The 6 Critical Differences Between Classical Feng Shui and Western Black Feng Shui | Confessions of a Former Black Hat Practitioner | Red Lotus Letter

the 6 fundamental differences between classical feng shui and black western feng shui | confessions of a former black hat practitioner

by kathryn weber

There is a lot of confusion surrounding feng shui, and much of the confusion centers around directions. The most common type of feng shui practiced in the United States, and much of the West, is called the Black Hat sect. it is also sometimes called western feng shui. the type practiced in asia is called traditional or classical chinese feng shui.

Reading: Western feng shui

each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Both forms use the same bagua and five elements, with the only difference being that the classical Chinese tradition aligns the bagua according to the actual compass direction of the front door, be it east, northwest, or south. instead, the black hat aligns the bagua to the front and back of the house, with the front always north and the south directly opposite.

Here in the US, black hat is the preferred method because of how easy it is to apply: front is always north, and back left is always wealth corner, and back right is always right. the direction of romance, regardless of the actual compass directions. black hat feng shui is often considered more intentional than classical feng shui. its disadvantage is that it does not take into account unique compass directions or time and their influence.

Classical Chinese feng shui is beginning to catch on in the United States, particularly as more Asians immigrate to the United States and with growing interest and investment coming from Chinese companies. Asian families are looking for certain home features that are considered good feng shui in classical terms, which is increasing their popularity and leading more homes to be built with feng shui considerations in mind. Black Hat also recommends water fountains and plants in bedrooms, where this is completely taboo in classical Chinese feng shui, as is using a bagua mirror anywhere.

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Let’s look at six critical differences in feng shui.

1. the front or the door is always to the north, the rear or back of the house or room is always to the south.

This is probably the biggest difference. When you’re just starting out with feng shui, you often want to use this method because it’s so simple to apply. In classical Chinese feng shui, actual directions are taken into account by using a compass to determine the unique directions of your home.

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so if your house faces southwest, then you move southwest to the center of the front, and then south is to the left and west is to the right (since you’re the house). while black hat essentially uses the same map for every house, classical chinese feng shui includes the nuances that come with arranging the bagua according to the individual directions of your home, be it southeast, southwest, north, or east, and the how it impacts their energies.

2. mirror, mirror on the wall – except here.

Both forms of feng shui are like mirrors, but they don’t always agree on how to use them. Black Hat recommends using mirrors behind a stove to “double” the amount of food being prepared. this can be problematic from a classical feng shui point of view because it duplicates the energy of the fire. a little fire is good, but too much can burn down the house. fire can easily get out of control and cause arguments, injuries and an inability to keep money, not to mention it’s just plain dangerous.

3. sometimes, there is no cure.

This is also a significant difference between the black hat and classical Chinese feng shui. In black hat, the word cure is used to deal with problems, whereas in classic, you can usually just remedy them and try to keep them at bay. when there’s a problem, you do everything you can to fix it, but in classical feng shui, there’s not always a cure.

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4. red envelopes?

The red envelopes are certainly auspicious. they are called hong bao and are most often seen in the lunar new year to be freely given away with money inside, especially for children. Black hat practitioners will often ask for payment to be delivered in three red envelopes, which can be interpreted as having a mystical element. A classical feng shui consultant will not request this type of payment and will accept payment in whatever way is easiest for the client.

5. bathrooms should not be activated.

In classical feng shui, bathrooms are considered to be luck-pressing. As such, they should not be turned into feng shui sanctuaries with flowers, plants, candles, and lots of decoration. in black hat, bathrooms are often enhanced with all sorts of activators like fountains and flowers.

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In classical feng shui, bathrooms are generally considered the place where waste is disposed of, so plants should not be placed here to symbolically “grow on waste”, and the water here is draining water that does not have no prosperity value. it is recommended that drains be covered at all times with black hats, which is always practical, while classical feng shui simply recommends that the bathroom door be closed at all times.

6. time is the only element from which no one can escape.

Time is the most important difference between feng shui types. black hat focuses on “location”, while classical feng shui understands that place is relative to time, just as we are subject to the change of time. time is a very important construct in classical feng shui. In other words, you can’t just “feng shui and forget about it.”

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feng shui is a dynamic living energy that changes and changes with the months and the year. this is why there is so much emphasis on annual feng shui, that the details of each year, whether it is a rooster, a dog or a boar, play a role in the energies that occur during the year and that act differently on your home, you and everyone in your house.

true confession

When I started out as a feng shui practitioner, I started out with a black hat because that was the only information available in 1988 that I could find. while easy to apply, it helped me get some results, however, other results eluded me. not only that, but i had some poor results from some of the black hat recommendations. I used the mirror technique behind my stove and my husband and I argued like there was no tomorrow. I also hung a bagua mirror pointed at an annoying neighbor and it backfired on me as his dog attacked me and my husband.

bagua mirrors should not be used except in extreme circumstances. they direct energies that can come back and harm you. I learned that the hard way.

That’s when I decided to learn classical feng shui and go abroad for training, and once I did, the results were amazing. My husband and I rose high enough in the career ladder that I eventually quit my job and started working full time on feng shui.

I loved black hat feng shui; that’s how i started. personally, i found that i outgrew the black hat and needed a deeper understanding compared to the simplified black hat approach that applied to every house, all the time. classical feng shui just made more sense to me. Lastly, I liked the very practical versus mystical approach to classical feng shui that takes directions and time into account.

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