At the very least the Chinese philosophers who considered feng (wind and air) and shui (water) to be the sustainers of mankind were good georgraphers and ecologists. However, they took their thinking much further. They understood that wind and water were not the only “elements” flowing through the landscape and sustaining man. They perceived a more subtle energy flowing through the earth, and they called it ch’i or “cosmic breath”.
The essence of feng-shui is to analyse a landscape, a town or a house to determine where the most favourable flows of ch’i are located, and how to produce new or enhance existing ch’i concentrations. The picturesque phrase for this is the “veins of the dragon”.
Wherever the “cosmic breath” does not flow freely, stagnant ch’i will accumulate. However on the other hand, ch’i must not be dispersed or buffeted by rough winds, for unprotected sites are unsuitable for the accumulation of ch’i. Naturally meandering watercourses halt and accumulate ch’i, but fast flowing streams or those with long straight stretches cannot hold and accumulate their ch’i content.
The effects of good ch’i