Interview with Master Stephen Skinner

In this edition of Interview with a Master we sit down and chat with world renowned author, profesional researcher, lecturer and Honorary Life Member of the IFSA Australia Chapter – Master Stephen Skinner. 
Master Stephen Skinner 296x300 Interview with Master Stephen SkinnerIn 1976 Stephen wrote the first English book on Feng Shui published in the 20th century; the Living Earth Manual of Feng Shui. This book first brought Feng Shui to the attention of the Western world.
In 1998 he launched the Feng Shui for Modern Living monthly magazine, whose first issue sold 121,000 copies, more than either Elle Décor or Wallpaper magazines in the UK. In 1999 he was nominated as PPA ‘Publisher of the Year’ for his work in launching this magazine, which was distributed in 41 countries and helped to popularize Feng Shui around the world.
In the same year he organized the London International Feng Shui Conference, the largest ever held in the UK and Europe with 700 attendees and four simultaneous lecture theatres. The following year Stephen gave one of the three Doyle lectures in New York, sharing the bill with Martha Stewart Living and Country Living magazines.
In 1999 he was honoured for his contributions to traditional Chinese culture by being invited to Manila in the Philippines for the official celebrations of Chinese New Year, as the guest of the Mayors of Manila and Makati.
Stephen is the author of over 35 books which have been translated into more than 20 different languages, including the K.I.S.S. Guide to Feng Shui, Feng Shui the Traditional Oriental Way, Practical Makeovers, Living Earth Manual of Feng Shui, Feng Shui for Modern Living, Feng Shui Before & After, Flying Star Feng Shui, and the beautiful Feng Shui Style. He has also published a number of translations of feng shui classics including The Water Dragon, The Original Eight Mansions Formula, The Key San He Feng Shui Formulas, and The Mountain Dragon. His most recent publication is Feng Shui History: The Story of Classical Feng Shui in China and the West from 221 BC to 2012 AD. Published late last year this text even includes the International Feng Shui Association, the IFSA Australia Chapter and Feng Shui Today.
Nowadays Stephen lives in Singapore with his lovely wife Navaneeta Das, where he researches, writes, lectures and conducts Feng Shui consultations around the region www.sskinner.com.
  1. How did you first become interested in Feng Shui? Please share some of your path of learning with us.

I first became interested when a Chinese friend had his Hong Kong office corrected by a local feng shui master. I was impressed by the immediate change in his fortunes (within a week). At the time I was a geography lecturer and I realised that the methods of feng shui (water placement, position of mountains, etc) were much closer to the methods of geography than to any mystical practice. Only later I realised that ti li (di li) was the ancient term for feng shui as well as the modern Chinese term for geography. I felt that both were logical practices, with rapid and repeatable results. After that I was hooked!

  1. Many Feng Shui consultants feel that the further they study Feng Shui the more confused they become. Did you experience this during your own journey, and if so how did you overcome it?

I would advise the aspiring feng shui practitioners to learn with a selective and prudent mind. Obstacles are definite along the learning path of feng shui. For me, I’d press on and try to overcome them with deeper research. With this, I’d progress further and gain more knowledge instead of confusion.I would advise the aspiring feng shui practitioners to learn with a selective and prudent mind. Obstacles are definite along the learning path of feng shui. For me, I’d press on and try to overcome them with deeper research. With this, I’d progress further and gain more knowledge instead of confusion.I would advise the aspiring feng shui practitioners to learn with a selective and prudent mind. Obstacles are definite along the learning path of feng shui. For me, I’d press on and try to overcome them with deeper research. With this, I’d progress further and gain more knowledge instead of confusion. I was lucky because I learned the practice first in Hong Kong before I learned the theory. I could therefore see where and when a particular formula worked. It was only later that I researched the various theories to find the rationale that I could see potential for conflict. But by then I could also see how one formula complemented another.

For example there is often confusion over the division of a house into 9 rectangular cells, or into radial slices. Because I had already seen the practical drawing up of feng shui charts, I was aware that inside a rectangular house, the Palaces are rectangular, but outside the house (taking sightings on distant mountains) a radial approach is required. If I had simply started by reading (or being taught) these different formulae, without being aware that they measure different things, I might well have been confused.

BHS ‘feng shui’ also produced a whole lot of confusion for Western practitioners. But I knew that directions and the lo p’an were an essential part of feng shui a decade before BHS was even invented. 

  1. What made you turn Feng Shui into your profession?

In 1976, when I first learned feng shui, I wanted to write down as clear an exposition of its principles as possible, before they were lost or discarded as superstition.

Like any science, these principles can only be tested by experimentation: first on my own house (sometimes with disastrous outcomes) then as my practice improved upon friends, then clients. Finally the challenge was to be able to see as many cases as possible ranging across the whole gamut of possible feng shui configurations. The accumulation of case data rather than the fees was the main driving force for me.As mentioned earlier, I inherited the feng shui expertise from my forefathers and it is natural that I continue practicing it. Another factor is my own interest.At the age of 30, I established my own feng shui company – Way Chinese Geomancy Centre. Through the practice of feng shui, I helped many people along the way and this made my interest in feng shui grew even further. And till now, I’m still in the feng shui industry.   As mentioned earlier, I inherited the feng shui expertise from my forefathers and it is natural that I continue practicing it. Another factor is my own interest.At the age of 30, I established my own feng shui company – Way Chinese Geomancy Centre. Through the practice of feng shui, I helped many people along the way and this made my interest in feng shui grew even further. And till now, I’m still in the feng shui industry.   As mentioned earlier, I inherited the feng shui expertise from my forefathers and it is natural that I continue practicing it. Another factor is my own interest.At the age of 30, I established my own feng shui company – Way Chinese Geomancy Centre. Through the practice of feng shui, I helped many people along the way and this made my interest in feng shui grew even further. And till now, I’m still in the feng shui industry.    

  1. Is Feng Shui widely accepted and applied in your country and do you face any difficulties explaining Feng Shui to your clients?

As I live in Singapore I can truly say that feng shui is widely practiced, and there is seldom a need to explain it to Chinese clients, which make up the bulk of my clientele. Interestingly Western companies and businesses are also keen to have a consultation. With the spread of feng shui knowledge in the West since the 1980s, most such clients know what to expect, but some individual clients still need to have a preliminary explanation about what feng shui can and cannot do. Handling the “can it help me win the lottery” question was a lot easier to resolve than clients who still thought of feng shui as a subset of interior decorating or an environmental study. As worthy as those subjects might be, feng shui is not either or those things (although decorating changes might be involved as a ‘cure’). Feng shui is concerned with changing the luck or number of opportunities available to a client. It could even be more accurately defined as “luck engineering”.The level of acceptance is growing with time and I believed feng shui will be widely accepted in the future with further scientific explanations and evidence. I see myself as a (feng shui) doctor and I’d always try my best to explain the pros and cons of the situation to clients who seek my assistance.   

  1. What is the most common reason that people engage you for a consultation?
In Singapore, it is often money or career, followed by school success for the clients’ children, or conception if they don’t have any children, with marital harmony or relationships coming somewhat further down the list. In the case of corporate clients, it is always to improve profitability, staff harmony, or in some cases to simply reassure the staff that the “feng shui has been done.”
  1. Do you practice Yin House Feng Shui and if so do any of your clients engage you to select an auspicious burial site?, I do. Selecting an auspicious burial site is a primary requirement in Yin Geomancy.

I have spent a considerable amount of time poking around in graveyards and comparing family histories with grave alignments. I am aware of the mechanics, but I don’t practice Yin House feng shui for clients. There is an element of karmic responsibility that I am loath to incur.

 

 

 

 

  1. What analysis methods do you use during your consultation process?
San Yuan (Flying Stars) and San He (Eight Mansions). There is not enough time to answer that question properly, but the key to any method is to identify the problems, both those expressed by the client and his family when outlining recent events, and those directly observable in the configurations. If you can identify specific occurrences (heath, financial, etc) in the recent past, and to which member of the client’s family they occurred, (and these are confirmed by the client), then you know you are on the right track, and more than half way to solving the problem(s).
As for methods, I favor San He methods for exterior feng shui, and Flying Star for interior, but having said that there are many other San Yuan and astronomical formula which I use when needed for specific circumstances.
  1. From your point of view, do you think the knowledge of destiny analysis is important when it comes to Feng Shui?
Yes, definitely. Destiny analysis and feng shui are closely related. When conducting feng shui audit, it is necessary to consider the Bazi of the parties involved to get an accurate evaluation. Destiny analysis is a useful adjunct to help the practitioner judge the strengths and weaknesses of his clients and to refine the balance of the cures, but it is not an essential part of feng shui. 
  1. Please share with us a case study you have done which you found to be most interesting.

Not really, all cases are unique and interesting in their own way.Not really, all cases are unique and interesting in their own way.A recent client, who was obviously wealthy and successful, stated that his house was definitely completed after February 1984 and that it was therefore a Period 7 house. So I drew up the chart and realized that something must be wrong as the Stars were not conducive to his degree of wealth or success. Experimentally I drew up a Period 6 chart for the same direction, which did show great potential for wealth. It also showed several Palaces with 2-3 combinations, including one in the kitchen area. I asked if the women folk often argued, especially at meal time. The look on their faces confirmed that the correct chart was in fact a Period 6 chart and on that basis I did the analysis. The client later emailed me to say that upon checking with the builder, the house had indeed been completed before February 1984.

The point of this illustration is that the best feng shui analyses comes not just from mechanical measurement, but also from talking with the client and observing things both inside and outside the home or business. 

 

 

 

 

  1. What are your Top Feng Shui Do and Top Feng Shui Don’t?
A good Feng Shui master should respect Feng Shui. This is an art that requires deep knowledge, continual research and constant practice. A full and comprehensive response to this question will be featured soon in Feng Shui Today ………
…………..eaeatured   A good feng shui master should respect feng shui. This is an art that requires deep knowledge, continual research and constant practice.A good feng shui master should respect feng shui. This is an art that requires deep knowledge, continual research and constant practice. 

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Janene Laird1 e1317689430960 Interview with Master Stephen Skinner
Janene is the principle consultant and founder of ShenChi-FengShui. She consults widely throughout Australasia in the Corporate, Business and Residential sectors and operates a successful Melbourne based Professional Feng Shui Consultancy. Janene is also the President of the International Feng Shui Association (IFSA) – Australia Chapter and an IFSA Accredited Feng Shui Master

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