Chinese horoscope: 4 pillars of destiny (BaZi)

Chinese zodiac: Meaning and origins of the four pillars of destiny of Chinese astrology
By KarmaWeather - 23 December 2022
© KarmaWeather by Konbi - All rights reserved

The four pillars of destiny alone constitute the main key to interpreting the Chinese horoscope. Each pillar is made up of one of the earthly branches and one of the celestial trunks of Chinese astrology.

The 12 terrestrial branches (animal signs of the Chinese zodiac) associated with the 10 celestial trunks (the 5 elements of WuXing in their Yin and Yang form) are part of the founding precepts of Chinese astrology. They are also used in Feng Shui, traditional medicine, gastronomy and martial arts.

In this article, after addressing the meaning of the four pillars of destiny and the origins and functions of the earthly branches and celestial trunks, we offer two tables that will allow you to have a more complete understanding of your Chinese horoscope (birth chart). The first table links the 60 binomials (Chinese zodiac sign and element) of the sexagesimal system, each corresponding to a specific pillar of destiny, itself associated with a poetic and symbolic phrase called imaged destiny. The imaged destiny sums up the main energetic lines of the character expressed by the pillar associated with it. Finally, after an explanation of the concept of confrontation between the annual pillar of birth with another pillar of destiny, we offer you a second table, which lists the binomials in opposition.

Meaning of the 4 pillars of destiny

In Chinese (but also Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean) astrology, the 4 pillars of destiny (四柱 命理 学) or Ba-Zi (八字, the "8 characters" or "8 words") determine the base of a person's destiny, from which it is possible to define the broad outlines of his / her character and future. In reality, the natal chart (生辰 八字, literally "moment of birth of the 8 characters") is a numerological transcription of the state of the sky at the time of the birth of an individual. Thus, everyone's Chinese horoscope can broken down as follows:

  1. First pillar of destiny: terrestrial branch and celestial trunk of the year of birth (main character traits, personality). The 1st pillar of destiny corresponds to the animal of the zodiac and to the Chinese element of the year of birth, according to the Chinese calendar, commonly called Chinese zodiac sign
  2. Second pillar of destiny: terrestrial branch and celestial trunk of the month of birth (relationships with family and ancestors)
  3. Third pillar of destiny: terrestrial branch and celestial trunk of the day of birth (the second chance in life, active from about 30 years old)
  4. Fourth pillar of destiny: terrestrial branch and celestial trunk of the hour of birth (secret character, also called the traveling companion)

The 4 Pillars of Destiny (Ba-Zi) in Chinese Astrology
© KarmaWeather® by Konbi

Origins and functions of terrestrial branches and celestial trunks

The 12 terrestrial branches correspond to the division of the sky into 12 sections, correlated with the duration of the orbit of Jupiter (11.83 years, adjusted to 12 years). This primitive Chinese astrological system, associated with a sexagesimal calendar, was subsequently linked to the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and to the current lunisolar calendar. Therefore, there are 60 possible combinations of Chinese zodiac signs associated with the 5 elements of Chinese astrology and Feng Shui. Each terrestrial branch corresponds to one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, just as there are 5 x 2 = 10 celestial trunks corresponding to the 5 elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) in Yin or Yang polarity.

Furthermore, if there are 4 pillars of destiny according to 4 specific time periods of the date of birth (year, month, day, hour), each animal of Chinese astrology having 5 possible forms (for example: Wood Rat, Fire Rat, Earth Rat, Metal Rat, Water Rat), there are therefore 5 pillars of fate to describe each type of Chinese zodiac sign associated in binomial with an element, i.e. 60 pillars of destiny for the 60 binomials (Chinese sign + element), for a total of 604 = 12,960,000 combinations and therefore of possible types of individuals. Note also that each pillar of destiny exists in a Yin form (lunar, dark, introverted, feminine) and a Yang form (solar, luminous, extroverted, masculine).

To go further on the subject:
📅 Chinese calendar
🐉 Origins of Chinese Astrology

Ba Zi chart of the 60 pillars of destiny

BaZi calculation chart of the 60 pillars of destiny with their imaged destiny

Binomial N° 🏛 Pillar of destiny ☯ Polarity 🗝️ Imaged destiny
Pillar Chinese sign and element Yin or Yang Pillar interpretation key
1 Wood Rat Yang Gold at the bottom of the ocean
2 Wood Ox Yin Gold at the bottom of the ocean
3 Fire Tiger Yang Oven fire
4 Fire Rabbit Yin Oven fire
5 Earth Dragon Yang The big forest tree
6 Earth Snake Yin The big forest tree
7 Metal Horse Yang The earth by the road
8 Metal Goat Yin The earth by the road
9 Water Monkey Yang Sword point steel
10 Water Rooster Yin Sword point steel
11 Wood Dog Yang Fire at the top of the mountain
12 Wood Pig Yin Fire at the top of the mountain
13 Fire Rat Yang Water that penetrates and fertilizes
14 Fire Ox Yin Water that penetrates and fertilizes
15 Earth Tiger Yang The earth on the ramparts
16 Earth Rabbit Yin The earth on the ramparts
17 Metal Dragon Yang The bronze of the white candlestick
18 Metal Snake Yin The bronze of the white candlestick
19 Water Horse Yang Poplar and willow wood
20 Water Goat Yin Poplar and willow wood
21 Wood Monkey Yang Water from wells and springs
22 Wood Rooster Yin Water from wells and springs
23 Fire Dog Yang Earth on the roof
24 Fire Pig Yin Earth on the roof
25 Earth Rat Yang Lightning fire
26 Earth Ox Yin Lightning fire
27 Metal Tiger Yang Century-old cedar and pine wood
28 Metal Rabbit Yin Century-old cedar and pine wood
29 Water Dragon Yang The water of the long river
30 Water Snake Yin The water of the long river
31 Wood Horse Yang Gold in the sand
32 Wood Goat Yin Gold in the sand
33 Fire Monkey Yang Fire at the foot of the mountain
34 Fire Rooster Yin Fire at the foot of the mountain
35 Earth Dog Yang The wood of the plains
36 Earth Pig Yin The wood of the plains
37 Metal Rat Yang Earth on the walls
38 Metal Ox Yin Earth on the walls
39 Water Tiger Yang The metal of the mirror
40 Water Rabbit Yin The metal of the mirror
41 Wood Dragon Yang Lighthouse fire
42 Wood Snake Yin Lighthouse fire
43 Fire Horse Yang The water of the heavenly river
44 Fire Goat Yin The water of the heavenly river
45 Earth Monkey Yang The land of the great plains
46 Earth Rooster Yin The land of the great plains
47 Metal Dog Yang Gold ornaments and hairpins
48 Metal Pig Yin Gold ornaments and hairpins
49 Water Rat Yang Mulberry wood
50 Water Ox Yin Mulberry wood
51 Wood Tiger Yang Water from the great spring
52 Wood Rabbit Yin Water from the great spring
53 Fire Dragon Yang The earth buried in the sand
54 Fire Snake Yin The earth buried in the sand
55 Earth Horse Yang Fire in the sky
56 Earth Goat Yin Fire in the sky
57 Metal Monkey Yang Pomegranate wood
58 Metal Rooster Yin Pomegranate wood
59 Water Dog Yang The water of the great ocean
60 Water Pig Yin The water of the great ocean

Confrontation between 2 pillars of destiny

What happens when a pillar of fate conflicts with the annual pillar?

Among the 4 pillars of destiny of your birth, the annual pillar is the most important. The 3 other pillars are always read from this annual birth pillar, which corresponds to your annual Chinese birth sign. According to the method of astrological interpretation of KarmaWeather, one can determine a conflict situation within a Chinese birth horoscope when one or more pillars of fate are in opposition with the annual pillar of birth.

For example, if you were born during the Year of the Metal Dragon 2000, a conflict situation could arise if one or more of the 3 remaining pillars were occupied by the Fire Dog. Therefore, the area occupied by the antagonistic pillar to the annual Chinese birth sign should be carefully monitored. If it is the second pillar, it will affect the relationships that the native will have with his parents or his ancestors (domestic violence, abandonment, separation, divorce, premature disappearance, etc.). If it is a question of the 3rd pillar of destiny, the dynamics of the second personal chance could be compromised by an unexpected and painful spell (accident, illness, bankruptcy, ruin…). Finally, in the case of an opposition with the pillar of the time of birth, we must expect emotional instability or an inability of the individual to accept and confront his psychological problems.

The negative effects of a confrontation between the binomial (animal and Chinese element) of the year of birth and one of the binomials of the other 3 pillars of life can be reinforced by an excess or deficiency of one of the 5 Chinese elements, within the natal chart (Chinese horoscope). Indeed, in addition to the element (celestial trunk) associated with each of the 4 pillars of an individual's destiny, let us remember that each Chinese sign (terrestrial branch) can itself be reduced to the sum of the elements it contains. This is why each day of the Chinese calendar can be symbolized by a charter of the 5 elements of WuXing, which can be used both for the astrological interpretation of the day for the attention of the 12 signs of Chinese astrology and of native chart of birth for babies born on this day.

According to the precepts of the traditional Chinese horoscope, the choice of the baby's first name makes it possible to counter the pernicious effect of energy imbalances, in addition to the protective effect that it can have to neutralize the possible confrontation between two opposite pillars. Indeed, according to the holistic precepts of WuXing, the energy components of each element (their essence) are found in their symbolic associations (for example, for the Fire element: the color red, red peppers or tomatoes, the first names whose etymology means fire, light or the sun).

BaZi table of pillars in conflict

BaZi table of pillars in conflict with the 60 annual pillars of destiny

Binomial N° 🏛 1st pillar of destiny ⚠️ Conflict with the 2nd, 3rd or 4th pillar
1st pillar Year of birth Month, day or time of birth
1 Wood Rat Metal Horse
2 Wood Ox Metal Goat
3 Fire Tiger Water Monkey
4 Fire Rabbit Water Rooster
5 Earth Dragon Wood Dog
6 Earth Snake Wood Pig
7 Metal Horse Fire Rat
8 Metal Goat Fire Ox
9 Water Monkey Earth Tiger
10 Water Rooster Earth Rabbit
11 Wood Dog Metal Dragon
12 Wood Pig Metal Snake
13 Fire Rat Water Horse
14 Fire Ox Water Goat
15 Earth Tiger Wood Monkey
16 Earth Rabbit Wood Rooster
17 Metal Dragon Fire Dog
18 Metal Snake Fire Pig
19 Water Horse Earth Rat
20 Water Goat Earth Ox
21 Wood Monkey Metal Tiger
22 Wood Rooster Metal Rabbit
23 Fire Dog Water Dragon
24 Fire Pig Water Snake
25 Earth Rat Wood Horse
26 Earth Ox Wood Goat
27 Metal Tiger Fire Monkey
28 Metal Rabbit Fire Rooster
29 Water Dragon Earth Dog
30 Water Snake Earth Pig
31 Wood Horse Metal Rat
32 Wood Goat Metal Ox
33 Fire Monkey Water Tiger
34 Fire Rooster Water Rabbit
35 Earth Dog Wood Dragon
36 Earth Pig Wood Snake
37 Metal Rat Fire Horse
38 Metal Ox Fire Goat
39 Water Tiger Earth Monkey
40 Water Rabbit Earth Rooster
41 Wood Dragon Metal Dog
42 Wood Snake Metal Pig
43 Fire Horse Water Rat
44 Fire Goat Water Ox
45 Earth Monkey Wood Tiger
46 Earth Rooster Wood Rabbit
47 Metal Dog Fire Dragon
48 Metal Pig Fire Snake
49 Water Rat Earth Horse
50 Water Ox Earth Goat
51 Wood Tiger Metal Monkey
52 Wood Rabbit Metal Rooster
53 Fire Dragon Water Dog
54 Fire Snake Water Pig
55 Earth Horse Wood Rat
56 Earth Goat Wood Ox
57 Metal Monkey Fire Tiger
58 Metal Rooster Fire Rabbit
59 Water Dog Earth Dragon
60 Water Pig Earth Snake

© KarmaWeather by Konbi | Copyright protection: Reproduction forbidden. Any infringement will be subject to DMCA request | Disclaimer notice: Use of medicinal plants should be discussed with a physician, especially for pregnant / breastfeeding women or children. Stones / crystals have no application in modern medicine and can't replace medical treatment.