Tracing the Evolution of Fengshui With Xiaokun Song - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Tracing the Evolution of Fengshui With Xiaokun Song

4 sessions
$230 per person
Up to 35 people
See Dates
$230 per person
$230 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this 4-part seminar, explore the history and transformation of Fengshui through time, learning fundamental concepts and methods along the way.

Course Description

In this course taught by Dr. Xiaokun Song, we’ll dig into the history that birthed and shaped Fengshui, looking at it not only as a practice but also as a cultural tool to navigate a shifting and uncertain world. We’ll begin with the basics, covering foundational concepts of cosmology and divination before delving into the two major schools of Fengshui: the Configuration School (Xingshi zong) and the Compass School (Liqi zong). We’ll cover basic principles and techniques, as well as the many ways the practice has morphed in order to persist through the introduction of Christianity, and later, through a societal shift toward science and away from the “superstitious.” We’ll explore the form Fengshui takes today and how practitioners operate in contemporary China, drawing from Dr. Song’s doctoral research. By the end of our time together, we’ll not only have a foundation in some of the basic methods of Fengshui, but also a deeper understanding of the historical context that has shaped it within China—and the cultural importance of a practice that offers answers amidst uncertainty.

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes five total sessions, each lasting 1.5 hours on four consecutive Thursdays beginning February 15.

Session 1 (Thursday, 2/15, 7–8:30 PM ET)| An Introduction to Fengshui: The modern popularity of a practice with ancient roots

Session 2 (Thursday, 2/22, 7–8:30 PM ET)| The Main Schools of Fengshui, Part I: Xingshi zong (The Configuration School)

Session 3 (Thursday, 2/29, 7–8:30 PM ET)| | The Main Schools of Fengshui, Part II: Liqi zong (The Compass School) 

Session 4 (Thursday, 3/7, 7–8:30 PM ET)| Fengshui Meets the West: From 17th-century Jesuit missionaries to 19th-century science

Between Sessions

Outside of class, students will be given occasional readings and/or short videos in preparation for the upcoming session. 

Pricing Options

In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and who expect to attend all sessions. No-pay spots are distributed via a randomized drawing two weeks before each course begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

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Atlas Obscura Online Courses

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Xiaokun Song
Xiaokun Song

Born and raised in China, Xiaokun eventually traveled to Europe where she received a Masters in Art History and a doctorate in Chinese Studies. Education abroad opened her eyes to the misconceptions and barriers to understanding that many outsiders face when exploring her home country. Shortly after returning home, she founded Sourcians to open China up to the curious and adventure-hungry. Using her deep knowledge and extensive connections, Xiaokun provides meaningful experiences that inspire and awe. Her fascination for cultures has led her to use travel as a means to explore them all—from food and art to places and communities, Xiaokun’s trips are all designed with people and learning in mind.

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Group Size

There are 35 spots available on this experience.

Dates and Availability

There are no upcoming experiences at the moment. Fill out the form below to be notified when we add new dates.

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