Water is the basis of all life on earth. Little wonder then that the ancient Chinese revered it as an essential part of the universe. Nikoletta Stamatatos goes in search of the source of life
Water (shui) flows through mountains and valleys, sculpting the landscape and leaving behind an indelible imprint on the earth’s surface. It also has a dramatic effect on the flow of ch’i through the landscape for when ch’i is bounded by water, it slows and accumulates, creating the most auspicious locations for homes and businesses, even entire cities. Water provides the feng shui practitioner with a visible point of reference for analysing the feng shui of any given setting.
It is also symbolic of wealth and prosperity and to attract the good fortune and ‘luck’ apportioned by water there must be an abundance of water ch’i – the kind usually found in slow, meandering rivers. For this reason, the essence of all feng shui investigation revolves around locating and harnessing these pockets of beneficial ch’i.
According to the Chinese, the accumulation of beneficial ch’i is said to increase the chances of attracting good ‘luck’ especially for those living near these clusters of energy. The general rule is that water which flows too quickly or in straight lines conducts ch’i away from a spot rapidly, and is therefore undesirable; and that slow, sinuous, deep watercourses, on the other hand, are conducive to the accumulation of ch’i especially when they form a pool in front of the site. If, on the other hand, water stagnates in one place, it will contribute to the breakdown of ch’i.
When orientated correctly, water and all the various manifestations of water within view of the main door or entrance of a building attract great good fortune. For a site to be auspicious, it must have access to, or be near, a good, strong supply and flow of ch’i which symbolically wraps itself around the house situated there. This applies equally well in urban feng shui, where roads are substituted for watercourses. According to the Water Dragon formula, an ideal location is one that nestles amongst intertwined watercourses so that it’s protected in the ‘belly of the dragon’.
Creating Auspicious Water
Where ch’i is absent in the environment, it can still be created or attracted to the site. By the same token, ch’i can also be destroyed. Because these intangible forces are continually changing, the feng shui practitioner needs constantly to monitor and adapt the surroundings to fit the circumstances. For example, man-made bends can be put in straight river stretches or sharp bends can be made more rounded. It is not unheard of for artificial confluences of rivers or streams to be created and these are just as effective as the naturally occurring variations.
The size of a pool or lake that is created for such purposes needs to incorporate proper scaling. This means that the nearer they are to the land or dwelling place, the smaller they should be so they don’t overwhelm the house with energy. Whilst the further away they are, the larger the body of water can be.
Even though water may be one of the greatest sources of beneficial ch’i found in the landscape, too much of it can also drown out its positive effects. So it is important to keep in mind that the use of water for creating good feng shui should always reflect the natural balance and harmony in your surroundings.
Although water is, as a general rule, extremely auspicious, the way the watercourses meet is equally vital and important and sometimes, certain configurations, instead of bringing good luck can often bring misfortune. The Water Dragon Formula is a specialised area of feng shui that maps these surface water flows by dividing them into trunks and branches, and charting which direction they follow in order to ‘tap’ beneficial water ch’i.