on Feng Shui
on Feng Shui

Article FS08/7
Part 2: Scientific Basis of Bagua Talisman

Prof. Dr. Ong Hean-Tatt 20th January 2008



In another article, it is suggested that a person should be a "Living Bagua" rather than rely on a physical Bagua talisman. If you want to use the Bagua you should try to comprehend the scientific reasons why it may work.

THE BAGUA. Often hung over main doors to bring good luck.

There was this television programme on Feng Shui, where the four member panel consisted of two Chinese Feng Shui practitioners, a Chinese architect and one Malay professor. The facilitator was assisting them to discuss whether Feng Shui is scientific or not. I will always remember how the Malay professor took out a large silver tone diagram of the Bagua, the familiar Chinese symbol of the eight sided diagram. The Malay professor referred to the Chinese custom of placing a Bagua over the main door and had asked what is the scientific logic to having such a mere diagram placed over the main door to act as a Feng Shui device to ward off evil and bring blessing to the household?

The responses of the other panelists are interesting:

  • The male Feng Shui practitioner offered no scientific explanation, but kept on saying that Feng Shui is a fact.

  • The lady Feng Shui practitioner said that the basis of Feng Shui is akin to how mobile phones work. She said that there are waves in the air which the mobile phones could pluck. Likewise, there are some forms of waves in the environment which are the basis of Feng Shui.

  • The architect just said that from his experience Feng Shui guidelines do work in architectural design.

A heated argument followed between some of the members. None of the panelists really answered the question of the Malay professor; which was how the Bagua actually works as purported in Feng Shui.

As a scientist and one who studies and respects widely the religious cultures, the author has found that sound geomancy or Feng Shui principles and practices abound widely in the traditional religions. The ancient people were not naive. The traditional religions faithfully contain almost all the extant ancient records of what geomancy or Feng Shui is really about. There must be some scientific ways by which the Bagua works!

How the Feng Shui Bagua Scientifically Works

Put the same question to some other Feng Shui practitioners: how does the Bagua work? One of them said it is not the design but the mirror which works. The Bagua without the mirror is powerless. This Feng Shui practitioner has a similar idea as the lady Feng Shui practitioner on TV, that there are some forms of waves operational in Feng Shui. Thus, the mirror of the Bagua is able to deflect the waves.

What should be realised is that the ancient mirror is not the modern type, of glass and amalgam of mercury. In the ancient times, the mirror was a shiny bronze or brass piece. Bronze is an alloy of copper with not more than 11 percent tin, while brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

  • The earliest mirrors in China were circular in shape, and made of polished bronze mixed with an alloy containing a large percentage of tin..." (Williams 1932 p.274).

  • Li Shih Min, AD 597-647, second emperor of the Tang dynasty remarked, "By using the mirror of brass, you may see to adjust your cap; by using antiquity as a mirror, you may learn to foresee the rise and fall of empires." (Williams 1932 p.277).

  • "Old brass mirrors, to cure mad people, are hung up by the rich in their halls." "A small brass mirror, either flat or concave, but always round, is very frequently hung up on the outside of the bed curtain, or suspended somewhere near by. Its principle use is to counteract, prevent, or dissipate devilish or unpropitious influences." (Williams 1932 p.277).

It is the copper in the ancient mirror which worked as the Feng Shui mechanism to ward off evil and at the same time blessed the household.

The lady Feng Shui practitioner could be right; that there are ill-understood waves in the environment which work in Feng Shui. These waves have electromagnetic components which react with the copper, which is a good conductor. The copper mirror in the Bagua may have prevented adverse electromagnetic waves produced in the outside environment from entering into the house.

  • The other thing is that, it is now known that copper particles are good for health - hence the medical copper bracelets worn by some people. The copper in the mirror in the Bagua drifted down onto the people walking in and out below it, thereby conferring medical benefits to the inhabitants.
  • That is why the effect is associated with the Bagua. The Bagua symbolises the eight members of the family. The hanging of the Bagua over the door is meant to safeguard the whole family. The beneficial influence of the copper stabilises the mental health of the family, disposes them towards stable behaviour and consequently allows the family to be able to become prosperous in their undertakings. It looks like "luck", but there is a logical cause and action sequence to the so-called Feng Shui effect.

The discussion indicates that the forces of Feng Shui include electromagnetism. The author's research indicates that, besides electromagnetism, other Feng Shui forces include balance in positive-negative ions, infrasound and radioactivity.

Modern Perspectives vis Feng Shui

The Bagua is a universal symbol which belongs to a whole culture besides Feng Shui. The symbol is also found in non-Chinese cultures. It is essentially a diagram to show how the seasonal variations in solar radiation can be arranged into eight major packages of energies. These seasonal variations of solar energy are important in not only Feng Shu, but also astrology and magic.

However, the symbol is placed onto a special media to encourage people to benefit from the medical properties of that particular media, which is copper.

There will be arguments whether such a copper piece is a Feng Shui object or it is a cultural symbolism object. I am inclined to believe that it is primarily a cultural symbol object. This is because a wide range of cultural symbols are actually based on chemical and medical properties of the objects. The chemical and medical properties of these things can regulate qi, and if properly used, can enhance Feng Shui effects.

  • In fact, Confucius wrote that at the four major seasons the emperor would wear different clothes and jewellery and eat different foods. That is, Confucius wrote of the Feng Shui practice of using symbolic objects.

In the end, what the reader should comprehend is that there are a number of ways to produce and manipulate qi. Feng Shui is only one way, and, as one Chinese philosopher rightly knew, only a fraction of the power of the I Jing. However, non-Feng Shui means to manipulate qi can be used to enhance Feng Shui effects. That was how it was meant to be in ancient times, different methods can be effectively mixed.


Feng Shui is only one way to manipulate qi. There are non-Feng Shui ways to manipulate qi and these can be usefully used to enhance Feng Shui effects.