Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy linked to Taoism, represented by an exchange of Yin and Yang energy. The idea is that we can create balance in our environment and interactions.
One of the tools in Feng Shui is the “Lo Shu” or Magic Square, also known as the Bagua Map. It was developed based on a turtle shell pattern with a 3×3 pattern. Each of the nine squares has a corresponding number, as seen below.
Here are the 9 squares with their numbers:
|4 – Abundance||9 – Reputation||2 – Relationships|
|3 – Health||5 – Center||7 – Creativity|
|8 – Wisdom||1 – Passions||6 – Journey|
The sum of numbers in each row, column, and diagonal always equals fifteen. So in the top row, 4+9+2 = 15. In the left-to-right diagonal, 4+5+6 = 15.
Adding to the Magic Square
By itself, the Magic Square is pretty basic. I like to incorporate a variety of components in order to get the most value from this tool.
Here are four important aspects:
- Life Areas (aspects of how we see the world around us)
- Basic Elements (fundamentals of nature)
- Seasons (distinct weather patterns through the year)
- Essential Oils (concentrated, aromatic liquid used for wellness, mood elevation, and healing)
I’ll be describing each of these below.
The Life Areas
A “life area” is an aspect of our existence in which we can seek balance. Although these 9 areas are typically associated with either personal/spiritual growth or interior design, I believe they can provide a lot of value in professional goal development and strategic planning.
As a strategy consultant, I help my clients visualize the future of their company. The 9 areas of the Magic Square provide a perfect vehicle to see all areas of a business — including growth, customer engagement, and internal workflows. So I integrated my own concepts with the basic Feng Shui framework.
This tool can turn your strategic planning from dull & boring to an exciting visual discovery process.
Here are the 9 areas of a Strategic Vision Board:
- Reputation – Accepting negative feedback as a learning tool
- Relationships – Connecting with others more deeply
- Center – Finding the main purpose from which the business flows
- Creativity – Turning innovative ideas into reality
- Journey – Exploring new opportunities around the world
- Passions – Remembering the excitement of your core mission and values
- Wisdom – Adding knowledge and sharing it with others
- Health – Measuring the growth of your business
- Abundance – Welcoming and accepting wealth
The Basic Elements
We’re all familiar with the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each of these corresponds with the nine areas of the Magic Square:
- Fire corresponds with square 9 – Reputation (which is Yang)
- Earth corresponds with square 2 – Relationships (Yin Earth) and 8 – Wisdom (Yang Earth)
- Metal corresponds with square 7 – Creativity (Yin Metal) and 6 – Journey (Yang Metal)
- Water corresponds with square 1 – Passions (which is Yin)
- Wood corresponds with square 3 – Health (Yang Wood) and 4 – Abundance (Yin Wood)
- Center corresponds with square 5 – Fountainhead (a balance of all other elements).
Each square also matches a particular Season of the year:
- Reputation – Early Summer
- Relationships – Late Summer
- Center – Balance of all Seasons
- Creativity – Early Fall
- Journey – Late Fall
- Passions – Early Winter
- Wisdom – Late Winter
- Health – Early Spring
- Abundance – Late Spring
The Essential Oils
I’ve found a lot of value with using a combination of essential oils during the process of creating a Strategic Vision Board.
Here are the oils I suggest:
- Reputation – Frankincense, Myrrh, Clary Sage
- Relationships – Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Rose, Sandalwood
- Center – Cedarwood, Marjoram, Patchouli, Vetiver
- Creativity – Citrus, Mints
- Journey – Lavender, Rosemary, Citronella, Carnation
- Passions – Eucalyptus, Clary Sage, Geranium, Patchouli
- Wisdom – Bergamot, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Peppermint
- Health – All healing oils
- Abundance – Rosemary, Peppermint, Geranium, Sandalwood
Watch my free 9-video series about how to use these essential oils in your strategic vision board!
Steps to Using the Magic Square
You can complete a Strategic Vision Board in any order that makes sense to you: starting with the top-left and moving clockwise, or going up and down each row. There is no right or wrong way to complete it.
However, there is one progression that can provide the most benefit and allow you to stay “in flow.”
I recommend completing the squares in this order:
- Start with 9 – Reputation (element of Fire, which is Yang)
- Move right to 2 – Relationships (Yin Earth)
- Move below-left to 5 – Center (Fountainhead, which is Balanced)
- Move right to 7 – Creativity (Yin Metal)
- Move down to 6 – Journey (Yang Metal)
Then continue clockwise:
- Move left to 1 – Passions (Water, which is Yin)
- Move left to 8 – Wisdom (Yang Earth)
- Move up to 3 – Health (Yang Wood)
- Finally, move up to 4 – Abundance (Yin Wood)
Take a look:
By moving in this clockwise direction, you can uncover deeper layers of your business in a natural progression of the Five Elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood). Keep in mind that the each square’s number is only relevant when you look at the entire 9-square map.
Next in this series, I’ll discuss the first Strategic Vision Board square (Reputation) and describe its Focus Area, Purpose, Goal, Keywords, Main Question, Examples, and Practical Applications.
Are you a business owner who feels frustrated about planning for the future? Find out how we can help.
Grace LaConte is a business consultant, writer, workplace equity strategist, and the founder of LaConte Consulting. Her risk management tools are used around the globe, and she has successfully reversed toxic work environments for clients in the healthcare and non-profit fields. Grace specializes in lactation law compliance & policy development, reducing staff turnover after maternity leave, and creating a participatory work culture.