Chinese Four Pillars-Reader Q&A IV

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Rick wrote in a couple weeks ago and wanted to know a few things about his Four Pillars chart and his romantic potential as well as his career. And he has raised a few issues other issues along the way as well. He seems to have some knowledge of the Four Pillars, as demonstrated through his emails, which helps in getting into the details of what is happening in his chart. I decided to go somewhat further with the free reading as to more accurately understand what Rick is going through. It was good to be able to correspond back and forth with someone who is interested in what is happening in their life. For those familiar with Western astrology, the current transiting Pluto/Uranus square is aligned along his Ascendant/Descendant axis with both configured with Rick’s natal Sun as well. This is extra heavy duty cosmic energy bombarding the Ascendant as well as the Neptune/Mars midpoint (which is on the Ascendant). How others see Rick is changing and this is reflected in his own version of how he is transforming as well.

The Dog

The Dog

Rick is seeking to control his destiny and be an active participant. This is in contrast to many who prefer to just “go with the flow,” and to just “let things happen.” With astrological knowledge, we can mitigate and minimize the harmful, unnecessary suffering to a considerable degree and maximize the better parts of the cycles at hand. We typically experience both good and bad cycles simultaneously as we go throughout life. The astrologer’s duty is to pick out and separate each one and then put it back together for the client to understand, from a holistic perspective, how the cosmic energies are affecting her/him.

Let’s start with Rick’s first letter:

 This is a very informative page you guys have here. I’m learning a bit more about myself as I go along. A couple of things burdening me are, first of all, that 2013 has been a surprisingly crummy year for me so far. I had a couple of good runs from the beginning to mid-April and late July-to mid October where I was working and keeping my head above water. Now I’m losing hope I’ll ever find steady work that last longer than months no matter what I try to do.

Since I’ve moved to San Antonio, TX after a lifetime in Atlanta, GA, wondering if I really should’ve done so January 2010, I’ve been everything from a barback to a drink slinger, hotel houseman, busboy, construction worker, levy repairman, forester, AC duct assistant, insurance salesman, voice and data cable puller, and more, all while trying to land more lucrative and pleasing sound engineering and DJ gigs on the side. Looks like being a college graduate isn’t quite as special as it used to be, because half of my generation has done the same. Maybe I should’ve moved to MO, IA, CO, MN, WA, or somewhere north to start over, even though everyone swears south Texas is the new land of milk and honey (Austin is kind of cool). What do you think is up with my animals regarding this?

My theory is that since earth and fire kicked in in April, things went downhill, that earth hill started to build and build as May and June progressed, but July was the peak of it and towards the end of that month I was working again. Save a couple of days I worked throughout August, September and a little of October, but the 14th came along and I got laid off. I secured some DJ gigs to cushion the blow a little, but it’s starting to run out. I have hope that these last few months of the Snake won’t let me down and that October was just more earth to add to that hill I was trying to climb. Anyway, what do you think went wrong in the stars?

Another thing, I still have yet to have my first girlfriend. One fortune teller swore up and down two years ago to my Dad and stepmom when they were in New Orleans, LA that 2014 was the year I find this “only one”. I don’t see any prospects here in San Antonio so far, but I’m wondering if I should hold on or just cut my losses and move again. My theory is that the You/Rooster in my child pillar is destroying my spouse palace, Xu, and clashing with the Mao/Rabbit that’s supposed to be my peach blossom/love sign. Meanwhile I got Wei to the right to deal with because of some destruction relationship I hear is going on with Xu. It looks mighty hopeless on that front to say the least, but from all that I told you, what do you suppose is going on with my birth chart that may be causing all this hardship? Is the Wu Xu LP I’m in really meant to be so horrible that I have to just grin and bear until 2019? I appreciate any answers you’re comfortable with giving me, and thanks for taking the time to read this.

There is a lot going on in Rick’s life. His data is 6:49 pm, July 29th, 1986, Atlanta, GA. I started with a Western reading in order to better understand the specifics of his relationship life. As I am primarily a Western astrologer, that’s where I naturally begin. Usually, the Four Pillars backup and confirm what the Western chart shows–I will get in to the Four Pillars part last. Here is the Rick’s Western astrological chart:


"Rick," July 29th, 1986, 6:49 pm, Atlanta, GA

“Rick,” July 29th, 1986, 6:49 pm, Atlanta, GA


Here is my 2nd correspondence with Rick. I needed to explain quite a bit so please forgive the length of the letter. I think that you will be surprised and informed at the result of the analysis. What Rick needs is to redefine what his conception of a female partner is and I think that he is presently doing this. The word “Quest” is contained within questioning, which is what Rick is doing. I have to commend him for his bravery in reaching out.

OK, I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and take a look at a few things. I’m not going to get into your Chinese Four Pillars right now, due to time constraints but am just going to focus on what I see with your Western chart. The first thing is that the Moon is right on your fifth house cusp and the Moon rules your 7th house of partnerships and your future first wife. The Moon is pretty comfy in Taurus, indicating a voluptuous curvy woman, also a mother who is quite content. however its ruler, Venus, is in Virgo and exactly trine the Moon and and right on the 9th house cusps of far away places, religion, travel and higher ed. It’s complicated. On the one hand you may be attracted to motherly types but another part of you is looking for someone who is incapable of bearing children. Maybe some of those who you have been close to wish they were those people and some of those who were attracted to you couldn’t ever be mothers and you weren’t into them either. Your ruler of what you appreciate in girlfriends and casual partners, Venus is tied up with the ruler of your first wife and the motherly type. These two are natural enemies in a sense as the wife doesn’t want to be the girlfriend and the girlfriend may or may not want to ever be the wife. And to top it all off, Uranus, Chiron and Jupiter are all there in the mix with a fairly tight grand cross, a tough configuration to say the least. I think that you are really unconsciously looking for that tall order that is really hard to fill, or are looking for two totally different women in the same person.

Let’s say that for example you found a single mother who is beautiful, has a job, is kind and sweet and is ready to jump into a relationship relatively early on. Is that necessarily making sense? Most single men are not receptive to that at all and aren’t looking for that. That’s why many single moms marry single dads, they are each divorced or emerging from previous live in relationships with the other parent–it makes sense for them. Uranus and Venus love kink and that’s the other hard part, it doesn’t necessarily fit into the mix of the motherly/family oriented type. They’re not constant party goers, so to speak. The ones that are more on the wild side don’t usually settle down for a steady thing anyway, but that’s part of what you want and you have to recognize that. It’s called freedom in relationships. You have been deceived in relationships as well as indicated by the Saturn/Juno conjunction in the 11th of friends. [potential lovers (Juno) were mistaken as friends or vice versa] Getting in touch with you inner unconscious self can reveal the sources of this pain and the kind of people that you attract to set it off. It’s almost like inviting someone to stab you with a knife and yet not recalling that you have done this. Jupiter is the answer to this one as you may be the expert at this kind of activity or at least recognizing when others are abused but not yourself. Jupiter is dignified in Pisces and is sextile the Moon which is beneficial to your personality but I see that you are too giving and caring, this must be toned down somewhat. Neptune on the Ascendant is not helping with this either.

[Rick] are you psychic? You very well could be a sponge absorbing everything around taking on the emotions of others [Neptune]. Saturn in the 11th may say to others that you are everyone’s friend but Saturn doesn’t necessarily have the appearance of a friendly guy. The older that you get, the better that this will get. This is about proper boundaries and some of the least likely people that you expect will become your friend for years to come but there will be many imposters as you may have already seen. Conversely, Mars in the 1st gives you a gung ho attitude toward life in general and the warrior is dignified in Capricorn, however it is mostly a malefic influence for you. You have to slow down. [and take your time with others]

This is hard because Venus is being caught up in all of what I described above. Somehow you will have to learn to appreciate and value being slow and taking your time with things. Neptune can help with this as well. You just have to tell Neptune that this is what you desire. It being in the 12th of silence, meditation and your inner world, meditation is likely the beginning to an answer. Can’t meditate? Listen to the Holosync program by Bill Harris and let the program take you into a meditative state. On the bright side, I think that you will marry as the Moon is dignified in Taurus and the ruler of Taurus is in Virgo in the 8th of other people’s stuff and transformative relationships and its ruler, Mercury is in Cancer in the 7th of partnerships. So, it’s all going back to girlfriend, leading to marriage eventually. But the process to getting there involves transforming Venus, what you appreciate, how relationships have changed you or harmed you as well as the bad habits that you have picked up about women along the way. You can actually treat women too well in the beginning and this is a turn off or at the least seen as inappropriate. It’s really a timing thing.

That’s all for now, I will get to some more of your other questions this week as time allows. Thadd

Rick wrote back and thought that the Western analysis was “spot on.” What I generally think about these kinds of systemic issues with others is that we really have to go back to the root of the issue first and then work out from there. Here’s what I wrote in regard to the Four Pillars. Granted, it’s not as much as I would have liked, however, it touches on the romantic situation as there is a rivalry in Rick’s Four Pillars, the yin wood in the month branch against his Yang Wood self element.

[Rick], Here’s your Four Pillars chart below: Hour Day Month Year yin water Yang Wood yin wood Yang Fire rooster Dog sheep Tiger You are currently in the Yang Earth Dog Luck cycle which is 2008 through 2018: The first five years are Yang Earth followed by the next five which are represented by the Dog, Yang Earth again. For you this is Hard Dry Earth and is wealth to your Yang Wood Daymaster (self). You also wrote about the years ending in 1 and 6 with October being good months. I think that this is amazing that you have recognized this and here’s why: In 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 (as well as 2016) the fire rooster starts in September and goes throughout most of October, so this tells me that your cosmic flow is being altered beneficially by this symbol(or rather you are telling me this).

I think that the fire rooster is getting rid of the rivalry in the stems between you and the yin wood in the month branch. In other words, the [fire] rooster is killing the rivalry and then burning it up, hence the seven killings (yin metal controlling yin wood). There is additional dry wood hidden in the sheep as well, possibly strengthening the rivalry. The pure metal of the rooster is draining the earth and controlling the wood while the fire is burning the wood. I don’t know how I will classify your chart as of yet as I think that it’s a little complicated. You certainly have a creative edge with all of the Fire and the Dog and Tiger combining to form a half fire alliance. What happened in 2002? This year would have been immense fire when the Horse joined up with your Dog and Tiger. But this would have squashed any chances of metal being of help that year because fire controls metal, if it is true that metal is beneficial to your system. Again it’s great that you provided that good piece of info. Thank you again, Thadd


Rick Four Pillars Chart, see natal details above

Rick’s Four Pillars Chart, see natal details above

Rick wrote back to the above analysis. Here it is:

I figured metal was a surprise benefit to me. Since most folks tell me my DM is weak, and I need water and wood to balance out, I guess this kind of makes sense. Though I have a half-way seasonal combo with Rooster and Dog, little did I realize until recently that yang metal combines with my rob wealth next to me to form metal and take that off of me, or that yin metal was combating my rob wealth star (yin wood) all this time. Of course yin metal could also combine with my yang fire to give my DM much needed water, but the rob wealth would still be beside me.

However, I think Fire Rooster ends the first week of October during those 1 & 6 years. Those months usually aren’t so kind. I was struggling in school that month in 1996 (5th grade) and 2006 (1st year college). That month in 2011 I got laid off, but that month in 2001 was a rare exception when I got selected to homecoming court the day after 9/11 (grades were still subpar though).

[In] 2002 my mother was struggling financially, but I hit my stride socially, academically, and another area modesty forbids me from telling ;P. I kind of attribute this to the combining of male water to the female fire in horse to make wood (good for DM), or the male water combining with female fire in my luck pillar at the time (fire rooster) to make wood.

About those twigs with Earth dog and all that. I figured there was something fishy.

Anyway, as always, Thadd, I appreciate being able to talk locally about all of this.

Here is my last correspondence with Rick:

[Rick], Thank you for getting back with me. I’m using the Lunar calendar, this will throw off many as far as the months are concerned due to the irregularity of the Moon and it’s cycles. As I don’t know what calendar you are using or who you have learned the Four Pillars from, I’ll just go back a bit into how I understand it. Dr. Lily Chung wrote the first comprehensive book in English on the Four Pillars titled The Path To Good Fortune: The Meng (1997). This book outlined the Flow method, which stands in contrast to the calculation method that most are familiar with. The Flow method can be difficult and at times the client has to provide lots of dates about their life in order to verify the flow, classify the chart and then find the useful god. Jerry King is of her students and he has followed in her footsteps. His Four Pillar series started in 2010 and his latest title was published this year.

Jerry goes more into the classical roots of the system. If one does not understand the basics, they will have a really hard time getting through the books. One may start with Chung’s book (another is The Truth of Ups and Downs: Cosmic Inequality) and go from there. Both of these authors (they are considered Masters of their techniques) use the lunar calendar–lunar months and years. Some still use the solar years and months. Chung and King have provided extensive examples throughout both of their works. In Vol III or IV, King addresses the solar vs. lunar controversy. So far, with me, they have proven their case. There is one divergent yet minor issue between the two authors and that is the half directional alliance (ex. for the North we would have the Pig/Rat/Ox). King does not use the half alliance for delineation. However, a half alliance can become a full directional alliance easily, especially if the cardinal leader (rat/rabbit/horse/rooster) is in the month branch and the flow is leading in that direction anyway. Halle Berry has a strong directional fire alliance (snake/horse/goat) but this is supported by other factors as well. The directional alliance is the weakest of all of the alliances.

The half trinity (eg. Dog/Tiger) is much more powerful, especially when the symbol is supported in the month branch, or season, as mentioned before. There is even another theory that the half trinity can “squeeze out” the other remaining symbol somehow but I am not as familiar with this yet. Back to your good months. Some of the times, the fire rooster started late in Sep, sometimes earlier in the month, this would then be followed by the Earth Dog, which is relatively pure dry/hot Earth. Within the Dog is Yang Earth, yin metal and yin fire which complicates the analysis, however,

Here we are back to yin fire and yin metal, which continues the preceding trend with the fire rooster. The rooster branch is pure yin metal itself and with the fire rooster, we have pure fire and metal, this is a dynamic pillar. I think that what you are seeing is overlap with yin fire and metal in both pillars, however it is starting in earnest with the cardinal leader of the west and metal, the rooster. 1986: fire rooster 9/4-10/3 1991: fire rooster 9/8-10/7 1996: fire rooster 9/13-10/11 2001: fire rooster 9/17-10/16 2006: fire rooster 9/22-10/21 2011: fire rooster 8/29-9/26 2016: fire rooster 9/1-9/30 1986: Earth Dog 10/4-11/1 1991: Earth Dog 10/8-11/5 1996: Earth Dog 10/12-11/10 2001: Earth Dog 10/17-11/14 2006: Earth Dog 10/22-11/20 2011: Earth Dog 9/27-10/26 2016: Earth Dog 10/1-10/30

As far as classifying [your] DM [also self element] as weak, I really hate that word and yet it is part of the tradition. We can all find strength somewhere, somehow. 99% of all people are strong or weak, the 1% is either Dominant or Feeble. Most aspire to either Dominant or Feeble, and some charts can be pushed in either direction through the luck cycle and/or the cycles of years and months. A strong DM can be pushed to weak and a weak can be pushed to strong. A wealthy, famous celebrity who is feeble can be pushed to weak and this is usually their downfall, medical emergency, going to jail, etc. A dominant can go to strong and we have the same thing here and yet they survive it. A strong can go to dominant–this is the dictator that came from nothing to rule a country and then returns to obscurity. King gives former Iranian president [M. A.] as a good example of this. Thadd

Rick’s Four Pillars chart is a little challenging, in a similar way that that understanding the deeper implications of the 7th house ruler of his Western chart. The Moon looks fine on the surface but look at where it’s ruler, Venus, is and it’s condition. This opens up a whole new complex level to decipher. In addition, both planets are on the cusps of two houses, essentially acting in both simultaneously.

In Rick’s Four Pillars chart, the Dog is in the spouse palace and Earth represents the spouse as well, so there is double confirmation here as for males with a Wood self element, Earth, the wealth element for the Wood self, is represented as the spouse. Earth is hidden in the branches in three places, one Yang Earth (dry) in the Dog (already mentioned), one Yang Earth in the Tiger (moist earth), and one yin earth (dry) in the Sheep (Goat). I don’t think that the rivalry in the month pillar will be able to steal the wife once it is secured because the wealth element is hidden in the branches as King has outlined in his books. His mate will eventually be discovered, that’s my prediction. But the roots of the Yang Wood will have to patiently penetrate the hard, dry earth to find her (no pun intended!) Water may help the situation and yet it will strengthen the rivalry too.

All of the elements are present in Rick’s chart, making him a well rounded person. This is good for the “weak” self element anyway, but the balanced approach is not good for all charts. This is one of the dubious theories floating around there concerning the four pillars. I had an opportunity to give a presentation in 2012 on the Five Elements at UAC in New Orleans and that very question came up. But I did not know the answer. The flow method provides the theoretical basis and as well as the evidence for the flow method as outlined in both Chung and King’s books. The balanced approach is not beneficial all of the time for every chart. And I think that both authors have conclusively proven this time and time again.

Rick indicated that 2013 has been a bad year for him up to this point. In all fairness, this has been a really bad year for many of us. As the aforementioned Uranus/Pluto square creates havoc in many people’s lives, it is a symbol of upheaval just as the year of the Snake typically is. However, for Rick, the Snake is clashing with the Tiger and the Fire and the Water clash as well. But the Snake is also attempting to combine with the Rooster to form metal. Perhaps the Tiger is stopping this from happening, while the Snake is attempting to break up the half fire alliance. The key is to keenly observe the flow of life in general.

In sum, I think that Rick’s Four Pillars chart has a strong Earth and Fire presence. But can the Wood self follow both? It is difficult to serve two masters, if not impossible. Rick may have to follow the different flows as they are strongly available through the monthly/yearly cycle and the luck cycle and change with the times as needed, becoming a different being, adapting to the various challenges as life provides them. This idea is present in the Western chart with the Moon’s south node right on the MC–and it’s ruler, Venus on the cusp of the 8th and 9th houses. Venus, ruling the MC, having been everywhere and done everything (see Rick’s letter at the top) is completely burned out and yet wandering and searching. And yet there is dignity and a ton of perception and life experience, though as Venus is in it’s triplicity of Earth. In a similar way, Earth may be where the answer is in this time as Rick’s Luck cycle is the Earth Dog, 2008/2018–he will be encountering Yang Earth during both five year periods.

Will the psychic’s prediction come true in 2014? It’s possible as the Wood Horse (a red light pillar) will combine with Rick’s Wood Dog and Fire Tiger, creating a complete Fire Trinity. In addition, the lunar year starts off with the Fire Tiger (Jan 31st, 2014) followed by the fire rabbit, thus feeding the Earth/wealth/spouse potential. But things may get too hot, which will create the necessity for water. In the secondary progressed chart, we see the Sun coming to a perfect square with Saturn in July 2014, Aquarius rules the 1st and Leo the 7th. In the solar return, Uranus is near the Descendant and the transiting south node is nearby in the 7th, conjoining the natal north node, with the ruler, Mars in the 1st. In both cases, the ruler of the 7th, the partner, is coming to the self. He may meet this person next year while in the pursuit of his career goals or while he is out and about working in the various jobs he is involved in. Chiron trine Venus in both of these charts is great sign of romance as well. And finally, Rick is having a Mercury return as transiting Mercury lines up with his natal Mercury in the 7th house. We will see. And thank you, Rick, for allowing this article. It has been interesting pondering the mysteries contained in your Western and Four Pillars charts! Thadd:::SignsInLife