Klang Valley Feng Shui Series: Article 3: Evaluation of Landforms

An evaluation of landforms, from a feng shui perspective, concerns four parameters: the mountains from which energy originates; the presence of rivers; the location of meridian points; and the presence of protective barriers across the rivers. We are specifically describing the practice of Chinese geomancy here, although it is likely that other branches of geomancy would have similar yet different approaches.

Enter the Dragon

In feng shui terms, mountain ranges are often described as dragons. It is not difficult to see how an undulating highland resembles a mythical Chinese dragon. Thus, feng shui practitioners would look for the �dragon� when they evaluate a piece of property.

Ideally, the mountains should branch out to form embracing arms. These arms generally have different lengths, and from high up in space, one will probably observe that it looks more like a thumb and forefinger encircling a flat piece of land.

Embracing arms have the tendency to act like a parabolic dish of some kind and pool energy in the middle. They also shield the area from strong winds that can dissipate this energy pool.

River flows

Dragon energy flows non-stop until it hits a medium of different rigidity, in this case, water. Thus, in selecting a favourable location for dwelling, there must be a body of water present, be it a river or sea. The location and shape of the waterfront have the ability to deflect, reflect, disperse or gather this energy.

A meandering and winding river that curves inwards as if embracing the land is considered good. Such a river also bears a resemblance to that of a dragon. Hence, a C-shaped curve is sometimes referred to as a dragon looking back longingly, as it moves towards the sea. The Chinese sages were nothing if not romantic when it comes to creative descriptions!

In any case, such a landform also suggests a plain and lowlands, for rivers do not meander in the highlands.

�X' marks the spot

An area embraced by mountains and rivers is considered favourable or good. However, there are variations in the strength of good energy within it. These are very precise points, the subject of careful scrutiny when it comes to choosing the right burial site. These meridian points are as elusive as a female's G-spot and just as powerful, figuratively speaking!

If we consider the grasping thumb and finger as an analogy, it is clear to see that the strongest point anatomically is the joint at the base of the thumb (proximal phalange with the first metacarpal). It serves as a support point or anchor for the thumb to exert pressure on objects in its grasp. Interestingly enough, the equivalent location in a similarly-shaped landform is also a meridian point.

The ancient sages used different methods to measure and locate this point, and they are in close agreement with one another. This point, in relation to the overall dimension and proportion, conforms to the golden ratio of Fibonacci numbers. Fibonacci numbers form a sequence comprising numbers made up from adding two numbers previous to it. For example, 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on.

Although attributed to Leonardo of Pisa (also known as Fibonacci), it was described much earlier in India as the mountain of cadence about 450-500 BC. This golden ratio can be seen in many instances of nature, and even the stock market moves very closely according to Fibonacci numbers!

Thus, the use of this in feng shui and other geomancy sciences is not surprising. It was not the invention of a mathematical human mind, but rather a natural and ubiquitous occurrence. The ancient sages merely observed and recorded it, some of whom may not even be aware of such a formula's existence.

Malleable energy

Meridian points vary based on the energy form. The energy itself takes on the shape of the landform that collects it, much like how water takes on the shape of the vessel. Ancient sages used many terms to describe these shapes, more because they are easier to describe and remember, more so in the old days when illiteracy was high.

Thus, just because a landform is said to be dragon-like or turtle-like, it does not mean that an actual dragon or turtle was trapped within, or some mythical beast died there and its remains got transformed into a mountain or island! They make good bedtime stories for children, though.

The nomenclature for these shapes is very deliberate and specific. The chosen object has to have characteristics that match the landform or energy's shape. So it is not just based on a passing resemblance as one would use when they identify cloud formations.

For example, a tiger is characterised as nurturing and protective when it is feeding its cubs. So, a landform where the energy shape is like a lying tiger nursing its cubs, is called as such. There would be eight meridian points, precisely where the teats of the female tiger would be. There should be little boulders (or small rocky protrusions) in that vicinity, too, representing the cubs. A feng shui expert would also look for forms that resemble bushes that camouflage and shield the cubs. Is this just a coincidence, or a conformation to nature?

Dragons are characterised by a long flowing body with claws. Mountain ranges have side branches which are very claw-like. A mythical dragon flies in a zigzag fashion, thus creating convex and concave sides like a meandering river. These offer many sites for meridian points, which are determined by analysing individual segments and sides.

A turtle-like formation is unique, too. At the point where the �head� is located, it should not protrude too far out, as it is prone to get chopped off. Naturally, that is not a favourable location! A �turtle� can be good or bad. Just look at the butt. Don't get any funny thoughts: we're looking for eggs which signify prosperity. These could be islands or boulders. Even the �flippers� of this formation bears interest. It could be drawing forward to build up energy (a favourable position) or it could have expended its energy after paddling (not so favourable).

The descriptions are not confined to animals. There are also forms known as armchairs, tables and so on, each exhibiting the unique characteristics of the object they are named after.

Shields up!

The final element a feng shui master looks for is the presence of smaller land formations across the river. These serve as a barrier that keeps the energy in and protects it from harsh elements coming from the other side of the river. They can also trap and retain energy that traverses under the river.

So, the mountains generate energy. The energy is blocked and reflected by a river. Think of this as a tent with the river as its opening. The tent walls protect the occupants and the opening provides access while keeping the heat in. There are certain spots within the tent where the temperature may be cooler or hotter.

To provide further protection from strong winds and rain, we can erect a screen in front of the opening. That is essentially what we look for: protective screens, barriers or shields. These are lesser formations, considerably smaller than mountains. They are considered �forms� and not �forces� which means they can influence energy by their shape and size but are not considerable enough to exert or emanate energy on their own.

These screens could comprise one or many pieces of boulders, small hills or even islands. They can come in many shapes and sizes. Again, they are given names based on the objects they resemble and emulate in character. For example, boulders that form the shape of a simple brush rest is given the name �scholar� as it somehow tends to nurture the development of scholars in its vicinity.

Some very clear examples of these shields can be found in the case of ports. To date, no ports have ever been successful without the presence of shields or barriers. It also makes geologic sense: these barriers keep the port safe from strong winds and typhoons.

Port Klang enjoys the cover of several islands: Pulau Klang, Pulau Indah, Pulau Che Mat Zin, Pulau Ketam, Pulau Tengah, Pulau Selat Kering and Pulau Pintu Gedung.

A word to skeptics

�Sure!� you scoff, �all ports do that because it is just common sense! It has nothing to do with geomancy!�

First, let me reiterate: geomancy is about understanding nature and conforming to nature. It is not a collection of hocus-pocus mumbo jumbo to get rich by doing nothing except place a few objects here and there.

Let me also present to you Port Dickson. This small town used to produce charcoal � in fact, it is also known as Arang. When tin ore was discovered in nearby Lukut in the 1820s, the area experienced a boom. The British thought it had great potential as a harbour. Plans were made for it to supercede nearby Pengkalan Kempas.

Today, despite the location of oil refineries here, Port Dickson is better known as a holiday destination, not a successful port.

Early Singapore became a success story largely due to its position as an entrepot� allowing the shipping of goods in and out without paying import duties. To this day, Keppel is one of the world's busiest ports, rivalled only by Shanghai . The Old Port started at the mouth of the Singapore River . This was sheltered by Sentosa island.

Shipping activities later moved to the nearby Keppel Harbour , which enjoys the protection of several small islands, such as Pulau Seraya, Pulau Sakra and Pulau Pesek. These islands and four more are now made into the single man-made island, Jurong Island through land reclamation. It would be logical for the Singapore port authorities to expand eastward along the Straits of Singapore to Changi and maximise operations. But there are no such ports. Incidentally, there are no islands off the East Coast Parkway .

Even Shanghai port has many tiny islands off the port. Again, is it coincidence or natural forces at work?

Big picture

The practice of feng shui is made fascinating by the interaction of these four parameters: the dragon; water; meridian; and screen. Recognising these patterns and their impact requires experience and a trained eye. Many amateurs make the mistake of evaluating with only one or two of these parameters. We cannot look at spots and call it a leopard!

That is why amateurs find instances where landforms are apparently ideal and yet do not yield the desired results. Without doing further study, they dismiss feng shui as some superstitious belief that does not work.

As we shift our focus in future issues on specific areas of the Klang Valley , we will refer to these four parameters and see how their presence or absence could have influenced their success.



It is very easy today to estimate the height of any given object. GPS systems, triangulation, a hypsometer, trigonometry and so forth can give you a fairly accurate measurement. Try doing that a few thousand years ago. Without the benefit of sophisticated technology, the ancient sages and scholars still managed to do pretty well.

When evaluating landforms, objects �below 100 feet� are considered to be Forms, while those �beyond 1000 feet� are Forces. This does not refer to the absolute height of the object. It actually refers to the distance from the viewer to the base of the object or landform.

A person views the object from 100 feet away. If the object can be seen clearly within a 30-degree viewing angle (or field of vision), then it qualifies as a �Form�. This Form can shape and influence the energy that passes through it.

Any object taller than that would require the viewer to step further backwards. One has to literally get the bigger picture. If this object is still clearly visible from 1000 feet away then it is considered a Force, capable of exerting and emanating energy.

There are debates and confusion about the dimensions used. In the Chou dynasty (1050-256 BC), �one foot� was equivalent to eight inches; during the Han dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD) it was equivalent to nine inches. One �zhang� � a term commonly used to describe the height of a man � is eight feet but it is unlikely that men in ancient times were eight-foot tall giants! They were more likely to be 64 inches or 72 inches, a very ordinary five-feet-four-inches or six-feet by today's standards!

When an object is large enough to be a force, we would typically look for dragons. Forces normally do not exhibit turtles or tiger shapes. As each natural shape is unique, there is no fixed formula to calculate or determine the position and strength of meridian points. This requires experience and practice.


Home | About MINGS | Activities | Services | Articles | Contact Us | Links
© Copyright 2015 Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Sciences
Powered by RMG
Klang Valley Feng Shui Series International Feng Shui Series Others