Feng Shui The Celestial Animals
What are the four celestial animals in the science of Feng Shui whose primary role is to offer us protection and
support in case we are lucky enough to have them surrounding our home?
How do the four celestial beings protect the land?

The role of each of the Four Celestial Animals differ from one another however, their presence around a property makes that property more desirable in terms of Feng Shui. The main objective of these four guardian animals around a property is protection. After all, this is the first thing we look for when assessing the quality of the external environment of an existing or yet to be built property. In Feng Shui, it means a property and its occupants being protected from the impact of destructive energies. So, again as a reminder, if the surrounding of a property is favorable, its interior will most likely have the ability to enjoy good Qi or good fortune. Not the other way around. Qi is an outside phenomenon, it is a product of Nature and it is all around us. A property acts just as a container and therefore, it can only contain Qi that is already in its exterior. The property itself cannot produce Qi. The architectural layout can help to create harmony when the property interacts with its external environment and also, to facilitate the harnessing of good Qi (cosmic energies) already in the living environment. So if the Qi outside of a property is harmful, when it enters a property, the quality of Qi that fills the property will cause adverse effects in the life of its occupants. The same applies when it is the other way around, regarding favorable Qi. If it is good Qi that is outside of a property, the outcome in the life of its occupants is expected to be good as well.

I had mentioned before that mountains are considered   “Dragons” according to the teachings of Feng Shui. More specifically, they are known as “The Dragons of the Land”. So then how come that the four guardian animals are a representation of land formations such as mountains and hills around an area or a building? There is no need for confusion. Although mountains are “Dragons”, the different mountains have different names, like different kind of mythological creatures such as dragons or historic dinosaurs that are given different names based on the different factors or qualities linked to them. Sometimes, the same type of mountain can even have more than one name!
This is the case of the Red Phoenix, the celestial animal located in front of or “looking” towards the facing of a property. This land formation, which could even be a building, is also known by some people as the Red Raven or as the Table Mountain.

Since that we are here, the primary role of the Table Mountain is to hold the Qi in. Its job is to prevent it from escaping or leaking away. When we talk about Qi (or energy) “leaking away”, a clearer picture of this is something like water leaking. For example, imagine water leaking out of a container with holes or cracks and even a more dramatic scenario is a dam built across a river that has broken and torrents of water rushing out of it.

Looking at a Table Mountain, the most desirable one should look like as if it is at a person’s shoulder-height. Being shoulder-height when we refer to mountains doesn’t necessarily mean that they are at the actual height of a person’s shoulders. It just means that being looked at from the reference point which is the center of the property, the perception is that the mountain, at a certain distance is at the height of the viewer’s shoulders. Remember that in a big city or even its suburbs, mountains or hills can be replaced by buildings and even some other features around a property.

The Black Tortoise, the celestial animal in the back side of a property, is responsible for giving it support. To be a good protection mountain, it must be higher than the Red Phoenix (or Table Mountain) as well as slightly higher than the property.

White Tiger and Green Dragon can also be White Tiger Sha and Green Dragon Sha. And Sha means “Killing!

Even the four guardian animals can represent a threat if they happen to be out of balance. After all, Feng Shui is all about balance.

For example, if the White Tiger, which is in the right side of the property is significantly higher than the Green Dragon in the left side, this can represent a drawback, as according to the teachings of Feng Shui, as injuries and bodily harm are very likely to occur to its occupants. This is known as White Tiger Sha.

If it is the other way around, being the Green Dragon in the left side of the property significantly higher than the White Tiger in the right side, it indicates that its occupants could suffer the loss of wealth or have difficulty in accumulating wealth. In this case we have the Green Dragon Sha.

In Feng Shui terminology, Sha translates to “Killing”. It is often used to describe harmful energy. It is most commonly known as Sha Qi. So Qi that is out of balance or that has a bad “carrier” becomes Sha Qi, or destructive Qi.

But in the case of the two main guardian animals White Tiger and Green Dragon, when should they really be considered Sha or “Killing” when it comes to their size in height? The height must be significant. Whatever is representing any of the two around a property like a mountain, a hill or a building, etc, must be much taller in size compared to that of its counterpart. It must give the impression that it is overpowering the opposite side. So if the difference in height is not significant, the possibility of Sha Qi is unlike.

We are now left with the Black Tortoise and the Red Phoenix. So, let’s also talk about their negative traits when it comes to their position around a property.

The role of the Black Tortoise, the animal in the back side of the property, is to give it support. So what happens if it is missing? For example, houses that are sitting on top of a cliff cannot possibly enjoy any support, since in most cases there are no mountains or hills and even neighboring buildings behind them. And when the Black Tortoise is missing, it is an indication that the descendants of the property’s occupants may not be privileged to enjoy prosperity and good fortune during the course of their lives.
On the contrary, although the Black Tortoise should be higher than the property but if it is excessively high or if it is too steep and also, if it is too close to the property, its occupants are to most like suffer from loneliness and even depression. Ideally, there should be an open, empty space like a field or even a large patio in between the building and the Black Tortoise. The function of this open space is to allow Qi to gather before entering the property. This way, Qi will be given a chance to slow down which otherwise, would most certainly rush aggressively into the property. Remember that aggressive Qi translates to Sha Qi. Identifying the things that cause Sha Qi (or destructive energy) then avoiding such features is what the science of Feng Shui often strives to do.

Regarding the Red Phoenix, the celestial animal in the front side of the property, also known as the Table Mountain, its overall function is to lock in the Qi. It should not be difficult to conclude that if it is missing, Qi will simply “leak away”. However, if it is excessively high for example, it is so high that blocks the view from the front of the property, its occupants will most likely be prevented from enjoying success and achievements in life.

Concerning the factor of open areas, it is ideal that in the front side of the property as well, a spacious, open and uncluttered space is present. This space in the front side of the property is also known as the Bright Hall among other names, in the Feng Shui terminology. It serves as the main area of the property where Qi collects and holds, especially if there is a Table Mountain (also known as the Red Phoenix) in that same side. The importance of open areas is to allow Qi to slow down and gather before meandering into a property.  In the front side of a property, a more spacious space is desirable, along with the presence of a good Table Mountain (Red Phoenix). So while Qi collects within the Bright Hall, the Red Phoenix prevents it from escaping.

In a general way, the most desirable scenario would be the one with the presence of all four Celestial Animals around a property. However, none of them should be too close to it, in especial, the Black Tortoise, which is the one in the back side of the property.

What happens if not all guardians are present?

It can happen that not all four Celestial Animals (or landforms) are present in the surroundings of a property or of a piece of land. Although it is considered to be very desirable to have all four surrounding a home site, a harmonious life can still be lived if at least one of the four land features is found in the area. If it is a plot of building land, it could then be assigned as the Black Tortoise, which is the protector in the back side of the property. If it concerns an existing building and that land feature is in the back side of the property then it should be enough even if the remaining three guardians are not present.
Remember that the role of the Black Tortoise is to give support.
Now, if only three natural features are present in the land, then it would be best if they are in the order that follows: The Black Tortoise in the back side, the Green Dragon in the left side, and the White Tiger in the right side.

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NOTE: This post is an excerpt from the book The Power Of Your Home (The external environment) and you can find it here.