Is Feng Shui just a collection of apparently unrelated formulae? – GM Dr Stephen Skinner

One of the problems with the Western reception of Feng Shui is that it appears to be a series of unconnected formulae.

This is quite the reverse of the Chinese view, where everything be it TCM, face reading, divination, astrology, geography or Feng Shui all have their roots in the same archetypal theories of yin yang, 5 Elements, 8 trigrams or 12 Branches.

For example, we all know that both Flying Star formulae and Eight Mansion formulae have the same trigram based structure supporting them, but how can you resolve the dilemma created by discovering that the same room has a double 8 Flying Star configuration, but also a chueh ming portent?

It is not an adequate explanation to say that when they are both auspicious it is OK, but when one is auspicious and one inauspicious, you can just ignore the Eight Mansions portent (as one Western writer hopefully put it).

Again, we know that the Feng Shui lo p’an (luopan) is supposed to embody many of the most important formulae of feng shui, but only one ring of it (the 24 Mountain ring) is actually used by Flying Star.

Eight Mansion, as it is taught in the West doesn’t even use the lo p’an (except for simple direction finding that could be managed with any trekking compass). Of course if your training is a little deeper then you might flip the lo p’an over and read the Bright Mirror table on its base, but who takes the trouble to do that anymore?

The problem is that the teaching of Feng Shui in the West has chopped the subject up into bite sized pieces, and the connecting links are not taught anymore. This also means that some writers feel free to develop the system in any direction their intuition suggests. Sadly intuition is just that and not a replacement for knowing what the real connections are. Although intuition is helpful in cooking and cricket, nobody would suggest using it for chemistry or construction.

OK, so where can you find out information that bridges the gaps in our knowledge and gives us the historical and conceptual background that ties it all together? If you are serious then the first task is to understand the nature of the various rings of the lo p’an and how they relate to some of the ‘bite sized’ pieces of Feng Shui which you have already learned.

The only book that covers all of this (a total of 72 rings in all) is my Guide to the Feng Shui Compass: a Compendium of Classical Feng Shui. Most of the material in this book has been sourced from Ming and Ch’ing (Qing) Chinese Feng Shui classics, but is fully explained in English (with footnoted Chinese terms). Even the most detailed Chinese text on these subjects only covers 53 rings.

If instead you are only interested in understanding how Flying Star and Eight Mansions work together and dovetail perfectly, then you might be interested in looking at a copy of my new book Advanced Flying Star which not only resolves this but also looks in detail, chart by chart at 216 charts with special attention to Period 8 and Period 9 charts.

It will be released before IFSC 2015 in October, and will be available in a digital version exclusively through Feng Shui Today.  A printed version will also be available later through normal channels.

Guide to the Feng Shui Compass or lo p’an

Stephen Skinner

Material never before available in English…and difficult to find even in Chinese
A Full Compendium of Classical Feng Shui
“No Classical feng shui practitioner can afford to be without this book.”

The most comprehensive book ever written on the Feng Shui lo p’an (luo pan) is now
available direct from

Feng Shui Compass

How to read the San He and San Yuan lo p’an, with an explanation of each ring in detail, the history and background of feng shui and the lo p’an (luo pan). This large book is 432 pages in size, and packed with information which is very clearly explained, so that after reading it anyone should be comfortable using even the most complex lo p’an. This book is the result of 30 years of research and practice. More than 72 rings are illustrated, tabulated, and classified by Plate and School, with their use and history. Anyone reading the book can go from being a complete novice to complete familiarity with any lo p’an, ancient or modern that they may pick up. It clearly explains for the first time in English how feng shui developed and the relationship between San He and San Yuan.

Over 50 Tables, 120+ illustrations, and 16 full colour plates including rare pictures and analyses of Ch’ing dynasty lo p’ans.

Every technical term, book title or person’s name is carefully footnoted in traditional Chinese characters with supporting pinyin and Wade-Giles transliterations. There is a also a detailed feng shui time line.

432 pages, Hardback with dust wrapper
ISBN 978-0-9547639-9-2
now available direct from

About The Author

GM Stephen Skinner

Stephen Skinner is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. Recognized as the man who brought Feng Shui to the West, he wrote the first 20th century English book on the subject in 1976 called Living Earth Manual of Feng Shui.He is also responsible for launching and publishing the first full colour magazine on feng shui, Feng Shui For Modern Living, which was distributed in 41 countries with translated editions in German and Chinese. At its peak the English edition sold over 121,000 audited copies per month, and Stephen was nominated at the PPA awards as UK ‘Publisher of the Year’ (the UK print media equivalent of the Oscars). Stephen was educated at Sydney University graduating in English Literature, Geography and Ancient Greek Philosophy. His first profession was that of Geography Lecturer, at what is now the University of Technology in Sydney. His interests include feng shui, ancient civilisations, geometry, travel, computers, magic and the Middle Ages. Stephen spends his time writing, teaching and researching feng shui and the Western Hermetic tradition. He is the author of more than 30 books published worldwide in 20 different languages and his books have had introductions by such diverse people as Colin Wilson, HRH Charles Prince of Wales, and Jimmy Choo – shoe designer to the stars.

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