Water Features I: Placement for Luck and Prosperity

Adding water features to your space is a universal prescription for greater fortune and prosperity. Any feng shui practitioner, Classical or Black Hat (BTB), will recommend you put at least one of them in a certain area of your home or office to increase the flow of good energy (Sheng Chi), and maybe even a second to reduce negativity (Sha Chi).

waterfalls-01What Makes Water so Important?

Simply put, water is creation. The main reason our world is so teeming with life is thanks to our incredibly abundant water supply. H2O as a literal element makes up the vast majority of the Earth’s surface and contributes 90% of our body weight. As a symbolic element in the Chinese system, it represents the darkness and stillness of the womb, from where each of us spring; the vastness and saltiness of the ocean, where life on this planet first began.

Few living things can continue being without regular access to water. As a result, it’s flow has determined the course of human civilization and animal migration patterns since the dawn of time. Ancient Egypt was one of the greatest cultures in the history of the world and it owes nearly all its achievements to the Nile River. Most major centers of human activity began at the side of a river or convenient port location on the ocean – the better access you had to a well connected source of water, the more convenient it was to trade, thus economic influence began flowing with the water itself.

According to the Doctrine of Signatures, tomatoes should be good for the heart because of their resemblance. Modern science has confirmed that tomatoes lower the risk of heart disease.

Interplay with Feng Shui

Many of feng shui’s mechanics and prescriptions are drawn from the Doctrine of Signatures, which states that a thing resembling another will manifest similar qualities based on energetic sympathies.

This principle is the basis for the world’s oldest medicinal knowledge and is still applied today in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine and Herbalism. Spiritually and magically, the Law of Attraction, or the idea that like-attracts-like, is also drawn from the Doctrine of Signatures.

As with all people and all things, we can trust water to act like itself. It will always behave in accord with it’s true nature.

In this way, feng shui practitioners use literal and symbolic water to draw abundance, prosperity, and growth.

Placement of Water Features

To a certain extent, any water feature in your space will draw some benefit for the reasons just discussed. The Ming Tang (interior and exterior entryways), offices, and at the front of structures are all common areas that benefit from the influence of increased flow and prosperity. Feng shui also provides technical information that will help us place water features in places the energy will benefit most, resulting in a reduction of bad luck and an increase in good.

The Bagua

The Bagua is central to all forms of feng shui. It’s an eight sided flow chart that represents how all energies work together and manifest in the world.

Each of the eight sections have their own associations, much like the 12 zodiac signs in astrology. The Bagua is based on the trigrams of the I Ching and each wedge inherits significations from the directions and elements it aligns with. Each sector corresponds with colors, organs, flavors, and anything else on God’s green earth.

Both Classical feng shui practitioners and BTB practitioners use the Bagua, but each school applies them differently. Black Hat as a Western-friendly method is simpler to apply – it requires very little in the way of understanding and for that reason provides blanket recommendations.


The Bagua

Click to enlarge

BTB Method

The Black Hat way of using the Bagua is based on what side of the building/space the main entrance is, not actual directions. The Water portion always goes on the same wall as the main door (note that the door need not actually fall in the Water segment/ be in the middle, it can be located in the Earth or Metal portion so long as the front aligns with this edge of the Bagua). Imagine an overlay of three equal squares horizontally and vertically covering the whole space. If your home is not perfectly square, expand the overlay to cover the entire area. Some sections may be missing, but that’s a post for another time.

The best places to put water features are indicated by the drop icons. These are the Water and Wood sections. Do not put water features in bedrooms or bathrooms, even if they are indicated by the Bagua section. You can use other methods to invoke the Water element, such as colors and shapes, in those scenarios.

Classical Method(s)

Classical Feng Shui employs many advanced, layered, and nuanced techniques. Presenting all the methods a practitioner would use to determine the ideal placement of a water feature would be impossible in one article, but we’ll zero in on some places to start.

There are two major components of Classical feng shui: Form School and Compass School. Form school is functional, practical, and aesthetically inclined. It deals with things like the placement of furniture and dictates that above all, a space must work well and feel good. Compass school is more abstract. It tells us about the subtle energetic influences that bring harm or good fortune based on the the cardinal and intermediate directions, impacted by the shifting nature of time.

Gua Numbers & Lo Shu Portents

The Bagua is made up of eight sectors. Each of these is called a Gua and is assigned a number. They can be used to provide information about which directions are favorable and unfavorable for individuals and structures.

For people, these numbers are called the Ming Gua and are calculated based on date of birth and gender. Your number indicates which directions are personally most and least favorable, based on your natal Chi. This article will tell you how to find your auspicious directions and which portents will benefit from the influence of Water. You’ll note that a number of them do, but the most important sector to locate an actual water feature would be in the Sheng Chi, and secondarily the Fu Wei.

The Lo Shu Map for Gua 1

Up next in the Water Features series: Types of Water Features.

Kaitlin graduated from the Golden Gate Bridge School of Classical Feng Shui in 2008, specializing in Geomancy. The daughter of a home builder and structural engineer, she was born with a natural eye for interior design and an uncanny ability to connect with the energies of place.


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