What is San Yuan?

Do you know that we are currently (2011) in the Period of 8? If you have been reading up on Feng Shui, you are likely know this. It is a 20 years period that runs from 2004 to 2024. You are also likely to know that any house built and completed within this period is classified as a Period 8 house.

But is there a period 9, 10 or 11? Yes there is a Period 9 but it is as far as it goes. There is no period 10 or 11. More importantly, what is San Yuan? Let me explain.

San Yuan means three cycles. It is a system of time keeping. San means three while Yuan refers to a cycle of 60 years. Therefore San Yuan refers to three cycles of 60 years giving a total of 180 years.

Each of the Yuan (60 years) is further subdivide into 3 periods of 20 years each called Yun. Therefore in one 180 years cycle there are 3 Yuans and 9 Yuns or Periods. The current 180 year cycle which I will call Great Cycle, for lack of a better name, began in 1864. The table below shows the Yuan, and Yun or Period of the current Great Cycle.

YuanYun or PeriodStart YearStem Branch
Upper PeriodPeriod 11864Jia Zi
 Period 21884Jia Shen
 Period 31904Jia Chen
MiddlePeriod 41924Jia Zi
 Period 51944Jia Shen
 Period 61964Jia Chen
LowerPeriod 71984Jia Zi
 Period 82004Jia Shen
 Period 92024Jia Chen

Unlike the Gregorian calendar which begins on the 1st of January, this system of San Yuan or Three Cycles is based on the Chinese Solar calendar. The Chinese Solar year begins on or around the 4th or 5th of February.

Therefore more accurately Period 8 runs from 4th February 2004 to 3rd February 2024 while Period 9 runs from 4th February 2024 to 3rd February 2044.

What happens after Period 9? The whole Great Cycle repeats itself. Therefore the period between 4th Feb 2044 and 3rd Feb 2064 is Period 1 Upper Yuan of the next Great Cycle!

The “qi” or energy distribution for property depends on the period that the house was built and the facing direction of the house. A house is characterised by this “qi” distribution and it does not change unless you carry out a major renovation. While the “qi” distribution in a house remains unchanged, the quality of the “qi” changes in different periods. A “qi” distribution that is good in one period may become bad in another. That is way luck changes over time. And feng shui has a time dimension as least for San Yuan based Feng Shui systems such as Xuan Kong Da Gua (hexagram) or Xuan Kong Fei Xing (flying star).

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