The North South Hemisphere Question:
The question of whether or not the orientation of the Lo Pan, Lo Shu should be reversed when applied to the Southern Hemisphere has been thrown back an forth for years so lets consider the excellent arguments put forward in Qi Concepts at the [http://www.dragonsbreath.co.uk]
Feng Shui originated in China between 3000 and 5000 years ago. China is a vast country however its placement is entirely in the Northern hemisphere no part is closer than 18 degrees North of the equator. There is neither authentic historical data, nor are there any records regarding the application of Feng Shui theory in the Southern Hemisphere. Evidence simply does not exist, so unfortunately we have to debate the question, postulate our theories and make our own decision on what we feel comfortable with. Certainly if you live close to the equator, you need to be aware of the difference between the geographical equator and the magnetic equator, as I have already pointed out in the previous section. The difference can be quite considerable as much as 12? of latitude that’s 720 nautical miles or 828 statute if you like.
Isogonics Charts show the magnetic flux. It can range from 0° to 30°. Interestingly the large area over China has no Magnetic Variation. This diagram is only to illustrate the variation in flux. To see a good example of an Isogonics Chart visit the British Geological Society Web Site
If you look at the earth you can see that the earths axis is inclined at angle of 23.5? to the plane of its orbit around the sun this is called the ecliptic. It maintains this tilt pointing rigidly and parallel to the same point in space towards the Star Polaris. If the angle of the Earths axis remained perpendicular to the plane of the Sun then the Sun would be overhead at the equator at all times. This is not the case however and we are stuck with it the way it is.
The Earth orbits the sun in 365 days. The suns apparent motion crosses to the North side of the equator for around for six months peaking during the summer solstice on the 21 June, over the Tropic of Cancer where it reaches its maximum declination* North around 23? North. It then starts to decline and crosses to the Southern side of the equator crossing the point of Libra around the 21 September. It continues its loop South until it is over Capricorn around December 22nd, the winter solstice, where it is at its lowest West point.( Reversed for the S Hemisphere) It should be clear from this now how the seasons are formed. (*the angular distance of the sun North or South of the Equator)
From this model, we can see that most people in China lived above The 22nd Parallel of North latitude. This means that their view of the sun, from Quinghai Province North Central China for instance, on the 21 June would have been rising East North Easterly approximately 064? True (24°N of E).
The sun would traverse the sky, reaching its maximum altitude of 74? at mid day, when it bears due South, and the proceeds across the sky Westward where it sets West North West around 290?True (16°N of W)
Now if we consider the fact that the earliest school of Feng Shui was Form School Feng Shui, which supposedly predates the compass by at least 2000 years and was concerned with the topography of the landscape using the four celestial animals configuration we can see a pattern forming.
We have in Chinese Form School an arrangement naturally looking towards the midday Sun/South our biggest source of energy and the ultimate Yang. the source of our warmth and light. This is the Phoenix to the front Red /Orange its element is Fire like the rising and setting of the Sun. It is only natural that this would be the direction for the Yang rooms of a home to face. These would be the rooms that are most active and used during the day.
They would be the most open rooms with the largest windows The entrance hall, living room, family room, conservatory, courtyard, sundeck,
The Turtle is to the North at the back of us providing protection. Blue/Black/ Yin Cold and dark like the long far Northern nights. The Black Turtle historically represents the shady side of the hill. It makes sense that this direction with the least light smallest windows and being the most Yin should be considered the most suitable for the Yin rooms of the house such as the bedrooms toilets bathrooms store rooms.
The Azure/Green Dragon the colour of the Eastern plains and the China sea, is to the left/East and the rising Sun, Its wood element is expansive and represents the growth of spring and the dawn of each new morning. This area is conducive to a kitchen being yang but lesser yang than the South and good for breakfast room, if there is a garden then this is an area for a vegetable plot or an orchard especially if they can be orientated to a southerly aspect.
The White tiger to the right/West, towards the snowy peaks of the Himalayas and the setting Sun. its metal element is representative of contraction and autumn it is yin, feminine, conserving and protecting by nature. This is also a good area for children’s bedrooms and nursery especially for the youngest daughter.
It is relatively easy to see how and why the ancient Chinese configured their homes to face in these directions. This configuration is just as relative today to homes in the Northern hemisphere as it as 5000 years ago in China. If we had the option to build our perfect home, this would be the configuration we would be most likely to choose, for sure.
The energy pattern and qualities of the sun’s apparent motion in the Northern Hemisphere as viewed down on the North Pole is clockwise. Likewise, the major ocean currents and major air streams the trade winds and monsoons circulate in a clockwise direction.
(The World Climatic Chart for July in the Admiralty sailing Directions NP136 is an excellent illustration).
In harmony with the laws of nature; and therefore balance, the Yin and Yang. The opposite exists in the Southern Hemisphere. Although the Sun will still rise in the East, the Suns apparent motion when viewed from the Southern Hemisphere is anti clockwise. The major currents and air streams are anticlockwise. The Sun, the major source of energy is to the North and the cold dark and shadows lie to the South. The four seasons are not reversed i.e. Autumn, Summer, Spring, Winter as often stated, but complement their opposites Spring and Autumn, Summer and Winter, Autumn and Spring, Winter and Summer. The wave patterns are cyclical, alternating but equal in frequency and amplitude providing a dynamic balance and overall harmony. Common sense dictates that you would not through choice build a home facing the cold Yin South, the shadow side of the hill in the southern hemisphere.
There are a number of other very powerful phenomena and examples in nature that reinforce the idea that the orientations are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere and we should be observant of our surroundings and take notice of and listen to Nature and our environment after isn’t that what Feng Shui is all about.
Feng Shui Qi Concepts is available from The Pot and Grass Company