Feng Shui Glossary of terms C-F

Our glossary is so large we have broken it into smaller sections for your ease of use. Feel free to click on the link for the first letter of the term you are seeking.

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Cactus are bad Feng Shui when placed inside the home or at the front door as thorns capture and contain sha within the home. However, its an effective plant in the garden as it protects your home. Thorns or needles counter sha chi (negative energy) headed in your direction.†


Candles only count as fire when they are burning. Use them for attracting vital energy, to energize an area, and for reducing harsh light. I place a mirror under candles to direct their energy up and raise the energy of the room.

Cardinal Points

The four primary compass directions; North, South, East, West.


Cats symbolize protection against evil spirits since they see in the dark and frighten away bad spirits. Some refer to the Chinese astrology symbol of rabbit as cat.


Certified Business Continuity Professional is an international designation awarded by the Disaster Recovery Institute. One must be recommended for the certification, complete a rigorous exam, have two years of verifiable experience. Recertification is required every two years.

Celestial Animals

The four celestial animals are the red phoenix, green dragon, white tiger and black tortoise. The front of a building (typically the smallest area of a premises) is symbolized by the phoenix. In the rear (typically the largest area) is governed by the tortoise. Standing inside the building facing the front the dragon needs to be to the left (and takes up the second largest area of the premises). This leaves the tiger on the right (second smallest area of the premises). If any of the celestial animals are missing or not in their respective areas, there are negative consequences. Consult a qualified Feng Shui professional.


The middle of the bagua surrounded by eight trigrams. Symbolizes earth, overall health, balance (being centered), late summer, and square or flat shapes on the flying-star bagua.

Certified Business Continuity Professional


Certified Feng Shui Practitioner

A Feng Shui practitioner having achieved a certain level of expertise and/or received a certificate of achievement or completion from a Feng Shui school (see Feng Shui practitioner). Please note: While there are exceptional schools, there arenít national standards as to what qualifies a practitioner and validates their level of expertise. A code of conduct, validation process, continuing education, etc., are all best practices under development for Feng Shui professionals. Diana Garber was former Director of Education for The International Feng Shui Guildís Education Committee and championed this process.


Certified Feng Shui Consultant, a designation awarded by individual Feng Shui schools after a student completes specified requirements. Criteria vary from school to school. The International Feng Shui Guild is working toward a set of standards to provide consistency in this realm.




Are considered good Feng Shui when placed just inside or outside the home as they encourage chi to enter. They can also be hung in a corridor between facing doors to eliminate the ‘confrontational effect.’


A statement of agreement of responsibilities. A formal written strategy that a person or group has undertaken.

Chen, Thunder, ìthe Arousingî

One of the eight trigrams (guas or quadrants) of the bagua, associated with the East, Spring, the number three, hardwood element, the color green, the eldest son, family, health, and other life aspects. Chen is denoted by two yin (dashed) lines over one solid line (yang).

Chen or Chíen, also Dragon

The fifth early branch in the cycle of 12 life energies represents strong and active energy. It is used in Chinese Astrology and Four Pillars and is denoted by IV. One of the mythical, celestial animals From School lore, the dragon is the guardian and inspiration of the East. A member of the Asian Zodiac, the dragon is highly revered in Asian societies and represents good fortune, great strength, and leadership. It is not uncommon for Asian families to plan births of their children in the year of the dragon.

Chi, also Qi; or Ki (Japanese)

The motivating life-force also called ìcosmic breath,î ìpranaî or ìdragonís breath.î It is vital energy, primordial breath, air, breath, or energy. Existing everywhere, itís the term that refers to all forms of energy and its flow. Feng Shui concerns itself with the movement and utilization of chi to create the most beneficial support for people in their environment.

Chi Cultivation

Techniques (such as meditation, qi-gong, tai chi or other rituals) such as acupuncture and Feng Shui are used to enhance or adjust personal chi, allowing it to flow smoothly throughout the body.

Chien, also Qian, Ch’ien, Chyan, Heaven, “The Creative”

See Qian.

Chinese Almanac, also called Tung Tísu

This annual Chinese publication has advice about the best, worst, and appropriate activities, locations and more, for each day of the year. It has been widely used in China to predict everything from the size of the yearly harvest to the electoral success of public officials. In its almanac form, it is used for the selection of auspicious and inauspicious dates for all types of activities.

Chinese Astrology

Refers to a group of divination techniques first used in China, based on astrological (or cosmological) assessments. The most common form assigns a person a zodiac animal based on their natal year as determined by the Chinese lunar calendar. This term also refers to several other methods commonly used in Feng Shui, including Four Pillars of Destiny, Nine Star Ki, Ming Gua, Ba Zhai, Zhi Ping, Purple Star and flying stars.

Chinese Calendar

A daily calendar with the same information as the Tung Tísu contained in 365 pages, one for each day of the year.

Chinese New Year

When the solar calendar is used, this event happens during the first week of February (typically the 4th or 5th). When the lunar calendar is used, this event happens during January or February and coincides with moon cycles. Determining the start of the New Year is essential in the calculation of several divination techniques used in Feng Shui.†

Ch’ou or chou, the Ox

The second earthly branch in the cycle of 12 life energies. It represents nourishing energy. It is used in Chinese Astrology and four pillars and is denoted by II.

Chueh Ming

The severed fate or total loss location. The most inauspicious location in Eight House Feng Shui.

Clashing Doors

Doors that hit each other when opening.††††

Classic Feng Shui, also called Traditional Feng Shui

The most widely practiced category of Feng Shui worldwide. Based on the two original types first used in China, classic Feng Shui consists of Form School and Compass School principles. Contemporary classic Feng Shui is related to, and utilizes, a variety of modalities that include the directional use of the bagua, Ming Gua method, Ba Zhai method, Four Pillars, flying stars and more.


What we wear affects our personal Feng Shui. Tattered and torn clothing attracts poverty energy, which often brings about bad luck. Unflattering clothing does this too and lowers our self-confidence and yang energy (causing lethargy and vulnerability. The colors we choose can attract good or bad luck. As part of your personal report, we evaluate your Feng Shui balance (or imbalance) and provide guidance.


Symbolize heavenly blessings.


Square columns produce poison arrows which can affect the health of occupants. Round them off for better Feng Shui.

Commanding Position

1) The best Form School location for the interior placement of the bed or desk placement in a room. This position is usually farthest from the door and facing the door, with one’s back to a solid wall or mountain-like feature. This position is considered the safest and most powerful, providing the widest view of the room with the ability to see the door without being directly in line with it. 2) The best Form School location of a building on its site creating the classic armchair with the black turtle in the rear, red phoenix in front, azure dragon and white tiger to the sides.

Compass School, also Fukien School

One of the two original schools of Feng Shui, it developed after Form School. At first, a simple needle-and-bowl compass was utilized to determine the best direction and solar orientation of a structure. Eventually, Compass School incorporated principals of the I Ching and other Taoist modalities. The compass evolved into the Loupancompass which reveals many layers of information in its complex ring system. Currently, Western versions of the Lopan exist that are color coded and translated to simplify usage. In Compass School Feng Shui, the bagua is a diagrammatic representation of the Lopan compass and is oriented using the actual directions; example, North sits on North of the floor plan.


The legendary philosopher lived 479 BC. He is China’s greatest sage, known throughout the world as a revered teacher and philosopher. Charity and duty towards our neighbors were his daily text, while justice and truth were highlighted as most virtuous.

Contemporary Western Feng Shui

Also, see Black Sect.

Controlling Cycle

Also known as five-elements controlling cycle, dominating cycle, or some refer to it as the destructive cycle (but we donít destroy energy, it just transforms). Metal pierces wood. Water diminishes fire.


The legal right of creative artists or publishers to control the use of and reproduction of their original works. To secure the copyright on a creative work.


Straight lines are foreign to nature, so when two straight lines intersect, this is a powerful manipulation of nature energy. Corners are considered bad Feng Shui as they disrupt healthy chi flow by sending negative energy. If corners ëcutí at people in front of them, this energy needs to be remedied or deflected.


A legal entity monitored by the local, state, and national governments.


Long, straight corridors act as arrows projecting sha chi and can symbolize harm or relationships (healthy chi has nowhere to accumulate). Creating flow is the remedy (insert distractions or lights).


Semi-precious and/or geological stones (such as amethyst or jade) that attract and amplify energy through diffusion of light.

Cure, see Remedy

I donít use this term as it assumes we (man) have the answers. Others believe cures are objects, talisman rituals, prayers, actions or intentions used to achieve balance, harmony, and beneficial chi in a space. Classic Feng Shui only uses the five elements to support, suppress, neutralize or dissipate negative energies (or chi).

Curry Lines

A global grid-network of naturally occurring, electrically-charged lines in the earth. These run diagonally to the poles (NE-SW AND NW-SE) and were first discovered by Dr. Manfred Curry and Dr. Wittmann. The lines themselves are not necessarily problematic. The places where they intersect with other (North-South, East-West) grid lines, faults, or underwater streams are thought to be possible sources for certain health problems. They can be located by dowsing.

Cutting Chi

See poison arrow.


There are three cycles used in Feng Shui. 1) The productive cycle works clockwise on the element chart. It represents order and balance. Fire produces earth, earth produces metal, metal produces water, water produces wood, wood produces fire. 2) The reductive cycle reduces the power of the dominant phase and is used to minimize negative or dominant chi. Fire burns wood, wood absorbs water, water corrodes metal, metal moves earth and earth reduce fire. 3) The dominating cycle is exactly that, the phases dominate each other. Fire melts metal, metal pierces wood, wood burdens earth, earth blocks water, and water diminishes fire.


See Taoism.

Day Master

In Four Pillars, the self-element residing in the Heavenly Stem of the day pillar.

Ding, also Ting (yin fire)

The third heavenly stem in the cycle of 10 based on the productive cycle of the five elements as they go through their yin and yang phases. It refers to the more inward and recessive aspects of the fire element. It is used in Four Pillars and denoted by the number III.


The art or practice that seeks to see or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge or information by means of intuitive powers, reading omens, and/or use of a tool or interpretation of external objects. Divination is a universal cultural phenomenon that anthropologists have observed as being present in every religion and culture throughout history to the present day.

Divining Rod or Dowsing Device

Any devices of various configuration and material used for dowsing. Some of the most commonly used are the L-rod, the Y-rod, the bobber or tensor, and the pendulum.


Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.


See Hsu or Zodiac Asian.


The size, position, and the number of doors of a house are important factors in Feng Shui. The front door is especially significant as if it is the main point of entry for chi. It should not be obstructed or too small and should not be positioned to face hostile structures such as crosses or arrows. Bathroom and toilet doors should remain closed and doors should not face each other if possible.

Dominating Cycle

See cycles.

Double-Facing, also Xing Dao Xiang

In a flying-star chart, double stars meet in the facing palace. Example, for a cycle-eight structure both the water eight and mountain eight, reside in the facing palace. The energies of this structure are said to be good for wealth but not for health or relationships.

Double-Sitting, also Xing Dao Zuo

In a flying-star chart, double stars meet in the sitting palace. Example, for cycle-eight structure both the water eight and mountain eight, reside in the sitting palace. The energies of this structure are said to be good for people and health, but not good for money.

Dowsing – Geomantic Divination

Geo means earth, and mancy means the study of lines. Also, see diving rods. Dowsing involves methods of locating and diagnosing unseen energies (especially those located underground) and has been used to locate underground water for thousands of years. It can also be used to locate other influences at a site or on a plan or map, and can also discover other concealed information.


Dragons bring power and influence wherever you so choose to place them. The dragon supports the water element; best placing it facing water, clean water such as an ocean, river, stream or a fountain. The dragon brings the power of rain showers for abundant harvests, the principle of heaven and male yang power. Some believe if you place a dragon inside the front entrance door, it brings protection to the premises and occupants. See chíen azure dragon, green dragon, Zodiac Asian

Dragon’s Lair

In Form School Feng Shui, the location that attracts and retains the most benevolent chi. The most auspicious site to build a home or to bury the dead.

Dragon Vein

Just as the human body incorporates channels whereby life-force energy (chi) flows, so the earth contains similar channels called by the ancient Chinese, “veins of the dragon.” These channels of energy, or chi, run through the earth.


A circular driveway is best for Feng Shui as the round shape signifies abundance and progress. Straight driveways form poison arrows and can direct sha chi. Never have a driveway that points directly at your door. Where possible make the driveway curve or meander. Break up its edges with overflowing flowerbeds to remove the hard angles.

Du Shu

Education with effort, one of the five aspects of destiny. Even with the best luck, we will miss out if we do not participate in life. We must do the work required.

Dui, also Tui, Lake, “the Joyousî

One of the eight trigrams (guas or quadrants) of the bagua, associated with the West; the number six; soft metal element; the colors white, silver or gold; the youngest daughter; children or descendants; creativity and other life aspects. Tui is denoted by one dashed-line (yin) over two solid lines (yang).


One of the five elements and represented by the Northeast, Southwest, and center of the bagua. Related numbers are two, five and eight. Material things and earthly affairs are influenced by earth chi. Earth is also the great transformer of chi often serving as a transition between two other elements. Its colors are earth tones (yellow, tan, brown). Its movement is downward and its shape is square or flat. Earth is at the center of the eight trigrams in the Lo shu square and bagua, and represents balance, center, and grounding.

Earth Base Star

In a Flying Stars chart, the energy or quality of chi indicated by a number representing the birth (closing of the roof) of a structure within a prescribed 20-year time cycle, enclosing the earth energies of that time period into the structure.

Earth Energy Grids

Sets of grids of (electromagnetic) energy lines in the earth. The planetary energy grid exists in geometrical patterns that follow specific symmetries. The grids meet at intersecting points, forming a matrix. Some of the strongest power places on the planet are located on these grid intersection points. Earth energies at grid intersection points can affect human activity and health in a positive or negative way.

Earthly Branches

1) Refers to the twelve energies and twelve archetypes, specific divisions in time and space offering information about the quality and movement of chi. The earthly branches and the heavenly stems are the two primary components of the Four Pillars method and appear as a ring on the luopan compass. 2) The twelve animals of the Asian zodiac.


The home of the dragon and the wood element. East is symbolic of growth energy. Anything requiring uplifting energy is best placed in the east. Feng Shui practitioners may advise the eldest son live in the East, as this was the space reserved for heirs of the dynasty within days of old.

East/West System

Part of eight-house Feng Shui. People and buildings are divided into two types, the East Group and the West Group, using the Later Heaven bagua sequence. See East Life and West Life.

Eight Characters

See four pillars.

Eight-House Feng Shui, also Eight Mansions

Dividing the house into nine sections of the Lo Shu grid determines the four most auspicious and four least auspicious directions and activities for both the person and the building (excluding the center).

Eight Mansions

See Eight-House Feng Shui.

Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF)

Whenever electric current (voltage) is running through a wire or a conducting source, an electric field is present in space. Where electric current flow is present, a magnetic field is produced. Over-exposure to excessive electromagnetic fields is harmful to health.


One of the foundations of Feng Shui theory is rooted in the interaction and balance between the five elements, which in Chinese cosmology are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each of these elements governs specific aspects of life.


The elephant is a symbol of strength, wisdom, and prudence. The elephant symbolizes the year and is thus a celestial animal in Buddhism. The elephant is sacred because it was said to offer flowers to Buddha and also carried the gem of wishes and the sacred alms bowl of Buddha. The Elephant is regarded as an animal with high morals and is said to understand human speech. Elephants should be placed high on a mantel or shelf or on an altar for recognition.


Feng Shui is based on the interaction between the five elements that are water, wood, fire, metal, and earth. Finding a perfect balance for these five through placement is the key to good Feng Shui. Too much of an element can take over another so be sure not to use too much or too little of an element.


Electro-Magnetic Frequency.

Empty door

An interior doorway or door frame without a door.


Ethical massage therapist. Emergency medical technician.


The practice of Feng Shui concerns itself with the movement and quality of energy or chi. Creating a healthy and positive flow of energy is said to enhance physical and emotional health and quality of life. The quality of energy is determined by its flow and the frequency of its vibration. By raising that frequency we improve its quality and beneficial influence.


An attempt to integrate the eight-house Chinese bagua system with the 12 Western astrology archetypes.


The direction that an individual or building faces. This typically represents where the strongest yang energy is.

Fei Xing

See flying star.



Feng Shui

Translates to wind water. The study of wind and water in the environment. The practice of Feng Shui is believed to be 6,000 years old. It is the art and science of harmonizing the person with their environment and heavenly influences.

Feng Shui Network Accredited Member (FSNAM)

This practitioner is an accredited member of the Feng Shui Network (FSNAM).  They are in a program of continuing professional development (CPD) and are deemed suitable for the highest standards of practice (instructor level). They are audited annually and meet specific criteria.

Feng Shui Practitioner, also called Feng Shui Consultant

A trained professional who has studied and mastered the principles and practices of Feng Shui. The modern Feng Shui practitioner is schooled in a variety of modalities hopefully originating in traditional practices. At a minimum, a competent practitioner is a graduate of or certified by, a reputable school.

Fire Also see Li

One of five elements used as a remedy. It also represents South on the compass and bagua. Colors symbolized by red, pink, and purple. This element implies expression.


Fish represent success and when they are healthy in a pond or aquarium is said to bring good luck. Symbols of fish (or art containing fish) may be placed in the study or office to bring success or good fortune in business.

Five Areas of Influence (prioritized), see Five Aspects of Destiny

  1. Ming (ming4) represents fate and destiny. We’re born into it and it cannot be changed but can be known.
  2. Yun (yun4) represents luck, which fluctuates with time and can be predicted.
  3. Feng Shui (feng1 shui3) represents our environment. We can manipulate it to reach the higher levels of what our fate and our luck allow.
  4. Dao De (dao4 de2) represents virtue and character and produces good karma and goodwill from others.
  5. Du Shu (du2 shu1) represents education and effort. We’re here to learn and grow.

Five Aspects of Destiny, see Five Areas of Influence

1) Karma 2) fate 3) Feng Shui 4) luck and 5) good work. The Chinese believe these greatly affect or control the fate or destiny of individuals. Each aspect accounts for approximately 20% of life’s factors.

Five Elements

1) Fire 2) earth 3) metal 4) water, and 5) wood. The foundation for Feng Shui balance. When working in harmony, they are productive to each other (see productive cycle), reductive (see reductive cycle), or dominating (see dominating cycle).

Five Element Overcoming Cycle

See cycle.

Five Element Productive Cycle (also called constructive, creative, or promoting cycle)

See cycle.

Five Element Reducing Cycle (also called reductive cycle)

See cycle.


Once fresh flowers have passed their prime, discard them as wilting flowers attract negative energy. Silk flowers are an alternative. Thorns are best removed from fresh flowers when displayed as they can act as poison arrows. Flowers provide yang energy when displayed in the bedroom of the sick. Not as desirable in bedrooms of the healthy as they can bring too much yang energy in a room designed for rest. Avoid pressed or dried flowers.


Flowerbeds reduce the effects of hazardous energy and absorb negative energy. For example, plant a flower bed in front of a bedroom window to enhance your relationship or romance.


Bamboo flutes are used in some methods of Feng Shui. They are a symbol of strength and support. It is recommended that when you hang your flute, make sure that the mouthpiece is up. It is believed flutes create strength and support, and deliver a message of peace and safety. Typically they are hung over the front door for security.

Flying Star, a form of Compass School

(aka Xuan Kong, Fei Xing, Geomancy, or classic) was developed in Northern China presumably 206BC. This is likely the most complex of all methods and is based on the I Ching. A flying-star chart formulates from compass directions and the construction date of the structure (corresponds to a 20-year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn). The resulting chart becomes the birth chart of the building (or energy blueprint) whereby practitioners can read the history of the structure and its impact on occupants. In addition, based on annual and monthly cycles, they can predict when good fortune and less-desirable circumstances will likely occur. Remedies are based only on elements fire, wood, metal, water, and wood.

Form School

The oldest method of Feng Shui and was developed in Southern China several thousand years ago. This method stems from mountainous regions and is a study of chi flow through and over the topography (landforms). Its basis is determining whether the tortoise, dragon, tiger, and phoenix appear in the terrain and how they interact. Good forms are needed to activate the elemental interaction of flying stars and to support the intentions of BTB remedies.

Four Pillars of Destiny

According to ancient Chinese philosophy, a person’s life is altered by the date and time of birth (Ba-Zi). Ancient Chinese devised a method to “read” the life of a person from the birth year, month, day, and hour. The information is displayed in four columns (called pillars) each consisting of two characters; resulting in eight characters.

Four Pillars

Month, day, year, and time. The year reveals information resulting from genes, health, aptitude and family background. The month reveals information resulting from parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and school. The day reveals information resulting from your personality, ambition, appearance, interests, dreams, and desires. Time reflects information about one’s life – marriage, family life, career, and successes.


These should always be spacious and well lit to attract positive Chi.


Frogs are said to bring auspicious luck. A family of frogs living in your garden will benefit the home and occupants.


Feng Shui Institute of America. See AFSII. A school practicing the pyramid method of Feng Shui.

Fukien School

See compass school.

Fu Wei

The area within a building that controls overall harmony. When in balance, it brings good fortune and peace with a comfortable life. This location protects you against bad fortune.


One of three immortal deities that represent achievement and happiness. Also, see Luk and Sau.

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