I am glad to present this Q&A section, where I have provided both broad answers as well as specific ones – something which is difficult to do in articles as they pertain to a given subject and do not present the type of answers that are truly needed in today’s age of information overload.
I have included questions and answers to branches which I practise, namely:
Horary, electional, natal Ancient Western Astrology;
Birth time rectification: both from approximate as well as without a time of birth aka 24 hour rectification;
Calculation of the length of life with Ancient Western and Chinese Astrology;
Full written Western and Chinese/Four Pillars of Destiny/BaZi horoscopes/natal charts;
He Luo Li Shu aka HLLS/Yi Jing (I Ching) Astrology;
Date Selection aka ZeRi;
Classical Feng Shui;
Chinese Physiognomy (face, palm and body reading);
Special note: Please do not read the full section at once. It touches on an enormous amount of information which has taken me years to test, verify and integrate. I suggest you read it topic by topic, which is why I have structured this section in this way.
ON BIRTH TIME RECTIFICATION: BOTH FROM APPROXIMATE AS WELL AS WITHOUT A TIME OF BIRTH AKA 24 HOUR RECTIFICATION
Q: What does rectification mean in Astrology?
Zagata: Rectification is a procedure to astrologically determine what time a native was born, either when the time of birth is unknown, uncertain or approximate. Without a time of birth, one cannot calculate a given native’s natal chart aka horoscope aka birth chart, especially in Western Astrology and He Luo Li Shu aka HLLS/Yi Jing (I Ching) Astrology.
Q: How important is birth time rectification? Must all natal charts be rectified?
Zagata: Rectification is mandatory for all horoscopes. No matter whether the time of birth comes from a written document, such as a Certificate of Birth, family book, from a parent’s memory, etc, the natal chart must be rectified. Please keep in mind that it is against this time of birth that the whole life of the native will be judged. Any deviation in the time of birth can distort the final and complete delineation of the native’ life. The prerequisite for having one’s natal chart read is an accurate time of birth. I refer you to this article:
Q: So you will rectify even when the time of birth is not rounded?
Zagata: Yes, I will. I am not going to base weeks of work of my time on any person’s memory or hospital clock.
Q: Is this not another way of charging more money from clients?
Zagata: When I am working on a full written horoscope, if the time of birth a client provides me with turns out to be within some minutes of the final rectified time by me, then I either do not charge at all for rectification or charge only a small part of the rectification fee.
Conversely, place yourself in my shoes: imagine working on a chart for some weeks (for a full written horoscope takes 1-2 months to delineate), giving the completed result to the client and then, years later, it turns out that their time of birth was inaccurate and hence not only all of your work, but they paid for, was incorrect. They would not be, then, in a position to rectify this mistake, pun intended, because years or decades would have passed from their life.
When someone requests rectification as a stand alone service, my fee changes depending on how close their time of birth turns out to be. I divide it this way: within 2 hours, within 2+ to 12 hours, 12+ hours, without a time of birth.
Q: I understand now. Why are then most astrologers not concerned with precise rectification but simply, upon hearing whether it is AA (from a Birth Certificate) or A (from memory) accuracy, read the chart? Also, how accurate must the time of birth be?
Zagata: You have to understand that vast majority of “astrologers” only offer consultations and not complete written horoscopes, especially in Western Astrology. There is vast difference between the two. Simply put: you cannot predict anything with a good degree of accuracy unless you delineate the full natal chart. This is a fundamental rule that is present in all ancient astrological textbooks. The life of a human being is a huge puzzle of many parts and pieces. Without ordering them, there is no way to know which part/topic will be activated, when it will be activated, what it promises, etc. While there is some value in consultations, if the practitioner follows the ancient rules, a consultation can only be held after the whole natal chart has been delineated. Failure to do so results in a very superficial result. It is like showing someone a few pieces of a puzzle and hoping they will not only understand them but will get the maximum of this knowledge. After all, how much can you cover from a native’s life for 1 or 2 hour dialogue with a client?
Also, many of those who practise the natal branch do not specialize in rectification. Rectification is a skill like any other in Astrology and can be learned. Combine this with seeing the given client for 1-2 hours and then not seeing them ever, or 1-2 times for the next 5-10-15 years, and you will get the picture why rectification of the time of birth is not such a priority when doing consultations in Western Astrology.
In regards to how accurate the time of birth needs to be, it has to be as accurate as possible. As a starting point, if it is not a full or quarter hour of it does not end in 5 then chances are it is more accurate.
Q: To what degree of accuracy do you rectify?
Zagata: I rectify to as close as possible. This means within seconds. In some charts it is actually possible to rectify to the second. At the very least, I rectify to the minute.
Q: Why do you have to rectify as close as possible? Are you not going overboard with such accuracy?
Zagata: You need to understand where I am coming from. I am not just doing rectification to fully delineate a client’s natal chart with Ancient Western Astrology.
I do rectification for the calculation of the length of life, where 4 minutes of difference can mean 1 year of life. Not just that, in certain cases a difference in a 1 or 2 minutes or even less, could alter the type of longevity one has.
I have also used Astrology successfully for sports betting. Taking into account that there are dozens of matches or events per year, having the time of birth rectified to as close as possible is an absolute must.
On the other hand, there are many cases where the time of birth is within minutes of being accurate and this still allows one to have a workable horoscope. Some of those who practise modernized Hellenistic Astrology only rectify to the “sign” of the Ascendant and they use what is known as “whole sign houses” or “sign as house”. What they ultimately need is to make sure is verify the correct placement of the key Lots, such as Fortune, Spirit, Eros, etc. While this is a valid approach that works in 1-2 hour consultations, it is highly incomplete for full written Western horoscopes.
Another reason why I rectify as close as possible is I want to make sure I have both the BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny and the He Luo Li Shu/Yi Jing Astrology charts accurately calculated. More on this later.
Q: You are the first astrological practitioner, possibly not just in modern times but in Western history, to offer a 24 hour Astrology rectification course. Can you really teach anyone how to do birth time rectification even when the time of birth is unknown?
Zagata: That is why I wrote Zagata’s 24 Hour Astrology Rectification Course. So, yes, I can teach anyone how to do rectification from an approximate time of birth or without a time of birth provided the following conditions are met:
1) The student must be mentally prepared to critically examine everything they believe and know about Astrology. This is a process that does take time. Please understand that it does not mean they will need to forget and throw away what they learned. What it does mean is they will only be able to understand the totality of my approach to rectification (and natal chart delineation) if they are working with the full picture. It is here where some students are unwilling to revise their approach because they invested a lot of money and years in the materials of their teacher/s. It is not so much a matter of being right or wrong but of using incomplete and unsystematic information. Also, when the student gets the rectification wrong, the reputation of their teacher or that teacher themselves will not be there to take responsibility. It is ultimately the responsibility of the student to move ahead and be open to other, far more complete and encompassing ways of doing Astrology;
2) The student must be able to practise Astrology without any hindering external beliefs. Psychological, religious, social and modern astrological beliefs need to put to aside if one is to achieve critical distance and read the astrological information only;
3) The student must be open to the possibility that Astrology and rectification can successfully be done without any psychology, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, asteroids, and (minor) aspects;
4) The student needs to appreciate the scientific method. By that I mean learning and practising Astrology and rectification in a hierarchical, systematic and logical manner. Anything short of that is bound to produce errors because, when dealing with odds up to 100’s to 1 against you, you had better follow some procedure rather than depend on “intuition”. There are rules to be followed for each of the stages of rectification. Keep in mind that while the stages and rules must be followed, the student has the option of using one of more of several techniques at any given stage. After all, a given technique is ultimately only an expression of a given approach, which in turn is part of a given Fundamental Principle in my multifaceted System of rectification.
Q: Does this mean that you can rectify any horoscope without a time of birth, that you can rectify natal charts of historical figures?
Zagata: Theoretically, yes, but practically – no. This is because there is not always enough information on the given native. By that I mean specific information for rectification. While there may be dozens of dates and events from this native’s life, they are often insufficient – not terms of quantity, but in terms of scope and variety. I always tell this to potential clients as well: if they do not provide me with sufficient information for rectification, especially without a time of birth, then I will still attempt to rectify their horoscope, but if I cannot complete the rectification, that is, I cannot guarantee the final result then I will refund all their money.
I have natives, including historical figures, in my rectification files whose charts are date without time, and I would like to rectify, but there is insufficient information on them and hence I have no choice but to wait until enough information is published or my interest in them becomes so strong that I am willing to immerse myself in their life by going to libraries, etc.
ON HORARY ASTROLOGY:
Q: How valuable is horary?
Zagata: Horary is an invaluable tool, particularly in the arsenal of those that predict and deal with objective reality. It is the stepping stone to the electional and natal branch. In other words, if one has issues with making unambiguous and clear judgments due to believing that prediction is impossible, then they should not deal with reading people’s horoscopes. As always, I am coming from the ancient and practical point of view.
Q: What do you mean by that? Why should making specific and clear judgments and predictions be difficult in Astrology?
Zagata: I will answer with two selected horaries that I have been asked. One involved whether the native should buy his friend’s horse. I am talking a four figures price here, where mistakes are costly. In addition, the horse had physical problems. Whatever answer one provides had better be sound, based on rules and correct.
Another one involved whether a missing, injured-by-a-car dog would be captured, which ran away while being transported for surgery to another city. Time was of the essence as the condition of its leg was deteriorating. I not only had to answer whether it would be captured but say where it would be captured and when, keeping in mind that we are talking about a large city with a population of hundreds of thousands of people. Again, whatever answer one provides to such types of horary questions, had better be based on something solid and, of course, correct to the greatest extent possible.
The take away from these tough cases is that it is akin to rectification without a time of birth, where so many things could go wrong, or akin to making specific predictions over many topics and a long period of time on someone’s horoscope: they will either be largely correct or largely incorrect. Those that practise horary must be comfortable in dealing with such situations of accountability where mistakes are costly.
For example, in the case of the missing dog, I predicted that it would be captured either within 3-4 days or 3-4 weeks, where it would be found, etc.. As the case involved friends of mine and due to its nature and as they had already travelled to the city where the dog was lost and searched for it unsuccessfully, I decided to travel there alone and look for the dog 4 days after the asking of the question. I spent five hours in total, one of which with 4 other people who live in this city, and four by myself, under the rain, with the backpack on my back and the map of the selected streets, part of the residential district I had narrowed the search down in looking for the dog. When the rain got too strong and a storm was coming, I had to give up and travel back home. I did not find the dog, not because the horary chart was wrong but because I was hoping that the astrological unit of time would be days, not weeks (the question was asked 2 days after the dog ran away) and that the condition of the dog’s leg would not deteriorate so as to prevent surgery. The dog was found 3 weeks and a few days after the asking of the question, and it was found precisely in the area I was searching for. The point here is not to brag or anything but to show that what Ancient Astrology deals with are not symbols and that when one is devoted to this highest science, they had better be ready to back their judgments/predictions/words with actions.
Q: What an intriguing case. You said other people were looking for the missing dog and were not able to find it. Does this mean that it was predetermined when it would be found?
Zagata: We are now getting into the philosophical part of Ancient Astrology. While it is very interesting to ponder on such issues, the answer ultimately lies in the result, that is, in what actually happens and not what people believe is predetermined and what Astrology can predict.
I will tell you that the story of this dog was read by at least 10,000 people online + those who read the posters spread around the city. A few people at least, who live in the city where it was lost, were actively searching for the dog whenever possible, which means a few days a week, a few hours each time. The dog was seen by more than 10 people but none were able to capture it. That is why I went to look for the dog on the day that I did, because I was following my delineation and prediction of the horary chart. I would not, for example, have gone on the next day or during the next week. I was going to go again when the unit turned to weeks, that is, when more than 3 weeks passed after the asking of the question, but someone, living in the same city, found the dog before me.
Q: That is both incredible and hard to stomach for it suggests a far greater determination that we are accustomed to believing, does it not?
Zagata: That is not my problem, nor Ancient Astrology’s. People who have such beliefs need to carefully examine how they were ingrained and who is responsible for that. Remember, what I am practising is one hundred percent Astrology.
On the other hand, this case involves horary, which does not deal with the totality of people’s lives, as seen by the natal branch. The extent to which the totality of one’s life is predetermined is not something that can be dealt with unless a number of prerequisites are met. At any rate, you see how the different astrological branches intertwine and how connected everything is in Ancient Astrology (and Chinese Metaphysics).
ON ELECTIONAL ASTROLOGY:
Q: Since no natal chart is used in horary, are there any prerequisites in electional?
Zagata: As with everything, it depends on the motivation behind it and the results one can expect. If you are selecting auspicious times without basing them on what the ancients call a root (horary, event, or in our case – the natal chart/horoscope), then your results would be superficial as well as detrimental in certain charts. There are such practitioners who have blogs, Youtube channels and what not, and are looking to draw in students and sponsors.
Use this rule, which of course also holds valid in Chinese Astrology: do not trust elections/Date Selection which ignore the natal chart of the native. Any election which does not take into account the unique fate, type and chart configurations a native has, cannot but be generalized. Moreover, as planets are neutral far less often than being benefic or malefic, without knowing which planets are malefic and need to be weakened and which are benefic and need to strengthened, which to a great extent varies from chart to chart, you cannot effectively use the electional branch without risking to exacerbate a given situation.
Q: Since the election chart must be coordinated with the natal chart, this implies limitation as to what one may elect for, correct?
Zagata: Damn right, and this is also common sense. For example, no matter how you bonify/strengthen the planet/s of whatever topic or signification, and no matter how many such elections the client uses, they will not benefit more than the class their horoscope belongs to.
Q: That being the case, does it not follow that the electional branch has even more limitations as to its usefulness and level of impact?
Zagata: Very perceptive on your part. I will close this by saying that, if it was theoretically possible to have the same electional chart, the level of impact of that election would differ in the different periods in the native’s life due to their degree of favourability and unfavourability.
ON THE CALCULATION OF THE LENGTH OF LIFE WITH ANCIENT WESTERN AND CHINESE ASTROLOGY
Q: How difficult is determining the length of life with Astrology?
Zagata: It is impossible for some branches of Astrology to calculate the longevity of a person. Modern Astrology cannot predict death, it was not meant for that. BaZi and HLLS find it very difficult to predict the length of life, although when paired with Ancient Western Astrology, their contribution is well worth it.
Calculating the length of life is very time consuming. Everything needs to be double and triple checked. You also need to understand that the ancient authors wrote cryptically and partially on this topic, and did so deliberately. There are a lot of exceptions to the rules and the practitioner needs to determine whether a given astrological technique actually deals with predicting death or with times of bodily weakness.
Q: How long does it take you to calculate the length of life of someone with Astrology?
Zagata: It depends on several factors, such as the overall and specific chart configurations, the client’s age, etc. First of all, the client’s chart needs to be rectified. After that it generally takes from 3 weeks to 1 month.
Keep in mind that while I am determining the longevity of someone, I cannot take on new length of life cases. Such clients will need to wait. I can carry out the services that are not that time consuming, such as horary, electional, date selection, rectification, etc.
I divide people in terms of longevity in 3 groups: those that are up to age 44; those that are from 45 to 59 and those that are from 60+. Of course it makes more sense to charge people more who are younger, because it takes a longer time to determine the life expectancy with Astrology.
ON FULL WRITTEN WESTERN AND CHINESE/FOUR PILLARS OF DESTINY/BAZI HOROSCOPES/NATAL CHARTS:
Q: What is a full written natal delineation like?
Zagata: A complete written chart delineation involves the full reading of all the topics in the native’s life. In short, it provides the most detailed description of the whole life of the native. Here are the topics (in the Western horoscope delineation):
It is between 40 and 60 pages written by me. It takes me about 2 months to complete the task.
Q: Just one look at the topics tells me of the level of complexity needed to fully delineate a chart and how more difficult that is compared to doing the run-of-the-mill-consultations. Why does it take you about 2 months? Is this not too long to write 40-60 pages?
Zagata: It is far more difficult indeed. As I have written before, those that offer consultations only, which is the vast majority, are only scratching the surface of the horoscope. The nativity has many layers and levels, it contains variations in the magnitude of the many topics, it contains events that only happen during certain times, it contains types of events which happen most of the time, and it contains events which persist through time. Moreover, it contains information about other people in the native’s life. To a layman, they cannot begin to imagine how much information is contained in the horoscope and the level of determination that Ancient Astrology works with.
As to your second question, it is precisely this complexity that does not allow the conscientious practitioner to rush the completion of the full horoscope. Remember that there is always a unifying factor in all the contradictory and seemingly disjointed parts. One must be versed both in approaches that paint with the broad stroke of the brush as well as those that go to extreme specificity and detail. This calls for a synthesis which is no easy thing. In short, to give you a metaphor, while each horoscope is like a puzzle made up of parts made up of many pieces, the nature of the puzzle, the concentration/magnitude of the various parts differs from chart to chart. To put things into perspective, Ancient Astrology has 7 planets, 12 places, some Lots and fixed stars to deal in detail with the whole life of the native, meaning decades and decades of years and hundreds and events varying in intensity. To extract all this information while utilizing a human brain is no easy task. Again, it takes time for the brain to comprehend all this and to unify it. Also, I don’t send the horoscope as soon as I am done with it and have checked it. I reread after sleeping on it because I want to make sure I provide the best that I can do. After all, the written word survives and these astrological delineations and predictions will remain 20-30-40 years after.
Q: Wow. I guess the analogy that many people use of Astrology being like a language pales in comparison to its complexity?
Zagata: You are correct. As I have some experience in professional translating, I can tell you that 7-8 translation pages is the maximum amount of pages that a translator can do in one full working day by guaranteeing a quality translation job. 1 translation page = 1,800 characters with spaces or about 250 words. One of the full written horoscopes I recently did had about 145,000 characters with spaces = 80 translation pages. If Astrology was like translating, then one would be able to write a horoscope in 10-11 business days. Even with years of experience in Hellenistic, Medieval, Traditional, Chinese/BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny Astrology, I cannot do this. It is about information overload. With translating, one merely translates. They don’t have to summarize and synthesize the text. Moreover, if the translator does not know the word of phrase, they can, in 99% of the cases, look it up, especially on the Internet. Well, this is not true in Ancient Astrology, not in the least. This is because no phrase/astrological configuration exists in isolation. It undergoes various influences that may strengthen or weaken it, that may emphasize it or deemphasize it. Remember, each horoscope is unique: it can only be repeated after 25,920 years, and in that same location.
With translation, one can get a Certificate showing their level: B1, B2, C1 and the highest – C2. One can get also a Certificate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All such Certificates mean very little if anything in Ancient Astrology, for it is endless and far bigger than any human can possibly be – another reason why I don’t use the word “astrologer” and capitalize this highest science.
Q: I have heard people complain that complete written horoscopes cost a lot. What would you say to them?
Zagata: The semi casual reply would be to check how much a prince or someone from the nobility paid 17th century French practitioner Jean Baptiste Morin. I will save you the trouble of looking: he paid about $50,000 in today’s money.
Obviously, the number of princes, kings, queens has dramatically reduced and the social classes within society have changed. As such, there need to be some objective criteria for charging. Since a 60 or 90 minute consultation costs, to give a below average to average quote, from $50 to $250, how much should a full written chart delineation cost? I hear you that the consulting practitioner took 1-2-3 hours to prepare, but still, compare the consultation, consisting partly of a dialogue, with the written delineation, consisting sometimes of not even ever meeting the client. I will work out the cost: let us assume that a practitioner will be able to write the full written horoscope in 10-11 full business days, which equals 80-88 working hours. Now do that math: 2-3-4-5 hours, 1 or 1.5 of which in a dialogue with a client vs 80-88 hours by yourself and writing, not talking. At best, even if what the client says is as valuable as what their horoscope shows, you get from 1/16 to about 1/32 ratio. Multiply the cost of the consultation by about 25 and then see how much a full written chart ought to cost. Please also keep in mind that this entails that a consultation is as hard to do as a delineating the full horoscope. It also entails that psychology and other external filters to Astrology, such as theories of evolution, etc, as used by the overwhelming majority of practitioners doing Western Astrology, are as hard to learn as how to predict objective reality and pronounce judgments on the horoscope in a clear and unambiguous way.
Q: I understand now. I guess a lot of those that complain about the cost of a full written natal chart delineation fail to differentiate it from consultations. Speaking of written horoscopes, you are one of very few practitioners in the world who is well-versed in both Ancient Western and Chinese Astrology. How accurate is the Four Pillars of Destiny branch which you practise and how does it compare in terms of similarities and differences with Western Astrology?
Zagata: BaZi aka Four Pillars of Destiny is the most famous method of reading one’s destiny not just in China but in Asia. Used in the manner in which it was meant to, that is, according to the ancient sources and those modern authors who adhere to them, it is devastatingly accurate. As with Ancient Astrology, Four Pillars of Destiny is either right or wrong: there is no in between answer. As such, it can be readily tested. This branch of Chinese Astrology provides information that Western Astrology either does not have or it would take an expert to fully dissect the horoscope in search of such significations, if present at all.
In terms of differences, no astronomical bodies are used in BaZi. It utilizes the 5 Phases aka Elements, the 12 Chinese zoidia aka animals and imaginary stars, like the Lots in Ancient Astrology. Four Pillars of Destiny is not as thorough as Western Astrology due to the fact that it works with 8 characters, which is what BaZi means, as such Four Pillars of Destiny does not contain all the topics that Western Astrology has. In fact, not just BaZi but other types of Astrology have little to say on the topic of being away from home and immigration/emigration, which is one reason why I wrote Zagata’s Tutorial on Being Abroad and Emigration from Antigonus and Valens. On the other hand, in certain topics, BaZi can provide information and level of specificity that Ancient Astrology would have a hard time to match.
The biggest difference lies in the fact that the (7) planets have very distinct signatures, whereas the 5 Elements do not. This is BaZi’s greatest strength and, incidentally, its greatest weakness: when it comes to determining the ups and downs in one’s life and their overall success or failure in a given period, Ancient Astrology is quite simply inferior to Four Pillars of Destiny; when, however, it comes to getting into specifics, BaZi is no match for Ancient Astrology.
Another significant difference is that one cannot read the Chinese horoscope before determining the structure it belongs to, which incidentally is the most difficult thing to do. The BaZi chart is divided into 3 major categories and over 20 subcategories.
As far as the similarities are concerned, they are so many that it is beyond the scope of this section to cover them all. Still, like Ancient Astrology, Four Pillars of Destiny uses character descriptions (which, unlike psychology, and are always either true or false), it divides the life of the native into various parts, it delineates the destiny of the native, their proper career, relationship, health, wealth, etc, it shows how and when to maximize one’s strengths and it times when one is most likely to make big mistakes in whatever area. It also contains a predictive technique that covers 5-10 years (Decennials, Firdaria, Distributions in Ancient Astrology) and another one that goes down to the individual years (Profections, Ascensional Times, Solar Revolutions in Ancient Astrology), months (Lunar Revolutions, Monthly Solar Revolutions, Monthly Profections) or even days.
Q: How does the complete written Chinese horoscope differ from the complete written Western one which you are also offering?
Zagata: This is a good question but answering it to depth it deserves would be too long, as it touches on the level of determination a given type of Astrology works with.
Take a look at the topics of the BaZi/Four Pillars of Destiny horoscope that I am offering, keeping in mind that the sequence in which they are ordered and their number is something I have done myself and it is unlikely that you will find it in this way:
The Four Pillars of Destiny full written report/horoscope allows one to get a comprehensive understanding of their character, their potential in life (both the obvious and the hidden one) and their strengths of weaknesses. Not just that, but it shows one how and when to get the maximum of their potential. You need to understand that delineating the horoscope of a given native, showing them the fated side of their life and those around, is only the first part. Suggestions and advice are given on how to reduce the negative indications. Everyone has flaws, but understanding them and managing them can make a decisive difference in the native’s life. One also needs to take into account the upbringing and habits of the native, which can either improve or hamper their horoscope. Having the correct mindset is crucial to getting the maximum of one’s horoscope, be it the Western or Chinese one. After all, when the native, as a spirit, entered his/her body, both Heaven and Earth were acting on that body, whereas the native (Man Luck) was not.
While the full Four Pillars of Destiny/BaZi complete horoscope delineation is not as long as the Ancient Western Astrology one, due to there being fewer topics in it, it also includes determining the favourable and unfavourable periods in the native’s life, which is not included in the Western horoscope and is very powerful knowledge. One reason for this is because Ancient Western Astrology is more difficult and comprehensive than BaZi. Unlike Four Pillars of Destiny, Ancient Astrology does not work with just one predictive technique.
Q: I have to admit that I am very impressed with what the Four Pillars of Destiny reading can reveal. Those unfamiliar with the accuracy of BaZi would do well to take advantage of those written reports/horoscopes, for they really complement what the Western natal chart offers. Are there any other conditions prior to writing a full written Chinese horoscope other than determining the chart structure first?
Zagata: Determining the BaZi chart structure is a tricky thing because it is not always clear. After all, there are so many variations that a small change could alter the chart. The most difficult ones to determine are those on the borderline/verge between various chart structures, where their nativity can change (and thus their favourable and unfavourable elements) throughout life as a result of the Luck and Annual Cycles/Pillars. As such, the client needs to be asked questions about their life, which would help figuring out the chart structure that they have, as seen both from the events and from that native’s own character.
One needs to understand the concept of the Holy Trinity of Chinese Metaphysics, where BaZi is applied alongside Classical Feng Shui and Date Selection and Man Luck. As the Chinese say, the Four Pillars of Destiny is the diagnosis, Feng Shui, Date Selection and Man Luck are the prescription. In short, one has to take a proactive approach, to know when to take risks and when to stay low, if they are to make a real difference as opposed to just staying on the road and waiting to be continuously hit by the vicissitudes of the fates.
Q: If one had to choose between ordering a complete Western written horoscope versus a Chinese one, which one would you recommend to them?
Zagata: This is a very difficult question. I would recommend that the native in question gets both horoscopes. Either way one looks at it, a full written natal chart delineation is an investment that will pay itself off for the many years to come. Instead of thinking what they are giving now, I would suggest that people think what they are receiving not just now but in the long term. As I have been told by clients, they wished that they had ordered a full written horoscope earlier, so they would have known about a lot of the fated things in their life in which it turned out they had no control and yet they spent so much energy fighting to change them.
To attempt to answer your question though, it depends on various factors, the primary one being the native’s fate and what they are here to do in this life. By running a serious risk of oversimplification, I would suggest ordering a BaZi full chart written reading if one lives a turbulent/volatile life, (for which there would be indications in both the Western and Chinese horoscope) full of changes, especially in terms of running a business, changing careers, dealing with irregular income, investments, etc.
I would suggest ordering a complete written horoscope with Ancient Western Astrology to those that live a life that is not as turbulent/volatile and full of changes (again, there would be indications for this in either natal chart). This includes people with little or no mobility in their life in terms of eminence, the average employees that have a fixed salary, etc.
Also, for those that are into any form of spirituality, where understanding the purpose of life, one’s lessons and developing oneself is central, the complete Western written horoscope is better suited. After all, unlike Ancient Astrology, the Four Pillars of Destiny method does not have spirituality as one of its major topics (the other branch of Chinese Astrology, Zi Wei Dou Shu aka Emperor Astrology does have this topic but I am not qualified in it to be offering readings). I have to say though that the He Luo Li Shu/ Yi Jing Astrology method does contain a spiritual component, so it greatly complements BaZi. I can also say that I am considering giving the full HLLS written horoscope delineation as a bonus to those that order both the BaZi written report/horoscope and the Ancient Western Astrology complete written natal chart delineation.
HE LUO LI SHU aka HLLS/YI JING ( I CHING) ASTROLOGY
Q: That is very generous of you. Please tell us something about the He Luo Li Shu method aka I Ching Astrology and why it is valuable.
Zagata: First of all, it is always good to remember why one is doing Ancient Astrology and Chinese Metaphysics: it is in large part to help people. As such, as you said, I am one of a few practitioners who are well versed in both Western and Chinese Astrology and as such can offer information and synthesis that one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else, which is why people deserve to have such information at their disposal, so they can understand their fate, know their limitations and get the maximum result by focusing on what they can get instead and when they can get it, instead of having unrealistic expectations and wasting their energy by going after things that are either unattainable at all, or are such at this given time period, or by going after things they cannot hold on to.
Due to what I will explain below, please keep in mind that, as of this moment, I am not offering He Luo Li Shu written reports/complete written Yi Jing Astrology horoscopes. Once I start doing that, I will announce on my blog.
HLLS is a method developed in the 2nd millennium CE. It transforms one’s Four Pillars of Destiny chart into numbers and Trigrams, which become the Hexagrams of the Yi Ching/Book of Changes. Each native has 2 Hexagrams which rule their life: the first Hexagram rules the first part of life and the second one rules the second part of their life (as the Trigon Lords of the Sect Light method in Ancient Astrology). There are Luck Pillars/overall predictive techniques lasting either 9 or 6 years each, and there are also Annual Pillars (in the form of a different Hexagram and hence Trigrams) that last one year, and there are monthly ones and daily ones. The value of He Luo Li Shu lies in focusing on both the native’s character and their fate but doing so from a different angle. As such, one sees how BaZi confirms the indications given by HLLS and vice versa, but each provides a layer that the other cannot. The value of Yi Jing Astrology lies also in the fact that it focuses on the native only (the only reference to other people I have come across are indications on whether the native’s father would die before their mother or vice versa).
There are only 3 books on He Luo Li Shu that are not in Chinese. Two are in English and one is in Dutch. I have them all and have been studying them for some time. However, there are some significant differences between the authors of these books in how to calculate certain key elements of the HLLS chart. A large part of the problem comes from the fact that the original text (in Ancient Chinese language) was very terse and even though it was hundreds of pages long, it did not offer a single chart example. What this means is one has devote a lot of time to do research prior to figuring out what the correct way to calculate these elements is and to be able note to note the various gradations in the quality of the horoscopes. As Robert Zoller says, one has to apply a given method on a minimum of 200 horoscopes before it starts to become second nature to them. As the number of I Ching Astrology charts I have calculated, studied and delineated is less than 200, I cannot, as of now, offer this method to the public. I plan on illustrating the HLLS method on my blog some time in the future.
Q: You said that one must have an accurate time of birth to get their He Luo Li Shu/Yi Jing Astrology horoscope calculated. How important is the time of birth in HLLS compared to BaZi?
Zagata: It is more important than even practitioners realize. This is because a lot those who practise some modern form of BaZi do not even subtract the artificial Daylight Savings/Summer Time, much less use Local Mean Time (let alone Local Apparent Time). You need to understand that while BaZi may be used without a time of birth, though it will contain 75% of the chart, HLLS absolutely cannot. The point is that even if the hour of birth is incorrect in BaZi, that won’t be as big of a deal in most cases, whereas an incorrect hour of birth will give a totally different chart in Yi Jing Astrology. In other words, practitioners will read the wrong chart and try to match the life events and delineations for its placements. I can give many such cases in Four Pillars of Destiny, which are then used in He Luo Li Shu. Another flaw is that, as far as I know, there is no systematic method in BaZi to do rectification from an unknown time of birth. In other words, they do not have rectification as we do in the West. What this means is that many Chinese Astrology practitioners just take the time of birth as indicated (be it AA, A, from a website, etc) without bothering to confirm it. Again, while they can get away with this in Four Pillars of Destiny, this will give a totally different chart in I Ching Astrology: the Trigrams will be different, the Hexagrams will be different, the Luck Cycles will be different, the Controlling Line/Cosmic ID Line will be different!
DATE SELECTION AKA ZERI
Q: How important is Date Selection in BaZi? Can it be compared to the importance of electional Astrology in Ancient Western Astrology?
Zagata: Date Selection is very important not just in Four Pillars of Destiny but in Chinese Metaphysics. The examples of its historical use are so many. You can even see in Asian, not just Chinese tv series. Moreover, there were Ministries of Rites in Asian countries involved in various activities, one of them being ZeRi.
As with electional Astrology, Date Selection can be used only for things that are promised in the horoscope of the native or the very least are somewhat attainable. This is because the electional Astrology is below natal Astrology and as such cannot override the latter’s verdict.
Q: I know from your article on Date Selection that it is day that is more important than the hour in both Four Pillars of Destiny and ZeRi. Is this not a contradiction to Western Astrology where the time is the most important?
Zagata: Yes and no. It depends on how much one knows about the fundamentals of Ancient Astrology. What I am getting at is there are configurations that are more important than the hour due to them happening much less frequently. These configurations are based on the day and not the hour. This knowledge is something that very few astrological practitioners know about, even those who claim to be practising “Traditional”, Medieval or Hellenistic Astrology. It is beyond the scope of this section.
To someone practising Western Astrology, using the day as the most important factor may seem not to make sense, but that is because they don’t realize how powerful the day is compared to the hour. To give you an example, if a particular day (talking about the whole Day Pillar) is extremely favourable to someone, that day will only happen 6 times for the whole year. Compare this with how many electional charts one can pick for these 60 days and you will begin to understand why the day is more important than the hour in Chinese Astrology.
Q: If you had to pick over the other: it is better to use Date Selection when one is in a favourable period, or when is in an unfavourable period? I suppose the same is true for electional Astrology?
Zagata: Since Four Pillars of Destiny clearly proves that people make more mistakes when in bad cycles, then it logically follows that they will not seek astrological help, even though it is desperately needed in bad cycles, because, as looked from their current situation, these mistakes could cost them more versus missed gains/profits in good cycles. Let’s face it: when things are going very well, who would look for more and more benefits or for ways to protect the gains they are making? This would not occur as an idea to many people, right? As such, using Date Selection when in unfavourable cycles arguably makes more of a difference. Nevertheless, keep in mind that “unfavourable cycles” is generalized, for one might be in an unfavourable Luck Pillar but have a favourable Annual Pillar. As such and, as always in Ancient Astrology and Chinese Metaphysics, we are working with varying gradations of quality.
CLASSICAL FENG SHUI
Q: Feng Shui has become very popular over the past few decades. Yet, as it is said, popularization runs the risk of trivialization. How true is that of Feng Shui and where does it fit in Chinese Metaphysics?
Zagata: As always, what I practise is done in a systematic and scientific manner. This means that I can quote sources and make use of their experience where helpful. I have written about this before: in Ancient China it was tantamount to a death sentence to study mathematics used for Astrology (and Feng Shui) without the permission of the Emperor. Classical Feng Shui literally has nothing to do with modern feng shui, which has become so widespread in magazines, books, websites, etc..
Classical Feng Shui deals with the study of universal energy/Qi/Chi, its locating, measuring, harnessing and preservation. This same energy is used in all of Chinese Metaphysics and takes form through the Five Phases/Elements, Yang and Yin, the 12 Chinese images and the 8 Trigrams. Feng Shui is both a high science and an art. The scientific part involves doing mathematical calculations and applying formulas for the measuring of Qi, as well as using a compass and making floor plans. The artistic part involves recognizing the different differentiation of energy: different mountains indicate different characteristics; the same is true for seas, rivers, lakes, trees, even roads. One of the fundamental principles in Chinese Metaphysics and Ancient Astrology is that the greater subordinates/contains the smaller. As such, it is the macro environment that is primary, not people’s houses or flats. By ignoring it and focusing on rearranging their property and putting some luck bringing objects in it, people are not practising Feng Shui but some form of interior design along with psychology. Remember: it is Nature that creates Qi, not man made objects.
As to where Feng Shui fits, I suggest Chinese Metaphysics: Maximizing One’s Path. For easy reference, here is part of the hierarchy of factors in Chinese Metaphysics from this same article:
Q: Now I understand why Feng Shui is so highly prized. If I got this correctly: if one has an average/mediocre BaZi chart and average/mediocre Luck Pillars (the specific arrangement of the major predictive technique that lasts for the whole life and is predetermined), then they had better have excellent Feng Shui if they are to have a chance to advance higher in life? What constitutes great Feng Shui?
Zagata: Yes to your first question, but keep in mind that this presupposes that one takes active steps to progress further in life. In other words, they have had their destiny read with BaZi, know when to act and when to keep low, use Date Selection for key activities. In short, they know they were dealt an average hand/fate but want to make the most of it by utilizing Heaven, Earth and Man Luck to the fullest. Because change is inevitable, they also know that the Feng Shui of their property will change (for good or bad) over the next decades. As such, if the Feng Shui will get worse over time, they are ready to sell that property and move to another one that is more conducive to success and will allow them to keep the momentum they have gathered in life instead of losing some of their gains.
Your second question is a crucial one, which is not often answered in the way that it deserves, namely with the full truth, because Feng Shui practitioners/consultants would lose a lot of potential clients if people knew what I have discussed elsewhere in my blog. The gist of it as follows: in order to have a good Feng Shui your property has to be not only close to natural forms but it must be positioned in such a way so you can take advantage of them.
The second factor is that you need to be able to make construction changes in your property. This automatically excludes the vast majority of flats. Not just that, but by living in a flat, the Feng Shui of your property is subordinated to a greater extent to the Feng Shui of the building, which is not the case if you live in a house.
The third factor is that for Feng Shui to make such a big difference so as to compete in influence with Factors 1 and 2 (one’s horoscope and Luck Pillars), it needs to be really, really powerful. Keep in mind that such powerful configurations happen rarely. Moreover, it is one’s Four Pillars of Destiny chart that is primary, meaning that, ultimately, Feng Shui can only improve one’s eminence within the class they were born in.
Q: You are again very generous with what you are sharing, thank you. Why do then so many Classical Feng Shui consultants/professionals ignore Chinese Astrology/BaZi and use Feng Shui by itself? This is bound to provide hit and miss results and can even bring damage to their clients, right?
Zagata: So many Classical Feng Shui practitioners ignore Four Pillars of Destiny (or Zi Wei Dou Shu) because they were not properly trained, because they have not been taught the full system and how to think and perceive holistically. Of course it provides hit and miss readings and can bring damage to their clients. Another principle I will share is that the more powerful a given method (not just talking about Ancient Astrology and Chinese Metaphysics) the smaller the chance that its misuse will bring neutral results. In other words, you can really help someone in a tangible way or, if not properly trained, you can really mess up their life, even though your intention is to help them.
Again, Chinese Astrology is the diagnosis, and Classical Feng Shui is the prescription. While no one can change the sequence of their Luck Pillars, they can take steps to strengthen or weaken a given element through Feng Shui. For example, people who have problems in producing a child, it is inevitable that this would be indicated in their BaZi charts. To successfully have a child, using Feng Shui to introduce energetic changes in their home can really help (always done with a compass, by drawing a floor plan to scale, by calculating and applying various formulas, etc).
The takeaway here is to remember to use Heaven, Man and Earth luck. Be very wary of those who promise wondrous results by using a single method and charging a lot of money, and always consider the order of the given Cosmic Trinity of Chinese Metaphysics.
CHINESE PHYSIOGNOMY (FACE, PALM AND BODY READING)
Q: How powerful is Chinese Physiognomy and is there a hierarchy between Chinese Face Reading (Mian Xiang), Chinese Palm Reading and Chinese Body Reading?
Zagata: Of course there is, though keep in mind they were designed to be used together. I know of no ancient source text that divides them. Body Reading comes first (due to the principle of the larger subordinating the smaller), then Palm Reading, and Face Reading comes last. Face Reading comes last because the face changes much more than the palm. Another reason is because the face is open and can be freely examined while the palm is not.
Chinese Physiognomy is a powerful discipline but it requires extensive practice in all these 3 branches, which is no easy thing to do today with people’s decreasing attention spans and having less spare time. Chinese Face Reading is easiest to practise but without confirming the results with the other 2 branches, one is getting an incomplete picture.
Q: Are there any requirements for doing Face Reading?
Zagata: Yes, there are, especially for its continuous use, such as annually – birthday to birthday. Mian Xiang is best done in the morning, or with natural sunlight, not artificial lights (avoid LED lights at all costs, incandescent lights are excellent if for whatever reason one can only do readings after sunset) and no make-up. That last condition is very hard to meet nowadays because most women use so much make up, artificial colours, and some even use surgical “enhancements” (which, of course, cannot change the fate as shown by the face in any tangible way).
Q: Would you provide more details about Chinese Face Reading?
Zagata: Yes. Chinese Face Reading is over 2,000 years old. It contains the 12 Palaces/Domains from Emperor Astrology (which are the counterpart of the 12 places/houses in Western Astrology, though some of the Chinese ones are actually different). As such, the information it provides is very helpful and immediate. The face contains 100 points which equal 100 years of life and each year one of the points is activated, along with the specific part of the face it is located in, which has various significations. The 5 most important areas of the face, which the Chinese call the Five Officers, are the Eyes, the Ears, the Mouth, the Nose, and the Eyebrows.
Note by Zagata: I may add more information at some future point in time, or I may revise what I have shared.
Published on the 29th of September 2018, day of Kronos, hour of Aphrodite, day of the Yang Wood Rat, hour of the Yin Water Rooster