Luo Shu Diagram

The Luo Shu diagram forms the basis of flying star feng shui which is the most widely practiced concept due to it’s potency.

According to Chinese mythology, King Wen observed a mystical tortoise emerging from the Luo river with inscriptions of black and white dots on the back of it’s shell.

The dots formed a clear pattern arranged in 9 squares forming a grid.

This grid pattern is then recorded and known as the magic squares.

To have a more complete understanding of the Luo Shu grids, one must also learn about the He Tu (river map) diagram as discussions about both often reference one of the other.

Unlike the river map which accounts for the 4 main directions of earth, Luo Shu accounts for all 8 directions.


The 8 directions plus the center makes up the 9 Palaces.

On top that, the white dots that make up the north, south, east and west are yang, while black dots that make up northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest are yin.

Plotting the 9 numbers into the Luo Shu grid, we get the following.

Often referred to as the magic squares, the order of the numbers in the grid create a magical pattern in which 3 numbers added in whichever row adds up to 15.

Whether it’s horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, the 3 numbers will add up to 15. This signifies the stature of balance in this arrangement of numbers.

And because numbers represent a diverse catalog of meanings behind them in Chinese numerology, the implications of the Luo Shu diagram is profound to say the least.

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Moreover, since all 8 directions are accounted for, the revered 8 trigrams can by incorporated into the chart.

That not all.

The classical Chinese system of time dimensions consist of 9 ages, each lasting 20 years to make up a total of 180 years.

Everything just seemed to fall into place.

It is no wonder that the Luo Shu squares is a critical component of the fundamentals in compass school feng shui.

With more refinement, the 9 numbers of the Luo Shu were labeled as the 9 stars, on which flying star school of thought is based on.

Number Element Trigram Color Direction
1 Water Kan Blue N
2 Earth Kun Brown SW
3 Wood Chen Green E
4 Wood Sun Green SE
5 Earth NA Brown Center
6 Metal Chien White NW
7 Metal Tui White W
8 Earth Ken Brown NE
9 Fire Li Red S

With reference to the river map diagram which flows clockwise in a cycle of birth order, the luo shu flows anti-clockwise in a cycle of destruction.

Take note that this observation is made with reference to what elements each number represents according to river map. Which is unlike what we practice today.

River map and magic squares

There is a clear relationship between he tu and luo shu.

  • They are both designed in grid format consisting 9 equal squares that make up a grid
  • They account for 9 numbers
  • They account for directions

The main differences between them is that the Luo Shu accounts for all 8 directions instead of just 4 of the cardinal points.

The position of numbers are also different, while the elemental nature of numbers are also different.

However, the biggest reason why Luo Shu is regarded as a huge step forward in the refinement and enhancement of He Tu is that it coveys the time dimension.

This makes it more dynamic which is a reflection of how the world changes with time.

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