The Chinese Compass or Lo Pan
The magnetic alignment of properties and places plays an important part in a traditional Feng Shui evaluation, and is often known as the Compass School. The Chinese compass or lo pan is the tool that is used to evaluate direction.
So much more than just a compass
As you move out from the centre, you see many different rings on the face of the compass. Each ring or set of rings represents a different method of interpretation. It is always best as you know, to try and see things from more than one perspective if you want to avoid getting misled. When a reading is taken with a Chinese compass, the information read from each of the rings creates a different perspective on a situation. When all the different perspectives are put together, a picture of the local energetic qualities of a building begins to emerge.
The Square and the Circle
The lo pan is square in shape, representing the finite and measurable qualities of the earth, while the circle in the middle represents the infinite an immeasurable properties of the heavens. The middle circle which holds a very sensitive and finely balanced magnetic needle is known as heavens pool.
The divisions of the Chinese compass
In its simplest form, the compass evaluation divides the environment into eight direction; North, South, South West and so on. From the eight directions come the trigrams, that can carry all kinds of information. From the eight directions also come the ba chop (eight mansions), ba gua (eight trigrams) and flying star methods.
The next layer divides the circle into 24 directions known as mountains. Going even deeper, you get to the 64 directions governed by hexagrams (two trigrams stacked together). If you wish to keep going, you can split the 64 directions into smaller slices.
The energy of a reading
It is always important in a feng shui context to consider all three of the areas of chi: heavens chi, human chi and earth chi, as it is the coming together of all three of these that creates any particular situation. A compass reading is in essence a reading of the combination of the three energies: the Feng Shui specialist is the human link between the heavens and the earth. It is the combined interaction of heaven, human and earth chi together with that of the property that generate the final reading.
The Lo Pan in use
During a feng shui consultation, Mike takes the information from a combination of locations through a property, using a selection of rings from the compass. The resultant information helps to paint the Feng Shui picture of how chi is working in that place.