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In-depth look into Master Killing Days

by Master HC Hung

There is a widely held belief within the fengshui fraternity that if a master opens his luopan on certain days, ill fortune will befall him, even sudden death. I was most intrigued by this tradition, and decided to do some research into its background, for I certainly don’t want to die for practising fengshui on the wrong days! (kia si?)

The classical name of the so-called Master Killing Days  (杀师日) is luohou Days (罗侯日). luohou is the Chinese transliteration of the name “Rahu” borrowed from Vedic Astrology. (Everybody knows Chinese people cannot pronounce the ‘r’.)

In astronomical/astrological language, Rahu is the ascending lunar node, which is the point at which the Moon’s orbit crosses the Ecliptic from South to North. In a geocentric model of the universe this node is seen (calculated) to move in a cyclical pattern against the background constellations very much like the apparent motion of the Sun, the Moon and the other 5 visible planets. Vedic Astrology therefore treats Rahu as a virtual planet. In Chinese metaphysics, a planet is also called a Star. That’s how Rahu became a Star.

[Just to complete the story, Rahu has a twin brother called “Ketu”. That’s the descending lunar node diametrically opposite Rahu. The Chinese also borrowed the word and changed it to jidu (计都). It too became a Star in Chinese metaphysics.]

Rahu’s (and also Ketu’s) significance in astronomy is that when the moon passes through a node, there’s a possibility of a solar or lunar eclipse. A Chinese mythological tale has it that Rahu momentarily swallows the sun or the moon. That of course is strictly for the birds. My apologies for bringing it up at this learned forum.

Now Rahu, or luohou, has a spatial significance in Chinese metaphysics. It is defined as the Mountain (as in the 24-Mountain plate) immediately in front of the Grand Duke in any one year. As the Grand Duke progresses from one Branch Mountain to the next, it must pass through luohou. It is considered potentially harmful for a new house or tomb to face luohou. The logic goes something like this: just as it is hazardous to sit facing the Grand Duke (as with the Year Breaker), so is it potentially hazardous to stare at the Grand Duke during the latter’s relocation to his new station in the new year. In its spatial form luohou is called “luohou patrolling the Mountains” (巡山罗侯).

Having said that, this Star is only regarded as a second order negative Star. No big deal.

So far so good. All this is pretty well documented in the classics.

Now somewhere in the course of history, Rahu, or luohou, also took on a time dimension. Certain days became known as luohou Days, and it looked like our Star also developed homicidal tendencies. It set out to kill fengshui masters foolish enough to open their luopans on those days.

To make matters even more complicated, there are 3 sets of luohou Days, one governed by the year, another by the season, and the third by the month. These are set out below:

(1) Year based luohou Days

Year Branch:
Luohou Day:癸酉甲戌丁亥甲子乙丑甲寅丁卯甲辰己巳甲午丁未甲申

(2) Seasonal luohou Days

Luohou Day:乙卯丙午庚申辛酉

(3) Monthly luohou Days

Month Interval:123456789101112
Luohou Day:

Some books, including one by Master Lin Guoxiong (林国雄) and another by Master Chen Beisheng (陈倍生), both acclaimed fengshui masters in Hong Kong diligently listed the luohou Days, but neither book, and in fact none of the books I read, bothered to explain the basis on which these luohou Days were derived. In other words, how did our Star luohou suddenly become transformed into days? And why are these days so terrifying for the innocent fengshui master? My searches on the Internet did not produce any satisfactory answer either.

In fact, only a few of the books mentioned Master Killing Days at all. The date selection classic xieji (协纪辨方书, published in 1740 and arguably the most comprehensive of all date selection classics) described the spatial form of luohou but said nothing about luohou Days, much less their supposed effect on fengshui masters.

Master Lin Guoxiong simply listed the luohou Days preceded by a brief statement that says, “There is an old saying that … etc.” He stopped short of saying that he agreed with this old saying.

Master Chen Beisheng was more forthright. He openly disputed the validity of these Master Killing Days, and stated categorically that he often violated this traditional taboo and no harm came to him.

[As a matter of interest, the xieji classic set out to debunk many traditional date selection formulae that lacked logical basis, and Master Chen’s book went even further to discredit certain questionable practices. I would strongly recommend Master Chen’s book to Chinese literate readers interested in learning more about date selection. The book is entitled “玄空择日秘诀” published by “久鼎出版社”. The xieji is supposed to be the most comprehensive treatise on date selection ever published, but I would only recommend it to other die-hard students.]

In summary, each fengshui master or student will have to decide for himself whether or not to observe the so-called Master Killing Days.

What do I think? Well, I’m inclined to believe they were convenient excuses drummed up by olden day fengshui masters who wanted a holiday every now and then.

Traditionally fengshui masters were not known to be the most industrious of breeds, but they did have a fertile imagination. What better way is there to spend a day playing hookey, and yet be able to wallow in the sympathy of one’s employers?

(Article kind courtesy of Master HC Hung)

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