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Basics of BaZi(Chinese Astrology)

Gmulii

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If we want to go deeper in the Yi Jing, some basic idea of the Chinese Calendar and astrology may be helpful.
So lets look at some very basic ideas from there.

We will look at BaZi and the Solar Calendar.
BaZi has many names and translations, 8 symbols, 4 Pillars of Destiny and many others.

Most often we find it using The Solar Calendar. In there we use Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches.

We have combination of a Stem and a Branch for each year, month, day and 2 hour period.
When we combine both we call it a Pillar. A pillar looks like this:

The upper Character we call Stem. We can see similar to the lower one it has element(Wood,Fire,Earth,Metal or Water) and polarity(Yin or Yang).
Earthly branches also have Animal associated to them.
In this case for Yang Metal branch that is the Monkey.
(as this is the pillar of today,24Nov2018)

In that way it may be easier to figure out how the name of the years come up. For example now is the year of the Earthly Dog. That means that the Stem will be Earth. It also means the branch is Yang Earth, as Dog is Yang Earth branch.

So the current year will look like this:



We work with Images. When enough Images gather we can say something will happen.

Branches are earthly, they are heavy influence, sometimes difficult to notice at first glance, but in general moving a lot more slowly and in a fixed way.
Stems are heavenly, they are fast, light and very surface influence. Its very easy a stem to control the branch, very difficult(more or less impossible) the other way around as it would be like trying to control a song that comes from the far distance. It can influence a lot the people that hear it, but it isn't heavy enough to grasp, before its gone far away.
Branches are much easier to get and work with,usually.

So now we know what is Pillar. It is made of a Stem and Branch. Both have their element, their polarity(always the same) and move together.

Every day the day pillar changes to the next one. Every month the month pillar will change and it is the same for Year and Hour pillars. 60 Pillars make a full cycle and the cycle starts again. So if we have the 4 pillars of someone we can never be sure if he was born today, 60 years ago or 120 years ago with that information alone.

This 4 pillars(year, month, day and hour) create the 8 symbols that we use in the BaZi styles to read someones fate.
The whole map would look similar to this(for today):



From here we just look the big Images.

So what is the difference between year, month, day or hour pillar...
Lets start with the Year.
Year pillar suggest something we have to stretch out to connect.
As a kid trying to get a jar of something it wants, far out in a higher shelf, we need to send part of us out in the distance to connect to what is in the Year Pillar(as we are far from it in the Day Stem).

That can be a childhood memories, or connection to our ancestors(as our parents and grand parents would be in the Year Pillar), international places or our connection to the world outside of the place we live in and everything else we consider far.

In that way a organization symbolized by a branch that seems to be interacting with us(so lets say a place we will work at), will be international if it is in the year. Local if it is in the month while beyond distance if it is in the hour(like online for example). Too near to our physical body all the time, if it is in the Day Pillar to be possible to represent organization.

Reason for that is that each pillar has basic Images connected to it. And to the Year Pillar all will be associated with the Image of something "far" from us.
Looking for someones Spouse, their location in the year pillar suggest it will either be older or born in far away place. Or often its both.
Looking at our physical body the four limbs are represented in the year pillar. As they are what we use to stretch far out from where we are.

Will continue with the other pillars if it seems appropriate.
 

Gmulii

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Thanks!

So lets move to the month pillar. : )
Month pillar is this:



Now, logically the month pillar is aligned to the Sun position during the year. In practice we calculate it by what is called Suns apperent ecliptical longitude and it basically means that in the time of the year the Sun will be highest in the sky(Summer Solstice around 21 june), the days will be longer and it will be somewhat warmer we will have the fire branches, while when the day is the shorter(winter solstice), the Sun will be much lower in the sky at noon and it will be generally colder will be the Water branches.
Making the movement of the elements cover a movement of expansion(Wood > Fire), then after it riches its maximum(solstice) begins to contract(metal > water) and then begins again and again each year/month/day and hour.

And now we are interesting in the months, the part of the calendar that is very familiar even to a western person as we view the seasons in much the same way as they do in China with few differences.

So what we use practically in bazi related to the month pillar.
First for distance, month pillar will be near us. Someone I learned a lot from would define it as "local, within the same country".
The Images from my point of view are of something near, fundamental and rooted in our view to life.

That would be beliefs, traditions, overall in the month pillar is our base that we move to the outside world from.
Considering that it makes a lot of sense we can see the month pillar bringing images of our spine and our torso.
Both very important parts of our body we relate from.

Month also has images of something big. That would be like whatever is in it will be "zoomed in", so it will be much larger then the rest of the chart. One reason why people are willing to do a lot for their beliefs/traditions, they just seem much bigger and more encompassing that the rest of their life may seem.

Month pillar also has images of the climate/environment of the chart. So often the strength of different parts of the chart may be related to it(not always). In that sense many schools would say that Metal DM(day stem, that is us), that is born in the middle of the Summer(fire season), will be very weak. While Fire DM, born in the middle of the Summer(Wu horse lets say), will be very strong, but being so strong is not good either.

While that part is not in all schools, in all of them the Month Pillar would be seen as a base that much of what else is going on is happening at. Clash of Day Branch to the Year Branch - usually not a big deal. Clash from Day Branch to Month Branch, would suggest possible problems with lower body of the person if day branch is weak. As its like clashing with a mountain, its just too near and too big to go unnoticed.

The old idea of "structure" of the chart(in modern times sometimes called "profile"), is based on the leading element of the Month Branch. Suggesting that just by knowing the month branch we can know what is important for that person. If we have Resource there it would be knowledge/his mother/his home etc. if its RB will be other people, but in competing sort of way, his own element etc.

Something moving from Month to Year Pillar is basically moving from local to multinational.

Soo... Lets post some calculators. While of course its easy to find many all around, here are some that we made that may be more difficult to find:

My old PC calc for the Five Arts is still here:
May remove it in the future, as we are moving to the web version and since some parts of it were for specific style that was better to not include(very long story).

The site for bazi is here:

Even without understanding much of that can mouse over the different "symbolic stars" and read some short description of what they may mean. Then can apply the mentioned images to them(something saying good luck in the month, that would be local, near the person, seem bigger then what else is happening in life at the time etc.).

Keep in mind this is showing all potential stars. Not all will be active at the same time.
 

Gmulii

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We already have Month and Year Pillar. This seems to be the outside world, mostly. Ancestors in year, sibling in month, sometimes, but more often people around us, workplace etc. in month and distant far away places in the year.

We get to the Day Pillar. And that is us. The word shen神 we can consider as our consciousness. When we say I am, the I is the shen.

in Bazi shen is used all around the place. We have 10 shens, 5 shens and other types of Shens... Yet if we look at how shen神 is defined, as our focus, what we are aware of at that specific time, then seat of it should be in the Day Stem. In classic texts the seat of the shen is in the heart(心), so here the idea is its place in the 4 pillars.
And in my view we have 2 places in the 4 pillars where shen is strongly anchoring. That would be element Fire, as heart is fire, but its also the Day Stem, that is what is called Day Master and we will use DM from now on.

The Day Branch is the so called "Spouse Palace". If we view the stems as what is on the surface, so what the outside world interacts with most often, the branches are what is going on deep within the person(and their life). In that sense, the Day Branch is what is going on inside the person itself.

That is very connected to the idea of intimacy, as what is inside the person is what something from outside must connected to to suggest a deep union. There are exceptions, but in general.

In that sense, what in the chart represents the spouse, we call "spouse star" and we view how and if that spouse star is allowed to enter the Day Branch(spouse palace). If it is, usually we expect happy marriage, the person is open to their spouse and all is good. If it can't enter it gets complicated as there are many reasons why and at what part of life that may be lesser problem.
But it means their potential spouse can't get deep enough to them, so they have to interact on surface level.

In practice, another way to view it would be that we look if the spouse star(representation of potential spouse for that person) manages to get intimate to the chart owner. Manage to connected with what is deep inside them.

As Day Pillar is so close to what represents us there we can also view our physical body. If day branch is "broken" or strongly controlled for long, the person is likely to have physical health issues. What they are we can see from other images in the chart and from the images connected to the day branch itself.

Hour Pillar is different. Similar to the second ה in Kabbalah, the Hour Pillar somewhat shows what everything else will flower into. So much like the seed turns into a flower as a next level of what it is, the Hour Pillar is the same idea, its another level of the rest of the chart.

The hour pillar isn't connected to distance and that may be challenging to get at first. Yet, if we think about it there are many parts of the world around us that go beyond distance. Popular movies for example, often they transcend the borders of the country they are made in. Good books. Internet. Good cooking recipes...

Overall, everything and anything that transcend borders or for other reason isn't related to distance can be in the hour pillar. Traditionally, in the hour pillar we look for the kids of the person, but there are exceptions when that can be another place too.

It also shows old age. In general Day Pillar 35-55 then Hour Pillar 55+, similar to the family members connected to the Trigrams.

We have the 4 Pillars now on one layer. We keep adding layers of Images and when we see they overlap we say something is likely to happen. If we see it overlapping form many sources at once we say its very, very likely to happen.

To understand that part I will cover in short one more important concept and that is Images(象 xiang).
What I love about that character is that it has 2 meanings.

One is elephant. The other is image/likeliness.

Here is part of what google earth gives on that:
Translations of 象
noun,
Frequency,elephant
appearance,
shape,

While we talk about "Images", I like the translation of that idea as "elephants too", something so big and obvious you can't really miss it. Its just there and much bigger and clearer then one would guess.

A good explanation on the idea behind it is here:
(it exists on many other sites as well, this is one from google).

Here its in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but the idea is the same in bazi.

Overall, we receive images of the different parts of what we look at and we "Read" them. That is so vital part of the Five Arts, in my view, that we can see it all around.

For example the Art of Face Reading(reading someones destiny based on their face), is called Mian Xiang. And even though this Xiang is different(相) its meaning is also similar:

Translations of 相
noun
Frequency
phase


photograph,photo,picture,posture,bearing.portrait,appearance

So again giving the idea of Face + Images. : )

We say we read by stacking Images... Will try to give an example.

Lets say the person is Water. Their potential spouse will be Fire(Water controls Fire, that gives Images of a spouse for male),

If that fire is in the year, we have a reason to guess she may be from another country or older then him(images coming with the year).
If she is in the month we can say she will probably live nearby, be similar age and be very important in his life(as month = images of something big).

If she is in the branches and she combines with the Spouse Palace(Day Branch) we can say 1 happy marriage then look when it will happen in the Luck Pillars(10 year cycles).

At the same time, if we see she is in harm with the month branch, they can never get to marriage. There will be strong influence of that woman in his life, but they will reject each other when they try to make something work.

Now, lets say that she is in the year, combining with the day branch and combining with the month branch too . Suggests while there is 1 happy marriage, she may choose someone else at some point in her life, if the month branch has Images of another competitive male for example. Then while this can happen, doesn't mean it will, we can use divination to find out or just ask to see how lifes has structures so far and try to guess if she will stay or go.

This shows how we add images one after another and make something like a sentence.

There is more needed to read a chart, though. The 10 shens are probably the most important part and if we can will probably get to that as well. : )
 

Gmulii

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Since we mention gui鬼 and I said that that exists in every Hexagram, its probably good idea to explain how this works. Will explain it briefly in BaZi principles then will relate it to Yi Jing and Liu Yao as its almost the same in Yi Jing when working with the elements/branches on the lines.

Until this point we have the idea of stems/branches and Images related to their positions. The elements didn't play a big role directly(they do, of course, but may not seem so, until this point).

Now, of course, the elements is one more layer. The Fire in someones chart will be his most expensive, intensive and easy to see part of life. It grabs attention. Their water will be their most introvert part of life(water in the year, suggest contracting in the year, so they will see that when world is involved).

But since all that is potentially endless to go into, that part is with the idea everyone to keep deveoping with more and more understanding of the cycles that the elements describe(as they are all around us all the time).

But lets look at the so called 10 gods now. Literally it would be ten shens(神), so 10 points of focus, ten different way a person can interact with the world around them and what is to come from that.
This is the vital part of bazi, as the Images that come from that are with very high priority over much of the rest.

How are the 10 gods made. We have the personality, the persons focus itself and that is the Stem of the Day Pillar(the so called Day Master).
That has a specific element. Depending on a relation of the other elements with it we have 10 gods.

If another element controls the Day Master, that would be Officer.
If another element produces the Day Master, that would be Resource.
If another element is same as the Day Master, that would be Friend/Sibling.
If another element is produces by the Day Master, that would be Output.
And lastly if the Day Master controls another element that would be Wealth.

All this shows in every calculator with very few exceptions.
The colored part is how it shows in our calcu:



In Bazi we look at the polarity as well. So we have Direct Resource or Indirect Resource. Direct Resource is when the polarity is the same, Indirect is when its the opposite.

So what does it mean for an element to control or produce...
In most Yi Jing books worth reading, the basic cycle of the element is mention. Wood creates Fire, (Fire) Creates Earth, Creates Metal, Creates Water.
Wood controls Earth, (Earth)Controls Water, Controls Fire, Controls Metal, Controls Wood.

So lets say the Day Master is Yang Water(the Stem of the Day Pillar). The Chinese character for Yang Water in the Stems is called Ren and looks like this .

Since DM is Yang Water, we already know a bunch if Images coming with that for all other elements in the chart.
Then we know that all water in the chart is Sibling. If its the same polarity is called Friend, if its opposite polarity its called Rob Wealth.
Polarity is Yang and Yin, basically. So other YangWater will be Friend, while other Yin Water will be Rob Wealth.

Similar to this, we know the element that is producing Water is Metal. So Metal is the Resource that Water uses to do what it wants to do(Output) or to manifest what it wants to manifest(Wealth). Its also what can protect it from the element controlling/attacking it(Officers).

That means Metal in the chart will be Resource. Yin Resource is the opposite polarity(as opposite polarities flow into each other), while Yang Resource, as that is same as the DM polarity(Yang Water), So Yin Metal will call Direct Resource(knowledge, institution, academic studies etc.), while Yang Metal we call Indirect Resource(intuition, vehsicle, structure again, cloths) all Resource having shared Images of something that nourishes and encompasses.

If the DM is Yang Water, that means that Yang Earth will be the so called Indirect Officer(or Seven Killings) and Yin Water will be the so called Direct Officer. Earth controls water, so Officers show what potentially attacks the person. That carries Images of boss, illness, thief, anything that can hurt, anything that has authority in the situation, male person, husband for female, or son for male.

In books about the 10 gods, its often said that as this potentially can describe everything that can exist, its never possible to give full explanation of them.


Instead I will get back to gui鬼 in the other topic.
So what does it mean there is gui鬼 in each Hexagram.

Well, easy answer will be to open random Liu Yao calculator and look in the chinese characters. You will see that there is 鬼 on at least one line(may be hidden, but still will be there) in each Hexagram and will always be there.

Here is out calculator:

Here is link to the Chinese calculator many of us enjoy around the forums:
(here may be challenging to find it at first, if you click the orange button it will create hexagram, then if you search for 鬼 it will show that at least one line will be marked with that).

On our calc you can also see that line carry the meaning of "Officer". However, the other name that we didn't had space to also include is "ghost" and here gui鬼 comes in.


So lets look how we can find that line on each Hexagram and how its made.
The Images of gui鬼 come from the element that attacks the Hexagram. So each Hexagram has an element, we have topic about that, with how the Self travels through the lines in each Palace. The element that controls/attacks/governs that element is what has the aggressive images of Officer/Ghost in the situation.

In that sense, if you ask about illness that is the line to look at. If you ask about possession or evil spirits that is also the line to look at. Yet as the world we live in is vast, if you ask about your boss, a job interview, wifes husband or boyfriend or many other things that will also be the line to look at.

How to find it... Well, its the same in each Hexagram, every time. So in our calculator, you can select Hexagrams in 2 ways, either with changing the name of the hexagram below it, or by clicking the lines and select another Trigram.

The line that says
style="width: 100%"
|-
|

| Officer官鬼
Is the line that shows gui鬼 and its always on that place for that specific Hexagram. If instead of the lines on the right it shows up on the left, it means that is hidden line. And behind what its hidden is important in reading, also important is if the hidden line will be able to manifest or not, but that is messy to go into.

All this is just short overview, with the idea to add some more bazi info and also to give some more detailed explanation then what was mention before. Also easy way to find the Officer/Ghost line in each Hexagram. As the material is vast(China and the countries around it are big and many of these systems have a thousands of years of development) we have to stop somewhere, so lets do it here for now. If someone has question feel free to ask.

If not, when it seems approperiate we can go back to the 10 shens and look at that in a little more details.

Good info about them can see in Kevin Chans blog here:
And in many other places.

(good to mention that while they are called 10 shens/gods in bazi, they are called 6 relations in Yi Jing, principle is almost the same, yet some images are different and polarity is rarely observed when they are applied to the lines).
 

Gmulii

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Lets look at Symbolic Stars.
Symbolic stars aren't only in bazi, there are symbolic stars in Yi Jing(WWG), Purple Star and many other styles and systems of Chinese Metaphysics.
They are the simple idea that with the time and practice, some configurations has shown up to bring specific results. So its like a support, if we aren't sure how to read something we can check the premade configurations(Symbolic Stars), and see if they can point us in some direction.

In bazi we have added many symbolic stars from Annie's book here(more info in there):
Mouse over on specific star(they are the numbers with text and chinese characters below each stem/branch) and it will give short summary, in the future when the book is published in English can see more in there.

Now, if we don't know a lot about the system and just look at the stars, what we would probably/usually see is that there are stars that seem to fit with events well, yet there are also contradicting stars and maybe stars that doesn't seem to have shown up.

The reason for that is that all this is potential. They may be there or not, and that would depend on the other parts of the chart, since each star is made of, usually, just 2 specific interaction.

Lets say we have the star 105.Hearse 丧车.

Now, this star suggests strange diseases.
However, to read that we need to get into the meaning of how and why it shows up.
The way its calculated will always be in the day or hour branch. And it will suggest that branch is often in a relation we call Harm or Clash to the Month Branch.
In Month Branch are the strongest influences, so something in harm with the Month Branch is very likely to be broken.

However, we need to know more to figure out what is happening. Is that branch weak for example. If it is, then we can say that that Symbolic Star will probably manifest. Then look at what points of life this 2 elements show up together, meaning the whole interaction will be strong.
If that branch is very strong, being supported by other branches, we can say the opposite. Even though they will have difficult time because of the Harm, strange disease is more unlikely to show up, depending on Feng Shui, choices and other factors.

The other part that we can do is add more meaning to them. In this case, we know the month branch is the strong influence(traditions, existing structures, belief system, local environment and people around us, major organs and our spine - all influences that have strong impact on a person) and going against that can harm whatever is against it. So we know the strange deseases will be in the hour or day branch, the other factor in the interaction.

So now we can look at images of that. Lets say its in Day Branch and its Zi子 Branch(with month Wei未 ). It will likely affect lower body, also it may be connected with depleting water, so kidneys, immune system or gallbladder. Depending on the other images around we can get more and more info about it all.


In that sense, we can use the symbolic stars to give us a hint on what may be happening, yet to figure out what will actually manifest will need to be able to understand the chart and how to read it.
 
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Gmulii

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Some example of Symbolic Stars, then.
As we had topic on that, but in the Arts forums and I already made screenshots will just post some summary of there, instead of posting something new. : )


This is the chart of Kobe Bryant, it was a very popular sport player in the US, apparently. He passed away in a helicopter crash connected to bad weather in the Water 10 years shown on the picture.
The Day and Month it happen aren't shown here, but we use them, basically Chou/Chen you can see them in any bazi calculator.

As it can be too long to go into all, just few things easy to spot from his chart. Much fire all around, without any wood. Suggesting he will be "easy to see", people will notice him, yet there isn't enough wood to support it and the season branch(the environment - that is where all the rest is played out on) as metal suggest again fire will be much weaker then it seems.

His Day Stem is Ding Yin Fire. Suggesting any branch carring Ding Fire Images will show his physical body while any fire in general will show other people. We have 2 showing body, in the hour and in the year.There is a lot of "wealth " images in the month and that fire from his day branch works together with all the other fire to obtain them.

That is the work of the chart, he uses his physical body and people around him to obtain wealth/status.
Some more enthusiastic five arts practitioners will connect it to sport with other images, like - the ball is round, then its metal, so him and other people "obtaining"(with Shen > Si combination) the ball, means he will obtain the metal in the month.

This may be too much for western practitioner, so lets just say we have enough clear Images to say that he will work with other people,in something that will be visible by many people around the world(Year = around the world, Hour = beyong distance) and all that will bring him wealth and status.

Now, lets go to the day of the clash. This is in the Water decades. Suggesting the Fire group will have trouble doing what it usually does, as we said Fire is already weak, now the other group of Metal/Water is getting stronger.

First indication there iwll be a problem.

We have first symbolic stars suggesting something bad will happen.

26.Disaster 灾煞.

"Disasters, trouble, diseases, injury, hemorrhage, in worst cases – even death. It has destructive power and disharmonic relationships with the General star."


This is short excerp form the full description, but the general idea seems clear.
We need to know if that will be active, though, as if he is storng enough in that period it may not show up so bad.

In this case, sadly it is active. That start in this specific case, comes from Zi<>Wu interaction with his year and hour. Water harming the fire around him showing his physical body.
As we have 2 influences from water, one from the 10 year period one from the year. So Water is harming the Fire, without the support form Wood that is not enough anywhere around,

That also can fit to images of bad weather(water) and people(fire) in a vechicle falling to the Earth(as fire tends to rise, while water harming it suggesting falling).

Next start connected to the year itself:
66.White Tiger 白虎

White tiger very popular in Feng Shui and other parts of the Five Arts - injury related to metal, blood being spilled etc.

This is from the year and again connected to the Zi branch, but this time its harming the Si in his day branch with similar images.

We have enough Images to say that something will happen in this period, that year, connected to injury, possible death, fire being pulled down from water, harming people around the person as well(as the 2 kinds of fire show other people as well) and also harming the physical body.

However, the Tiger is the only images of metal.
Yet the month is Chou Ox, that is the storage/graveyard of Metal.
And Metal carry strong Images of, amoung other stuff a vehicle.

Now, here is somewhat more advanced part in all this.
So far we have clear idea of a problem affecting him, possible bad weather(as both Chou and Chen have Images of that), metal related to that and possible death.
Yet we don't have enough details.

If we use Images of the branches themselves, we have the whole Metal pillar in the month falling in Chou(storages/graveyards take the element they carry when it shows up), and since the DM(day stem showing the person essence) is combining with Shen(Si<>Shen) it will fall along with that.

As far as Images influence it, that is DM and people around him with his physical body(Wu in hour/year) and other people(Si in Day Branch), are connected to a metal vechicle(Si<>Shen and the general Fire obtaining Shen), yet in this period are not storng enough to control it(Chou/Chen and all the water all of them having images of bad weather) leading to the vechicle being lost in the earth(Shen falling in Chou) along with all the people.
 
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