I long ago came to the conclusion that america acts like a big filter that dumbs everything down. Recently, this was reinforced by something totally unrelated to Lenormand: I moved last month, so I’ve been digging into feng shui resources, googling, talking to people, hauling out the books. Although I’m a little skeptical that putting the bed directly under the ceiling fan will result in “cutting energy”, making people fight with their housemates, I arranged the place according to specs anyway and I’m glad I did. What you end up with is an uncluttered, easy-to-clean living space with a relaxing ambience and some interesting little characters here and there:
Now, in feng shui, (unlike Lenormand, in spite of continual yammering online to the contrary) there are pretty clearly defined schools, and different sources will tell you different things, adding subschools and whatnot, but very basically, they are these:
The Form School, which is the oldest. It’s exactly what it sounds like, taking form into account. For instance, if you live on a hillside, you want the higher ground BEHIND the house, for support. If the higher ground is in front, every time you go out the front door, you’re going to see “OBSTACLE”, which can be detrimental on a psychological level, even if you don’t believe in “blocked chi”. So that makes a lot of sense.
Next you have the Compass School, which came later. It utilizes those bagua maps, you divide your living space into sections according to the compass directions and they correspond to career, love, etc. So if your finances aren’t so good, the idea is to look at that part of the house, make sure there’s no dust, clutter, or pointy things, and maybe put a cure there, like a faceted crystal or a nice jade plant. It’s actually more complex than that, but you get the idea.
The third school, which started maybe forty years ago, is called the Black Hat School, or BTB (Black Sect Tantric Buddhist). It was invented by Grandmaster Lin Yun and brought to the US in the 80’s and uses the bagua, but not the compass. The bagua is oriented to the entryway. No matter which direction the main door faces, the BTB bagua will always be placed with the center of the facing wall being considered as the Fame and Reputation area (which is the south area in the Compass School.)
Now, I am not here to diss Tantric Buddhists. AT ALL. I’m sure it was an act of compassion to devise an easier, more “intuitive” feng shui school for people who are confused by the older, more traditional schools. And although I don’t use BTB, I’m guessing it works as well as the others.
The problems come in when you tell blissninny american new agers, many of whom can’t read a compass, but are irresistibly drawn to things like feng shui, that something is “intuitive”. A quick google will turn up a lot of writing where people interpret that as “Do whatever you wanna do!” Once you haul your TV and your office into the bedroom, it’s not feng shui anymore – not even BTB feng shui, which is not devoid of complexity – and putting wind chimes and Pu Tai figurines all over the place doesn’t change that. (I can hear the new agers screeching now: “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY HOUSE!!!!!” lol)
Are you seeing the parallels to Lenormand yet?
A tradition from across the ocean – no, wait, scratch that, they do it to Native Americans too:
Remember those Robert Bly “Men’s Weekends”?
…and a few of us trying to study it. In peace.
And always, always, a bunch of new agers try to muscle in so they can SHIT ALL OVER IT.
To borrow a phrase from Doktor Howl, “They are the people of the flattened DNA helix. We must leave them behind, if there is to be any hope at all for our species.”