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"In search of Bristol's dragons" and Happy Year of the Goat

February 13, 2015:

The first ever feng shui tour of Bristol takes place on Saturday (Feb 14, 2015) led by ARC's Martin Palmer and the Bristol Post's Kate Edser caught up on some of the stories.

She learned about Bristol's "Dragon", how the natural landscape of one of Britain's oldest cities has determined how people have settled on it, and how the principles of feng shui can be applied to any European medieval city with interesting results.

The tour stars at 11am from St Stephen's church BS1 1EQ. Tickets cost £12 for adults, £10 for concessions. To sign up, email Pippa Moss at

"Whether by accident, design or simple common sense, Bristol happens to be an almost perfect example of how the Chinese would lay out a city based on their ancient principles of feng shui.

If you believe in the concept then this system of harmony and balance has led Bristolians to exist with the landscape over the centuries in order to harness its power and, crucially, its protection.

The story of the city's feng shui suitability will be brought to life on Saturday by religious historian Martin Palmer, who is leading a two hour walking tour – the first ever Chinese feng shui reading of the city – when you'll find out where the "dragon" and the "tiger" lie.

Martin, who's an expert on Chinese religion, says feng shui is rooted in Daoism, which is concerned with working in tune with nature.

"If you go with the flow you are harnessing and being harnessed by the power of the universe and that's what we can explore in Bristol because Bristol, quite extraordinarily, has an almost perfect Chinese feng shui.

Feng shui is thought to date back more than 3.000 years in China. Literally translated it means wind water, both elements associated with good fortune. It is a system of laws considered to govern the arrangement of space and layout in relation to the flow of energy, chi.
"I don't think it's so much by accident, it's just what the Anglo Saxon, Medieval and later citizens of Bristol understood about building in harmony with nature.

"In Christian tradition the north is the direction of evil and this is because, in the Bible, Israel is always attacked from the north. In Chinese thought, it is exactly the same because the Mongols always invaded from the north.

"Therefore a city must be protected by hills to the north, so in Bristol St Michael's Hill and Brandon Hill are absolutely perfectly placed.

"A hill is a dragon and Brandon Hill in Bristol is the head of the dragon and at the head of the dragon in traditional Chinese belief you concentrate its cosmic power by building a pagoda – and Cabot Tower is on exactly the spot where, if it were a Chinese city, you'd stick a pagoda. There was a chapel up there before Cabot Tower.

"The four directions have four colours and four creatures that are in charge. The north is black and the creature of the north is the snake.

Read the full story

Visit the Sacred Land website for details of more tours and workshops.

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