In the study of bazi, new students are often taught how characters that bring strong and weak daymasters closer to balance are favorable elements. And characters that does the reverse are unfavorable.
This helps a reader determine how the dynamics contained in the 4 pillars itself would translate to positive or negative events in life.
This range of analysis is a more scientific approach to bazi destiny analysis.
But when one steps out of the beginner phase and into a more advanced or intermediate phase, he or she would soon find out (or realize) that to really understand what goes on in an individual’s bazi requires the reader to have a firm grasp of the pictorial approach to bazi analysis.
Some call this a philosophical approach.
This requires one to have a clear picture of the representative physical attributes in each heavenly stem or earthly branch, then determine how the interaction between would work.
In fact, the bigger picture of bazi has great emphasis of the pictorial approach.
Using an analogy to help you see this clearer, looking at bazi through the eyes of pictorials is like covering a whole island. While the scientific part of things like 5 combinations, 6 combinations and 6 clashes, etc make up the residential areas.
And one of the bazi concepts that can overrule what we know of favorable and unfavorable elements as described in the beginning of this discussion, is the theory of virtuous stems.
It is also sometimes referred to as virtuous elements, benefactor stems, noble elements, righteous stems, etc.
The main reason why there is no real consensus of how to name them is because very little is written about this in classical text. And bazi masters usually only realize the absolute application of this theory through years of practicing bazi reading.
The overall concept of this law of virtuous stems is that each heavenly stem has a certain set of other stems which helps it to transcend. In another way, it can be said that virtuous elements helps a daymaster realize it’s full potential, enabling it to add value to the universe.
The implication of this is that even though a particular stem might intuitively seem to be unfavorable to the self-element, it might actually bring about a positive outcome that reaps great benefits in the end if you look deeper into it.
Let’s go through each heavenly stem and it’s virtuous stems.
Jia wood is essentially symbolized by large strong trees.
While it naturally plays it’s part in sustaining the ecosystem of mother earth, it is most useful for man when used as building blocks for things such as furniture, houses, boats, firewood, etc.
To convert trees to such useful forms, strong metal such as an axe is required.
In addition, because the main source of fire fuel is firewood in ancient times, wood plays an important role in making fire for cooking in survival, a source of heat during winter, and to forge metal tools for building.
So firewood and flames form an important partnership that adds a lot of value to life’s essentials.
The virtuous stems of Jia wood are therefore Geng metal and Ding fire.
Yi wood is a representation of small plants and flowers.
They don’t make good furniture or firewood. But plays a useful role in creating beautiful aesthetics, making people feel emotions, and can even be extremely symbolic as gifts depending on the types of flowers.
Flowers need sunlight and rain to nurture and bloom.
Thus, Yi wood’s noble elements are Bing Fire and Gui water.
Bing fire is a stem that is linked to the fiery sun.
The sun’s most important role is in warming up the seas so as to bring water to other parts of the world.
It’s heat which is the original source of heat in the earth’s also plays a prominent role in the creation of precious metals in the ground.
Bing fire’s virtuous stems are Ren water and Xin metal.
The physical form of Ding fire is liken to a flame.
It adds the most value in ancient times by using with wood to produce heat, and using it on metal to forge tools and weapons.
It’s benefactor elements are Jia wood and Geng metal.
Wu earth is characterized by mountains.
And mountains filled with lush trees are more desirable that one that is barren with on the presence of rocks and large boulders. Therefore, the presence of trees is very desirable to wu earth. In addition, the growth of trees also signify fertile land filled with minerals.
Land is also born out of mountains and hills that rise out of the sea. Thus the combination of large bodies of water and mountain creates land for people to inhabit.
The virtuous elements of Wu earth are Jia wood and Ren water.
Ji earth represents soil, sand and mud.
It grows vegetation that is essential for survival for various animals. For us, fertile land is critical in raising and harvesting crops for survival.
Trees are necessary to hold soil together for crops. Rain is necessary for these crops to grow well.
The virtuous stems for Ji earth are Jia wood and Gui water.
Geng metal is often liken to an axe, sword, or anvil, etc.
It’s noble stems are Ding fire and Jia wood for the same reasons the latter two stems need Geng metal.
Xin metal is symbolic of raw precious metals such as gold and silver.
These are important minerals and components of water that ends up in the sea. Large deposits of these metals are also found inside the earth.
The virtuous elements of Xin metal are Ren water and Ji earth.
Ren is represented by large bodies of water such as lakes and the sea.
As elaborated previously, Ren water has a natural partnership with Bing fire and Xin metal.
The latter two stems are it’s virtuous stems.
Gui water is said to represent rain, morning dew, clouds, and the air.
The original source of these elements come from large bodies of water, and the sun.
It’s virtuous elements are Ren water and Bing fire.
The virtuous elements of each heavenly stem can be represented by the table below.
|Heavenly Stems||Virtuous Stems|