MUCH has been said about the significance of Water in feng shui. This comes as no surprise as ‘feng shui’ literally means ‘wind water’. The fact that it is used in the name of this ancient study gives you an idea of the centrality of Wind and Water in its application.
Water is considered a powerful and potent element in feng shui. A single line from the ancient classical text, The Burial Book, describes the role of Water in feng shui: “Qi is dispersed by the Wind and gathers at the boundaries of Water”.
As Qi gathers where Water is found, Water plays the role of collecting, gathering and facilitating the accumulation of Qi. Where Water stops and collects, that is where Qi gathers and accumulates. Using the same principle, Water can be utilised to block, direct or retain Sheng Qi (positive qi), and to diffuse or neutralise Sha Qi (negative qi).
Water is not Qi
Water functions as the Yang or active component in feng shui; its role relates to movement or its activation. Water activates, circulates and moves Qi. It is important to not confuse Water with Qi itself. Water is not Qi and neither does it emit Qi. Only Mountains, being the Yin component of feng shui, emit Qi. To sum it up, Mountains produce Qi, Wind transports Qi, and Water activates qi. In essence, Water is required to bring to life the feng shui of an area born out of the mountains and landforms. It is thus not surprising that Water is one of the most common prescriptions by feng shui consultants. A piece of land can have superior landforms and excellent Qi, but without Water, its potential remains untapped.
Water is generally the favoured tool not only because of its ability to activate Qi, but also because of its quick and immediate results. It is also easy to deploy without having to resort to extensive renovations or alterations. In some situations, when used with precision, large bodies or quantities of water are not required. Water’s versatility means it can be both used as a first choice and last line of defence. How soon the results are noticeable and the magnitude of the outcome depend on the Water Formula used. San Yuan Water methods are usually quicker in producing results compared to San He Water methods due to the former’s focus on calculating Qi flow.
Suffice to say, there are many systems and methods for using Water in feng shui, just as there are many different types of Water, namely, Internal Water, External Water, Virtual Water, Natural Water and Man-made Water. Each of these has its own different formation.
More complicated than you think
The subject of Water is extremely broad and difficult to explain in its entirety in a single article. For the same reasons, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding the usage of Water in feng shui. For instance, it is sometimes erroneously associated with goldfish when the focus should be on the aquarium. Another myth directly associates Water with wealth; it is more about Qi activation which results in the improvement of one’s overall well-being.
Before you start hunting for waterfront properties or investing in an aquarium or water feature, you’ll benefit from doing a little research on your own to have a better idea what the use of Water in feng shui is all about — it can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Water, wrongly applied, can damage your feng shui instead of improving it. If you find it confusing, consult a feng shui practitioner with a proven track record.