Why do people make such a fuss about different styles of feng shui? There are good reasons, but they are not usually apparent to the public.

Here is a comparison of feng shui — New Age (“McFengshui”) and traditional (“authentic”) — using one house chosen at random from real estate listings.

One House, Two Kinds of Feng Shui

In April 2007 a house was for sale in Irvine, California, in one of the planned communities. The asking price was nearly $900,000 US.For the sake of this exercise assume the following:

  • The house was built in 1985. (This information is not required for New Age feng shui.)
  • The garage door faces due south. (This information is not required for New Age feng shui.)
  • The house is not occupied.
  • The house has no furnishings and the walls are painted white. The flooring is a neutral color throughout the house (whether tile, marble, or carpeting).
  • Two families saw the house on the Internet.
  • Each family sent a practitioner to see if the house would be worth purchasing.

The first practitioner uses New Age feng shui (“McFengshui”), including the “bagua map” (“McBagua”). The second practitioner uses traditional feng shui.

Using the McBaguaThe practitioner laid the “bagua map” on the wall of the entrance. This shows the entry in the Career sector.

The master bedroom is to the left, in the Knowledge sector. Helpful People contains the kitchen.
How do they know whether this arrangement is good for their client or not? That’s a very good question. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an answer.

Maybe that’s why people rely so much on psychobabble.

Here is one interpretation of the house:

  • They are sleeping on their knowledge
  • Their career is in the closet.
  • Their family cut off, half in one place, half in another.
  • Part of their wealth is missing.
  • All the helpful people work in the kitchen.

Anyone can develop rationalizations like these. You can probably think of some. Do they tell you anything useful, or are they entertainment?

Now the traditional practitioner arrives.Using the traditional baguas (2 are used in traditional feng shui)

After compass readings and a calculation, the practitioner notes the following:

  • Good property for making money, but at the expense of close relationships. There would be conflict and bickering from the time anyone moved in.
  • It’s not uncommon for this type of house to cause so much strife that the occupants divorce.

At this point the practitioner would probably advise the family of their options.
This is an example of the minimum amount of information that a traditional practitioner can provide about a structure.
Suppose the family decides to buy the property as an investment. They might want to use feng shui as a risk assessment tool.
The practitioner can offer advice on

  • The most likely problems encountered with renters
  • Where problems are more likely to occur, and when
  • How to prevent or temper the effects of the most serious problems

If you were spending nearly US $1 million on a house, which practitioner would you hire to look at property?