The Three Killings

By Sallie Tsui Sien


The Three Killings is one of the three annual afflictions in Feng Shui and it is of utmost important that the ground or location in which the Three Killings resides during the year should not be disturbed at all costs. If it is, the household will meet with three types of misfortune. 

This may sound a little over the top but my advice to you is to take this affliction seriously. I have, through various consultations, seen the effects of the Three Killings when it is disturbed.

Plan well. For example; in 2006, the Three Killings will occupy the north spanning 75º. If there are major noisy jobs you have in mind for the north (the north room or the north garden), I would encourage you to do it this year and stay from the north in 2006.

What constitute disturbances to the Three Killings location? 

1.      Earth disturbances such as digging the ground for trees planting, creating ponds and wells, road construction, renovating driveways or any form of building construction.  

2.      Renovation and repairs such as drilling and hammering of the walls. Do not renovate the location of the Three Killings. Should you need to do urgent repair to this location of the house, you should consult a professional consultant who will be able to provide you with a good month or day for it.  

3.      Loud music, or loud noises from screaming, shouting and slamming of doors.


Where are the annual locations of the Three Killings?


The Three Killings is a direct translation from the Chinese ‘San Sha’. Although the concept of The Three Killings is associated with three earthly branches, its annual position is defined according to one of the four cardinal compass directions, namely North (water), East (wood), South (fire) and West (metal).



Tracing the Three Killings

This is quite easy once you have the concept in your mind. 

The twelve earthly branches are matched into four groups of harmonious alliances (trinities). In order to determine the location of The Three Killings, we must firstly explore the trinities of the earthly branches and their phases. The four trinities are: 

Rat, Dragon and Monkey (Water phase) to the North

Rabbit, Sheep and Boar (Wood phase) to the East

Horse, Dog and Tiger (Fire phase) to the South

Rooster, Ox and Snake (Metal phase) to the West  

These earthly branches are not The Three Killings but merely indicate the position of The Three Killings. The Three Killings sits in the opposite cardinal direction (spanning 75 degrees of that direction) of the phase represented by the year’s earthly branch. For example:

2005 earthly branch is the Rooster. Rooster belongs to the trinity of the metal phase to the west. As such, The Three Killings sits in the east.


Another example; 2009 would be the year of the Ox. The Ox belongs to the trinity of the metal phase to the west. This means The Three Killings will be located in the east in 2009 as it will in 2013. 

The caution attached to the Three Killings is to avoid disturbing the ground where the Three Killings sits. One should pay attention to this especially if the house facing also faces this same direction.  If the location of the Three Killings is disturbed by noisy renovation or digging activities, there may be undesirable consequences for the residents involving illnesses, loss of wealth, accidents, injury, serious arguments and, in extreme cases, fatalities. 

The opening and closing of a frequently used doors (front, back or side doors) that face The Three Killings’ direction in any given year are considered a disturbance too. Care should be taken to avoid slamming of doors especially with youngsters around the house.  


In Chinese tradition, Chi Lin dragons were placed in the location of the Three Killings supposedly to appease the affliction but it serves more to mark the location as a reminder to the occupant of the afflicted area during the year. As long as the afflicted area is not disturbed, there should be no real cause for concern.  

What if the area is disturbed with building projects by the town council or your neighbour? 

Well, the traditional cure is to place metal between your property and the area of disturbance. This could be any metal object, preferably still objects (e.g. no metal wind chime). There is another traditional school of thought that advises placing a symbolic statue of deities. One famously used deity is a bronze ‘Kwan Gong’ (God of War). 

Feng Shui also advocates that you should never sit with your back to The Three Killings. Instead you should sit facing it. This refers mainly to if you are moving your desk around during the year.  

What about sofas?

This reminds me of the many emails I have received asking about the positioning of sofas in the living room. Although the advice is that you should not sit with your back to the Three Killings, this refers not so much to isolated incidents. It is prolonged periods of time spent in this position that affect you more.  

For example, if you happen to move your office desk to face west this year 2005, with your back to The Three Killings in the east, this could affect your performance at work or your relationships with people with whom you work in the office. These effects include poor performance, obstacles, lack of focus or loss of concentration. There may also be gossip and back stabbing.  

However, if you are watching TV with your back to The Three Killings, no harm will come to you provided you have not disturbed the ground where the Three Killings is located. Disturbing the grounds of the Three Killings is the main cause for concern. To antagonise the Three Killings is asking for big trouble.

You can write to us at should you have any query on the Annual Afflictions.    

© 2005 Sallie Tsui Sien.  All rights reserved

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