Zi Wei Dou Shu – A Chinese Astrology System

Zi Wei Dou Shu is a system of Chinese Astrology used by many professional Chinese astrologers. Although it is less popular than its counterpart, Ba Zi (also known as Four Pillars of Destiny or Eight Characters), it provides comparable insights into a person’s character, potential and luck throughout his or her life.

Ba Zi expresses a person’s Chinese solar year, month, day and time of birth into four pillars comprising each of a heavenly stem and an earthly branch. The astrologer then studies the relationship, the combination, clashes etc between the stems and branches in the pillars to make inference of a person’s character and potential. Zi Wei Dou Shu on the other uses a person’s Chinese lunar age (date and time of birth) and express then into a model comprising of palaces, stars, stems and branches to denote time and the four forces generated by the heavenly stems.

There are 12 palaces to be exact arranged in a 4×4 matrix. There are Self, Sibling, Spouse, Children, Wealth, Health, Travel, Friends, Career, Property, Mental and Parent palaces. Within each of the palaces are the heavenly stem and branch that denotes time frame e.g. decades, years, months, day and even time. Also located within the palaces are stars that can range from as little as 18 to 114 depending on the school that your practice. And finally the four forces (or changes).

There are broadly two schools of Zi Wei Dou Shu namely the Three Harmony School and the Four Changes (refer to forces) School.

The primary difference between the two schools is in the emphasis. The Three Harmony School places much more importance on the stars in each palaces and their combination with other stars in selected palaces. The Four Changes School place much more emphasis on the four forces (that exist in every palaces) and hence are able to make as many inferences with much lesser stars. The Four Changes schools typically use between 18 and 30 plus stars only.

Both the systems have their strengths and weaknesses but in the hands of an experienced astrology, it can reveal a lot of things about the person. For example aside from telling you about the person’s character, it can also tell his or her career and wealth potential, relationship with others such as spouse, sibling, children, children and friends, his or her physical and mental health and migration potential.

Besides these it can also reveal a person’s luck e.g. career, wealth, relationships and health in every decade and year.

Needless to say learning the system is not easy and it takes years even under proper guidance to be reasonable good at it.

Astrology – The Derivative House System – Another Layer of Reading

The field of astrology is huge with so many possibilities. In order to study it in a manageable proportion, we must look at it segment by segment. Once we have two astrological segments under reasonable control we can then merge them to develop a comprehensible narrative. Once we have studied an additional segment, we use the same merging process to enlarge our information while keeping it cohesive. We study segment by segment, adding to our previously storage until we have a whole, usable body of information from which we can draw at any time. This reminds me of the way we learn anything, step-by-step, adding as we go.

In order to individualize that body of astrological information we start with the natal wheel for any birth. We then draw from that information pool at will, weaving together the various segments that are appropriate to that wheel in order to read the life story of that person. In short, we learn the basics of astrology so we can tell the personal story for each individual sky map.

In other articles I have suggested that there are four cornerstones to astrology: planets, signs, houses and aspects. Further, it is my conclusion that the planets are the keystone of the four cornerstones. Each of these four segments should be studied in the early stages of astrology so they may be combined as described to begin the process of a reading. In this article we will look at two of the segments, planets and houses, in a particular combining technique called the derivative house system. This technique is usable for those students of astrology that have completed the beginner stage. In brief…

  • Houses are the division of the 360-degree wheel into 12 compartments. Each compartment contains approximately 1/12th of the life experience or issues for any person, so each compartment is chock full of issues. Since the entire house system is constructed with Earth in the center of each wheel, houses are the down-to-earth experience for that wheel and person.
  • Planets represent the various functions of the human, such as the ego and self identity urges, the nesting, family, and emotional urges, the function of communication and learning, the urge to relate, to name a few. Traditionally there are ten bodies: our star, our satellite the Moon, and our eight sibling planets.

Derivative House System To study a single planet deeply, we must go beyond the generic meaning of that planet to see it working in the sign in which it is positioned, the house it occupies, the house it rules, and the aspects in which it is involved. All of that is valuable and is usually as far as any reading goes. The derivative technique can give you another layer of house meaning simply by looking at the 12-fold process of any of the ten planets. How? You simply start with the position of a single planet in the house it occupies and mentally recognize it as that planet’s first house expression. You then count consecutively counter-clockwise around the wheel from that first house. Each planet and what that planet represents in the individual will have contribution from all 12 houses and their issues. You do not lose the value of a regular reading of a wheel you are simply adding an additional layer of meaning. An example might make this explanation easier to understand.

Let us start with the Sun (ego urge) in Scorpio (sign) in the 5th house (occupation), ruling the 3rd (rulership), and then list the aspects and their meanings individually. That takes you through the usual method of reading the Sun. For another layer of meaning, put your finger on that Sun (ego and self identity) and recognize that its first house expression, regardless of which house the Sun occupies, is the way the world sees the Sun issues, how that Sun and its issues respond immediately to activations from your environment, personal self projection of that Sun, and the Sun’s coping skills. Where does the Sun (ego, self-identity) begin? All that actually takes place in the 5th house of this example so you must also view this solar application as creativity, children of the mind and body, speculation, and family values (2nd of the natal 4th). The Sun has more than a self-identity, it also has a value system, communication, relating, and all the other usual traditional house meanings and that is determined by this method.

  • If the Sun is in the 5th and that is its point of personal projection (1st house for that person’s Sun), the value systems for the Sun will be in the adjacent (next counter-clockwise) 6th house. The Sun’s value system as the 6th house relates as work, service, and/or health issues.
  • Communication for the Sun issues (self-identity, ego, etc.) is the 3rd house from the Sun or the 7th house in this example. In this example the Sun’s communication mechanism will operate through the partnership, networking function of the chart owner’s partnership house.
  • One more… the home, hearth, roots (4th house issues) for the Sun actually occurs in the 8th (next house counter-clockwise) of joint values, joint finance, life and death issues, etc.

To make it easier for you to learn and to play with this technique, here are a few brief statements about basic planet and house meanings:

First planets…

  • The Sun represents self-identity, ego, basic character and general vitality.
  • The Moon represents the emotions, memory, maternal and instinctive urges.
  • Mercury represents communication, education and transportation issues.
  • Venus represents relationship skills and drives, social and financial value issues.
  • Mars represents our assertive, aggressive urges, courage or the lack of them.
  • Jupiter represents our expansive, philosophic, reaching for more of life urges.
  • Saturn represents structure, duty, responsibility, and organizational skills.
  • Uranus represents rebellion, futuristic, unique, individualization issues.
  • Neptune represents inspiration, aspiration, dreams, visions, delusional issues.
  • Pluto represents power, powerlessness, empowerment, and destiny at work.

Then houses…

  • The 1st house is self projection, coping skills, immediate response to the environment, the way the world sees you.
  • The 2nd house is social and financial values and resources, talents.
  • The 3rd house is communications, education, and transportation, siblings, cousins and neighbors.
  • The 4th house is home, hearth, family, roots, internal security parent, conclusions.
  • The 5th house is creations of the mind and body, love, speculation, values of the family.
  • The 6th house is your work-a-day issues, service to others and health.
  • The 7th house is all partnerships, business and personal, networking and alliances.
  • The 8th house is joint values and finance, insurance, taxes and death.
  • The 9th house is belief systems, higher education, legalities, multi-cultural activities.
  • The 10th house is goals, achievements, stature, reputation, career, success or lack of it
  • The 11th house is friends, groups, results of career, wishes, hopes and dreams.
  • The 12th house is hidden, recessive, and can be self-sabotaging, a blind spot,

Simply choose one planet and read it through the 12 houses starting with the house it occupies as number 1. You can do that for each of the 10 bodies. This is a study technique initially, but once you have the knack of it, you will find yourself including it in your readings quite easily.

Recommended reading:

Cornerstones of Astrology – Planets, Signs, Houses and Aspects