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Methods of Chinese Astrology: Ba Zi

Updated on June 11, 2012

Chinese Astrology Methods: Ba Zi (Four Pillars of Destiny)

In order to figure out your Chinese astrological chart, you need to know several factors. These include the elements and their animals according to the day, month, year and time of your birth. The results of this will form one of the most basic forms of Chinese astrology – the Ba Zi (Four Pillars of Destiny). When you compile the data and place it within the right pillars, you can gain some insight into both personality and lucky periods.

If you decide to work with the Four Pillar structure, it helps if you understand how it is a complementary system with Chinese geomancy or Feng Shui.

Ba Zi

A popular form of Chinese Astrology is Ba Zi or the Four Pillars of Destiny. According to this system, the energy of the universe influences the destiny of each individual. Although not utilizing stars and planets directly, Ba Zi assumes their positions determine the impact of such cosmic energy. Essentially, this method of astrology relies on the construction of a chart based on the “Four Pillars” of an individual. These are:

  1. The year of your birth
  2. The month of your birth
  3. The day of your birth
  4. The hour of your birth

Earthly Branch and Heavenly Stem

The pillars are constructed of two components. These are an Earthly Branch and Heavenly Stem. The former generally consists of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The latter is made up of the five elements. As a result, the former has a 12-year cycle while the latter consists of a 20-year period. The calendar used to derive the information in Ba Zi is a solar one.

Two Charts

A Chinese astrologer will prepare two charts for a Ba Zi reading. The first is the Four Pillars while the second is the Ten Year Luck Pillars. Each provides specific information about the individual for whom the chart is being constructed.

  • The Four Pillars - personality and Fate analysis
  • The Ten Luck Pillars - identify the varying strength of Luck

In both instances, the astrologer focuses on the elements - particularly their yin or yang quality. It is important for the practitioner to know as much as possible about the Earthly Stems and the Heavenly Branches. Factors, such as how the animals and their elements interact with each other and the other pillars, are important. What will help reveal strengths, weaknesses and lucky periods is the balance of the elements within the pillars.


Overall, an astrologer can reveal to you insights into various facets of your life. Using Ba Zi, he or she can determine timing of certain events in your life as well as aspects of your personality. Traditionally, practitioners have applied this method of prognostication for helping individuals discover the right career. It is also a common tool in finding the right match for relationships as well as in directing a child into the right area of study. The ability to reveal lucky days for events helps an individual plan for weddings, births and new ventures of all types.


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      Diane Ward 5 years ago

      very interesting