There are two main schools of Classical Feng Shui as practiced today. Here, the term ‘school’ is used in the sense of ‘school of thought’, and is an English interpretation of the Chinese word Pai.
One common and completely incorrect classification of the two schools is between the ‘Compass School’ and the ‘Forms School.’ This is incorrect because all methods and techniques of Feng Shui use Forms and a Compass. A more appropriate and correct division of the two schools of thought in Feng Shui is that Feng Shui methods and techniques fall into either a Luan Tou School or a Li Qi School.
The Luan Tou system is more focused on the use of landforms such as mountains and rivers. It places a great deal of emphasis on finding the Meridian Spot (Long Xue), where Qi accumulates and becomes concentrated in an area. The Li Qi system is a more calculation-driven approach, and places more emphasis on computing the movement of Qi in a property, and the quality of Qi at a particular point in time.
All methods, techniques, formulas and understanding of Classical Feng Shui must be rooted in or derived from the fundamental principles of either Li Qi or Luan Tou.
Forms School – Luan Tou巒頭派
Luan Tou literally means “Mountain Head”. It refers to the land formations in the external environment. There are many classifications of mountains and water, and trained observation allows us to assess the quality of these external features.
Luan Tou’s primary focus is on:
- External Form
- Land and Building Shape
- Appearance of Water & Mountain
- Figure and Presentation of the Natural Environment
- Land Formation
- Incoming Mountain Formation
- Water Ways and Roads
Li Qi 理氣派
Li Qi deals with the theoretical calculations necessary to assess the quality of natural features, location factors, Qi effects and overall Feng Shui conditions. The primary areas of focus include:
- Qi Flow
- Qualities of Qi
- Directional Influence of Qi
- Environmental Influence of Qi
- Time Dimension
- Gua Calculation
The more technical terms for the Li Qi and Luan Tou Schools are San Yuan and San He.
Both San Yuan and San He incorporate principles of Li Qi and Luan Tou, but each school has a different emphasis. San Yuan places more emphasis on Li Qi while San He focuses more on Luan Tou.