of this article.

Those who are really interested in genuine Chinese astrology should also read our articles exposing the myths in Mei Hua Plum Blossom divination:


At least 4 different astronomical systems underlay the scientific secrets of Zi Wei Dou Shu

Other related articles:


King Wen

The secrets of heaven shall not be divulged....?