So many misconceptions arise from poor translations. With feng shui the misconceptions go way past the translation of the Chinese characters.
Qi 齊 Feng Shui 風水 Sheng qi 盛奇 Shen 沉 Shen 神
Guo Pu was the well educated son of a governor. He was a natural historian and a prolific writer of the Jin dynasty. He is the author of The Book of Burial, the first-ever and the most authoritative source of fengshui doctrine and the first book to address the concept of Fengshui in the history of China, making Guo Pu the first person historically to define Fengshui, and therefore, Guo Pu is usually called as the father of Fengshui in China
The oldest examples of instruments used for feng shui are liuren astrolabes, also known as shi. These consist of alacquered, two-sided board with astronomical sightlines. The earliest examples of liuren astrolabes have been unearthed from tombs that date between 278 BC and 209 BC. Along with divination for Da Liu Ren the boards were commonly used to chart the motion of Taiyi through the nine palaces. The markings on a liuren/shi and the first magnetic compasses are virtually identical.
The magnetic compass was invented for feng shui and has been in use since its invention. Traditional feng shui instrumentation consists of the Luopan or the earlier south-pointing spoon (指南針 zhinan zhen)—though a conventional compass could suffice if one understood the differences. A feng shui ruler (a later invention) may also be employed.
Qi（氣）(pronounced “chee” in English) is a movable positive or negative life force which plays an essential role in feng shui. In feng shui as in Chinese martial arts, it refers to ‘energy’, in the sense of ‘life force’ or élan vital. A traditional explanation of qi as it relates to feng shui would include the orientation of a structure, its age, and its interaction with the surrounding environment, including the local microclimates, the slope of the land, vegetation, and soil quality.
The Book of Burial says that burial takes advantage of “vital qi“. Wu Yuanyin (Qing dynasty) said that vital qi was “congealed qi“, which is the state of qi that engenders life. The goal of feng shui is to take advantage of vital qi by appropriate siting of graves and structures.Some people destroyed graveyards of their enemies to weaken their qi.
One use for a loupan is to detect the flow of qi. Magnetic compasses reflect local geomagnetismwhich includes geomagnetically induced currents caused by space weather. Professor Max Knoll suggested in a 1951 lecture that qi is a form of solar radiation. As space weather changes over time, and the quality of qirises and falls over time, feng shui with a compass might be considered a form of divination that assesses the quality of the local environment—including the effects of space weather. Often people with good karma live in land with good qi.
Polarity is expressed in feng shui as yin and yang theory. Polarity expressed through yin and yang is similar to a magnetic dipole. That is, it is of two parts: one creating an exertion and one receiving the exertion. Yang acting and yin receiving could be considered an early understanding of chirality.[clarification needed] The development of this theory and its corollary, five phase theory (five element theory), have also been linked with astronomical observations of sunspots.
The Five Phases (wu xing) – which, according to the Chinese, are metal, earth, fire, water, and wood – are first mentioned in Chinese literature in a chapter of the classic Book of History. They play a very important part in Chinese thought: ‘elements’ meaning generally not so much the actual substances as the forces essential to human life. Earth is a buffer, or an equilibrium achieved when the polarities cancel each other.While the goal of Chinese medicine is to balance yin and yang in the body, the goal of feng shui has been described as aligning a city, site, building, or object with yin-yang force fields.
Bagua (eight trigrams)
Two diagrams known as bagua (or pa kua) loom large in feng shui, and both predate their mentions in the Yijing(or I Ching). The Lo (River) Chart (Luoshu) was developed first, and is sometimes associated withLater Heaven arrangement of the bagua. This and the Yellow River Chart (Hetu, sometimes associated with theEarlier Heaven bagua) are linked to astronomical events of the sixth millennium BC, and with the Turtle Calendar from the time of Yao. The Turtle Calendar of Yao (found in the Yaodian section of the Shangshu or Book of Documents) dates to 2300 BC, plus or minus 250 years.
In Yaodian, the cardinal directions are determined by the marker-stars of the mega-constellations known as the Four Celestial Animals:
- The Azure Dragon (Spring equinox)—Niao (Bird 鳥), α Scorpionis
- The Vermilion Bird (Summer solstice)—Huo (Fire 火), α Hydrae
- The White Tiger (Autumn equinox)—Mǎo (Hair 毛), η Tauri (the Pleiades)
- The Black Tortoise (Winter solstice)—Xū (Emptiness, Void 虛), α Aquarii, β Aquarii
The diagrams are also linked with the sifang (four directions) method of divination used during the Shang dynasty. The sifang is much older, however. It was used at Niuheliang, and figured large in Hongshan culture‘s astronomy. And it is this area of China that is linked to Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, who allegedly invented the south-pointing spoon (see compass).
The Form School is the oldest school of feng shui. Qing Wuzi in the Han dynastydescribes it in the “Book of the Tomb”  and Guo Pu of the Jin dynasty follows up with a more complete description in The Book of Burial
The Form School was originally concerned with the location and orientation of tombs (Yin House feng shui), which was of great importance. The school then progressed to the consideration of homes and other buildings (Yang House feng shui).
The Compass School is a collection of more recent feng shui techniques based on the eight cardinal directions, each of which is said to have unique qi. It uses the Luopan, a disc marked with formulas in concentric rings around a magnetic compass.