Nurture vs. Nature: An Astrologer’s Perspective

October 10, 2023

I initially wanted this to be purely a case study of an unfortunate life, but I figured I’d bring in some relatable topics that anyone exposed to astrology would think of – the “nurture vs. nature” debate.

I’ll need a PhD in either biological sciences or philosophy to give you a nuanced answer of whether nurture or nature plays a more significant role, so I’m just going to provide you with the intellectually lazy answer that both play a part in who we eventually become. I am an astrologer, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel that a large part of what people are like has already been determined at birth. It’s almost like a doctrine in astrology.

The notion of what we are like has already been determined at birth scares people more than it inspires. People tend to remember the negative examples a lot more, and that’s human nature. Sometimes, this fear makes people attribute someone’s success to nepotism, generational wealth, and whatnot because life is unfair. I can tell you this – life is unfair, but I can also tell you it’s karma and ask you to suck it up. Some wildly successful people have these as birthrights, but it doesn’t mean we should undermine their hard work or tenacity. Many of them do have the core makeup and DNA to become successful and preserve their family wealth, and the harsh truth is that many people who complain about it don’t even have one-hundredth of what successful people have. Many people are successful because of who they are at the core, and we must give credit to that.

As unscientific as it sounds, I could swear that any astrologer worth his or her salt will tell you that nature plays a large part in who we eventually become. A person with a plain, vanilla life won’t make the best example of this because you come into this world, study, get a job, get married – and that’s life for most people. Let’s not talk about wealth and career, but who we become ultimately decides whether or not we are happy, and there is no point when you have all the money in the world but feel no fulfilment or meaning in your existence.

The best examples to show that people are born the way they are would be the extreme ones because they are beyond human reason and conventional wisdom.

I Have No Answer To Why Planets Determine What We Are Like

What fascinates me about astrology is its applicability and accuracy in assessing someone’s character and inclinations. It sounds odd, “I am the way I am because the planets were positioned in a certain way when I was born.” Are there invisible energy fields or something that can be observed using an electron microscope that explains these things? I wouldn’t know. I wish there were a way for science or physics to explain why astrology works, but I guess we’re not there yet.

Whenever I post an example of a piece of cosmic garbage that seemingly brings no value to society, people ask why, “Why do they exist? And why are they born like that?” I wish I had an answer and that it would be as mundane as saying they lacked nutrition and that the world’s problems could be solved by giving people more Omega-3 to support brain development. But no, I do not have an answer. I can only convince myself, philosophically at least, that these people exist to remind humanity of what’s important and what we should not become by shocking us back on the right track and that you don’t need to die before experiencing Heaven or Hell – because both these realms already exist on Earth.

Astrology gives answers to some things – but not all things.

Why I Believe What We Are Like Is Determined At Birth

If anyone reading this blog can decipher a chart accurately, I won’t even need to lift a finger for you to be convinced that what people are like is determined at birth. This notion is hard to appreciate because 1) Most people are not astrologers, and 2) This phenomenon needs to be observed over a long period.

I have been doing this for almost ten years, and although you might argue some practitioners out there have been in the field for longer than I have, please remember that the rate of my deciphering charts and the depth at which I decipher them way surpasses those that have been in the field twice as long as I have.

I say this with no ego, but I have done enough chart readings and spoken to enough people to tell you, with all the solemnity in the world, that what people are like is determined at birth. I swear a lot, and my chart says I swear a lot. May I also remind everyone that I grew up with the best case studies in the world – my biological family. Most people won’t understand how a mother could ask her child to commit suicide by jumping out of the window as a child. Astrology gave me an answer – intellectually, at least, because I wouldn’t want to experience the pathetic consciousness of cosmic low lives.

Another reductive way of trying to convince everyone that we’re born to be the way we are is that, if this wasn’t the case, my industry wouldn’t be thriving right now. I don’t know how else to explain to everyone other than to speak from my experience and give case studies.

When Nature Goes Awry

Unfortunately, nature sometimes spawns an anomaly that makes people think the world would be better off if they weren’t born. Some of these cases are, frankly, unexpected because some of them seemed to have quite a good start to life. No one expected them to blow their lives up.

Without mentioning any names, the charts above belong to someone once considered a child star. Some even considered him a prodigy. He’s very eloquent for his age and exhibits higher-than-average intelligence. Some of us would have remembered him during our younger days. If not for the events of 2015, most people would have assumed he landed some scholarship and would have been off studying PPE (Philosophy, politics and economics) at some prestigious university in the UK.

For reasons unknown to mankind, in 2015, the teenager uploaded a video of himself criticizing the first Prime Minister of Singapore after his passing and went on to hurt religious feelings. He escaped jail as his sentence was backdated, but he went in for real in 2016 for the same offence of hurting religious sentiments. After serving a short jail term, this person fled to the US in December 2016 to seek asylum and escape national service. He got arrested again in October 2020 in the US and started serving his jail term in December 2021 for reasons too embarrassing to the country to mention.

This person, who is no longer a teen, is one of those perfect examples of Bonhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity. Stupidity is not about someone’s cognitive abilities and mental agility – it is not an intellectual defect but a moral one, and stupid people are worse than evil ones because stupidity cannot be reasoned with. In Bonhoeffer’s words, there is no defence against stupidity. It begs the question, “Why?” Why can someone seemingly so intelligent end up doing something ridiculously dumb, to the point where life goes into a death spiral?

I’d also like to take this chance to reiterate that whenever I use the word “stupid”, it’s from Bonhoeffer’s perspective because I agree with it. It’s not about where you graduated from or how fast you can find the square root of 69, which is 8.30662386292. You owe yourself to be better than repeating the same stupid mistakes that make your life hell.

Breaking Down The Astrological Charts

To the outsider, it’s difficult to fathom why someone can turn out the way they do. Astrology offers a peek into the inner world and what the heck is going on.


He is a Yin Metal (辛金) chart-holder, and his Daymaster definitely lies on the strong side given that he’s born during an Earth month and also has a rooted Yang Earth 戊土 on his Year Stem. There are additional traces of Earth and Metal in his natal chart as well. Chart structure-wise, it falls under 正印格 (Direct Resource Structure), but it is, unfortunately, a negative structure for him because Direct Resource isn’t doing anything positive for him. Do not be like the imbeciles who took courses outside and think you can derive useful information on someone’s character just by looking at the Daymaster or analysing a chart without the Hour Pillar.

What the chart needs is straightforward:

  • Theoretically, Yang Water 壬水 is the element that brings out the best in Yin Metal, but we do not assume this is the element this chart needs just because of this.
  • The Critical Element/”Useful God” for his chart is not Yang Water 壬水 but Yang Wood 甲木 instead, with the most reliable source of it hidden in his Day Branch of 亥。
  • Yang Water is still welcomed, but Yang Wood takes precedence no matter what. This also means that Yang Metal 庚金 is his most destructive element capable of causing calamity, and it doesn’t matter if it’s on the Stem or Branch.
  • Some might think such a chart belongs to someone with below-average intelligence because of a negative Direct Resource on his Year Stem. However, remember that his Year Pillar is also his Death Emptiness (空亡) position, which somewhat negates the negatives and might even imbue him with creativity. You can say he’s unwise, but he’s definitely not unintelligent. His ability to express himself well and his eloquence is best through the fact his Day Branch is 亥, and both his beneficial elements reside within 亥。
  • It also doesn’t help that his chart has the potential for 伤官见官 to trigger, meaning Yang Water harming Yang Fire. If this triggers a memory, you would recall that Four-Eyed James Bond’s chart also has this trait, and I warned him he would get into trouble the moment it triggers.

The unfortunate thing about his chart is that both of his beneficial elements are weak and severely harmed – Yang Earth harms Yang Water, and Yang Wood is harmed by Yang Metal via 申亥相害 as well. His chart has a “Broken Structure (破格)” – a term you do not want to hear when you get a consultation. How his life eventually turned out is due to this 破格 trait, and you’ll notice that calamitous events happen whenever his harmful elements appear.

We all know this child star had a good thing going during his younger days, and this is due to the 癸亥 and 甲子 10-Year Phases, which his chart will benefit greatly from. His life started spiralling out of control from 2015 onwards, halfway through his 甲子 10-Year Phase. Here are the things I wish to point out:

  • First and most importantly, this shows that a positive 10-Year Phase doesn’t protect you 100%. The Annual Phases still play a major role in how your year will unfold. The Annual Phases is called Tai Sui (太岁) or 太岁星君 for a reason because 太岁 represents the commander of the year, and it has power over the 10-Year Phases. If you have a poor BaZi natal chart structure, one negative year can bring your life down even if your 10-Year Phase is positive. In other words, your 10-Year Phase Pillar (大运) is still answerable to the Annual Tai Sui Pillar.
  • 2015 and 2016 was the turning point in his life because his negative elements started to come into the picture. 2015 saw 未戌刑 form with 白虎 and 华盖 involved. 2016 was a 丙申 year, which you will realise is the same Pillar as his Hour Pillar. The appearance of 申 is particularly destructive because all flaws in his natal chart are triggered, and it clashes with his Year Branch, showing up as a very negative 冲太岁 year for him.

There is a reason why I chose his birth time as 丙申。To regale you: This person escaped to the US in December 2016 to seek political asylum. This 丙申 Hour Pillar, triggered in 2016’s 丙申 year, is the strongest indicator of him uprooting himself to go to another country. A beginner in BaZi should be able to tell why this is so. Yes, it’s partly because it’s a “clash Tai Sui” year (冲太岁) year for him, but it’s also what this particular clash means. Not all clashes mean the same thing. December also happened to be a 庚子 month, and if you know your BaZi theory well, it makes the sign of his relocation even more salient.

Singaporeans thought we heard the last of him now that he’s in the US. This little s*** would go on to disgrace our country by getting arrested for solicitation and child grooming involving a 14-year-old, which, to my surprise, shows up very clearly in his chart as well because if you plot his chart for 2020, he would be in his 甲子 10-Year Phase and 庚子 Annual Phase, and the Pillars 甲子 and 庚子 both Peach Blossom positions holding 咸池 and 文昌 for him. 庚’s appearance is horrible for him because it is the worst element for him and triggers the flaws of his natal chart, and 2020 was the Year 庚 Metal able to harm 甲 Wood, his Spouse Element representing females. Note that these are Phases and years when Water is present, so 伤官见官 triggers as a result of his 丙辛合水, which is precisely what Four-Eyed James Bond experienced as well.

On top of this 伤官见官, his natal chart has an additional trait that makes him very susceptible to getting into trouble with the law and being jailed, and 2016 + 2021 were the years where this ‘special trait’ in his natal BaZi chart was triggered.

Zi Wei Dou Shu

His Zi Wei Dou Shu chart paints a similar picture. He belongs to a 「机月同梁格」which is considered a good Zi Wei Dou Shu chart structure to have, and it is meant for highly intelligent people who become planners, strategists, and thinkers. However, it would be a mistake to think that the basic Zi Wei Dou Shu chart structure is enough to determine the outcome of one’s life.

His Zi Wei Dou Shu chart showed signs of narcissism, and he was eventually diagnosed with this disorder. This is shown via the interaction between his Life Sector (命宫) and Karmic Sector (福德宫), which people in my industry term 禄来忌。His Life Sector 化忌 goes into his Karmic Sector; his Karmic Sector’s 化禄 goes into his Life Sector. On top of this, his Karmic Sector and Wealth Sector (财帛宫) also show severe clashes originating from his 父母,命,兄弟, and 夫妻 sectors. The decimation of his Karmic Sector is the most likely reason for his disposition and character flaws.

The second thing that stands out to me is that his 子女宫 (Child Sector) sits 廉贞 + 贪狼化禄 in its worst positions, and although 铃星 is there. It’s supposed to negate some of the negatives of a weakly placed 贪狼. However, his 贪狼禄 ends up being in a 双忌 state, which is probably the most unfortunate thing that can happen to 化禄。 子女宫 (Child Sector) is also the sector which governs Peach Blossoms, enjoyment, and things that are a little more hedonistic. It’s similar to the 5th House in Western astrology, which governs romance, self-expression, and pleasure.

His Zi Wei Dou Shu chart should show getting into trouble with the law in both 2016 and 2021, and what I can say is that it does because his 父母宫 (Parents Sector) is being clashed by his 10-Year Phase 化忌。

I know what you’re thinking, “Sean, we can’t read this.” That’s why you don’t have my job.

2016 and 2021 show negative signs showing up in both his 10-Year Phase 父母宫 and Annual Phase 父母宫。 These are the most salient signs of him getting into legal trouble.

Western Astrology

Full disclosure: I am still self-studying Western astrology and reading up for my leisure. I now try to include Western astrology in my case studies out of appreciation for different forms of astrology.

I hypothesized that this national disgrace’s Ascendent either be a Gemini, Saggitarius, or Aries, especially given his disposition. He talks a lot and is unhinged, and I could only think of these signs when trying to reverse engineer his birth time. The hypothesized birth time fits the 丙申 Hour Pillar narrative in his BaZi chart, putting him under an Aries Ascendant – which made sense. The story the chart paints proceeded to unfold.

These are the things that stood out that helped me narrow down his birth time and sync it with his Chinese astrological charts, and it also paints a very accurate picture of how his life unfolded:

  • His generation has Saturn in Aries, which happens to be in his 1st House. Saturn is all about restriction, discipline, structure, and law. Aries is all about individualism, taking risks, breaking rules, and anything that opposes what Saturn stands for. Saturn is debilitated in Aries and cannot express itself properly – which explains a lot. His Saturn also opposes his Sun in his 8th House in Scorpio, suggesting tensions between his core identity, ego, and how he expresses himself.
  • His midheaven, or medium coeli, also happens to be Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, which may explain his notoriety and why he’s not ashamed to show that side of him since Saturn is debilitated in his 1st House.
  • His Jupiter conjuncts his Moon. It is the first time I’ve seen such a configuration. They both land in his 12th House of Pisces. My limited knowledge only allows me to interpret this as escapism and emotional indulgence, but his Mars in the 6th House opposes Jupiter & Moon, so this escapism and emotional indulgences do transmute into some form of action or expressiveness because the 6th House can represent work ethic, habits and addictions, and how we go about in our day-to-day lives.
  • His Lord of the 5th House is the Sun, and his Sun is in his 8th House. I paid some special attention to this because the 5th and 8th House are related to pleasure and sex, and his 8th House is even Scorpio, which is a sign we know has much to do with carnal desires. All these traits ultimately got him world-famous for the wrong reasons because it’s quite clear that he lacks self-control.
  • His Sun is also conjunct, or rather, combusts his Venus. It doesn’t help that Venus is also his Lord of the 7th (Marriage). Venus represents his romantic partner because everything points towards his partner’s being harmed, and his ego is above everything else. The story syncs very well with his Chinese astrological charts because he clearly has Spouse-Harming traits.
  • Looking at his transits. If you generate his transit chart to 13th October 2016, the day he starts his jail sentence, we see Mars moving into his 10th House of Capricorn, a sign ruled by Saturn. The 10th House also represents authority figures, law, and police. What happens now is that Mutual Reception forms, and both planets have a square aspect with each other. Mutual Reception refers to two planets being in each other’s ruling signs. His Ascendant Ruler/Lord of 1st (Mars) is transiting in his 10th, and his Lord of 10th (Saturn) is in his Ascendant/1st House, a sign of him being restricted by authority figures.
  • He also happens to experience a Lunar Return as the Moon is in Pisces, meaning his 4th House (Home) Lord is in the 12th House. This may be a long shot, but could it mean his new home is now jail because the 12th House represents jail?
  • Fast forward to 14th October 2020, when he got arrested in the US, we see Saturn and Jupiter slowly moving into conjunction while squaring his natal Saturn, with his transit Mars conjunct with his natal Saturn, which I interpret as getting into trouble with authorities, again.

I think I’m getting the hang of Western astrology. As I said, if I can self-study Chinese astrology, Western astrology is a piece of cake. *Wink wink*

The terrifying thing about this case study is this fella who ruined his life has not even started his Saturn Return yet. It’ll only happen when 2027 is nearing and last till the early part of 2028, which would be 戊申 year. The deadly 申 appears for him again, and if I apply theory strictly, I don’t think it’ll be the end of his troubles. I cannot imagine what will happen to him when his Saturn Return triggers.

One interesting forecast is whether he will be deported back to Singapore, where his “roots” are. There are some faint signs in 2026, although I don’t feel it’s a strong enough sign. The strongest sign of him being forcefully returned home is in 2028 when the 空亡 in his Year Branch of 寅 is removed, which also happens to be his clash Tai Sui year. He may very well be sent back and to start his jail sentence of defaulting on his national service.

I’m not too fond of this chap, and astrologer or not, we all know he’s trouble. How he twists the narrative like he knows how the real world works and how to govern better is nauseating. I could go on about how it’s moronic that some people don’t cherish what our first Prime Minister has built for us and how Cat. 4 chart-holders can only whine and lament that life’s so tough when the truth is they’re spineless, but I’ll leave that for another blog post someday.

Predestination vs. Free Will

This is a perennial question not just in astrology but philosophy in general. If astrology postulates that everyone’s born to be the way they are, is there still free will? Or is everything already fixed and set out for you? Such things are never black-and-white; you’ll always say I believe in both sides.

Are certain things predestined? Yes. Does free will exist? The answer is also “Yes”.

Perhaps astrology’s role is to help you accept that some things are predestined while giving you the tools to thrive within that set “predestination” or path. Trust me, like everyone else, a small part of me wishes that learning astrology can give me any life I want. I’m Pisces, after all (surprise, surprise, the a**hole’s a Pisces!), and I like to dream. Astrology is being sold that way, and it would be a mistake to think that’s its purpose.

There will be certain things you cannot change – your parents, how you’re born to be, innate talents and lack thereof, etc. Free will, to me, comes in knowing you can still make decisions and be proud of knowing there are things you can’t change. Many people mistake “free will” as wanting wishes to be granted – if my chart says I cannot have a good spouse or become wealthy, free will change that. The irony here is that most people don’t even have the conventional will to begin talking about free will – and you know I’m right. Some clients tell me they want to be rich, but when you ask them what they are passionate about or what skill they have, they’ll tell you they’re still looking for it – so much willpower.

Transcending Charts

This is one of the most important topics I’ve discussed in my blog, which I have done so many years ago.

I will not attempt to go through it again other than to remind everyone not to be that stupid person who thinks that transcending charts means you can live however you want or fulfil any desire. Transcending charts entails knowing our limits, understanding humility, and accepting that Heavens and the universe have other plans.

I committed my life to astrology. Do you see me chilling with Lisa Manobal and being invited to Crazy Horse?

My Chart Says I’m Born A Certain Way – What Now?

I don’t want to get preachy here, and I’m coming more from an angle of what I experience and how I handle my life.

There is a reason why I enjoy hanging around people with higher-quality charts. It’s not about being opportunist or scheming. I don’t earn more from consultations for people with higher-quality charts. As you age, you have less time for yourself and others, and who you choose to spend time with is important. I, for one, prefer to be around people with a good head on their shoulders. They have a clear direction of what they want and are taking the right steps to get there. “Friendships of virtue”, as Aristotle would put it. Being around them fills you with good energy, and meeting someone to feel zapped after is not something I need in my life now. If you are in your 30s and 40s and you still need me to tell you that you shouldn’t cheat on your spouse, that you should make it a point to heal from your old wounds, and that you need to find a purpose in life – you are wasting my bloody time. It’s not that I don’t wish to exercise compassion, but you are really wasting my time on things you should have picked up along the way, and I think it’ll alleviate suffering a lot more by telling you things bluntly.

Astrology can be very, very useful when applied correctly, but as I said before, not everyone has the fortune or good karma to benefit from it. We don’t live in an era where astrology is given the deference it once had, and it is now reduced to gimmickry or new-age spiritual narcissism that you see me raging about so much on my Instagram page.

If you have a good chart, I don’t think any astrologer will be too worried about the person you eventually become. As for the unlucky ones, they’re usually not the kind that will want to sit down to be told that they were born with severe character flaws.

But my stance is this: At the end of the day, it is your life – you have to think about the consequences or effects of your way of being. A large part of who we are has been determined at birth, but not many people have that level of self-awareness to know what drives, upsets, and even cripples them, let alone the consequences. The first step in altering the course of one’s life has always been self-awareness, or what some Chinese sages call character cultivation. It’s a simple notion, but it’s always overlooked.

I don’t feel there’s a need to overthink predestination and free will. Both exist. A more practical way to approach this is also what would have been instilled into any Buddhist – you simply have to see everything using cause and effect. Cause-and-effect is not just a philosophical belief or perspective of the world. It is also an undeniable axiom in science. Everything has a cause. Whatever happens in your life will always have you as part of that cause-and-effect chain – as unfair as that may sound sometimes. I know there are cases where bad things happen when we didn’t ask for it or make any conscious decision to harm others, like accidents, being assaulted, etc. Those are things that I’m unable to explain, and I wish they didn’t exist, too.

For most other things, there is some form of free will we can rely on, in my opinion. In other words, we can alter that cause-and-effect chain ever so slightly to our favour and well-being instead of letting our natural inclinations get us into trouble. I will refrain from giving irreverent examples, but feel free to use your imagination.

The planets don’t cause things to happen – you do. Perhaps the most relatable to put things is this: The planets paint a story of this cause-and-effect chain that is unique to our lives. Whether you like it or not, a path is already laid out, and whether you choose to exercise free will by making the good even better, avoid the bad, and Heavens forbid, make things worse, is entirely up to you.

I guess the moral of the story is this. If you ever have the misfortune of being called a dumb*** low-life piece of s*** by me because you believe in Pi Xiu bracelets and Feng Shui trees, please understand it’s nothing personal. The planets compelled me to tell you that – yes, you are a moron.

Of course, the irreverent ending is a trademark.

– Sean

P.S. I’m not that mean lah~…

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