The pa kua (or ba gua if you prefer the pinyin transliteration of the Chinese) is one of the basic diagnostic tools used in feng shui. It is a simple 8 sided figure, an octagon with a Trigram on each side. Pa means ‘eight’’ while kua means ‘trigram’, hence pa kua. It is central to “Eight Asprirations” theory which was very popular in fengs shui’s early days in the West.
When the pa kua is superimposed on the plan of a room, a flat or a house then it can be used for feng shui diagnosis. These pa kua directions are very versatile. They can be applied either to a whole city, to a whole house, or its garden, a flat in the house, or just to a room in the flat. Used in this way the 8 trigrams are allocated to each of the 8 main compass directions,. Traditional Chinese feng shui orientates the Li trigram to magnetic South. (American originated Black Hat Sect [BHS] feng shui usually orientates the pa kua with the main door or entranceway.)
The pa kua has a number of uses. With the 8 trigrams arranged in a particular order (with the Ch’ien trigram at the top) the pa kua, set with a circular mirror, has the ability to deflect sha or ‘secret arrows’. With the 8 trigrams in a different order (with the Li trigram at the top as shown on this page) the pa kua acts as a diagnostic and direction
First (inner) Ring
The pa kua in the illustration shows the order in which the trigrams are allocated to the compass points.
This ring represents the Chinese name of the Trigram. For example Sun is the name of the trigram in the SE. (Sun here does not mean the sun in the sky).
Each of the 8 sectors is attributed to one of the Chinese Elements. As there are only 5 Elements, Wood, Metal and Earth each have two directions, whilst Fire and Water only have one direction each. For example, the SW direction is attributed to the Element of Earth, logically as the Earth is yin and female.
Following on from the Elements, each direction has a colour derived from the Element. In the case of SW the colour is yellow, the colour of Earth. In the South, red corresponds with Fire, and so on.
This shows the directions, and is in a sense the most important ring. Use these to place the pa kua symbol over a plan of your home and divide your home up into 8 sectors, N, S, E, W, SW, SE, NW, and NE. The 8 sectors so formed by the pa kua each correspond to an area of aspiration in your life. For example SW corresponds with the Trigram K’un which symbolises the complete yin, the female principle.
The outer ring shows the aspect of life’s typical aspirations. The SW corresponds with romantic or marital relationships. Stimulating, enhancing, or even just tidying the relevant sector can improve the corresponding part of your life. Use the colours and Elements to suggest how best to stimulate the relevant sector.If you have an L-shaped house or flat, and one or more of the pa kua sectors is missing you may well find that this missing sector corresponds to a weakness in one of the aspirations listed above. This deficiency can sometimes be corrected by mirrors.