The roots of Feng Shui can be traced back to the Western Chou Dynasty (1122-207 BCE). It was during this time that shamans, diviners, and sage-kings laid down the first three building blocks for what is now known as the art of Classical Feng Shui. These three blocks are described as pa-k"ua (eight trigrams), the compass, and the theory of change (I-Ching). From those blocks Feng Shui has expanded to include the four traditional schools, still in existence today; the San-yuan, San-ho, Hsuan-k"ung, and Pa-chai(2001 Han).
During the Chou dynasty in ancient China King Wen was the first to use pa-k"ua to describe the natual energies flowing through the world. Pa-k"ua or the eight trigrams was basically a compass, showing the different flows of energy, in different directions. North is water (k"an), northeast is mountain (ken), East is thunder (chen), southeast is wind (sun), South is fire, southwest is earth or mother (k"un) west is lake (tui), and northwest is heaven or father (chien). These eight directions and their desciptive energies, indicate the flow of all energy throughout the world.(Shambala 2001) .
The Han Dynasty (206 BCE-219 CE) is when the art of k"an-yu is first founded by the Taoists Huan-shih Kung and Ch"ing Wu. K"an-yu directly translated means "mountains and low places", and it was used specifically to study the flow of energy carried in landforms. This art from the Han Dynasty on was essential in the placement of everything, from cities to graves. The Chinese believe, according to the art of k"an-yu that everything has a natural amount of either positive or negative energy and the placement of structures and objects must take advantage of the positive energy and flow naturally with that energy, within which they are immersed. Placing things to correctly compliment and take advantage of the natural energy flows, was first only used by emperors and nobles to place their burial grounds (so as to harness positive energy and supposedly ensure a long reign for their dynasties).