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And a Pi Xiu in a Pear Tree

Sunday, December 24, 2006
By: Joey Yap

I was in Perth recently for a face reading seminar and I was approached by a lady with a rather unusual question. She wanted to know what ornaments she should buy to 'Feng Shui' her Christmas tree for a little extra good luck. Apparently she had read it in a magazine that she should Feng Shui her Christmas tree. Hmm, just the Christmas present I was expecting.

The answer to this is quite simple: decorate it with whatever you like and however you like because your Christmas tree has nothing to do with your Feng Shui. Let us subject the Christmas tree to the Feng Shui Test: Does it have a location? No. Does it have a direction? No. Is it present 24-7-365? No. Tops, 12 days of the year. So is your Christmas tree something that can affect your Feng Shui? I don't think so.

In further conversation with this lady, I informed her that she could still have Santa on her tree and need not substitute it with a Pi Xiu, as was suggested by the magazine.

Now, you might be wondering - what is a Pi Xiu and does it have a red nose?

Mythical Creature of Great Luck

A creature of Chinese mythology with the head of a Chinese dragon, a lion-like body, and covered with whitish-grey fur, the Pi Xiu's fierce look is alleged to be able to ward-off evil. If you take a tour of Beijing's historical landmarks, chances are, your tour guide will regale you with tales and 'advice' on how the Pi Xiu brings good Feng Shui to you and your endeavors.


According to legend, this creature offended the Jade Emperor (i.e. God of Heaven), and was punished by having its diet restricted to gold and silver, and its excretory orifices sealed. Somewhere along the way, the Pi Xiu became the ideal creature for 'wealth-generation', since it amassed lots, had a diet of silver and gold and never expelled anything!

The Pi Xiu has nothing to do with Classical Feng Shui but is a New Age Feng Shui "idea". In New Age Feng Shui, it is cast as a magical 'protective' object, capable of bringing fortune and luck to its owner. But ask yourself: Given its imaginary origins, how does anyone actually 'know' what a Pi Xiu looks like? And if no one has actually seen one, how do you know the object cast in resin hanging on your Christmas tree is the real McPiXui?

By the way, you might be interested to know that this creature has actually no grounding in either Taoism or Buddhism. This shouldn't be surprising, since the Pi Xiu is a product of the imagination of the ancient (maybe even, Modern day) Chinese.

The Pi Xiu is treading a familiar path really - a few years ago, the trend was to have gold flying dragons and flowerhorn fish as good luck magnets.

Change is the only constant, but…

Now, there are some who may well argue that if change is dynamic and inevitable, why should Feng Shui not also undergo its own evolution (or revolution)? Yes but some rules don't change. Some principles remain constant.

It is therefore impossible - even absurd - for the formulas and precepts regulating classical Feng Shui to change over time. Advance in terms of application, perhaps, just like all the other sciences, but always remember that the underlying rules remain constant.

Likewise, classical Feng Shui derives its roots from time-tested methods and observations, as opposed to its New Age 'counterpart'. And lest we forget, a genuine Feng Shui practitioner will always seek to improve on something that's already good from the beginning; instead of recommending changes that could well turn your world topsy-turvy. Prevention, after all, is always better than cure!

And just as you can't rewrite Newton's laws of motion or redraft the Periodic Table, you simply cannot give a time-tested, metaphysical science a whole new makeover! When Faraday first demonstrated the principles of electricity, he was asked: "Of what commercial use will this be?" Any true scientific study derives its pride in its ability to serve and better the lives of humankind; the honor is found in both the means and end. That which is genuine endures, instead of fading away like many a fad or gimmick.

Classical Feng Shui takes time to study and master, just like any other respectable field of study. As we're all well aware, the pursuit of knowledge is a never-ending journey, and students of Feng Shui spend years acquiring the requisite skills that enable them to graduate into practitioners and consultants.

Quite honestly, I certainly would like Feng Shui to be a DIY sort of thing that can be done over the weekend, or fixed as easily as nailing a picture to your wall, or roasting a turkey, for that matter! Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way.

Feng Shui is more than just mere symbolism, more than a mere sort of 'put-something-there' therapy. Then again, would you just subscribe to any form of therapy, not knowing if it's going to work for you or otherwise? By all means, go ahead and wear a particular dress or shirt of any colour if you like it, rear goldfish if you prefer…do what you will. These things may make you feel good, and that by itself is a form of rewarding therapy. Only remember that classical Feng Shui is a specialized study of Qi, and how it can be harnessed to improve our surroundings and living conditions. It is a tool or means towards identifying the type of Qi and surroundings that benefit you, and how you can tap into them. It is about making informed decisions based on sound, justified conclusions. It has nothing to do with religion or superstition, let alone the things you wear, use or place around your home or workplace.

Bottom line, there's no need or way to Feng Shui your tree because it's not going to make a difference as far as Santa is concerned as to whether you have been naughty or nice! Merry X'mas and a Happy New Year!

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