I’m teaching an interactive workshop which I aim to make a yearly occurrence: On the last New Moon of the Chinese New Year we’ll prepare for the Future together! This blog post will contain an introduction to Bazi theory and the 5 Elements, so one can become familiar with the language to understand the class better.
If you’ve looked up your BaZi chart online, you’ll notice it has a LOT of information. Let’s focus on the important aspect which is at the hub of Bazi theory: Your Daymaster.
This is a sample chart from Joey Yap’s free online calculator. Notice there is a top row, and a bottom row, along with 4 “pillars.” This gives us a total of 8 squares of information (ignore the bottom third row for now), which is why Ba Zi translates as Ba (Eight) Zi (Characters).
It’s easy to remember that the Top Row characters are called the Heavenly Stems, as Top is closer to Heaven. The Bottom Row characters are called the Earthly Branches. The Earthly Branches are where you find the Animal signs you may be familiar with.
The Day Master however is the Heavenly Stem of your Day Pillar. The Four pillars are organized by Hour, Day, Month, Year. The Day Pillar is highlighted gold in this chart, and as you can see the top character is called “Geng” or Yang Metal.
The Day Master is You! In Bazi theory this is actually the character that represents us, not our Animal Year (or Earthly branch of Year pillar), and there are 10 types of Day Masters. The 5 Elements: Fire, Wood, Water, Metal. Earth x2 for Yin and Yang.
5 Element Interactions
Let’s review quickly the interactions of the 5 elements. Draw a clockwise circle through the colors (Red is Fire, Yellow-Earth, Grey-Metal, Blue-Water, Green-Wood) to understand how the Elements Produce or transform into one another. The imagery commonly used is that Water grows Wood, Wood is used to create Fire, Fire turns to Ash (Earth), Earth condenses to Metal, and Metal filters Water.
The star in the middle showcases how the elements ‘control’ or Influence each other. I prefer the term control to Destructive, because in BaZi and in Chinese Medicine this interaction is balancing in a different type of way-one of limiting or preventing excess. Imagery here is that Water Extinguishes Fire, Fire Melts Metal, Metal Chops Wood, Wood breaks through Earth, Earth Dams Water.
Be familiar with this theory, as reading your Bazi chart comes down to understanding how the other elements relate to YOU-your Day Master. So for Instance, our Geng (Yang Metal) chart above has an Influencing effect on Wood Element, and is Influenced by Fire. Earth is what Generates this sample person’s Day Master, and is thus a Resource Element, explained below.
Reference Guide for the Elements
Using the theory above you can figure out why each Element is named what it is. Look a the Metal Row- we see that our Metal Day master has Fire as its “Influence Element”, and the element which it controls is Wood which is called the “Wealth Element.” The Element that shares its type is called the “Companion Element” (think birds of a feather), and the Element which it produces is called it’s “Output Element.” Finally the Element which Generates Metal (Earth) is called its “Resource Element.”
I’ll go over all these elements in the class, since there are actually 10 (Two kinds of Wealth, Influence, Friends, etc.). Having this chart pulled up will help you get familiar with how you personally interact with each of the elements, which gives you a rough guide to understanding how other people (their Day Masters) impact your life.
The link to sign up for this Year’s (2021-Yin Metal Ox) class is here: