What’s The Difference Between A Good BaZi Chart And A Bad One?

September 9, 2017

Bad BaZi charts is a term I would never enjoy saying because it concerns someone’s life. This blog post is arguably one of the most difficult ones I had to write, but also one of the most important ones. It is a must-read for anyone looking to engage me because if you approach an astrological reading with the impression that all charts are good or that someone with a bad BaZi chart can live like someone with a good one – may I suggest you go to another practitioner?

This post will be difficult to read, but I would encourage you to sit through it if you want to get a BaZi reading. Whether you have a good BaZi chart or a bad BaZi chart shouldn’t be your core concern as you read this post. It is important to accept that they exist and understand why they do.

The Reason Why I Wish To Talk About Bad BaZi Charts

We’re far too accustomed to hearing only about good BaZi charts and assuming there’s always something good to say about a chart. I wish to clarify, here and now, that that is not true. Some charts can be so bad that a practitioner will immediately know this will be a life of pain and suffering. We don’t need a Chinese metaphysics practitioner or feng shui master to tell us this because we must look around to know that life is not easy for many people. The big question is always “why” bad BaZi charts exist or have to exist.

I must address harsh truths in Chinese metaphysics once in a while and continue educating people interested in metaphysics and laypeople who are vulnerable to the misconceptions blatant in this field. Readers who follow this blog closely know me as someone who speaks his mind and that I don’t sugarcoat things. I say it as it is because I wish to drive a certain point across and really let my readers see things from a different perspective.

I want to orient everyone first and talk about why I wish to write this post. I understand some practitioners out there will always put a positive spin on things and will promise you the stars and infinite possibilities after you get a chart reading. It’s not that they are doing something wrong, and I admire that intent and spirit, but as a realist, it becomes wrong if their real intent behind all the positivity is to sell you something. Some world-famous practitioners claimed that there is no such thing as a bad chart, which I categorically disagree with. I don’t care how famous a practitioner is, but if someone wants to say something contrary to what our ancestors passed down, there better be a very good reason.

As a practitioner myself, I genuinely feel certain things need to be addressed because the state of Chinese metaphysics is spiralling out of control because of the need to sell, sell, and sell. The topics I’m about to discuss are not easy to bring up because they are cruel, and I never saw myself qualified to talk about such things. That being said, they are also what I feel are the necessary catalyst to real, long-lasting change.

The BaZi Slogan You’ll Always Hear Me Say

Anyone who has gotten a consultation with me will always hear me say this: “Our ancestors would not spend centuries developing this field of Chinese metaphysics just to tell us we can’t do anything to change our lives.” The whole point of getting a reading is to hope you identify blind spots and areas where you can improve and why you go through certain things. Why in the high heavens would our ancestors spend so much time observing the stars and nature’s laws, developing the Chinese metaphysics field, just to tell us in the end, “Oops! Sorry! You can’t do anything about it. I guess life sucks, and you die?”

You guys get my point, right? So many Chinese classics on metaphysics keep stressing about personal cultivation so that we can transcend our charts. The metaphysics founders said it themselves, written in books on BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu.

In the eyes of metaphysics, there are definitely charts of different qualities. This is a fact, and these are laws. There is no such thing as subjectivity when it comes to this. We don’t need to be Chinese metaphysics practitioners to have such revelations. There is a Yin and Yang to everything; there is always a duality or dichotomy. That applies to humans as well. If you’ve ever picked up a Chinese classic on BaZi to read before, you will hear the word ‘fù guì’ (富貴), which means wealth and nobility. Many modern-day books on BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu focus on what makes a chart worthy of wealth and nobility. How about the flip side, then? If you’ve gone through the Chinese classics before, you will also often see the word ‘pín jiàn’ (貧賤), where pín (貧) means poor and jiàn (賤) means a lowly status (it can also mean cheap but in a different context). You won’t find many modern-day books about bad charts under the ‘poor and lowly status’ category (貧賤) because no one likes reading about such things, and I doubt such books will sell. No one wants to pick up a book to find out that their chart falls into this category. Selling hope is easier and more profitable.

And yes, I said it. Some charts fall into this ‘pín jiàn’ (poor and lowly status) category. It’s something I find hard to bring up myself because no one wants to be told that their charts fall under this category. This is not something I’m making up, and I’m sure everyone agrees. It’s just that people shy away from such topics so much that they fail to see the importance is thinking about the flip side of things. This is just life and hard truths. It sounds morbid, but at the same time, it makes success much sweeter should you choose to attain it.

I repeat: “Our ancestors would not spend centuries developing this field of Chinese metaphysics just to tell us we can’t do anything to change our lives.”

BaZi is not everything. It is but a cog in the grand scheme of things. It represents nature but does not consider nurture and what we can do about it.

Simplifying Things: Good BaZi Charts vs Bad BaZi Charts

So you might be asking, what happens if I have a low-quality chart? Before I get to that, perhaps let me break down charts into 4 major categories before I talk about the difference between a good and bad chart. Please note that this is an oversimplification of things, and it’s to introduce some basic concepts to newcomers.

The definition of “good” and “bad” has a wide range, but we’ll leave that for another discussion. Please remember this is a very broad categorization, and each category has its spectrum of assessing chart qualities too. Imagine the Category 1 chart of all Category 1s, where they are the best of the best; and the Category 4 chart of all Category 4s which are the worst of the worst. There is still a range within these four ranges I’m mentioning.

When you assess a chart, you need to look at both the natal chart and the luck phases or what is more commonly known as the “Luck Pillars” in mainstream BaZi. You never, ever decipher a chart without looking at both of them at the same time.

We can roughly break down the chart categories as such:

  • Category 1: Natal Chart + Good Luck Phases (命好,運也好)
  • Category 2: Poor Natal Chart + Good Luck Phases (命不好,運好)
  • Category 3: Good Natal Chart + Bad Luck Phases (命好,運不好)
  • Category 4: Bad Natal Chart + Bad Luck Phases (命不好,運也不好)

There’s a common saying that having good “Luck Pillars” or Elemental Phases is more important than a good natal chart. There is a reason for this, and I agree with it, but please do not dismiss the importance of a natal chart just because of this. Bear in mind one’s elemental phases span many years and keep changing every ten years, so one of the major factors of a chart’s quality is to see how many positive 10-year phases the chart-holder can encounter.

BaZi charts in Category 1 and 2 stand the most chance at success because their luck phases are on their side. Clients and people who get a reading tend to underestimate the importance of your Elemental Phases phases, and I’m talking about your 10-year luck phases (大運). When you flip through the Chinese classics, you’ll always see case studies focusing only on the 10-year Elemental Phases because they hold much more weight than your Annual Elemental Phases (流年运). Having good Annual Luck (流年運) is rather meaningless if your 10-year luck phase is terrible.

What’s The Difference Between Your BaZi Natal Chart & “Luck Pillars”?

You can see your BaZi natal chart as referring to your inner world, the talents you are born with and your character. It’s nature’s description of you from the moment you are born, and your life will unfold from that point according to nature’s laws.

Your Luck Pillars or Elemental Phases describe the changing environment around you and how you interact with it. These two aspects will interact with each other and paint a story of how your life will unfold. If you studied BaZi in Chinese, you would hear that your natal chart is your ti (体), meaning your foundation and your Elemental Phases is your ‘yong’ (用), meaning how you use it. ‘Ti’ (体) and ‘yong’ (用) are two terms you will keep hearing in Chinese metaphysics. The fact that these two terms exist means Chinese metaphysics was never about predeterminism.

Please pay close attention to what I just said: Your luck phases describe how you interact with the world around you. In other words, it refers to your attitude and how you also deal with things. The word “luck” is not a very good word to use in Chinese metaphysics because it implies good things will happen on their own and we don’t have to do anything about it. If you feel metaphysics is about getting “good luck” and you expect good things to happen to you with no effort, I’m pretty sure you fall into category 3 or 4.

People love getting their fortunes told, but it never comes with the inquisitiveness of asking what the natal chart and “Luck Pillars”/Elemental Phases truly mean and how it shows up in real life.

Describing The Four Categories Of BaZi Charts

(Update: At the point of re-editing this post for clarity, it’s been eight years and 4,000 readings). I started this consulting sideline around three years now (don’t mistake this for how long I’ve studied metaphysics), with more than 3,000 readings done professionally, so I’ve definitely encountered clients from all four categories before.

If you’re wondering what people from these categories are like, let me describe them because I think it’s important for everyone to know, and perhaps ask yourself which category you fall under. Note that the descriptions aren’t from Chinese classics but my portrayal of what I’ve experienced thus far:

Category 1:  Good Natal BaZi Chart + Good Luck Pillars/Phases (命好,運也好)

These people, because they have a good natal chart, are born into good families. They have a solid foundation, and their environment is a very positive one, helping them develop as a person. My experience with them is that they are very grounded, hardworking and intelligent. They have families that people will envy. Because their Elemental Phases are supportive, they keep developing themselves, and the environment they operate in is extremely conducive to their growth.

Wealth and success come naturally to these people. You could say they are blessed by the cosmos, but at the same time, these chart-holders will be some of the most intelligent and wisest people you’ll ever meet, and they will always exude an aura of competence and leadership. You don’t have to be an astrologer to know that they will have a good life – you just need to be near them to feel their presence, aura, and disposition, and you will know.

Category 1 BaZi chart-holders make up the smallest proportion of my clients because they simply don’t need a reading. Their lives are going so well, and they are wise enough to know how to navigate life and deal with difficult situations without the input of an astrologer. Of course, they are enjoying their lives. I can learn more from them than they can learn from me.

Category 2: Poor Natal BaZi Chart + Good Luck Pillars/Phases (命不好,運好)

People under this category start with a tough life and have everything against them. Perhaps their environment is not as ideal, they come from a broken family, or maybe they are not as talented – it could also be a mix of reasons. But through sheer hard work, resilience and a positive attitude, they achieved their breakthrough. They never give up, and they create their opportunities. People under this category are constantly adapting and growing, which is why you’ll not feel that their environment is on their side, which also reflects their positive Elemental Phases.

To put it more simply, Category 2 BaZi chart-holders grow to become like Category 1 chart-holders and create the environment that Category 1 chart-holders have for themselves.

You could say Li Ka Shing falls under this category. He had a tough start to life, but look at where he is now. Remember, the word “luck” is not the best word to use when it comes to metaphysics. People with good “luck phases” work extremely hard to get where they are. It’s not that good things happened to them while they stood still and did nothing. Metaphysics is but a way to describe cause and effect.

Have a deep think about what your Elemental Phases mean. They do not represent arbitrary events.

Category 3: Good Natal BaZi Chart + Bad Luck Pillars/Phases (命好,運不好)

They are the ones who are fortunate to be born into a good family and are naturally very talented and intelligent. They eventually get complacent, and things start to dwindle. They assume things will always go their way and tend to make bad life decisions. Some become irrelevant as the world changes, and their competitive advantage dwindles.

As one’s 10-Year Phases is also a reflection of their mindset, their negativity starts to get to the people around them benefactors start to distance themselves. It’s not entirely their fault because sometimes the world changes without them, and they fail to adapt. Having a good natal BaZi chart means they will possess good character so that no major calamity will occur, just that they will not live up to their full potential.

Category 2 BaZi chart-holders will eventually surpass Category 3 chart-holders despite their more disadvantaged start to life.

The biggest risk that Category 3 BaZi chart-holders face is that their later years can get a little rough. Why? Because they aren’t growing. The degree of how tough their life gets varies from chart to chart, but the road is generally bumpy for them, and it’s often a huge waste of good talent. They may be wealthy, but they aren’t necessarily happy. They don’t necessarily have bad lives, but often live life feeling unsatisfied and significant achievements are difficult. Their good natal charts still provide a good buffer for them to get by.

Category 4: Bad Natal BaZi Chart + Bad Luck Pillars/Phases (命不好,運也不好)

I won’t be politically correct here because we all know this is the uncomfortable truth. Destructive, toxic individuals exist. You and I don’t need to be an astrologer to know this as a fact. These people are the worst of the lot, taking away everything good from the people around them.

Nothing good comes from this bunch of people; everything they do is for themselves. Everything they do is meant to fill a void, and they overcompensate for their flaws. If they cannot be happy and content, no one can.

This is the group that you will never find people in Category 1 and Category 2 hanging around with for obvious reasons that don’t need much explanation. Their poor natal charts already suggest character flaws. Toxic, negative, and always finding someone or something to blame. They lack complete self-awareness. The is a wide spectrum of Category 4, and their character and behaviour manifest differently.

Some are self-entitled and disrespectful; some think too highly of themselves. They expect things to go their way without putting in due effort when, and what’s worse, they’re not that talented in the first place. For others, they might be too lazy and unmotivated to do anything. They want a shortcut solution to their problems and have a self-destructive naivete.

People under this category will see no significant achievements in life. They drift and wonder, “What is my talent in life?” without even bothering to try to find out other than to indulge in slothful rumination. If they are lucky, they live paycheque to paycheque and survive. There is a high chance that the people they hang around with also fall under this category because higher-quality chart holders make them feel inadequate. In other words, they are your Donald Trumps and basically what society labels as “losers”.

There is something about Category 4 chart-holders that prevents them from growing or developing into fulfilled and wholesome individuals. Do not assume that Category 4 chart-holders only come from certain backgrounds or families because they can come from wealthy families too. Some may even hold a higher job title, but their personal life is in shambles.

Do not ask me which category you fall under during the consultation. It’s more important to ask yourself which category you wish to fall under.

Put A Category 2 And Category 4 Person Together And See The Difference

I want everyone to believe me when I say this. But I have read enough charts in my lifetime to know what someone is like and what they will eventually be like just by looking at their charts. This section is the most important one in this whole post.

You’ll naturally see a pattern forming after reading enough BaZi charts.

Why do I want to compare Category 2 and Category 4 chart holders? It’s because they are the perfect thought experiment for conveying what I’m trying to say in this post.

Two people can have an equally bad natal chart, but what separates them is their Elemental Phases, which simply reflect their mindsets and growth path. Do you think Li Ka Shing, Jack Ma and Oprah Winfrey have good natal charts? They don’t! Most Category 4 people I’ve met didn’t even go through a quarter of what they’ve gone through, and they’re already complaining.

If you’ve spoken to enough people under both categories, you will notice that the one under Category 2 is always the positive, resilient one that seeks to improve. This is the reason why they eventually end up in a good environment. There is no need to discuss which came first and a chicken-and-egg scenario. The point is: If you want to be in a good environment, change yourself first. Stop blaming the environment. You are not an inanimate object that cannot move.

On the flip side: Our Category 4 friends always blame the environment and say it’s so hard to grow when life is so tough, yet, they still want to be like a Li Ka Shing and a Jack Ma.

Many would argue that it is hard to grow or have a positive mindset when life is so harsh, which I agree with. To be fair to the Category 4 chart-holders I detest so much, I understand that it is difficult to be good when the world is so harsh. But alas, we have no choice – we either tell ourselves to grow or wither and perish. No one needs to be an astrologer to know that successful people have never once blamed their environment or circumstances. They continue to grow no matter what. Many people out there have much tougher lives than ours, yet they manage to achieve more and go further in life.

The blunt way of explaining why some people have better lives can be simple: Some people are better, stronger, and smarter. Your “best” is someone’s “worst”. Compared to them, some of us are ‘lesser’ human beings. They deserve what they have, and we don’t. I know it is harsh, but we must have the courage to accept this before things get better. There will always be a Yin to a Yang. Dichotomies will exist, and so will comparisons. Yin Yang is the basis of reality.

The Biggest Irony In The BaZi Consulting Industry

The biggest irony is that you’ll see a lot of Category 4 chart holders pay thousands to learn BaZi, hoping it will change their lives. In the end, not only are they extremely bad at it, they are no different from when they first started.

It’s as though the commercialized practitioners know they are the best cash cows for the industry because the last person to need a BaZi consultation is the one who is already doing well. Some chart holders even step out to declare themselves “masters” and start reading charts for others, coupled with the touting of items and charms, treating this purely as a business.

I want to point out that this is not a skill you can pick up just by attending a few courses or seminars, especially when the motivation comes from the novelty of reading someone’s fortune and not from an appreciation for Chinese history and culture.

I’m not saying all this to mock Category 4 people (or maybe I am). The state of the Chinese metaphysics industry and how people approach it is so convoluted that I have to say something about it and get it off my chest.

BaZi does not change your life. Only you can change your life. Just because you went to study BaZi or got your chart read does not change anything. Sitting in a seminar hall and being fed common sense notions like you have to plan ahead, take action, etc., does not change your life. That’s too easy.

Why Do “Luck Pillars” or Elemental Phases Feel So Different For Everyone

Many people can experience a positive or negative elemental phase at the same time. Ten different people can experience a positive 10-year phase. Still, their achievements and successes will vary – there will be people with significant achievements and those where progress doesn’t seem like a big deal. Similarly, ten people undergoing negative 10-year phases will experience it differently, too.

Where do the differences come from? It comes from your natal chart.

The saying that your Elemental Phases are more important than your natal chart does not mean we ignore the natal chart completely. The saying is founded on the notion that, regardless of what kind of lives we are born into and what capabilities we are imbued with, we would want our lives to go smoothly because no one enjoys a tumultuous life.

“Luck Pillars” or Elemental Phases feel different for everyone because how we react to them and what can contribute during these phases are different, and this is determined by our natal charts. In other words, it doesn’t mean everyone can become a Li Ka Shing just because one is experiencing a positive phase. A negative phase shouldn’t be underestimated because it can devastate some people.

A BaZi analysis always involves looking at both your natal chart and phases because they constantly interact. There is very little point in indulging in personality profiling using BaZi and the Ten Gods just by looking at your natal chart because the information you derive from it is useless.

“Luck” Has Nothing To Do With Chinese Metaphysics

Many people mistakenly think ‘yun‘ (运) means “luck”. It is not, and it is also a reductive way of looking at Chinese metaphysics that lacks critical thinking. These two terms are not meant to be interchangeable. “Luck” implies you don’t have to do anything, and positive things will happen. The mainstream translation for ‘yun’ (运) is “Luck Pillars”, which I often hesitate to use, so I’ll always add Elemental Phases instead.

Yun (运) is not “luck”. Yun represents your thoughts, actions, and environment. It is everything else but “luck”. The only thing that separates people with the good charts from bad ones is their thoughts and actions.

When someone has a better life, the simplest way to explain it is that they have a better BaZi chart. People often assume that it just means they have better “luck”. Is it really about “luck”? Or is it because this person with a better BaZi chart is simply a better, more hardworking, and smarter person who is more deserving of success?

If you think Chinese metaphysics is about “luck”, you are completely missing the point.

Only People With Bad BaZi Charts Believe In Feng Shui Items And Charms

If you think your life’s problems can be solved by placing crystals in certain areas of your home or wearing a certain colour to work, you need to take a good look at yourself and try to think critically – do all these things even make sense? What makes you think life is so simple? Some of you might already have a good chat with good luck phases, so these tricks seem to work, and some practitioners ride on it and make a killing selling you an expensive item, but how about the people in the other categories? Do you really think wearing a ring that costs five figures can turn your life around?

I’ve done enough consultations to see a pattern in people who are naive enough to think mere items and crystals can change one’s life. The forces of nature aren’t manipulated so easily. Yes, feng shui does help, but there is a proper way of applying it, and even the proper way isn’t easy to execute. I don’t like saying such things, but have you ever noticed that people who fervently believe in such things always feel slightly ‘off’ and as though they can’t think for themselves? You won’t go very far if you can’t think for yourself.

Prospective and current clients know I get people to fill up a form as part of a screening process because certain expectations need to be aligned before the consultation starts, especially if the client falls under a Category 4 BaZi chart. It’s not that I reject clients outright the moment I see that their charts aren’t good – but anyone who approaches a BaZi reading thinking it’s a feel-good session or that the practitioner has a magical solution to dish out will not get anything out of it. The whole consultation becomes a painful process for both sides.

It’s only normal that my most problematic clients fall under Category 4 because they are the ones who, no matter what I say, won’t be happy with the reading. They want a magical pill for their problems and assume Chinese metaphysics is a magical tool to make this happen.

Reading books, talking to people and getting honest feedback would benefit them more than getting a BaZi reading. Please remember that I am also human and have my limits; frankly, I don’t like dealing with people under Category 4. I try my best to be compassionate and uplifting, but some people are just downright toxic, and I have no patience with them because I did not allow myself to be that way, and I don’t have friends like that. I refuse to have people like that around me, and neither am I obliged to serve people who are like that. I owe them nothing.

I am not a counsellor and don’t intend to be one. My job is to decipher charts and educate people on this field. I can give my opinion as a person or friend, but I can never solve anyone’s problems, and you should not see me as someone who can. Only you can solve your own problems.

Metaphysics isn’t some mystical skill to generate good luck so one can sit back and wait for good things to happen. Successful people are successful because they make good decisions, to the extent that even the way they feel and even their attitude is a conscious decisions. You use metaphysics to make better decisions, but don’t let metaphysics make the decisions for you. You are supposed to become an empowered, self-actualized individual with the help of metaphysics, not some superstitious goon asking for quick fixes and solutions. If you are truly interested in metaphysics and want to benefit from it, go read up on Chinese history and philosophy, the theory of Yin and Yang and how our ancestors viewed the universe because that is the foundation of metaphysics.

I promised everyone that I would always remain genuine and authentic, but I hope everyone understands that sometimes I need to say uncomfortable things, but it is with the greater good in mind. If you are serious about transcending your chart, then these are the things that you have to accept. Pretending bad BaZi charts don’t exist and choosing to ignore them isn’t going to change anything. It doesn’t matter who you consult because this fact will not change. Whoever you go to, I hope he or she is a good practitioner who can help you see things from a different perspective. Please approach a BaZi consultation with the right mindset.

I know I talk a lot about transcending charts, so what exactly does one need to do to transcend your chart and change things if you have a bad BaZi chart? All you need is self-awareness, willpower and humility. We don’t ask whether we deserve the things we desire.

Everything is interconnected, and everything has a cause. Your chart tells a practitioner how you are, the way you think, and your mindset. When you develop the self-awareness and humility needed, practitioners cannot get your chart right because you are no longer bound by it. If you ever get to that point, you won’t even be bothered to get a reading. Out of all the chart readings I’ve done, I have only met one person who seems to have transcended her chart. Your BaZi chart is not everything, and if your luck phases are a description of your mindset and how you interact with the world, all you need to do is to change your mindset and the way you deal with things to ‘change your chart’, but please be mindful that there will still be limitations you need to take note of. Transcending charts and altering the course does not mean you gain the ability to do whatever you want.

This sideline has allowed me to lead a much more comfortable life, and I’ve made many new friends through this, but I will never say things that aren’t true to my heart just because I am making money out of it. I am not that kind of person, and I am not that kind of practitioner.

– Sean

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