While a normal compass is sufficient in determining the direction of a house facing as long as it is accurate, feng shui masters would use the Luo Pan whenever possible.
Not only does this show that they mean business, a Luo Pan enables a geomancer to quickly identify which of the 24 mountains the property is facing and sitting on.
The 24 mountains refer to the 24 possible directions.
Most of us are used to the 8 cardinal directions of:
- North (N)
- South (S)
- East (E)
- West (W)
- Northeast (NE)
- Northwest (NW)
- Southeast (SE)
- Southwest (SW)
The 24 mountains require each of the 8 cardinal directions to be split into 3. Thus, making up the total of 24 directions.
Each cardinal direction takes up 45°, while each mountain takes up 15° within a cardinal direction.
For simplicity and easier reference, we would label each mountain with the direction and numbers 1, 2 and 3.
- N1, N2, N3
- S1, S2, S3
- E1, E2, E3
- W1, W2, W3
- NE1, NE2, NE3
- NW1, NW2, NW3
- SE1, SE2, SE3
- SW1, SW2, SW3
Composition of 24 mountains
The 24 mountains are further represented by:
- 12 Earthly branches
- 8 Heavenly stems
- 4 Trigrams
While it consist of all 12 earthly branches, it only consist of 8 out of the 10 heavenly stems. This is because H5 and H6 takes up the center of the luo pan feng shui compass.
4 trigrams round up the composition of 24 members by positioning themselves at the inter-cardinal points.
The trigrams chosen are based on the positions of NE, NW, SE, SW, according to the later heaven trigram arrangement, which would be Ken, Chien, Sun, Kun. They are coincidentally also the even numbers of 8, 6, 2, and 4 in luo shu respectively.
The following table details the 24 mountains
|N1||H9||337.5 – 352.5||+ Water|
|N2||E1 (Rat)||352.5 – 7.5||+ Water|
|N3||H10||7.5 – 22.5||– Water|
|NE1||E2 (Cow)||22.5 – 37.5||– Earth|
|NE2||Ken||37.5 – 52.5||+ Earth|
|NE3||E3 (Tiger)||52.5 – 67.5||+ Wood|
|E1||H1||67.5 – 82.5||+ Wood|
|E2||E4 (Rabbit)||82.5 – 97.5||– Wood|
|E3||H2||97.5 – 112.5||– Wood|
|SE1||E5 (Dragon)||112.5 – 127.5||+ Earth|
|SE2||Sun||127.5 – 142.5||– Wood|
|SE3||E6 (Snake)||142.5 – 157.5||– Fire|
|S1||H3||157.5 – 172.5||+ Fire|
|S2||E7 (Horse)||172.5 – 187.5||+ Fire|
|S3||H4||187.5 – 202.5||– Fire|
|SW1||E8 (Goat)||202.5 – 217.5||– Earth|
|SW2||Kun||217.5 – 232.5||– Earth|
|SW3||E9 (Monkey)||232.5 – 247.5||+ Metal|
|W1||H7||247.5 – 262.5||+ Metal|
|W2||E10 (Rooster)||262.5 – 277.5||– Metal|
|W3||H8||277.5 – 292.5||– Metal|
|NW1||E11 (Dog)||292.5 – 307.5||+ Earth|
|NW2||Chien||307.5 – 322.5||+ Metal|
|NW3||E12 (Pig)||322.5 – 337.5||– Water|
Using it on the compass
When the 24 mountains are properly labeled on the compass, a feng shui practitioner would be able to immediately identify the direction a house faces and correspond that with the 24 mountains.
The 24 mountains are also associated with the San Yuan grouping.
This attached one of the following 3 onto each mountain
- Earth (E)
- Heaven (H)
- Man (M)
In addition to that, each mountain given a yin (-) or yang (+) mode.
The following table depicts this
The San Yuan grouping is essential to determining the forward or backward flight sequence of flying stars in flying star feng shui.
The 24 mountains play an essential role in the efficient practice of flying star feng shui and practitioners should have a sound foundation of comprehending it.