What is ZI WEI DOU SHU (紫微斗数)?

What does Zi Wei Dou Shu do?

Zi Wei Dou Shu is an ancient fortune-telling system that originated in China. It is a unique blend of science and art, using a complex chart known as the Zi Wei Dou Shu chart to interpret one's destiny based on their natal information, which includes their date and time of birth. Using the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which was created with extensive scientific knowledge to track the movements of the sun and moon, natal information is transformed into the required input for generating Zi Wei Dou Shu charts.

The construction of the Zi Wei Dou Shu chart involves intricate scientific calculations and technical formulas, making it a highly sophisticated system. It is also backed by a thousand years of research and experimentation.

Zi Wei Dou Shu is a form of Chinese astrology that has undergone an evolution rather than a revolution. Originally intended for use within the palace, it has since become a more community-oriented practice with practitioners contributing their findings. As a result, it has unintentionally become a correlational study. For instance, specific indications in the chart are believed to predict particular outcomes. This community participation has led to the development of various Zi Wei Dou Shu styles and approaches over the centuries. (Read more about: The Zi Wei Dou Shu styles).

Despite its scientific basis, Zi Wei Dou Shu is also an art that requires mastery of the perspective-taking skill. The interpretation of the chart is not a straightforward process and involves subjective judgments, similar to how different medical professionals may have varying interpretations of a single MRI report***. Just like any art form, the mastery of Zi Wei Dou Shu requires extensive practice.

Many people may wonder if Zi Wei Dou Shu is an effective tool for predicting one's future. You can find out the answer on this Sihua Blog: Is Zi Wei Dou Shu (ZWDS) a good prediction tool?

The Zi Wei Dou Shu history

The origins of Zi Wei Dou Shu are shrouded in mystery, with numerous versions of its history existing to this day. Due to the lack of documentation during the time of its founding, tracing its roots back to its source has proven to be a challenging task. However, most versions of its history seem to agree that it was founded either by a Taoist named Lu (吕纯阳) during the Tang dynasty or by Chen (陈希夷) in the Song dynasty. Alternatively, some suggest that it was brought to China from ancient India and went through a series of modifications before it became Zi Wei Dou Shu.

Another widely held belief is that Zi Wei Dou Shu was founded based on the principles of I Ching (易经), a well-known classic in Chinese history. While this assertion is not completely incorrect, many scholars have over-used it to back up their teachings, sometimes without relevance to the I Ching context, which may lead students astray.

Given the multiple versions of its history, it may be best to focus on mastering the essence of Zi Wei Dou Shu rather than getting caught up in debates about its origins. Becoming a skilled practitioner requires dedication and a thorough understanding of the system itself, regardless of its history.

Chinese metaphysics

Chinese metaphysics is a complex philosophy that interconnects daily life with the concepts of Yin (阴) and Yang (阳), the Five Elements (五行), Heaven, Earth and Man (天地人), cosmology, nature, form and function (体用), divination, and Qi (气). All these elements are unified under the concept of 道 (Dao or Tao), which is the way or guide. It is impossible to explain this rich philosophy in a single paragraph, as it represents 5,000 years of human civilization.

The Dao philosophy gave rise to the Five Arts (五术), which are the essential pillars of Chinese philosophical studies in China, namely mountain (山), medical (医), divination (卜), destiny (命) and physiognomy (相).

To provide some context, Chinese martial arts are classified under the category of mountain, Traditional Chinese Medicine is classified under medical, Feng Shui falls under the study of physiognomy and Zi Wei Dou Shu falls under the category of destiny.

The Zi Wei Dou Shu stytles

As with many forms of art, when an art gains wider acceptance in society, it typically experiences an increase in the number of disciples. This growth often gives rise to new, differing ideas and approaches, which can ultimately lead to fractures within the art's community and, in some cases, even breakups.

Zi Wei Dou Shu has not been immune to this trend, and the process of spin-offs and variations continues to this day. Some practitioners have developed their own style and proudly presented it as a new invention, with subtle changes in interpretation. Others, less humble, have introduced significant overhauls to the traditional Zi Wei Dou Shu chart, adding new star components or introducing new calculation methods. These new styles are often rebranded with the practitioner's name and marketed as a fresh approach to the art. While this "additive approach" can bring new ideas and innovations to Zi Wei Dou Shu, many of these new introductions have not been tested with sufficient sampling or over a long enough period of time to fully evaluate their efficacy.

Throughout its long history, Zi Wei Dou Shu has developed into various styles, but two have stood the test of time: the San He (三合) school and the Sihua Flying Stars (四化飞星) school, also known as the Eighteen Flying Stars (十八飞星). These two main styles have been practiced for centuries and have distinct differences in their approach to the interpretation of the Zi Wei Dou Shu chart.

Although there are significant differences in chart appearance between the two schools, what distinguishes them even more is their approach to destiny interpretation. The Sihua 18 Flying Stars school emphasizes Events (数), whereas the other school focuses on Impressions (象). Due to this difference, Sihua 18 Flying Stars is better equipped to accurately and specifically identify events.

The Zi Wei Dou Shu chart

The Zi Wei Dou Shu Chart is a tabular diagram that is constructed using an individual's birth date, time, and gender. Due to the use of personal and unique information, each person's Zi Wei Dou Shu chart is considered to be almost unique, making it difficult to find an exact match among others, even within your own circle.

Zi Wei Dou Shu Sihua Flying Stars chart
A typical Zi Wei Dou Shu (Sihua Flying Stars) Chart will look something like this

The Zi Wei Dou Shu chart presents information in two-dimensional views. One dimension is permanent and is shown in dark red font on the chart, while the others (all other fonts except dark red) will revolve with time. The permanent matters include Self (命), Siblings (兄弟), Spouse (夫妻), Children (子女), Wealth (财帛), Health (疾厄), Abroad (迁移), Friends (交友), Career (官禄), Property (田宅), Mental (福德), and Parents (父母). Each of these matters is represented by a box, which we call a "Cell" (宫位), as opposed to a "Palace," a word that was incorrectly borrowed from "宫" (meaning palace) as a literal translation.

The revolving dimensions also provide information on the matters, but they highlight events in different time dimensions, such as a decade (大运), year (流年), month (流月), or day (流日). Although their effect is almost the same as the permanent dimension, the revolving dimensions explain matters in relation to the time they occur.

Comparing a Zi Wei Dou Shu chart from the San He school to the Sihua Flying Stars school, the latter appears simpler, cleaner, and crisper as the chart is constructed with only 18 stars.

Did you know that the 12 matter cells in the Sihua 18 Flying Stars chart are not static, but rather dynamic and constantly adapting to changing circumstances? This little-known secret allows the matter cells to expand their original meanings and capture a wider range of events. For instance, a matter cell can transform to signify acquiring a motor vehicle, office relocation, having an affair, experiencing a bad colleague relationship, or losing money in an investment. Such adaptability makes the Sihua 18 Flying Stars chart a powerful tool to encapsulate the dynamic nature of our daily encounters.

This information is often regarded as confidential because it's not widely discussed online or in print. While there may be occasional discussions, they tend to fall short in terms of adhering to the important interpretation principle of "activation". Adhering to this principle, along with others, is crucial for achieving precise and accurate interpretations.

It's important that the "principles of decoding" are never compromised, as doing so can result in inaccuracies and errors in the interpretation.

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The interpretation in Zi Wei Dou Shu - Sihua Flying Stars

An accurate Zi Wei Dou Shu interpretation can provide insights into specific events and their timing. For instance, it may predict a job promotion in the upcoming year, or the possibility of a spouse being hospitalized in 2023. The system can also reveal past events, such as whether you were hospitalized or whether a parent passed away two years ago, or if you moved to a new home three years ago.

Sihua 18 Flying Stars provides accurate and easy-to-understand interpretations. Our students learn a step-by-step approach that emphasizes the importance of breaking down the information in the Zi Wei Dou Shu chart with the correct weighting. Our goal is to understand the nature of the event, rather than just skimming the surface. We use a "reduction method" that strictly follows the 理-气-象-数 (Li-Qi-Xiang-Shu) sequence.

While Sihua Flying Stars is a useful tool for predicting events, it does have a potential limitation in its interpretation. Often, the system will provide a range of specific years (typically up to four years) in which an event is likely to occur. For example, a predicted event may occur in 2020, 2023, 2024, or 2027. This multi-year format is not based on random guesses; rather, it reflects the precision of the system's predictions. In contrast, a less precise prediction might be something like "this event could happen between 2025 and 2029," which provides a more vague and less specific timeline.

This format, which spans multiple years, means that an event could happen in any one, two, three, or even four of those years. This also means that an event may or may not repeat more than once within a decade of your life. For example, it is not uncommon to move houses or change jobs a few times in just a few years. However, in a more unlikely scenario, as it did happen, a man from North Carolina won the million-dollar lottery twice, only two years apart. This kind of occurrence can happen multiple times within a short span of time.

For more reading on how to interpret a Zi Wei Dou Shu chart, please visit here: Zi Wei Dou Shu Sihua Flying Stars Analysis and Interpretation. This page has already been translated into many languages to help readers.

Impression (象) vs Event (数)

Discerning the difference between contrasting impressions and events is a crucial concept that we prioritize in our teachings, starting from the very first lesson. However, we've observed that many practitioners from other branches in Five Arts of Chinese metaphysics, including seasoned ones, may not fully understand the significance of this distinction as much as our students do.

An impression provides a general sense or overview of a situation, without delving into specific details. For example, one might say, "your wealth luck appears to be unstable, your career path may face some obstacles, and your personal relationships may be challenging at times".

An event-based approach provides specific details about what and when something will happen, focusing on a particular incident or occurrence. For instance, instead of providing a general overview of your wealth status, an event-based approach would specify the exact cause and timing of a potential loss, such as "you may lose money in your investment in 2023, you may get a job offer in next month, you may have a relocation opportunity in 2025".

While Sihua Flying Stars is known for its strength in event gripping, its performance in impression deduction is comparatively weaker. Other fortune-telling methods within the Five Arts tradition, such as Four Pillars Bazi (四柱八字) or the San He school (三合派) of Zi Wei Dou Shu, may be more competent in explaining impressions. For example, Bazi can reveal that "your career lacks the metal element," while the San He school excels at painting a vivid picture, such as predicting that "your future husband will be tall, dark, and handsome".

Zi Wei Dou Shu Connection


There is a reason why things happen. And that reason is CONNECTION or lack thereof

The Founding concept

The concept of CONNECTION is a fundamental principle that guides every being's journey. In the world, beings cross paths with each other for a reason - to make a connection. However, relationships break away when those connections are severed, like threads that are cut from a tapestry. As our students progress through the lessons in our online one-to-one Zi Wei Dou Shu Sihua Flying Stars Practitioner course, they will organically discover the answer to why things happen the way they do.

This profound realization occurs during the final lesson, Lesson 10, where students gradually gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.

At Zi Wei Dou Shu, we believe that the concept of connection is at the heart of everything, and this is precisely what our course teaches. To learn more about how Zi Wei Dou Shu can help you discover the power of connection, check out our Sihua blog: What can Zi Wei Dou Shu really tell you?

***Important Notice: Zi Wei Dou Shu is an ancient Chinese astrology system that was not originally created for medical purposes. Therefore, it is NOT suitable for diagnosing or treating any medical condition, including those that have emerged since the system's development. It is critical that you MUST seek guidance from a licensed medical professional if you have any medical concerns. Replacing medical advice with astrology can be dangerous and result in delays in receiving proper medical care. As a result, under no circumstances should Zi Wei Dou Shu be used for any health-related issues.

Zi Wei Dou Shu online classes videos

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Our Zi Wei Dou Shu classes

Zi Wei Dou Shu Online courses Learning Zi Wei Dou Shu online is a lot easier. It offers you flexibility and you will save on the tuition fee too. Find it out more at: Zi Wei Dou Shu 1x1 Online Practitioner Courses

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