When studying a branch of Feng Shui called Landscape School, we encounter the symbolism of the Tiger, Dragon, Phoenix and Turtle. What are these symbols representative of? |
They are symbolic of land forms around any given property, or the lack of these land forms which causes concern for some. If you were to stand in front of a house looking toward it, the house would need some kind of protection according to theories about chi flow. The proper collection of chi, as well as the proper disbursement of chi can be controlled with some surrounding land formations. In a modern context, this could be nearby buildings instead of mountains.
The turtle image represents a mountain (or a taller building) behind the house. The phoenix in front of the house is an image of a dip in land and then a smaller rise in the land, like a speed bump. To the left of the house we should have another mountain or virtual mountain called the Tiger and to the right of the house we have the Dragon as another form of protection. Now, this is assuming that a house is actually oriented facing south. There are differences of opinion about whether the Tiger should be on the left or right side of a house. However, the Tiger is associated with the direction of west. To make matters more confusing, there are some schools which will determine the Tiger position based on facing the front of the house, and others based on facing the back of the house. Not every house is aligned along the cardinal directions anyway, so these distinctions are more symbolic than anything.
Shoring up energy and also providing protection are two main features to look at when evaluating an exterior environment. And yet there are no hard and fast rules about just how big these land forms need to be, nor how close to each other they should be.
These four animals are also symbolic of the cardinal directions: North (turtle), South (phoenix), West (tiger) and East (dragon.) As well, the four celestial animals are associated with colors and elements: The White Metal Tiger, the Green Wood Dragon, the Red Fire Phoenix and the Black Water Turtle. These animals and their associated symbols sometimes confuse Feng Shui adherents. They may think that the ideal house must face south (a common myth and over-generalization.) Some people also think that a house which is not surrounded on all sides with other structures representing the animals will be an unlucky house. Not so. And still, a mystical reverence for these four animal symbols endures in the annals of Feng Shui literature.
This is also one of the reasons some Feng Shui Schools teach that a corner house is unlucky. If for no other reason, it is lacking a dragon or tiger for protection on the side exposed to the side street.
There is so much mystery in some Feng Shui teachings that many believe that they have to actually see these literal animal images in a mountain form in order for the environment to be deemed lucky. This is so subjective that is feels to me to be almost like a Rorschach Ink blot Test or the divination of cloud reading.
What is common sense; however, is the universal feeling of safety when we have something solid behind us, and something secure on each side, often called the “armchair” position. Then, once we learn Xuan Kong Feng Shui, we realize that the ideal land forms on the facing and sitting side of a house are also determined based on when the structure was built. Factoring in timing can change all the general principles of Landscape School.
Kartar Diamond practices traditional Feng Shui, which includes Form School and Xuan Kong Flying Star School. Kartar Diamond is also the author of Feng Shui for Skeptics, The Feng Shui Matrix, and The Feng Shui Continuum. For more information about Kartar Diamond's consulting services, books and mentoring program, go to www.FengShuiSolutions.net
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