Feng Shui and the Four Pillars of Destiny

This week I picked up a couple of books that I haven’t read for a while. I first read Suzanne White’s The New Chinese Astrology and Derek Walter’s Chinese Astrology Bible many years ago and so it was a real pleasure to reacquaint myself with them. Both writers write with the reader in mind, the books are clear, concise, easy to understand and, most importantly for me, bring more than a touch of humour to the subject. Suzanne White’s book especially will have you chuckling as you read the descriptions of your personal year animal.

If you are interested in the subject of Chinese astrology both of these books are well worth a read. Suzanne’s book gives an in depth look at each of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac as well as giving supplementary information on each of the five types of animal. The descriptions are highly accurate and very funny and the book is a joy to read. I have to confess though that I will probably never get used to her preference of referring to the rabbit as the cat (especially as I use the true chinese definition and refer to the rabbit as a hare). But each to their own, and as Suzanne knows much more about chinese astrology than me who am I to argue? Derek Walter’s book takes a different approach, less information is provided on each of the Chinese zodiac animals but much broader detail is provided on how to create a detailed personal horoscope. I would suggest buying both but reading Suzanne’s first in order to understand your own year animal, unless you are a hare / rabbit / cat in which case I would read the books the other way around to avoid some confusion.

As I have had these books in my mind this week I thought it would be a good opportunity to use this week’s blog post to talk about the Four Pillars of Destiny. Although more astrology than Feng Shui I do use the Four Pillars in my teaching and training as they can help to provide a link between your personal energy and the energy in your home. To create balance in your home you should of course harmonize the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water but to attract what you want in your life you then need to harmonize your own personal energy with the energy in your home. One of the approaches you can take to do this (one among many I may add) is to use your Four Pillars reading to see if there are any elements that are missing in your personal chart which would then benefit from being strengthened in your home.

Although far too complex a subject to cover in a short blog post I thought that I would at least cover the basics here for anyone who has not come across this before. If after reading this you are interested in creating a four pillars chart for yourself I have a freet tool for creating a Four Pillars reading on the Four Pillars page that can be accessed from the menu bar at the top of this page.

The term four pillars refers to your personal horoscope which is derived from the year, month, day and hour of your birth. You will have a year pillar, a month pillar, a day pillar and an hour pillar (hence four pillars). In each of these pillars you will have two numbers, one which is your personal branch number and one which is your personal stem number. Personal branch numbers can be any number between 1 and 12 and relate to the 12 animals in the chinese zodiac. In addition to having a year animal you will also have a month animal, a day animal and an hour animal.

As branches refer to the zodiac animals, stems relate to one of the five elements and can be any number between 1 and 10. Hold on I hear you say. If there are only five elements how can there be 10 numbers? Well each of the elements can be either yin or yang, so there are two of each element

The table below shows the numbers as they relate to both the branch animals and the stem elements.


1 Rat (water)

2 Ox (earth)

3 Tiger (wood)

4 Hare (wood)

5 Dragon (earth)

6 Snake (fire)

7 Horse (fire)

8 Sheep (earth)

9 Monkey (metal)

10 Rooster (metal)

11 Dog (earth)

12 Boar (water)


1 Wood (yang)

2 Wood (yin)

3 Fire (yang)

4 Fire (yin)

5 Earth (yang)

6 Earth (yin)

7 Metal (yang)

8 Metal (yin)

9 Water (yang)

10 Water (yin)

To create your personal horoscope you therefore need to know not only the year, month and day of your birth but also the hour of your birth. There is then a set of formula that you can use to work out the numbers and therefore the elements that make up your own four pillars reading.

Once you have identified your four pillars, you can assess your reading to see whether the elements provide balance to your life. The ideal reading would be one in which all of the elements are represented and no one element overpowers the others. In a not so ideal world you will have a reading where one or more of the elements is not represented and you will therefore need to enhance this element in your home if you want to gain success in the area of your life which the element represents.

To give you an example of a less than ideal four pillars reading I will share my own with you. I was born at 2am on 8th May 1970 and so my four pillars reading looks like this:


                     Hour                    Day                   Month                  Year

Stem         10 Water             5 Earth                8 Metal                 7 Metal

Branch     2 Ox (Earth)      1 Rat (Water)     6 Snake (Fire)      11 Dog (Earth)

As can be seen from this chart earth, metal and water are well represented but there is no wood at all in my personal chart and little fire (which is not helped by the fact that there is no wood to offer support). This reading at a basic level means that if I didn’t do anything to compensate for this I may suffer from financial problems, family conflicts and a lack of self confidence and low self esteem. Which actually sums up my life pretty well before I discovered Feng Shui. Fortunately I did discover Feng Shui and now know that I need to pay particular attention to these areas of my home if I am going to attract success and have a harmonious and balanced life.

Although a very general example, it does demonstrate clearly how you can use your own four pillars reading when looking at the five elements in your own home. Using Four Pillars when assessing the balance in your home can be more complex than this, but I am a great believer in keeping things simple and also know that the smallest change in your home can have a big impact on your life.