How Substitute Star Natal Charts Work

In flying stars feng shui, there is the concept of substitute stars which describes certain compass facing measurements of a property as unstable. Thus, a different set of mountain and water stars should be used instead of the original stars.

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The believe is that these segments of the compass are where energy changes state. So a residence facing such directions will have natal charts with unstable stars. Applying feng shui on these properties based on these unstable energies will not be fruitful.

So a set of replacement stars to substitute the original stars are used instead.

These segments are the border measurements 3° before and after the border where the trigram directions change. These borders are also called the void lines.

  • Kan to Ken 19.5° – 25.5°
  • Ken to Chen 64.5° – 70.5°
  • Chen to Sun 109.5° – 115.5°
  • Sun to Li 154.5° – 160.5°
  • Li to Kun 199.5° – 205.5°
  • Kun to Tui 244.5° – 250.5°
  • Tui to Chien 289.5° – 295.5°
  • Chien to Kan 334.5° – 340.5°

When a property’s facing direction falls under any of the ranges listed above, it should use the methods of substituting to identify the replacement stars and erect substitute star natal charts.

To find the substitute stars, the sitting and facing needs to be identified first according to the 24 mountains. Using the identified mountains, we need to first plot the stars for the central palace. More about plotting regular charts can be found here.

Before we get to the next step, take note of this HEM table below that indicates the heaven, earth, man aspects of the 24 mountains. And also their yin-yang attributes.

Direction Mountain H/E/M Yin/Yang
N1 H9 E Yang
N2 E1 (Rat) H Yin
N3 H10 M Yin
NE1 E2 (Ox) E Yin
NE2 Ken H Yang
NE3 E3 (Tiger) M Yang
E1 H1 E Yang
E2 E4 (Rabbit) H Yin
E3 H2 M Yin
SE1 E5 (Dragon) E Yin
SE2 Sun H Yang
SE3 E6 (Snake) M Yang
S1 H3 E Yang
S2 E7 (Horse) H Yin
S3 H4 M Yin
SW1 E8 (Goat) E Yin
SW2 Kun H Yang
SW3 E9 (Monkey) M Yang
W1 H7 E Yang
W2 E10 (Rooster) H Yin
W3 H8 M Yin
NW1 E11 (Dog) E Yin
NW2 Chien H Yang
NW3 E12 (Pig) M Yang

Legend of the symbols can be found here.

Let’s take a period 8 property sitting S1 and facing N1 at 339° for example. Such a residence will be sitting on Bing (H3) and facing Ren (H9). We need to find the stars for the central palace first.

The original natal chart will be this below with the mountain star 3 and water star 4 in the central palace. The base star starts with 8 in the central palace since the example is using a period 8 chart. The flying star sequence of the base star is forward by default and follows luo shu sequence.

Referencing the previous HEM table, we can see that S1 is under Earth and Yang. With the original mountain star 3, we refer to the luo shu star sequence to find that star 3 is at the east palace. Now go back to the HEM table and see what’s under Earth in the east. It is Jia (H1). Note that we refer to the Earth segment because S1 is under Earth too. With Jia now identified, we refer to the below to find the substitute stars.

There is a mandarin verse that states this. But I’ll simply it below.

  • E1, H10, H1, E9 – Star 1
  • H9, E4, H2, E8, Kun – Star 2
  • Chien, E12, E5, Sun, E6, E11 – Star 6
  • H8, E10, H3, Ken, E2 – Star 7
  • E7, H7, E3, H4 – Star 9

It can be observed that H1 will be replaced by star 1. The new mountain star at the central palace will be star 1.

The next step is to find out whether the flying star sequence is forwards or backwards.

Going back to the HEM table, H1 is yang. So the star sequence will be forwards. If it is yin, the sequence will be backwards. What we have now obtained is this.


The next step is to find the substitute water star for the central palace and the flying sequence.

Repeat the process used to find the mountain star. Ren (H9) is under Earth and Yang. The original water star would be star 4 is at the southeast in the luo shu sequence. Refer to the HEM table and find what falls under Earth in the southeast. We get Chen (E5) with the yin attribute. E5 should be replaced with Star 6. And the yin attribute means a backward flying sequence.

The final result is this.

The substitute star chart for a residence sitting S1 and facing N1 in the period of 8.

A practitioner will now be ready to conduct a flying stars analysis on the property in question with the above substitute star chart.

You might have noticed that since the steps for determining substitute stars include a step for referring to trigram positions on luoshu based on the mountain or water star number, what happens when the star is 5 since star 5 has no directions. This is where this concept starts to diverge. I will just list down 3 of the more common solutions for this predicament and leave you to contemplate it on your own. First is to take reference from the timely star, second is to take reference from the star at the sitting or facing of the original star chart, thirdly is that star 5 remains unchanged.

The concept of substitute stars in flying stars feng shui is actually quite prominent in the academic aspects. This means that any teacher imparting knowledge to learners will surely cover this topic. But in terms of application, not many practitioners apply it in site assessments.

One reason is that this idea of substituting and replacing stars can be quite comprehensive. Because if you account for 1 category of border readings that require substitutes, then there are a few other categories that should also be accounted for to be more thorough. Like if you are going to take your kids to the theme park, it is assumed that you will take all of them.

Other than the trigram border measurement ranges that has been discussed, there are also the yin-yang borders. When we factor in the reality that each substitute reading occupies up to 6° on the compass, then the total degrees after adding up all these borders can potentially take up a significant portion of the the compass.

When that happens, then one should ask the question “What’s the point of flying stars then?”. We might as well call it the Xuan Kong Substitute Stars!

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