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What is Four Pillars of Destiny?

Updated on November 16, 2015

In recent years, Chinese metaphysics subjects such as Feng Shui and Four Pillars of Destiny (or in Chinese words Ba Zi 八字 - Eight Characters) are capturing world wide attention.

The Chinese in ancient time has learned how to improve our life and they created a model of human quality of life which depend on three main factors: Heaven Luck, Earth Luck and Man Luck (天地人).

With Ba Zi, we can learn things like below:

  1. Your talent which can show you what kind of career suits you
  2. Your bad and good luck period
  3. Your health
  4. Your relationship with your parent, relatives, wife, grandparents, future kids
  5. Your type of person
  6. Choosing a compatible spouse, partnership
  7. Your Feng Shui is inside your Ba Zi
  8. And still many more things you can discover

According to this ancient Chinese metaphysics, when you were born on the year, the month, the day and the hour to this world, your Four Pillars of Destiny already set up your destiny of your life. Your parent gave birth to you, and your destiny runs through these four pillars. There are also Luck Period and Year Period which will add flower to your life.

Ok, A date of birth happen every day and in every moment across earth. One date of birth can contain a few thousand life at one go across earth. Now, perhaps your mind getting a bit anxious to know whether people who are born at the same time, date, month, and year, will have the same destiny? No, only 10% will stand out from the rest given that they have a strong and dynamic birth chart. And why only 10%? Is there a secret? Many children were born in the same date as Bill Gates, but why not all the children will be wealthy as Bill Gates? There are still other factors that we still don't know affect our destiny like born in a war nation will make you more suffering rather than born in a developed country without war. Other than that, these 10% believed in something and they do it, so they can survive rather than the rest. The Four Pillars of Destiny make up around 80% of our destiny, like, Feng Shui 風水 of your home, etc.

Now, another questions probably arise in your mind whether you can minimize your bad luck if you have already know your Four Pillars. The answer is yes. At least we still can minimize the effect of the bad luck, but we cannot avoid it. One thing for sure, if you are in bad luck, then better do nothing, and when you are in good luck, then do your best within this period. If you do nothing in your best period, then you cannot gain anything although the chart describing that you will earn money (because you do not do anything). Simple, isn't it?

Like if we know from our Four Pillars that we will have trouble with robbery, we can donate our money to the poor, we still loose our money, but in a minimize way. This is just a small example. Or in other scenario, you are going to have blood problem in a month, then if you know then you do blood donation to avoid other problem like surgery, or accident.

In Four Pillars of Destiny, you just need to learn 10 things as we call it Heavenly Stem (top row of the natal chart) which are 甲 (Yang Wood) 乙 (Yin Wood) 丙 (Yang Fire) 丁 (Yin Fire) 戊 (Yang Earth) 己 (Yin Earth) 庚 (Yang Metal) 辛 (Yin Metal) 壬 (Yang Water) 癸 (Yin Water), so there are two of each elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Then you need just to know the Earthly Branches (below row of the natal chart) which consists of 12 Chinese zodiac animals - 子 (Rat) 丑 (Ox) 寅 (Tiger) 卯 (Rabbit) 辰 (Dragon) 巳 (Snake) 午 (Horse) 未 (Goat) 申 (Monkey) 酉 (Rooster) 戌 (Dog) 亥 (Pig).

As you can see from the picture below, there are eight big squares on top which represent your energy when you were born. From left to right, the left column is the hour pillar (癸未), next to the hour pillar is the day pillar (乙未), then month pillar (甲午), and the right column is the year pillar (辛丑). Lady Di is born in the Ox Metal Year.

This is the sample Four Pillars of Destiny of Lady Di.

Before I further discuss Four Pillars of Destiny of Lady Di, let me explain some of the basic philosophies behind these Chinese metaphysics. Everything in this world is regard as composed of 5 basic elements - metal, wood, water, fire and earth. These elements interact with each other, one is the "cycle of birth" and one is the "cycle of destruction".

Cycle of Birth is a harmonious relationship showing one element giving birth to another element, like water give supply to wood, wood makes fire flourishing, etc. Cycle of Destruction reflects one element destroy or control another element, like with metal, we can chop the wood; wood drains the water from the earth; etc.

With the understanding of such relationship, we can understand why the year of 2000 (庚辰), a year of metal (庚) over earth (辰) shows you a year of peace and harmony. It is because earth give birth to metal (one element support another element). In year of 2000, the conflict between North and South Korea began to subside.

Now, let me explain in brief about the Four Pillars of Destiny of Lady Di so you can understand a bit about the Four Pillars of Destiny as one of the subject in learning Chinese Metaphysics. The most important element is the Day Heavenly Stem, as it represents the self element of the Day Master. For this example, the Day Master is 乙 (Yin Wood).

Lady Di is a Wood (乙) born in a hot Summer month (午), and as wood produce fire (cycle of birth), it drains the energy of the wood. The wood itself doesn't have any support or no root. Wood needs the support from Water, but the Water in the hour pillar is very weak, because the water sits on dry earth (earth destroy or control water/cycle of destruction). The 甲 Yang wood sits next to the Day Master cannot help because the wood stands next to 辛 (Yin Metal) - Remember cycle of destruction. Her character wise is also not very strong.

She needs support from Water, Wood to help her grow in this bad environment.

Before I continue, let us see again the picture on top which show the natal chart of Lady Di. The boxes below the 8 natal chart on top, are the Luck Periods. Lady Di is in the Luck Period of Dog 戌 as she is in the age of 36 years old.

Lady Di died on 31st August 1997 at 00.35. The Four Pillars of the Day of the accident is shown at the picture on the right. She died because there are 3 penalty (Earth penalty - Goat 未 Earth in Four Pillars above + Dog 戌 Earth in Four Pillars in the Luck Period of 32-41 + Ox 丑 Earth in the year of 1997). That caused her death underground the earth (she had an accident in an underground tunnel) and as we know, earth is not her useful god to her but unfortunately she is surrounded by earth elements on that date.

I hope this can give you some vision about Chinese Metaphysics especially the Four Pillars of Destiny and what the Destiny is.

Hery Yang is a Chinese Metaphysics practitioner and owner of Authentic Feng Shui Asia website. His website provides an informative content on different kinds of Chinese metaphysics for those who are keen learner on Chinese metaphysics subjects.


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    • Hery Yansen profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Hi Sandra, please do not get depressed first. You can't interpret directly that all wood under earth will die any day. Sometimes it depends which element you are favorable and not favorable and whether it clash with your four pillars or not. If you're interested in learning, probably I will open a distance class course through forum teaching this four pillars or either you can consult with me by visiting my website above @ Consultation link.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      this is so depressing. My luck pillars from age 18 to 27 and from 27 to 37 are Wood under Earth. Dos that mean I could die any day?

    • Hery Yansen profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thanks jacklhasa

    • jacklhasa profile image

      Jack Lhasa 

      10 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      very nice article.

    • Hery Yansen profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      You're welcome livelonger and bhalla_neet

    • bhalla_neet profile image


      11 years ago from Delhi

      Great stuff! Keep the good work going!

    • bhalla_neet profile image


      11 years ago from Delhi

      Great stuff! Keep the good work going!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      I find this stuff fascinating. Thank you for this.


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