Zi Wei Dou Shu Case Study: The Zi Wei Star (紫微)

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Posted On Last updated Jun 14, 2020 | Published on Jun 9, 2020

To any newcomer to Zi Wei Dou Shu, the Zi Wei star is probably the very first star they’ll be introduced. The reason why the name of this ancient Chinese astrological method is named after a star is simple – because this star is at the centre of it all, and quite literally.

The Zi Wei star is also known as the Polaris star or Northern star. It is the star that does you will not see moving in the night sky, and all other stars revolve around it. Technically speaking the Polaris star does move a little and it does so around the North Celestial Pole, but its movement is so small that it’ll be hard to observe with the naked eye.

The techniques and calculations behind Zi Wei Dou Shu, and in fact, all other Chinese astrological methods is dependent on this celestial anchor in the skies. The fact that it does not move gives the Chinese sages a reference point in order to figure out the demarcations in the sky, how long Earth took to revolve around the sun, and also the position of other stars. Without this star, Zi Wei Dou Shu and Chinese astrology would not exist. This is why this special star has a whole astrological method named after it.

Stop Calling This “Purple Star Astrology”

This has nothing to do with the history or techniques, but is just a personal peeve of mine. Please stop calling Zi Wei Dou Shu “Purple Star Astrology”. Just learn to pronounce its original name properly instead of coming up with an English equivalent that makes it sound so silly.

There is nothing purple about the Zi Wei star. Yes, the word zi literally translates to “purple” but this is only because purple symbolizes divinity and immortality, which is why a star as important as Zi Wei got associated with such a colour.

Characteristics Of The Zi Wei Star

The Zi Wei star, given its ‘immovable nature’ represents the Emperor. It is an Earth star, and people born under this star are generally considered blessed although the backgrounds they were born into can be different. Like what you hear about Earth chart-holders in BaZi, people under this star are known to be all-encompassing, calm, and have an aura of nobility around them.

What Brings Out The Best In The Zi Wei Star

Certain stars are preferred in certain sectors. If the Zi Wei star does not end up in one’s Life Sector or Palace, the next best position for it to be at would be the Career Sector where its positive side will exhibit itself the most. People under the influence of the Zi Wei star make natural leaders, and the aura of nobility they have naturally makes it a lot easier for them to influence others. This trait, or aura, is something you have to be born with and it’s not something that can be trained.

Other than the positioning of the Zi Wei star, we also need to see if this star gets assistance from the Benefactor Stars like zuo fu you bi (左辅右弼)and tian kui tian yue (天魁天钺) just to name a few examples. These represent the Emperor’s officials, and is what gives the Emperor his true executive power. An Emperor without loyal officials is nothing but a puppet Emperor.

The Negative Side Of Being The Emperor

The law of Yin and Yang dictates that there is always a duality to everything, and even a star which represents the Emperor himself will have a negative side.

Now, you might ask what happens if someone is born under this star, but does not have these Benefactor Stars. Instead, what happens if they have negative stars like Qing Yang/Goat’s Blade (擎羊)? In such cases, people born under Zi Wei might end up thinking too highly of themselves and have a grandiose self-view when they are actually not that good, and because of this, others lose confidence in the chart-holder and he or she loses their innate leadership ability.

Special Abilities Of The Zi Wei Star

The Zi Wei Star is considered a very positive star which holds special traits and attributes. Its nature as the leading star representing the Emperor gives it the ability to not only suppress negative stars but also bring out their positive sides. For example, stars like 7-Killings (七杀), Huo Xing (火星), and Ling Xing (铃星) are generally considered negative stars, but the Zi Wei can transmute these stars to represent power and even kindness.

There are some stars, however, that can further bring out the negative side of Zi Wei.


The Zi Wei star is perhaps one of the most interesting ones because of the special position it holds as the Emperor. Where this star lands in one’s Zi Wei Dou Shu chart can change a lot of things, but ideally, you want it in your Life Sector or Career Sector, coupled with Benefact Stars, while also avoiding negative stars.

But don’t forget. Like any other Chinese metaphysics technique, Zi Wei Dou Shu also has the concept of 10-year phases and annual phases which play a huge role in how smooth one’s life is and how events unfold. Whatever that was described above is from the perspective of one’s natal chart and it is the chart-holder’s foundation, character and whatever he or she is born with.

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Written by Sean Chan

Sean Chan is Asia's leading Chinese metaphysics consultant specializing in BaZi, Zi Wei Dou Shu, Qi Men Dun Jia, and Feng Shui. A thought-leader in the field, Sean's been featured on Channel NewsAsia, The New York Times Style Magazine and other local media. He blogs regularly about various topics surrounding Chinese metaphysics and aims to educate the public about the field.

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1 Comment

  1. Abby

    Thanks Sean! Very interesting. This has helped me expand my studies of Zi Wei Dou Shu. You mispelled “Purple” in a heading in the article- just letting you know! 🙂

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