Understanding The Formula Behind Plotting The BaZi Chart - Plotting The 10 'Gods'
The 10 'Gods' You See In BaZi (八字)
Let's briefly introduce the 10 'Gods' you always see in BaZi first:
正官 - Direct Officer
偏官/七杀 - Indirect Officer / 7-Killings
正财 - Direct Wealth
偏财 - Indirect Wealth
正印 - Direct Resource
偏印 - Indirect Resource
伤官 - Hurting Officer
食神 - Eating God
比肩 - Companion
劫财 - Rob Wealth
Of the above 'Gods', the Chinese classics split them into auspicious and inauspicious ones.
The 'Positive Gods'
The 'Gods' that are usually regarded as auspicious are:
- Direct Officer
- Both Direct and Indirect Wealth
- Direct Resource
- Eating God
The above 'Gods' generally have an inherent positive nature, but it does not mean that as long as one sees these 'Gods' appearing, all is well.
The 'Negative Gods'
The 'Gods' that have a negative connotation are usually:
- Hurting Officer
- Rob Wealth
- Indirect Resource
Before anyone jumps to conclusions, it doesn't mean that as long as you have these 'Gods' in your chart, you have a low quality chart. These 'Gods' have their positive sides too but certain conditions must be met.
The ancient Chinese regarded these 'Gods' as negative because their nature is a little more volatile, and in the past, a good life is regarded as one where it's stable and without few changes.
The context is now different, and the application of metaphysics has to adapt to modern times as well. But whatever it is, just don't jump to conclusions yet. We are barely scratching the surface when it comes to BaZi analysis.
Learning How To 'Digest' A Chart
You're likely going to get really confused when you first look at a chart. Try not to be overwhelmed. It's really just about studying patterns, but before we do that, we need to know the formula behind these patterns that form.
Let's get the simple part out of the way first, which is the interaction between the 5 different elements:
(Image credit: www.heritage.com.sg)
The above shows the cycle of birth of the elements: Fire=>Earth=>Metal=>Water=>Wood and then Fire again where the process repeats itself.
The straight arrows show which element control which other element:
- Fire controls Metal
- Earth controls Water
- Metal controls Wood
- Water controls Fire
- Wood controls Earth
You'll notice that it's basically the 2nd element in the cycle that's being controlled, regardless of where the starting point it.
This is the easy part. Now comes something a little bit more complicated.
Illustrating the 10 'God' - Taking A First Look At A BaZi Chart
The 辛 Metal I highlighted below in green is the position of the Day Stem. Your Day Stem is also called your Daymaster or 日元 in Chinese.
Out of the 8-Characters in your chart, the Daymaster (日元) is the one which represents you. The quality of natal chart depends on the other 7 characters and the overall balance of your chart. We'll go into that more later.
What 'gods' appear in your BaZi chart will depend on the interaction of the 7 other characters with your Daymaster.
Let's use an example to illustrate this:
The above is a typical BaZi chart, but note that I've only displayed the names of the Stems and Branches.
Now, this is the exact same chart, just that instead of display the name of the Stems, we are looking at the 'gods' that appear. You'll see 'gods' like the red 官，brown 印 and black 食 which are all the 'gods' we introduced above.
You'll realize that the Daymaster itself has no 'gods' showing or being reflected, because your Daymaster is the anchor of it all.
As long as you know the relationship the Daymaster has with the Stems that appear in your chart, you will know which 'god' it manifests as.
Primer On How The Formula Works
If you flip through the Chinese classics, you'll often hear of this 'catchy' verse:
我 here means "me", and by "me" it refers to the Daymaster.
What this translates to is:
- Whatever controls me is the 官 ‘God' (Officer 'God')
- Whatever I control is the 财 ‘God' (Wealth 'God')
- Whatever gives birth to me is the 印 ‘God' (Resource 'God')
- Whatever I give birth to is the 食伤 'God' (Output 'God')
- Whatever is the same as me is the 比劫 'God' (Companion 'God')
Refrain from thinking that the word 'God' refers to some mysterious force that we cannot comprehend. The 5 different kinds of 'Gods' that appear in a chart are really just a way of describe your Daymaster's relationship with other element.
Applying The Formula To Plot Out The 'Gods
The 5 different 'Gods' I state above have an Yin and Yang nature, which makes up to a total of 10 different 'Gods'. Remember, this is derived from the 10 Stems.
Let's take the example of Wood as an example:
- Whatever controls me is the 官 ‘God' (Officer 'God') => Metal
- Whatever I control is the 财 ‘God' (Wealth 'God') => Earth
- Whatever gives birth to me is the 印 ‘God' (Resource 'God') => Water
- Whatever I give birth to is the 食伤 'God' (Output 'God') => Fire
- Whatever is the same as me is the 比劫 'God' (Companion 'God') => Wood
The process can be repeated for all other elements. Let's use Fire as the example this time:
- Whatever controls me is the 官 ‘God' (Officer 'God') => Water
- Whatever I control is the 财 ‘God' (Wealth 'God') => Metal
- Whatever gives birth to me is the 印 ‘God' (Resource 'God') => Wood
- Whatever I give birth to is the 食伤 'God' (Output 'God') => Earth
- Whatever is the same as me is the 比劫 'God' (Companion 'God') => Fire
What this also means is this. What may represent a Officer 'God', or any other 'God', in Person A's chart, can be represented by another element in Person's B chart.
The 'Gods' that appear in someone's chart is not arbitrary. It follows the Yin Yang interaction formula. Different elements can represent different 'Gods' for everyone, but it will always be the same 10 'Gods' we keep hearing again and again.
Last Step - To Lay Out The Yin Yang Nature Of The 'Gods'
Let's call Yin and Yang the '2 Polarities'. Which 'God' manifests depends on the Polarity of the element.
To help frame things better, just remember there are 5 Categories of 'Gods' (5 Elements) and each has 2 different Polarities (Yin and Yang version of an element).
Now, let's bring back to 10 'Gods' but I will group them differently this time:
Different Polarity Interactions (Yin + Yang, or Yang + Yin)
Direct Officer (正官)
Direct Resource (正印)
Hurting Officer (伤官)
Rob Wealth (劫财)
Similar Polarity Interactions (Yin + Yin, or Yang + Yang)
Indirect Officer (偏官/七杀)
Indirect Wealth (偏财)
Indirect Resource (偏印)
Eating God (食神)
At the end of the day, just remember the 10 'Gods' are plotted using the relationship between the 5 Elements and it's Yin Yang nature. One you understand this, you don't actually need to constantly refer back to a table to understand which 'Gods' manifest in a chart.
You can to go the link here to see the table below as a visual aid: BaZi 10 "Gods' Table
It's not going to be helpful memorizing the table. Understand the formula behind it and you will not even have to think about referring to this table ever again.
I would recommend that you get yourself a good BaZi calculator so that you can familiarize yourself with how charts are generated and what 'Gods' appear in the chart. You can refer to the BaZi calculator I use here: https://www.masterseanchan.com/blog/best-bazi-calculator/
Now, let's introduce our 10 'Gods' a little bit.