on Feng Shui
on Feng Shui

Article FS09/mar1

Prof. Dr. Ong Hean-Tatt 4th March 2009


Does the Bagua have to change for the Southern Hemisphere? Is it the Feng Shui North the True North or the Magnetic North?

Answers to these debates over patterns of the Bagua in the Southern Hemisphere are also connected with arguments over whether the Feng Shui north is the polar north or magnetic north. There are widespead disgreements among the Feng Shui schools. It will be difficult to convince each other in the ongoing debates, as the problem is that practitioners have no objective criteria to determine the validiy of what they say. If people expound their beliefs in mystical ways, all sorts of nonsense can be put forward.

We have to put Feng Shui and also astrology on an objective scientific basis. We have to use scientific reasoning and also the testimony of ancient history.

Seasonal Variations in Solar Radiation Basis of Qi

The ancient Chinese geomancers and astrologers used the gnomon stick to determine variations of the solar shadow (and thus solar energy) through the seasons to track the variations of qi throughout the year. The ancient records described how they measured the solar shadow with the gnomon stick:

They even divided the year's cycle into 24 Segments… They used six concentric circles, marked the 24-Segment points, divided the circles into 24 sectors and recorded the length of shadow every day. The shortest shadow is found on the day of Summer Solstice. The longest shadow is found on the day of Winter Solstice. After connecting each lines and dimming Yin Part from Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice, the Sun chart looks like [Figure on left]. (Allen Tsai, 1999)


Majority of practitioners are using the wrong directions for the Southern Hemisphere.

Although the above link between the shadow of the sun and the Yin Yang pattern has been known for some time, its full implications are not well understood. The very important scientific observation is that the annual seasonal variation in the solar shadow will actually form the symbol of the Yin Yang.

  • The Yin Yang is a measurement of the solar based variation of qi throughout the year! The 24 segments are the "24 Mountains" common in San He and San Yuan Feng Shui.

  • This is also a secret of the mysterious megaliths scattered throughout Europe, the Middle East and the parts of the world. They tried to track the time fluctuations of energy flows through measuring the movements of the Sun and the stars. Some of these megaliths tried to focus the energies to spots used for sacred rituals. Areas where energies are focused are actually equivalent to the Ming Tang (Bright Hall) of Feng Shui.

The seasonal variations in the solar shadow as measured by the gnomon stick was what is meant in this passage from the Chou dynasty:

  • "In 655 BC it is reported that the Duke of Lu went up to the Divine Terrace to observe the Ch'i at the equinoxes, solstices, and the beginning of the four seasons." (Walters 1987 p.238).

    In its earliest perspective, qi referred to some physically visible atmospheric aura or impression. Duke of Lu's equinoxes, solstices & beginning of 4 seasons are the 8 directions and trigrams of the Early Heaven Bagua.

    The well known evolution of the Primordial Monad or Tao into the 8 trigrams is thus the step by step description of these variations of the solar shadow and energy through the seasons.

The so-called "Divine Terrace" was actually a gnomon tower. The ancient Chinese emperors would establish huge devices to measure the solar shadow. Once such device was the Chou Kung tower located at Luoyang.

Left. Chou Kung Tower, Luoyang
In ancient times, they measured the shadow of the Sun with a large structure called the ancient Chou Kung Tower near Luoyang. It had a 12 m rule to measure the solar shadow.

The ancient records show that the measurement of the solar shadow was an important institution and the gnomon tower was a must in most major settlements:

  • "A palace must have a bei (tower) in order to observe the solar shadow." Yi Li Zhu Shu 21:14b. Eastern Han.

Using the sundial to measure the solar shadow to get the directions was the true ancient way of fixing the directions. The implications for the Southern Hemisphere have been missed out by most practitioners.

Early Heaven Bagua is Flow Chart of Seasonal Variation of Qi

It is not difficult to understand what the Bagua is.

In the Northern Hemisphere, during the summer solstice, the solar radiation will be at its height and this stage is symbolised by the trigram Qian for Heaven, with its three solid lines. As the season progresses, the solar radiation will be less, hence, the appearance of a single broken line and then two broken lines before turning into the three broken lines trigram of Kun for Earth. Kun is the stage of the winter solstice. As summer approaches, there will be an addition of one solid line and then two solid line before turning into the three solid lines of Qian.

Thus, some have correctly seen the Early Heaven Bagua as tracing the seasonal changes in the solar energy in eight packages vis the eight trigrams.


Most do not really understand the Luopan. For example, some, like the Yang Gong people, do not understand Lai Bu Yi's Ren Pan and think he had created a useless Luopan ring. Well, these people are wrong as their knowledge is not deep enough for them to understand Lai Bu Yi's Ren Pan.

Implications for the Southern Hemisphere

The three solid lines of Qian for Heaven represent the fullest solar radiation and the three broken lines of Kun for Earth represent the lowest solar radiation.

The seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it will be winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Hence, in the Southern Hemisphere, Qian cannot be applied to the period of June July August, the customary period of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Instead, for the Southern Hemisphere, Qian must apply to the period of November, December and January the customary period of winter in the Northern Hemisphere but being the hottest season for the Southern Hemisphere.

If the gnomon stick is used in the Southern Hemisphere, the Yin Yang pattern traced will be reversed.

People like Roger Green (December 7th, 2008 at 1:27 am)and Linda Backett are right that there must be a reverse change to the Early Heaven Bagua for the Southern Hemisphere. Their opponents are not only unscientific but also betray a lack of understanding of the real nature of the Luopan!

Negative Ions form major natural component of Qi

Those who have disagreed with the need for changes to the Bagua for the Southern Hemisphere have mis-equated the Feng Shui energy to the Earth's magnetism. The truth is that, while the magnetic needle would point in the same axis, the Earth magnetism hardly varies through the seasons and also between day and night and could not be the basis of the variable energies of Feng Shui and astrology.

  • Earth magnetism is relative constant in the short term but not Feng Shui and astrology energies. Only something like the variations of solar radiation can account for the differences of properties of the 8 trigrams.

  • The Moon has no magnetic field but has profound influence on astrology and Feng Shui.

Rather, the way the Yin Yang symbol is formed by the solar shadow shows that qi is something physical connected to the variation of the sun's energies through the seasons.

  • Dr Ong's research (for example, published in "Scientific and Statistical Evidence for Feng Shui" 2006, "Scientific Mechanism of Chi and Sha" 2006) indicates that a major portion of qi is really the excess negative ions formed by water evaporation during the transformation of the solar energy (shen) by green plants. Other minor components of qi may include light electromagnetic waves. In contrast, positive ions are the major natural component of sha. 60% of the positive ions in Nature are radioactive, adding a second threat from radioactivity. Radioactive positive ions react with air particles to produce infrasound, another threat.

Although the Earth's magnetism cannot be the basis of the energies of Feng Shui and astrology, the fluctuations of negative and positive ions do have effects on the prevalent field magnetism. But these negative and positive ions have difrect effects independent of magnetism. Ultimately, it is the strength of the solar radiation which determines the field energies of Feng Shui and astrology.

  • Scientific evidence shows how the natural fluctuations in negative ions and electromagnetism affect hormonal production in a wide range of life, including during the foetal stages. Astronomical movements can affect the natural levels of these ions and electromagnetism, and changes affected during the foetal stages will have far ranging effects into the adult life. That is how astrology and Feng Shui works!

    There are now fantastic scientific evidence that astrological effects in the Northern Hemisphere are reversed for the Southern Hemisphere. Read this in the next article.

Raptors are among the migratory birds which migrate from North Hemisphere to South Hemisphere and vice versa according to the different properties of the seasons. What nonsense to ignore the differences of the North and South Hemispheres.

True North

The formation of the Yin Yang symbol by the variations in the solar shadow means that the North of both Feng Shui and astrology is the polar or geographical north, not the magnetic north. Those who argue for a magnetic north are very wrong and can get the wrong results!

The magnetic north is displaced about 12o away from the polar or geographical north. Due to the curvature of the Earth, in some locations on Earth, the compass needle pointing to the direction of the magnetic north will also points to the True North. In other locations corrections must be made for the magnetic delineation to obtain the true north for Feng Shui and astrology purposes.

The ancient historical testimony is that, long before the advent of the magnetic compass, the ancient Chinese sages and rulers used the gnomon stick to determine the Feng Shui north. The gnomon stick measures the length of the shadow cast by the sun. The shortest length will indicate the true noon or zenith of the Sun above the land. The connecting line between this shortest length and the stick will indicate the direction of the North-South axis.

From ancient times, the True North, i.e. the polar or geographical north, was used to align the auspicious Feng Shui North-South of the major layouts of both palaces and tombs complexes. This north is an astronomical north. Other ancient cultures also aligned according to astronomical observations, indicating that both geomancy and astrology telluric energies are linked to astronomical directions.

  • NB: During Yang Yun Sung's time in the Tang dynasty, the Luopan had only 24 divisions and all Chinese Feng Shui and astrology used only these 24 divisions. The 360o compass was invented in the West around AD 1279 and never existed in China before this time. No one used a so-called 360o compass during Yang Yun Sung's time. The 360o compass was a Western invention. Yang Yun Sung's Feng Shui is never based on the 360o compass. Feng Shui based on a 360o compass is a later questionable and pretentious creation.

    As the 24 Mountains relate to solar radiation, it was necessary to re-calibrate the Luopan down the ages. Those who understand the precession of the equinoxes will realise that when the Earth returns to a specific point along its orbit around the sun, the season will arrive faster and faster. This was the reason why Lai Bu Yi invented the Ren Pan to adjust the 24 Mountains 7.5o to compensate for the precession of the equinoxes. Then, by Jiang Da Hong's time in the end of the Ming dynasty, the precession of the equinoxes had progressed and a further adjustment was seen in the 22.5o shift of the trigrams in the Lower Period ring of the San Yuan Xuan Kong Da Gua Luopan. Read more in the article on Lai Bu Yi's Ren Pan.

    As the 24 Mountains follow the variations of the solar radiation, they will have to be reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.

Some like to put forward the argument that many famous names maintain that there is no need for changes. Alas, this is a case where the majority is not necesarily right. Many of them, despite being famous names, betray their great lack of understanding of astronomy and the scientific rationale to the Luopan. Many of them have committed themselves and admitting changes are required will embrass them as to the invalidity of what they have been practising for donkey years.

But, their Feng Shui and astrology applications for the Southern Hemisphere will be scientifically wrong, and in many cases, they have given seriously wrong advice to paying clients. I appeal to these people to be brave enough to admit their mistakes, like in the tradition of Tan Yang Wu, and cooperate to restore the true Feng Shui.

Repeat: There are now fantastic scientific evidence that astrological effects in the Northern Hemisphere are reversed for the Southern Hemisphere. Read this in the next article.


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