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As I wrote in the article: Ancient and Chinese Astrology and the Continuity of Their Traditions, having the benefit of the experience of many historical figure colleagues is undoubtedly helpful. However, I also wrote that one cannot expect the ancient astrological books to do the work for them. They are valuable guides that one can consult but as Ancient Astrology always reflects life and life is so enormous, it is, of course, impossible to cover even a good part of the variations of astrological configurations.
It is here where the training and experience of the Ancient and Chinese Astrology practitioner comes into play. If they are properly trained and possess the necessary skills, they should be able to solve cases which none of the ancient astrological textbooks mention, let alone deal with. This is achieved by having a firm grasp of the fundamental principles of Astrology and then continuously refining their increasing understanding of the fundamentals.
The topic I have in mind for this article is that of fine-tuning profession. Now, determining the profession is the second most difficult topic in Ancient Astrology after calculating the length of life. It is so complex that the whole natal chart needs to be delineated first before one gets on with it. By fine-tuning of the profession I mean that either you have delineated what specific profession/s that native will have, or the native has already picked a profession but has not picked/is having difficulty selecting its exact expression. For example, someone is studying to become a medical doctor. Well, there are many types of medical doctors. When the time comes to specialize, that student will need to select 1 or 2 areas out of 20+. Now, everyone who has any experience in delineating the profession using Ancient Astrology, knows that the stars of Mars and Venus are indicative of medical doctors.
While fine-tuning the profession is theoretically easier than determining it in broad terms due to the fact that once the practitioner has found the professional signficator/s, they have significantly narrowed down the possible professions, it is more difficult to do than it seems. Why? Because while one can always consult the ancient astrological books for what the planets signify when they rule the profession, finding examples of fine-tuning the profession is rare, if present at all. Even when present, it does not cover the variations sufficiently. Living in the 21st century, when the variations within a given profession have increased a lot, as well as the number of professions from ancient times has decreased, this forces the practitioner of Ancient Astrology and Four Pillars of Destiny to use all the skills at their disposal in order to determine both the profession and then fine-tune it.
The most detailed example of descriptions of professions that I know of is given by 9th century Arabic practitioner Abu Bakr, in Persian Nativities Book II translated by Ben Dykes. Yet when one carefully reads through all the professions he gives through the astrological configurations signifying them, it is no where near as helpful as it seems because what Abu Bakr provides is a very incomplete picture with selected configurations that pertain to the profession, but as I said, one cannot properly determine the profession without taking the whole chart into account.
What about Four Pillars of Destiny classical sources and determining one’s profession? Well, one of the most authoritative BaZi books, the Di Tian Sui (Drips of Heavenly Essence/Drips of Heavenly Marrow/The Heaven Instillation Treasure) says it explicitly that determining the profession is the most difficult aspect of the horoscope. I have read parts of other classical Four Pillars of Destiny books, and they give the information in the same way that Abu Bakr does: if you have X and Y in the chart, then you will you have such and such a profession. Again, this is an extremely incomplete approach that often does not work. Of course it does not, since it does not take the whole natal chart into account.
In conclusion, I cannot stress how crucial it is to develop one’s astrological understanding. If one seriously practises Ancient Western Astrology or Four Pillars of Destiny, it is just a matter of time before they run into big difficulties when delineating horoscopes professionally. Just because an ancient astrological book, no matter how famous and useful, does not examine a given matter, pertaining to any topic, does not mean that Ancient Astrology and BaZi cannot solve it.
Over the last 10-15 years, since the Internet became such a tremendous force, there has been this desire to simplify Astrology and market it to more and more people in an easier/more digestible form. This is done to lure in potential students and thus for profit, regardless of the qualifications of the teacher. However, keep in mind that, as the highest science, Ancient Astrology and Chinese Metaphysics are very, very demanding. They take years to learn and the study never ends. There are no short cuts no learning!