From Rod Harkness, a guy who isn’t about to let the facts get in his way.It is as if Mircea Eliade’s warnings about ‘”the frightful literature of the dilettanti, the neo-spiritualists or pseudo-occultists'” came true on one website.

What He Says Reality Check
What is Feng ShuiAn Asian name for an ancient natural science of energetics. (The science is primarily Chinese, but the Japanese derivation is somewhat different and also independently well developed.) Feng Shui literally translates to “Wind-Water,” indicating the power of the influence these elements have over shaping the topography of the face of the earth and the peoples [sic] lives who dwell thereon. Asian identifies anyone living on the eastern side of the Hellespont. People orient (“east”) themselves for a reason: to face Anatolia (in southwest Asia or “Asia Minor”). Israel and Syria are in the Middle East, surrounded by the Near East and Far East.Feng Shui is a Chinese term for a Chinese ethnoscience.

Rod doesn’t seem to know that the versions of feng shui found elsewhere in Asia originated in China. The cultural exchanges with Japan started more than 7,000 years ago, according to Wang Wei, deputy director of the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. People between the two cultures traveled from northeast China through coastal (Russian) areas to Hokkaido and Honshu in Japan. Another, older route started in south China from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River to Kyushu and Honshu in Japan.

Chinese living in Xinglonggou produced works in jade and pottery, and traveled to Japan to sell both. According to archaeological finds, Japanese were so impressed with the imported pottery they scrapped their local wares and switched to Chinese designs and decoration. Something similar probably happened when feng shui was introduced.

When Rod places feng shui in “Asia,” rather than its country of origin, he is indicating his agreement with an ideological bias — infected with issues of power and superiority — that lingers in Western culture. Rudyard Kipling’s poem “White Man’s Burden,'” reveals these issues of imperialism and colonialism.

This is the first stanza.

Take up the White man’s burden —Send forth the best ye breed —Go bind your sons to exile /To serve your captives’ need; To wait in heavy harness/On fluttered folk and wild —Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half devil and half child.

Rod created an Asia that is a product of his own prejudices and dogma, and his ideas about feng shui are warped by his biases.

Shaping land to shape people?

Topography is the shape of the surface of the Earth. Feng shui is not a practice that shapes the topography to shape people. Feng shui insists that people follow Heaven in their living on the Earth. Saying the land shapes the people is the philosophy of Lanz von Liebenfels and Guido von List, the horrifying paragons of the Thule Society and Ariosophy.

Considering the comments about “shaping” people it is probably better that Rod is a bit vague on the “energetics” concept. More on that later.

Remember the Chinese definitions

The term Feng Shui is shorthand for The energy that rides by the wind stops at the boundary of water.

To quote from the Book of Burial:

Where the land features finish, the qi encounters water and is returned.

Feng Shui is an Asian name for a body of knowledge and practice that has occurred in virtually all traditional societies throughout time.

Out of his depth in a parking lot puddle

This definition does not quite match his previous version.
Rod takes The View Over Atlantis much too seriously. “Feng shui” is a Chinese word. China is the only culture with substantial archeological evidence of this alleged “global science” that has occurred “throughout time” (whatever he means by that).

There’s plenty of evidence that similarities exist in human ideas and practices because we’re all human — not because some archaic science was achieved and lost outside of China. Human cultures typically express interest in where they live (otherwise they don’t survive). Most human cultures have had their own astronomy. The logic doesn’t follow that this means all cultures used a form of feng shui.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Where is the evidence that most traditional societies have practiced something like feng shui “throughout time”?

Joseph Needham’s famous epigram reminds us that

when speaking of magnetism and of the magnetic compass … in China people were worrying about the nature of the declination (why the needle does not usually point exactly to the north) before Europeans had even heard about the polarity.

Magnetic declination would not have been invented, Needham says, “unless the geomancers had been attending most carefully to the positions of their needles.”

According to most sources, Europe didn’t acquire a compass until sometime around 1100 CE. Compasses came to the New World with the Europeans. Until they arrived the First Nations used astronomy to find the cardinal directions.

Modern Western culture has sorely suffered in degrees from ignorance of this science, and further suffered by associating it with sorcerism [sic], fortune telling, evil spirits, heresy, superstition, and other publicly debauched spiritual and metaphysical, and energetic practices.

Reaching rock bottom and starting to dig

Let’s take a closer look at this astounding set of claims.
Our culture has “sorely suffered in degrees” for our ignorance? How can we be severely impacted by our ignorance of an allegedly universal (worldwide) practice? And how “impacted”?

The cultures of Western Europe were “traditional” once; if this truly was a universal science there would be evidence. Yet we struggle to name any lingering traditions, because Europe has no history of such a science. (Ley lines and their ilk are a figment of some writers’ imaginations.)

Immigrants didn’t bring any feng-shui-like practices to the New World (unless they were Chinese, in which case they brought the real thing). The First Peoples had sciences, but something analogous to feng shui was not one of them.

Certain traditional worldviews in Western Europe followed a cyclical pattern like the Chinese, but otherwise have no practices like feng shui. These worldviews were espoused by the people who typically don’t appear in history books and who Harkness apparently associates with “publicly debauched” practices: peasants, the benandanti or any woman or Jew unlucky enough to live in Europe from the first outbreaks of Black Death through most of the Enlightenment. (I refer the curious to The Night Battles and Ecstasies by Carlo Ginzburg, or Witchcraze by Anne Llewellyn Barstow. Consider also Christian anti-Semitism: A History of Hate by William Nicholls, and Philip Zeigler’s classic The Black Death.)

Think hard about this for a moment.

  • There is no evidence the New World had the science. (Turtle Mountain, inuksuit, the ceque system, and medicine wheels have nothing to do with feng shui. If you believe they do, you really should stay out of the New Age section of the bookstore.)
  • There is no evidence the Old World (meaning Western Europe) had the science. There is archaeological evidence for many types of practices, but nothing like feng shui.
  • There is no evidence anything like feng shui was implemented in the Middle East, Anatolia, Jerusalem, Petra, Knossos, or anywhere else.
  • The archaeological evidence for feng shui is within China, and the oldest evidence to date is undeniably linked to Chinese cultures.

The only evidence for a science like feng shui is feng shui.

How can it be in two places at once? (Especially when it wasn’t there at all?)

It is impossible to associate feng shui with “publicly debauched spiritual, metaphysical, and energetic practices.” The idea of energetics starts with scientific discoveries concerning magnetism (think Mesmerism), the harnessing of electricity (think of Marie Corelli’s Romance of Two Worlds), and the development of Theosophy and Ariosophy in 19th-century Europe and America.

Eastern culture has traditionally had little of the constraints of the Western culturally adapted Judeo-Christian [sic] ethic . . . and, therefore was able to develop a common sense and practical use of energetics, especially Feng Shui.

Sets low personal standards and consistently fails to achieve them

Rod just identified Western culture with restraint imposed by Judeo-Christian [sic] ethic, yet this alleged restraint did not prevent Judeo-Christian ignorance from labeling feng shui as superstition, sorcerism, and what-have-you. Restraint didn’t prevent Judeo-Christian people from associating feng shui with debauched practices in something he calls energetics.

“Energetics” could just as easily be called vril, a source of powerful human energy that is inaccessible to the unitiated. It was believed in 19th-century esoterism that whoever mastered the vril force could exercise total control over nature. Like vril, “energetics” implies the alleged power of the initiated “supermen” or Tibetan White Brotherhood so beloved of Theosophy and Ariosophy.

These esoteric societies developed in staunchly racist circles. The proponents loved the exoticism of “the Orient” but that’s it (Prof. Karl Haushofer is a prime example). Ariosophists and Theosophists claimed to be the inheritors of Aryan-Atlantean knowlege. Whoever wasn’t Aryan-Atlantean like the members of the Luminous Lodge or the Thule Society was a sub-race. So-called “sub-races” included Native Americans, Romany (“Gypsies”)Africans, Arabs, Persians, Jews, and Chinese.

Occult Nazism and the SS Occult Corps developed from Theosophy and Ariosophy, which lent spiritual fervor to the development of the Final Solution. (Hitler told Christian leaders that he was “doing the work of the Lord” by eliminating Jews and other undesirables.) “Energetics,” vril, and Hitler’s immersion in the Bon religion of Tibet intersected in eastern Berlin in 1945, when Russian troops fighting their way through the city encountered hundreds of dead Tibetans in German uniforms.

Masonic lore is the junction between medieval building practices (including sacred geometry), Gnosticism and Eurowest traditional cultures. Unfortunately Masonry has been infected by Ariosophy and Theosophy. The most recent uses of Western geomantic (in Latin, geo=earth, mantic=prophetic) beliefs and rituals are tainted by associations with Nazi mythology.

Alfred Watkins called his fabrication “leys,” but his geomantic contemporaries in Germany spoke in the language of occult Nazism. Wilhelm Teudt investigated German alignments in the 1920s, beginning with a chapel on the Externsteine that reveals the sun at dawn on the day of the summer solstice. Teudt studied other sites and announced the discovery of an ancient network of gathering places that served as a calendar for nomadic Nordics. Teudt also aided an SS project to turn the Externsteine into a center for the cult of Nazism. Jeremy Harte explains that

those geomancers who worked in the [Nazi research center] Ahnenerbe, like Reuter and Teudt, were there to be of use to the party. They looked for evidence of ancient landscape surveys in order to substantiate Germany’s claims as the home of civilisation, and where proof of the primaeval skills of the race was lacking, it could be fabricated.

The ceremonies at Externsteine are rarely lauded by New Age apologists as the first glimpses of a return to ancient wisdom. Nor, for that matter, are the Nazi plans for Marsfeld singled out as evidence of lingering feng shui traditions in the West.

In a sense, it is unfortunate that Eastern culture has lacked the beautifully coherent teachings if [sic] the Old and New Testament, and related documents including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Mormon, the Torah and the overlying and interlinking spiritual genealogy.

Errors of biblical proportions

What on Earth is he saying? There isn’t a monolithic “Eastern culture,” except in the minds of armchair travelers and bigots. Rod is clueless when it comes to the continent of Asia. He is unfamiliar with the religious traditions of Asia. He writes like he doesn’t know that every religious text he mentions (except the Book of Mormon) was produced in Asia by Asians.

Rod believes Bible scholars agree that the Old and New Testaments are “beautifully coherent” (they don’t agree). He apparently follows the biblical inerrancy school of feng shui.
His “overlying and interlinking” is a poor substitute for knowing the material. You cannot be confident that Rod could identify the “spiritual genealogy” of any of these texts.

In one of his lectures Joseph Needham derided ignorant Westerners, saying

Strange as it may seem to those who still think in terms of the ‘imeless Orient,’ the culture of China was, on the whole, more of the Iranic, Judaeo-Christian than of the Indo-Hellenic types.

The use of Judaeo-Christian is troubling when Rod uses it (Needham applied the term differently; his careful explanation shows the “spiritual genealogy”). When Rod uses Judeo-Christian what he really means is Christian, because Jews have historically only had power in Israel — and that only within the last 50-plus years. The last time Jews had any kind of political power and could exercise legal sanctions (Rod’s “constraints”) beyond their own community was before the sacking of the Second Temple by Titus in 70 CE.

The sole raison d’être for Judaism is to spread ethical monotheism and serve as a model to others. Every other meaning that has been imputed to Jewish motives, including those assigned here by Rod Harkness, can be traced to an origin that is not Jewish.

A related example is somewhat evidenced in the pyramid type structures, and upper portions of the pyramid structures, that can be readily seen throughout the world. These pyramids [sic] structures occur in every land continent and major island. Interestingly, from an aerial view, they all line up in a type of pattern. The relationship between Feng Shui and the pyramids is that the pyramids encompass much of energetic science. These structures all line up consistently with the compass, are located in specially energetic (and auspicious) places, and they change the energy flow of the immediate vicinity, and in some cases the entire region. Rod embraced The View Over Atlantis and here supposes that objects as diverse as inuksuit and the various forms of Egyptian pyramids, of Hopewell-Adena roads and ceremonial sites, and European and aboriginal Australian megaliths somehow share time frames, ideology and alignments. He confuses burial mounds in China with pyramids.

A basic principle of science and logic says the burden of proof is the responsibility of the person who makes the claims. Where is the proof?

Conspicuous by their absence are “pyramid structures” and “upper portions of pyramid type structures” in such places as New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, China, Japan, the Seychelles, Madagascar, India, Bangladesh, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrein (known as Dilmun to the Sumerians).

So much for architectural forms that allegedly were built on “every land continent” (as opposed to every sea continent?) and “major island” (without explaining what constitutes an island that isn’t major).

More interestingly, here we have an assertion that structures built for different purposes by different people in different eras are all supposed to line up in some form of “energy grid.”

If this was indeed the case, by now wouldn’t some clever business have capitalized on this? Wouldn’t there be luxury cruises and souvenirs?

I challenge Harkness to name three sites on every land continent and “major island,” not just make claims and assume because he said it we will believe it.

Let’s determine for ourselves whether he is telling the truth.

There are individuals who feel or see the effects of Ch’i [Qi] (the dissenters may say that one cannot sense underlying energy, and such talent is often denied for self protection and other reasons). These poor souls probably do go into denial, because, when people say they can ‘”see energy,'” people who hear such statements hurry to find them the professional help they so desperately need.

The propensity to “see energy” is cultural and self-induced, not something outside us, palpably “real,” or authentic.

If you are culturally constipated enough to believe you can “see” energy, I refer you to Visual Intelligence by Donald D. Hoffman and Philosophy in the Flesh by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.

It is likely that the same people who believe this nonsense also want a global ban on dihydrogen monoxide.

Qi is perceived by what it does. A Western scientist posed a useful analogy between qi and electrical energy, for Westerners recognize electricity as a general phenomenon displayed in specific forms (high and low voltage, high and low amperage).
As Wallace Campbell says in Introduction to Geomagnetic Fields:

Humans have no obvious sensation of the presence of the magnetic field or its fluctuations.

We may have magnetic bones in our sinuses, but they don’t help us “sniff out” energy!

Let’s allow the Chinese language to tell us what Chinese mean by Qi. The character is a combination of characters for vapor-steam-gas and uncooked rice. As Giovanni Maciocia says in The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, this means that Qi is as subtle as steam derived from heating a coarse material (cooking rice).
Ted Kaptchuk calls Qi “matter on the verge of becoming energy, or energy at the point of materializing.”

Needham uses the term “animal spirit.” Professor Knoll likens it to ion radiation. Others have considered it as a plasma. Qi is recognized by Chinese as a general phenomenon with many variant aspects and functions.

For instance, in medical science qi is inseparable from movement, it works with immunological functions, it has a transformative function, it governs retention of substances and organs, and it warms the body.

Amidst the book reviews is this gem: . . . has more material about the compass than I care to read since I primarily follow the form school variety of Feng Shui.

Not so much a has-been, more of a definitely won’t be

Poor Rod.

He doesn’t know that feng shui practitioners use compasses (San He variety) for “form school” work.

All authentic feng shui involves forms and compass or it’s a fraud.

For the best initial preparation, reading should include a translation of one of the versions of The Book of Tao, the Book of War . . . By Book of Tao does he mean “The Book of the Way and Its Power”? Or is it the Tao of Piglet?

And what would possess someone studying Feng Shui and “energetics” to read The Book of War as preparation for study — unless they felt it was a way to harness vril?

More appropriate books would be the Huainanzi, books published by universities on feng shui and Chinese philosophy, and the Five Classics (as the Chinese saw them). Or perhaps Xing-De prognostications, if he can find someone who still knows how to calculate them.
Geomancy, Dowsing, and Earth Links . . . geomancy, dowsing and other Earth issues . . . may be considered a relative of Feng Shui . . . . it deals more directly with the environment and Mother Earth. . . .Feng Shui addresses wind and water (and land formations, and magnetism) as primarily surface effects. . . . While the consideration of . . . the finer natural sciences flies in the face of many Feng Shui practitioners, I see it as a perfect fit to be blended in or overlapped onto Feng Shui for an even greater understanding of and balancing of (or with) Ch’i. Only an ignoramus would consider Feng Shui a relative of dowsing.Western geomancy (literally earth-prophecy) is divination by dot patterns formed according to precise rules about random figures drawn in the dirt. Each pattern has a name (such as Amissio, Fortuna Major, Puella and Rubeus). The two “constellations” Puella and Rubeus are found in a discussion of geomancie in Canterbury Tales. You can find a few mentions of geomancy in Shakespeare’s plays. It’s obviously not feng shui or anything like it.

Rod doesn’t drive a luxury automobile or he’d know many of them are outfitted with compasses. Compasses are still used as guidance devices in aircraft, spacecraft, and watercraft.

Scientific American Frontiers field-tested dowsing and proved to the dowsers themselves that it is not a natural science and is largely dependent upon the behaviors of the dowser. James Randi is still offering dowsers the chance to win $1 million to prove that dowsing abilities exist and that dowsing actually works. Rod should sign up.

How low can you go

Does Rod know how far down he can dig before the Earth is no longer magnetic?

Renewed interest [in Feng Shui] is arising in Asian people. One wonders exactly how many Asians Rod knows. At the top of the page he claimed that Asians live and breathe Feng Shui. If Asians live and breathe feng shui, how is it possible for them to be even more interested? Does it leak from their pores in that case?They certainly aren’t interested in some bizarre Western idea like Rod’s, except for its unintentional humor.

Rod may not know that Feng Shui is still illegal in China (and has been for half a century and more). Does he know how long the Feng Shui Guild has existed on Taiwan? Does he know how long the practice has been available to Asians in America or Canada?

How many orifices can Rod pull his ideas from?