Real mountains near communities can have an influence on people, above and beyond the mundane things we know all too well about, such as the dangers of fire and proximity to wildlife. In the past, living on top of a mountain was considered dangerous due to its remote location in case of an emergency.
Similarly, a house under a mountain is in immediate danger from floods and avalanches. This happens all the time and I often wonder about the La Conchita community, in the mountains of Santa Barbara, long before they had a landslide.
Mountains can be defined by their shape as well as the abundance or lack of green plants or animals. A mountain that was nothing but rock could be called a yin mountain. When a mountain cannot or does not sustain life, we can see how the people who live nearby may be poor or hopeless.
When a mountain has oily greenery and feeds any animal, then the qi (energy) is good and it is called mountain yang. People living near the Yang mountains will be healthier and more prosperous. In this case, the term yin refers to silence and a lack of life and movement. Which here refers to activity and life and the quality of parenting.
When mountains are gentle and rolling, the lives of those around them will be easy and those people may even be more interesting. When a mountain looks rough and jagged, people living nearby can run into a lot of trouble.
In the classic Feng Shui Xuan Kong, we know that there are four main types of houses. And of the four main types of houses, two of them can benefit from having a mountain in front of them, while the other two can benefit from having a mountain behind them.
It is common to hear or read that the ideal Feng Shui house has a mountain behind it, but this is an overly simplistic understanding of the theory. Some homes need a mountain in front of them to improve the health and well-being of their occupants.
We also have a concept or term called “virtual mountain.” Virtual mountains are real structures, just not real mountains. An example of a virtual mountain could be a house across the street from another house. If the house is taller, an additional story, then it can become a virtual mountain in relation to the small houses around it.
When a landscape is built with rocks, boulders, raised flower beds or even brick walls, these elevated ground features can also be called virtual mountains. This becomes a real blessing when a house needs a ride on the property and there is no way to control what your neighbors do. At least on your own plot, front or back yard, you can create a virtual mountain with a number of landscaping techniques, as described.
The term mountain can also refer to a directional area. For example, when we use a compass, we can refer to the twenty-four mountains that distinguish the twenty-four possible directions of sitting a house. The twenty-four mountains each have a range of 15 degrees and that’s a total of 360 degrees around the compass.
For example, the entire east range is a 45 degree range. But we can divide the entire eastern sector into three separate 15-degree increments. We can call it “east-1”, “east-2” and “east-3”. These are three different “mountains”.
Knowing the exact compass orientation of a structure, and knowing which “mountain” the house is located, helps us determine whether the house should have mountain formations on the front or back sides. This is combined with the year the property was built, to blend time and direction.
We have a term in classical Feng Shui called “wang shan,” which means “strong mountain.” This is a metaphor for healthy and happy people. In Feng Shui folklore, much has been written about the fate of the people around the mountain being cut off without respecting the “dragon veins”.
Dragon veins are lines or streams of energy, almost like a meridian point for a natural landscape. When we fall asleep on the side of a mountain with modern construction and freeway projects, we may or may not disrupt the flow of natural energy that passes through the mountains.
This article was written on the eve of a major event in Southern California, where tomorrow the Mulholland Bridge will be partially demolished and the highway closure in this area of Freeway 405 will be closed for two days. The Los Angeles Times reports that the 405 freeway originally opened in 1962, with photos of what the freeway and surrounding mountains looked like once completed.
What about the series of tunnels on freeway 110 that connects downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena? Excavating through the mountains to make these tunnels was definitely a huge disturbance to the energy of the mountains.
People reading this article who live in the Los Angeles area are very familiar with these mountains and I, for example, often think about mountain qi whenever I use this freeway system. It sometimes seems that “man” can conquer nature when we look at these architectural feats, but as we know, this is never true in the long run.