GUI WORLD OF CULTURE
WORLD OF FENG SHUI
on Feng Shui
on Feng Shui
The truth is that the earliest use of Feng Shui was actually in military wars! Feng Shui was originally applied as a fighting art.
Yellow Emperor Huang Di, circa 2600 B.C., was credited with the invention of the compass, which he used in his eventual victorious battles against the arch rebel Ch'ih Yu. Huang Di was also credited with the invention of the magic square of 9 squares, the Lo Shu fighting design used in all Taoist magic and ultimately Feng Shui.
Logically, it would be impossible for Feng Shui to begin
until the compass was invented. The evidence is that Huang Di
was also the creator of Feng Shui! As the compass was invented
to be used as a military weapon, Feng Shui's earliest origins
would be in the military science back in those ancient days of
Yellow Emperor Huang Di, circa 2600 B.C.
The Ancient Battles of Huang Di
According to ancient history, there was no wars until the time of Huang Di, around 2600 B.C. Around 2600, certain events occurred which caused wars to begin in the history of mankind. These wars were well known in the ancient cultures, for the different cultures recorded these wars in different and often stirring ways.
The Hindus knew these wars as those of the Ramayana. The Greeks, Romans and Vikings knew them as the Wars between the Gods and Titans (the later led by Typhon the Great Serpent). The Middle East called these wars the Battles of Teshub the Storm God against the Illuyanka Serpent. The Holy Bible hinted of this stirring period as the time of Nimrod the arch rebel associated with Satan the Serpent. The Chinese knew these wars as those of Huang Di against Ch'ih Yu the Mountain Serpent, or, as known to the gret Taoist masters, the battle of Lao Chun the Human Sovereign against the Serpent.
The ancient records commented on the origins of Taoist magic:
The term "Human Sovereign" was the title of Huang Di. The Three Sovereigns were the Heavenly Sovereign Fu Hsi, Earth Sovereign Shen Nung and Human Sovereign Huang Di.
The Chinese characters for the name of Ch'ih Yu shows "Ch'ih" refers to the "mountain serpent" (Hsu and Ward 1984 p.25,85, 123, 138, 154, 376).
How and why did the wars start? And how are these wars
related to Feng Shui?
The "Four Cardinal Directions" Formation
One of the more discernible influences of the I Ching on Feng Shui is the Feng Shui guidelines based on the orientations and directions of a place. It gives rise to one of the two major schools of Feng Shui, viz the Compass School (the main school being the Form School). The Compass School determines Feng Shui by the orientations according to the Four Cardinal Directions. As the compass was invented by Yellow Emperor Huang Di, it would be wondered if Huang Di had anything to do with the Compass School Feng Shui.
Some say that Feng Shui proper began in the Sung dynasty (circa AD 1000), when both the Compass School and Form School were formally established. However, obviously, Feng Shui had been practised long before. Evidence is that the cultural themes alluded to in Feng Shui existed long before the Sung dynasty and went back as far as the Hsia dynasty of circa 2205 B.C. Houses in the Shang and Chou dynasties (respectively circa 1700-1120 and 1120-220 B.C.) had orientations with main entrances facing the south, a feature of Compass School Feng Shui. What we will see here is that Feng Shui went back even further to the time of Yellow Emperor Huang Di in 2600 B.C.
Indeed, there is a remarkable ancient reference that it could be so - from the famous world oldest strategy war manual Sun Zi's Art of War!:
The ancient military strategy was to attack an enemy from the north. Thus, the army would often endeavour to move to the north of the enemy's position and attacked from that north. It was believed to be good Feng Shui for the army to do that! Some military analysts pointed out that often the chief aggressors in the wars the world had known down the ages were nations found in the north. This was what the passage of Sun Zi 9:1-10 quoted above confirms.
Thus, it appears that the earliest recorded use of Feng
Shui was actually in military, as recorded in the famous world
oldest military manual Sun Zi's Art of War!
Military Feng Shui as Origin of the Compass School Feng Shui
The ancient military Four Cardinal Direction Feng Shui transformed into the modern more readily recognised major Feng Shui influence of the orientations and directions of the place, viz:
One could see that there is a good measure of common sense in the Feng Shui guidelines of the Compass School. There are other spin-off Feng Shui principles akin to those found in the passage of Sun Zi 9:1-10:
Why did Huang Di invent the compass to assist him in his battles against Ch'ih Yu?
It means that there were conditions where the directions could not be determined by natural landmarks and by the sun or stars. Natural landmarks would be useless in a vast plain, where there would be hardly any hills or outcrops to serve as landmarks. Or, if an area is foggy and misty it would also be difficult to look at landmarks.
In fact, the ancient history stated that Ch'ih Yu's place was in the south-east swampy plains, where natural landmarks would be useless as guides for directions, and this was compounded by the tendency of the swamps to produce fogs. Hence, it was under such conditions that a compass would be extremely useful as a direction indicator. The legend stated that Huang Di moved to the south-east to attack Ch'ih Yu - the last of the "four useful methods of positioning armies used by the Yellow Emperor" mentioned in Sun Zi 9:1-10.
So, the intriguing thing, as strongly indicated by the passage of Sun Zi 9:1-13, is that these Compass School Feng Shui principles had associations with the battles of Huang Di against Ch'ih Yu the Mountain Serpent. The battles of Huang Di against Ch'ih Yu the Mountain Serpent involved the physical terrain and environment. Hence, the discussion also points to that Feng Shui originated as an environmental science laying out the principles by which the environment affects the well being of human beings.
Feng Shui possibly began as environmental guidelines for the
positioning of military camps and troops. It evolved to apply
to the living quarters of the ordinary people.
So The Legend Begins
The ancient legend shows that, initially, Huang Di and Ch'ih Yu were close friends. Huang Di had became the Yellow Emperor and supreme ruler of the world. [Huang Di was to be the third and last of the world emperors, the first being Fu Hsi and the second being Shen Nung]. Ch'ih Yu was the field marshal of Huang Di and used to lead the military procession before Huang Di.
But, somehow, Ch'ih Yu plotted to supplant Huang Di as the supreme ruler. The legend stated Ch'ih Yu's rebellion was discovered and he fled south.
So began a series of titanic battles. Ch'ih Yu was initially victorious in early encounters with Huang Di. But, finally, through the aid of certain quarters, Huang Di finally overcame Ch'ih Yu. The whole incidence makes a great romantic tale of mighty feats, valor, love and tragedies, which the ancient cultures remembered and recorded in various forms. Therein were the ancient origins of Feng Shui!
Huang Di moved from the northern mountains down towards the direction of the south-eastern swampy plains to confront Ch'ih Yu. Huang Di had to use the compass to guide his army. Ever since, the conditions of the "four useful methods of positioning armies used by the Yellow Emperor" mentioned in Sun Zi 9:1-10 grew into Feng Shui lore of the Compass School.
In the next articles, we will look at the famous stirring
legends about Yellow Emperor Huang Di and understand more of
the origins and principles of Feng Shui.