What is the Chinese Four Pillars of Destiny (or Ba Zi)?

by KM Chan

The Chinese Four Pillars of Destiny or Ba Zi is a branch of study of Chinese Metaphysics Science. The Four Pillars Chart is derived from the Date of Birth of a Person using the Chinese Solar Calendar, which is also known as the Hsia Calendar or Farmer’s Calendar. This chart can be use to forecast the destiny and characteristics of an individual and the relationships and interaction between the individual with the surrounding environment:

The theory behind the study of four pillars is that The Sun, Moon, Earth; planets in the Solar System emit cosmic energy (chi) all the time. This Cosmic energy is not constant but varies with time depending on the relative positions of the planets.

The Chinese has discovered a few thousand years ago that at any point of time the energy field (chi) surrounding us can be mapped and represented by a combination of 22 characters known as the Ten Heavenly Stems and Twelve Earthy Branches. This in turn is known as the Hsia Calendar. This calendar is also used for feng shui and for another branch of Chinese Astrology known as Purple Star astrology.

When a person is born and takes the first breath of air, the influence of this cosmic energy on the newborn is said to map the destiny and characteristics of that particular person.

The typical Four Pillars chart (Ba Zi) consist of two charts; the main chart and the secondary chart. The main chart is represented by Eight Characters arranged into Four Columns representing the year, month, day and hour of the date of birth obtained from the Hsia Calendar. The secondary chart otherwise known as the Luck Pillar chart consists of a set of pillars with each pillar representing a period of 10 years of an individual’s life.

An example of a Four Pillars (Ba Zhi) chart for a male individual born on 28th June 1988 between 5pm to 7pm. is as shown. The arrangement of the Four Pillars chart is based on its original form and its read from right to left.

a

Yin Water

Gui

a

Yin Water

Gui

Yang Wood

Jia

Yang Wood

Jia

Yang Earth

Wu

Yang Earth

Wu

Yang Earth

Wu

Yang Earth

Wu

Heavenly Stems

a

Yin Water

Gui

Yang Wood

Jia

Yang Earth

Wu

Yang Earth

Wu

 

 

 

 

 

Metal

You

Metal

You

Wood

Yin

Wood

Yin

Fire

Wu

Fire

Wu

 Earth

Chen

 Earth

Chen

Earthly Branches

Metal

You

Wood

Yin

Fire

Wu

 Earth

Chen

Hour
Pillar

Day
Pillar

Month
Pillar

Year
Pillar

 

 

Example of the secondary chart for the above individual is shown as follows. This chart will be different if the individual is a female but the main chart will be the same.

10-YEAR LUCK PILLARS

63

53

43

33

23

13

3

Yin Wood

Yi

Yin Wood

Yi

Yang Wood

Jia

Yang Wood

Jia

Yin Water

Gui

Yin Water

Gui

Yang Water

Ren

Yang Water

Ren

Yin Metal

Xin

Yin Metal

Xin

Yang Metal

Geng

Yang Metal

Geng

Yin Earth

Ji

Yin Earth

Ji

Yin Wood

Yi

Yang Wood

Jia

Yin Water

Gui

Yang Water

Ren

Yin Metal

Xin

Yang Metal

Geng

Yin Earth

Ji

Earth

Chou

Earth

Chou

 Water

Zi

 Water

Zi

 Water

Hai

 Water

Hai

Earth

Qu

Earth

Qu

Metal

You

Metal

You

 Metal

Shen

 Metal

Shen

 Earth

Wei

 Earth

Wei

Earth

Chou

 Water

Zi

 Water

Hai

Earth

Qu

Metal

You

 Metal

Shen

 Earth

Wei

72

62

52

42

32

22

12

 

From the Four Pillars chart by studying the interaction of the characters with each other, one can tell the characteristics of an individual and the relationship between the individual with the surrounding environment:

The Four Pillars chart can also forecast the strength and weakness in our destiny which represents the ups and downs of life by comparing the interaction of the Four Pillars chart with the 10-Year Luck Pillars.

In the study of Ba Zi, one has to understand the characteristics and meanings of the ten heavenly stems and twelve earthly branches. Upon understanding these characters, the interaction of these characters between each other can be used to foretell the story.

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