Last updated on March 20, 2023

If you haven’t noticed, feng shui is HUGE on the eight cardinal directions.

First, there’s the personal Kua number that tells us what our lucky directions are. Then, there’s the Bagua Map of a house where each direction represents an aspect of our life. Also, a typical feng shui consultant will use a Luo Pan, with a compass needle in the middle, to do his feng shui reading.

These directions are later used to determine the auspicious directions for your front door, bedroom, toilet, kitchen stove, and many more.

But have you ever wondered: “How on Earth do these directions have any effect on us?”

Well, I asked that question, and that’s why I’ve produced this blog post.

Feng Shui is supposed to improve our well-being and bring us luck so the events happening around us will benefit us. So I wondered how these are achieved by adhering to the rules on the eight cardinal directions.

I did some research, looking for how directions can influence us. In summary, what I found was that we are influenced by the Earth’s magnetic fields without us knowing.

Although I think many of these scientific researches I’ve linked to are still inconclusive, I’m still presenting them here because I want to stimulate your thoughts.

Towards the end, you will find my hypothesis and theories that attempt to answer why feng shui is so big on directions. Feel free share your thoughts by commenting below.

Everything Responds to Magnetic Force

The eight cardinal directions we have – North, South, East, West, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest – derive from the Earth’s magnetism from the poles.

Earth Magnetic Field - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
The Earth’s magnetic field.

The magnetic force is what allows the compass of a Luo Pan to point towards the North and South poles. Some even say that the ancient Chinese invented the compass for Feng Shui purposes instead of navigation purposes.

When I first played with a magnet, I thought only metallic objects are subject to magnetic force. However, I found that metals are not the only objects that respond to magnetic force. Everything else, such as wood, plastic, and water, respond to magnetic forces too. That’s because all properties have diamagnetism, a weak repulsion from a magnetic field that cannot be observed by everyday life.

If the magnetic force is strong enough, it can be used to levitate objects, such as a frog. This shows that living beings have magnetic properties that’ll respond to magnetic forces. The video below shows a frog being levitated using a 10 tesla magnetic coil.

Although all objects respond to magnetism, the Earth’s north-south magnetic force is not strong enough to move us against our will like the frog above. How else, then, do living beings respond to the magnetism of the Earth?

How Animals Use and Respond to Magnetic Force

Many animals can sense the Earth’s magnetic field. Scientists have uncovered that some animals use it for navigation, while other animals have left researchers scratching their head.

GPS Navigation

Researchers have found many animals have magnetic detectors. Among them are turtles, rodents, insects, bats, and even deer. Though researchers have yet to decide how many of these animals use their magnetic sense, most agree that pigeons and dolphins use it as their GPS navigation system. For dolphins, it helps them with their migration routes. For pigeons, it helps them find their way home (and deliver messages in ancient times).

Restroom Business

Here’s a surprising study. Research has shown that dogs prefer to poop with their bodies aligned in the north and south direction and avoided facing east and west. The study was conducted by German and Czech researchers who spent two years watching 70 dogs as they conducted their restroom business.

dogs poop along north south magnetic lines min - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
Scientists have observed that dogs poop along the North-South magnetic lines.

In terms of urination, they found that females exhibited a similar preference but not their male counterparts. This behavior was reinforced when the dog’s north-south orientation was less predictable when the Earth’s magnetic field was influenced by solar flares or geomagnetic storms.

Synchronize Grazing   

Here’s another surprising observation. Researchers using Google Earth have found that cattle and deer face the north-south direction when grazing and resting. The study was based on 8,510 cattle in 308 locations and 2,974 deer from around the world. Factors that’ll prevent them from facing north-south include extreme weather, such as strong wind and sunlight.

Cattle align north south grazing - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
Scientists have observed that cattle align north-south while grazing.

This observation raised another question for farmers. Could cows produce more milk if they are kept facing the north-south direction?

Animals adjust their behavior according to the Earth’s magnetic field, maybe without them knowing. The same may be true for humans.

How We Respond to Magnetic Force

Surprisingly, many researchers have conducted studies on how humans respond to magnetic force. Here are some publicized research on this topic:

We possess magnetic sensors

According to Lauren Foley from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, our human bodies have proteins that can act as magnetic sensors.

Cryptochrome human eye mutant flies experiment magnetism min - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
The experiment placed human proteins (Cryptochrome) that act as magnetic sensors in flies.

The experiment was used on mutant flies, where their natural magnetic sensors were removed and replaced with human proteins that can act as magnetic sensors. After the replacement, the mutant flies were able to sense and feed according to magnetic forces.

We (may) have built-in GPS navigation 

A research conducted by Robin Baker drove blindfolded subjects around and asked them to point to the direction of their house. Most of them did so accurately until a magnet was placed on top of their head.

However, the experiment could not be replicated by other researchers, and I believe (and most researchers would agree) that we are not capable of navigating without landmarks.

Star Navigation Tool min - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
I believe we do NOT have built-in GPS navigation in our bodies. Our predecessors used stars as “landmarks” to navigate across the Earth.

Magnetism changes our moral judgments

Scientists have found that they can alter your moral judgments by sending magnetic pulses to specific areas of your brain, rendering you unable to tell the difference between right and wrong. This seems logical, because our brains communicate internally using synapses which can be distorted by electrical currents.

Links to Depression and Suicide

In 1994, a study was published suggesting a 36.2% increase in the number of men admitted into a hospital for depression in the second week after geomagnetic storm.

sdo solar flare april 16 2012 - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
A solar flare is one of many events that can cause a geomagnetic storm.

Kelly Posner, psychiatrist at Columbia University, offered an explanation. The pineal gland, which regulates circadian rhythm (our biological internal clock) and melatonin production (hormone associated with the reproductive cycle), is sensitive to magnetic fields. Magnetic fields can desynchronize our circadian rhythm, which can lead to depression and suicides because our hormone production and biological clock are disrupted.

Affects Heart Rate

One interesting study shows that heart rate and blood pressure can be influenced depending on which direction you lay your head in bed.

The study results show that the subject’s heart rate is lowest when they lay their head towards the north and highest towards the south. On the other hand, blood pressure was lowest in north and significantly higher in the west. The study suggests that lying down with head in different directions has a definite effect on heart rate and blood pressure.

Another set of data also supports how magnetism affects heart rate. Hospital data on heart rates from the fetuses of 6,000 pregnant women (1995 to 2003) shows that periods of disturbances in heart rate coincided with periods of high geomagnetic activity.

These studies suggest that magnetic forces and Earth’s magnetic poles definitely have some influence on us that we are not aware of. Now, let me try to tie these research together with feng shui.

Connecting Scientific Studies to Feng Shui’s Bagua and Kua Directions

Knowing that many things (not just metal) respond to magnetic force, could it be possible that feng shui’s Qi also respond to magnetism? What about us humans and our preferred sleeping areas in a house?

Here are two of my theories:

A Theory on How Feng Shui Qi Responds to Earth’s Magnetism

Imagine Qi in the form of particles that are carried aimlessly by the Earth’s wind like dust. Once your front door opens, they enter your home. The Qi particles include those that’ll improve our relationship, career, health, as well as those pollutants and toxic particles from automobile exhaust and from other man-made feng shui hazards.

Depending on how the particles react to the Earth’s magnetic field, they will slowly move into certain areas of the house, depending on how they are being attracted by the eight cardinal directions. Once they move to those areas, they will get trapped there by the ceiling and walls of the house.

Perhaps the Qi particles of love and relationship would end up in the Southwest whereas the Qi that improves career will move to the north. As more Qi enters the house over time, the strength of the feng shui energy will grow to have a bigger impact on our lives.

The way these particles respond to magnetism may be similar to how dust responds to gravity or how magnetic dust responds to a magnet. They settle in a specific area according to the magnetic field. When you or your pets move around the area, the Qi gets scattered around like how dust gets flown into the air, only to settle in the same area at a later time.

Magnetic Dust around Magnet - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
My theory is that Qi may respond to magnetism the same way magnetic dust responds to magnets.

Then, we absorb these particles. We may breathe it, or it can just enter our body and get absorbed on a cellular level like chemotherapy.

Of course, this is just my own theory. Tell me what you think using the comments below.

A Theory on How We Respond to Our Feng Shui Kua’s Directions

This is based my own theory again and what I think of the lucky and unlucky directions as dictated by our Kua number.

We know that we are unique in our own ways. We’re unique not just in the way we think, but also how we behave and make decisions. Also, our body responds differently to food (allergic reactions), the sun (how easily we get tanned), and so forth.

Using the same logic, it is likely we respond differently to magnetic forces. This helps explain why each of us have a different Kua number with different lucky and unlucky directions.

Here’s an excerpt from my eBook that explains my theory on how we can naturally respond to our Kua’s lucky and unlucky directions:

“Imagine a small square house in the middle of a wide open field covered with green grass. There are no visible mountains, hills, trees, or roads around. Inside the house is an empty space with walls painted in white. There is no kitchen, restroom, or any interior walls that divide the empty space into smaller rooms. The empty space may be the size of your living room, and the walls that separate you from the outside have neither doors nor windows.

Now imagine yourself inside that house. Where would you pick as your sleeping area? Would it be a corner or the side of the wall? Would it be the north, south, east, or west side of the house?

More than likely, you will pick a corner that you feel most comfortable, whether it is for work, sleep, or other activities. If not, you will pick another corner to test it out. Chances are that the area you find most comfortable will be the area associated with your lucky direction.

With variables such as doors, restrooms, and windows removed, your natural attraction to the directions that bring you comfort would be more obvious. This is how we respond to the magnetic forces of the Earth.”

white empty room min 1024x703 - Why the Eight Cardinal Directions Are a Big Deal in Feng Shui
Imagine if you have to stay in this room as-is. The resting place you pick could be your lucky direction based on your Kua.

In short, I believe that our mind and body respond to Earth’s magnetism in some way. But because of our habits, living standards, and intelligence, we cannot connect with magnetism the same way animals do. Perhaps this is where feng shui directions come in? The ancients probably knew something that science has yet to uncover.


Though directions are big in feng shui, it is not everything because there are many instances where other feng shui factors should be prioritized.

Take the feng shui of the front door as an example. If you live with a front door facing a T-junction, the incoming Qi from the road is too fast and too strong and causes bad feng shui, no matter which direction it is coming from.

If you’re seriously looking to have feng shui improve your life in a sustainable way, I suggest you find a consultant near you that can take a look at your house and identify what needs to be cured. Just remember to always get a second opinion because not all feng shui masters read feng shui the same way.

What do you think about feng shui directions? Please share your thoughts using the comment below!

Leave a Reply

  1. Sophi Amman

    I enjoy reading all your articles, as they are interesting,informative and helpful.t hey provide me with a strange knowledge which I can apply to my interior decorating projects and garden landscaping ventures.feng shui principles applied consciously can definitely be to your advantage and one can learn them at any stage in life.

    1. Victor Cheung Listing Owner

      Thanks Sophi! I’m glad you found them helpful!!

  2. Brooke

    Hi Victor. Great read! If husband’s lucky direction is wife’s unlucky direction, whose direction should their new house be?

    1. Victor Cheung Listing Owner

      Hi Brooke,
      It depends. General rule of thumb is that the bedroom for the wife, and kitchen and front door for the husband. I have written a full article about this –
      Read to the end, because the house has its own Kua! These personal directions are just a way to mitigate IF the bedroom, kitchen, and front door locations are not in the best locations based on the house Kua.

  3. carmelina

    hi there, according to this, I should place my bed on the west wall. the west wall also has the bathroom door and the entry door close to it. so basically when you enter, the bedroom, the side of the bed is right there. The other option is under the window, which is a no no, and the other wall which would be ideal faces north which is also not good…..what do I do?

    1. Victor Cheung Listing Owner

      Hi Carmelina,
      The idea is to avoid the bad before tapping into the good. There’s also the element of which Feng Shui school you’re practicing and what you’re trying to achieve. If in doubt, I suggest you find a professional.

  4. Joshua Evan Mishler

    the entrance to my home faces west and not east. i am kua # 1 (east group). water rat born in 1972. i had a feng shui master in my home once and he stated that it is still fundamentally correct. what are your thoughts about this?

    there is work on the history channel which states something about some type of earth grid which is related to electromagnetism. the great pyramid in egypt is a part of this concept. it is located at the center of gravity of the earth’s continents. it is stated that Stonehenge in england is also related to this earth grid. there is evidence that God or some type of highly advanced entity have the ability to manipulate gravity moving huge blocks of stone an aligning them to the stars or celestial phenomenon and i think that it relates to electromagnetism.

    joshua evan mishler

    1. Victor Cheung Listing Owner

      Hi Joshua,
      To your point, there are some Feng Shui masters who says electromagnetism is also behind the practice of Feng Shui. As for your home, I cannot confirm his finding just based on your home’s facing direction.

  5. Marie

    Hi Victor, so based on your article there is no hard and fast rule that says that sleeping with head towards the north is bad, right? What about sleeping in the direction where the leg faces the main gate of the house? but of course it is not direct because the bed faces a cupboard and bathroom.

    1. Victor Cheung Listing Owner

      Hi Marie,
      Yes, you are correct. There is no default rule or blanket approach on sleeping directions. Sleeping with your leg facing the main gate is totally fine. Sleep direction is assessed based on the bedroom, not the entire house or lot.

  6. Marcia Costa Da Silva

    Do you have an articles about auspicious in FEng Shui?
    I really appreciate your help and this lovely article.

    1. Victor Cheung Listing Owner

      Hi Marcia,
      Noted. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Karen Beth

    I have read a lot over the years about feng shui. One should remember that feng shui means wind and water. Some of the early information made quite common sense. For instande having a hill/mountain behind your dwelling and a waterway in front within the bend of a river or stream would allow time and place to escape rising water of a flood, and the hill would possibly protect from strong winds if the hill were between your dwelling and prevailing strong wind direction. Being in the bend rather than the other side would also give more time, because the most rapid flow goes around you and nowhere does it go directly toward your dwelling: in a flood time, then the land would flood first that was in the way of the strongest current. The mountain/hill behind your dwelling would give quick access to higher ground in a flood.
    Protecting your dwelling and life from the ravages of strong wind and water currents is common sense.
    (In the same way, traffic unable to stop would likely follow off from the course of the road, so being in the bend of a road is better than being on the opposing side, where a runaway car would likely be heading.)
    Later I began to read about favorable directions for the face of a house. Cold fronts generally arrive from more northerly lattitudes. Cold winds in winter blowing from north into your dwelling place would not be advisable in most instances. A mountain behind might shelter your dwelling from winds in that direction. (Of course commons sense says that tropical locales would need to think more of the direction of strong sea winds and hurricanes, rather than northerly winter winds.) Front doors, being the largest opening, let in the largest northwind force or the largest sea wind/water force near the ocean.
    I think people need to use some common sense regarding wind and water/feng shui.
    These common sense wind and water feng shui advisories sat well with me.
    Later people started saying that one must consider the front door as north, northwest, or northeast no matter which way the compass showed that it faced! This sounded like superstitious humbug. North is north. Period. At least to me.

    Regarding bed position? When I was a child I slept in a bed with a window right by me. I slept facing that window. In summer, the window was open with nothing but a screen between me and the night outside. I slept very well, and often had wonderful dreams about climbing out the window to go and play under the moon. In winter I liked to write on the frost on the window interior with my fingernail with my little arm braving the cold while the rest of me was cuddled under the quilts my granny had made. I was never afraid. I do not think I was harmed in any way by the window nor the energies from it, nor from my back being toward the door to my room. But that was long ago in a more peaceful era. And I had said my prayers sincerely before bed, so I was protected, I believe, in my life and in my dreams.
    Lately, I was working on a little room newly constructed off the garage which would be a workroom, craftroom and garden shed for potting plants. I looked at feng shui again. There seems to be more nonsense than ever. Still, i found a site to tell me where my auspicious areas would be according to my gua. I read with interest until I was interrupted. When I came back to my computer, I had lost my place, so I looked up the personal number info again. Another site said that my number was not seven because i am female it is six. A whole new directional luck placement needed to be studied. So one expert said 7, another said 6.
    I will let God’s angels take care of me like they must have when I was that child sleeping by an open window. I think too many people are calling themselves experts who have forgotten what wind and water means.
    Insofar as GPS and electromagnetism? Of course we have innate responses to such things. Our very bloodcells are made up of iron, which carries a special part of wind (oxygen) in a variation of proteins and saltwather/saline (serum) to feed our whole system. (Saltwater conducts electricity.) Electricity-Magnetism and a response to magnetic phenomenon has thus always been a part of us all.

    I have no doubt that I do have an innate gps because even lost in a foreign market, I always found my way back to my train. In a new city, not knowing the street names, I could always find my way to my new home.

    If you have deep roots to the area where you were conceived and born, you were made from the land, the minerals, the earth, and the IRON your mother consumed through the foods grown in that area. Her own mother too. Her mother beforee her. It would be rare to truly get lost there I think. Even after buildings, and streets changed.
    We forget that we are made up of the air/wind/geomagnetism/subshine, the earth, the water, the metals, the plants and their chlorophyll (wood.) We are not something outside of feng shui/wind- water. We are part of it.