Ask a Feng Shui Question: What is the Bagua?

My special guest to help me answer for this episode’s question is Anjie Cho – author, architect and feng shui expert.

The Question: What is the Bagua?

The bagua is the energy grid used by feng shui practitioners to interpret a living space—a tool to map a home or plot of land that gives us a systematic way of looking at a home’s energy field that is inspired by the natural flow of nature. The traditional energetic shape of the bagua is the octagon with 8 guas and a center (see the image below from my book). When applying it to a home we would use the modern, and mundane application of a square or rectangle that fits easily over a living space. The individual guas (sectors or areas) are complex with many, many layers and meanings.

The foundation of the guas are the trigrams: eight combinations of yin and yang lines. These trigrams are the building blocks of Taoist metaphysical theory. The symbolism, position, and nature of these trigrams has been translated into energetic signatures that correspond with areas of a person’s life.

bagua octagon shape
The traditional bagua octagon shape showing multiple layers and meanings
(credit: Laura Morris Creating Change: 27 Feng Shui Design Projects)

In the video, Anjie and I review each of the nine areas of the bagua as they are applied in a rectangular or square 9 x 9 grid.

square/rectangular bagua and the nine areas or guas
The use of the square/rectangular bagua and the nine areas or guas.
(credit: Laura Morris Creating Change: 27 Feng Shui Design Projects)

“Gua: A section of the bagua. The meaning and symbolism is multi-layered and complex. The eight guas are: Kan (career), Gen (knowledge), Jen (family), Xun (wealth), Li (fame), Kun (partnership), Dui (children), and Qian (helpful people). The center is not technically a gua and is called the tai chi.”

– Laura Morris, Creating Change: 27 Feng Shui Design Projects

Here is a table reviewing the general themes and energy of each of the guas that Anjie and I discuss in the video above:

# Area of life Name Season Colour Energy
3 Family Zhen Spring Green Wood - action
4 Wealth Xun Late Spring Purple Wood - flexibility
5 Centre (Tai Chi)   Yellow Earth - connection
6 Helpful people Qian Late Autumn Grey Metal – righteous
7 Children Dui Autumn White Metal - perfection
8 Knowledge Gen Late Winter Blue Earth - stillness
9 Fame Li Summer Red Fire - brilliance
1 Career Kan Winter Black Water - fluidity
2 Partnership Kun Late Summer Pink Earth - receptive

Learn how to lay the bagua on your bedroom

Anjie is an architect, Feng Shui expert and author of 108 Ways to Create Holistic Spaces: Feng Shui and Green Design for Healing and Organic Homes. Since 1999, she has been creating beautiful and nourishing environments throughout New York City, Los Angeles, and beyond. If you haven’t already you need to check out her podcast Holistic Spaces.