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Who’s Got Your Back? The Abacus Can Help

Back in 2004, during the first group tour I took to China, I discovered surprisingly that the abacus was still being used in some stores. I was having a jacket made for me in Shanghai, so the seamstress used her abacus to figure out how much it was going to cost. In fact, there were many abacuses (plural can also be abaci) lying around her shop.

The abacus is sometimes referred to as a counting frame. It was introduced to China early in the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644) and is made up of a wood frame with a horizontal bar running through it. Parallel wires run perpendicular to the bar with 7 movable balls on them. Two of the 7 balls are above the dividing bar, each one representing a denomination of 5. The remaining 5 are below the bar and represent a denomination of 1.

A little-known fact is that aside from mathematical calculations, the abacus can be used as a Feng Shui adjustment when protection is needed. In order to qualify as an adjustment, the beads need to be in a specific configuration.

If you exclude the top and bottom beads and look only at the beads that surround the middle transverse bar in the photo at left, you can see that there each wire has just 3 beads on the underneath side of the cross bar. Because each bead below the bar stands for a count of 1, the total number configuration is 3 on those specific wires. Every other wire has those 3 beads from below the bar along with a bead from the top that now changes the number from 3 to 8 (each bead on the upper half stands for a count of 5).

So, the number configuration in the photo is (left to right) 8, 3, 8, 3, 8, 3, 8, 3, etc.

Both 3 and 8 come from the Hetu chart (Yellow River chart – see diagram at right) which was the original inspiration for the bagua. As you can see, 3 and 8 are paired in the East side (left)* of the chart which is where the element of Wood resides. Therefore, the abacus has become a forest of trees that can protect you.

Obviously, these beads need to be glued in place because the abacus must be set upright to be a strong safeguard. This would be good adjustment if:

  • You have your back to a window when working at your desk – place it on the windowsill behind you (similar to using a turtle if you know about that adjustment)
  • Near a cash register to protect against robbery – place on the counter nearby
  • Or just to have for all-round security and safety – place on your nightstand or near your desk in your office

Although typically small, these little forests of trees can provide the protection you need.

*Note that the Chinese view the compass with North at the bottom, so the East side is on the left.