A Comprehensive Guide to the Feng Shui Bagua

the bagua with trigrams

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The bagua is the feng shui energy map. It is one of the main principles of feng shui practice and one of the most powerful tools we use. The bagua offers a systematic way to evaluate the energy field of your environment.

Bagua literally means “eight areas” in Chinese. Therefore, the bagua is eight areas around a center. These areas are connected to different aspects of life. Each gua (or area) also has countless other layered meanings such as colors, elements, shapes, organs, and so much more. 

The ancient Chinese developed the bagua along with many other philosophies. The principles of yin and yang, the I-Ching, the five elements (and more) are interwoven and are the foundation of the bagua. All of these Asian ideologies were inspired by nature and sought to balance how humans can live in harmony in the natural world.

The Bagua Map

The bagua is sometimes depicted as an octagon, other times a square. In either case, the bagua consists of eight areas around a center. The bagua is a compass that indicates life areas as well as many other symbolic meanings, such as this image above that identifies each gua by its corresponding I-ching trigram.

In general, the bagua is an energy grid that you can lay over a floor plan. Most often, you would lay this over the entire home (the main floor plan). What most people don’t know is that the bagua is a conceptual map that can be superimposed over not only your entire home, but also a single room, your bedroom or office, a desk, or even your face. Or your property, your block, your town and beyond as it gets larger. The energy grid shrinks and expands, but it always remains in an equally proportioned three-by-three grid (like a tic-tac-toe board).

mindful design bagua map
www.mindfuldesignschool.com

How Do You Apply the Bagua?

Your first step is to apply the bagua to your home’s floor plan (the main floor). Different feng shui schools use the same bagua, but overlay it differently. We will advise you on how to use the bagua based on the BTB Feng Shui school.

  1. Use an accurately scaled floor plan of your home (or room).
  2. Rotate the plan so the wall with the front door is at the bottom.
  3. Overlay a three-by-three grid, with the bottom of the grid aligned with the wall with the front door.
  4. Make sure the grid is equally spaced.
  5. Locate all the areas to match up with the bagua. Note: Knowledge, Career, and Helpful People should be aligned with the bottom (wall with the front door).

If you have a difficult or complicated floor plan, try to apply this just over your bedroom. Bedrooms are typically a regular shape that makes it easier. In addition, the most effective place to work on your feng shui is your bedroom, because it’s the space that’s closest to you. So even if you do lay it on your entire home, we suggest you also try out the bagua on your bedroom. 

If you still have trouble, it’s best to hire a feng shui consultant for personalized direction.

Missing and Extended Bagua Areas

​Unless you have a rectangular or square home, you will probably notice your home will not fit very well into the bagua grid. If you have spots in your layout where there is a cut out within the bagua it may be a missing area. Or if there is a space extending outside of the bagua it may be what we call an extension. 

This may indicate that the missing or extended bagua area may need some extra attention in your life. 

  • For missing areas: In general, this can be corrected by placing a mirror or plants in the area in question. 
  • For extentions: This usually is positive as long as it's in balance with the whole plan. Basically means you just have more energy in that bagua area.

A feng shui consultant can help you determine your missing areas and/or extensions and if it needs remediation. 

bagua layout on a floor plan
Mindful Design School

Activate the Bagua

After you have laid the bagua, you can now activate the energy in your home! Select one, two, or three bagua areas you want to activate. We don’t recommend you do more because you will dilute the effect.

Every gua is different but here are some easy ways to activate the area(s):

  • Add a living green plant
  • Add the color(s) related to the area
  • Add an object related to the element related to the area
  • Spend a lot of time in the area
  • Move the furniture around in that area

The Bagua Areas

Zhen: Family & New Beginnings

  • Element: Wood
  • Colors: Green, Blue, Teal

Xun: Wealth & Abundance

  • Element: Wood
  • Colors: Purple

Tai Qi: The Center & Health

  • Element: Earth
  • Colors: Earth Tones, Yellow, Orange and Brown

Qian: Helpful People & Travel

  • Element: Metal 
  • Color: Gray

Dui: Children & Completion

  • Element: Metal 
  • Colors: White

Gen: Knowledge & Self-Cultivation

  • Element: Earth
  • Colors: Dark Blue

Li: Fame & Reputation

  • Element: Fire 
  • Colors: Red

Kan: Career & Path in Life

  • Element: Water 
  • Colors: Black

Kun: Love & Partnerships

  • Element: Earth 
  • Colors: Pink