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Traditional Feng Shui

Traditional ("classical," "authentic") feng shui is a Chinese ethnoscience that addresses the design and layout of cities, villages, dwellings, and buildings. The construction of graves and tombs also includes feng shui, but the rules for dwellings differ from those applied to "yin houses" (houses of the dead). Feng shui was labeled geomancy by 19th-century Christian missionaries to China; however, geomancy and feng shui differ widely in their scope, aims, and means. The name Feng Shui literally means "Wind and Water". The Book of Burial says "The Qi disperses with the Wind and collects on the boundaries of Water". Hence the name.

Traditional feng shui uses a specialized compass called a Luopan, and a comprehensive array of calculations involving mathematical iterations. It has foundation texts, core theories and methods, and an impressive past based on archaeological discoveries and the work of archeoastronomers.

Traditional Feng Shui schools can be segregated in to 2 broad groups: San He (Three Harmonies) and San Yuan (Three Cycles). The former emphasizes on the effect of surrounding landforms while the latter gives more weight to the factor of time.

The New Age versions — Black Hat Sect, Pyramid Feng Shui, Fuzion, Intuitive, etc. — do not share this history. These offshoots typically use "intuitive" methods with concepts from the 19th-century Spiritualist movement, and self-help techniques and affirmations, along with modern interior design. For example, the Black Hat Sect version of Feng shui, which began in 1960s Hong Kong (and incorporated as a U.S. church in 1986), explains feng shui as the art of arranging objects within a home to obtain an optimum flow of qi. In traditional feng shui, the objects within a structure are of lesser significance than the position of a building and its local environment — especially microclimates. It is believed by many that individuals using New Age methods seek to profit from naïve consumers by explaining New Age versions as "classical" or traditional" feng shui. Yet, according to recent fieldwork in rural China by Ole Bruun, qi flow is rarely a concern in traditional feng shui.

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