Chinese Date Selection aka Ze Ri

Hi. I moved this article to my new website. Please read its updated and improved version there. Thank you.



No matter what type of system of destiny reading is employed, the timing of a given action has always been of crucial importance.

In the West, it is called Electional Astrology, in China, it is called Chinese Date Selection or Ze Ri, and has more subdivisions than its western counterpart. I have already explained in other articles of mine that in Chinese Astrology (and Date Selection) it is the day that is the most important (although the time is also taken into consideration as well, such as that the hour must not clash the day), unlike in Ancient Western Astrology, where it is the time that is the crucial factor. There is no contradiction here, these systems are based on different rules, both are over 2000 years old, and each gives powerful results.

Chinese Date Selection is intimately tied to some of other disciplines of Chinese Metaphysics, like Chinese Astrology and Classical Feng Shui. In this way the perfect Cosmic Trinity is formed: Heaven (Astrology), Human (Date Selection) and Earth (Classical Feng Shui). All these must be used if one is get maximum benefit, with Astrology being by far the most authoritative.

The first level of Chinese Date Selection is an absolutely generic one – without any focus on the natal chart, be it BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny or Zi Wei Dou Shu/Emperor Astrology. This is the Tong Shu – the Chinese Almanac. Without beating around the bush, simply do not use this one. It is the most basic one, it is also a control device – telling people when to do or not to do almost any activity without any mention of their individuality. To the Western readers, it even is worse than the “Sun sign” columns. No serious practitioner of Chinese Metaphysics uses the Tong Shu on its own without recourse to the natal chart of the client, and the majority of the experienced ones do not use it at all.

The second level of Chinese Date Selection involves certain information about the native. This is where the connection between Classical Feng Shui, especially the San He branch, and Chinese Astrology, the BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny branch is immediately recognizable. The elements from one’s chart that are used are the Year Branch, the Day Branch and even the Hour Branch. It may not seem much but when one combines the Feng Shui data from one’s home or work place it does become quite complex. The reason for this is because of the many rules that have to be followed. Thus I come to the fundamental rule of Chinese Date Selection: make sure to avoid the bad days and hours; then use the beneficial ones provided that there are any left.

One, who has no idea how limiting it gets when observing all these rules, can ask: well, what is the big deal – you have so many days and hours to choose from? Well, that is true, but only on the surface.

To give you an illustration: one has to observe 7 factors at least:

  • The Year Breaker;
  • The Month Breaker;
  • The Day Breaker;
  • The Big Consumer;
  • The Four Separators;
  • The Four Exhaustions;
  • The Three Sha

I have not even mentioned the relevant Feng Shui data. In addition to this, what about people you live it? What if I select a date without consideration for them and you get what you want but it hurts one of the people you live with as a result of that?

A plus of Chinese Date Selection (and of Chinese Metaphysics in general) is that one must learn the principles behind the theory and how to erect charts by hand and not have to depend on technology/computers. It is done by using the Ten Thousand Year Calendar, which is the analogue to the Western ephemeris except it contains information on many disciplines of Chinese Metaphysics and not just Astrology. Besides, a computer program or calculator can never substitute the manner in which one studies and remembers information when using a book and then applying the results. So with Ze Ri, one needs to look, depending on the window of time given by the client, say 1 or 2 months of time, at the whole period in order to determine which days are permissible to use. It is a very healthy practice as it uses both hemispheres of the brain. Like I said, it seems that one will easily have a few days at least to choose from but when you actually start checking the many rules you start scratching the days one after the other and what it boils down is which viable days are left to use. Compare this with Western Electional Astrology where one checks one day at a time (when they do it with a computer) searching for the right moment. Yes, the systems are different but it is always more productive to place a given moment or day within the bigger period.

Before dealing with the third level of Chinese Date Selection, there is another method of this branch of Ze Ri called Xuan Kong Da Gua. It is intimately connected with the 64 hexagrams of the Yi Jing and with Classical Feng Shui. I don’t speak Chinese and do not use a Chinese compass (Luo Pan) for my Feng Shui work but I want to make it clear that even though Xuan Kong Da Gua is considered by many to be the golden crown of Feng Shui and Date Selection, it requires the measurement to be within less than 1 degree (360:384)! A lot of practitioners claim to be measuring within these limits but one has to ask whether this is feasible in this modern world rife with technologies and metal, which routinely distort the readings by 5-10 degrees and in some cases even more than that.

Equally importantly, just as in Ancient Astrology and even Indian Astrology, practitioners go back to the classical works and examples in order to study properly how to delineate, judge and predict and contemplate the mysteries of life,  so do their Asian colleagues. (for those that do not know, what we use from Classical Feng Shui, meaning San He/Forms, Xuan Kong/Flying Stars and Eight Mansions etc, the vast majority of the information is just 500 years old; the older techniques are obscured and not to be shared and decoded, be it in books or the internet, and if they are, they are severely watered down, just as in Ancient Astrology) My point is that it was not possible to get within less than 1 degree readings all the way to the 19th century and yet the current practitioners claim that the Xuan Kong Da Gua method to be so powerful, secretive and old. In short, I cannot agree that one has to get to less than 1 degree in order to unlock the power of Feng Shui and Date Selection. While that may have an analogue in the face of primary directions in Ancient Astrology, there have always been other techniques which are also extremely powerful and some of which outshine directions in actual practice and prediction.

Lastly, such thinking, namely that one has to measure within less than 1 degree in order to make use of the great secrets and power of Classical Feng Shui and Ze Ri, betrays basic ignorance of the way this reality works, namely the Cosmic Trinity of Heaven, Man and Earth. Yes, you will be tapping into powerful energy (provided you can measure consistently within less than 1 degree) by using the Human Luck (actions, choices, knowledge, as in Chinese Date Selection) and the Earth Luck (Feng Shui), but what about Heaven Luck? Remember, it cannot be changed. In other words, one’s potential, in the sense of one’s limits, one’s status, wealth, relationships (notice I am talking about physical, tangible change here and not spiritual development which is a whole other matter but I digress). So no matter what “activations” one does, they can never overcome the natal promise which places a person in a given social position. To find one’s natal promise, one must have their entire natal astrological chart read. Likewise, no matter what dates or activations one does for one’s home, they can’t achieve something that would be contrary to their natal promise. If that were not the case, then why do people the have same Feng Shui have different destinies, even if they entered their homes on the same day, such as those living in flats in the same building.

Thus it is imperative that one is aware of their natal promise, so they avoid spending money and time on things they are not meant to attain, or even if they do, provided they use the correct timing, they will not last.

This brings me to the third level of Chinese Date Selection. I don’t know how it is called, but it is entirely personal and valid only for that native as it is based on their natal chart. The fact that this subdivision of Ze Ri is not widely taught (as it should be), because it requires one to be thoroughly versed in BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny, serves to prove why it is the most powerful one. An analogy with the West: just as no serious practitioner of Ancient Astrology will never use only the current planetary positions without checking thoroughly the client’s natal chart in order to determine which the benefic and malefic planets are, which to strengthen, which to weaken, which to emphasize etc, it is the same with this subdivision of Chinese Date Selection.

To give you an example: say a client has some health problem and needs to go to a healer, herbalist, doctor, whatever. The second subdivision of Ze Ri would advise one to use the Heavenly Doctor day (this is derived from the client’s chart and it identifies which zoidion/animal represents that star; it also shows in which compass direction the native will find healing.) However, the problem is that the entire chart has not been read and the positive and negative elements have not been established. What if the Heavenly Doctor is a negative element? What if it hurts your Useful Deity? What if it is the Negative Deity? So you understand why the second subdivision of Ze Ri is incomplete and can even be dangerous and detrimental.

Therefore what one is advised to do is always use the natal chart of the client as the basis and then to incorporate as many of the rules from the second subdivision as possible, provided they do not contradict with that specific natal chart.

In conclusion, here are some ways in which Chinese Date Selection can be used, keeping always in mind that there are auspicious days to do it, days to avoid at all costs and permissible days to do it:

Love, marriage, family reunions

Moving and travel

Going to a healer, herbal, doctor/healing yourself

Visiting the sick

Resolving court cases, making appeals

Building a home or business

Entering a home

Starting to study a given subject

Academic pursuits and success, writing books

Metaphysical studies (Astrology, Chinese Metaphysics, Divination, Magic, Occult etc)

Asking for a raise (for people in positive cycles or at least years, as read from their BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny natal chart)

Approaching powerful people/patrons to ask for a favour or protection (for people in positive cycles or at least years, as read from their BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny natal chart)

Written and published on 30 July 2016, Yin Water Ox day, Yin Metal Rooster hour, day of Kronos, hour of the Sun.

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