What is the  Lo Pan Compass?


Lo Pan Compass used by professional Feng Shui Practitioners to to determine corrections for any home or building. It is a very precise mathmatical instrument. Comes complete with red carry case.

It must be noted that there are nearly as many variations to the lo pan compass as there are to compasses themselves. However, each Lo pan shares some basic rings with each other, namely the trigrams and 24 mountains. The variations are due, not only to different geographical locations in China, but also different schools of thought in regards to what was considered auspicious or favourable directions.

The Centre is called ˜Tian Jio™ meaning heaven pond, or also called the Great ˜Tai Ji™ the original nature of the Universe. The heaven pool is filled up with water and a magnetic fish shape was used as a needle until the invention of the dry needle. The magnetised fish had another very useful function - it was used to measure things underground - like dowsing, so in the past the needle had a three dimensional movement , which would indicate underground streams, holes, iron deposits etc. There is also mention of a ancient form of divination which consisted of readings the shadow of the sun onto the water using the old fish needle, a practice that some observers can still witness at festivals in the south of China.

The main compass function was to establish the direction and the North South axis, thereby acting as a reference for all the over directions

Ring one - the early heaven sequence. The 8 directions and trigrams are linked with the original early trigram sequence. It represents Heavenly fluctuations of yin and yang as follows:

Heaven (complete yang) Earth (complete yin)

Thunder (strong yang) Wind / Wood (strong yin)

Water (middle yang) Fire (middle yin)

Mountain (lesser yang) Lake / Rain (lesser yin)

The visible yin/yang influence must also be noted in a site. If it has any of these features, it is said to be Yang; windy, heavily built up areas, hot, hilly, having warm-coloured exteriors. Yin sites are near slow-moving water, in valleys or depressions, cool, cold, or painted in cooling colours, damp, and quiet. The overall result - visible, plus the readings of Rings One and Two - should be slightly more yang. The practitioner would compare the site to the yin / yang sequence above, and note it. You can advise the facade be painted warmly if the site is too yin, or in cool colours if yang was dominating too strongly. Yang "mountains" can be made with a rockery to the rear, of jagged rocks. Yin and yang plants can be introduced. Landscaping generally provides a yin element. The Ist ring is the ideal perfection as expressed in Heaven. The 8 trigrams also had energetic associations, meanings and significance, eg ˜chien trigram NW - sky, dragon, horse, heaven, husband, father : Earth trigram SW - cattle, wife etc

Ring 2 - later heaven sequence ˜the post heaven dragon. The same procedure is taken, but the later heaven arrangement of the trigrams come into play. The first ring gave Heaven's unchanging sequence, while this represents Earth's sequence. This ring is often represented numerically by line drawings joining the number of ‘stars’ or number representing in each direction. Ring two reveals Earth's unseen yin and yang and the first and second ring combined will ideally show a balance, with yang slightly more pronounced. Observation of the first two Rings allows for creating balance between the direction and immediate environment.

The 2nd ring is also called Jiu-Xin ˜the 9 stars as in the legend of yellow river turtle creating the lo shu diagram. The 9 stars are :

1st star - hungry wolf - trigram thunder

2nd star - tian yi - heavenly doctor - trigram mountain

3rd star - - longevity- trigram heaven

4th star 6 curses or 6 sha - trigram water

5th star - disaster- trigram earth

6th star- destroyers of armies, end of life - trigram lake

7th Star - 5 ghosts - trigram fire

8th star - fu wei - trigram wind

Left Tso Fu and Right Yu Pi both ruled by wood - they combine to become one star.

The 9 star is the basis for the ˜lo shu portens˜ readings in the Bazhai 8 direction method of Compass school feng shui. Each dwelling is given a ˜Ming Kwa which means ˜fate of life number and is associated with a ˜East or ˜West direction the door or gateway faces. The ming kwa is calculated for the client and the technique involves trying to have at least one entrance in that favourable direction.

Ring three is referred to as the 24 ˜stars in the sky, ˜mountains’, ˜directions or ˜shens and also known as the 24 directions of ˜Di Ji. This ring is made up of:

Twelve Earthly Branches - influenced by the Former Heaven sequence, they represent the twelve spirits of the Branches.

Eight (of the ten) Heaven Stems, from the Lo-shu system and

Four Trigrams showing ˜corner positions from the Later Heaven sequence.

Feng Shui practitioners regard 24 as complete number for heaven and earth. The 24 mountains establish the orientation of the residence, how it sits and faces and where the mountain and the water stars are in terms of the flying star dwelling horoscope. There is controversy about which of the 24 segments are auspicious. Use of this ring is to find favourable locations for your client. You will need to take into account their year of birth.

This ring also reveals places where the earth chi is very strong. The four Trigrams represent spirit doorways, all inauspicious. Because the magnetic and ‘true’ directions are different, the inauspicious locations fall to the left of their magnetic directions. They are:- Ghost Doorway (Kuei-men); Earth Doorway (Ti-hu);Man Doorway(Jen-men) ; Heaven Doorway (Tien-men).Their importance lies in knowing where their inauspicious directions for water courses are, and in gate placement. Traditionally, auspicious readings are marked with red; inauspicious locations are marked with black. These colours are used on the Lo P’an to easily show their locations.

The 24 mountains were also used to locate the alter in a house. Tien Yi direction (the orientation of Jupiter) - was considered good for a alter. The year 1996 was the Tai Shiu sha direction or opposite direction of Tien Yi and is due south - so it was avoided placing the alter there. The 24 mountains are used to locate the direction opposite that of the ‘animal sign’ direction of the current year. This is considered a ‘sha’ or negative energy and occupies 1/24th of space. A popular form of feng shui is not to live in a dwelling or face the direction opposite your own animal sign, as indicated by this ring. Also avoided was disturbing the soil or travelling in that direction. These directions of the natal year branches make up the compass school called the ‘San He’ or ‘Triple Combination School’.

Ring four - ˜Tian Xing. This is used to find a favourable direction if it couldn't be found from Ring Three, and to find the direction of the sites Dragon. Each number is representing a heavenly stem, full of ch’i. The eight Heaven Stems (numbers 5 and 6, belonging to Earth are regarded as lying in the centre) have four auspicious directions; 3, 4, 7, and 8, but some practitioner consider all 8 stem directions auspicious.

There are many complex water dragon formulates associated with ring 3 and 4, here is a small example: You should not have a site with water flowing inwards in: heng or ting (Stems 7 or4) for sites with K’un direction; hsin or jen (Stems 8 or 9) for Ch’ien direction; (SW) chia or kuei (Stems 1 or 10) for Ken direction; or yi or ping (Stems 2 or 3) for Sun direction; In other words, houses facing a stem shouldn’t have water coming from the corner directions, and those facing corner directions shouldn’t have water coming from a stem direction. Water flowing out in such a way is auspicious, coming in is inauspicious.

The Heaven Stems are ; 1.Wood Chia; 2.Wood Yi; 3. Fire Ping; 4.Fire Ting; 5. Earth Wu Mou 6. Earth Chi; 7.Metal Keng; 8. Metal Hsin; 9. Water Jen; 10. Water Kuei

The Inner plate usually has approximately 5 rings - and is called theearth plate or ‘centre needle’ . The Middle plate approximately rings 6-10 - is called the human plate or ‘ren needle’ The Outer plate approximately rings 10-15 - is called the heaven plate. Each usually has a repeat of the first 5 to 6 rings, but with a 7.5 degree declination. These 3 plates are associated with Heaven, Earth and Man and also the three major stages called the San Yuan - upper , middle, lower and each yuan is further divided into 3 ‘when’ of 20 years. The Lo Pan synthesises the relationship between heaven, earth and human beings, and depending on the situation, the relevant plate was chosen, eg for siteing a tomb, the heaven plate was used.

Ring five - 24 seasons of the agriculture calendar. The seasons were divided up into two stages 12x2=24 characters or every 1/2 month is a seasonal division.

Ring six - divided into 3 each 24 aspects to get 72 divisions called the 72 DRAGONS that penetrate from heaven. This ring was often used to plan the alter accurately and gives more detail for the basic 8 directions.

Ring seven - called ˜calibrate the metal - the 24 mountains are divided into 5 to get 120 divisions. Rings 5,6,7 are there to interpret and give more detail to the 3rd and 4th ring.

Ring eight - the 8th ring is the beginning of the human plate also known as the middle needle ‘where there is ‘earth’ there is ‘man’.

Ring nine is the human plate - this ring has the 24 mountains - but the centre line of this ring is deviated by a shift of 15 degrees called ‘ren jiang’. Ren is the chinese name for Human.

Ring ten - 60 dragons penetrate the ground.

Ring eleven - gives the first line of a poem to remember the subdivisions.

Ring twelve - relates to the observation of heaven - 12 parts to heaven stars called ‘wood star’ or also called ‘age’ star - goes from west to east each year and it changes like the equinox - in 12 years reaches a full cycle correlated to Jupiter’s 11.6 cycle of earth - called Tai Shui. This is used to forecast the opposite direction to the ‘grand duke’ or the position of Jupiter in the Heavens - in this direction it is considered not to till the ground or build in Jupiter’s direction or attack in this direction.

Ring thirteen- called feng ye ˜calibrate the wilderness- one of the first books to mention the dragon veins is Yu Guong 3000 years ago, it talked about subdividing the earth in to 12 sections.

Ring fourteen- outer plate called ˜feng zhen also called the stitch needle and has a 15 degree range. This works out the suns north - south axis or the sun’s angle deviations.

Ring fifteen and sixteen- relates to 14th heavenly plate and gives more graduations

Ring eighteen - 5 elements in relationship to the lunar mansions also called the 61 elements of the lunar year

Ring nineteen - the sky has 28 groupings or constellations of stars which ‘hold up the sky’. Also used in Indian astrology, they all add up to 360 degrees however each occupies different degrees of the zodiac. An ancient coffin discovered in the Hubai district had 28 constellations painted on it 2,800 years ago. The 28 constellations on the Lo p'an are also matched with fate of person and with favourable or unfavourable days of the year for important occasions such as weddings and funerals.

Ring twenty - the I Ching portent readings of the 64 hexagrams.

The Lo pan experience -the Sky and the people communicated - the Feng Shui practitioner located the spot on earth where people could have their stars aligned to their fate. The practitioner must spend many years perfecting the following steps: Finding the place with the most abundant ‘sheng-ch’i’ flowing in the earth. Encouraging the influx of ch’i - the most important considerations are the mountain, dragon, watercourse, house and doorway directions, and time. We must consider the locations of the ‘sha ‘ or local eminencies, ‘hsueh’ - the place of most vital ch’i, or commonly called the the feng-shui spot, and ‘chu‘ - feng shui situation, and finally the ‘ming-t’ang’ - or the bright court.

Roger Green has helped develop the western language Lo Pan compasses and workbooks that are used in his training courses.

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