Newsletter No 12: Oct 2012

Four Pillars of Destiny - Ba Zi (八字)

Destiny reveals itself when we are born, it is with the Four Pillars of Destiny (commonly known as Ba Zi) where Feng Shui Practitioners can interpret and predict the future.

For basic introduction, I will share my view on practical Ba Zi (八字) and how to determine good and bad luck. We must understand that the birth date and time reveal what we normally call the Destiny at birth (先天命运) and this will be further influenced by the environment and your choices in life.

10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches in the Four Pillars of Destiny

There are 10 heavenly stems and 12 Earthly branches and each has their elements associated as shown below:

10 Heavenly Stems:

          甲 jia - Yang Wood 乙 yi - Yin Wood

          丙 bing - Yang Fire 丁 ding - Yin Fire

          戊 wu - Yang Earth 己 ji - Yin Earth

          庚 geng - Yang Metal 辛 xin - Yin Metal

          壬 ren - Yang Water 癸 gui - Yin Water

12 Earthly branches:

          亥hai (Pig) Yin Water

          子 zi (Rat) Yang Water

          丑 chou (Ox) Yin Earth

          寅 yin (Tiger) Yang Wood

          卯 mao (Rabbit) Yin Wood

          辰chen (Dragon) Yang Earth

          巳 si (Snake) Yin Fire

          午 wu (Horse) Yang Fire

          未 wei (Goat) Yin Earth

          申 shen (Monkey) Yang Metal

          酉 you (Roaster) Yin Metal

          戌 xu (Dog) Yang Earth

Each pillar in the Ba Zi is made up of a Heavenly Stem and an Earthly Branch. It is either both are Yang or both Yin for a set of pillar.

 Day Master Element

The main actor of the set of Ba Zi is actually the Day Heavenly Stem, this is used to represent one self element; the luck trend and the other relationships are based on this Day Master for analysis and prediction.

For example, a lady born on 30 December 1977 with birth time 00:58 am, the chart will look as follow:

 Chart Life

We could use the Hsia Calendar to plot the chart. There are also many websites that can assist you on it. However, it will be better if you know at least how to check if the resultant chart is right or wrong.

The Day Pillar Heavenly Stem is the Day Master that is辛 xin (Yin Metal). From the pillars we know that she is born in the year of the Fire Snake.

Luck Pillars

 Chart Luck

The luck start lunar age is 3 to 12 for the first 10 years and 13 to 22 for the next 10 and so on. We can see that if this year is 2012 October, then the luck falls on 丙 bing that governs age 33 to 37. Her age is 35 based on the lunar calendar. You need to take care rounding it to the nearest lunar age or at least to the system that you know. A little tricky at times. Some programs may give you 2 (Gregorian system) or even 4 (Lunar round up)  as a starting age depending on your system used in calculation. Neverthless, use important event as a check for the best fit one.

The luck starting age may be different for different person. The Heavenly Stem is greatly influence by the Earthly branch and the season. For example from age 13 to 17, the luck element 甲 jia (Yang Wood) with the support of the Earthly Branch 寅 yin (Yang Wood) has a stronger Wood strength than the luck element 丙 bing (Yang Fire) as the Fire is drained by its Earthly Branch 辰 chen (Yang Earth). For more advance practitioners they may look into the 12 stages of life cycle of the heavenly stems as well. We shall stick to the basic 5 elements for now. 

There are many other relationships to determine if the Day Master is in luck (Strength) or not and not retraining to combinations and clashes (involving hidden elements as well) only.

For beginners, we will look into consideration of the season that has a big effect on all elements in the Ba Zi. This is determine by the Month Pillar Earthly Branch and in this case is 子 zi (Yang Water). The Water elements is most prosperous in the mid winter (according to the days, the lady is born in the mid winter season).

Now let's see the strength of Day Master that is辛 xin (Yin Metal) at birth:

Metal Strength = 1

Water Strength = 4 (Give 2 pointers to the season element that is子 zi (Yang Water))

Fire Strength = 2

Earth Strength = 1

By the cycle of production we understand that:

Earth (1) and Metal (1) supports the Day Master and Water (4) and Fire (2) reduce its strength.

It could be seen that the supporting elements are lesser than exhausting elements, thus the Day Master needs to be further supported by Earth. Metal is not suggested as this will strengthen water elements further.

Chart Strength 

The auspicious element will be Wood if Earth element is not clashed or primary is Earth element. You need to take into consideration of combination and clashes some Earth is not suitable. For example 辰 chen, there is a tendency for a combination with子 zi to form the element Water or with酉 you to form Metal depending on the season. Like wise for 丑 chou, as there is a tendency for combination with 子 zi to form Earth or combine with 巳 si and 酉 you to form Metal. Thus, the person will be very prone to illness related to the Earth element like the stomach and nose.

Often, it will be better if the Day Master is a little weak and strengthen by the luck pillars. For this case, at the entry of the lunar age 33 to 37 that is 丙 bing (Yang Fire) one will gain in career status but the health will be at risk if the 戊 wu (Yang Earth) is further clash out by the Heavenly stem of this Year 壬 ren 辰 chen (Water Dragon – strong water elements as Dragon is a Water Pot). 戊 wu (Yang Earth) and 壬 ren (Yang Water) clashes due to element conflict as Earth tends to control water but in this case the water is too strong (double clash) and she was hospitalized due to stomach related issues. Should the Day Master is strong at birth the story would have another scenario.

There are also many other aspects that could be revealed through the studies of the Ba Zi. For example, the relationship with grandparents, parents, spouse and children via the year, month, day and hour pillars and the relationship with co-workers, competitors, resource, support, authority, wealth, money, status, power and intelligence.

In this example:

The Lady Day Master is Metal. Therefore,

Metal could represent Siblings, Co-workers and Competitions.

Earth could represent Mother, Resource and Support.

Wood could represent Father, Wealth and Money.

Fire could represent Spouse, Status and Authority.

Water could represent Children, Intelligence and Expressiveness.

Do you think the build of lady in the above example is plump, well built or thin? What is the reason?

Ba Zi is a very interesting and wide topic. Those who are interested could either read up or go for classes to have an in depth studies on this topic and to have a second view of your life based on the Four Pillars of Destiny. One good start is a book and the next is a class.

There is a Basic Feng Shui Class by Grand Master Vincent Koh at the Singapore Polytechnic starting in Jan 13 for the 51st Class.


In the next newsletter, we would like to share the basic of Date Selection for Wedding.






By Hu Wei Hong