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Paint Pillars

# Paint Pillars

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10/15/2013

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“Painting a Picture”
With the Four Pillars of Destiny Nina WilsonVisualization can be an effective technique for comprehending and internalizing newconcepts. The “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” approach to the Four Pillars of Destiny was developed by Peter Leung, who shared the method with me when I began tostudy this discipline under his tutelage.Logic and “imagination” both have a place within the analysis and interpretation of theFour Pillars. The exercise described below draws upon both left and right brainfunctions. Studies on the mechanics of learning have shown that when the entire brain isengaged in the process of assimilation of information, concepts are grasped more quicklyand effectively, while recall is enhanced.Various methods can be employed to analyze the balance of elements in a Four Pillarschart. The percentage formula presented by Peter Leung on the Four Pillars-Feng Shuilist provides a precise mathematical model. Other scholars of Four Pillars havedeveloped their own equations to discern the strength of the Day Master and the overall balance of the five types of qi. Combining these statistical models with visualization addsa further layer of perception that is most useful for the beginning student.The symbolic representations of the elements are used to “paint the picture”. Each stem, based upon its substance and polarity, can be depicted as follows:Yang Wood (
Jia
): TreeYin Wood (
Yi
): Grass, small plantsYang Fire (
Bing
): Sunlight, a large fireYin Fire (
Ding
): Candlelight, a small fireYang Earth (
Wu
): Sand (dry soil), sandbag, concrete riverbank Yin Earth (
Ji
): MudYang Metal (
Geng
): Sword, axe (refined metal)Yin Metal (
Xin
): Nugget (unrefined metal – metal ore), or a small knifeYang water (
Ren
): Seawater, ocean, large body of water Yin Water (
Gui
): Rainwater, small puddle; cloudsThese attributes can be further defined by position on the chart. The stems on top are theYang, or fruit – so items representing the stems should appear in the painting aboveground level. Branches are the Yin, or roots, so items representing the branches should be placed below or at ground level. Ren water in the stems can be a downpour of rain;Ren water in Hai branch will be a lake or ocean. Gui water in the stems can be clouds;Gui water in Zi branch might be a puddle.

The seasonal temperature of the birth month and the time of birth impact the nature of allthe elements. When Ren occurs in the stems on top in a deep winter birth month, asnowstorm would be more likely than heavy rainfall. Bing or Ding in the stems on topmay represent hot air in summer. A dormant tree in winter has a distinctly differentappearance and requirements for nourishment than a tree in the hot season of summer. Asummer day at noon is light, warm and yang as compared to the dark yin energy of midnight.It may be helpful to keep the nature of the objects in the painting consistent with thelifestyle of the ancient Chinese farmer, or indicative of simple activities. Metalimplements should not be too “contemporary”. A tree may be chopped by an ax; if thereis no tree (Jia) in the picture, a rusting ax may rest on the ground, or have its blade buriedin soil (Geng branch). A small knife (Xin) may lie on top of a stone, waiting for itsowner to return to work. Metal nuggets or ore can be buried within moist Ji soil, a hiddentreasure enriched by earth, waiting to be discovered.When all elements in a Four Pillars chart are translated into their respective forms, thecomponents for the “picture” are ready to be applied to the “mental canvas”. When the painting is complete, the question to be considered is: “What would transform this sketchinto a beautiful composition?” The answer will provide clues as to the favorableelements for a particular chart.The five elements should be considered beyond the context of the productive or domination cycles. For example, while wood will feed fire, too much yang wood becomes a forest that will block the light of Bing fire. Excess wood, then, will reduce theeffect of yang fire (or could be said to harm yang fire). A preponderance of one elementcan be brought under control by the addition of counterbalancing elements.When applying the mathematical formula to the branch elements to determine relativeimpact, the proportions of the hidden stems are used:One hidden stem: 100% (Zi, Mao, Wu, Yu –
The

Four Directions
)Two hidden stems: 60% and 40% (Yin, Si, Shen, Hai –
The

Four Corners
)Three hidden stems: 60%, 30% and 10% (Chou, Chen, Wei, Xu –
The

Four Earths
)However, it is easier to use only the primary element, or first stem in a branch, when painting a picture. The first stem contains the
innate qi
of the branch; the second isknown as
leftover qi
, and a third stem is referred to as being
in tomb
. In the followingexamples, innate qi is used, as it is the prevailing influence of each branch. Therefore,the charts have been simplified for the purpose of this exercise, each providing a total of eight “ingredients” for a composition.(Note: the first stem of any branch is the same element as that of the branch itself. For earth, wood and metal elements, the polarity of the first stem is the same as the branch.For fire and water branches, the hidden stems are the opposite polarity of the branch. Theonly branches to contain both yin and yang stems are Chen and Xu.)

Chart One: January 24, 1947 1:28 p.m.Hour Day Month YearJi Gui Xin Bing
Yin Earth Yin Water Yin Metal Yang Fire
Wei Mao Chou Xu
Yin Earth Yin Wood Yin Earth Yang Earth
Elemental distribution
: 1 yang earth, 3 yin earth, 1 yin water, 1 yin metal, 1 yin wood, 1yang fire.
The Painting
: Chou month of birth is late winter – the weather is cold. The time of dayis afternoon, but the day is a bit overcast or cloudy (yin water). The predominant yinearth (mud) is hard. A small patch of dormant grass (yin wood) is overwhelmed in scale by all the earth. A small knife lies on the ground, but there is not enough metal to helpcontrol the earth.What can be added to the canvas to brighten up the image of a cold, dreary day and a bleak landscape? Fire, wood, and metal are needed to balance the design. The image of a bright sun or the inclusion of a warm fire enhances the painting. Stately evergreen treeswill help to control the strong earth, as will additional metal - especially in the ground to“root” the metal stem on top.
Chart Two: January 30, 1958 11:51 a.m.
Although the birth date is quite similar to Chart One, a different picture emerges:
Hour Day Month YearBing Ding Gui Ding
Yang Fire Yin Fire Yin water Yin Fire
Wu Wei Chou You
Yin Fire Yin Earth Yin Earth Yin Metal(Ding stem)
Elemental distribution
: 3 yin fire, 1 yang fire, 2 yin earth, 1 yin metal, 1 yin water.
The Painting:
This is a very good chart. It is a late winter day (Chou month –when earthis strong and the weather is cold and frozen); however, the sun (Bing) is out, with a fewclouds (Gui). The weather is not that cold with all the Ding, the ground is warming upwith Wu, even though it is a little cold and hard with You and Wei. It is a great day to beoutdoors. All the fire contained in this chart is quite fortunate, as that is the elementneeded to “warm up” the sketch. More water would make the day cold and uninviting, so