Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing the human existence with the surrounding environment. The term Feng Shui literally translates as "wind-water" in English. Feng Shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The Feng Shui practice discusses architecture in metaphoric terms of "invisible forces" that bind the universe, earth, and man together, known as “Qi” or “Chi” (energy).
Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water. Historically, Feng Shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of Feng Shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass.