Feng Shui Bagua. How to Use Bagua? Difference between classic compass bagua school and western three-door gate of chi bagua map. Which feng shui bagua school is better?

What is a feng shui bagua model?

Bagua is a feng shui energetic and metaphoric matrix, a code for space harmonisation and manifestation. The bagua maps the primary aspects of our lives and values (career, relationships, wealth and so on). It is also a map used in feng shui to locate the areas in our homes and workplaces that we can be used to represent these values and life aspects. Bagua is an amplifier and a mirror of our own values, needs, wants and desires (it’s not a telescope). Balancing, activating and enhancing chi/energy in these physical areas (with lighting, pictures, plants, furniture, objects, etc) can then improve the corresponding aspects of our life. It can be thought of as an energetic matrix of energy flow in any space. In short, bagua is an imaginary or conceptual tool or method for organising, physicalising, codifying and activating your values and manifesting your dreams and goals.

The history behind the bagua model
Bagua is a magic square or Luo Shu and is based on trigrams from I-Ching, the Book of Changes (in both early heaven and latter heaven sequence).

Bagua based on magic square

Bagua is based on magic square or Luo Shu

How to use bagua map/matrix

To use the bagua, place it over a plan of your home/room/workspace in such a way that the door to your flat/home/room/office is at the bottom of the page in the areas of knowledge, career and helpful friends. This matrix can be used on other things such as your business card, your desk, website.

“We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill 

Understand the difference between the two feng shui bagua schools. Two types of baguas: classic and western
There are two basic feng shui bagua schools: 1) traditional or classic compass bagua and 2) three-door gate of chi bagua. Understanding how both baguas developed over time and why will help you make an informed and empowering choice.

1. Classic / traditional compass bagua school

The original bagua concept which was based on compass direction was an expression of the ancient Chinese mindset which revered the impact of cosmos and stars on their lives and fate. To apply the classical/traditional feng shui bagua map on your home you need to take a compass reading from the front of your house or apartment. Different compass directions will reflect different aspects of your life. For example, the wealth corner of your home or workplace will be the south-east part of the building. See the classic compass bagua below
Classical Traditional Feng Shui Compass Bagua

Classical traditional feng shui compass bagua – based on compass directions

2. Three-door gate of chi bagua

The three-door gate of chi bagua is a modern reflection on how empowered we’ve become. The three-door gate of chi was proposed by Professor Lin Yun of Black Sect Tantric Buddhist School of Feng Shui in the US in the mid-eighties. Professor Thomas Lin-Yun took into account that we (with our energies, thoughts, perceptions and values) have the greatest impact on our lives and environment. The three-door gate of chi bagua affirms that it is our energies entering into our spaces create energetic patterns. It’s an evolutionary shift from a less empowering perspective of outside > in influence to inside > out empowerment. Winston Churchill got it right by saying “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” Not the other way round. So the greatest influence and impact comes from us first. Then the people around us have the second most important influence. And then thirdly, our environment or if you like feng shui affect us. So the order of the magnitude of impact and influence is: us, others, and then feng shui. So if you want to shape your destiny (as opposed to following your fate), the three-gate bagua is for you.
“I understand that it (feng shui) works whether you believe in it or not.” Niels Bohr, Danish quantum physicist, Nobel Prize winner in Physics
Different areas of your home or workplace will reflect different aspects of your life. According to the three-door gate of chi bagua, the placement of these areas depends on the position of the door. For example, the wealth corner of your home or workplace will be the furthest area on the left from the door. See the three-door gate of chi bagua below
Three-door gate of chi western bagua

The three-door gate of chi western bagua – based on the position of the door

3. Virtual/spiritual/archetypal bagua

I’m proposing the next consciousness shift in our perception regarding the energies of the bagua matrix. Instead of worrying which type of bagua to use ie the compass bagua or the three-door gate of chi one – identify which key areas of your life you want to improve, what are your values and surround yourself with symbols and energies reflecting these aspects and values. For example, if wealth is important to you – get a money plant and place it somewhere prominently (ideally near the south-facing window since money plants like the sun) – read more ideas for boosting your wealth domain. If friendship is your value and you want to have more friends, have more photos of existing friends and family around. If you want to travel and boost the travel area of your home – have maps, posters of places that you want to visit. If health is your key value, make your home and workplace healthy. The virtual feng shui bagua approach resonates with the quantum physics discovery which states that we as observers influence our environments (observers affect the observation). Also, our values are forces that act as magnifiers and attractors for what’s important to us. Values are archetypical patterns to shape our lives. Bagua will help you focus and anchor your values in your physical environments. The formula for how feng shui work is this: feng shui = intention + energy + ritual. Be clear what you want, have the right positive intention and attitude (energy) and create a physical ritual to will reflect and anchor your values, goals or dreams in your home or workplace. In short, physicalise your dreams, goals and values. Feng shui is a physical affirmation.
Horeshoes for prosperity

Horseshoes for prosperity – application of virtual / quantum feng shui bagua – based on values and intrinsic energies and symbols (not on compass directions or position of the door)

Summary of the differences between classical, modern 3-gate and virtual baguas


Type of baguaClassical: COMPASSModern: 3-GATEModern: VIRTUAL
OrientationCompass directionsEntrance or doorVirtual / Non-local
Power, Control & InfluenceExternalInternalTranscendental
ModePhysicalMentalEnergetic, Spiritual & Integral
Hemispheric functionLeft brainRight brainWhole brain
RemedyPrescriptive / superstitious Empowering / CreativeMetaphors / Archetypes / Higher Values
Consciousness Tribal / Ethnocentric Rational / Pluralistic Integral / Cosmic
Political orientationRightLeftMiddle
Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsBasic needs, physiological and safetySocial and esteem needsSelf-actualisation, transcendental and spiritual needs
Effectiveness'Toilet-water like''Cologne-water like''Perfume like'

I’m still confused about which method to use. Which feng shui bagua school is better?

The choice of the method will affect what sort of power relation you want to have with your home or workplace. Now you understand how both baguas developed and why – which approach resonates best with you. If you want to take control of your life and your home or workplace and carve your destiny – choose the three-door gate of chi bagua or virtual bagua. If the classic compass bagua resonates with you, it doesn’t mean that you want to relinquish your power to the surrounding environment but it will align you more with your fate since fate is dictated by external factors. Development, as defined by Piaget (1951, 1952), is about decreasing egocentrism. Human beings go through well-defined stages of development starting with egocentric, then progressing to ethnocentric, then to world-centric and then to cosmo-centric or integral stages. Depending on where you are in those stages of personal development, you may resonate or choose different modes of bagua model to suit your needs. Reflect on that choice and see if there are good reasons for choosing it. But it could be just because it was the first bagua that you’ve learned about and you got comfortable with it. You can always change your preference. Or you can choose a combination of all the three bagua methods. Modern feng shui is person-centred so choose what works for you.

Book a feng shui consultation for your home, business, work or personal life with Jan Cisek – call/text on +44 7956 288574 or email him

In my feng shui practice

In my 30 years feng shui practice I’ve noticed that most people prefer the three-door gate of chi bagua because they resonate with it and want to be empowered. A very small number of individuals prefer the classical compass bagua method – usually because of upbringing, cultural preference and fate-like mindset. Sometimes they choose the compass bagua because that kind of alignment offers the best prospects for their particular house shape and compass orientation (but that is quite rare).  Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with using any of those methods but understanding how they got developed helps with an informed choice. Obviously, if your home is facing north then you don’t have to make any choice since both baguas will overlap.

WARNING: Don’t put your life into feng shui

In feng shui, we have a saying “Put feng shui into your life. Don’t put your life into feng shui.” What it means is that if you put your life into feng shui it may run it for you. You can become overly dependent on feng shui advice. You can become too concerned about making the smallest changes in your home or workplace and worried that you may make a mistake. You might create false problems for yourself. You may have a tendency to blame the environment (feng shui) for your problems instead of looking at the real causes. You may feel disempowered and helpless as well as fearful of life and challenges. Use feng shui as a tool to enhance your life, to add meaningful images and symbols, reduce environmental stressors such as dirty electricity, geopathic stress, electro-smog, etc – to empower and boost your personal and professional life – and that’s what is feng shui for – to help you shape your destiny as opposed to being fated.

Bagua is an imaginary, semiotic tool – a code

Let’s be clear: there is no such a thing as a ‘wealth corner’ or ‘career area’, or ‘relationship area’, etc – they don’t exist as independent entities out there, except in our imagination. The bagua model is just a mental construct and a semiotic marking, a way of codifying space. In feng shui, we use physical space to anchor and help us to focus on our values, needs and wants. The way bagua works is the same as a placebo works ie it helps us to activate and cultivate our innate resources and connects us with the energies of life. There is no right or wrong way of using bagua. One is not better than the other. It depends on where you’re coming from, where you are in your life, at what stage in your personal growth, your preferences, your cultural heritage, your mindset and what works for you. Read more about how feng shui works

The Wheel of Life in life coaching

In life coaching, there is a similar concept to bagua, called the wheel of life and it covers more or less the same life domains such as:
• health & fitness
• love & romance
• social life and friendship
• self-wealth
• play & creativity
• spirituality
• sleep & rest
• family
• career & growth
• finances and money

The Wheel of Life

The Wheel of Life

In her book Happy Starts at Home: Change your space, transform your life, Rebecca West bases her suggestions for home improvements based on the wheel of life model.

To sum up – you have a choice

It’s all about choice and self-empowerment. Do you want to analyse and interpret your life or do you want to change and build it? Feng shui bagua model is just a code and it’s up to you and your changing circumstances how it’s going to work for you.

Answer these questions:
1) do you want to follow your fate or
2) do you want to shape your destiny?

If you want to follow a traditional feng shui then choose the compass bagua. If you want to empower your life and take control of your environment to choose three-door gate of chi bagua or virtual/spiritual/archetypical bagua. Or combine them all. There is no conflict in using all of them at once if you don’t mind the complexity. There is no right or wrong way of using them, similarly, as Indian or Chinese cuisines are no better than French or Italian ones. It’s up to you, your preference, values, your political orientation, your consciousness and your creativity.

A person-centred feng shui is very clear on this:
1) use what works for you,
2) use what is empowering you and
3) use what helps you grow, develop and thrive.

Find out more about the difference between classical feng shui and modern feng shui

Feng Shui Bagua. How to Use Bagua? Difference between classic compass bagua school and western three-door gate of chi bagua map. Which feng shui bagua school is better?
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