There are many different ways to make a yearly prediction. Each with different strengths and weaknesses. Understandably, most often the choice of system used is not necessarily based on the best tool for the job, but instead determined by popularity of the method and a practitioner’s extent of knowledge.
Commonly around the Chinese New Year majority of calculations use Sichen Bazi ‘Four Pillars Eight Characters’ 1, ‘I Ching’ 2 or occasionally Ziwei Doushu ‘Purple Star Astrology’ 3. Each have their own merits and can be interpreted to yield information on health, but none are specific to that task. This is not to say that Four Pillars can’t provide insights into wellbeing. Merely that was not originally conceived for that purpose and any wisdom gained in this area is as a result learning to adapt the technique over time.
There was however, one art of ‘Fate Calculation’ 4 which was designed purely for understanding the effects of climate on the human body. It is known as the Wu Yun Liu Qi ‘Five Movements and Six Qi’ or the Yun Qi ‘Movements of Qi’ 5 for short. First discussed in the ‘Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic’ 6, it is over a thousand years older than its more famous sibling, Bazi. Unfortunately it is relatively unheard of outside of China, likely due to its unique combination of Medicine and Cosmology. For Astrologers the medical theory may appear too foreign, too complicated. Chinese Medical Doctors are unlikely to have any experience with heavenly stems 7 and earthly branches 8 – the data necessary to complete a chart.
The Yunqi system has many levels of analysis, but its distinctive quality is the clarity of interpretation. The results are clearly verifiable. This is because computations based upon the calendar can predict unseasonable and extraordinary weather patterns. The effects of which have documented responses in living beings and resultant illnesses. The reading obtained is a comprehensive breakdown of what potential concerns lie ahead for people susceptible to the diseases foretold. It does not suggest everyone will be ill or healthy, but gives logical guidelines of risk factors and probable conditions. This makes it an excellent model for predicting epidemic illnesses and research in China has shown it to be 80% accurate in forecasting the responsible meteorological patterns. Classically, these statistics were also applied to foretelling possible natural disasters, but this area has not been thoroughly researched to date and remains unproven.
There are three main steps to creating a yearly forecast. In brief the stem and branch of the year constitute two layers and the natural seasonal progression (hemisphere dependant) makes the third. The interactions between them become the horoscope.
The 丁酉 Ding You ‘Fire Rooster’ (2017)
1. The yearly stem 丁 Ding ‘Yin Fire’ combines 9 with 壬 Ren ‘Yang Water’, the resultant element is Wood. This is known as the ‘Annual Movement’ 10. Traditionally Chinese Musical notation is used to indicate this – Shao Jue ‘Minor Wood-tone’ 11 and the correlating atmospheric influence – wind (see Figure 1 – atop, shaded green). It is a Yin year, therefore considered ‘Inadequate’ 12 and called ‘Discarded Harmony’ 13. The deficient nature means that the wood element will be invaded by Metal (Dry).
2. The yearly branch 酉 You ‘Rooster’ clashes 14 with 卯 Mao ‘Rabbit’. These two opposing branches share the designator Yang Ming ‘Yang Bright’ 15. Yang Ming corresponds to the channels Large Intestine / Stomach and the climate ‘Dryness’. This is known as the Governing Heaven Qi 16. The position three steps clockwise (see Figure 2 – atop, shaded grey and right, red respectively) is occupied by Shao Yin ‘Lesser Yin’ 17 the channels Heart / Kidney and the climate ‘Imperial Heat’. This is known as the ‘Residing Fountain’ Qi 18. Together they constitute the ‘Guest Qi’ 19.
3. The final factor taken into consideration is the Seasonal Qi. This is the natural progression of the seasons, which obviously will differ dependent upon which side of the equator is being considered. In the Southern hemisphere, the Chinese Calendar year (beginning 4th February) starts with Late Summer, then Autumn, Winter, Spring and then back to Summer 20 (see Figure 3). This is known as the ‘Host Qi’ 21.
Analysing the completed chart is a simple process of comparing these three steps to one another and following a few simple rules. The ‘Guest Qi’ is the most important, in particular the ‘(Governing) Heaven Qi’ and must always be dominant –controlling or generating the element of the ‘Annual Movement’ / ‘Host Qi’. When it fails to do so, the relationship is not in accord and more likely to produce a dangerous result. Particularly malevolent combinations are recognised as ‘Special Charts’
In this case the ‘Heaven Qi’ is Yang Ming ‘Yang Bright’ – Metal Dryness. The ‘Annual Movement’ is Shao Jue ‘Minor Wood-tone. Therefore, the Qi (Metal) is controlling the Movement (Wood), this is known as ‘Heavenly Punishment’ 22 and an ill omen. The Southern Hemisphere ‘Host Qi’ at the Heaven Qi’s peak (see Figure 4 – atop in black & grey respectively) is Water, therefore in a generation cycle with Metal and is a good portent. This is known as ‘Flow’ 23. (In the Northern hemisphere the Host Qi at Heaven Qi’s peak would be fire, in a controlling sequence and thereby a bad portent. This is referred to as ‘Counter-flow’ 24.)
There are conditions that on occasion allow a dominated Movement to rebel 25 or break-out 26 exerting its character, this is possibly such a case. If Spring is still cool (Autumn’s energy), then when Summer (the son) arrives it will take revenge on Metal and fire will flare strongly – ie. a very hot Summer.
Finally, this could be considered a Special Chart – ‘Balanced’ 27 as the Qi controls the Movement, but the Movement is Inadequate so it does not require this control.
The over-riding condition for the year is Metal controlling Wood and it is more severely out of balance in the Northern Hemisphere. The predominant climate and physiological pattern of disharmony is therefore ‘Dryness’ 28. This situation can cause a higher than normal probability for illness to occur in the Metal or Wood Element – channel and organ – aggravating Lung, Large Intestinal, Liver diseases and muscular contractions (particularly of the arm, neck and sides). Therefore respiratory conditions are at risk and symptoms such as stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, wheeze and shortness of breath occur more frequently and severely. In addition bowel problems such as constipation, hemorrhoids, bleeding and pain.
Recommended prevention/treatment 29 is to moisten dryness with a diet of warm natured and pungent (acrid) flavoured foods – onion family (fennel, leek, chive, spring onion), culinary herbs and spices (ginger, garlic, chilli, cinnamon, dill, star anise, clove, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, fenugreek, coriander, rosemary, pepper, mustard) and even a little alcohol.
As mentioned previously the Yunqi system also plots ‘Disaster Palaces’ 30, attempting to foresee natural catastrophes. Direction and position is based on the nine squares of the Luoshu ‘River Writing’ 31 with China at the centre (therefore Africa is the West, America the East, Russia the North and Australia the South). In a year such as above, when Metal dominates, the disaster is drought. According to this system, manifesting in the Eastern regions with greater severity.
One final application is in Personal Health Charts. The year of birth can give a constitutional reading of tendencies throughout life. A child born in the year discussed herein would thereby theoretically have strong physiological Metal (Lung) and weak Wood (Liver) in their future. The metal – wood pivot forms a significant equilibrium in the body. One example of its effects when out of balance can be seen in British comedian, actor and author Stephen Fry, born in the last Fire Rooster year (1957), and his battle with bi-polar disorder. American actor Dolph Lundgren, Australian politicians Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott share similar charts, also turning 60 this year, and may carry some of the same strengths and weaknesses as a result.
1. 四柱八字 Sichen Bazi 2. 紫微斗數 Ziwei Doushu 3. 易经 Yijing 4. 數術 Shushu 5. 五運六氣 Wu Yun Liu Qi / 運氣 Yun Qi 6. 黄帝内经 Huáng Dì Nèi Jīng 7. 天干 Tiangan 8. 地支 Dizhi 9. 五合化气 Wuhe Huaqi ‘Five Harmony Changing Qi’ 10. 歲運 Suiyun 11. 少角 Shaojue 12. 不及 Buji 13. 委和 Weihe 14. 六沖 Liu chong ‘Six Clashes’ 15. 陽明 Yang Ming 16. 司天 Sitian 17. 少陰 Shaoyin 18. 在泉 Zaiquan 19. 客氣 Ke Qi 20. In the Northern Hemisphere – Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn & Winter 21. 主氣 Zhu Qi 22. 天刑 Tianxing 23. 順 Shun 24. 逆 Ni 25. 勝復 Sheng Fu ‘Surpass Reversion’ 26. 郁發 Yu Fa ‘Constraint Effusion’ 27. 平氣 Pingqi 28. 燥 Zao 29. According to the Yellow Thearch 黄帝 Huáng Dì 30. 災宮 Zaigong 31. 洛書