Understanding BaZi

BaZi means “eight characters” in Chinese, also known as “Four Pillars of Destiny”. The pillars represent the Year, Month, Day, and Hour. Each pillar has 2 characters, one in the heavenly stem and another in the earthly branch, thus in total 8 characters.

A BaZi chart is derived from one’s date and time of birth. From the chart, a person’s character, talent, strength, and weaknesses can be interpreted. This sets a foundation for one’s life. The chart shows the cycles in life be it a crossroads, or a downturn. To know your BaZi is to know your life potential.

The Influence

The five elements that influence the BaZi chart are Wood, Water, Fire, Earth, and Metal. These elements translate into wealth, output, resource, influence, and companion stars which are also known as the “Ten Gods“.  The “Qi” flow in the chart is based on the five elemental cycles (produce, control, and weaken) which then interact and influence us.

The Four Pillars

The below table shows an example of what each pillar represents. The Year and Month represent the first half of one’s life, the Day and Hour represents the second half.

One would need favorable elements to be present in the pillar to have a good affinity with those governs by that particular pillar. For example, if the metal is your favorable element and it falls in the year pillar, then you have a good affinity with those governs by that pillar.

Ages: 60 >

Ages: 36-60

day master
Ages: 18-35

immediate family
parent’s home
close friends
noble people
business partnership
Ages: 1-17

extended family
distant relatives
high ranking bosses
external environment
external opportunities
social network
global markets

The 8 Characters

The elements in the stems are different so does the animal signs in the branches. There are four characters on the heavenly stem, and another four on the earthly branch, thus in total 8 characters. This is also called the “Natal Chart”, the characters do not change, it is fixed for a lifetime.

Some charts may have few stems of the same element and animal signs in the branches. Some may even have all the same elements in the stems and even the branches.

The arrangement of the elements and animal signs appears in one’s chart create different meanings as well. The box that contains each character is known as palaces.

The Heavenly Stems, Earthly Branches and Hidden Stems

The Ten Heavenly Stems

Appears on the top row of a BaZi chart, the ten heavenly stems carry the elements such as Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Each of the stems comprises of a Yin and Yang polarity, for example, Yin Water and Yang Water and so forth. Thus in total ten stems.

The heavenly stems represent your outlook in life, the external, how you dress and carry yourself, and how people see you. But may not be the actual character.

The 12 Earthly Branch

The twelve Earthly Branches are the animal signs in a chart. Each of the signs has its own element that each represents. This also represents the time and season of birth in the month pillar.

Rat / Yang Water
Ox / Yin Earth
Tiger / Yang Wood
Rabbit / Yin Wood
Dragon / Yang Earth
Snake / Yin Fire
Horse / Yang Fire
Goat / Yin Earth
Monkey / Yang Metal
Rooster / Yin Metal
Dog / Yang Earth
Pig / Yin Water

The Hidden Stems

The hidden stems within the earthly branches represent one’s internal character. These are the hidden characteristics of a person, which is not obvious on first meeting them.

The hidden stems have a stronger Qi compared to the heavenly stems.

The Luck Cycle

Each of the pillars represents a period of 10-year, the heavenly stems and earthly branches change every cycle. By comparing one’s natal chart with the luck cycle, one will be able to see the ups and downs in one’s life in terms of health, wealth, and relationship. This is where one predicts the upcoming luck or any issue that one needs to know upfront. Planning ahead is made possible in understanding one’s BaZi.

One’s luck does not remain the same throughout their life, it changes every ten years, this is known as the luck-cycle. The luck cycle brings a period of good or bad, that’s the reason why BaZi is analyzed so that one will be able to know where one is heading and what’s approaching.

The 3 Cosmic Trinity that Governs One’s Life and Fate

For “Qi” to take effect, the cosmic trinity “Heaven”, “Man”, and “Earth” needs to be connected. The trinity is interdependent and inter-related forces. For example, in Feng Shui, the energy inside the house will not affect anyone if the house is not occupied by humans ie “Man”.

Heaven Luck

is predestined when we were born.  Meaning we are not able to choose, our ancestors, parents, relatives, gender, siblings, etc., all these are beyond our control. This luck aka “Destiny or Fate” which can be further explored by looking at one’s BaZi chart.

Earth Luck

is the environmental energy (Feng Shui) that interacts with our personal energy (BaZi). For instance, practitioners apply Feng Shui to tap into the auspicious energy of the earth in our home, office, and the surrounding natural landform. Based on one’s BaZi chart, this unique calculation is derived to improve the journey in life. This is only beneficial to the chart owner, as we do not share the same benefits.

Man Luck

refers to the action or inaction that one takes. This is free will.  For example, the job offer that one decided to accept leads to better financial security or the missed opportunity due to one’s procrastination or indecisiveness.

Less Is More

Interpreting a BaZi chart is not easy, however, sometimes less is more especially when you are a beginner.  Do continue to read many other articles on this website to understand further. Take one step at a time to learn how to analyze your own BaZi, and practice as you go along. The journey will surprise you with how much information you can derive from the chart, and getting good at it is an eventuality. 

By knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses and with proper planning one can improve the outcome in life!

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom”
“Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

~ Lao-tzu

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