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Flower Horn Myth

Thursday, April 17, 2003
By: Joey Yap

Of late, I have been getting a number of questions- via phone, email and an interview about.of all things - the Flower Horn Fish.

And all of them seem to have only one thing on their mind - is this the ULTIMATE 'Feng Shui fish'?

This posed an interesting topic that I wanted to share with you this month.

Flower Horn Fish or 'Hua Luo Han' as it is more popularly known in the market has taken the aquatic world (particularly in the Southeast Asean region) by a storm within the last couple of years.

It is rumored to be a very powerful Feng Shui Fish. According to a breeder friend, the Flower Horn Fish is basically a crossbreed fish from the Cichlid family. It is genetically crossbred and admired for its unique colors, texture, physique (lump in forehead) and behavior.

I was recently asked by a journalist to comment on the Feng Shui attributes of the Flower Horn. One of her questions was 'Do I consider this Flower Horn Fish the Feng Shui fish for Period 8?'

I don't know how or where this got started but nearly every aquarium and pet store is now on the bandwagon - the Feng Shui Fish for your Feng Shui-ed home. Even some usually practical Feng Shui students have begun to draw their own conclusions and new theories as to WHY this is a Feng Shui Fish.

The journalist was disappointed when I mentioned to her that there is NO such thing as a Feng Shui fish. If it swims like a fish, has fins like a fish and can breathe in water like a fish - it's really just a fish.

Interestingly, one of my students went on to hypothesize that this was a Period 8 fish because Period is represented by the Gua (trigram) Gen. Gen is a reference to 'Mountain' in the I-Ching (Yi Jing) and the Flower Horn Fish supposedly has a lump on its head that looks like a mountain! He rationalized that the protruding forehead of the Flower Horn represents the auspices of the Period 8.

(For those who are new to Feng Shui, Period 8 refers to the new Qi governing the years 2004 - 2023. We are presently at the end of Period 7, which runs from1984-2003).

I was afraid to be asked what I was supposed to make of cows, goats and other farm animals that also have suspicious looking 'mountains' on their heads!

He went on to say that in Period 7 - the Arrowana Fish was the Feng Shui fish for the period as it looked like a 'Shining Blade' and that Period 7 was governed by the Dui Gua - which is of the element Metal. His creativity was mind blowing. But it also goes to show that a little knowledge combined with some creative reverse engineering can be a dangerous thing.

"You seem to have cleverly derived this information from the Flying Star Feng Shui Gua attributes", I responded.

He happily took credit for it, "Yeah, I sort of figured it out one day when I was studying the Flying Star numbers - they seem to relate to the trigrams (gua) a lot. So, I figured the elements and symbols of the trigram played an important role and it suddenly dawned on me that this is why these fishes (Arrowana and Flower Horn) are so popular".

I probed a bit more, "Which ancient Feng Shui classics did you derive this theory from?"

He was quiet for a while and then he said he didn't know there were any old classics relating to Flying Star Feng Shui.

So, then I asked him, "You say the Arrowana is the mascot fish of Period 7, so obviously it's not going to be much help in Period 8. Will you be flushing the poor thing down the drain now that it has supposedly outlived its usefulness?". (Arrowana's are also very expensive fish and can fetch princely sums).

As he began to doubt his own theories, I decided to set him straight on the issue.

The Flower Horn fish has a protruding lump on its forehead. The fish comes in many colors with special 'dots' that resemble flowers on its body. These flowers can sometime appear to look like Chinese or Arabic characters.

Besides its striking looks some breeders began attaching symbolic meanings to the attributes of the fish. Equating the lump on the fishes head to abundant wealth and the 'mysterious numbers' that seem to appear on its body, for example, might just push the price a little higher.

This is perfectly fine - in fact I am agreeable to the SYMBOLIC meaning of this. There are many interestingly beautiful aspects in Flower Horns. And the fish is definitely an attractive feature in the aquarium but I must point out that any reference it may have to good fortune is only SYMBOLIC and has no real Feng Shui significance.

Feng Shui, as we know, is not just about symbols. It is about real Qi from the environment. Unfortunately, a Flower Horn fish is not going to be emanating any Qi from its body. It's just a fish. How can a fish, grown by aquatic breeders, bring you good Feng Shui luck? Unless you're an active competitor in Fish contests and win because of your beautiful Flower Horn fish, I cannot see any way it's going to be bringing you abundant wealth.

I'm sure the aquarium/pet store owners will definitely applaud this creative idea of Feng Shui but I feel this is a personal opinion and not a serious Feng Shui principle at work. Just because a fish has a lump on its head - I wouldn't consider that a mountain - it does not indicate that the fish will bring you good luck or that it represents the fish of Period 8.

Whatever symbols you may be able to see on the fishes body are merely its own marking and do not indicate any special powers, especially in Classical Feng Shui.

"But the rich guys SWEAR by it", my student insisted.

"If they're already rich, they can afford to spend the $10,000 on the fish without feeling the pinch. Rather than adding to their wealth, it may more likely massage their egos", I explained to this student. Keep in mind that it is the "location" of the aquarium that helps promote Qi in the house. It is not the number or types of fishes in that aquarium.

Many claim that water 'brings' wealth. This is also not entirely correct. Water helps collect and activate the Qi in that particular area of the house. The good Qi (good energies) helps you perform better and more readily take advantage of opportunities that present themselves from time to time. Hence the popular notion that fishes 'bring money luck'. The fishes are there to keep the water active and moving. On their own, they're not making you any money nor are they serving as a 'Feng Shui' enhancer of sorts.

I am all in favor of collecting and raring Flower Horns and Arrowanas. In fact I think collecting and raring fishes is a fine hobby indeed. These are attractive fishes that fetch high prices and people are naturally inclined to keep them. What I think should be made clear is that fishes should not be treated as a Feng Shui cure or enhancer. It is merely a superstition to treat fishes as 'money magnets' in Feng Shui.

If your aquarium is placed in the correct area of your home, then any fish will suffice. Placement of aquariums in a home should be carefully planned. Proper water locations in the house are what help activate, deactivate or trigger the Qi in your home.

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