Hey everyone! I’ve added a new page on my website for Zi Wei Dou Shu to provide some information on this another technique. I’m not sure if BaZi or Zi Wei Dou Shu is more popular here in the region, but generally these would be the two methods you would hear of when looking for an astrological reading.
If you’ve not known already, I know both methods and combine both BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu during my consultations to gather more insights for my clients, as well as make sure my analysis is on the right track. Despite being two very different methods, the conclusions drawn should not contradict each other. In other words, if one’s BaZi chart indicates a certain weaker area in life, the Zi Wei Dou Shu chart will say the same. I’m going to give an introduction of Zi Wei Dou Shu in this post, and point out some of the frequently asked questions related to the differences between BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu. Moving forward, I’ll start writing a bit more on Zi Wei Dou Shu since it’s part of the service I offer, and many people have reached out to indicate interest in it as well.
If you are a student looking to learn Zi Wei Dou Shu, and prefer to receive 1-on-1 guidance from the practitioner, do check out the new service I’m offering here: BaZi & Zi Wei Dou Shu Mastery.
What Exactly Is Zi Wei Dou Shu?
Zi Wei Dou Shu is one of the many Chinese astrological forecasting methods and extremely popular amongst the Chinese. It was one of the methods which was developed a little later the course of Chinese history, first appearing during the Song Dynasty, whereas BaZi appears during the Tang Dynasty. The origins of Zi Wei Dou Shu are rather convoluted, with different arguments of which the true founder was. Some argued that it was the Taoist sage Chen Tuan (陳摶), whereas some others argued that it was 吕洞宾 which the Chinese will know as one of the 8 Deities (八仙).
Zi Wei Dou Shu held the title of 五大神数之首, meaning out of the 5 known methods of astrological, Zi Wei Dou Shu was considered the best method. Most of what we know of Zi Wei Dou Shu were originally passed down orally and not many books were written on it unlike BaZi. Unlike BaZi which looks at the position of Earth around the Sun, Zi Wei Dou Shu observes the position of the stars instead, with the major stars coming from that of the Big Dipper and 6 from the Sagittarius constellation.
What Zi Wei Dou Shu Can Do That BaZi Can’t
This is the question that comes up most often from clients. Zi Wei Dou Shu is known as a more advanced method and it was developed much later compared to BaZi. Most people have the misunderstanding that BaZi can give exact details of how an event might happen, but that’s actually false. If one wishes to find out exactly how a particular event might trigger, Zi Wei Dou Shu is the more effective method.
For example, both BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu can help a practitioner deduce that someone might be having career difficulties. However, how exactly this might happen, we’ll have to consult Zi Wei Dou Shu. It’s not that BaZi is totally incapable of doing this, just that Zi Wei Dou Shu can give a much clearer and accurate picture. The root cause of career challenges might come in different forms, such as one’s company not doing well, having a less-than-ideal superior or simply not being up to the task. The same goes for marriage: the breakdown and friction within a marriage can be due to different factors. For some, it may be due to character flaws, and for others it may be due to financial issues.
This is the reason why I combine both methods during my consultations because I realized that the questions that people are used to asking aren’t answerable using BaZi, and people tend to want to know the details and exactly how and where life’s challenges will come from, which is perfectly normal. Complications during consultations come when there is a misalignment of expectations and this misalignment stems from the knowledge gap between practitioners and clients because people usually don’t know the limitations of the different methods.
Which Is The ‘Better’ Method?
There’s no right answer to this. These are really just different techniques that are built on similar underlying laws of the universe. Both methods have it’s merits and I personally enjoy using both of them. In terms of complexity, Zi Wei Dou Shu is definitely more complex, which is why it could go into more detail. The great thing about BaZi is that analysis can be done extremely quickly and it literally takes just a few minutes for an experienced practitioner to determine the quality of a chart.
Perhaps let me explain it like this, if your question is “I want to know an overview of my life and if I stand a good chance of success”, BaZi would be sufficient. If your question is more specific and goes “I want to know exactly how and where the opportunities or challenges will come from”, Zi Wei Dou Shu would be more suitable.
How Is Zi Wei Dou Shu Analysis Usually Done?
This part starts to get a bit technical. You’ll realize a BaZi chart and Zi Wei Dou Shu chart looks drastically different. You can see it for yourself below:
A Zi Wei Dou Shu chart is much more complex as you can see. What’s most easily identifiable is the 12 Palaces (宫位) in the chart which represents different aspect of one’s life such as family, home environment, career, finances and many more. Zi Wei Dou Shu also has the concept of Annual and 10-Year Phases as well, similar to BaZi, although we call usually call it 大限 instead of 大运 for Zi Wei Dou Shu. This is where the complexity of Zi Wei Dou Shu starts to come in.
Flying Stars & Multiple Representations
One of the habits of beginners in this field is to blindly read off the chart and identify which star ends in which Palace without applying the other techniques which are required as part of the analysis. I’m not talking about 三方四正 or seeing where the 大限四化 here, but rather the concept of 体 and 用, and also what we call 宫干四化, which is the Zi Wei Dou Shu version of Flying Stars.
And there is more! There is also something we called 宫位转换 and what this essential means is that each of the 12 Palaces can represent 11 other different things, on top of it’s original representation. For example, if you have read my case study on career success, I gave an example of one’s 疾厄宫 which is originally supposed to represent one’s health, but little do people know that it can actually represent how well the company one’s working for is doing. The key here is knowing when 疾厄宫 is supposed to represent what – when do we associate this Palace with health and when do we associate it with the company one’s working for? This is where the concept of 体 and 用 comes in.
The concept of 体, 用, 宫干四化 and 宫位转换 are the concepts that give Zi Wei Dou Shu the ability to go into the details of one’s life, and quite frankly there is still more to it than whatever I’ve mentioned. You have to see how the 10-Year chart (大限盘) interacts with the natal chart (本命盘) and can go even deeper to see how the Annual Chart (流年盘) interacts with the10-Year chart. There are also certain combinations and patterns of the Flying Stars to take into account as well. This is where your 禄出，忌出，反弓忌，逆水忌 etc all come in. Imagine 4 stars Flying out of the each of the 12 Palaces, that’s 48 stars Flying about. Now, bring in your natal chart, 10-Year chart and finally your Annual Chart into the picture, that is a total of 144 Flying Stars to take into account and the effects will be different depending on how the different chart layers (referring to your natal, 10-Year and Annual chart) are positioned. When we plot a chart to this level of depth, it will look something like this:
Imagine three different charts belonging to the same person (yes, 3 charts belong to the same person) stacked on top of each other. The complexity multiplies geometrically.
But the fascinating thing is, underlying all these complexities, is still Yin Yang & The 5 Elements, just that the application of this simple law of Yin Yang & The 5 Elements has sort of developed an emergent property like it has a life of it’s own.
Should I Go For A BaZi Or Zi Wei Dou Shu Consultation?
This is entirely up to you of course. What’s important is that you know which method suits you best. A BaZi practitioner can tell you “this area of your life is weak”, but a Zi Wei Dou Shu practitioner can tell you “this area of your life is weak because of this/that and it will show up here/there“. I would say Zi Wei Dou Shu takes a lot more effort and is a lot more taxing on the practitioner’s part. All in all, just make sure you find a good practitioner.
The reason why my reports are written mostly from a BaZi perspective even though I combine both methods is because it’s a much simpler method, and I can break the analysis down into bite sized pieces so that the client can understand his or her own chart. This is much more difficult to do for Zi Wei Dou Shu due to the reasons I’ve stated above, so it’s usually best I just say what I see from the chart and not go into the technicals. But one thing is for sure, both methods will not contradict each other.
If you have any questions on Zi Wei Dou Shu, don’t be afraid to reach out!