Feng Shui Why South Direction is on Top Of Compass

Nope, it is not a mistake in the Feng Shui teachings to depict a compass especially the Chinese version, the Luo Pan, with the direction South positioned on top, which automatically brings the direction North down to the bottom placement. In our Western side of the world, this is just not right, as we are accustomed to seeing representations of the compass with the magnetic North pointing up. But why is that then? Let us explain!

The science of Feng Shui is founded on a few essential principles which are what form its backbone, being one of them the Five Elements of the Feng Shui. These five elements are directly related to our natural environment in their raw form, and act as the main alchemical elements for transformation, in this case, the transformation of Qi (or Cosmic energies). This alchemical process takes place during the Three Phases of Qi, which are the Productive phase, the Weakening phase and the Controlling phase of the five elements. Namely, the elements are:
  • Fire (Represents the South direction)
  • Earth (Represents the Southwest and Northeast directions)
  • Metal (Represents the West and Northwest directions)
  • Water (Represents the North direction)
  • Wood (Represents the East and Southeast directions)
So why is the South direction depicted on the top side of the compass in the Feng Shui and North on the bottom?

This is due to the fact that the direction South is represented by the element Fire. If we notice, the natural tendency of fire as it burns is to go in an upward direction, contrary to water which as it flows, always goes in a downwards direction. North is represented by the element Water. So because fire goes upwards, its fair position in the compass, when depicted, should be on the top and because the water flows downwards, its position in the compass should justify this action which is on the bottom.

As a result of the natural forces driving both of these elements in such ways, the founding Masters decided that the correct placement for each one of them should be as depicted in the compass as well as applied in the teachings when it comes to the Feng Shui. So this is, in reality, a symbolic approach of the elements Fire and Water that indeed makes true sense!

So here we have it, South on top is no mistake, after all!