Monthly Columns

Shui Shed

Welcome to The Shui Shed….

. a new column for PaganPagesOrg e-zine that will explore the basic principles of Feng Shui. This column will share concepts that can be used to bring positive energy and enhance the vibrations within your physical environment. This edition we’re sharing the story of the Chinese Zodiac…which may be a bit of folklore…




As with many things in many cultures, the basic concepts of century old practices are passed down through the generations by way of storytelling. As the story was shared, did each storyteller add their own personal twist to make it more interesting for the listener? Perhaps. That may be why some of the basic concepts of Feng Shui, which have been wrapped in a story feel like folklore and appear to be just that … a story.

I’m about to share with you a story called The Great Race. This story has a few versions, but the basic concepts remain the same. This story presents the animals of the Chinese Zodiac in a specific order and some of their personality traits are revealed. Enjoy!

Long, long ago, before the Chinese Zodiac, the Jade Emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his guards. By sending an immortal being into man’s world the message was spread that there would be a race to the Heavenly Gate.

The day of the race the animals set off to cross the river to reach the Heavenly Gate. Being the best of friends, Cat and Rat hatched a plan to ride atop Ox, who was large and hardy and surely to finish the race first. But they were jolted abruptly, and the force sent Cat flying into the river. Cat let out a piercing hiss and Ox with Rat atop, moved far ahead leaving Cat behind.

Ox lumbered toward the finish line and was going to come first. Suddenly, Rat leapt from Ox’s back crossing the finish line. Ox being too composed a sort to fuss was content with second place. Just then, Tiger burst from beneath the water. Huge paw prints bore down on the damp muddy shore and with one final fierce stride, Tiger claimed the third spot in the Zodiac.

Leaping from one rock to another Rabbit was keeping pace and quickly crossing the river. Noticing a log floating by Rabbit sped into a wild paddle, pressing both paws to the log, clinging as tightly as possible. Suddenly a gust of wind sent the log hurdling down the river. Rabbit neared the shore hopping right across the finish line. Rabbit did not stop when passing the Emperor who was smiling at Rabbit with a generous grin. A mix of relief and exhilaration seeped through Rabbit, replacing the disappointment of fourth place.

Moving in a majestic aerial stride making his rapid descent, Dragon soared swiftly over the finish line. Wondering why Dragon did not come in first place, the Jade Emperor addressed the Dragon. Dragon explained “Exalted Jade Emperor, on my way I saw several villagers that were in trouble. A fire had ignited amidst their crops and to put out the flames, I used my breath to extinguish the blaze. I also saw a tiny Rabbit in the river clinging to a log, so I used my breath to push it to shore.” Being acquainted with Dragon’s nature, the Jade Emperor smiled again.

As that moment, Horse was in the midst of galloping across the river. As Horse burst from the river with only a few strides to the finish line, Snake surged out from the grasses. Horse recoiled, leaping backwards and with a quick slither, Snake crossed the finish line. Still smiling and not judging, the Emperor acknowledged that Snake had merely been clever. Realizing that fear had cost the sixth spot, Horse stepped slowly across the finish line.

Back in the river, Monkey, Rooster, and Sheep, all floated atop a raft, which Rooster had found resting by the opposite shore. Together, the three of them worked furiously, using lengthy branches as makeshift paddles. Sheep had been so comforting that the others felt it was only right to let Sheep claim eighth place. Monkey claimed the ninth and Rooster took tenth place.

Being an adept swimmer, Dog scrambled across the finish line next. Because of not bathing for some time, Dog had frolicked in the water and thus claimed eleventh place. Over the horizon, a loud exhausted oink sounded. Pig moved at a surprisingly swift gait and upon crossing the finish line the Jade Emperor gave Pig a sharp glance. Pig snorted “Sorry, Exalted Jade Emperor – I was hungry and couldn’t resist stopping to gobble something up. I felt sleepy after eating.”

And so, that is the story of the Great Race and how the 12 animals of the Zodiac were decided.


About the Author:

Linda Bischoff

Over the past 35 years, Linda has been helping people curate elements of their physical space to influence mind, body and spirit. Her focus has always been on creating meaningful connection with our environment.

Within her practice of Feng Shui she combines the principles of Interior Design and the concepts of Biophilia to ensure positive energy flow. When we enhance the vibrations around us we become more likely to achieve our dreams and goals.

Linda lives in Halton Hills, Ontario with her husband and their cat Molley. Find out more about her and her practice at