Feng shui, which literally translates to “wind water” was created by the ancient Chinese and dates back thousands of years. It is also known as the art of placement and has been referred to by many people as either an art form, a science or even a philosophy. In its earliest form, it has been used to observe the land and its position in relation to bodies of water and other pieces of land. This practice was developed in order to locate optimal areas of settlement, areas which were thought to bring its inhabits happiness, prosperity and good harvest.
There have been many disputed reports of the very beginning of feng shui history as it is difficult to trace the origin back thousands of years. However the earliest use that has been documented date back to the Tang Dynasty when emperors bought the services of practitioners to help with building palaces and tombs that will guarantee their success and reign of power. SInce that time, many different schools of thought have been developed and many of the original principals have been modified to fit the period. Some schools and modifications have made it more complex and detailed while others seem to make it easy enough to understand for the average person.
The earliest recorded version is known as the Form School, and the basic principles of this school of thought revolves around the general landscape and environment. The shape and size of the land is analyzed in great detail and its relative position determines how it will affect its inhabants. This early form of feng shui primarily focuses on nature and how we are affected by the environment around us. A lot has changed since then, but the basic principles still apply to the newer version that is in use today.
The Compass School developed shortly after in the Song Dynasty, and built upon the original in a great way. New tools and concepts were introduced, making it more complex. There are two main sectors that derived from this school of thought, the Flying Star and the Eight Mansions. The compass was developed at the time and has been used to incorporate a person's date of birth with their feng shui reading, making it more personalized. Practitioners began using the compass in accordance with the principles of the Eight Mansions. When the Flying Star was developed, it incorporated yin yang theory and introduced the five elements. All of the major concepts that were introduced at that time have been passed down and are still used today.
The Black Hat Sect School is the most recent of the bunch and was introduced not too long ago. It is a somewhat watered down version of the previous schools of thought. This simplified form makes use of the map bagua and focuses on the layout of a home more than its surroundings. This easy to understand version has been adopted by people all over the world and is most commonly practiced today. There have been so many changes in feng shui history through the years, but one thing is certain, this ancient tradition shows no sign of dying out. Its popularity is evident and it will be practiced by countless people for years to come.