It’s one of the most ubiquitous Feng Shui charm. Wearing a RuYi is a very potent Feng Shui symbol that we can utilize to help us in our business dealings. If you want to close a big deal, wear a Ru Yi (also spelled as Ruyi) and it will give you the authority and the leadership that will earn the trust and admiration of the people you’re meeting with.
For those who are assigned to lead a project or a department, or for those who were just promoted, wearing a Ru Yi pendant is a powerful Feng Shui tool to make sure you are able to lead properly and to make sure that you gain the authority that you’ll need.
Also for those people who are looking into getting promoted, the Ru Yi is a powerful Feng Shui tool to ensure this luck.
A lot of Feng Shui consultants recommend the Ru Yi for their clients. Few, however, can explain the provenance of the Ru Yi, because unlike other Feng Shui charms, the Ru Yi offered little significance in the everyday life of ancient Chinese.
First, it’s helpful to look at the etymology of the word:
In Chinese, the term Ru Yi is a compound of ru 如 which means “as; like; such as; as if; for example; supposing; be like; be similar; accord with” and yi 意 which means “wish; will; desire; intention; suggestion; thought; idea; meaning; imagination”.
Meanwhile, standard Mandarin uses Ru Yi either as a stative verb meaning “as one wishes, as one likes; according to one’s wishes; following your heart’s desires”, or as an adjective meaning “satisfied, pleased, happy, comfortable”. The word is combined with suanpan 算盤 “abacus” in the expression ruyi suanpan meaning “wishful thinking; smug calculations”.
Scholars have also put forward their own take on the word:
According to Kieschnick, there are two basic theories for the origin of Ru Yi. The first is that it originated from the Sanskrit word anuraddha, which refers to a “ceremonial scepter.” The Buddhist monks who initially used this, later brought this to China transliterated it as analu 阿那律 or translated as Ru Yi.
The second theory is that Ru Yi originated as a backscratcher in early China, and was amalgamated with the Buddhist symbol of authority.
History also has its own theory on the origins of the Ru Yi:
During the Later Han Dynasty (25-220 CE) and Jin Dynasty (265-420 CE), literati and nobles often held the Ru Yi during conversations and other social occasions. It was called a tanbing 談柄 “conversation baton” (cf. the Native American talking stick) and was used much like zhuwei 麈尾 “fly-whisk”, which practitioners of the qingtan 清談 “pure conversation” movement popularized during the Six Dynasties period (220-589 CE).
Meanwhile, Weishu history records a story that when Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei (r. 471-499 CE) wanted to retire from the throne, he tested his sons by letting them choose among a number objects, and the one who selected a bone Ru Yi (symbolizing political rule) became Emperor Xuanwu of Northern Wei (r. 500-515).
Kieschnick (2003:144) concludes “that by the end of the sixth century, what was once held common, begun to take on emblematic significance as the mark of a ruler.” Although the Ru Yi symbolized imperial political power, it differed from the Western royal scepter because Chinese officials and monks commonly used it.
The ca. 886 CE Duyang zabian 杜陽雜編, which is a collection of Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) stories, records that Emperor Wenzong presented an ivory Ru Yi to the scholar Li Xun (d. 835 CE) and said (tr. Kieschnick 2003:145), “The Ru Yi may serve as a lecture baton (tanbing).” From an emblem of power, it has evolved into a tool of discourse.
In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE), Ru Yi became popular as ornaments or gifts symbolizing blessings and good luck. The ca. 1627 CE Zhangwuzhi 長物志 “Treatise on Superfluous Things”, by Ming painter Wen Zhenheng, discussed Ru Yi aesthetics.
The ruyi was used in ancient times to give directions or to protect oneself from the unexpected. It was for this reason that it was made or iron, and not on the basis of strictly aesthetic considerations. If you can obtain an old iron ruyi inlaid with gold and silver that sparkle now and then, and if it has an ancient dull color, this is the best. As for ruyi made of natural branches or from bamboo and so on, these are all worthless. (tr. Kieschnick 2003:151)
During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 CE), ruyi scepters became luxuriant symbols of political power that were regularly used in imperial ceremonies, and were highly valued as gifts to and from the Emperor of China. Since 3 and 9 are considered lucky numbers in Chinese culture, Qing craftsmen elaborated the traditional handle and head type ruyi into two-headed sanjiang-ruyi “3-inlay ruyi” with precious stones set in both heads and middle of the handle and jiujiu-ruyi “9-9 ruyi” presentational sets of nine. The Qianlong Emperor presented a ruyi to the British ambassador George Macartney in 1793, and in his description (quoted by Kieschnick 2003:139-140), “It is a whitish, agate-looking stone, about a foot and a half long, curiously carved, and highly prized by the Chinese, but to me it does not appear in itself to be of any great value.”
The historical evolution of the Ru Yi has been very colorful. From a simple backscratcher, it has evolved to become a prized icon of political power and wealth as well as an auspicious gift to express one’s expressing best wishes.
In Feng Shui, putting a Ru Yi on top of the table will help give you authority and at the same time be positively noticed by your boss. Wearing a Ru Yi bracelet will also greatly influence personal aura and energy.