Last updated on April 9, 2024

There are a multitude of Feng Shui Schools, some that were practiced thousands of years ago and some that developed or were formalized just in the last few hundred years. Historically, if a feng shui practitioner presented innovations or discoveries, this could elevate the practitioner into the “master” category.  Nowadays, the title of master is routinely bestowed upon a person with varying levels of proficiency in their field, but with no mandate to contribute anything special to the canon of knowledge for this metaphysical discipline.

What many modern-day feng shui consultants grapple with, is how to practice the techniques from various schools simultaneously without conflict.  These contradictions exist between the schools and one has to pay close attention when combining the Eight Mansion lineage with any other school, such as the Flying Star School.

Eight Mansion Basics

My first introduction to the Eight Mansion School, aka Ba Zhai, was with Master Larry Sang who called it the East-West School. This phrase “east-west” refers to how the Eight Mansion School categorizes house types as being either Easterly or Westerly.  Another term is East Group or West Group and it can relate to people, not just houses.  You could be an East group person in a West Group house, for example.


The Easterly directions include East, Southeast, North and South.  The Westerly directions include West, Northwest, Southwest, and Northeast.  These are the eight basic directions divided into two main groups. There is a foundational principle that East Group People do better in East Group House and West Group People do better in West Group Houses.

Houses are classified according to their “sitting” direction, not their facing direction. The strength of a house comes from its “spine” more so than its “face.”  A house which faces southeast usually “sits” northwest. This assumes that almost all structures have parallel front and back walls. If the “sitting” side is northwest, then it gets classified as a West Group House.

The West Group houses sit (back to) West, Northwest, Southwest and Northeast.

The East Group houses sit (back to) East, Southeast, North and South.

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The Eight Mansions East and West groups.

How Practical Is It to Prioritize the House Type?

Since we know already that there are East Group people and West Group people, you can expect that family members are often a collection of opposites.  Work forces and other groups of people would hardly ever be all from one group or the other.  In fact, some practitioners make estimations about personal compatibility between the East and West Group people.  How do we find a compromise where everyone can benefit and take advantage of their best directions?

No matter what the house type is, West Group or East Group, within the floor plan there may be ways that a person who does not match the house type can still utilize their best personal directions.  For example, let us say that a couple moves into a West type house, which caters to one of the partners but not the other.  For the person who is not compatible with the overall house type, perhaps they can be given the preferential sleeping direction.

Within a West type house, an East type person may also be able to use a main door that suits them, like an east sector front door.  Maybe that person can also position a desk in their home office, facing north or south. These are just a few examples of how there can be compromise and opportunities within any given House Type.

How Do You Know if You are East or West Type?

Based on the year of birth, each person can be categorized as belonging to the East Group or the West Group. The calendar used in Feng Shui is a solar calendar, not the lunar one, at least not for determining personal trigram. The personal trigram is also called a “Ming gua.” The solar calendar begins on February 3, 4, or 5th each year, but does not vary by more than these few days. This is different from the Chinese lunar calendar, which varies so much that sometimes the year begins in January and sometimes in February.  The solar calendar is based on the relationship between the Earth and the Sun and February 4th represents the mid-way point between the December Solstice and the March Equinox (in both hemispheres).

A person born in January, or even February 1st, would be considered a year older according to this system. For example, January 17, 1991= born in 1990.

Another practice to take into consideration is the newer practice of changing the female “gua” or trigram, so that it is not the same as a male born in the same year. I have written about this in both abbreviated short articles, as well as in longer case studies about this controversy.

Ways to Use Your Best Personal Directions

Assuming you have the correct information and you know your personal trigram, you will also know if you are an East Group person or West Group.  Another important distinction is between “location” and “direction.”  For example, you can have two people sitting in the same location in a house, such as both sitting in the kitchen.  But as those two face each other, they are facing different directions within the same location. Both direction and location can be optimized using the Eight Mansion techniques. Ways that you can utilize your top four preferred directions include:

  • Sleeping location
  • Sleeping direction
  • Work station location
  • Work station direction
  • Main or common entrance location into house or building
  • Direction walking when entering through a door
  • Where you spend most of your waking hours

Stylizing Your Best Directions

More than just dividing up the eight directions into two simple groups, there are other influences and sub-categories to each person’s top four preferred directions. For example, a person born in 1979 is classified as “East” Group.  Their top four directions are South, North, Southeast and East. While those top four directions might be interchangeable when options are limited, the influences for each direction can be further defined and refined.  For instance, for the 1979 Zhen trigram person, sleeping head to south may not be totally restful, and yet it could plug the person into a direction which could garner more financial success.  For this same person to sleep head to the North could help them attract more benefactors into their life, indirectly helping them economically.

For the Zhen person to sleep head to southeast could help that man or woman appear more trustworthy and likeable. If the Zhen person sleeps head to east, that is the direction which can be the most restful for them. With each of the eight personal trigrams, there will be a distinction in terms of which are their best directions as well as specific meanings assigned to their four worst directions.

It goes without saying, but it becomes vital to use an accurate compass in order to determine these directions and know where their boundaries are. You don’t want to just guestimate.  For example, 70 degrees is inside the boundary of East.  But a mere 5-degree difference, 65 degrees is inside the boundary of Northeast.  This is a 5-degree difference between an East Group direction and a West Group direction.

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It is vital to use an accurate compass in order to determine the directions.

The Bottom Line with Best Personal Directions

Feng Shui can help individuals and businesses achieve a variety of goals. Those goals may be focused on good health and well-being. Those goals may be geared towards higher income and career opportunities. By using your best personal directions, this is a way to “go with the flow” and reduce delays or obstacles. It’s no small accomplishment to get a good night’s sleep, which can affect your entire day or your on-going health status long term.

 We all know that we sometimes encounter dead zones in our home where wi-fi reception may not be as good as other areas.  We move to a better area so that our call won’t drop out. With Feng Shui knowledge regarding using your best directions, it is a way to be more energized with better “reception” and fully charge our internal batteries for maximum performance.

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