The Lo Pan

In order to determine directions in Feng Shui the traditional compass is called the Lo Pan. In ancient times the first Lo Pans were made of hand painted tiger bone. Lo means “everything” and Pan means “bowl” and together they are interpreted to mean an instrument that can access the “mysteries of the universe”.

The Lo Pan or Feng Shui compass is a metal compass that has concentric rings around it. Each ring is a formula or part of one. They circle around a magnetic needle. Most of the metal portions of the Feng Shui compasses sits in a wooden base representing the earth. Traditionally the base is painted red. Red is the color of protection and luck in Chinese cultural tradition. Red keeps the energy around the compass clear so the calculations can be accurate.

The main difference between a Western compass and a Feng Shui Compass is the starting point Zero. In Western compasses 0 points North and in the Lo Pan 0 points South. The literal translation for the Lo Pan pointer or magnetic needle is “Needle that points South.”

There are 3 basic Lo Pan from 3 different Traditional Chinese Feng Shui Schools. The Schools are the San He, San Yuan, or Three Cycles School. The Flying Star in Feng Shui is a system derived from the Three Cycles School. All three schools have compasses that have rings with formulas on them. In fact all three schools have common formulas between them. All three schools incorporate the 24 mountains, early and later heaven arrangement.

Any body interested in practicing Feng Shui should familiarize themselves with the 24 mountains. The 24 mountains are actually sub directions featured in virtually all Lo Pan Feng Shui formulas. The formulas of the 24 mountains are condensed into one ring around the Lo Pan. Each of the 24 mountains are sub divided into 15 segments. If you were to multiply 24 X 15 you get 360 which is the complete circumference of the compass.

The sub directions on the lo pan are based on what is called eight mansions or the flying stars. The Eight Mansions are actually 8 different Gua numbers which are used to find what is called your Kua number or personal direction number. It is with the Eight Mansions also called Ba Zhai that Qi flow is analyzed.

Now days it is easy to find a Chinese Compass or Lo Pan for your own Feng Shui uses. You can go to the local Asian or Chinese area in your town like in New York we have China Town which has Feng Shui Stores. You can also purchase one on line today. You may have to shop around and ask which one will work the best for you. Also keep in mind they are not all accurate you have to know which ones are. In order to do good Feng Shui you need an accurate compass. Many times Feng Shui masters will make their own lo pan to use.