Guide to the Feng Shui Bagua

Guide to the Feng Shui Bagua

2 years ago

The bagua is the fundamental tool of feng shui. Based on the sacred trigrams of the I’Ching which are believed to represent energy expressions of the natural universe, the Bagua Map provides a layout of directional energy sectors of any home, office or outdoor space according to these natural energies.

The Bagua Map is formulated on the concept that nature’s workings depend upon delicate balances of specific energies which can each help, hinder or deter one another from operating at their highest level. In feng shui the Bagua Map is used to determine the directional sectors of your home as well as the location of any negative energies that may be affecting you due to celestial forces of the year. Bagua literally means “eight areas” when translated from Chinese.

In the Feng Shui Bagua Map there are eight cardinal directional sectors taken from the magnetic directions of the compass. In the center is a Tai Chi which represents earth and the fortunate energies we can acquire while on this planet or sometimes a Yin-Yang to evoke the perfect harmony of an ideal energy balance.

Feng Shui Bagua Theory
Fen Shui Bagua Chart (source: mega fengshui shop )

Each of the 8 sectors is governed by a trigram taken from the I’Ching. Each trigram, and thus each sector, is associated with a specific life aspiration, color and element. Each trigram can be further broken down to be associated with a particular shape, body part or organ and member of the family.

When the Feng Shui Bagua Map is applied to the living environment one can quickly notice which areas are in the most or least auspicious placement. The bathrooms and kitchen are generally considered to be inauspicious spaces for generating luck as their plumbing systems quickly flush it away and the activity that occurs in them is largely of a menial nature. By observing the areas of our home or workplace through the lens of the bagua one can gain an understanding of how to increase the desired type of luck in their life.  

One of the main methods for enhancing your life’s aspiration, besides furniture arrangement, is the placement of appropriate auspicious objects in the sectors we wish to improve. For example a rose quartz crystal ball placed in the Southwest sector, or zone of love and relationship luck, would greatly enhance one’s love luck because rose quartz is recognized as the stone of love and the crystal and spherical shape are both in harmony with the earth element of this sector. Representations of peonies or a pair of mandarin ducks would also serve well for this same purpose. The Southwest sector can be Southwest corner of your house (Big Tai Chi) or a room (Small Tai Chi). However, if let’s say the Southwest sector of your house is the toilet. It’s not advisable to place any enhancer in the toilet, so the next best thing to do is place the Mandarin Ducks in the Southwest corner of your living room or bedroom.

The Feng Shui Bagua directions can be broken down to be applied within each room. This is what we call “Small Tai Chi”. For example a Tibetan Windhorse may be placed on the South of your study room because it is an object associated with Fame and recognition luck and of the fire element.

Yet auspicious objects are not limited to placement directly in the area of the element they are associated with because of the 5-elements Productive Cycle theory. This theory states that each element creates or produces another. Though it is important to take into consideration that each element also destroys another. Here is a guide to the 5-Element Productive Cycle Theory:  

Wood produces Fire Wood destroys Earth
Fire produces Earth Fire destroys Metal
Earth produces Metal Earth destroys Water
Metal produces Water Metal destroys Wood
Water produces Wood Water destroys Fire

Five Elements Productive & Destructive Cycle
Feng Shui Five Element Productive and Destructive Cycle

So based on this theory we can note that placing a water element such as a fish tank or a painting of a waterfall in the South zone might seriously hinder one’s fame or reputation luck because the watery aspects of it would detract from the fire element. On the other hand placing a water element object such as an arowana or carp in the Southeast or East area of one’s space can attract great prosperity or health and long-life luck because water produces wood and these directional areas are of the element of wood.   

Though it at first appears complicated do not fear! There are long established trends and ancient protocols for the placements of most auspicious objects and many experts who confer on their proper usage. Only a basic grasp of the bagua is necessary to set your intentions for which areas of luck you are most set on improving.


The Bagua Map

The bagua is sometimes depicted as an octagon, other times a square. In either case, the bagua consists of eight areas around a center. The bagua is a compass that indicates life areas as well as many other symbolic meanings, such as this image above that identifies each gua by its corresponding I-ching trigram.

In general, the bagua is an energy grid that you can lay over a floor plan. Most often, you would lay this over the entire home (the main floor plan). What most people don’t know is that the bagua is a conceptual map that can be superimposed over not only your entire home, but also a single room, your bedroom or office, a desk, or even your face. Or your property, your block, your town and beyond as it gets larger. The energy grid shrinks and expands, but it always remains in an equally proportioned three-by-three grid (like a tic-tac-toe board).

How Do You Apply the Bagua?

Your first step is to apply the bagua to your home’s floor plan (the main floor). Different feng shui schools use the same bagua, but overlay it differently. We will advise you on how to use the bagua based on the BTB Feng Shui school.

  1. Use an accurately scaled floor plan of your home (or room).
  2. Rotate the plan so the wall with the front door is at the bottom.
  3. Overlay a three-by-three grid, with the bottom of the grid aligned with the wall with the front door.
  4. Make sure the grid is equally spaced.
  5. Locate all the areas to match up with the bagua. Note: Knowledge, Career, and Helpful People should be aligned with the bottom (wall with the front door).

If you have a difficult or complicated floor plan, try to apply this just over your bedroom. Bedrooms are typically a regular shape that makes it easier. In addition, the most effective place to work on your feng shui is your bedroom, because it’s the space that’s closest to you. So even if you do lay it on your entire home, we suggest you also try out the bagua on your bedroom. 

If you still have trouble, it’s best to hire a feng shui consultant for personalized direction.

Missing and Extended Bagua Areas

​Unless you have a rectangular or square home, you will probably notice your home will not fit very well into the bagua grid. If you have spots in your layout where there is a cut out within the bagua it may be a missing area. Or if there is a space extending outside of the bagua it may be what we call an extension. 

This may indicate that the missing or extended bagua area may need some extra attention in your life. 

  • For missing areas: In general, this can be corrected by placing a mirror or plants in the area in question. 
  • For extentions: This usually is positive as long as it’s in balance with the whole plan. Basically means you just have more energy in that bagua area.

A feng shui consultant can help you determine your missing areas and/or extensions and if it needs remediation. 

Activate the Bagua

After you have laid the bagua, you can now activate the energy in your home! Select one, two, or three bagua areas you want to activate. We don’t recommend you do more because you will dilute the effect.

Every gua is different but here are some easy ways to activate the area(s):

  • Add a living green plant
  • Add the color(s) related to the area
  • Add an object related to the element related to the area
  • Spend a lot of time in the area
  • Move the furniture around in that area
The Bagua Areas
Zhen: Family & New Beginnings
  • Element: Wood
  • Colors: Green, Blue, Teal
Xun: Wealth & Abundance
  • Element: Wood
  • Colors: Purple
Tai Qi: The Center & Health
  • Element: Earth
  • Colors: Earth Tones, Yellow, Orange and Brown
Qian: Helpful People & Travel
  • Element: Metal 
  • Color: Gray
Dui: Children & Completion
  • Element: Metal 
  • Colors: White
Gen: Knowledge & Self-Cultivation
  • Element: Earth
  • Colors: Dark Blue
Li: Fame & Reputation
  • Element: Fire 
  • Colors: Red
Kan: Career & Path in Life
  • Element: Water 
  • Colors: Black
Kun: Love & Partnerships
  • Element: Earth 
  • Colors: Pink