One aspect of feng shui that can cause confusion is the ba gua (sometimes spelled pa kwa). Most people have heard that there is a “wealth corner” or a “relationships corner”. But how to figure out where they are?

Different approaches determine this differently, so the “right” way is the one that works for you. The approaches have in common that they divide a space into nine sectors and assign meaning to each. From there they diverge. This article focuses on orienting from the existing front door, an approach developed by Master Lin Yun, which is called “three-door ba gua”.

The ba gua grew out of the I Ching, an ancient Chinese wisdom text, and describes the living, flowing, constantly changing energy of a place. Spaces created by human beings - a house, an apartment, a property or a room - each have their own unique energy, their ba gua. The bubble diagram used as a tool (see below) is laid down over a floor plan oriented from the front door. It is stretched if the plan is a rectangle. If the plan is an irregular shape, some areas of the ba gua may be missing from the space (see below right).

The front door side is always learning, career or support. If the locked front door is on the left you are entering through learning, on the right you are entering through support, in the centre through career. Stretch the ba gua sideways if the front door is on the longer side and lengthwise (see below) if the front door is on the narrow side.

For example, if standing at the front door looking in, the far right corner of the house or apartment is cut out, or an addition has been built on the left two thirds of the house opposite the front door (see above right), then the marriage/relationships area is outside.

This does not always mean there will be problems in this area of the residents’ lives, but the most effective way to balance it is to mirror the walls of the missing corner. If the left corner of the rear of side of the house opposite the door is cut out, the wealth area is missing. Mirrors may be used here as well.
In laying the ba gua over the floor plan we divide the house into nine sections like a tic-tac-toe grid.

In an apartment, orient it from the door of the unit. In a room, orient it from the most-used door. You may end up with the wealth area of a room being in the relationships area of the house, for example. Simply place an object there to enhance each area. You know which is which. If you have more than one floor you may count the areas the same upstairs and down.

The areas of the ba gua combined represent all aspects of our lives (see above). Each room has its own energy matrix, though the areas of the ba gua will correspond to rooms only if you have a place with nine rooms. Otherwise, look at the plan and find lines that come closest to dividing the space into thirds in either direction. More than one gua may be in a room, a change of flooring may mark the transition, or a feature such as a stairwell may be a gua. It will depend upon your space.

It is lovely if the master bedroom can be in the Marriage area, but if the kitchen happens to be in that area, find something appropriate to place in the room to represent your intent with respect to your relationships. For example, one woman whose kitchen was in the marriage area wanted to marry her partner. She already had a red hen trivet in the room, so she found a rooster to go with it.

A sampling of items to enhance each area is shown below. This is not an exhaustive list. The best enhancement is the object you are inspired to place in an area to represent your aspirations and accomplishments for that part of your life, placed with sincerity and mindfulness. This list gives some ideas based on feng shui principles to get you started.

Have fun working with the ba gua in your space!

Author's Bio: 

For more than fifteen years, Helen Williams has worked with thousands of clients to bring greater balance and harmony to their homes, gardens, workplaces, and properties in North America and beyond. She has taught classes, written articles and a book, and appeared in major media in Canada and internationally.

In recent years, her practice has shifted toward residential and commercial building and renovation. Helen works with designers, builders, contractors, and trades. She has experience with green and smart construction.

Her book Feng Shui Solutions: Conscious Living for the Modern Age will be published by Tuttle in late 2009.

Helen lives in Toronto, Canada and practices globally.