What are the main 2 branches of Feng Shui Schools?


Do you ever wonder what the main 2 branches of Feng Shui Schools are?

Today, there are many Feng Shui Schools, but all of them fit under the umbrella of one of the 2 main branches of Feng Shui Schools: Form School and Compass School.

Form School of Feng Shui

Form school started over 5,000 years ago in ancient China, and developed in the different provinces, under different names, usually associated with the master doing the teaching. Form School evaluates the space based on features in geography and the natural landscape, such as:

  • sun exposure
  • location of bodies of water
  • location of mountains/hills
  • type of terrain, and soil
  • availability of wild life and symbols of thriving life

Form Schools looks at how the above relate to human life, and based on the observation of nature, suggests the space arrangement and organization of businesses and homes, to try to reproduce the same healthy patterns.

A much newer school of Feng Shui is Compass School (2,400 years old)

Compass School claims to be the original school of Feng Shui because the term was coined around the same time this school started (about 2,400 years ago). Feng Shui had been around for thousands of years, but was known by other names. Around the time that Compass School started, many cities were being built in China, and some Feng Shui masters felt that, since they could not orient all homes according to the precepts of the Form School of  Feng Shui, they should add astrology and numerology into their analysis.

Compass School evaluates the space based on:

  • numerology
  • astrology
  • the magnetic directions

Based on calculations done that compare a person’s date of birth with numbers and the magnetic directions (hence the compass in the name), they designate “lucky” and “unlucky” directions for that person.

So What’s the Difference?

Let me share some very practical examples that illustrate the differences in the approaches of the 2 schools:

1 – Orientation of the Front Door

Form School recommends orienting the front door in a direction what will receive enough sunshine, to make sure that the entrance is light, dry and happy. There should be a hill, mountain or tall trees behind a property, low hill ranges on the sides, and a view of a valley at the front. Ideally, a property is oriented to face the water, for good chi.

Compass School suggests orienting the front door based on what were determined to be “lucky” directions for the head of household, in the astrological/numerological analysis of the person.

2 – Color of the Front Door

Form School recommends painting the door red, as the color red is bright and welcoming, but also carries a connotation of Heavenly energies (heavenly fire, or the love from Heaven). However, if a person does not like the color red, or if the color red does not go well with the color of the outside walls, any attractive color can be used. Black and white are to be avoided because they make an entrance be perceived as yin (cold, dark, humid) and not attractive.

Compass School recommends using the color of the element associated with the direction chosen for the main door. For example, red for the South, green for the East, and black for the North.

3 – Bed and Desk Positions

Form School recommends placing desks and beds in the Power Position. This Power Position resembles an ideal site for a house or village in the country. A solid wall behind the headboard represents a mountain at the back of the property, where there is a protection at the back (solid wall), and the person can see the door to the room, but is not placed directly in front of the door. The bed is placed parallel to the walls.

Compass School advises to orient the head of the bed pointing in one of the “positive directions” for the person, according to astrology/numerology. A desk, according to them, should face a positive direction for the person working on it. These recommendations often result in beds and desks placed at strange angles, compared to the walls of a home or business site. Often times, the person is left with their back to the door, which creates an unstable environment for sleep or work.

4 – Internal Colors of Walls

Form School advises to paint the colors on the inside of the home based on what is convenient for the function of the room: earth tones are preferred for bedrooms, greens and light blues for kitchen and dining areas, cool colors for formal living rooms, and warm colors for family rooms. These colors are chosen based on the element (water, wood, fire, earth, metal) that rules the function of the room. Form School looks at the whole family of colors related to the element, not just one color, so there are plenty of options to choose from. Form School also works with the shapes and materials associated with the elements.

Compass School practitioners often suggest painting each wall in the home in the same color as the element of the magnetic direction that the wall faces. Thus, they will have all South walls painted red (fire), all West walls painted white or gray (metal) and all East walls painted green (wood). This approach disregards the particular needs of each room, as well as the individual taste of the people living or working in a space.

As you may imagine, these are not the only differences, but they give you a good starting point to start understanding the main two branches of Feng Shui Schools.

“So which one is yours,” you ask?

You are probably wondering where the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System, which I developed, fits in.

My system is a derivation of Form School. The Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System is firmly rooted in the ancient principles of Feng Shui, as one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Some of the ancient Feng Shui advise, though valid at the time, is not relevant to us any more. For example, the advice used to be to place the kitchen in the South East. The reasoning for that was that at the time kitchens were built out of doors, and, in China, the South East was where the soft breezes — that helped people light a fire and keep it going — came from. This is obviously not a necessity for our modern homes.

Some ancient Chinese dynasties tried to ban Feng Shui from anyone that was not “royalty,” and failing to do so, then ordered the production of books full of mistakes. Most of these books followed Compass Schools. For this reason you will find the greatest contradictions in Compass Schools of Feng Shui.

How I Developed My Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System

To make sure the knowledge I was providing was valid and helpful, I have contrasted Feng Shui information with information gathered from other branches of Chinese medicine. During my first years as a consultant and teacher, I tested much of the advice and cures with enthusiastic groups of Feng Shui fans in the USA, Australia, Ecuador and Uruguay.

To this amazing ancient knowledge I have added what I learned in the school of architecture when I was getting my 6 year degree. I was blessed with excellent teachers and exposed to many wonderful resources that have complemented my studies of Feng Shui.

In my practice, I do not use any astrology or numerology. I am not against astrology or numerology. I simply do not believe that they should be part of Feng Shui. I like to focus on the space and how people interact with the space.

Do you have what it takes? (Homework)

Watch the video on this page to learn more and get a clearer idea of the differences between my Nine Steps to Feng Shui® school and Compass Schools of Feng Shui: http://www.ninestepstofengshui.com/how-the-nine-steps-to-feng-shui-is-different





Get a Free Feng Shui Bagua Map and a 9 Life Areas Test

Simplified bagua map

Get a free bagua map and life areas test, and subscribe to get great tips

Powered by ConvertKit


  1. Read.

  2. My first atempt with a Feng Shui book was with the compass school. Just couldn’t get to any conclusion in order to make a decision. I gave up.

  3. Love this article! I am constantly bombarded by people who believe one is better than the other. I think they are just different and actually it is our intention and how we think about something that makes it our reality. I believe that the compass school uses a lot of ‘cures’ to prevent negative things happening. Is the compass school the flying stars? They change monthly too which can make ‘keeping up’ very difficult.

    • These are the 2 main branches, but each branch also splits into different derivations. There are many expressions of Compass school. All Compass schools use the flying star method, but they vary in how they use it. Some schools have different calculations for males and females. Some schools have one calculation for both genders. The way the angles for the directions are divided on the octagon also change depending to the school. In some schools each life area gets 1/8 of the pie, and in other schools the angles for the main directions are smaller than the angles for the intermediate directions.

  4. Great information in this and in the video link comparing your school and Compass school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Frequenty Asked Questions About Becoming a Feng Shui Consultant