The Ba Gua
The feng shui bagua (ba: eight; gua: area) is a map of the energetic influences in your home. It is traditionally shown as an octagon with eight sections surrounding a central area, the tai chi:
To make it easier to apply this energy map to your space, the modern practice is to extend the corners of the bagua to form a square, then divide it into nine equal sections:
The ba gua divides any space into these nine areas. Each area corresponds to a different aspect of your life. Whatever is going on energetically (good or bad) in that part of your space will affect the related aspect of your life. The ba gua is rich with meanings and associations, the most important of which are shown below:
In contemporary Western feng shui, the bottom edge of the ba gua lines up with the front door to your home or apartment. Align the bottom edge of the bagua with the wall the door is in. Stretch the bagua sideways or lengthwise to cover the rest of the space. The door or entryway will always be in ken, kan, or chien gua, although it may overlap more than one gua. As you stand in the doorway facing into the space, hsun gua is always at the far left; kun gua is always to the far right, and li gua is always at the center of the wall opposite you. Details on the advantages of using the doorway ba gua method can be found here.
In many homes, part of the floor plan actually sticks out in front of the front door. For example, an attached garage very often extends closer to the street than the front door. When this is the case, you still start by placing the ba gua at the front door so that it covers the area from the front door to the back of the house. The areas of the house that are in front of the front door are considered an “extension” of the core ba gua. (See Principle 2 in the Fast Feng Shui book for more information on using the ba gua and identifying extensions and missing areas on your floor plan.)
If there is more than one way to enter a space, orient the ba gua to the main door or entryway. Even if you usually enter your home through the garage, align the ba gua of your home to the front door.
Blog posts that address ba gua issues are collected here.