Thesis – Chapter 3 Planning Literature: 3.4 The Bagua
3.4 The Bagua
Feng Shui is very specific in its delineation of how ch’i energy is represented within a space. The Bagua (pronounced bah-gwah) is the map that illustrates the location of the universal energies that affect every aspect of our lives. The Bagua can be applied to a room, a house, a building, or a neighborhood. It provides insight into how a space’s function can be energetically enhanced through intentional siting that aligns it with the specific energy that its function represents, for example, a bank placed in the Wealth area.
Bagua, meaning eight-sided trigram, is taken from the I Ching. “This traditional oracle is said to have been written in ancient China by Fu Hsi, the father of Civilization, as long as 3000 years ago. As legend tells us, this wise sage was meditating one day by the banks of the Lo River in northern China when a tortoise emerged from the water. In a moment of divine inspiration, Fu Hsi realized that the entire universe was reflected in the orderly markings on the shell of the tortoise” (Spear, 1995, p. 53). I Ching emphasizes the yin–yang principles [of balance], which are believed to govern all universal laws. . . . Feng Shui uses our physical environment as a schoolroom to teach us about ourselves and provide us the tools we need to help with the conflicts and challenges that we face daily (SantoPietro, 1996).
When we refer to the Bagua, we generally mean the figure. If we wish to speak of one part of the Bagua, we use the term gua. There are nine guas in Feng Shui that correspond to the primary energies in our life.
The Bagua is often expanded into a square (Figure 3.1) so that the placement over a room, house, or tract of land is more easily achieved.
Where we enter the space is called the mouth of ch’i and will always be along the lower edge of the Bagua. That is, depending on where the door or gateway to a space is located, the entrance would be into Wisdom/Knowledge/Self-Cultivation, Self/Career or Helpful People/Travel.
Understanding of the energies associated with each of the guas is critical to the understanding of Feng Shui, and we will examine each of the guas going clockwise from an entrance into the space through the lower middle gua, Self/Career.
Self / Career
This gua is located in the center of the bottom of the chart and is primarily aimed at self, and the life purpose of the person who resides in the space. In this gua, the ch’i is generated that supports your vocation, often chosen as a career, or your hobbies, which may actually provide greater satisfaction than your career and greater insight into the person that you are. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is K’AN and the primary associated element is water, whose corresponding color is black, and includes very dark shades of all colors.
Wisdom / Knowledge / Self-Cultivation
This gua is located in the bottom left corner of the chart. Following the energy of Self, the energy here supports the ways in which we are able to improve and better understand ourselves through education and the resulting knowledge and growth, and hopefully the resulting wisdom. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is K’EN, and although this gua is not controlled by a primary element, the associated element is earth and the corresponding colors are black, blues, and greens.
Family / Community
This gua is located in the middle left side of the chart and supports the energy that represents family heritage, as well as community affiliations. Since this gua deals with ancestry, it also represents the past. While the biological family is typically the primary focus, it also represents non-traditional family, support groups, community groups, and the close friends that frequently offer more support than do our biological families. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is CHEN and the primary associated element is wood, whose corresponding color is green.
Wealth / Prosperity / Power
This gua is located in the upper left corner of the chart and supports the ch’i that influences finances, as well as the myriad of things that represent prosperity to us. William Spear refers to this gua as “fortunate blessings”. Money is another type of energy force, so this area becomes the nest egg of the Bagua. This section also oversees the issues relating to power, and our ability to draw on the power source that connects us with the abundant universal supply (SantoPietro, 1996). From the I Ching, the Chinese name is SUN, and although this gua is not controlled by a primary element, the associated element is wood, and the corresponding colors are blues, purples, and reds.
Fame / Reputation
This gua is located in the upper center of the chart and supports the energy that represents how you want to be known or remembered, how you feel about yourself, and what you would like to accomplish in your life. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is LI and the primary associated element is fire whose corresponding color is red.
This gua is located in the upper right corner of the chart and represents the energy that supports relationship, and the ability to attract and maintain a strong, supportive, balanced relationship. The energy here not only supports a love relationship but can also represent relationships with friends and business associates. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is K’UN, and although this gua is not controlled by a primary element, the associated element is earth and the color of relationship is pink.
Creativity / Children / Legacy
This gua is located in the middle right side of the chart and supports the energy that represents the future and those things to which we give birth, meaning not only our children but also those things that we create with our minds and our hands, including art, music, and writing. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is TUI, the primary associated element is metal and the corresponding color is white and pastel shades of all colors.
Helpful People / Travel
This gua is located in the lower right corner of the chart and supports the energy that represents helpful people, referring to all those who assist us along our path, whether living or deceased. It further represents the energy of our support for others along their paths. All aspects of travel are also included in this gua, whether personal or business, and support to those who are traveling. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is CH’IEN, and although this gua is not controlled by a primary element, the associated element is metal, and the corresponding colors are gray, white and black.
Health / Balance
The center of the Bagua connects all of the other eight guas and is represented by the yin-yang symbol . Health related issues are addressed and reinforced in this area. Good health is a result of good ch’i flowing through all the areas in your life, and all of these areas being in balance. From the I Ching, the Chinese name is MING TANG, the primary associated element is earth, and the corresponding colors are yellow, terra cotta and brown.
The center is also the intersection of all of the individual guas, and speaks to the balance achieved when all of the individual areas are in harmony. For example, Career is directly related to Fame/Reputation, and balance between the two is essential for the success of the individual. One cannot exist without the other. A similar relationship exists between Family/Community (the past) and Creativity/Children/Legacy (the future). Wealth/Prosperity is seldom achievable without the assistance of Helpful People, and our ability to be helpful is frequently tied to the willingness to share our “fortunate blessings”. The ability to make a Relationship successful is based on the Wisdom gained through experience, and the Knowledge that we have surrounding how we interact with others is frequently a result of our experiences in all types of Relationships. Thus the center of the Bagua is pivotal as a representation of the balance of all of the guas, and health and harmony are the results.
For examples of how understanding of the Bagua and the manipulation of ch’i movement have enhanced people’s lives, see Appendix II