What Is A Follower Chart (从格) And How Is It Different?

September 2, 2016

Reading and deciphering a BaZi chart is never easy. One topic that often comes up in Bazi is Follower Charts because they are rare, and that naturally leads people to believe that these are a special group of people.

I’d like to set things straight in this post and tell everyone that Follower charts are like any other BaZi chart. There’s no need to put them on a pedestal.

How To Identify A Follower Chart

For newcomers to BaZi, identifying a Follower Chart is not easy, as many cases are ambiguous. They’re often tempted to think that very weak Daymasters qualify as a Follower Chart, but they fail to realize just how stringent the criteria for a Follower Chart are. There is a modern-day BaZi trend, which is that some charts are considered “Fake Follower” BaZi charts, or 假从格。 This, to me, is new-age gibberish that exists so that there is a leeway for lower standards. If it is a Follower chart, it is a Follower chart. There is no need to differentiate between fakes and non-fakes.

The simplest way to identify a potential Follower Chart is to check if any supportive elements appear. For example, if you were a Yang Metal person, you’ll need to check if you have any Earth or Metal elements appearing.

What Makes A Good Follower Chart

It’s not easy trying to analyze a Follower chart because the elements are so extreme that you don’t even know where or how to start. Elements or ‘gods’ representing a certain aspect of someone can go completely missing. For example, for a Follower Chart that has the Wealth element as the dominant element, we know that the Resource ‘god’ will be completely missing. Does that mean that the chart-holder does not have a mother in his or her life, or that they will have a bad relationship?

Newcomers to BaZi who encounter a Follower chart often do not know how to how to decipher it. The reason is simple: They still see BaZi interpretation as a straight line and don’t have the flexibility needed in the deduction.

The quality of a Follower chart is determined by what I coin its “purity”. In other words, the structure should not be disrupted or disturbed, and we usually look into the “Luck Pillars” or Elemental Phases to determine this.

Different Types Of Follower Charts

The English realm of BaZi doesn’t really discuss this much. This is probably because it would cause too much confusion, which isn’t good for business.

I noticed that people who study BaZi in English only recognize Follower Charts as those with extremely weak Daymasters. Strictly speaking, there are different kinds of Follower charts, and the Chinese classics break them down a lot better. There is a Follower chart for extremely weak Daymasters, but there is also one for extremely strong Daymasters, which is different from your Vibrant charts.

Yes, you read that right. Strong Follower charts are not the same as Vibrant charts. There’s a lot more to special BaZi chart structures than people realize.

An Example of a High-Quality Follower Chart

Follower Charts are a kind of BaZi chart structure that is very rare. Rare, however, does not automatically mean it’s a good chart. Scarcity does not equate to value when it comes to Chinese metaphysics. The term “Follower” comes from the Chinese word cong (从), which can also mean to submit to, and what we are submitting to here is the strongest element in the chart. The most common way of identifying a Follower Chart is by an extremely weak Daymaster

Chart structures are just a way of describing the state of the chart, and they do not inherently have any meaning on their own. For example, if someone has a Follower Chart and what also falls under a Direct Wealth chart structure, it doesn’t mean they have two different personalities or characters. Many BaZi courses like to throw labels on chart structures and use them to deduce other people’s characters. It’s not wrong per se, but it’s definitely not a good way to start learning BaZi.

I recently came across a really rare chart that falls under a Follower chart and has a Direct Wealth chart structure, too.

Picture  Picture  

There is no doubt that this is a Follower Chart as there is no single supporting element for the Daymaster. No Metal or Water is appearing at all. I don’t come across such charts often. I know it means nothing to most people, but it immediately stands out as someone extremely blessed, and she is born into a very well-to-do family. Of course, no one’s life is perfect, and if I wanted to point out certain flaws, I definitely can, but the natal chart quality of this person is one of the better ones I’ve seen, be it using BaZi or Zi Wei Dou Shu.

Let me break it down into point form to make it less confusing for everyone:

  • Her BaZi chart is has a Follower chart structure and her beneficial element are no doubt Wood and Fire because it upholds this structure.
  • Notice that she was born into a ding wei 10-year phase, which symbolizes a great start in love. Top school, good family and great academic results. The fact that her Year Pillar holds her beneficial elements also tells us of her blessed environment.
  • Her Zi Wei Dou Shu chart is also extremely strong, with Tai Yin in a good position with a Hua Lu transformer. Her critical sectors also have beneficial stars.

The major flaw of this chart is that her 10-year phases aren’t on her side. This chart needs to avoid Metal and Water, but if you take a close look at her “Luck Pillars”, you’ll see that she encounters Metal and Water throughout her life, so despite being born into an extremely good family, she’s not going to be able to fully utilize it.

Not that this is a big deal because our BaZi natal charts do matter and her foundation is already very strong, so the so-called negative 10-year “Luck Pillars” are not going to impact her much because her natal chart structure protects her. Suppose we have someone with a very bad natal BaZi chart, then the negative 10-year phases will be a lot more challenging and tumultuous.

Follower Charts are just like any other BaZi chart. The biggest difference is that the beneficial and destructive elements change, but the logic behind the analysis and how you approach it remains the same. It takes a bit of experience to accurately identify a Follower Chart. Having Zi Wei Dou Shu to cross-check definitely helps, which I always do because if you classify a BaZi chart structure incorrectly, the analysis will be completely off course.

– Sean

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