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31st August 2009


The Importance of Bazi Root

Having it or Not Having it


Before we discuss the importance of roots in Bazi analysis, it will be beneficial if we understand the definition of the word root in its proper context.

Very often in the course of Bazi studies, we sometimes come across this word “root ” in the literature or terms like “penetrating to the stems 透干”. These two terms basically mean the same thing. In Bazi analysis, the main focus is usually the Day Master located at the day stem. Root means an element in the stem having a similar main Qi appearing in the branches. In fact, the Chinese places such an importance role to roots that they even gave different names to it, depending on where it is located in the 4 pillar chart. For root located at the year branch, it is called Year Root “Sui Lu 歲祿”, for root located at the month branch, it is called Established Root “Jian Lu 建祿 ”, for root appearing at the day branch, it is called Day Root or Sitting Root “Ri Lu/Zuo Lu 日祿/坐祿” and finally root appearing at hour branch is called Returning Root “Gui Lu 歸祿”.

Lu 祿 basically mean an identical element of the Day Master hidden as the main Qi in the branch, having the same polarity. For elements having the opposite polarity, technically it is not called Lu 祿, but called “Root” . Sometimes we also come across terms such as “Connected to root” Tong Gen 通根. Connected to root or Tong Gen means an identical element of the stem appears in the hidden stems of the branch, whether as the main Qi or sub-Qi, for example Jia sitting on Yin or Hai (with Ren as main Qi and Jia as sub-Qi ).

Looking at “Root” from 10 Deities 十神 perspective, Lu 祿 is actually Bi Jian 比肩, an element having the same polarity as the stem, for example Jia sitting on Yin . For element having the opposite polarity, it is called Jie Cai 劫財 or Yang Ren 陽刃 ; for example Jia sitting on Mao . From the 12-life stage perspective, Bi Jian 比肩 is known as Coming-of-Age Stage “Lin Guan 臨官” while Jie Cai/Yang Ren 劫財陽刃 is known as Prosperous Stage “Di Wang 帝旺”. From the above definition, we collectively called root as Lu Ren 祿刃 in Chinese, a combination of Bi Jian 比肩 and Yang Ren 陽刃.

Having understood the definition of root, how important is a root in a Bazi chart? What is the significance of having root in a chart?

To use an analogy to illustrate the meaning root, it is liken to a person having his/her feet firmly standing on solid ground. For a person without root, he or she is like treading in water, with the feet not touching the ground. This illustration shows that an element with root is firm or “strong”. It can withstand forces coming from the top (stem) and from bottom (branch) hitting it without greatly affecting its stability. When an element has root the energy of the element is “strengthen”, “energized”, “activated” or “complete” and it has the ability to perform to its full capacity with its stem and branch as a single entity , as a solid pillar of the same element.

For elements without root(s), its potential is visible only at the top but without any foundation below. This situation is like a swan swimming gracefully on top of the lake but underneath the water, invisible to everybody, the legs are actually paddling like crazy. There is no anchor and the body is free to “float”. For element without root, any clash to the stem will severely weaken it or even be “extinguished” it. Having said this, in a Bazi chart, an element with root has a solid pillar connecting from the stem to the branch’s main Qi. This pillar can connect from any stem above to any branch below and need not be vertically within a single pillar. This can applies to any stems in the chart.

In a natal chart, if an element does not have any root, the root may be found in the luck cycles or annual cycles when the time comes. Having root in the natal chart is permanent while relying on root coming from luck cycles is temporary. Bear in mind that having root is not necessary a good thing to have. We need to consider whether the element concern is favourable or unfavourable. Generally speaking, favourable element with root and unfavourable element without root is good while the reverse is bad .

One of the biggest secret in Bazi analysis is that root plays a very important part in deriving accurate imagery or symbolism. Having root or without root are both equally important in chart analysis. Common chart elemental interactions such as penalty , clash , combination or harm will take on a different interpretation on any element which is rooted or not rooted. End of the day, what basically matter most is the strength of the element concern. If there is a double root or two stems sharing a common root, this condition is sometimes known as Fu Yin 伏吟 of the stem or branch. Fu Yin situation similarly can also be good or bad; it very much depends on whether the element is a useful or unfavourable element to the Day Master. As most Bazi practitioners already know, Day Master having root in the month branch or Jian Lu 建祿 usually has a high percentage of being considered strong because the month has the strongest Qi among the 4 pillars. This basic theory also demonstrated the fact that having root lends strength to the stem.

I have seen many chart analysis done by practitioners who do not know the importance of roots and did not consider its implication, and therefore could not derive certain analysis accurately. Most of the time, they focus and emphasize only on the strength of Day Master, penalty, clash, combination or harm between the 10 deities 十神 , kinship 六親 and palace 宮位 but do not know the additional role of “having root” or “not having root” plays in the interaction that may affect the outcome of an interpretation. I hope after reading this article, they can learn something from this article and progress to the next level of chart interpretation accuracy.

By Cyril Quah

"The Feng Shui Connoisseur"

August 31, 2009

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