"Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire. –" Wendell Berry
Although thousands of years old, the term "feng shui" only really came to be known in the west within the last thirty years or so with the introduction of "Black Hat Feng Shui". Generally, this is the first type of feng shui that people come across and use, although many using this system are unaware of its actual name. In an attempt to simplify the complex rules of traditional Chinese Feng Shui, Black Hat uses the Ba Gua, also known as an Energy Map Or Bagua Grid, to divide a building into eight "Life Aspirations" or "Stations". It is also common to see the Ba Gua, meaning "Eight Trigrams", incorrectly divided into nine sectors. In its original form, Black Hat feng shui does not use a compass and the main door is always in only one of three sectors. Sometimes, directions are taken into account and incorrectly referred to as being part of "compass" school. The simplicity of this system means that Black Hat feng shui is very popular, however it relies on the power of a positive mind and in particular, the use of decorative "enhancers" or objects that you must place around the home to keep you positive and focused on your goals. If you like these new age accessories and they fit in with your decor, that's fine, but traditionally, Feng Shui Cures were simply the correct use of color, shape and natural materials such as plants and of course, water.
Traditional feng shui masters are more interested in the type of qi that enters a site and to do this they use more than just the simple bagua. In addition, a feng shui master will also use Chinese Astrology in conjunction with Feng Shui because using Feng Shui in a building without finding out the energy of the people who actually live or work there, is meaningless.
The bagua chart is used differently in Black Hat Sect feng shui than Traditional feng shui. Traditional feng shui relies upon the Classical principles of Compass and Shapes and Form School of feng shui, while Black Hat sect practitioners place the bagua chart the same way for each home. In Traditional or Classical feng shui, the placement of the bagua is governed by the compass readings. While Black Hat feng shui doesn't use many of the techniques found in Traditional or Classical feng shui schools, it does use general feng shui theories and philosophies.
Traditional and Classical feng shui use a form of astrology to determine pillars of destiny, individual charts, house charts, flying stars and much more. Special attention is placed on compass readings for compass directions. These cardinal directions are vital to Traditional feng shui, but are insignificant to Black Hat feng shui.
The method of divination is the biggest difference between these two feng shui schools. The other feng shui principles and cures are the same, except for the use of color. In Traditional feng shui, a color cannot activate an element, yet Black Hat often uses color in place of an element as a means of activating the element.
The Black Hat sect of feng shui is a simplistic, one-size-fits-all use of the bagua. This versatility of the bagua chart makes this form of feng shui more accessible to individuals. Unlike Classical feng shui that requires extensive studying and training, the Black Hat rules are simple to follow and almost anyone can quickly utilize the bagua for a home re-design.
The bagua chart is an octagon shape that is divided like a pie chart. Each slice is known as a trigram and contains specific information that relates to each sector of your home. The Trigrams are divided into the four main directions of North, South, East, and West. The other four trigrams are Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest.
Unlike traditional feng shui where compass readings for the sitting and facing directions govern the use of the bagua, Black Hat ignores the magnetic compass directions of the home. The bagua map, unlike the octagon bagua, is a square comprised of nine equally-sized, smaller squares, is placed directly over the house layout. BHS feng shui calls this a symbolic bagua map and it's fashioned after the traditional feng shui lo shu.
Step One: Print the bagua map above. Then procure or draw the layout of your home. This drawing should indicate your front door. Other exterior doors should also be added. Be sure to scale-to-size so that each room in your home is accurately represented.
Step Two: Superimpose the bagua map over your layout. In feng shui, the South Sector of the bagua map is always placed at the top of a layout. This means that the bottom (North Sector) of the bagua map will fall over the front side of your home layout. While the north direction defines the front side of your home, your front door may fall in the N, NE or NW sector. Step Three: You can now use the map to help strengthen various areas of your life, such as career, money, relationships and health according to BHS feng shui. Begin by familiarizing yourself with each sector of the bagua and how it relates to the room(s) of your home.
The eight sectors (palaces) of the bagua correlate to the eight compass directions. These are also known as the eight aspirations. Just remember that BHS feng shui doesn't follow the actual magnetic directions of your home the same way classical feng shui does. The ninth sector is located in the center of the map. If you are experiencing any negative effects in your life from one of these eight sectors, you can use feng shui principles and remedies to transform the inauspicious aspects and attract auspicious chi energy.