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). Simply put, bagua is a vision board for your life. It is also a map used in feng shui to locate the areas in our homes and workplaces that we can use 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 lives. 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.

Think about bagua as your vision board.

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 and the career aspect will be in the north part of your home/room. See the classic compass bagua below
The compass bagua is restricted to compass directions, therefore, limited in application. On the positive side, if your home or workplace is on different floors, all the areas will be the same, ie overlapping one above the other.
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 that 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 as the classical, compass bagua suggests), 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 to your home/room. 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

‘Missing corners or spaces’
There is a myth about the 3-door gate bagua that if some areas of the space are kind of ‘missing’ – then you have or might have a problem with that aspect of your life. In my experience, it’s a false problem which will create a false solution. Unfortunately, once you’ve been exposed to this false problem, you’ll need a solution to counter the negative perception (nocebo effect) to feel better about your home or workplace. Basic remedies include placing a mirror to symbolically expand that ‘missing’ space, hanging a crystal, installing lights, etc. The virtual bagua (below) has no such issue; hence it’s a much superior model.

You can apply the bague on the complete floor and each room or space as well, if necessary, but that can make it all very complicated or add more opportunities for placement of feng shui remedies. Three-door gate of chi bagua is dependent on space but less restricted than the compass bagua.

3. Virtual/spiritual/archetypal/symbolic 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 your home – anywhere. If you want to travel and boost the travel area of your home – have maps, posters of places that you want to visit – everywhere. If health is your key value, make your home and workplace healthy by reducing environmental stressors and placing symbols that represent health to you. Virtual bagua is not dependent on space (and time – read below) and therefore more flexible and give you the total freedom as opposed to 3-door or classical baguas (you can’t control the compass directions and most often you won’t be able to change the position of your doors).

‘You can’t use an old map to explore a new world’ – Albert Einstein

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 / Anywhere
Power, Control & InfluenceExternal (space)Internal (space)Transcendental (beyond space)
ModePhysicalMentalEnergetic, Spiritual & Integral
Hemispheric functionLeft brainRight brainWhole brain
RemedyPrescriptive / superstitious Empowering / CreativeMetaphors / Archetypes / Symbols / Higher Values / High empowerment
Consciousness Tribal / Ethnocentric Rational / Pluralistic Integral / Cosmic
StateOpportunity (limited)ResponsibilityEmpowerment
Political orientationRightLeftMiddle
Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsBasic needs, physiological and safetySocial and esteem needsSelf-actualisation, transcendental and spiritual needs
Effectiveness (results)'Toilet-water like''Cologne-water like''Perfume like'
Efficiency (time, speed)Sequential, Chronos time, Quantity time, Horizontal, SlowSemi-sequential, Chronos time moving towards Kairos, Quantity to quality time, Fast-ishNon-linear, Kairos, Quality time, Vertical, Now, Beyond time, Timeless, Very fast

Efficiency and timing

“Every kairos is a chronos, but not every chronos is a kairos.” said Hippocrates. So depending on how fast you want to change your life, you might want to choose the bagua model that works best for your speed of change – what’s comfortable for your development. So if you like, a slow, organic change I recommend the modern 3-gate bagua and even the classical one. But if you want fast, almost immediate change – the virtual bagua is for you.

The difference between chronos and kairos is that chronos is quantity, ‘physical’, measurable time ie sequential and linear/horizontal (measured by clocks and calendars), whereas kairos time is quality time, timeless, non-linear/vertical (evaluated by values and archetypes). Obviously, we need both chronos and kairos but in modern times people have lost the notion of kairos time. Chronos is about measuring time in seconds, minutes, days, etc (“What time is it now?”), and kairos is about evaluating it (What is it time for?) and its significance as well as opportunity ie carpe diem time. Kairos can help us ‘control’ our future by being in the flow and by affirming life and chance. Kairos allows us to collapse all possibilities and opportunities in the now moment. (Kairos is a different spelling of the Greek deity Caerus, the god of luck and opportunity). In short, kairos is luck.

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 40+ 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.

The problem with classical and 3-door gate bagua is that they’re quite limited, restrictive and very often dogmatic (especially if you read feng shui nonsensical advice online). The virtual bagua overcomes their limitations through include and transcend principle. The qualities of aspects are preserved (career, relationship, wealth, etc domains) and transcend the limitation of space into symbolic representations that can be placed anywhere in your home or workplace.

Also, I want to have the vibe of prosperity in my whole home, not in just one space, the so-called ‘wealth corner’, which is very limiting thinking. When you place a symbol of prosperity with your non-local and non-linear thinking behind it – it works everywhere and every time.

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 and become dogmatic. 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 – bagua for life

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
without referencing them in space or environment. They’re mental constructs or values that are important to people. In feng shui, these values are externalised into an environment to give people more clarity and focus, and to help with actualising them.

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.

How to activate different aspects of your bagua

That depends on your needs and wants. There are many feng shui interventions that can be used to do the job. For example, light, plants, water features, elements, symbols, pictures and images and so on. Whatever you choose should resonate with your preferences, your belief system and the deco of your home and workplace. There are no hard rules how to use feng shui remedies for activation of the bagua areas – just use whatever works.

To sum up – you have a choice

It’s all about choice and self-empowerment as well as control. 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 or map 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
3) use what’s in your control and
4) use whatever helps you grow, develop and thrive.

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

Posted in Bagua.