Direct Officer BaZi Case Study: When Auspicious ‘Gods’ Aren’t So

You took a course on BaZi conducted by a famous practitioner. Congratulations. But again, please don’t be so naive and arrogant to think that you are ready to decipher a BaZi chart.

The Ten ‘Gods’ in BaZi are one of the first few things you will get in touch with as one is first introduced to BaZi. Ten different ‘Gods’ – 10 different meanings and whatever it is they represent. They are further split into two broad categories of auspicious ‘gods’ and inauspicious ‘gods’, with the auspicious ‘gods’ being your Direct Officer (正官), Direct/Indirect Wealth (正偏财), Direct Resource (正印), and Eating God (食神)。 The inauspicious ones would be Indirect Officer (七杀), Rob Wealth (劫财), Hurting Officer (伤官), and Indirect Resource (偏印)。

Most newcomers to BaZi would start off their learning journey by studying these ‘Ten Gods’ and whatever they represent and would then proceed to try to decipher a BaZi chart, not realizing that this is perhaps one of the worse ways of starting your BaZi learning journey. I wrote a blog post on how flawed this method of teaching is before and you can find it here:

It’s not that you cannot profile someone using the Ten Gods but one really needs to have an extremely good grasp of the basics and foundational theory of BaZi before any form of interpretation of the Ten Gods can be meaningful.

People often look at whichever ‘god’ is the strongest or most dominant in the chart and would go on to deduce that the chart-holder will possess the traits of this particular ‘god’. Many people also assume that Stem Combinations (天干合) are intrinsically a good trait to have in a chart because they represent harmony, especially when it’s your Daymaster absorbing an auspicious ‘god’ such as Direct Officer or Direct Wealth.

This superficial way of analyzing a chart is not the right way to go and I will illustrate this point again with a case study.

When You See Direct Officer (正官) In Your BaZi Chart

Try not to immediately jump to a conclusion and be too happy when you see Direct Officer in your chart because as I’ve said all the time, the thought process behind analyzing a BaZi chart is not a straight line.

What Can Direct Officer Represent?

At its best, Direct Officer can represent virtues like a strong moral compass, leadership ability, a good reputation, and basically a very structured, organized life. People with a positive Direct Officer ‘god’ in their charts do well because they understand why rules and regulations need to be in place. Their uprightness, of course, allows them to make good decisions, and these good decisions bring them to good places in life.

At its worst, a negative Direct Officer basically is the reverse of everything above. They lack a moral compass and they have no structure in their lives. A negative Direct Officer is also associated with a bad reputation which is a given because anyone who lacks a moral compass will eventually have one.

Breaking Down The Chart Above

The above chart, strictly speaking, does not fall under a Direct Officer structure because although Direct Officer appears as Yang Fire (丙火), the Month Branch does not hold Yang Fire so it does not qualify as a proper structure.

This chart definitely falls under a “strong” Daymaster category which is another way of saying we need the Daymaster to weaken. Here are some assumptions that newcomers tend to make:

  • This chart has a strong “Daymaster” category, they would assume that Yang Fire’s appearance as Direct Officer would be deemed a positive trait.
  • Yang Fire forms 丙辛合 (Yang Fire + Yin Metal Stem combination) and people would also assume that this is an auspicious sign as well because, well, the Daymaster is absorbing an auspicious ‘god’.
  • There is a Yang Metal Rob Wealth (劫财) on the Year Stem which is clearly a negative ‘god’ and Yang Fire appears to control it, thereby forming an auspicious chart structure.
  • Because Yang Fire Direct Officer is a very strong ‘god’, the chart-holder is definitely someone who possesses leadership abilities and whatever positive traits Direct Officer is known to have.

The above train of thought is basically a trap that most newcomers to BaZi fall into and it is an extremely superficial and sloppy way of deciphering any chart.

Here are the questions that hobbyists aren’t asking:

  • What purpose is Yang Fire serving in the chart and does it actually do anything to help balance the chart?
  • Is Yang Fire what Yin Metal truly needs? Each element has its own unique traits and characteristics, which means each element also requires its own appropriate elements to bring out its best. Simply throwing in elements that weaken the Daymaster is not the right way to go.
  • Is the Yang Fire + Yin Metal combination truly a positive trait in the chart?

Many hobbyists would classify the above chart as a good or at least above average chart but that cannot be further away from the truth. You will be able to easily arrive at the same conclusion if you generate the Zi Wei Dou Shu chart for this chart-holder.

The Yang Fire Direct Officer in the above chart serves absolutely no constructive purpose in the chart despite it being an auspicious ‘god’. In fact, it is contributing to the imbalance in the chart which means the negative side of Direct Officer will manifest.

Now, does the fact that Yang Fire is being absorbed make it a good thing then? The answer should be clear.

Because Yang Fire is being absorbed away, the Yang Metal Rob Wealth on the Year Stem is clearly not being controlled as well and it will have its own serious negative implications as well.

I guess my message to everyone, especially newcomers to this field, is that deciphering a BaZi chart is not as simple as you think. Merely looking at which ‘gods’ appear in the chart and reciting what you know about the ‘god’ is not analyzing a chart.

– Sean

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