The Feng Shui of Bath
Have you wondered why, a sleepy town suddenly becomes prosperous and hits the headlines for various reasons. Then suddenly as it appeared, the town goes back to what it was before – a sleepy town. Then after a period of less than 200 years, the town becomes alive. It becomes prosperous and hits the headlines as before. I am using the city of Bath as an example. It was established as a Roman Spa Town from about 40AD. Then it became prominent in the 18th and 19th Centuries. It quietened down until the late 20th Century when this City becomes active again.This travel article will try to explain this observation using methods of Traditional Feng Shui in “the Feng Shui of Bath”.
Traditional Feng Shui – A Chinese System of Land Management based on empirical observations. Developed some 4,000 years ago, it has come part of Chinese Culture where the environment is considered an essential factor in the quality of life of the people. Traditional Feng Shui was used by the Imperial Court of the Chinese Emperor to prepare successful infrastructure development projects like new buildings, cities or canals etc.
Traditional Feng Shui, like all Chinese metaphysical systems, is based on the flow of energy. When there is energy, there is life. The greater the quantity of energy, the better the quality of life. Similarly, when there is a better quality of energy, the better the quality of life. The word life is about the living. When people live together in harmony, there is prosperity, good health and relationships. In other words, a location with good feng shui is where the energy accumulates. It will be an area of good living.
Therefore, traditional feng shui is about identifying the flows of energy and designing a town to hold or accumulate this energy. It is about accumulating the quantity and quality of this energy for the benefit of the people.
Energy flows with the contours of the land. It flows easily downhill and valleys. It accumulates in troughs. The pattern of the flow is very much like water. Also, energy is also carried with the flow of the river.
Secondly, there is another variable. It is timeliness. There is the period of a 20 year cycle where the quality of energy changes from the direction it comes from. There are 9 of these periods which make up the supercycle.
|Number||Direction||Supercycle (1664-1844)||Supercycle (1844-2024)|
|5||South East/North West||1764-1784||1944-1964|
In this modern era, traditional feng shui is used to design buildings and cities or to help property developers sell their buildings faster. For this post, I am using the methods of traditional feng shui to analyse and explain these observations.
The City of Bath
Bath is famed for the mineral water from the naturally heated geothermal springs. There has always been a settlement there since 500BC. The Romans built a spa town which was used from 40 to 400AD. Ever since, there has been a town which centred on the Abbey.
However, in the 18th Century, the reputed healing properties of the waters became known to the general public. This gained credence with the legend of King Bladad. Bath then developed into a significant city in England. Of course, it has its ups and downs. The buildings and the layout are a testament of the past and now the city is a UNESCO World heritage site.
Bath was a hive of activity in the 18th and 19th Century. There was a considerable amount of property development as a result of people coming to Bath for the healing properties of the Spa .
By the mid 18th Century, the iconic buildings included The Circus, Queens Square, Royal Crescent, Pump Room, Pulteney Bridge, Great Pulteney Street, Assembly Rooms, Theatre Royal and the Guildhall were built. Bath by the late 18th to early 19th Century had become the cultural centre which included the likes of Jane Austen, Oliver Goldsmith, and later Charles Dickens, artist Thomas Gainsborough together with the major political figures like Lord Nelson, Josiah Wedgwood, William Pitt, Lord Clive and the explorer Dr David Livingstone.
The official confirmation of the healing properties of water was the building of The Royal Mineral Water Hospital. It treated patients using mineral water.
In the second half of the 19th Century, Bath acquired a reputation for the retired people and activity quietened down. It became a backwater for quite some time even though it was reasonably prosperous city.
The Second Coming:
It was in the 1987, Bath acquired the status of a UNESCO world heritage site. Building activity flourished. There was the building of the replacement Pool for the Roman Baths as the pool was declared unfit for bathing. This is the Thermae Bath Spa. Then the building of the new SouthGate Shopping centre and a new Hotel & Spa – Gainsborough Bath Spa. There has been a considerable amount of cleaning up of the city. The buildings in the City are built with Bath Stone – a limestone block of a golden yellow colour. When the building is just completed, it is very clean and “white” (as described by Jane Austen), with the passing of decades of time, a dirty brown colour covers the surface. Restoring the coloured blocks to the original colour is expensive and time consuming but it makes a big difference to the appearance.
Analysis of the Feng Shui of Bath
Why is Bath prosperous?
There are a number of considerations in the analysis of the Feng Shui of Bath.
- Landform Analysis of the Feng Shui of Bath – Where Bath is located and the position of the river. Bath is situated in a valley where the River Avon runs. The river flows to Bath in the NE direction and the river flows out of Bath in the West direction.
The energy flows down the hill and stops by the river banks. Water stops the flow of energy. Hence, this energy accumulates at the lowest point. This is the location of the centre of city of Bath.
The second flow of energy is from the water coming up from the spring.
This explains, from the Feng Shui perspective, why Bath is a prosperous city. If it did not have this energy, it would have remained a small village or town, like the many that dot the rest of the country. It is this energy that makes the difference. However, this does not explain why it is not an outstanding city at times.
- Timeliness in the Feng Shui of Bath
Bath is in a valley with the river coming in North East. The River loops around the City and then flows in a Westerly direction. The River Avon in this part flows in a valley with hills on both sides.
In this formula, at a particular time period, the energy from that direction has a good quality. For example between the years 1984 to 2004, this “good quality” energy comes from the West. A town which is getting the energy from the West will see a rise in prosperity during this period of time.
Bath is in a valley through which the River Avon flows. This valley stretches from the North East to the West. The valley “funnels” the flow of energy. Therefore, Bath gets the energy from the West as well as the North East Direction.
Therefore, from this theory, the periods of prosperity were between 1804-1824 (West) and 1824-1844 (North East). This was the peak of the previous “boom” in prosperity of Bath.
Currently, Bath is currently experiencing a period of prosperity. This is most noticeable when the city attained UNESCO heritage site status in 1987. There has been a considerable amount of refurbishment activity in the City. Also, with the 3 notable building projects – Southgate Shopping Centre, Thermae Bath Spa and the Gainsborough Bath Spa. There also has been a considerable increase in the number of tourist visitors to Bath.
This ties in very well with the second episode of prosperity during 1984-2004 (West) and 2004-2024 (North East).
This travel article has gone through the reasons, using the methods of Traditional Feng Shui in the analysis of the Feng Shui of Bath, to explain the rises of prominence of the City of Bath.
There are other towns and cities that come into prominence and then disappear to the background. I will post on these when we visit the town in the near future.
The City of Bath is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
About Dr Michael Oon:
Michael was brought up in Singapore and came to the UK for schooling. He was a forensic scientist at the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (New Scotland Yard, London) for 20 years. He is now a consultant practicing traditional feng shui and works with property developers. He specialises in helping to sell property faster. He has travelled extensively around the world as part of his work and together with his wife Helen.
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