The Science Of Manually Plotting Your Bazi

While using the Bazi (八字) of residents in a house is not necessary for a feng shui audit that delivers results, applying them into audits can provide more clarity on the how certain elements and specific variables can play a role in feng shui.

Moreover, it also provides a more in-depth diagnosis of the energy dynamics contained in a home.

The basics of how bazi works is explained here.

These days, anyone can easily find a bazi calculator, input his or her birth date and time, and instantly be delivered the 8 characters.

For this training exercise, we will be showing how the logic of determining a person’s bazi, or four pillars of destiny, works.

Let’s use the example of a man born on the 1 December 1979 at 12 noon.

For starters, you would need the Hsia Calendar (夏历), sometimes referred to as the 10,000 year calendar (万年历) or solar calendar, as reference.

If you are serious about practicing feng shui, you should definitely get one to keep on your book shelf as you would undoubtedly be using it often.

For this exercise, we will refer to the excerpts of it available on Wikipedia.

Plotting the bazi

With reference to the Hsia calendar for 1979, we can already derive the following:

  • H of year is 6
  • E of year is 8
  • H of month is 2
  • E of month is 12
  • H of day is 9
  • E of day is 3

* H refers to heavenly stem and E refers to earthly branch

Now by referring to the table of heavenly stems and earthly branches, we can already determine 6 of the 8 characters in this man’s bazi.

Hour Day Month Year
H9

+ Water

H2

– Wood

H6

– Earth

E3

+ Wood

E12

– Water

E8

– Earth

The final two characters which are the HS and EB in the hour pillar have to be determined in a more complex manner.

To locate the stem and branch for the hour pillar, we have to take note the heavenly stem of the day pillar. Which in this case is H5.

Then with H5 and the birth time of 12 noon, we refer to this table below.

Day HS H1
H6
H2
H7
H3
H8
H4
H9
H5
H10
2300 – 0100 H1
E1
H3
E1
H5
E1
H7
E1
H9
E1
0100 – 0300 H2
E2
H4
E2
H6
E2
H8
E2
H10
E2
0300 – 0500 H3
E3
H5
E3
H7
E3
H9
E3
H1
E3
0500 – 0700 H4
E4
H6
E4
H8
E4
H10
E4
H2
E4
0700 – 0900 H5
E5
H7
E5
H9
E5
H1
E5
H3
E5
0900 – 1100 H6
E6
H8
E6
H10
E6
H2
E6
H4
E6
1100 – 1300 H7
E7
H9
E7
H1
E7
H3
E7
H5
E7
1300 – 1500 H8
E8
H10
E8
H2
E8
H4
E8
H6
E8
1500 – 1700 H9
E9
H1
E9
H3
E9
H5
E9
H7
E9
1700 – 1900 H10
E10
H2
E10
H4
E10
H6
E10
H8
E10
1900 – 2100 H1
E11
H3
E11
H5
E11
H7
E11
H9
E11
2100 – 2300 H2
E12
H4
E12
H6
E12
H8
E12
H10
E12

The heavenly stem and earthly branch for hour pillar can now be determined as H5 and E7.

The 8 characters can now be presented as below.

Hour Day Month Year
 H5

+ Earth

H5

+ Water

H2

– Wood

H6

– Earth

 E7

+ Fire

E9

+ Wood

E12

– Water

E8

– Earth

It can be quickly be observed that this is a person with a self-element of water in the bazi.

Once the bazi is plotted, the next step is to map out the luck cycles of this individual.

While bazi refers to these 8 characters a person is born with, and has no mention of the luck pillars, is implied that the luck cycles should be deciphered as well.

One of the purpose of bazi destiny analysis is after all, discovering a person’s luck in the past and future.

Mapping the luck cycle pillars

In essence, the luck pillars represent the elemental influences a person will experience over the years.


The gender of the individual in question will play a vital role in determining the luck cycles.

The first step in tabulating the luck pillars is in determining the year pillar of this person is yin or yang.

This will decide whether the luck pillar would follow a forward sequence of backward sequence.

As we can see, from our example bazi that has been generated, the year pillar is of yin (-) earth and yin (- earth) on both the heavenly stem and earthly branch respectively.

Refer to this table:

Gender Yin/Yang
Sequence
Male Yin Backward
Male Yang Forward
Female Yin Forward
Female Yang Backward

In this case, as the subject is male and has a yin attribute on the year pillar, his luck pillars would follow a backward sequence.

Now that we have derived that the luck pillar sequence would be backward for this person, it’s time to start mapping them out.

Referring to the month pillar, which is H2 and E12 respectively, the first luck pillar would be H1 and E11.

Backwards from H2 and E12 would be H1 and E11.

If we continue with this method of plotting the chart for 8 pillars, the below is what we get.

H4 H5 H6 H7 H8 H9 H10 H1 Stem
E4 E5 E6 E7 E8 E9 E10 E11 Branch

Take note that the luck pillar table above runs from right to left.

It must also be noted that you can carry on plotting for 500 years if you want to.

But for practicality and in practice, feng shui masters tend to plot 8 luck pillars as a standard protocol.

Each pillar represents 10 years.

But as you can see from the above, there is no indication when when, or at which age, this subject person will have his luck influenced by which elements.

So in order to make sense out of all these stems and branches, the age of when the elements comes into effect as to be determined.

For this, you need to reference the Hsia calendar again. You won’t be able to manually do this if one is not available.

Are you ready?

The date of birth is 1 December 1979.

This is in the tenth month of 1979 according to the Hsia calendar which runs from 8 November to 7 December.

Because the subject is a male born in a yin year, you have to count backwards the number of days from the date of birth (7 Dec) to the first day of that month (8 Nov).

The number of days is 24.

Now divide 24 by 3 and we get 8. The luck pillars would star from the age of 8.

If the number of days divided by 3 is a number with decimal places, round it off to the nearest whole number.

And since each pillar represents 10 years, each stem and each branch on the luck pillars would make up 5 years each.

If the year is yang for this example, we would count in a forward sequence and end up with a number of 7.

 78-87  68-77  58-67  48-57  38-47  28-37  18-27  8-17 Age
H4 H5 H6 H7 H8 H9 H10 H1 Stem
E4 E5 E6 E7 E8 E9 E10 E11 Branch

The manual plotting of the bazi is now complete.

An important point to note is that the correct method to conduct the above luck pillar age commencement formula takes into account information as detailed as the number of hours.

This means that you don’t just take the number of days into consideration, but also the number of hours. This means that the hour the month starts at and the hour the person is born in will have to be considered.

This can mean that the above example would results in 24 days plus or minus a few hours.

But I’ve found that the numbers are usually right without having to take into account the hours. So I’ve stuck to using the number of days divided by 3.

Bazi calculator or manual mapping

As mentioned earlier, we can find bazi calculators all over the place these days. And one would not have to go through the hassle of manually mapping out the 8 characters like how I have shown you here.

I myself, prefer to use calculators.

However, I feel that professional feng shui practitioners should at least learn and be capable of understanding the workings that go on inside the bazi calculators.

This is because having intimate knowledge of how these things work enables a practitioner to have a deeper understanding of feng shui concepts.

Which in turn can make them better at what they do.

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