Part 1, How To Use Bagua Maps The Best Way

The Bagua Map from Feng Shui

Bagua Maps in Feng Shui are created from complex calculations to static, simple map overlays. Each Bagua Map guides the implementation of Feng Shui.

This is the 1st of a 5-part series centered around Bagua Maps.  If you would like to jump to another article in the series, the links are below

Bagua Maps are an enormous study. To cover everything there is about the subject would easily span several full length articles. This series will provide you with a strong understanding on how to either immediately benefit from Bagua Maps, or at least get you started.

This 1st article will provide a general overview of what Bagua Maps are and how the major Feng Shui schools use them. 

Bagua Maps In Feng Shui

Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophical system that strives to harmonize you with your environment. The idea is to bring about a positive energy flow, known as “Qi” (chi). While Qi, as of this article, is not something that can be measured using scientific instruments, its effects can be observed through studies like Environmental Psychology

The Bagua Map is a tool often utilized in Feng Shui as a way of implementing its principles. It’s used to analyze and enhance various areas of your life by mapping out different aspects or “guas” (sections) of your home or space. 

Bagua Maps Give Meaning To Cardinal And Ordinal Directions

Ordinal Directions in Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an art that emphasizes the use of color, shape, and placement of objects to produce desirable results. Bagua Maps are the transcribed depiction of Feng Shui in action.

These maps consist of an octagonal grid divided into 9 sections, each representing a specific area of life. These areas are associated with varying facets, such as wealth, career, relationships, health, and so forth.

The arrangement of the sections on the map is based on the eight trigrams of the I Ching, which is an ancient Chinese divination text. The central section of the map, also referred to as your Tai Chi, represents balance and the core of your life.

8 of the 9 sections are attached to cardinal and ordinal directions. The 9th section is the center point of all directions.

Here’s a general breakdown of those areas, along with their metaphysical meanings.

1. Career (North)

This area represents your career, life path, and journey. It’s associated with your professional growth, opportunities, and the flow of your life’s work.

2. Knowledge (Northeast)

The knowledge area is linked to self-cultivation, learning, and personal growth. It encompasses education, wisdom, and the pursuit of knowledge and new skills.

3. Family (East)

This relates to your family and ancestors. It’s associated with family relationships, the health of family members, and the support system you have from your relatives and loved ones.

4. Wealth (Southeast)

The wealth area is connected to abundance, prosperity, and material well-being. It includes not only financial wealth but also the richness of relationships, experiences, and opportunities.

5. Fame and Reputation (South)

This area concerns your reputation, recognition, and social standing. It reflects how you’re perceived by others, your achievements, and your public image.

6. Relationships (Southwest)

The relationship area is associated with your romantic relationships, marriage, and partnerships in both personal and professional spheres. It represents love, harmony, and the balance between giving and receiving.

7. Creativity and Children (West)

This is linked to creativity, artistic expression, and fertility. It also relates to your relationship with your inner child and your ability to nurture and support creative endeavors.

8. Helpful People and Travel (Northwest)

This area represents the people who support you, including mentors, friends, and benefactors. It also encompasses travel, both physical journeys and the metaphorical journey of personal growth.

9. Health (Center)

The central area of the Bagua Map represents your overall health and well-being. It’s considered the heart of the Bagua, influencing all other areas. Feng Shui states that a balanced and harmonious center is vital for overall life balance and energy flow.

Balance And Harmony

Symbolic harmony in Feng Shui

The Bagua Map aims to harmonize you with your environment to promote well-being, balance, and prosperity. In Mandarin Chinese, “Bagua” translates to “eight areas,” which reflects the 8 key aspects of life that the map represents, the 9th being the center. 

The purpose of the Bagua Map in Feng Shui is to analyze the energy flow, or chi, within a space and to determine how it influences the different areas of a person’s life. Each of the 8 areas on the Bagua Map corresponds to a specific aspect of life, such as wealth, health, relationships, career, and creativity.

Feng Shui practitioners can identify which areas of a person’s life might be affected by the energy flow in that particular space. For example, if the wealth area of the Bagua Map corresponds to a cluttered or stagnant part of the home, it could symbolize financial challenges for the occupants.

Feng Shui uses various remedies and adjustments to enhance or fix the energy flow in specific Bagua areas. These may include rearranging furniture, using specific colors or elements, adding mirrors, or incorporating plants and crystals. 

By aligning the energy of the space with the individual’s goals and intentions, it is believed that the Bagua Map can help improve different aspects of life, leading to greater harmony, happiness, and success. 

Bagua Maps Are Feng Shui Tools, Not Truths

Bagua Maps are tools

Many of Feng Shui’s mystical properties have not been scientifically proven. 

I’ve touched upon this in previous articles. However, that’s also not to say the effects of the practice do not influence behavior, as has been shown through Environmental Psychology and Architectural Design studies. 

Some interpretations of Feng Shui suggest that disasters, such as curses, poverty, and more, will befall a person who does not correctly apply its principles. Claims about negative energy or adverse effects resulting from poor Feng Shui arrangements often lack reproducible and controlled experimentation.

The existence and impact of Feng Shui curses remain a matter of belief rather than proven fact.

Conversely, the positive aspects of applied Feng Shui seem obvious. Thoughtful placement of objects, colors, and elements promotes positive behaviors, boosts creativity, and enhances relaxation.

It’s been found to improve feelings of tranquility, productivity, and even financial success.

I wanted to address this for several reasons. First, having deeply explored this study, I personally never experienced the suggested negative effects of improper Feng Shui, nor have I experienced radical, overnight changes for the better. Without a doubt applying the practice significantly improved my life. However, it acted more of a way to constantly encourage and emotionally elevate me, rather than magically manifest my desires.

It doesn’t take much to find anecdotal stories of people who suffered from “bad” Feng Shui. There is little doubt they believe the root of their bad times came from misaligned Feng Shui or even curses. While I’m certainly not suggesting those people didn’t experience difficulties, there is no way to prove it is the result of “bad” Feng Shui.

I’ve never found anything objectively supporting that “improper” Feng Shui alone produced disastrous, life-ruining results.

However, as studies and personal experience have shown, belief is powerful.

Bagua Maps Help Those Over 40 Take Action

Wisdom after 40

After years of experience, many become more open to advice and are actively seeking ways to improve their lives. 

For those over 40, the Bagua Map provides a holistic, working framework to assess various facets of life, such as health, relationships, career, and personal development. Its principles encourage individuals to create harmonious and balanced living spaces. Many in this age group and older are often more attuned to the importance of their surroundings. Creating the right kind of environment can radically improve the quality of life, and encourage making positive changes. 

The willingness of individuals over 40 to implement these principles comes from a desire for transformation.

Moreover, the Bagua Map acts as a catalyst for introspection and personal growth. By aligning living spaces with aspirations, we are prompted to reflect on priorities and make intentional choices for a more fulfilling life. 

The Bagua Map thus becomes a roadmap for that change.

Each Feng Shui School Uses Bagua Maps Differently

Various schools of Feng Shui

As of this article, there are 3 major schools of Feng Shui. They are the Traditional, Black Hat (BTB), and New Age studies. Each makes use of a Bagua Map, and each has their way of utilizing it.

This means that some practices will disagree with or contradict one another.

For example, the Traditional School application of a Bagua Map may calculate that an area be focused on wealth. In contrast, also using a Bagua Map, the Black Hat (BTB) studies may interpret the same area for knowledge and self-cultivation. Going even further, the New Age practitioners might feel the identified space is better cultivated toward relationships and love, than either knowledge or wealth.

Is one school more right than the other? 

In a previous article, I reference Penn & Teller’s TV show, Bullshit!, Season 1, Episode 7. The duo put to test 3 separate Feng Shui experts who interpreted and gave different arrangement advice for the same home. Each implemented their measured Feng Shui. The result?

No discernable difference in outcome.  

My point here is not to attack any professional Feng Shui Advisor, nor am I suggesting one school is best. By all means, follow whatever you feel most comfortable with, if at all. I’m also not saying a Feng Shui school or method doesn’t work per se. I’ve found it very much does, and consistently, but more so if perceived in the right context.

What I am saying, based on my experience and research, it makes little difference how you Feng Shui, so long as balance is achieved. 

The point of Feng Shui is to create a harmonious environment. That’s it. Doing that, as the psychological and, to some extent, scientific, studies have shown, provides many benefits.

Traditional Feng Shui School Bagua Map

Traditional Feng Shui is arguably the most authentic and classical form of Feng Shui, which is rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy and practices. It emphasizes the balance of energy, or “Qi,” within a space, which is said to achieve harmony, prosperity, and health.

Traditional Feng Shui is based on several systems, including Form (the study of landscapes) and Compass (the use of a Luo Pan compass to divide a space into 8 or 9 sectors). The goal is to align the structure and interior arrangements with auspicious directions to harness positive energy.

This school relies on the physical location of a property, its surrounding land masses, and the directions of entrances and rooms. A Bagua Map is created from the use of the compass and the specific directions each area of your home falls into. Those directions are said to carry a benefit, such as enhancing health, wealth, family, etc.

For example, let’s say the entrance to a home is in the North. That entrance would hypothetically be the area focused on career.

As it’s the entrance, Feng Shui claims energy comes and goes. To “cure” this, the area would be arranged to activate aspects of your career through colors, artwork, and images, while also balancing the flow. Typically, the door would be painted a color corresponding to career, in this case, blue or black.

Traditional studies also bring in aspects of the zodiac as well as changes in the seasons.

This makes the Bagua Map an evolving plan that would require adjusting your living space throughout the year (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer).

Black Hat School (BTB) Bagua Map

Black Hat Feng Shui, also known as BTB Feng Shui, is a modern and simplified approach that gained popularity in the West. It was developed by Professor Lin Yun in the 20th century and is often referred to as Western Feng Shui, due to its simplified methods and adaptability to contemporary living environments.

The practice has a strong emphasis on intention and personal preferences. Practitioners are encouraged to focus on their goals when making adjustments to their living spaces. 

The use of a Bagua Map is fundamental to this approach and much easier to apply compared to the Traditional school.

Here, a static, unchanging, 9-grid map is superimposed on your home or space’s floor plan. Each grid is designated to an aspect of your life, thus portions or rooms of your home will have certain Feng Shui energies.

This kind of Bagua Map can also be applied to individual rooms, where a portion of the room is arranged to match the 9-grid layout.

It should be noted, however, that at times, some BTB practitioners create a Bagua Map using cardinal and ordinal directions based on the property.

New Age School Bagua Map

New Age Feng Shui, sometimes referred to as Pyramid Feng Shu, is a more recent interpretation of Feng Shui that incorporates concepts from other spiritual and metaphysical practices.

It often blends Feng Shui principles with elements from New Age spirituality, crystal healing, and other esoteric practices. Pyramids, crystals, and other geometric shapes are a part of the study. The idea is that these shapes amplify and channel energy in specific ways to create a harmonious environment.

As this is a newer study, I’ve discovered it’s more of a loose interpretation when compared to the Traditional or BTB schools.

From what I understand, the New Age / Pyramid philosophy applies a personalized, fluid Bagua Map.

Directions, spaces, and placement are reliant on feelings and inner nudges. Some customize the Bagua Map to reflect their own priorities and life areas. For example, they might adjust the placement of the map to focus more on aspects like creativity, self-care, or personal growth, instead of the broader, 9 grid system.

Bagua Maps Bring Additional Structure To Feng Shui

Structure to Feng Shui

Bagua Maps can serve as tools for understanding the energy flow within a space expressed in Feng Shui. However, their interpretation, as summarized, can vary significantly based on the specific Feng Shui school being practiced.

The applied use of these maps are large part of implementing Feng Shui’s principles, often acting like a blueprint or guide of sorts.

In Part 2, we’ll go over how each school calculates and creates its Bagua Maps.

Until then, cheers!

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