Richard Ashworth’s work has been highlighted many times in the media but he is probably best known for introducing authentic Chinese Imperial Feng Shui to BBC tv’s Housebusters and for his book The Feng Shui Diaries which, apart from anything else, may be the funniest book written on the subject to date. He is internationally famous for his ground breaking transformational work with the ba zi or Four Pillars of Destiny, otherwise misleadingly known as the Chinese Horoscope. Press has included the Guardian Diary, Spirit and Destiny, Art and Architecture, Elle Decoration and 25 Beautiful Homes. He has worked with A-Listers such as Gillian Anderson of the X-Files (who said he “commands both confidence and awe”) and professionals like Britain’s favourite Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen (see link below) and he has been the subject of the Sunday Times feature ‘A Life in the Day’. His poignant, informative and often very funny online diaries are available free from this website. In the summer of 2010 on TV’s Big Brother’s Little Brother he gave his view that the Big Brother houses were “the dark side of feng shui.”
Richard learned authentic feng shui by studying with a series of masters over a period of decades.
“Some masters call feng shui a science. For me there’s some of that -I aim to be able to repeat procedures for the same outcome – health, wealth or wisdom, time and again of course but whether it’s placing water or listening closely to what they say and reflecting, feng shui is frankly part calculation, part magic, part ritual and part love. But what do I know? It’s all derived from the Tao (or Way) and it is in the nature of the Tao that it won’t be pinned down- except when it will.”
Having spent much of the 1990′s sifting through information to discern what was feng shui, what folk lore, what mumbo jumbo and what pure invention (meanwhile receiving encouragement from a number of authorities such as GrandMaster Raymond Lo and Lillian Too) Richard decided he needed to learn from an authentic Chinese Master and was fortunate in being introduced to Master Chan Kun Wah. Although born and trained in Hong Kong, Master (now GrandMaster) Chan was based in Edinburgh.
“My first contact with Master Chan was early in 1998 when I was invited to shadow him as he surveyed. It was extraordinary. Master Chan could tell who lived in a house and how they were faring from the outside without leaving the car… I was determined to learn how. ”
Those who have watched Housebusters (free dvd available from this site) will know that Richard has developed something of these skills. To see Richard in action, follow this link.
“Before Master Chan would teach me, he insisted I spend a year with Derek Walters * the most respected Western authority on the ba zi (or Chinese Horoscope) from whom I gained a wealth of knowledge of Chinese mysteries which was wonderful. Master Chan and I kept in touch, meeting up several times and I received priceless instruction and at the end of that year I took up fulltime study. Typically I would attend a class with him for a weekend once a month, make copious notes and then spend the next month working out what he had said. Colleagues studying along side me included world authorities such as Jon Sandifer and Gill Hale.”
Richard studied with Master Chan from 1998 to 2002; since this time he has studied with Joey Yap, Howard Choy, Master Mas Kehardthum and most recently Master Peter Leung as well as attending workshops with pretty much every Chinese Master who will teach Europeans. In 2005 Richard also completed the first ever feng shui course certificated by a Chinese University at Huazhong University in Hubei Province, Central China under the tutelage of Professor Wang Yude.
Along the way he has worked with corporations, architectural practices, entrepreneurs and in government departments but his daily task remains “going in and out of people’s houses being enigmatic.”
“What I’m interested in is leaving people happier than I found them.”
Typically a survey starts with examination of the ba zi (or personal feng shui) which often reveals startling facts about the subject . This is usually followed by a look within and around the building and Richard reflecting as to exactly what it is “saying,” Then he will draft a chi map of the premises that acts as a sort of biography of the building. This can take a while but when he starts to suggest changes, there is typically a flurry of activity during which the whole “feel” of a property changes rapidly. His sessions are recorded for the client and a full survey includes written bullet points.
Typically people come to him when their lives are stuck or they are at a cross roads. His direct, authoritative and humorous approach has changed lives for the better from Poland to New Zealand. “I aim always for health, wealth and wisdom.”
From 2005 to 2007 he edited Feng Shui News, the Journal of the Feng Shui Society and in October 2006 addressed the 2nd International Conference on Scientific Feng Shui in Hong Kong, one of very few Westerners to do so. In 2008 he was co-chair and organiser of the 1st International Congress on Scientific Feng Shui and the Built Environment in Turin.
Richard is co founder of World Feng Shui Day, a growing international gathering which takes place on the 5th of February each year. A regular enquirer of A Course in Miracles and a longterm student of the Book of Changes, Richard is happily married with six children aged from 17 to 35.
Currently he is engaged in research into the cycles of history which is intended to lead to a series of books and tv series from 2015.
Although he is in constant demand by the various media, his 9 to 5 job remains surveying buildings and drafting ba zis for health, happiness and abundance.
Richard surveys for Kelly Hoppen: Click here to download the article in Spirit and Destiny Magazine