This Expert Combines Science and Feng Shui. Here Are His Forecasts on the Year of the Ox
Patrick Lim Fernandez is a feng shui and Chinese metaphysics master. He runs the Yin and Yang Shop of Harmony with his mother, Baby. But unlike the other experts in this field, Fernandez also relies heavily on science: He uses the scientific method, statistics, trend analysis, and combines these with his knowledge on feng shui and Chinese metaphysics.
He has a degree in Management Engineering and Economics and has a rich background in finance and analytics. When he moved to the U.S., he pursued graduate studies in California. He received his MBA from UCLA and put in some additional advanced analytic courses at MIT and Stanford University. He also pursued a business career in the U.S. in finance and banking, working for a few multinational companies which included Wells Fargo, HSBC, and Capital One. Fernandez was also able to work in places such as Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC, and London.
Now, he’s one of the most prominent feng shui and Chinese metaphysics masters in the world.
In the following interview, we pick his mind about how he combines science with feng shui and Chinese metaphysics to forecast what is likely going to happen in the future.
Esquire Philippines: Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?
Patrick Lim Fernandez: I'm the principal consultant feng shui expert for the Yin and Yang Shop of Harmony. It's been managed by my mom Baby Lim Fernandez and we've had the business for more than 20 years now. We started at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel where my sister Princess Fernandez was a primary consultant.
When my sister passed away, we had to adapt. My mother and I are now taking the lead for the consultations, ceremonies, and whatnot. We are now at the New World Hotel in the lagoon area, we've been there for about four or five years now. We have a shop that does a consultation for people and for properties. We also have a shop for items such as lucky feng shui items. That's kind of our business in a nutshell.
ESQ: What Animal Signs Are Lucky in 2021?
PLF: About the animal signs, the overall energies are good for the world at large but what's even better for you is knowing your specific block.
What many people don’t know is apart from your year animal, you also have an animal for the day, time, and month you were born. The most important animal actually is the day animal. We have some resources on our website where you can actually go and put your birthday.
There are a few animal signs that stand out in 2021 in terms of their luck. The first one is the Dog. It is probably the luckiest sign for 2021 because it has the most positive stars and the least negative ones, that’s definitely a good ratio. The Rooster is also going to be lucky, so they can take advantage of that. And then the Ox. 2021 is the Year of the Ox. When it’s your year, you can consider that year as the “general” in charge of the year (like a general in the military) and you can ride on the coattails of that general, but there’s also a tendency to steal the spotlight from the general, so there are things the Ox must do to appease the general. The Horse is going to be pretty lucky this year, too.
ESQ: What is the Ox like?
PLF: On the Ox side, we know it to be a very helpful animal, very hardworking. Those are two characteristics that are going to be good for us this year: If you're helpful to others and you're very hardworking, you should get a lot of good energy on your way.
Just be careful not to be too stubborn like an ox. Try not to be too fixated on whatever you're doing and try to see other points of view and work with people.
ESQ: What Animal Signs Are Not So Lucky in 2021?
PLF: There are not-so-good animal signs that we have to watch because they don’t have a lot of positive stars. Number one is the Rabbit. The next one is the Pig, and the last one is the Goat.
The Goat actually has to pay the most attention: In the cycle of the 12 Animal Signs, each animal has a best friend and an archenemy. For the Ox, its archenemy is the Goat, they're the ones clashing this year. The Goat should be the most careful or the most cautious of all the Animal Signs.
ESQ: What about for those of us born in the Year of the Dragon?
PLF: The Dragon is actually one of the best signs from the career perspective, so it's good that you know on the professional side, you'll be able to have advancement and have good opportunities. Dragons can take advantage of that.
Another thing is the Dragon has this thing called a benefactor star. A benefactor star means someone from a position of authority will be able to help you out when you need it, and the nature of this is it will likely come from a female.
So if you were to ask for help and you were given a choice between a male and female, choose the female, you’ll have a better chance.
ESQ: You have such a rich background in finance and analytics. What made you shift to Feng Shui?
PLF: I would say the best way I can describe this is kind of like a balance of the yin and the yang, or the left brain and the right brain. So on the left-brain side, I had a very typical childhood growing up as part of Generation X in the Philippines. My siblings and I grew up in the province in General Santos, South Cotabato, and then at some point, we moved to the city in Metro Manila.
I finished high school in De La Salle Santiago-Zobel and then for college, I went to Ateneo where I have degrees in Management Engineering and Economics. And then my first job was with Ayala Land in the real estate development side. So this really included all the facets of design, architecture, and construction, I was even involved in finance, forecasting, and project management. There was a client that was among the first big real estate companies to incorporate feng shui consultancy into its project plan.
They would have feng shui experts look at all the plans by unit and the overall development. These experts would make recommendations. Incorporating feng shui in big real estate projects is becoming the norm these days and I'm glad I got an early jump on it when I was on the development side.
I was very lucky in my career and I think feng shui had a lot to do with it, that I was in the right place at the right time.
ESQ: How do you combine science and feng shui?
PLF: A lot of Western views see the world as linear, so things are just moving along, kind of one-dimensional.
For the Chinese and a lot of Eastern philosophies, events are cyclical: Things happen over and over again throughout the years and centuries—what happened today may already have happened many many years ago. This is how we are able to see patterns and trends and apply analytics and statistics to them.
The first one I think is really the importance of data and information. It gives an objective assessment of any situation, so rather than relying on opinions or anecdotes, you can get data, and then you'll have an accurate and holistic assessment of any situation, pretty much.
The second thing that I've learned and kept with me over the years is looking at trends and analyzing trends. This is really where you recognize patterns from the past. You can use that to look at possible scenarios for the future and do forecasting and sensitivity analysis.
ESQ: But when people hear the word feng shui, there's a very mystical tone to it.
PLF: You mentioned demystifying feng shui. I think when you hear the word feng shui, it conjures up all different connotations. I think there was even a movie series not too long ago with the word feng shui, which I think was a horror film. That pretty much is not the way feng shui is.
I want to make a distinction between Feng Shui and Chinese metaphysics. Feng shui translated from Chinese means wind and water. It’s literally the words for wind and water. This really connotes the movement of energy in the world and also our relationship with the physical environment and nature. So it's all about how to live in harmony with the main elements of nature. We're really just a part of the world and we don't own the world. We need to learn how to live in harmony with it, that's what feng shui is.
Chinese metaphysics really has to do more with the person. Some loose translations would be like astrology or horoscope, but it really it goes deeper than that—it's really the metaphysics of what your individual energies are as a person, and that’s what guides your outlook on your relationships, your health, your wealth, and so on.
What we do in our business is look at both feng shui and Chinese metaphysics.
I would say the heart of it is we employ the scientific method. It’s really just a systematic structure to gather data, test hypotheses, and then come up with replicable results.
We do a couple of things. One is like a statistical modeling process. So first is the data on the metaphysic side with the data we get the birth information so we need to know the year, month, day, and time of the person when they were born and also all of their close relatives like especially their parents, siblings, children, so that's the information we also use along with a few data points.
On the feng shui side, the data includes the direction of the home where it's facing. We also look at the characteristics of the property. I think there are some popular ones that made their way to common practices, for example, the notion of tumbok in Tagalog, which is like a T-intersection. I think a lot of people already know it's not good and that really came from feng shui.
We also look into the property’s characteristics, the lot’s incline, the building, is it part of a city or a field. We also look at the time of construction. All of those things are the data points we gather.
ESQ: Let's go back to before 2020: You were the only expert who advised people to be very careful about investments and travel. We knew what happened next! What guided you to make that forecast?
PLF: There were a few signs. I mentioned how things move in cycles. There's a 60-year cycle that actually governs a lot of the locked energies. The last cycle started last year. The previous ones that occurred in recent history were in 1900, in 1960, and then in 2020. The Year of the Golden Rat we had just last year was the first in a 60-year cycle, a transition year. My closest analogy would be transition years in politics, in which one administration takes over another administration or when one work shift is replaced by another work shift.
Whenever there are transitions, chaotic energy tends to be very high. That's really what happened when this new cycle came, and all of a sudden we had all these energies that were starting to establish themselves.
You saw it pretty much in the economic perspective, the health perspective, and then we also saw that to some degree in politics, in socioeconomic justice, in the environment.
Another factor was that 2020 was a year of yang metal. It would be similar to a sword or an axe—it's very aggressive, it's very strong— those were some of the hallmarks of 2020,
Marrying this with my financial background, if you know there's going to be a pullback in the market or just going to be a recession coming in or a slowdown in GDP growth, the best thing you can do for yourself is to prepare.
ESQ: What are your forecasts for 2021?
PLF: What we're seeing this year, fortunately, is better, so first of all, it looks to be calmer and less chaotic. Then the other thing is, it's a yin energy. The yin energy of the year should be calmer than the yang energy of last year.
The Year of the Ox is also a yin metal. Unlike the yang metal of 2020, which is similar to a sword or an axe, the nature of this year in metal is more similar to jewelry like golden rings, earrings. There's going to be a lot of very charismatic energy.
People will generally gravitate to each other, there's going to be a lot of attraction, and overall kindness. I think after last year, we’ve definitely seen a lot of that already manifested.
ESQ: Can you elaborate on the nature of the yin metal?
PLF: On the other side of the yin metal, not all that glitters is gold. We really should focus on substance over style and we should really just look beyond appearances, and I think what's important especially in our culture these days: to be wary of fake news. Beware of fake news and do your own fact-checking.
ESQ: We need to hear more positive trends. Are there more?
PLF: There are more positive trends as well! The past two years were the Pig and the Rat, and now we have the Ox, and those are all winter animals. The Ox which is this year is the end of winter, and next year should be the beginning of spring. That's another good thing that's emerging from this trend. The overall trend is that we're seeing this year as a better year as compared to last year.
Considering that 2021 is a yin metal year, we have to know ourselves and be honest with our strengths and our talents so that we know kind of what we can offer the world. We must also be genuine. When we're actually talking to people and sharing ideas, sincerity comes out.
In terms of the overall forecast as mentioned earlier, it's going to be a lot calmer than last year, we should be emerging from winter. The Tiger is almost upon us: This is when people start getting up and start to get ready for the spring. All of that is very positive. The Year of the Ox is going to be very charismatic next year, so take advantage of your strengths and remember that all that glitters is not gold.
ESQ: What else do the stars tell us?
PLF: There are a couple more that that came up from the stars that people can take advantage of.
First, there is an academic star, which means that there'll be a propensity for learning.
Better in yourself so this will be both formal and informal learning so you can take classes or courses at school or you can actually just learn on your own by reading a book, talking to someone, or watching on YouTube—there are many ways to learn these days so take advantage of that, you'll only make yourself better and you'll be able to help the world at large.
The second thing that comes up in the stars is there looks to be a very emotional star and the effect of this on people is a lot of people might become short-tempered and even when you're anxious or even have paranoia. This is like a prevalent energy so this is important just to kind of take a step back whenever this happens take a deep breath and then just calming your mind.