The Luo Pan (Feng Shui Compass) Part 2

A short history on the origins of the Luo Pan or Feng Shui Compass and how to use it to bring prosperity into your home


In Part 1 of this article we introduced the Feng Shui Compass, or Luo Pan. We now continue and will begin with a brief reiteration of how this marvelous invention came about. 

It is believed that the first compass was developed by the Chinese people about 4000 years ago, and was used to direct armies. But many philosophers saw it as a link between the unseen and the mundane world, which is how the Luo Pan compass came about. Legend claims that the very first compass was invented by Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor - 25th century BC)  Huang-Di was the most ancient of the five legendary Chinese emperors. He was also the patron of Taoism, one of China's main religions and philosophies and are credited with the introduction of wooden houses, carts, boats, the bow and arrow, coined money and writing. 

Traditional Luo Pan or Feng Shui compass

The traditional ancient Chinese compass, the Luo Pan also known as a "lo pan", is a complex tool and as such generally only used by Feng Shui masters and more advanced practitioners

A Luo Pan consists of a magnetic compass in the centre of a metal plate and is surrounded by a series of concentric rings set into the metal plate. The metal plate or "Heaven Dial" has from 3 to 40 and sometimes more rings and each of these rings has a specific meaning, formula and orientation purpose. For instance this is where you will find the 8 trigrams, the 5 elements associate with the directions and also astrological data. This plate typically rests on a wooden base which is normally square in shape and is known as the "Earth Plate" 

The Earth Plate of the Luo Pan  is square, so it can easily be aligned against structures and buildings. It is generally red in colour to act as a strong protection keeping negative energy away from the Luo Pan compass.  The colour red in Feng Shui symbolizes the element of fire and is a symbol of divine energy.

8 Main Directions and the 8 Trigrams

The Luo Pan has two (normally red) strings that cut the plate in 4 sections.  They cross the Earth plate and Heaven dial at 90-degrees angles and are called the Heaven Center Cross lines.  We use these lines to find direction, and to note position of the 8 trigrams on the rings.

A conventional compass has markings for four or eight directions, while a Luo Pan Feng Shui compass typically contains markings for 24 directions. This translates to 15 degrees per direction. The Sun takes approximately 15.2 days to traverse a solar term, a series of 24 points on the ecliptic. Since there are 360 degrees on the Luo Pan and approximately 365.25 days in a mean solar year, each degree on a Luo Pan approximates a terrestrial day.

So where do we start using the Luo Pan? Do we start with the front door because this is where we, as well as chi, enters our home?

Of course your front door should be as welcoming and attractive as possible because this is where you, your family and your visitors enter your home. But to automatically assume that your front door is also your facing direction is a mistake. You need to define the "facing direction" of your home which might or might not be the side that your front door is situated.

Welcome door sign

Step 1: Define the Year of your Home

Feng Shui House Period is used by the Flying Star School of Feng Shui to define the energies in your home or business. There are 9 periods, each lasting 20 years. Right now we are in period 8. Step 1: Find your period by choosing one of the three below that best applies to you.

  • The year your home was built (if you lived there from the very beginning).
  • The year you moved into the house. If you move in with a partner who's lived in the house before you moved in then it's the date that the partner moved in.
  • The year you did major renovations in the house (Only major renovation that would have affected the structure of the house i.e changing the layout by knocking down walls, or adding on to the original house.  Just changing a door or a wall colour does not apply)

Step 2: Find the correct Period of your Home

Next you need to determine the period of your house. This is to define the movement of various energies in your home. In other words - how does the energies affects you. 

When you know the year that applies to you, then look at the chart below and find the period that applies to your date.

  • April 4 1964 to April 3 1984: PERIOD 6
  • April 4 1984 to April 3 2004: PERIOD 7
  • April 4 2004 to April 3 2024:  PERIOD 8

Step 3: Do an accurate reading for the Facing  of your Home with the Luo Pan

Your facing direction would be where the Yang or active energy is: the road, a flowing stream or a river, people and cars going by, or even the widest part of the building.  If your house is on a corner then it will be the street that is in your address. So If you live on the corner of Appleby Ave and Morris Street and your address is 3 Morris Street. Your facing direction will be Morris street. 

House plan

To take a compass reading you must stand at the door/wall facing out away from the home in the direction of where the house faces. It does not matter if you stand inside the house, inside the doorway or just outside the door, as long as you face away from the house. It's best to take several readings with your Luo Pan,  as many things can influence a reading. For instance a lot of metal near where you are trying to take a reading can throw it off.   You will now know which of the 24 directions your house falls into. This is the prime purpose of the Feng Shui compass. 

What to do next

You will need to practice a bit with your Luo Pan, but Feng Shui does not require immediate perfection and you can practice whenever you like. As with any practice for well-being, the only thing that matters is the result - do you feel better about your home and your life? We suggest that you keep practicing with the compass, but in th meantime get on with applying Feng Shui to your home, starting with the Living Room. Best of luck and see you soon! Don't forget to check back in for more articles on Feng Shui, Yoga and much more!

You will still need some Feng Shui ornamentation in your home! You're in luck - check these out!

Other interesting articles

Don't forget - we have many  more blog articles!

Related Posts

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: