Hi. I moved this article to my new website. Please read its updated and improved version there. Thank you.
“And so, a wide field arises for making predictions, and if only human ingenuity could be so far refined to be equal to the task it could predict even the smallest events that fate had in store, but since the human intellect is feeble it must err except in the more evident situations.”
Jean Baptiste Morin (French astrological practitioner from the 17th century) Astrologia Gallica Book 21, chapter 11 end, translated by Richard S. Baldwin
I have written before that the Four Pillars branch of Chinese Astrology is structured differently than any type of Western or Indian Astrology. It is the day of birth that is the centre of the chart, not the hour. What this means is that without having the hour of birth, the BaZi practitioner still has 75% of the chart and can work with it. Of course, there are certain cases where not having the hour of birth makes reading the Chinese horoscope difficult. This is because of the dispositio/chart configuration, where, to give one example, the Earthly Branches are such that can form different combinations which transform to different elements and alter the chart structure. I am referring above all to the 4 Growths and the 4 Graveyards. Nevertheless, in many cases it is possible to read the chart and hence the life of the native when the time of birth is unknown.
What I want to touch on in this article is the well known fact in the Chinese astrological community that people born on the same day can and do have differences in their lives. In some cases, they have almost different lives. For the record, I am talking about the same 6 characters in the Four Pillars of Destiny chart: the Year, Month and Day Pillars. In other words, the chart is the same regardless of calendar, i.e. it does not fall in the grey area of the Ten Thousand Year Calendar.
The reasons for the differences in the people’s lives are multifaceted. One must be cautious in generalizing when it comes to dealing with such incredibly complex sciences as Ancient Astrology and Chinese Metaphysics. Though there are fundamental rules, each horoscope must be individually delineated and not thrown in a group with others that have very similar characteristics.
Someone would say that the Hour Pillars could alter the chart structure and hence the favourable and unfavourable elements become different, which also means that the nature of the Luck Pillars changes, that is, what are unfavourable elements in the previous chart, are favourable here, and provided the native encounters them earlier on in life, their life can move to another trajectory. I say “fair enough” to this argument. After all, determining the chart structure is the first and the most difficult thing in BaZi.
Another would say the Man Luck and/or the Earth Luck are different, that is, these two people are not brought up with the same value system, they did not get the same education/indoctrination, they grew up in a different environment, country, they made different choices as a result of that, etc. They could also say that the Feng Shui of the ancestors/Yin House Feng Shui would be different and contribute to a different level of eminence. Again, I say “fair enough” to this. After all, one must always observe the Cosmic Trinity of Chinese Metaphysics.
Another would say that the names of the people are different, which would give more differences in their lives.
Another would say that the Physiognomy (reading one’s fate from their whole body, not just the face or palms) of the two people born on the same day would be different, which would bring about more differences. Fine, but Physiognomy’s influence, as I showed, is far behind in importance compared to Astrology, Luck Pillars and Feng Shui.
I am sure you getting my drift by now. All these arguments are correct BUT given how crucial Astrology is, for after all – the 1 and 2 factors from the hierarchy involve Fate and Luck Pillars, it is more likely that at least the major part of the answer has to be contained there.
Getting to the next step, what if two people have the same Four Pillars of Destiny charts, that is, all 8 characters are the same? Then, someone could say that there would be differences in the lives if they are of different genders. That, of course, is very true, and for a number of reasons. First, men and women are very different creatures. This is made explicit in ALL of Chinese Metaphysics, starting from the I Ching/Yi Jing/ the Book of Changes. Men are Yang, women are Yin. Women can never become men and vice versa. No enforced law or temporary social changes can change that. This is a topic for a different type of article though.
The point is that the horoscopes of men are read in a different way in Chinese Astrology than the horoscopes of women. Not just that, but a man and a woman born the same day and even in the same minute, their Luck Pillars will be calculated differently, which would change the sequence of the Pillars and hence one will encounter the favourable elements in another period compared to the other. Obviously, there are many variations here but you get the point.
Not to repeat the above arguments for people born on the same day but in different hours, it is time to present an extremely important factor that heavily influences the fate of people. This factor is the Sky. Now, by the Sky, I mean the fixed stars and the constellations and their influence on the (Western) horoscope.
The Sky factor is actually connected with Earth Luck, that is, while Earth Luck has to do with the earthly environment/mundane environment/Feng Shui, etc, the key here, looked from the Heaven Luck, is the geographical location, i.e. the longitude and even more so the latitude of birth.
It is extremely important to know how the fixed stars and constellations were used in Ancient Western Astrology. I could illustrate that in an article some day, but the point here is the geographical location is paramount. What this means is that (obviously, I am ignoring the first part of the article here about people born on the same day but with an unknown time of birth because without the Ascendant one cannot really use Western Astrology) even for people born on the same day and time, but in different latitudes, even in the same big country, when it comes to the parans, different stars and constellations will be contacting the key points in the chart, namely the Ascendant, MC, Sun, Moon and Dsc. Obviously, there are over 1,000 fixed stars that could be used. I am talking about the major ones, which are about 30-40, and some of the powerful ones are on the ecliptic (the one in Lion, the one in Virgin, the one in the Scorpion, the one in the Bull, etc) which reduces the total number of variables.
Someone may say that using the fixed stars and constellation is not done in Four Pillars of Destiny. I will counter that while this is true (though symbolic stars are used there, and they are over 100), Zi Wei Dou Shu aka Emperor Astrology, the other branch of Chinese Astrology, requires a very precise time of birth. Not just that but they also use the 12 places (incorrectly called houses in the West) which they call the 12 Palaces/Domains. I will also counter by using Morin’s logic from his quote, namely since such “a wide field arises for making predictions”, having more tools at one’s disposal most definitely makes it easier to narrow down the variations, and nowhere is this more pertinent that in identical charts!