Follower Chart Case Study (从强格): Intelligent Person Who Made Bad Decisions

April 20, 2018

This case study brings together some of the topics I’ve written about before, such as identifying Follower charts and what ‘luck’ is or isn’t. The focus of this post won’t be on how exactly to identify a Follower chart (從格), but something more important, which is this whole topic about ‘luck’ and what your 運 is – 運 here is referring to the 10-Year Pillars and Annual Pillars that you see in your chart. This concept of breaking down your ‘luck’ in 10-year and annual phases is found in both BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu, and it’s not exclusive to BaZi. I wanted to revisit this topic again because it’s been one of the key messages I’ve been wanting to get across, and the old posts are starting to get a little lost in the archives. It’s very important If you have not read my previous post on what ‘luck’ is or isn’t, I do recommend you to read it. There is a reason why I always use inverted commas when I mention the word “luck”. We really need to stop seeing 運 or our chart as an indicator of random, arbitrary events that will happen to us and instead start seeing it as a description of how we develop as a person and how our life unfolds.

Many of my clients come to me and ask when they still start being “lucky” again, and I’ll always tell them there is no such thing.

“Luck: Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”

Metaphysics is not about chance or random events. The word “luck” which people love to use is one of the root causes of why there are so many misconceptions in this field.

The above chart belongs to someone who is born with a good amount of intelligence and a background that’s not as challenging as some of the others I’ve seen. From the looks of the natal chart (without considering the phases), this person’s chart is actually considered good. It’s considered a Follower chart, although it still bears some flaws which bring down the quality of the natal chart a little – we rather not see any Wood elements appearing in this chart, but fortunately, certain Metal combinations, such as 辰酉合, that appear in the chart does remove the presence of Wood. Do take note that the official name of this chart is under 从强格, which is technically different from 从旺 and 专旺格。There are small differences in these different structures, which will affect how we decide what the beneficial elements are.

The thing about Follower charts is that it does hold some risks due to the strength of the dominant element, so there is a lot more ‘volatility’ in that sense. If anything were to go wrong in the Elemental Phases for someone with a Follower chart, you could be sure that the effects would have an incredibly huge impact. In other words, the swings the chart-holder experiences can be huge. If things are good, it’s excellent. On the flip side, the chart-holder would be considered lucky to remain status quo if things are bad.

The natal chart is fixed, and it’s part of the BaZi chart that doesn’t change. The important part of BaZi and even Zi Wei Dou Shu analysis is in the 運 or Elemental Phases. If you have a crap of a chart, it’s actually okay if your 運 makes up for it. If you haven’t already, read up on my post on the difference between a good BaZi chart and a bad one.

If you wish to tap into metaphysics and benefit from it, it’ll be a good idea to ask yourself what the definition of ‘luck’ is and whether it’s really relevant here. You see things from the angle of cause-and-effect, and not whether you are lucky or not.

Again, and I’ve said this many times, I don’t want people to feel like I’m invalidating anyone’s suffering or challenges. That’s not what I’m trying to do. Some motivational speakers have taken this whole accepting responsibility for your life notion a bit too far and have come across as unempathetic – that’s not what I’m trying to do. What I’m trying to address at the end of the day is the right way of approaching metaphysics. Yes, there will be cases where bad things just somehow happen to someone, and the chart-holder is not at fault at all, but what I’m trying to address here are the cases where bad things happen purely out of bad decision-making.

If you’ve read through my previous post on what luck is or isn’t, I argued that your Elemental Phases or what’s more popularly known as ’10-Year Luck Pillars’ (大运) in your chart is a reflection of your mindset and how you interact with the environment. These two must come together – your mindset and environment – in order for something to happen, and because both are likely to be against you as you enter a challenging Elemental Phase, you’ll need to be extremely careful. Often, the most drastic changes to one’s life happen during a transition in one’s 10-Year Elemental (大运) and the chart-holder will find him or herself in a totally different situation or macro-environment. Handling this transition well, especially when it’s a bad transition, is extremely important.

Now, before I forget to comment on the chart above, what happened to the case above is that the chart-holder, for some reason, got addicted to gambling in his late 40s, around the period when the chart-holder will enter into his 丙寅 phase in 2018. The transition just happened so major changes will happen. If I were to analyse this chart objectively, the slippery slope begins here, and if the chart-holder were to let things play out naturally, or put it another way, be on ‘auto-pilot’ mode without any effort to try to curb his vices, things would get worse.

The element representing his wealth (Wood) is one of his destructive elements and disrupts his Follower chart structure, and for someone with a Follower chart, this is a huge taboo. You can naturally deduce that a lot of the challenges this person faces will be due to reasons related to money and the pursuit of wealth. Because the wealth element represents a man’s wife and marriage, you can say that this chart-holder will not get a happy marriage either. We don’t even have to rely on metaphysics to explain why someone’s career is interconnected with his marriage. People who make good partners – partners who can uplift your life – know how to pick who they want to be with, so if a man does not get some of the essential things in his life right, it’s either he doesn’t find someone at all, or whoever he’s going to be with is going to suffer.


Now, even if I were to bring in Zi Wei Dou Shu, the deductions would be exactly the same. We also have the concept of 10-Year phases in Zi Wei Dou Shu, just FYI. If you take a close look at this 大财 which represents his finances and wealth in his: If it changes in the year 2019 and you will see a 廉贞化忌 in it (Lian Zhen star with a Hua Ji transformer). So it’s extremely obvious, even for a beginner in Zi Wei Dou Shu, that there will be financial troubles.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions which other practitioners somehow don’t point out is exactly what these phases or ‘luck pillars’ really are. Neither has anyone explained what 运 truly is. Everyone keeps thinking that a good chart is about having some god-given ability to have positive events happening to you for no reason – it’s not. Let’s stop using the word “luck” in metaphysics from now on. Change the frame you look at the world and just break everything down into simple-and-effect – I’m not saying you have to only look at the world this way, but rather, the successful people are where they are because of the small, simple but good decisions that they make on a day to day basis. In fact, you just have to stop making bad ones to have a good life. The case study in this post just needed to do one thing – it’s a simple decision but it involves fighting against very carnal emotions like greed – he simply needed to stop gambling and understand that success comes with nothing but hard work. DON’T even dare to raise the example of “what if the chart-holder is a professional poker player?”

The best charts encounter a non-stop, consecutive number of positive phases, and this symbolises a favourable environment and positive mindset of the chart-holder, but bear in mind such charts are extremely rare, and it’s often hard to encounter three consecutive positive phases and above due to the possible Branch combinations that might appear.

Technicals aside, the key message I wish to bring across once again is to stop seeing your chart as if it’s like some heavenly lottery. See each 10-Year phase as interconnected and how it paints the story of your life and your development. If you had three consecutive negative 10-Year phases and will enter into a good one by your fourth 10-Year Phase, don’t expect an instant turnaround – it will take some time because no foundation was built over the past three 10-Year Phases. You need to try to see the process and story painted by your 10-Year Phases.

If your natal chart is already weak, encountering a negative 10-Year phase can be extremely detrimental to your well-being; a good natal chart here might be able to withstand it without the chart-holder facing too much harm. To put things into perspective, if I were to put two people of different natal chart qualities in a similar situation, the way they handle it will be extremely different. You will likely find that the one with the lower-quality chart making decisions that will eventually harm him or her. It’s not just about your environment – it’s how you interact with it and play your cards, which is why two people who are both technically undergoing negative 10-Year phases can still have such different outcomes in their lives. Both the natal chart and the Elemental Phases one has to go through are important, but if you had to choose one, it’s more important to have better Elemental Phases because it doesn’t matter where you started from or what you were born like. It does matter, however, how you grow and develop as a human being.

The bottom line and key takeaway for this post is this: Stop thinking that your Elemental Phases or 运 as a random generator of events which can bring you what you want and tell you when your desires will be fulfilled. If you have not read my previous post on the difference between a good chart and a bad one, I would encourage you to do so.

  • Sean


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