My training has been in both sides and I use both in my consultations.
I have trained in Classical or traditional Feng Shui – including both Form and Compass Schools – which is a more scientific approach. I use a compass to determine the facing and sitting directions of a building. These directions give me the information that I use to orient the Bagua, and therefore, the 8 life aspects onto the property. I get the client's birth dates in order to determine their Ming Gua (element of the year they were born) and their best directions to position their bed and desk for best sleep, health and success, also known as Eight Mansions or Ba Zai.
In addition, if the client knows the year the building was built or the year that the last major renovation took place, I am able to do a Flying Stars chart that will help me give them advice on how best to use rooms and how to activate positive chi and manage challenging chi.
On the other hand, the process of being aware on-site and open to observe and feel the chi of the environment is something that is no less important. In fact, I could argue that this might be the most important part of a Feng Shui consultation.
I was certified in BTB (Black Sect Tibetan Buddhist) Feng Shui which teaches the more intuitive approach. The aim is to connect us to our environments in a deeply spiritual way; to see the unseen. To see where there is chi moving too quickly or chi being blocked, even if it is not obvious, in the way of the structure or objects or furnishings.
These blocks to the smooth flow of chi or "rushing chi" in the environment creates an imbalance in our spaces. These imbalances will manifest as imbalances in our lives.
Whenever I partake in the more intuitive side of Feng Shui, I am reminded how important it is to be clear and focused, as a practitioner. And how important ceremony, ritual, and cultivation of my own chi is.
I ask myself, "What does the client need to hear to move forward in their lives? What is happening here that is not visible? What is the best solution for this client right now?" These and many other questions help me to craft the best recommendations possible for clients unique situations.
For this reason alone, reading about Feng Shui in books and attending workshops will only get your so far. We all need an objective, educated and trained eye to see what we cannot see with our eyes – we need to cultivate "Feng Shui Eyes."
Image credit: Lao Tzu – artist unknown