At the very heart of the philosophy of Feng Shui practice, as I mention in several previous posts, lies the concept of the relationship between Yin and Yang. Feng Shui literally means or when translated Wind (Feng) Water (Shui) which is the nearest description of the character of Qi because Qi can only be experienced not defined. Knowing this basic characteristic of Qi allows us to be able to determine where quality Qi (energy) exists and how Qi evolves. The wind is what scatters Qi and the water is where Qi will collect from whence it scatters. Qi can exist in many different qualities, but the one quality we know as Sheng Qi is the vital most sought after energy that promotes growth and development, which promotes and nourishes all living matter. When we think of Sheng Qi, we are in essence describing the relationship between Yin and Yang in motion which produces a variety of different qualities of Qi.
The reason for Feng Shui is to know how to discern where Qi may be or exist in our environment and the quality of that Qi, whether we live in the mountains or close to the ocean. Why would we want to know how to discern where Qi exists? When we ask this question, we want to know what Qi means to us. When Yin interacts with Yang, the result is a form of different qualities of energy. That quality of energy and at the heart of the philosophy of Feng Shui stems the understanding of the interaction between all that formed at the beginning of creation such as the mountains, the lakes, and even thunder.
Some environments may have large mountains while other environments may have great and vast forests with lakes and streams or dry heat such as in the deserts. Qi is everywhere and can take on many different qualities, even harmful qualities known as Sha Qi, The difference between Sheng Qi and Sha Qi describes the relationship between Yin and Yang and the cycles of production and destruction and everything in between when different elements interact. You can imagine these cycles as the result from the way nature works as well as the cosmos; the interaction of heaven, earth, and even mankind (the cosmic trinity) that contain, produce, and emit the varying qualities of energy that comes from that interaction.
When we look at the Yin/Yang symbol, we are gazing upon the basic philosophy of how elements in our environment interact whether we consider the mountains or the seasons and even within the body or between the body and the environment. Everything is made up of energy and those energies interact and at that point of interaction comes varying forms of Qi. Within that Qi lies the Yang energy (active) and the receptive energy (yin). Yang energizing (motivating) Yin can make the difference between our ability to prosper (sheng Qi) or arguing (sha Qi) with our spouse.
If we know or understand the type of environment we live and work, we have a better understanding of the quality of Qi our environment offers and how we will suffice within that environment and quality of energy. If we have an idea of what to expect we can prepare better for tomorrow. Early in history, about 3000 BC, language was minimal and so to be able to document the quality of varying energy (Qi) within the environment was to represent Yang with a straight line and Yin a broken line. As the interactions and observations of the elements in various areas and during various seasons, lines represented the movement which we now observe as the trigrams.
Feng Shui as well as other studies involving the interaction of Yin and Yang, used trigrams to explain and understand possible reasons for varying energies in an environment and what these varying energies mean to us. Lets take a look at an example of how a trigram models a yin or yang quality of energy.
Kun 坤 ☷
We understand the trigram Kun by reading each level of lines: the top, the middle, and the bottom. The upper top broken line represents the heaven which interacts with mankind the middle level broken line and the lower broken lines which represent earth. All three are Yin in nature. The direction of Kun is the Southwest and tells us this is the quality of energy we can expect from the nature of interaction between the heaven, the earth, and mankind; the cosmic trinity in this direction. Kun is receptive in nature producing the quality of nurturing and caring Qi which can be likened to a mother nature or quality of energy. The element of Kun is earth. Feng Shui considers 8 different trigrams which we find represented many times in the pakua (bagua). Lets take a look at another trigram that includes the interaction of both Yin and Yang.
Xun 巽 ☴
Here we see Xun (also known as Sun) trigram where the top two lines represent wind and the lower line is receptive or yin earth (environment) such as a fertile garden area waiting for planting and springing forth vegetation. Remember receptive can mean waiting for interaction to create or spring forth something new as Xun can mean enduring since heaven does not change (yang) and always active; yet the earth can handle the constant action and ready for change. Yang can represent active, heat, or productive. The direction of the Xun trigram is the Southeast (prosperity) and also exists as the energy similar to that of wood. Overtime, you will become familiar with the characteristics of each trigram and meaning with each use and fun because each trigram can represent many different aspects of life. When trigrams combine together with other trigrams we find more variety in meanings that all stem from just the interaction between Yin and Yang.