While the worldwide interest in feng shui has been compounding every year, there is little doubt that in the realm of Chinese metaphysics, nothing captures the imagination as much as Chinese astrology.
This is because most people still strongly associate feng shui with that of property like offices and houses. And those who are not business owners or home owners tend not to even bat an eyelid when the topic of feng shui arise… until they buy their own property.
The same cannot be said of Chinese astrology.
This is because horoscopes and zodiacs are personal star signs that every individual is associated with. So there can hardly be any surprise that the interest in astrology is much higher than feng shui.
The two most widespread concepts of Chinese astrology are bazi (4 pillars of destiny) and purple star astrology. The latter is also known in Mandarin as zi wei dou shu (紫微斗数).
While most students of feng shui would be familiar with the former, the latter does not get enough fanfare as bazi.
This is partly because purple star theory is generally agreed to be much more complex than bazi. That is saying a lot when we consider how complex the study of bazi already is to master.
And since bazi is already so precise in predictions and forecasting, most people (practitioners and hobbyists) are perfectly content to learn bazi and not purple star astrology.
What about the zodiacs and animal signs? These are subsets that fall under both bazi and purple star. You’d realize that very fast when reading up on them.
Well… if you are a Chinese metaphysical nerd (like me), then here is a list of some of the best books on Chinese astrology written in English for you to digest.
They are listed in no particular order.
And yes. Just like my list of best feng shui books, I have read all of the books selections listed below.
1) Unveil Your Destiny – Vincent Koh
This was probably the first English book about bazi that I read during the early days when I first stepped into the world of Chinese metaphysics.
And I am so fortunate to have read this when I was still a beginner.
Because it explains in plain English how the concepts of bazi work, the basis of certain theories, together with so many explanation of special categories and character arrangements.
After reading so many other books on bazi after this one, I suspect that my interest in the subject might have waned if I had started with any other book.
Further more, this book was first published in 2001. Way before any of the commercially well-known authors (who would be mentioned later) published their own books on the subject.
2) The Definitive Book Of Chinese Astrology – Shelly Wu
I’ve always had reservations on any books that claim to be a “definitive guide” to anything.
But this one is quite impressive in providing basic guidance on how Chinese astrology works.
It lays out the framework of horoscopes for both the 4 pillars of destiny and zi wei dou shu in a structured manner for beginners to understand.
While it does not go very in-depth into the topics, it does provide a strong foundational base for learners who are just starting to get acquainted with them.
So I can definitely recommend this one to readers who are interested in just knowing more about zodiacs, horoscopes and astrology in general.
3) Secrets Of Your Birth Chart – Lillian Too
Probably the most prominent international writer of English books on feng shui and Chinese metaphysics, it’s no surprise that we find her publication on bazi here.
In her trademark style of easy-to-read books on complex topics, this is a book on bazi that newbies would find easiest to grasp bazi concept from one reading.
One would learn about heavenly stems, earthly branches, symbolic stars, zodiac combinations, etc.
Blended with colorful illustrations, some readers might even find going through the book a fun experience.
It’s no coincidence that she is a serial bestselling author with a well-respected standing.
However, I must add that even though this title presents the basics well, it solely focuses on basics with little elaboration of intermediate and advanced concepts of reading bazi
4) The Destiny Code – Joey Yap
I don’t have the actual numbers, but I suspect that this book is one of the (if not the) highest grossing books produced by Joey Yap.
That’s saying a lot when we consider that he has unleashed over 200 books on Chinese metaphysics onto the marketplace.
While I personally find this publication an enjoyable read as a book on astrology, as a bazi book, I also find that the content is pretty thin.
However, I’m aware that I’m not a basic reader and might be putting this basic introduction book on bazi under too much scrutiny than warranted.
I can definitely recommend this one to beginners but not for those who are already knee deep into bazi. And something you might want to note is that this is the first book from a continuing series of books on bazi (which I have also read). So it won’t be a good choice if you are seeking the most value from one single book.
The real value in this book is in the various examples of bazi interpretation that the author has painstakingly drawn up and broken down into details.
It gives us an insight of the process of how a revered bazi expert interprets birth charts.
5) The Empyrean Matrix – Rick Lim
I hesitated to list this book here as it can simply be too complex for most people to devour.
I say this because most readers are really not that interested in the intricate details of astrology.
But in the event that you are motivated to learn the ins and outs of purple start astrology, the substance contained in this book blows every English book on the topic out of the water.
Just a word of warning.
You are going to find it a huge challenge to digest this one. The best way to approach this classic is to have a fundamental understanding of Zi Wei before picking it up from the bookstore.
This is pure gold in my opinion.
Finally, remember that to become competent in bazi analysis and interpretation, practice is your best on-the-job teacher.
Learning about all these concepts and theories about Chinese astrology is not going to improve your comprehension as much as practice.