How to appreciate a really good feng shui compass

Luo Pan has become part of a Feng Shui master. People will associate that in order for a Feng Shui master to read Feng Shui, He/She must have a Luo Pan with him/her, specifically a good one. If not, people might not believe that the Feng Shui master can really write a Luo Pan.Therefore it is very important that a Feng Shui master carry a good Luo Pan with him/her.

An authentic Chinese Luo Pan has got to be one of the most beautifully crafted tools in the world. These are extraordinarily precise compasses that contain a treasure trove of feng shui formulas and secrets. In the past, most of the Luo Pan was made in the way that every layers of the Luo Pan are able to rotate. This type of Luo Pan has very high accuracy. However it is rare to find this type of Luo Pan now. Nowadays, most of the Luo Pans are designed in the way that all the layers in the Luo Pan are fixed. According to our interview with Master Wang, he mentioned that the ancient type of Luo Pan is hard to produce and require a lot of workmanship. Therefore it is rare for us to find this type of Luo Pan now. The ancient type of Luo Pan is also very expensive. Master Wang also mentioned that one needs to be very good Feng Shui master in order to read the ancient type of Luo Pan, as the Feng Shui master has to make sure that all the different layers of element in the Luo Pan are turned to the right elements in order to be accurate in reading. Therefore A Feng Shui Master who is able to read the ancient Luo Pan accurately is very highly skilled.

Theoretically, an amateur feng shui practitioner does not require the feng shui Luo pan. They can just use any western style of compass will be able to measure placement orientations of houses and their main doors. Then they can make use of pre-calculated tables that contain immediately usable and user-friendly interpretations, cures and remedies for reference. Amateur practitioners practise feng Shui for interest and not as a professional, therefore they do not need to have instant and immediate access to the formulas or the calculations that are required in the professional practice of feng shui. They also do not need to have immediate answers to a whole diversity of feng shui problems.

As professional feng shui advisers, the feng shui Luo Pan becomes indispensable and part of them. According to our research through internet, it mentioned that there is no way a practicing consultant can practice real and authentic feng shui if he or she does not possess a reliable and accurate luo pan; and be able to read and understand such a Luo Pan. It is as well good saying that feng shui is an instinctive or intuitive practice. However even the most gifted intuitive practitioner must know how the basic concepts of the practice relate to each other, and how the energies or chi interact with each other under many contrary scenarios - and these scenarios have to do with the orientations of the house and the main door.

Consultants need to use the Luo Pan to help them diagnose feng shui afflictions under a whole melange of circumstances and orientations, and also to come up with serious solutions to these afflictions. It is not easy for one to be a professional consultant nowadays. There are many useful and excellent books today, which people are able to learn simple dimensions and practical applications of feng shui. If all that a professional consultant can do is make recommendations on the placement of symbols based on their intuition, or tell their customers to "clear the clutter" then they really have no business being consultants.

The Luo Pan offers instant correlations of every degree of orientation thereby pinpointing instantly to the person reading the Luo Pan what is potentially wrong with a site, and under which method might be giving a problem. The readings of every formula covered in any Luo pan will offer instant calculations that describe the affliction that is being indicated. This information is given in the concentric rings of information around the central compass.

This is where a Luo Pan is differed from another. Some Luo Pans have more formulas than others; and contain more solutions than others. We can determine how good a Luo Pan is depending on the original design of information that it contains.

According to the article from the best selling author of feng shui books - Lilian Too from [1] and the article from the co-founder of the Yap Cheng Hai Feng Shui Centre of Excellence & the developer of the structured learning program "The YCH Professional Feng Shui Series" - Joey Yap from [2], we have summarised nine very important points for one to look out for when getting a Luo Pan.


1. The needle quality

This is the most important and expensive part of a Luo Pan.The needle must be able to align accurately on top of the red line in the center of the compass - known as the Heaven Pool. It must be also able to align accurately below the axis cross (the intercrossing nylon strings). It should not even be a slight deviation of .01mm away from the above lines. Never buy a luo pan with a lousy needle.

2. Heaven Pool's Red Line
The two red dots must be present and should be pointing to the North (0 degree - the rat direction) while the point of the needle should be pointing to the South (180 degree - the horse direction).

3. Accuracy of the axis cross
These are the two red nylon threads that must cross the cardinal axis directly at 0 degree, 90 degree, 180 degree and 270 degree of the heaven dial. There should not be even the slightest deviation. Else the Luo Pan will be deemed useless.

4. Quality of the heaven dial
Every character, trigram and number of the heaven dial must be printed/carved with great clarity so that the characters can be read easily. The dial should be steady and smooth when turned. It should not be too smooth or too tight.

5. Earth base should be square at a spirit level.
This is to facilitate taking directions by matching it parallel to the wall or door of a house/building. It must come with a Spirit Level for accuracy of reading.

6. Material Quality
It makes a great difference of what material quality the Luo Pan is made up of. It is usually make up of Poly-Electric wood, normal wood or Recycled Wood. The Luo Pan is best if it is made up of Poly-Electric wood as it can withstand temperatures of up to 140 degree celsius. Recycled Wood or normal wood are of cheaper renditions found in most Chinese roadside stalls.

7. Information in the rings
To buy a Luo Pan, which contains information on the formulas, you use and practice otherwise it is a waste of your money.

8. Measurements and Sizes
Luo Pans must come with accurate markings of the exact 360-degree.
Luo Pans come only in the following standardized sizes:
2"8, 3"4, 4"2, 5"2, 6"2, 7"2, 8"6, 1ft 2"

The standard size of Luo Pan that traditional feng shui masters uses are the 8"6 types. Smaller Luo Pan like the 2"8 - 4"2 are mainly for convenience use. The smaller the Luo Pan gets, the easier it is to make mistakes. Thus it is only when one is very experience should one use a small Luo Pan for a professional feng shui audit. For the beginners, it is advisable to start by using a 5"2 or 6"2 Luo Pan. Professional feng shui practitioners should always use a 8"6 Luo Pan.

9. Beauty
Some Luo Pans are good but they look highly unattractive. They may feel rough and fidgety to be held. When choosing a Luo Pan, it is important that you treat it like choosing a beautiful quality garment at a designer store. Not only must it have high quality, but it should also have the right feel (i.e. fabric, smoothness and look). Your Luo Pan must be good enough to be used as a decorative feng shui item. It is usual for feng shui masters to display their Luo Pans glamorously in their homes. It may give them a sense of pride or a feeling of peace when they display their Luo Pans as decorative pieces. Many feng shui masters today are avid Luo Pan collectors. Other than feng shui masters, people also collected Luo pan as they believed that the Luo Pan could ward off evil spirits because it embodies the secret of the I-ching which we all know, is the secret of the feng shui ba gua. However it is up to one whether to believe it or not.

A quality Luo Pan should weigh around 1.3 to 1.5kg. The Heaven Dial (the Round Plate) should be easily rotatable with a slight firm and steady feel. Nowadays good Luo Pans are scarce to find.

Unknowing vendors in the west have been victims of many unscrupulous businessmen in China, selling them cheap and tacky imitations of a real feng shui Luo Pan. One has to be very careful of the Luo Pan that he/she chooses to purchase. He/She has to make sure that matches the 9 important points as mentioned above.

[1] Feng Shui Practitioner's Corner,