Ah yes, the Tai Sui. It’s a dreaded term in Chinese astrology as we usually hear bad things associated with it. In English, we also know it as the Grand Duke, so Tai Sui and Grand Duke can be used interchangeably. You’ll often hear the term “Fan Tai Sui” when Chinese New Year is around the corner and everyone’s looking at zodiac forecasts. “Fan Tai Sui” basically refers to offending the Grand Duke. Tai Sui is also known as Tai Sui Xing Jun (太岁星君) or Sui Jun (岁君)。
I’ve been getting a few questions on what are the effects of “Fan Tai Sui” and thought it might be a good time to talk about this.
The best way to talk about the Tai Sui is to clear up misconceptions:
Tai Sui Is Not A Mysterious God Or Deity You Offend
I know sometimes people wonder why they “offend” a god without them actually doing anything. That’s because Tai Sui actually represents the planet Jupiter, and the 60 deities that are said to govern each year in the 60-year sexagenary cycle is part of Chinese folklore and belief.
One unique trait of Chinese culture is that men created the gods and deities, whereas, in the West, it’s the reverse. The Chinese in the past often like to add a layer of mysticism to things they can observe but are unable to explain.
Whenever we talk about Tai Sui. we’re actually just talking about Chinese astronomy as well as astrology, and how the study of nature’s laws is intricately linked with our lives. The reason why Tai Sui is given so much attention is that a change in Tai Sui basically just means moving into a new year. Four seasons have passed and the energies have shifted, which also means to say that the Annual Phase Pillar (流年柱) in one’s BaZi chart has changed.
The Tai Sui and the Pillar which represents it has the greatest commanding power in the chart and it is akin to 值符 in a Qi Men Dun Jia chart, which is why it’s extremely important to understand, from a technical perspective, the effects it can have on a chart.
‘Fan Tai Sui’ Can Be A Positive Thing Sometimes
Yes, you read that right. Fan Tai Sui, or offending the Grand Duke, can be a positive thing sometimes. It’s just that the process towards getting to this positive ending often feels tumultuous for the uninitiated.
Most people tremble in fear whenever they hear that their zodiac sign Fan Tai Sui in a particular year but I would say this fear is unfounded. The ‘offending’ of the Grand Duke is simply a term we use to describe an astrological trait in one’s chart.
For example, if you were born during the year of the Tiger, a Monkey year sees you ‘clashing’ with the Grand Duke. This “clash” represents the clash in the Earthly Branches representing Tiger and Money, which is yin (寅) and shen (申).
If you were to study Chinese astrology, you’ll know that “clashes” represent change, and change can be positive although the process will definitely be tiring. It’s extremely unreasonable for everyone and commercial ‘practitioners’ to assume that just ‘Fan Tai Sui’ is always negative. A lot of people actually receive promotions or see their incomes increase due to a clash with the Tai Sui because this clash represents the removal of something negative.
To be fair, Fan Tai Sui’s effects can be devastating but as I always say, it really depends on how the chart is structured and what it needs, so I’m not saying one shouldn’t take the effects of Tai Sui seriously.
When ‘Fan Tai Sui’ Is Extremely Negative
Although I said we shouldn’t be too scared of Tai Sui because of the layperson’s lack of understanding of it, I’m definitely not saying we take it lightly either. Fan Tai Sui can be devastating for certain people, but the severity of it depends on how one’s BaZi chart is structured.
The above chart is an example of an extremely negative clash with Tai Sui. The chart holder is under the Snake Zodiac and 2019’s year of the Pig clashes with the Snake. Water is clashing away her beneficial element of Fire which is the si Branch, and unfortunately, that is the only beneficial element in her natal chart and the anchor which keeps everything balanced. Furthermore, there is no element coming in to protect Fire from being clashed, which in this case would be Wood. This clash causes her entire chart structure to collapse. It was the year where the chart holder’s business failed due to reasons that were completely out of her control, so many years of hard work went to waste just like that. Read on to find out what these events are.
Whether a Fan Tai Sui year will be good or bad depends on the person’s individual charts. This is why everyone under the same zodiac sign will experience the year so difficult. Some people might not feel a thing at all because clashes with the Tai Sui can be prevented too from a chart perspective.
There Are Different Kinds Of ‘Fan Tai Suis’
Each year, you will see at least three zodiac signs that offend that Fan Tai Sui. Similar to what I said above, these are just interactions from an astrological perspective with the Branch of the year.
Let’s 2016‘s Year Of The Monkey again as an example.
The four zodiac signs that Fan Tai Sui in 2016 are Tiger, Pig, Snake and also Monkey itself. Let’s list down the interaction of the Branches:
- Yin Tiger has a Clash relation with shen Monkey
- Hai Pig has a Harm relation with shen Monkey
- Si Snake has a “Punishment” relation with shen Monkey
- Monkey itself is what we call ‘Sitting’ on the Grand Duke
If you’re familiar with BaZi, you would have heard of these Branch interactions before.
Let’s project forward and look at 2022 which is the Year of the Tiger and see which zodiac signs Fan Tai Sui that year:
- Shen (申) Monkey has a “Clash” relation with Yin Tiger
- Si (巳) Snake has a “Punishment” (刑) as well as a “Harm” (亥) relation with Yin Tiger
- Hai (亥) Pig also has a “Punishment” relation with Yin Tiger although there’s a 6-Harmony interaction (六合) as well
- Yin Tiger itself ‘sits’ on 太岁 which we call 值太岁
At the end of the day, which zodiac ‘offends’ the Grand Duke of the year is simply understanding the Branch interactions in BaZi.
The different interactions with the Tai Suis will, of course, have a different meaning and the real-life manifestations will be different too. To fully explain it requires us to deep dive into BaZi theory which I won’t do for now. But as a general rule, the effects of “clashes” are the most salient, followed by “Punishment”, “Harm”, and “Break”.
Why Does The Tai Sui Only Clash With Chinese Zodiac Signs?
Whenever we talk about offending the Tai Sui, it’s always referring to the zodiac we are born under which is represented by the Year Branch in our BaZi charts. But why the special emphasis on the zodiac sign or Year Branch and not the Month, Day or Hour Branch? It’s not because classifying people by their zodiacs is the easiest way of categorizing people although that seems to be the most logical explanation for the uninitiated.
The Year Branch or Pillar holds a very important position in one’s astrological chart.
The Year Pillar in our BaZi charts is seen as the absolute foundation of our lives and it pretty much determines your starting point in life. Yes, it does represent your parents, but the Chinese sages also see it as sort of a karmic base. Although, yes, the kind of family we are born into pretty much determines a lot of things in our lives.
The Year Pillar is often what the practitioner sees as what Heavens decides to give you. Manifested in real life, it’s often seen as the big picture or macro-events. If you take the example above again, when the chart holder’s business closed down, it was due to the Hong Kong protests, followed by the pandemic which were completely out of her control.
Being In ‘Harmony’ With The Tai Sui Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing
Other than the negative interactions with the zodiac signs, you would have of course heard of some of the positives too. Certain zodiac signs are in “Harmony” positions. For example, in 2022’s year of the Tiger, the Horse and Dog zodiac would be in “Harmony” positions with the Tiger. These are your yin-wu-xu Branches that are part of the Three Harmony Fire combination which we call 寅午戌三合火局。
What I wish to point out here is that the word “Harmony’ is not the most appropriate word to use as it has a misleading positive connotation. These “Harmony” relationships are simply a description of the interaction between the Branches, and such interactions can be negative at times. A more neutral word to use would be “Trine” because three Trines make a full circle, which brings you back to the original Branch.
In some cases, a Trine can represent having something taken away from you, or a burden.
Nothing in Chinese metaphysics is intrinsically positive or negative in itself. It is all about balance and we will only know what will happen to someone if we look at their full charts.
2022’s Fan Tai Sai And The Zodiacs Affected
In the interest of the next Tai Sui year of 2022, let’s talk a closer look at the zodiacs affected in 2022.
2022 is 壬寅 which is a Tiger year and 寅 clashes with 申 which represents the Monkey.
People under the Monkey zodiac will likely feel 2022’s effects the most, but note that this is a very general application of the theory. Clashes between zodiac signs and Branches usually see the Branch being clashed weakening, but we need to remember here that 寅 is Wood after all and it technically has no ability to harm 申 which is Metal. It is supposed to be the other way around. Whether 申 Metal is being clashed away and harmed, or just merely being disturbed really depends on the overall structure of the chart.
The next question you might ask is what exactly will this clash mean to me? In all honesty, I won’t know unless I know what your chart is like because the elements involved will mean different things to everyone and the reason for this is really simple because the meaning of the Branches change depending on what your Daymaster is.
2022’s Tai Sui of 壬寅 is going to mean different things for different people and to understand exactly what might happen to someone requires us to understand what these Branches mean exactly and what do they truly represent – and I’m not talking about the animal they represent in this case.
The clash between yin (寅) and shen (申) is also known as 长生冲。寅，巳，申， and 亥 are known as your four 长生 (Birth) Branches because these Branches are the positions where the elements start to grow. The symbolism behind a clash between these Branches will revolve a lot about the ‘birth’ of something. I won’t go into a case study here and leave it here for people to appreciate what this means.
For the lucky ones, a clash like this might even mean something that they’ve been working for a while has finally started to take off because we are talking about the 长生 position after all. On the flip side, if the clash between these Branches is negative, then it’ll likely mean the opposite, which is that whatever one kickstarts will be futile. The permutations and variables involved are unless because we are just talking about the Tai Sui Branch and Year Branch after all.
This is a good example of why I always say zodiac forecasts aren’t reliable because you won’t know what a year will mean to someone if you don’t look at the whole BaZi chart.
How To Prepare For A “Fan Tai Sui” Year
The most common remedies to a Fan Tai Sui year would be to pray to the Tai Sui or wear a Tai Sui amulet. Some even go as far as avoiding travelling in the direction of where Tai Sui resides. Personally, I don’t believe in such remedies because from an astrological perspective because events that are meant to happen, will happen. The positives I see coming out of these popular remedies is that we are reminded to be vigilant during such years.
As for the true remedy for a Tai Sui year: There is no template answer to this because no one will know what’s going to happen to you. You’ll need a qualified practitioner to come into the picture and give you a very thorough breakdown of your BaZi chart and what is needed to balance it. Without this, you will never know the real effect of Tai Sui and whether it’s going to be positive or negative.
Generally speaking, if you see a Tai Sui year coming next, just be prepared for some significant event to happen, especially if you “clash” with the Tai Sui because the effects of “clashes” are the most salient which you’ll definitely feel. Something about your environment will definitely change. If a ‘Fan Tai Sui’ year happens to be a positive one for you, just remember that it will still come with some unpleasantries.
If I may share my own personal story to help put things into perspective: 2016 was the year where I clashed with the Grand Duke, but the year of the Monkey is represented by Metal and Metal is a beneficial element for me. That was the year I changed jobs twice, but I also got a pay raise twice and my income significantly increased. No doubt that it was a very tiring year, but it ended up being one of my best years where I saw the most progress. It is also the year where I met my wife.
Of course, not everyone under the Tiger zodiac like myself had a good time. For those with Metal being a destructive element, it would have been a very difficult year for them.
As mentioned, you won’t know the true effects of Tai Sui on you unless you know what’s going on in your BaZi chart. These are just a few of the many layers of analysis of your BaZi chart that’s required to determine if the Tai Sui for a particular year will really affect you. Any clashes, combinations with the Branch representing the Tai Sui will have a different kind of manifestation in someone’s life.
Don’t Be A Doughnut: Stop Taking Zodiac Forecasts So Seriously
For goodness sake, stop taking zodiac forecasts so seriously. They are too generic and a severe dumbing down of Chinese astrology. The positives of zodiac forecasts are that it reminds us to be vigilant, but other than that, it usually just causes unnecessary panic and discomfort.
I also hope everyone can take comfort in the fact that annual zodiac forecasts that you see on television were never accurate for me and they never will be.
Do not end up sabotaging yourself with something you don’t even have a full understanding of. It would be extremely foolish of you.
But of course, on the flip side, for people who will eventually experience a negative Tai Sui year, it’s also a good time to slow down and take the time to think about the future, as well as tie up loose ends. Fan Tai Sui years usually offer a lot of valuable karmic lessons, and you can see it as the universe’s way of setting things back in order, because if chaos would arise if certain people keep progressing and certain people keep spiralling downwards. Chinese metaphysics talks a lot about balance, and these ups and downs we go through are the natural cycles required for balance to be maintained.
I’m not the best person to be saying such things as I have many flaws myself, but if you ask me what’s the best way to avoid all these bad ‘luck’ you’re afraid of encountering, I would suggest starting with these two simple steps:
1) Meditation. Raise your level of awareness of not just yourself, but your surroundings and people around you. Your BaZi chart is a reflection of how your life unfolds, so as long as you’re aware of what’s going on, you can avoid the negative events. It takes a lot of courage and humility. Bad years and bad events can be avoided, but it won’t be easy.
2) Practice genuine kindness, for the sake of kindness itself, not because you want something in return. Karma is not a piggy bank where you can accumulate and expect returns. When you practice kindness, your emotional spectrum widens and you can empathize more and when that happens, not only do you reach a new level of self-awareness, more paths are opened up to you and more people will be there to help you. If you do things expecting something in return, people can tell and it’s a put-off.
A late Chinese scholar also once said that, do not expect to have good luck just because you offered a few bananas or apples to the gods on the altar as they might not exactly be the type to practice favouritism or accept ‘bribery’.
Take care, everyone! And may this year’s Tai Sui be on your side.