Dragon, tiger, phoenix
and turtle. No, it’s not a wish list for the zoo. These are the four celestial animals you might have read about in feng shui books. What are they, what do they represent and why do you care?
These four animals originally represented the four cardinal directions north, south, east and west, and they took the form of mountains or hills. The green dragon resides in the east, the white tiger in the west, the red phoenix in the south and the black turtle in the north. You might notice that the color of each of the animals matches the color assigned to that direction. Generally houses faced south to take advantage of the warming sun during the cold winters. So the celestial animals always were on the same side of your house.
The black turtle stands at the back of your house and is the tallest of the four. Like the the shell of the turtle protects it, this mountain protects you. In front of your house is the red phoenix. The lowest of the mountains it should be further away. This mountain holds your energy in a pool.The wide open space provides a runway for the phoenix to take flight. To your left is the green dragon. It should be higher than the right side of your house. The dragon side represents the male head of household. The white tiger represents the female of the household and is on the right side of your house.
The four mountains offer protection to you and your household. The popular expression I’ve got your back is exactly what the turtle does. Are you wishing foryour career to take off make sure the phoenix has room to fly. The tiger and dragon create arms to enfold you like a mother and father. If the green dragon is higher or bigger then the male of the household is thought to be stronger. Likewise if the white tiger is higher or bigger then the female of the household is thought to be stronger. The mountains should not be too close to your home or create a hazard from heavy rain runoff. They also should not be ugly or broken.
These are the classic positions measured from the inside of your house looking outward to the front yard. Today the animals are used to demonstrate the left or right side, or the front and back of your house. They have lost the meaning of the directions. There are situations that dictate that the usual configuration be changed and this is the sphere of more advanced feng shui studies. But you can still use the animals to say what side of the house your are discussing.