Expert advice: Feng shui

Expert advice: Feng shui


Harmonise your home with expert advice from Architect and feng shui expert Robert Neill.


Simply put, “feng shui” means “wind-water”. It originated in the profound and gentle wisdom of Taoist natural philosophy, seeking methods to harmonise the human and natural worlds.

Feng shui can be as complex as life itself, with many subtleties to be taken into account. However, the basic principles that effect everyone are easy to learn and easy to implement. Knowing them can both improve your life and, literally in some cases, save it. In the ensuing issues of Grand Designs Australia I’ll be featuring these principles and how to use them.

Here’s the first one to learn: your Gua Number and the Eight Mansions.

One of the most common misconceptions people have regarding feng shui is that the best buildings face north. Well, actually no; only about 5–10 per cent of people would find this very beneficial. For others it may be the very worst and a west-facing house is the very best. It depends largely on your Gua Number and which directions are good for you personally.

Think about it. The first “house” we all live in all the time is actually our own body. Your Gua Number remains the same throughout your life and applies anywhere. So what is the best direction for the “house” or “temple” of your body to face?

Generally, the numbers fall into either West Group or East Group.

Best directions for those in East Group vary between east, north, south and south-east. Best directions for West Group people vary between west, northwest, southwest and northeast. Naturally, what’s good for one group is bad for the other.

So which are you? Find your number by following the simple formula below and consulting the table. If you’re a woman, take the last two digits of your year of birth, add them to make one number then add 5. If a two digit number results, add them again to make one number.

If April was born in 1979, then 7+9 = 16, 1+6 = 7, 5+7 = 12, 1+2 = 3. So her Gua Number is 3.

If you’re a man, do the same thing but instead of adding 5, deduct the final number from 10.

If Adam was born in 1966 then 6 + 6 = 12, 1 + 2 = 3, 10 – 3 =7. So his Gua Number is 7

However, if you were born before the Chinese New Year in the year of your birth — eg January 5, 1971 — you would use the previous year as your birth year — ie 1970. The table shows just how the directions apply to each number and also which factors apply to them.

For children born between 2000 and 2008, deduct from 9 and for girls add 6.

So how do you activate these and apply them to your life? The answer is when sitting or standing simply face them, but when sleeping lie with your head towards and feet away from the direction.

So if April wanted to improve her finances she’d sleep facing south. If Adam wanted to improve his health he should sleep to the southwest.

The Total Loss direction really is just what it says, so if at all avoidable don’t sleep in this direction for long periods or work facing it.

To check your direction, invest in a good compass with a strong magnetic needle. Compasses on smart phones can be wildly inaccurate.

There are a number of websites and apps that will do the Gua Number calculations online as well, such as Lillian Too’s excellent World of Feng Shui or Joey Yap’s site.

Renee Geyer could well have been singing about Kua numbers when she sang:

“Am I heading in the right direction

For your loving and affection?

Is this going to be a brand new start

Is this the way to your heart?”

Best of luck!

2 fengtable
Fung3   Fung4

By Robert Neill
From Grand Designs Australia magazine  Vol. 1 No. 1