In landscape feng shui, the physical and intangible characteristics of the surroundings has to be assessed to harness the energy that enters the exits a house.
Sometimes also referred to as land form feng shui, the manner in which the surrounding landscape interacts with the house can be represented by 4 celestial animals.
- Black tortoise
- White tiger
- Green dragon
- Red phoenix
Keep in mind that there are various celestial animals in feng shui and Chinese folklore. These are just 4 of them.
It’s just that for landscape feng shui, these 4 take center stage as metaphors for how the surrounding environment should be configured for energy to be favorable.
The black tortoise, or turtle, resides at the back of the house.
It acts as a pillar of support and shield of protection to give the residents of the house a strong backing in life and an armor for shelter against setbacks.
Situated at the rear it also helps keep the household safe from adversity caused by betrayals.
Looking at the house from the front, it would be ideal if the back of the house is sitting just in front of a high or tall structure that provides this backing.
The classic orientation would have a mountain behind the house to act as the tortoise.
However, with urban landscape, skyscrapers can be a capable alternative to mountains.
On a smaller scale, tall trees can also serve this objective.
The white tiger sits on the right side of the house.
One of the aspects that it represents is feminine energy. So households with women as the main breadwinner, or the authoritative figure of the house, and intends to keep it this way should pay close attention to this area.
It is the gatekeeper of your wealth vault.
The tiger is preferably in a seated position, exuding calm and strength.
A failure to keep this area clutter free can lead to the celestial animal getting agitated and into a crouching position ready to strike.
If your house has a missing right side, maybe because you share a wall with the neighbors, then the power and influence of a matriarch in the household will be compromised.
The green dragon frolics on the left side of the property.
While the tiger represents females, the dragon represents males.
It is the wealth generator.
It’s the active member while the tiger is the passive member. As it hustles to generate income, the tiger safeguards the income in the home.
For households with men as the main breadwinners and chief decision makers, a missing left side of a house can be disastrous.
Homeowners who practice feng shui often create gardens on the left side of the house to signify the presence of the dragon.
A line of trees or plants can create a tree line resembling waves… much alike the long slender body of a dragon.
Moreover, green plants further emphasize the color of the green dragon.
Some practitioners recommended using a fence as a substitute when it is next to impossible to set up a garden there.
It must be noted that the dragon should be shorter in height compared to the tortoise, but taller than the tiger.
This is because a tiger is unpredictable. And being taller, and in effect larger, than the dragon can encourage it to revolt against the home’s owners.
The red phoenix rest in front of the house.
Theoretically, the front of the house is the first point of contact the house has with energy of the surroundings.
This is why the 4 celestial animals are laid out this way.
The energy, or chi, enters from the front and captured by the house with the help of the tortoise acting as a mountain at the back, and the tiger and dragon from the sides.
This is why the phoenix plays as critical a role as the 3 other creatures.
It guards the house from negative energy by deterrence and positive energy will pass.
The front of the house is ideally flat and low-lying.
However, it must be acknowledged that some feng shui masters strongly advocate a small hump in front of the house.
When the landscape surrounding a house has the perfect configuration according to the metaphor of the 4 celestial creatures, it is said that the overview would make it look like a armchair.
The tortoise is the back rest, the tiger and dragon are the armrests, and the phoenix is the footstool. And the house sits in the center.
Do realize that this is a matter of speech.
Because you might recall that the ideal landscape has the right slightly lower than the left.
So if it is an armchair, it would be tilted. Being out of balance is never good feng shui.
Unlike various schools of thought consisting of diverse methods of feng shui application, the 4 celestial animals (and the armchair formation) is a concept that is applied in almost all feng shui consultations.
It serves as one of the most fundamental aspects of feng shui.
In a way, it provides the foundation for other feng shui concepts to be more effective and potent.
To avoid confusion with religion, it must be said that Taoism have adopted the symbolism of the 4 celestial creatures into the immortality system. As time passed, the place of the black tortoise was taken up by the True Warrior Great Emperor (真武大帝), the vermilion bird was replaced by the Goddess of the 9 Heavens (九天玄女), while the white tiger and azure dragon became door gods that are often seen on temple doors.