Feng Shui has its roots in the I Ching, as does acupuncture, chinese medicine, much of the philosophy and a few other areas of inquiry. Four main characters gave us the teaching as we know it today. Fu His is the originator of the I Ching’s trigrams. King Wen, combined the trigrams into their 64 combinations of hexagrams. The Duke of Chou write the interpretations, and finally Confucius reviewed the whole. While it would be interesting to study the lives of these men, we would learn nothing about the development and less about how Feng Shui relates to the I Ching.
The originator of the I Ching, Fu Hsi, is the most significant of the four for our understanding of Feng Shui. That’s because there was no one to teach him and no one to tell them what to do. So he had to find his answers by taking life itself as his teacher. Much of a depth study of Feng Shui incorporates that study of life and nature. The I Ching presents us with ways to understand the the relation of the world to our individual choices of action (divination.)
The hexagrams which form the BaGua used in feng shui are only eight of 64 hexagrams in the I Ching. Each of the eight are interpreted as representing a broad aspect of our everyday life. Intimate Relationship, Children, the Family, Beneficial People all four aspects which effect the physical space we inhabit. Fame, Career, Wealth, and Knowledge are the other four. Feng Shui then interprets how each these broad area effect one another by using the Five Element Theory. The relationship of those elements for one to another is based on hundreds of years of physical observation of what happens in nature.
The simplest example of this is planting an elm tree next to a river. In short time it will die, as the roots drown in the constant immersion in water. Yet if we plant a willow tree in exactly the same spot, we will see it grow rapidly and thrive. The difference? One tree loves to have its roots in water the other only lives when the roots are out of water. Understanding this broadly can aid someone who needs to know how to plan a landscape.
Using Feng Shui can guide us to the most beneficial and harmonious use of any physical structure. There is considerable movement here in the West to try and reduce Feng Shui to rules and guidelines easy to understand and apply. Many folk buy a book and wonder why they do not grow immensely wealthy. My experience with Feng Shui keeps leading me to continue to study, producing a profoundly deeper and wider understanding of the natural world. And as such, it is ultimately rewarding.