Chinese Astrology, unlike Western, has a number of popular methodologies. Some, as noted in prior discussions, have no counterpart and do not even qualify as astrology under the stricter, Western definition. They range from the Zi Wei Dou Shu (Purple Star) system with its complicated star charts to the I Ching, where a single hexagram can provide a relatively detailed answer.
Any attempt to engage in a theoretical discussion of the differences among the many systems in common use today is likely to be tedious and ultimately unsatisfactory. Thus, what follows is simply a presentation of the very general workings of those methodologies and what they offer, beginning with Zi Wei Dou Shu (Purple Star Astrology), one of the more important ones.
This method uses about 30 major stars (there are over a 100 altogether) and has been practiced for over a 1,000 years. They are plotted on a chart consisting of twelve Palaces (Houses)
. These represent various aspects of a person's life to include Fate, Brothers and Sisters, Spouse, Children, Wealth, Health, Travel, Friends and Associates, Career, Property, Leisure and Parents. The placement of each star is determined by the querent's year, month, day and time of birth according to the lunar calendar.
From this a Chinese Astrologer produces a reading that includes both Ming (Fate) and Luck
. Fate is fixed. A person, for example, may be destined to have a strong tie to only one parent. This determination would be made based on the stars in the Parents Palace
as well as influences acting on that Palace
, on the other hand, is variable according to year and decade. It is determined by the presence of lucky and unlucky stars in each Palace
, each representing a decade and various years in a person's life.