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Guidelines for Topography and Land Form Analysis

By Alex Stark. Copyright and all rights reserved.



“The relationship of the feng shui practitioner with the land is a bond, an understanding of the flow of energy in the earth and how to cooperate with it. By listening to the earth, the feng shui practitioner becomes attuned to the energy of the universe, for this energy is manifest in the air as wind, in the earth as water and land, and in the sky as the stars.”
-Eva Wong


The study of topography and land form are central to an understanding of feng shui and geomancy. The formation of the land obeys natural laws and is the physical manifestation of the earth’s processes. Understanding how topography embodies this activity therefore allows us to understand how the Cosmos impacts on human life. In oriental terms the land is the place where Heaven and Earth interface, and where the copulation of yin and yang occurs. It is through the land that all things are created and destroyed.

There are certain principles which we must understand if we are to learn the lessons taught to us by the land. In the first place, it is essential to recognize that the earth is animated by energy, and that energy flows in it, through it and around it. Furthermore, the earth is alive, conscious, and responsive. There is an intelligence in the land that may not be obvious to our linear, rational minds, but which is at the center of our very survival. Every action we undertake evokes a corresponding response from the earth. It therefore behooves us to be informed in our planning, careful in our execution, and responsible in our management of the land, water systems, and building projects.

Ecology is the modern approach used in our societies to understand this process. From the traditional point of view, however, it is important to recognize that the most important criteria used in the evaluation of land is the energy it contains. There are differences in the quality of energy from place to place. Energy in flat open spaces, for example, is different from energy in mountains. Energy in valleys is different from plateaus. Learning to recognize the quality, quantity, and flow patterns of this energy is therefore vital to feng shui and geomancy.

It is said that the mark of a good practitioner is his or her ability to read the chi, the energy of place. In order to understand the pattern of energy flow in the landscape, the feng shui practitioner must open himself to the natural world in order to become aware of the primeval energy of the land and to create a bond with the power of place. Known in the west as the genius loci, and in the east as the lung or dragon, the power of place is the spiritual, energetic, and physical manifestation of localized power.

The principles discussed in this report are a synthesis of the knowledge contained in feng shui and geomancy on land form and topography. They are not, however, a substitute for an intimate knowledge and connection with the land. This can only be attained by careful observation and interaction with the landscape. Known as “walking the dragon”, the process of exploration of the topographical and hydrological systems that surround our communities is the only true way to reach this understanding. I therefore encourage you to walk the dragon in your area and to become intimate with its intelligence, creativity, and power. Only then will you be able to access its potential and make it available to your community.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • The Earth is a Being animated by energy
  • Energy flows in this Earth, through it, and around it.
  • The Earth is alive, conscious, and responsive. Every action we undertake evokes a corresponding response.
  • It therefore behooves us to be informed in our planning, careful in our execution, and responsible in our management of any building projects.
  • There are differences in the quality of energy from place to place. Energy in flat open spaces, for example, is different from energy in mountains. Energy in valleys is different from that in plateaus.
  • In order to understand the pattern of energy flow in the landscape, the feng shui practitioner must open himself to the natural world in order to become aware of the primeval energy of the land and to create a bond with the power of place.
  • Known in the west as the genius loci, and in the east as the lung or dragon, the power of place is the spiritual, energetic, and physical manifestation of localized power.

    ANALYTICAL PRINCIPLES

    Yin & Yang
    An understanding of yin and yang is essential in order to understand how mountains and water can create prosperity, generate health, and bring success to human activity. Terrestrial harmony is dependent upon the balance of yin and yang. In terms of landscape, yin energy is associated with mountains, which are stable, immutable and solid. Water, in turn, is associated with yang energy, for it is moving, fluid, and adaptable. For a place to have power, it must include both water and mountains. If an area is overpowered by mountains or land, for example, the available energy is diminished, for it cannot be moved or circulated; it is lacking in yang. If the area is overpowered by water, on the other hand, the available energy cannot be gathered and remains dissipated and inaccessible: it is lacking in yin.

    As with everything else, for humans to prosper, the yin must be present in the yang and vice versa. This is evident in areas that have deep waters which are redolent of dynamic stillness. Mountains that appear to embody the energy of animals moving across the landscape, as we shall see below, are similarly endowed, for they also embody the yang in the yin. This idea will be touched again in connection with the idea of the land as an embodiment of mythical animals such as dragons and phoenixes.

    Energy Quality
    It is not enough for energy to be present in the landscape in order for it to be beneficial. It must also posses dynamic and vital qualities that render it beneficial to humanity. Such positive energy is called sheng chi. Energy that is stagnant, on the other hand, is not conducive to health or prosperity, and is called ssu chi. Energy that is destructive is called sha chi and must be avoided, for it can be harmful to health and good fortune and can cause great damage not only to individuals, but to entire communities.

    Although good land formations have the ability to create wealth, health and longevity, some land forms cannot regenerate energy once the energy is absorbed. Passive land forms that do not exhibit strong and coherent formations are most at risk. This includes land forms that are not part of mountain ranges with distinct central spines, scalloped hills, and open flat land. In these cases it is very difficult for the land to recharge itself after being depleted by use. Dynamic land forms, on the other hand, are able to regenerate and provide new energy to their users. Dynamic formations include dragon mountains with coherent central spines and branching ranges, and other special formations as discussed below. Certain formations, furthermore, are only able to create one beneficiary, after which they revert to a more passive role. In general terms it can also be said that overuse will rapidly deplete the land’s ability to nurture human activity, and that sustainability at this level requires that land use remain moderate and conscious of its impact on the land’s potential for health, prosperity, and success.

    The Scale of the Landscape
    In addition, the scale of the landscape also has an impact on the fortunes of its occupants. Any given site, for example, has a more regional aspect which may depend on the overall formation of the mountain range which leads up to the site in question. It also has a more local aspect which may be defined by the land masses in the immediate vicinity of the site. Whereas regional and local influences work together to create the fortunes of a given site, the regional effects tend to affect not only the current generation of users, but future generations as well. Local effects, on the other hand, are seen mainly on current users. When local and regional effects cannot both be optimal, it is preferable to have positive regional characteristics. A good local site, for example, will not offset poor regional characteristics, whereas a strong regional formation may often support a poor local situation.


    MOUNTAIN DRAGONS

    Oriental thinking refers to the energy of the land in terms of the metaphor of a dragon. The movement of energy in the land is said to resemble the movement of this mythical animal. In terms of western thought, a dragon can be said to be a path of concentrated earth energy. Energy dragons are therefore most often found along mountain ranges and are associated with topographical forms. Beacuse the earth generates electromagnetic fields, dragons are also associated with magnetic fields.

    Earth dragons, like their mythical counterparts, comprise a main body, arms, legs, a head, a mouth and jaws, and most importantly, veins of vital force which carry the power of the dragon itself. In general terms, the dragon vein is said to run on the top of the ridge forming the dragon’s body, and the central range, from which other ranges sprout forth, is said to be the spine. A well-developed mountain dragon therefore consist in an obvious body with a well-aligned spine, strong ranges forming the arms, and clearly defined veins. When the vain or the spine is broken, miss-aligned or absent, the dragon is said to be sick, broken or even dead.

    Whereas it is beneficial to live under the influence of a healthy dragon, living with a sick or dead dragon can be extremely destructive to life, health and prosperity. The ideal situation occurs when a vein gradually and gently terminates into a site with the proper formation (see below for auspicious land forms). The more veins terminate on a location, the more energy that location will absorb and the greater its power.

    In general terms it is most auspicious to locate a site or structure on the chi spot, the location indicated in the diagrams as that which receives the greatest amount of nourishing chi. However, it is also possible to settle on the main body of the dragon, provided other land form considerations are taken into account (see below). Settling on the tail or under the influence of the dragon’s jaws, on the other hand, can be most unfortunate.


    MOUNTAIN DRAGON CLASSIFICATIONS

    Feng shui classifies mountain dragons into the following broad categories:

    Kingly and Ordinary
    Kingly mountain dragons are most desirable. They have many branches, peaks, ridges, and valleys
    Ordinary mountain dragons consist of small mountain ranges with limited branches.

    Coherent and Scattered
    Coherent mountain dragons are beneficial with continuous spines organized in clearly defined patterns.
    Scattered mountain dragons tend to be sick or broken, with discontinuous spines that are organized in random patterns.

    Gradual and Abrupt
    Gradually forming mountain dragons are most desirable. These mountain ranges build up gradually in height and show similarly gradual endings with branches that spread out and gradually loose height. These formations create mature veins that are willing to embrace the land.
    Abrupt formations, on the other hand, show few solitary peaks with steep slopes that rise abruptly along the vein. They end suddenly with a few peaks and sharp slopes that do not give the dragon enough space or time to develop.

    Animal Mountain Dragons
    Certain mountain formations are said to resemble other types of animals such as tortoises or eagles. Of the many animals in the feng shui manuals, the most auspicious include the tortoise, the snake, the eagle, the tiger, and the phoenix. It must be said, however, that under certain circumstances even these animals can have negative influences. If, for example, one of these were to appear to be threatened by another formation their influence would be diminished.

    Similarly, if an animal appears to be out of its element or otherwise in danger, their influence would change from beneficial to inauspicious. A tortoise perched atop a high peak, for example, would be inauspicious, as such an animal would find itself in danger. This formation could lead to loss of fortune and mental illness. Other inauspicious forms include baskets (loss of fortune), upside-down boats (illness to daughters and jail to sons), and formations resembling a wide couch (violent death).

    Animal symbolism can extend to form scenes in which certain animals are seen performing mythical acts. Such are the two examples below. These formations are considered to be particularly auspicious. The Great Horse of Uffington (England) in the photo below is one such case, as the dragon can be clearly seen to chase its pearl (the small mound at the head of the dragon).

    Human Mountain formations
    Mountains with human forms can also be found. These include formations that resemble heads, torsos, and even groupings. Such formations have been recognized in all cultures and are the focus of extended folklore.

    Mountains with Immortal resemblances. In these cases the mountain formations are said to correspond to mythical characters or moments in the histories of such personages. The example below represents a golden needle with a pearl

    Natural Phenomena Formations These mountain formations are particularly auspicious as they are said to represent the copulation of earthly and heavenly forces.

    Death of a dragon This type of formation is characterized by a sudden and total collapse of a vein. The range ends in sheer vertical cliffs with exposed rock surfaces. Such a vein has disastrous influences on human life.


    EXAMPLES OF MOUNTAIN DRAGONS

    The following examples are diagrammatic representations of dragons and their ranges, spines, and veins. The building sites are represented by the small circles.


    Some examples of Mountain Dragons from ancient Feng Shui manuals



    THE ARM CHAIR DRAGON

    Of all possible locations along a mountain dragon formation, the most auspicious is said to be in the nest of the dragon, protected by its arms and in view of the landscape before it. This site is almost always located near the head of the dragon and therefore receives all of the energy and power of the entire mountain ranges behind it. It is as if the entire body of the dragon builds up to this site. In coherent dragons the body of a dragon can literally traverse hundreds of miles, culminating in the precious nest that will render the site a king-maker location. It is for this reason that such sites have always been coveted in all cultures, as their potential for creating fortune, power, and influence are supreme.

    Also known as the armchair formation because of its resemblance to an easy chair, the nest of the dragon consists of a taller mountain in the rear (the head), lower mountain ranges on either side (the embracing arms), and a smaller range in the distance (the pearl). Each of these forms is given the name of a mythical animal which is said to be its protecting guardian. The taller rear section is known as the Black Turtle and should be larger and more imposing than the other ranges. The range to the left of the site (looking out toward the open side) is called the Azure Dragon and should be taller than the range to the right, which is called the White Tiger. Open land separates this grouping from the Red Phoenix in the far distance. This mythical bird is said to be enhanced if it consists of multiple ranges receding into the background.

    Between the armchair and the Phoenix, a meandering river is said to bring in abundant prosperity and good health. If this river where to enter the site from the side of the dragon, and, if it where to also disappear from view by descending into the earth through a sink hole, culvert, or cave, this would render the site supreme.

    Orientation also plays a role in this matter, as a site that would orient itself toward the south would also benefit from the energetic qualities of that direction. Hence the Black Turtle is best when located to the north, the Red Phoenix to the south, and so forth. From this orientation it is said that the side of the Azure Dragon is the yang side of the site (because it receives the first energy of the sun), and the White Dragon is the yin side. Similarly, the front of the site is yang, and the rear is yin.
    Classical Armchair Mountain Dragon Formation



    MOUNTAIN INFLUENCES

    Oriental thinking classifies land and water formations according to their beneficial or destructive potential. The following table lists some common forms of mountains and their influence.

    Harmful Mountain Environments
    Avoid sites located on or in close view of the following:

  • Sharp or jagged peaks
  • Steep slopes
  • Barren and exposed slopes
  • Cliffs, canyons, gullies, and arroyos
  • Areas with loose gravel or rocks
  • Rocky or stony surfaces
  • Knife edge ridges
  • Short ranges with no coherent patterns
  • Slopes permanently in shadow
  • Areas that are covered in fog or clouds for many days of the year
  • Areas with road cuttings and excavations

    Beneficial Mountain Environments
    It is positive to live on or in view of the following:

  • Gentle slopes and rounded tops
  • Soft green cover
  • Sheltered slopes
  • Gentle ridges
  • Long ranges with many branches and coherent patterns
  • Mountains that exhibit shadow patterns on their slopes caused by shifting clouds
  • Mountains that are temporarily shrouded in clouds or mist.


    SITE LOCATION CRITERIA

    1. The site should be protected on all sides

    2. Land on left and right should from cradling arms around the site

    3. Land at the back should be higher than the site and slope gently toward it.

    4. Land in front of the site should be open, but the horizon should not be empty. The more layers to the Phoenix formation, the better.

    5. Land should slope gently away from the front of the site.

    6. Land should NOT slope away from the back of the site.

    7. The back of the site/ house should not be too close to the turtle. This turns if from a guardian to an intimidator.

    8. The site/ house should not be located at the lowest part of the valley, as negative energy gathers at the lowest spot.

    9. Never live in a site or house that is on a crag, ridge, or mountain top as it does not have the benefit of protection. Similarly, do not live in the top floor of a high-rise or in a tall building with out protection.

    10. Never live in a site or house that is at the edge of a cliff or against a cliff.

    11. Do not live in a site or house that is on top of a Dragon, Tiger, or Turtle.

    12. The front of a house should face away from the mountain. A road higher than the house makes this worse.

    13. Do not live on a slope without vegetation.

    14. It is best to build on the flatter side of a hill.

    15. It is best to build and live in lower buildings. Tall buildings are oppressive to earth chi.




    WATER INFLUENCES

    Rivers and streams provide nourishing energy to the land. The interplay of yin (mountains) and yang (rivers) creates abundance, health and longevity. No landscape can flourish without the beneficial influence of water. Water moving through a landscape is symbolic of abundance and fertility. Hence, in those situations where water is not naturally present, it becomes imperative to find ways to encourage its movement into the site.

    Mountains and water complement each other like bone and blood. The interaction of their energies is responsive for the generation of all things. Water that flows toward a mountain formation feeds it and enhances its power. Water that flows away from it dissipates its energy. For this reason it is best to locate a site or structure in view of water and so that water is always seen as approaching its entrance or front door

    In the preceding sections we have looked at the various forms embodied in mountains. Water too has its classifications. In general terms water can be classified into waters that traverse the land above ground and waters that are located underground. Visible water is more obviously a sign of the quality of a landscape, but underground water is also important, and in some instances can be extremely influential as well.

    Rivers & Streams
    Water that moves along courses brings energy toward and away from the site. It is therefore important to understand how a particular site is related to such bodies of moving energy. From simple rivulets to mighty rivers, streams carry chi to all parts of the landscape. Often this flow of energy is channeled underground, so it is important to understand this aspect of the hydrological cycle. Water in streams can be sheng or sha, depending on the speed of movement. Sheng chi is vibrant and invigorating and corresponds to water that moves at a steady measured pace. Sha chi is aggressive and destructive and corresponds to water that is too fast or which can invade the site. If a stream were to become stagnant in flood plain areas, this chi might become ssu or stagnant. Depending on that time of year, any given stream might be sheng, ssu, or sha.

    In urban areas even surface streams are often buried below foundations or pavement, so it is important to study the historical record in order to understand where and how the chi wants to flow. The fact that a river bed is dry does not mean that there is no water energy flowing through it. Not only is there a possibility that the water may have gone underground, (this happens often in areas where irrigation taps excessively into surface water) but there is also an imprint of information that is encoded in the memory of the landscape as water flow. Of all the elements, water is the one most versatile in terms of how it holds and distributes information. Even arid areas have water energy in them, and many traditional peoples are keenly aware of this fact as it impacts their survival.

    Because roads and street also carry chi in discreet paths, feng shui has chosen to apply many of the analytical tools used for water to the understanding of these “virtual rivers”. However, it must be understood that this is only an analytical schema and that roads and streets have characteristics of their own. Energy in roads can be extremely harsh, being as it is a product of mechanical forces. In addition, pavement tends to clog the energy of the earth, which is something water does not do. In general, street and road patterns do resemble water formations, but allowances must be made for these additional factors.

    Lakes & Deltas
    Because water moves much more slowly in these bodies, they are said to hold energy rather than distribute it. For this reason they are said to act as reservoirs of power and prosperity. It is important, however, that water in these bodies be “alive”. This means that water cannot remain stagnant but must move as part of its cycle of hydrological flow. There are rivers, such as the Nile or the Amazon, that periodically fit this category because their water can flood large areas in which water appears to be still. The State of Florida also fits this pattern, as the movement of its water is actually as a sheet of water that covers the entire state. It appears not to move, but, in fact, it actively drains the entire southeastern basin of the United States.

    Although nourishing and beneficial when “alive”, water in this category can easily become ssu if its flow slows down and becomes stagnant, or if its natural pattern is disturbed, such as is the case with the canalization of the waters in the State of Florida.

    Coasts & Inlets
    Inlets and coasts are exposed to much larger bodies of water and therefore typically contend with additional forces that involve weather patterns such as winds, storms or waves. The energy along coastal areas is therefore variable and provisions need to be taken to account for these variations over time. Often coastal areas are subjected to breaking waves or strong winds, both of which carry sha chi. Inlets, on the other hand are typically milder and are therefore favored for settlements. Open coastal areas may also exhibit no coherent patterns at all and are therefore considered to be “dead water”.

    Surface Patterns
    In addition to the formation of water bodies, it is important to understand that the patterns created by the water as it interacts with the land, winds, or light, also have an impact on human life. Areas where water creates multiple flow patterns which resemble the skin of a reptile, for example, are said to be highly beneficial because they are indications of the presence of a Water Dragon. Animated and coherent water patterns bring power to the region these waters influence. Variable coloration has similar effects.

    On the other hand, harsh reflections or linear flow patterns have the opposite effect and are to be avoided. Similarly, crashing waves, rapids, water falls, and chaotic patterns caused by strong winds are also considered destructive.

    Underground Water
    Underground water is much harder to identify and evaluate. However, it is important to know if it is going to impact on the site or structure. It is possible to determine the presence of underground water through dowsing. This is a technique which utilizes various tools to amplify the body’s natural understanding of energy in order to detect features of the landscape (such as water) which are otherwise inaccessible. Dowsing rods, for example, are metal bars that rotate when the practitioner crosses an area that is located over water.

    Identifying underground water is important because it has been implicated in many situations affecting human and animal health. It can also negatively impact fortune and prosperity, as well as spiritual and emotional well-being. Underground water has also been implicated in situations where individuals fail to thrive, and in cases where there is resistance to medical treatment.

    Underground water is also one major cause of Geopathic Stress (see the Land Energies and Geopathic Stress in the Articles page). This is a form of trauma to the earth that carries significant consequences for human life.


    BENEFICIAL WATER ENVIRONMENTS

    It is positive to live on or in view of the following:

  • Water that laps gently as it meets land.
  • Sandy beaches with trees and sheltered lakes are two such cases.
  • Water with surface patterns that include dragon shapes and differences in surface color or patterns.
  • Water that is “connected” to the earth. Springs and water that drains into sink holes, limestone, or even into culverts or under bridges are all examples.
  • In general it is preferable to live near slow moving water that is gently winding.
  • For lakes and pools, it is best if these have calm water and if they are naturally fed.
  • Gathering streams are better than streams that split up.
  • A special case are grasses or pastures that exhibit surface patterns such as those encouraged for water. Such cases are know as “green dragons frolicking in water”.
  • In cities, streets and roads that follow good dragon formations are considered to be beneficiall.
  • Parking lots can emulate sheltered lakes if they have encircling walls and corner entrances.


    HARMFUL WATER ENVIRONMENTS

    Avoid sites located on or in view of the following:

  • Fast moving water with steep banks
  • Sea cliffs or waterfalls
  • Sharp turns along water courses
  • Straight runs: long inlets or long water fingers such as canals, especially if the site or structure is located at the end of the run
  • Crashing water: breakers, rapids, and surf. White water over rocks is especially destructive
  • Tidal areas were water sets in fast.
  • Areas with erratic water patterns such as deltas, flood plains and swamps.
  • Stagnant water of any type: swamps, swimming pools, treatment plants
  • Frozen lakes
  • In cities, roads that accelerate traffic or which carry traffic that is too fast.
  • Streets that carry excess traffic and noise
  • Streets or roads that have sharp turns or long runs, especially if these aim at the site or structure
  • Viaducts or sunken highways
  • Bridges, overpasses and highway ramps
  • Parking lots without perimeter protection
  • Sites totally surrounded by pavement


    INFLUENCES OF WATER

    Site and House Placement
    The placement of a structure in relation to a body of water is an important consideration because water has a tremendous impact on the fortunes of the site’s occupants. Beneficial water placement will result in increased prosperity, health and longevity. Poor placement, on the other hand, can result in financial ruin, illness and in certain cases even death. The following are basic criteria for placement:

    1. A house should face the water. Having water at the back of the house is not auspicious. This means that in an ordinary house lot, it is better to have water in the front. It this is not possible, you can dampen the negative effects by installing a mirror to reflect the water back to the front.

    2. Water should move toward the house. Water that moves away from it carries away its profits and rewards. If possible, water should fall in the direction of the house door, so a waterfall in view of the entrance is highly auspicious. However, there are certain cases in which this rule does not apply (sees below).

    3. The structure must not be too close to a body of water. The minimum recommended distance is 2 times the height of the house. You can distance the body of water by creating a meandering path from the house to the water; balance the lot with a light, tree, garden or a pole at the opposite side of the building.

    4. Water in the west of the structure is not auspicious. To correct you can create a buffer of earth such as a berm, or you can reflect its image toward the east, add floating plants and gardens to dampen this effect.

    5. A house should not be located near sewers or wells. This water is too stagnant. If is preferable to have a well away from the house, although older wells within or close to a house can be acceptable if they do not have a poor track record. Sewer caps and well housings can be improved by placing plants over them. Another cure is to place an earthen pot with rice over the well or sewer intake.

    6. Water should not be located on the left side of a main entrance (looking from the outside) as this will lead to marital difficulties and infidelity. Water on the right side is good for fidelity and trust.

    7. A house should not be in the path of incoming water if this path is straight. Similarly, a house located on the outside of a river or street bend is also at risk as energy accelerates around corners. Houses located on the inside of the bend, on the other hand, are safe.

    8. Kidney-shaped swimming pools are best; straight edges and sharp corners on rectangular pools can attack the house. Place a tree, gazebo, or fountain in the path of the poisoned arrow. Curve the pool toward the house. Pools that curve away from it carry away its prosperity.

    9. Ponds and pools should not be too large. If the pond is bigger than the house, add a tree, lamp. or rock to balance it on the opposite side of the house.

    10. The auspiciousness of water depends also on the direction the house faces. If the house faces within 3o of a cardinal direction (N, S, E, W), avoid water entering from the inter-cardinal corners (NW, SW, NE, SE). However, water LEAVING from those directions is auspicious.

    11. Similarly, for houses that face within 3 degrees of the inter-cardinal directions:
  • For houses facing SE, water should not enter from E3 or S1
  • For houses facing SW, water should not enter from S3 or W1
  • For houses facing NW, water should not enter from W3 or N1
  • For houses facing NE, water should not enter from E1 or N3
  • Water flowing OUT from these directions is auspicious; water flowing IN is inauspicious.

    12. Avoid houses located over underground water streams. They are implicated in geopathic stress (see Land Energies and Geopathic Stress in the Articles page).


    WATER DRAGONS

    As with mountains, bodies of water can also create dragon formations. In general, water that moves in sinuous patterns and with moderate speed through a gently sloping terrain is said to be animated and vital. On occasion, however, water may rise from the earth or disappear from view. Islands and other land formations may intrude on its surface. Many courses may join into one larger one, or on occasion, one course may split into several. All of these possibilities can create dragons with extraordinary power and vitality. Sites located in the dragon’s nest in these formations are endowed with supreme potential and can become important centers of commercial, financial, or political power. The diagrams below are a sampling of dragons from older Chinese feng shui manuals. The dragon’s nest is indicated with a circle and dot.

    It is interesting to note that the water dragon called “Running Water Collects Spirit” corresponds to the formation of New York City Harbor as shown in the accompanying sketch. This explains the incredible power of that great city.


    VIRTUAL WATER: ROADS AND STREETS

    Because roads and streets also carry chi in discreet paths, feng shui has chosen to apply many of the analytical tools used for water to the understanding of these “virtual rivers”. Although there are significant differences between the two (roads cannot hold energy, for example, only carry it), roads and rivers tend to be grouped together for the purposes of analysis. This is because these man-made features of the landscape also carry energy and can both nourish and deplete a given site.

    However, it must be understood that this is only an intellectual schema and that roads and streets have characteristics of their own. Energy in roads can be extremely harsh, being as it is a product of mechanical forces. In addition, pavement tends to clog the energy of the earth, which is something water does not generally do. In general, street and road patterns do resemble water formations, but allowances must be made for these additional factors.

    Benevolent Road Patterns
  • A site is benefited by a road that cradles a site but does not wind around it like a noose.
  • A site is benefited if it is located at the end of a series of loops in a winding road.
  • Traffic circles are beneficial because they encourage smooth flow of chi. This is not true for cul-de-sacs, as the centrifugal forces they generate have nowhere to go. It is relatively safe, however, to site a structure toward to end of the circle as shown below.
  • Gently winding streets greatly benefit homes located along them.
  • Dirt and gravel roads carry energy better than pavement. Paved roads put a lid over the earth and decrease the flow of energy.
  • Roads that resemble Water Dragon formations also benefit the sites located on them (see page 17).
  • Parking lots can emulate sheltered lakes if they have encircling walls and corner entrances.

    Destructive Road Patterns
  • Avoid structures located at dead ends, T-junctions and Y-junctions. Shield the building with trees, vegetation, and porches, and use a bagua mirror over the front door.
  • Avoid structures located at or near sharp turns or long runs, especially if these aim at the site or structure. Slow down energy with water pools and vegetation.
  • Avoid houses located at dead ends and cul-de-sacs. Shield the house and hang a bagua mirror over the front door. On cul-de-sacs energize the site with moving water and lush vegetation.
  • Avoid sites that are encircled by a road that resembles a noose or which are totally surrounded by pavement. Add moving water and lush vegetation.
  • Avoid sites located in maze-like road patterns.
  • Avoid sites located on high-speed roads. Shield the house and slow down the energy with vegetation.
  • A site or structure between two converging roads are said to be “cut by scissors” and should be avoided.
  • A site or structure located between two parallel roads is said to be squeezed of its energy and cannot provide enough vitality to its occupants.
  • Corner sites and houses should be avoided as the energy on these locations can be excessive.
  • Commercial establishments, on the other hand, can benefit from the extra energy on street corners.
  • Roads that run downhill toward a house brings harm to its occupants. Shield the house and use mirrors. Add a pole with lights or a flag behind the house to balance the land forms.
  • Avoid houses located along steep slopes or steep roads. Occupant’s fortunes can become unstable.
  • Avoid houses located at the crest or the bottom of steep roads. The benefits of hard work can be lost without warning. This is especially true if the road runs away from the house.
  • Avoid sites or structures that are in line with airport runways, canals, walls, or other straight lines.
  • Avoid sites located near bridges, viaducts, elevated or sunken highways and highway interchanges.
  • Avoid sites located on roads that accelerate traffic or which carry traffic that is too fast.
  • Avoid sites located near parking lots without perimeter protection.


    ANIMALS, VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE

    Animals and vegetation are associated with the life force and are often good indicators of the quality of chi in the site. In general, good sites are characterized by vibrant vegetation and healthy wildlife . Vegetation can also act as a regulator, holding energy when the site is being drained by other factors, and modulating its flow.


    GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATING THE LIFEFORCE OF A SITE

  • Avoid areas that are too dry or too wet. Deserts and jungles are not optimal sites for habitation.
  • Avoid areas where plant life is too thick. This can lead to depression and loss of vitality. Thin out the vegetation and energize the interior of the house.
  • Areas that are too dry are often lacking in vital force. Make sure there is enough water in the area and surround the site with vegetation. Avoid robbing the subsoil of its moisture through excessive well use.
  • High altitude and cold climate can rob vegetation of its energy. This is particularly true for tundra and above the tree line.
  • It is best to settle in areas with mature tree growth. Look for forests, older suburbs and city parks. Avoid new development where vegetation has been razed.
  • Farming land is acceptable for settlement, although land that has been recently tilled can be harmful.
  • Vegetation on a slope that appears stubby and sparse is destructive.
  • Certain animals are good indicators of earth chi: deer, fox, monkeys, wolves, bats, and wild horses. Locate your home in areas where these animals are known to congregate or build their nests.
  • Certain animals are indicators of poor earth chi: ants, wasps, spiders, scorpions, and wild cats. Avoid areas where these congregate or build nests.


    GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF TREES AND VEGETATION

  • Tree groves are often indicators of dragon veins and should therefore be respected and protected.
  • Trees can act as screens against sha chi, block unwanted light, and protect from harsh western sunshine and high winds.
  • Trees are useful in helping to balance house shape and plot size. If the house is “missing” a corner, balance it by placing a tree in the vacant position. If a house is too close to one end of a property, place a tree on the opposite side.
  • Trees can be placed behind a house that is located too low on the landscape to raise the chi of the low side.
  • Trees can also act as shields against destructive forces: power stations,bridges, antennas, cemeteries, etc.
  • Do not plant trees in front of or too close to doors or windows. If they are in line with a front door they can have a very negative effect on prosperity. Place a bagua mirror over the door or hang this saying on the tree: “when exiting, receive blessings”
  • Avoid homes that are too close to larger trees, especially if these have drooping branches or leaves.
  • Avoid trees that block needed light and early morning sunshine, depriving a home of vital force..
  • The cutting of trees and vegetation in an indiscriminate manner can also have devastating effects on the fortunes of a site’s occupants. Always err on the side of caution.
  • If you have a dead tree or a stump on your property, remove them or cover them with plants, vines, or potted plants.


    ARTIFICIAL LANDSCAPES

    Newer earth formations do not have the power of older formations. This includes not only those land formations built by man, but also more recent volcanic or seismic formations. Landfill, mounds, and artificial rivers and lakes do not have the nourishing power of established structures. The latter have had time to absorb and store the energy of the universe.

    Nevertheless, newer formations can serve to direct the flow of energy in the landscape and to prevent destructive energy from reaching a particular site. Mounds and berms, for example, are useful devises, for they can shield a site or structure from offending sha chi and poisoned arrows. Dams, dikes, and reservoirs, similarly, can help to hold energy as a moderating force against larger negative forces such as cold climate or flash flooding. Artificial lakes and waterfalls, furthermore, are simple devices that can increase the potential of a site to promote prosperity and health. However, it is important to know how to gauge the energy of these formations, as it is often the case that a dam or reservoir will have detrimental impact on the surrounding area. In addition, it is important to remember that artificial landscape formations often trigger geopathic stresses (see page 23).

    In general terms it can be said that the power of the land is destroyed if the formation which contains it or carries it is destroyed. Cutting a dragon vein, for example, is a sure way of killing or sickening a dragon and the vast landscapes often associated with it. Site and regional planning, therefore, need to recognize the importance of identifying and cataloging important mountain and water dragon formations so that their nourishing power can be preserved. Similarly, planners, architects and builders also need to recognize the potentially destructive impact their efforts can have on the web of life and on the power of the earth.

    In preceding sections we have identified certain formations that can be detrimental to human life. Here is a list of other criteria that may help to identify areas where artificial landscapes can have a negative impact:

    Harmful artificial landscapes
  • Avoid areas near dams, dikes, and reservoirs. They tend to drain the land of its energy and to upset the biological and hydrological balance. They can also raise the salinity of the earth, rendering it useless for life.
  • Avoid areas of landfill. Not only is this land unstable, but it does not have enough power to sustain life.
  • Avoid areas that are too built up. The harder the environment, the harder life will be in those locations.
  • Avoid areas where land has been razed for construction. The trauma incurred on the earth will take many years to heal and it is best if the land remains untouched for at least three to five years.
  • Avoid areas that are paved over completely. These locations cannot access earth energy and will therefore not be able to properly support life. Health problems may result.
  • Avoid areas that have been previously used for industrial or military purposes. Land in these locations is heavily traumatized and will take even longer to heal.
  • Avoid developments erected over sacred land, ancient burial grounds, or old temples. The spiritual energies associated with these are often compromised and dangerous.
  • Avoid developments erected on old barns and stables, slaughter houses, and gathering pens for cattle to be sacrificed. There is too much pain and suffering associated with these lands.
  • Avoid areas that have experienced war or serious crimes. The trauma to the spiritual energy of the earth is too great.


    Objects in the Landscape
    In addition to the land and water formations above discussed, objects in the landscape also have an impact on the fortunes of a site and its occupants. These objects can range in size from large cliffs and boulders to smaller structures such as benches or fences. Their impact on the site, however, depends on their form, position, and relative size. In general terms, the closer an object is to the site, the greater its impact. The larger it is, the more it will affect it. In terms of position, objects that impact front doors and entrances tend to be more important as well.

    Beneficial Structures
    The following are objects and structures that are considered beneficial when they are close to or in view of a site or structure:

  • Round or oval objects. This includes rotundas, sculptures, traffic circles, domes, rounded boulders, and balls. It does not include satellite dishes or round objects that threaten the site.
  • Smaller bodies of water in front of the house. These have been discussed in previous sections.
  • Octagonal objects near a house or site.
  • Gardens and parks, preferable if they are toward the front of the building or site.

    Destructive structures.
    The following are objects and structures that are considered harmful:

  • Knife-like edges that point to a house. This includes rock slabs, roof lines, and buildings with sharp edges.
  • Shiny or reflective surfaces, including water, glass, metal, mylar, and other plastics.
  • Harsh structures, especially if they are large. This includes dams, embankments, cliffs, rock outcrops and escarpments
  • Structures which have harsh or destructive functions: power stations, factories, electrical stations, cemeteries, slaughter houses, butcher shops, crematoriums, police stations, jails, courthouses, and certain churches, especially if they include funeral services.
  • Horizontal structures, especially if they cut across the site or building, but also if they are in view of it. This includes bridges, viaducts, power lines, elevated highways, flat-topped hills, mesas, and buttes.
  • Vertically towering structures rising in view of the site. This includes cliffs, dams, skyscrapers, towers, antennas, and trees.
  • Vertical lines that create the feeling of prison bars such as window mullions, blinds, or burglar bars.
  • Any object or structure that hangs over another such as cantilevers, boulders, and loose gravelly slopes.
  • Triangular, pointy, or irregular shapes (poisoned arrows), especially if they point at the site or building.
  • Buildings with sharp edges, especially if they point at the site.
  • Anything that is too close to the building such as trees, walls, or cliffs, especially if they are harsh or menacing.
  • Straight lines are also destructive, especially if they aim or point at the building or site. Walls, fences, roof lines, rail road tracks, and roads are examples.
  • Any and all destructive images. This can include guns, cannons, airplanes, arrows, etc.


    COUNTERMEASURES AGAINST DESTRUCTIVE OBJECTS

    In order to counteract the effects of destructive objects in the landscape it is necessary to place a countermeasure that will deflect, reflect, absorb, block, or destroy that influence. The list below gives some indications as to how this can be done for the various categories of objects mentioned in the preceding page.

    Reflectors
    Reflectors send chi back to its source. The size of the reflector must match that of the object creating the difficulty. These can be used against any destructive influence.

  • Reflectors include mirrors, glass, foil, and other metal surfaces.
  • These can be flat, concave or convex. Each has a distinct effect.
  • Flat mirrors simply return the attacking force to its source. i.e. use against sha chi
  • Concave mirrors invert the image, causing it to become inert. i.e use against taller buildings
  • Convex mirrors scatter the image and disperse it in all directions. For this reason they are least favored, as the scattered energy can become difficult to control.
  • Bagua mirrors are a special case of reflectors, as they derive their power not only from the mirror at the center, but also from the magical power of the trigrams emblazoned on the plaque. Size is therefore not relative to the offending object and much smaller bagua mirrors can be used effectively.

    Absorbers
    Absorbers eat up the chi. They can be used against sharp or harsh objects, poisoned arrows, and against destructive images, but not against precarious objects, close objects, or shiny surfaces.

  • Options include sand pits, piles of cedar chips, loose leaves, and thick vegetation.
  • They must be in line with the offending object.
  • They must be in the angle of vision of the offending object.
  • They are especially useful if the offending object is higher than the site or house.

    Deflectors
    Deflectors send chi in another direction. They can be used against shiny surfaces, harsh objects, destructive images, and poisoned arrows. Because this can potentially cause additional problems if the chi were to attack other innocent parties, they are not recommended for use by novices. Convex mirrors are one such example.

    Blockers
    Blockers stop chi from entering a site or space. They are very effective but need to be used as close to the source as possible. They can be used against any destructive influence. Options include screens, walls, shutters, hedges, and berms.

    Destructors
    Destructors kill the chi. They must be stronger than the incoming force. As they can sometimes be difficult to control, they are also not recommended for use by novices. Options include destructive images such as cannons, arrows, guns, etc.