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Feng Shui and the Ba Gua Mirror
by Keith Rudell
Feng shui (Chinese geomancy) has been used for thousands of years by Chinese people to harmonize themselves to their environment and to create good fortune. Basic to all feng shui observation, calculation, and cures is the I Ching, the bible of Chinese philosophy. The I Ching is a system of Yin and Yang, which composes 8 trigrams that, in turn, form 64 hexagrams. The 8 trigrams are created from the interaction of Yin and Yang, hence the ba gua. In Chinese ba means the number 8 and gua means trigram, thus the term ba gua signifies the 8 trigrams.
Feng shui is the observation and adjustment of Qi. The simplest definition of Qi is that it is the interaction of Yin and Yang as primal forces of Qi. All elements, both animate and inanimate, have Qi. The earth, plants, animals, weather - even dead things all have Qi. Qi is both tangible such as electricity, breath, blood, bones, wind, water, plants, rocks, and buildings, and intangible as in ideas, symbols, and spirit. Qi also is connected to the dimension of time.
Qi that is balanced brings health, fulfillment, and the freedom to live one's natural destiny. The opposite of beneficial Qi is Sha. Sha is an enemy Qi that attacks, blocks, and disrupts the balance of a place. Sha is often called a secret arrow because it may be aimed at you without your knowledge. The following are some possible sources of Sha: harsh straight lines, ditches and gullies, neighbors, and evil spirits.
The ba gua are arranged in a circle similar to a Native American Medicine Wheel. There are 40,320 possible combinations of these ba gua in a circle. Only two arrangements are used in feng shui: these are the Pre-Heaven formula (Hsien Tien) and the Post-Heaven formula (also known as the Lo Map) which is the formula that creates the magic square of 15. The Post-Heaven formula arrangement of the ba gua has many uses in feng shui but chief among them are travel, relocation, floor plans, and interior design.
In this article the ba gua will be discussed as it relates to ba gua mirrors. The ba gua mirror is the ultimate feng shui device to create good fortune and to protect against bad energy.
There are three types of ba gua mirrors generally available. The first type of ba gua mirror is made of octagon-shaped plywood or plastic, from 4" to 6" in diameter. In the center of the octagon is a small round 2" mirror. These ba gua mirrors usually have bright colors of green, red, and gold. Green is symbolic of spring, creativity, and vigor. Red is symbolic of summer, illumination, and growth. Gold is symbolic of late summer, productivity, and success.
A second type of ba gua mirror is constructed with a 6" wooden frame holding an octagonal mirror. Covering the mirror is an octagon plate glass. The glass cover is painted on the inside with a Yin/Yang (Tai Chi) design in the middle. The ba gua are painted around the Yin/Yang design in four colors: blue, green, red, and yellow. These mirrors should be used indoors. If placed outside the mirror will accumulate moisture between the cover and mirror causing the paint to run and resulting in a blurred image. This ba gua mirror is especially helpful in harmonizing a room or building.
A third type of ba gua mirror combines the door gods with the ba gua mirror. These usually are made of plywood containing a scene of a fierce god riding a Chinese tiger. The god, usually resembling a Kung Fu master, holds a staff to ward off evil and a plaque declaring good fortune to those residing there. Above the scene is a regular ba gua mirror. These ba gua mirrors are reputed to be especially good at warding off unwanted visitors. Any of these mirrors can be purchased in Oriental markets, gift shops, and some metaphysical bookstores. The price depends on the quality and size, but $2.00 to $7.00 is typical.
Mirrors have a long history in feng shui. As early as 500 B.C. small mirrors were worn on clothing to ward off evil. Mirrors are involved in relationships of all kinds and in China, hand-held mirrors promoted marital happiness. They were buried with the dead and used in magical formulas. Broken mirrors are associated with death and mirrors were covered when someone died in the house. The same mirror could increase beneficial Qi and reflect Sha.
Mirrors are symbols of consciousness, an instrument of self-contemplation. The mirror receives images and absorbs and reproduces them. Mirrors alter space by eliminating the dimension of distance. Mirrors are associated with water and the moon. Round mirrors represent Heaven and create harmony. Mirrors receive the light of the sun and are seen as the door of the soul. Mirrors are visual echoes, connecting past to present and the conscious to the unconscious. Combining a mirror with ba gua gives it the power to create harmony and bring order to chaos. All mirrors work but the higher quality of the mirror, the greater its function as a symbol and tool.
The ba gua are arranged in a ring around the mirror. In the Pre-Heaven formula, the octagon shape geometrically and symbolically is the balance between a circle and a square, between time and physical space. This sequence is the pre-Heaven formula in which ideas are yet to manifest in the physical world. It is before things began. The 8 trigrams concentrate and transform the incoming and outgoing energy. The ba gua functions as a force field around the flow of Qi to and from the mirror.
The ba gua mirror commonly is used for the following purposes:
Harmony and Good Fortune
One can harmonize a room or building by placing a ba gua mirror on the wall of a home or at work above office furniture. Ideally they are placed near the center of the room or building, but a side wall is fine. They also may be placed flat on their back and objects placed top to be purified and energized. Frequently they are hung above doors of homes and businesses to harmonize and create good fortune for all who enter. The next time you visit a Chinese restaurant or business, look above the door or perhaps in a window and most likely you will find a ba gua mirror.
Reflect and Transform Negative Qi
As a protective device a ba gua mirror can be hung with the mirror side facing towards the negative source. They can be hung inside or outside a building. The mirror is a weapon against Sha. One mirror may be enough but some homes and businesses use as many as four or five.
Some typical situations that a ba gua mirror may be used to remedy are:
(Solution: Place the ba gua mirror on the wall you are facing so that the energy of anyone entering is caught by the mirror.)
The support derived from the use of the ba gua mirrors can assist one’s positive thinking. According to the principles of feng shui, your thoughts are being transformed into reality with the help of the ba gua mirror. If you place a ba gua mirror in your home or business it will not be long before you will have an interesting experience of how the ba gua mirror influenced a negative situation to become more favorable. Improvements may occur immediately, or days, weeks, or months later.
Keith Rudell began his study of the I Ching over 23 years ago.
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