Playing Dragon ball

How to train your Dragon, and other proper rituals at your local watering hole

What might befall us in a year of much dragon activity, when the guiding spirits falter and we find ourselves out of step with the world? How might one mollify nefarious actors in the the Year of the Dragon? Best to persuade those spirits that you are not even there. Second best is to have them arrive on dragons, and lull them to sleep with sweet words and promises of precious jewels, trinkets and more bodies of water in which to frolic; let the dragons entertain them all year.

The Grand Duke

The Tai Sui is the overlord of the world and possible herald of calamity. Born in relative historical anonymity on the plains to the east of modern-day Xi’an, this year’s office holder is the Mongolian-era official Li Cheng. He began his career on the southwestern side of the twisting and turning Liupan mountain range, where he worked in the local surveillance commission. He rose to finish his career as a district magistrate in an urban setting near Xi’an. Known for his filial piety at home and his probity in office, he was assiduous but lenient; he rooted out wickedness in society and went after lawbreakers. With a reputation for supporting farmers and other local workers, he would only demand goods and services for the state according to what each could give. On a chilly day before the new year, we found his gruff presence back in the Liupan Mountains, checking on some local villages to see how they were getting through a cold winter. Generous to a fault, he gave up some of his lunch break to chat about the upcoming year. Despite his longstanding attraction to local affairs, he was also pleased to be of assistance in the higher echelons of the spirit world. His advice for the year: 'Embrace me, and come to me with an honest heart. I shan’t forget, nor shall I punish those with good intentions.' A true northerner, he carried a flask of milk and some dried beef and lamb and offered to share his meal. All along the watchtowers, we heard him referred to as honest and impartial and a terror to those who cause harm. A figure who could ferret out the smallest details of any affair - best to hide nothing from him, they said. Look for him this year in the southeast.

The Year Breaker

Northwest is where the Year Breaker is spending the year. Avoid straight lines to and from that area in your house, from your residence to work, or even on business and holiday trips. Approach the area as you would a beloved grandparent who has fallen asleep in the middle of the living room after lunch. You want to watch a programme on the television, but also don’t want to wake the said grandparent. Get out your headphones, turn on the teletext, stream the broadcast to another room and close the door quietly; whatever your solution is to navigate the perils of this sector, it has to involve a little forethought and a lot of surreptitious logistics. The same advice comes from those who warn of poisonous spiders - they won’t harm you if you don’t annoy them.

Three Killings

This year, the pesky Three Killings star is in the south. Associated with the summer’s height and the sun’s warmth, the south is likely to bring pestilence and disaster. The Three Killings is there, ready to pounce on any generative activities to do with construction or renovation. It is joined there by the Seven Red star (see Property Outlook) which, given a free hand, will add its own fire element and encourage anything to do with robberies, property loss, theft and even altercations. Tensions at work or disharmony at home may well arise in this direction, and the Three Killings will be dressed up in its cheerleading outfit and ready to dance a celebratory jig. What to do? Concentrate on having water-associated items there to squelch some of the fire energy and also metal-associated items to use the fire energy in a productive way by having it transform the metal. For decoration, use black and white items.

Five Yellow

Sitting in the west is the menacing Five Yellow. Spend too long in this sector and you might feel like you are on crowded public transport and everyone else has arrived with sharpened elbows. The Five Yellow, he of the endless and untiring exaltation of all forms of disaster and illness, belongs to earth, and is entering the western sector whose home element is metal. If you cannot drive a stake through his heart, then at least you can mitigate his animosity. Use fire to smelt the metal - red-coloured objects; and wood to draw the energy from the earth - green-coloured objects. To go a little deeper: should the kitchen area be in the south, emphasise the green over the red; a kitchen itself already belongs to fire and is likely to augment the earth, giving the Five Yellow more energy.

Feng Shui Index 2024 report

Year of the Wood Dragon

Sorcerer: Dr James Greenbaum
Sorcerer's apprentice: Stella Liu
Wand bearer: Justin SL Chan
Director/Editor: Sandy Chen Dowling; Yukti Vidyarthi
Translation editor: Sandra Tsui
Design/Art: Cecilia Wong; Elva Lau; Lizzie Lau; Patrina Leung; Jon Berkeley
Web development: Paul Ngan; Timothy Wang
Video production: Alexandra Lee; Joy Zhou
Thanks to: Christina Qianna; Ellen Lo; Melanie Ng; Priscilla Man
Producer: Liz Patterson

Launched in 1992 as a Chinese New Year card, the CLSA Feng Shui Index is a light-hearted outlook for the Hong Kong market and a well-loved firm tradition. Please note that this guide is not a research report.