Chinese auspicious date selection: The Twelve Day Spirits system
The “Twelve Day Spirits” (建除十二神) date selection system is a simple but very popular method used by the Chinese throughout the ages. Unlike most of the other date selection systems, this method does not require any in-depth knowledge of Chinese metaphysics.
This system is based on the concept that there is a certain kind of ‘qi’ governing or influencing each day. There are 12 types of ‘qi’, namely Jian (建), Chu (除), Man (满), Ping (平), Ding (定), Zhi (执), Po (破), Wei (危), Cheng (成), Shou (收), Kai (开), and Bi (闭). They are repeated every 12 days in the above fixed sequence.
In the ancient days, the Chinese liked to personify objects (such as stars and invisible forces) and named them ‘gods’ or ‘spirits’. Hence, the above 12 kinds of ‘qi’ is called the “Twelve Day Spirits”.
Under this system, each day is auspicious or inauspicious for certain activities. Date selection is made in correlation with the event suitable for that particular day.
The Twelve Day Spirits
According to the Chinese Almanac (Tong Sheng), the auspicious days are Chu, Ding, Zhi, Wei, Cheng and Kai and the inauspicious days are Jian, Man, Ping, Po, Shou, and Bi.
Jian (建) – As the Chinese character means ‘establish’, it is, therefore, surprising that the Tong Sheng has indicated ‘Jian’ days as unfavourable.
Such days in the 4th, 5th, 7th and 11th lunar months are inauspicious as the departure date for a long-distance trip.
Burial must be avoided; otherwise it results in descendants being foolish or indulge in philandering.
Chu (除) – The Chinese word means ‘remove’. So the day is favourable for activities that can lead to the elimination of bad things or some sort of renewal process.
Good for commencing a treatment regimen, filing for a divorce, ending a bad relationship, holding a sale to clear old stocks, demolishing a building, exterminating pests (e.g. termites or rats), purging of corrupted officials, reporting a crime, driving away malevolent spirits or forces, etc.
Very bad for assuming a new official post, commencing a new business, departing for a long-distance trip, ground-breaking, moving house, etc.
As Chu is a lucky star, having occasions such as burial, marriage or renovation on such a day is considered auspicious.
Man (满) - Although ‘Man’ in Chinese means ‘full’ or ‘abundance’, it is actually an unlucky star by the name of ‘Tu Wen’ (土瘟). Literary translated, the two words stand for ‘earth disease’.
[In the context of Chinese metaphysics, ‘Tu’ (土) refers to the yin and yang residences while ‘Wen’ (瘟) means ‘communicable disease’. So the term ‘Tu Wen’ can mean either the inauspicious feng shui of the ancestors’ graves or living residence or that disease can result due to unhygienic food or environment. ]
As such, ground-breaking and burial should be avoided.
Such days in the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th lunar months are unsuitable for moving house or commencing a new business.
Ping (平) - The Chinese word means ‘even’ or ‘balance’. The Tong Sheng marked ‘Ping’ days as unfavourable.
However, events like burial, hunting, renovation, travelling on a boat, and wedding can be conducted although it has neither good nor bad effect.
Ding (定) - The Chinese character means ‘stable’ but it can also be interpreted as ‘stagnant’ or ‘not moving’.
Auspicious for wedding, praying for blessings and placement of a bed.
Inauspicious for moving house, commencing a new business, and planting.
Zhi (执) - Although ‘Zi’ in Chinese means ‘stubborn’, it can also stand for ‘power and authority’. Thus, such days are suitable for law enforcement, as well as marriage.
Unless such days happen to fall on a Year Breaker Day, they are generally not considered to be inauspicious.
Po (破) - The Chinese word means ‘broken’ or ‘destroy’.
Considered extremely inauspicious for most occasions, especially wedding, commencement of a new business and business transaction.
However, activities such as commencement of a treatment regimen, acupuncture treatment, demolition of a house, etc. can be undertaken on such days.
Wei (危) - As the word in Chinese means ‘danger’, it is very unfavourable in carrying out activities that involve some elements of danger or are prone to accidents, e.g. mountain climbing.
Inauspicious for wedding and burial too.
If there happens to be some lucky stars on a ‘Wei’ day, then activities like doing business and placement of a bed can be carried out.
Cheng (成) – this stands for ‘success’ and all will end well, although some difficulties might be experienced in the initial stage of events.
If there happens to be some lucky stars on a ‘Chen’ day, it will be very good for occasions like wedding and commencement of a new business. In fact, such a day will be very auspicious for all matters.
Shou (收) - Although it means ‘harvest’, the Tong Sheng still indicated it as unfavourable.
However, in the event that there are lucky stars on such a day, activities such as burial, buying property, moving house, travelling, etc. can be considered.
As for lawsuits, it will only be in your favour if you are the plaintiff.
Unfavourable if you are the defendant in a court case as the chances of losing is great.
Kai (开) – it stands for ‘open’ and symbolizes ‘lively qi’.
Favourable for most events such as commencing a new business, business transaction, moving house, wedding, etc.
However, extremely inauspicious for burial.
No ground-breaking on a ‘Kai’ day in the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th lunar months.
Bi (闭) – Meaning ‘closed’, such a day is good for burial, resulting in descendants being wealthy.
Getting married on a ‘Bi’ day will be blessed with a virtuous wife. Also good for getting rid of pests, such as termites and rats.
However, extremely inauspicious for commencing a new business or moving house.
Important rule of thumb
The following days should be ruled out for important events, even if the above list indicates the day to be auspicious:
· Personal Clash Days - days that are in conflict with your Chinese zodiac.
· The “San Niang Shar” or San Niang Killing Days (三娘煞). (Such days are on the 3rd, 7th, 13th, 18th, 22nd and 27th day of every lunar month.)
· Year Breaker and Month Breaker Days (岁破，月破)
· Four Departure Days (四离日) and Four Extinct Days (四绝日)
For important occasions such as buying a property, grand opening, moving house and wedding, it is best to avoid the 3rd and 7th lunar months (Qingming and Ghost Month, respectively) as these two months are synonymous with spirits and ghosts.
Combination of other methods
It would be useful to check the short-listed lucky days against the 28 Constellations, Grandmaster Dong’s Date Selection or other methods, in order to arrive at an even better date.
It is also important that the event should commence at an auspicious time on the selected date. It does not matter if the event spreads over a period of few hours that might include some inauspicious hours; it is the starting time that counts. Lucky hours are indicated in red in the Tong Sheng.
Date selection actually involves many factors or criteria. Different feng shui masters can select different dates for the same occasion.
More by this Author
The golden toad, also known as chan chu, is a popular wealth symbol of the Chinese. It is 3-legged and loves to gobble up wealth and spits out riches.
Jiaobei, or moon blocks, divination is one of the most common divination methods used by the Chinese. It is also known as “bwa bwei” or "poe divination."
Chinese spirit mediums are known as tang-ki in Hokkien. Their performance of ritual self-flagellation is a spectacular scene at major temple festivals.