In Chinese astrology Four Pillars of Destiny Bazi, each zodiac sign – or Chinese animal – will be assigned either one, two or three Heavenly Stems, known as hidden elements. How many hidden elements are there in Tiger Branch? I’d say 10. How many elements contained in Rabbit Branch? Again, I’d say 10.
In fact, all Twelve Earthly Branches contain all Ten Heavenly Stems at all times, however much we may be showing only those Stems momentarily taken for their significant Life Stage, as per Twelve Life Stages.
We will be looking at ‘timely’ in Bazi, then while at it, we may briefly involve the notion of ‘timely equals auspicious’ and ‘untimely equals inauspicious’ in Flying Star Feng Shui.
We will not go into explaining how Four Pillars of Destiny Bazi 子平八字 life readings are done, while also, if we have Ten Heavenly Stems (Tian Gan – 天干), we will here omit to discuss two of those, i.e. Yang Earth Wu 戊 and Yin Earth Ji 己, as these do not answer to the Twelve Life Stages (天干十二長生). If for purpose of this post you see us use a range of Heavenly Stems and you ‘miss’ Yang Earth and Yin Earth there, these will be implied.
In performing to concern of the Chinese astrology Four Pillars of Destiny Ba Zi, most would say “three” when asked “how many elements are there contained in the Chinese zodiac sign of Yin Tiger 寅”, then “only one” if asked same with respect to You Rooster 酉 Branch. I’d say, all elements are contained in all Twelve Earthly Branches (Di zhi – 地支), whereas it may be that just only those that ‘seem to matter’ at the time will be shown. But ‘shown’ in the Branch cannot be taken as to mean that you’ll be reading just only to concern of those elements, because all information – explicit or implied – in the Branch matters.
Practically, whatever the hidden element(s) shown by the Earthly Branch, you’ll continue to read the Bazi birth chart to account of those apparent elements (those shown), as much as you would go into ‘submerged Bazi reading’ – if you will – to assess the life along those hidden elements then perhaps not apparent.
Why does Bazi list the Branches for year, month, day and hour?
Why are there 4 Pillars in our Bazi birth chart and not, for example, 6 or 12? Because, one smaller time cycle with all of its Stems and Branches occurs within a larger time cycle, which again occurs within a larger time cycle and at long last we’ll have exhausted what would still matter to our life. We capture those time cycles that would be effective for our Chinese horoscope and still applicable to account of our life progression or as we commit to destiny analysis. As it is, we sail on the waves of so many other smaller or larger time cycles, that we wouldn’t have our Four Pillars stretch to involve 180 years, 2,160 years, or even the Great Year cycle of 25,920 years. We limit our reading to a certain manageable time frame. A ‘usual’ life span may become such manageable time frame as the birth would have taken place at a certain hour within a certain cycle of hours, that would have occurred within the cycle of days, within the cycle of months, within a specific cycle of 60 years.
Do not read the Bazi to account of just the label
Some would then go through great lengths to read to concern of the Earthly Branches ‘themselves’, while to me, the Earthly Branches are little more than notional and there to have us bring Wuxing Five Transformations (五行) to the surface, more specifically, those Wuxing that would be momentarily and comparatively more relevant, which information comes to us through the elements contained in the Branch. However, that did not make the elements that were then perhaps not shown in the particular Branch irrelevant. Or, we’d be soon only reading the Bazi to concern of those 1,2 or 3 elements in each Branch.
The essence of Twelve Earthly Branches is exactly, that each one of these Earthly Branches carries with it each one of Ten Heavenly Stems, at all times and ‘all 10’, be that momentarily at different ‘momentum’, so that only those elements currently at their prevalent stages of vibrancy would be shown explicitely. That was then not same as saying that those elements that are not shown would also be ‘not there’ in any way, as nothing in the realm of energy could so much as be dismissed, just perhaps not as active in the same way as the ones taken to the Branch for their prevalence.
If for the occasion we stick to the month Pillar Branches, these are to show progression in time, in this case the earth orbit around the Sun, more specifically, where on its annual orbit around the Sun do we locate our planet relative to the Sun at any given time during a Solar year. Person born in Chou Ox 丑 month of January, is to indicate that we locate planet earth at around Perihelion, earth’s closest approach to the Sun. This strongly positions Water in the Bazi, however, Fire then not absent. Water denotes Kidney, Fire denotes Heart. Person born in Wu Horse 午 month of June, is to indicate that now we locate earth at around Aphelion, its point farthest from the Sun. This strongly positions Fire in the Bazi, however, Water not altogether absent, as the Kidney will be still functioning.
This information is important for calendrical timing, but also – as we’re interested in life progression for the person – the predominance of organ and meridian energy, because at the end of the day, the information captured by the Bazi birth chart will be hardly ‘exogenous’ and ‘astrology’, rather more endogenous and physiology.
To read a Bazi birth chart along external factors would be a grave misunderstanding as everything in the Bazi birth chart lies internal. Where the ten year Luck Pillar, the ever changing annual-, monthly-, daily- and hourly Luck Pillars may be external, this is not so for the Bazi birth chart, which is a depiction of internalized environmental currents true at first breath, while then also we may know information with regard to the gestation period, which energy would have been proportionately invested in each organ, relative to the time spent in the Womb, again relative to earth’s position as it passed through the month Branches. Meaning, any and all information embedded in the single Branch becomes pivotal, whether explicitly shown as ‘its’ hidden element(s), or those implied.
Still, we mostly see this image, where it says that Yin Tiger 寅 Branch contains (just) Yang Wood Jia 甲, then Yang Fire Bing 丙 and Yang Earth Wu 戊. In seeing Yin Tiger Branch, there’ll be then no further mention for the Branch to for example contain Yang Metal Geng 庚 or Yin Water Gui 癸 just the same.
‘No further mention’, however, was then not to say that Geng Metal and Gui Water weren’t there in Tiger Branch, to any proportion.
I’ll propose that the situation for Yin Tiger Branch – you may then extend same principle to the other Branches – would be rather more like this, where no-one said that there was no Geng Metal or Gui Water during Yin Tiger time, just that we agree to be momentarily only highlighting Yang Wood and Yang Fire:
The Yin Tiger in the month Pillar is actually the ‘emblem’ to give us the Solar Month in particular, thereby earth’s position relative to the Sun, while the ‘hidden’ elements are to signify the full range of earth orbit, then just only other Stems ‘switched on’ at Tiger time, than we’d see elements energized at for example Shen Monkey time. So, what you note is, the range of Stems is always there, it is what counts here, whichever then Branch we’d be hanging over it. With each new overhanging Earthly Branch, nothing in the realm of our range of Heavenly Stems changes, whereas it is just only that each Branch then cares to switch on another pair of these ‘lamps’.
So, let’s no more than change the label overhead to show Shen Monkey Branch 申 for August, pretty much leaving the range of Heavenly Stems as it is, while now we involve the internal organs.
Each one of ‘hidden elements’ will be available, it’s just that we’d have switched our focus to highlight those elements at Life Stage 1 (Birth) and Life Stage 4 (Graduation) during Shen Monkey time.
The full range of Heavenly Stems is still very much there, we’re just not showing for Shen Monkey in the same way as we would have for Yin Tiger.
Now, just as you’d have seen how in no way Geng Metal would have been cancelled at Yin Tiger time, you can appreciate how at Shen Monkey time, the Yang Wood will be still there. Not only could we not cancel Yang Wood at Shen Monkey time, it is clear that Yang Wood can be the Useful God, so by all means, we employ it.
We can have a client with Fire Day Master (day Stem to represent the person) and he can be born in either February for Tiger or August for Monkey. The Yang Wood Resource and the Yang Fire Parallel we had seen emphasized with Tiger Branch are now not suddenly vanished in Monkey Branch, just different weighing process to account of Ten Gods and internal organs.
This book is like Tiger Branch being permanently lit by two lamps, in this case, one lamp called Yang Wood, the other lamp Yang Fire. Even though the lamps go where the book goes, to be reading this book along just only these lamps is not a ruling.
We have yet another 8 lamps assembled around our chair. One may be called Yang Metal, another Yin Water.
It would come with somewhat diminished illuminance no doubt, but we can still use each one to read our book.
If then for a Fire Day Master, the Yang Wood Jia ‘present’ in Tiger Branch was to denote Day Master’s Resource, this was not to say that, if Yang Metal Geng 庚 is Wealth to this Day Master, that then such ‘wealth’ is ‘not there’ or could not be employed (Yong – 用), only because it was not apparently shown. Wealth is still there by Life Stage 10 in Yin Tiger Branch, feeble, but it is there to be employed.
The Twelve Life Stages give you all elements for all Earthly Branches at all times, it is just only suggesting that, at any given time, such and such element would be more easily utilized, while perhaps we’d rely a bit less on the other elements.
This doesn’t mean there can be no Wealth or Power if it just so happens that the belonging elements are not communicated through the ‘hidden elements’ of the belonging Earthly Branch, on the contrary, we can have a focus on Wealth or Power whenever we so choose, free at will. It is just that, we may need to put in more effort, because momentarily other elements are enjoying their ’15 minutes of fame’.
No-one will deny that each one of Six Gods (Liu Shen 六神) will be readily there in times of Yin Tiger: Resource, Parallel, Output, Wealth and Power, such that, for our Fire client we could just as well have him focus on Wealth or Power at Tiger time. In fact, there is no limitation as we can employ any of the Ten Gods (Shi Shen 十神) out of just any Earthly Branch, at any given time.
For example, for a male Fire Day Master and with Yin Tiger to appear in the Bazi birth chart, any Ten God can be his focus. He wants to do business through Metal Wealth, he may go ahead, he wishes to get married through Metal Wife, he may do so. He wishes to gain authoritative position through Water Power, same difference. In fact, our Fire Day Master can do business or marry, with all Bazi emblems duly there or with no any such Bazi consideration there, but that’s another story.
Fire Day Master employing Metal Wealth and Water Power from out of Tiger Branch.
What’s with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in metaphysics?
How come that most practitioners keep to ‘supporting cycle is beneficial’ and ‘controlling cycle is unfavorable’ in Wuxing Five Elements so persistently, while time and again we see – for example in our following news events through 9 Stars and Luoshu in 9 Star Ki Divination – that ‘supporting cycle is unfavorable’ or ‘controlling cycle is beneficial’ goes just the same.
It is no different with the timely and untimely Stars in Flying Star Feng Shui 風水飛星派 where most would still deem the timely Stars ‘auspicious’, then the untimely Stars ‘inauspicious’, thanks to San Yuan Jiu Yun 三元九運 doctrine under the wing of which this Xuan Kong Feng Shui School 玄空風水派 resorts.
Not so, whereas not only (Forms govern the Stars) would (in)auspicious in Flying Star Feng Shui still rely on a good number of other factors such as on principles of real and virtual Mountain and Water, volume, distance, regularity, direction, Qi distribution and Qi transportation, then how we use the Stars, it is just saying that momentarily it may be taking just a bit less effort to bring out the benevolence from out of those ‘timely’ Stars, whereas we can still reap from the benevolence of those ‘untimely’ Stars, but it would perhaps take a bit more effort. An alarming few in Xuan Kong Fei Xing Feng Shui still ‘get it’ that the current Prominent Star (Star 8 for Feng Shui Period 8, 2004-2024) could be still tickled to have it release its malign portents and that it could be instrumental in giving you a broken bone or two.
The very notion of ‘timely equals auspicious’ and ‘untimely equals inauspicious’ has been taken way too far in both Flying Star Feng Shui and Bazi Four Pillars. Outside it is very limiting, a lot of invaluable information about the life will be lost this way, plus, we get to see silly such readings as in saying ‘you cannot have marriage’ or ‘you cannot have wealth’, just because in Yin Tiger the Geng Metal was momentarily not shown for a Fire Day Master. A good Chinese astrologer will know how to read the obvious from the Branch, while of course he’d know how to surface the submerged. If not, just about any software program on your computer could give you your fate reading besides just your Chinese horoscope. I assure students and clients that they can engage into business or marry any time they so choose.
It’s outdated – besides already surpassed by much improved and much more convincing teachings – and I think that we may have seen enough of it in our metaphysical field. Sometimes the metaphysical field may feel riduculed by the scientific field, or not taken seriously. It is almost as if the Bazi or Feng Shui practitioner is saying that the scientist should get its act together. I’d say, no wonder such riduculing and I am absolutely certain how this will go on, just until our field finally felt ready to stop and ridicule its own.
Even if an element is totally absent for the Bazi birth chart – say there is no Wood element in the Eight Characters -, still Wood is ‘out there’ and Wood is just in your Liver organ, which organ you can ‘switch on’ at will at any time for any of its plus or minus temperament and emotions. The Six Gods – or Ten Gods for that matter – are not in your Bazi, as much as you’d have been carrying those with you in just your organs. You switch on the organ – read: release the belonging Wuxing temperament and behavior -, and you’d have so much as switched on the Ten God.
If you are a serious Bazi practitioner – the more if you had stepped forward as a teacher or as a consultant to be minding health and fate in others – it would be good if you acquainted with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), more in particular (search for 5 Elements Acupuncture) to account of organ induced behavior (“organs produce emotions”) and how we’d handle organ Shen.
For personal life readings and divination in 9 Star Ki, Four Pillars of Destiny or Flying Star Feng Shui, we take 9 Stars, Stems and branches and Trigrams to their belonging internal organs, then see the Wuxing ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ emotions, temperament and behavior associated with the belonging organs.
Twelve Life Stages
1. Cháng Shēng 長生 – Birth
2. Mù Yù 沐浴 – Bath (after birth)
3. Guān Dài 冠帶 – Youth
4. Lín Guān 臨官 – Graduation, official
5. Dì Wàng 帝旺 – Prime, prosperous
6. Shuāi 衰 – Declining
7. Bìng 病 – Sick
8. Sǐ 死 – Death, perish
9. Mù 墓 – Tomb, storage
10. Jué 絕 – Totally vanished
11. Tāi 胎 – Fetus
12. Yǎng 養 – Developing
- February Tiger month is the birth place (Life Stage 1) for Fire, which will be Life Stage 11 (Embryo, fetus – Tāi 胎) in December Rat month.
- May Snake month is the birth place for Metal, which will be Life Stage 8 (Death – Sǐ 死) in December Rat month.
- August Monkey month is the birth place for Water, which will be Life Stage 5 (Prime – Dì Wàng 帝旺) in December Rat month.
- November Pig month is the birth place for Wood, which will be Life Stage 2 (Bathe, wash one’s hair – Mù Yù 沐浴) in December Rat month.
Try read the Bazi birth chart to account of all Ten Heavenly Stems – including those at weak Life Stage or even absent in the Bazi birth chart – and let go of such notions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ elements, as even such notions as Useful God and Annoying God become just emblematic, once you understand that these can alter over time and all elements in your Bazi can be used, or you’d be dismissing one or two organs, which would be against health and forward progressive movement, eventually undermining your personal autonomy.