A lie told often enough becomes the truth. — Nikolai Lenin
Roger Green fancies himself an expert on many accounts — Vatu Shastra, feng shui, what he calls “earth sciences” — an impressive list. The truth, however, is not as impressive.
He works with unsavory individuals who promote quackery. He advocates practices (such as dowsing) that are well-known frauds. His alleged “Southern Hemisphere feng shui” is scientifically illiterate.
|What He Says||Reality Check|
|An example is the number nine on the bagua. It is the most yang number and it indicates the highest placement of the sun’s movement in the northern hemisphere — due south. That is why the bagua map is always drawn with south at the top.||What is not clear from this “example” is whether he knows the weighty correspondences behind the number 9 (one of which is that it simply means more), why south appears at the top of so many Chinese and early Arabic maps, or why so many Northern Hemisphere cultures conceived of south as the holy direction.Astronomy does have something to do with this, as Roger suggests. Unfortunately for his theory there is much more to the astronomy than he dares to bring to everyone’s attention.
You can easily be swayed by Roger’s arguments if you
There is a reason why in ancient times the best feng shui masters used the stars. Roger Green is not aware of this. That knowledge would have prevented him from making a fool of himself with the crackpot “feng shui for the southern hemisphere.”
|That there are clear explanations of the mapping of the universe, makes the approach of feng shui understanding wholistic.||This is not a “clear explanation” by any means. It provides a perfect example of what Barbara Walker calls New Age word salad, a
This vague writing style is a favorite of quacks and frauds because it generally provides “wiggle room” for evading scrutiny and lawsuits.
|The bagua of the northern hemisphere describes the energy pattern and qualities of the sun’s movement. The direction of this movement is clockwise.||Consult an astronomer, don’t believe Roger!
If you stand facing south in the northern hemisphere, the sun rises at your left and sets at your right (which explains why yang is left and right is yin and why the hands of clocks move, oddly enough, clockwise).
But a little bit farther out, as the classics say, “Yin and Yang meet in the Gate twice each year, at the equinoxes.”Roger gets a lot of heads shaking when he says “energy pattern and qualities of the sun’s movement.” His word salad doesn’t have much to do with actual conditions.
|It also indicates the dominant direction of wind and water movements in the northern hemisphere; e.g., water goes down a sink in a clockwise direction and all the major ocean and wind patterns move in a clockwise direction.||
This is pure ignorance!
Any con artist can demonstrate how a bowl with a hole in the bottom drains the water with a spin.
|The terminology [of feng shui] used is referred to as the location of the red bird and black tortoise. These symbolic creatures are associated with the type of chi emanating from the southern direction (heat —bright yang— red bird) and northern direction (cold— dark yin— black tortoise).||It greatly increases the difficulty of promoting southern hemisphere feng shui when you have to explain away the astronomy at the heart of feng shui.Yin and yang apparently began in astronomy. Yang moves from asterism Room to asterism Field, and yin moves in the opposite direction. This reflects the movements of Suixing (Jupiter) and a counter-Jupiter. (Most people know this as tracking the king, grand duke, duke, etc., and his reflection.) In military prognostication such as Xing-De this is the movement of Daiyin.
According to Huainanzi, the circumference of the celestial circle was divided into the eight cardinal and intercardinal directions. (Northeast to southeast is one-quarter of the celestial circle.) The heavenly axis was the pole star (ridge-pole of the taiji). The earthly axis was a point directly beneath it, far to the north of China. This Gaitian system dates from approximately 300 BCE (see the Zhoubi suanjing) and its physical embodiment was the shi, the older model of the Luopan.
The Earthly Branches called “the four seasons” (and called by scholars “the four hooks”) are Zhou (northeast), Zhen (southeast), Wei (southwest), Xu (northwest). Northeast is associated with branch Yin and the first month of the Xia calendar, along with increasing yang. Northwest is Penetrating Cleft (what some call Hamlet’s Mill).
It is no accident that the four hooks (seasons) identify the tilt of the ecliptic. This is based on the ancient tradition that the sun’s extreme risings and settings mark out a square. That is one reason why the earth plate on a Luopan is square, just as the liuren astrolabes are square.
Ancient people determined compass points by astronomy. Yao explained in the Shijing (the “Canon of Yao” or Yaodian) what directions the constellations indicated at the beginning of his reign. The astronomy has been dated at 2300 BCE ±250 years.
The astronomical marker for the Bird was Niao, in xiu Xing. The leading star was α Hydra.
|The classical feng shui arrangement for the red bird and black tortoise would have a mountain in the north, and clear open land in the south.||Experts tend to agree that our ancestors first mapped the sky, then mapped the sky onto the ground. That is what the Chinese Classics say. From the research at Banpo it seems the Classics were not exaggerating.|
|Trigram fire in the south, water in the north, thunder in the east, lake in the west, and the stillness of mountain in the northeast||Fire (Bird Star) in the south, water (Mercury) in the north, thunder (zhen, which has a multiplicity of astronomical meanings) in the east, lake (Venus) in the west — but no Field, Road, Lane, Gate, Court, Hall, Room, Perpetual Ocean, Penetrating Cleft, or Seven Habitations.Depressing. Roger is exposing a significant gap in his education.|
|The southern hemisphere bagua I use for all of my design principles in Australia. When the numbers are linked, the chi flow is counterclockwise, representing the forces at work.||
And yet buildings constructed in Australia by Chinese in the 1800s (for instance the joss house in Victoria) were built according to the rules of feng shui used in the northern hemisphere. No one felt the need to arbitrarily switch.
The forces Roger is representing at work are merely diversionary tactics, in a vain attempt to keep people from noticing his lack of scientific knowledge (whether we are discussing Western or Chinese science).
|… the principles behind the southern hemisphere bagua govern the assignment of directions, numbers, trigrams and elements.||
Where is the astronomy that is at the heart of feng shui?
In Huainanzi, and throughout Chinese cosmology, it is agreed that where Daiyin (Great Yin) is located, yin sits at its maximum and the omens are therefore of winter and quiescence. Moreover, the directional gods are the four primary asterisms.
|The frighteningly idiotic history of feng shui according to Roger Green
The commentaries in the Book of Changes (Yi Jing) provide us with the Chinese concept of cosmology.
|Alas, too bad Roger didn’t read them before he launched into the southern hemisphere fantasy!He also likes the story of mythologized Fu Xi, but somehow his research — and the notes he scribbled down while listening to the lecturer — leave out a few tantalizing facts. And pretty much the last 30 years of Chinese archaeology.|
|[Roger renders notes from a lecture by a professor who functions as his tour guide.]||Professor Wang Yu De (the tour guide) is published solely in China at this time. He is occasionally cited in scholarly articles in the West. What fascinates is how Wang’s information conflicts with the archaeologists in his own country, and his fellow experts (like Li Xueqin), and refereed work coming out of publications like Early China.Wang’s lecture—that is, Roger’s twisted take on it, according to Howard Choy (whose website doesn’t have the facts straight, either!)—contains outdated and just plain incorrect information
Here are a few recent details provided in Early China.
Earliest documented evidence of feng shui
David Pankenier notes in “The Cosmo-Political Background of Heaven’s Mandate” (1995) that early Yangshao houses at Banpo were oriented to catch the midafternoon winter sun at its warmest, just after the winter solstice. (Some tribes in southern China still refer to this month as “House-building Month.”)
Pankenier and his associates performed retrospective computation on the Chinese sky at the time of the Banpo dwellings (4000 BCE) to show that the asterism Yingshi (called “Lay out the Hall” in the Warring States period and early Han era) corresponded to the sun’s location at this time.
Sandai (Xia Shang, Zhou)
What Green calls pre “In Dynasty” is completely wrong. There’s the Sandai — Xia, Shang, Zhou — there’s the Shang (also known as the Yin, Roger’s “In”), and there’s the Xia (or not the Xia but Erlitou and Erligang, depending whose side you are on). If he means the Qin, perhaps he’s forgotten the second Qin emperor was toppled by a peasant revolt.
Green’s notes claim that during the reign of Qin Shihuangdi (ca. 221-207 BCE) the “people of In” developed burial rituals and placed their dead with their heads to the west and the grave facing east. Interestingly, fengshui of the First Emperor’s grave is exactly opposite that which would normally be used, a fact covered in most materials on the site.
Yin graves are typically shaped like the character ya (a cruciform symbol) and aligned to the cardinal directions. The coffin is always placed at the center (for the dead can only lie quiet at the center of a ya). The head is typically placed toward the north (the land of the Dark Turtle-Warrior and death). Grave goods and retainers surround the dead.
This isn’t that much different from the tomb at Puyang which was built 2,000 years earlier.
Kanyu get it right?
Kanyu— not Kanya as Green has it—breaks down into the base or Earth plate (yu) and the rotating Heaven disk (kan, gan) of the shi; that is, the heaven-round, earth-square mandala (tian yuan difang). Moving the disk to the right represents the rotation of Beidou around the pole star.
These markings appear on shi (liuren astrolabes) identified as late Zhou, with the concepts dated to at least the late Shang.
Scholars have carefully documented a direct line of transmission from ancient China to the present. And the only people carefully preserving those traditions are the scholars themselves and traditional fengshui practitioners.
Roger is not one of these.