Zi Wei Dou Shui is a star system. It has ancient origins and a map of this heavenly astrology was found in the Chinese grotto of Dunhuang, as late as 1899--one of the oldest star maps known.
Zi Wei Dou Shu literally means "calculating the purple star," and is a birth chart based on the North star. There are fourteen major stars represented including the Sun (Tai Yang) and Moon (Tai Yin) as well as the nine dipper stars used in Feng Shui (I.e. Tan Lang, Ju Men, Lu Cun, Wu Qu, Lian Zhen, Po Jun, You Bi, Wen Qu and Zuo Fu). Most of the stars are considered to be mathematic points in space. The polar star (Zi Wei) is known as the emperor of heaven since it never moves and all the other stars revolve around it. A chart in Zi Wei Dou Shu is similar to the ancient south Vedic charts, and may have been originally inspired by the Indian Jyotish system.
There are twelve houses in the chart called courts or palaces that the stars move through in regular cycles. The houses used are very close to the more familiar Western houses (numbers shown below), although they do not follow in the same order. The Western house system progresses according to the yearly season. The palaces below follow a typical life path for an Asian individual in the past.
Karma/Virtue... (the inner you or self that comes before birth) - (12-Pisces)
Parents... (your parents and their resources) -(2-Taurus)
Ming/ Self... (developing the self) -(1-Aries)
Siblings... (awareness of your family) -(3-Gemini)
Marriage... (partnership is arranged early) -(7-Libra)
Children... (children soon follow) -(5-Leo)
Money... (money must be maintained to support a growing family) -(8-Scorpio)
Health... (health must be maintained also) -(6-Virgo)
Travel... (travel is often needed to expand wealth) -(9-Sagittarius)
Friends/Peers... (networking is needed for continued growth) -(11-Aquarius)
Career... (vocation takes a good part of the life to accomplish) -(10-Capricorn)
Property... (wealth from family and property) -(4-Cancer)
There is also a 13th house know as the Shen or body house that coincides with one of the basic twelve--revealing an especially important area of your life.
The natal chart is determined by the time of your birth with two-hour intervals. The fourteen main stars largely determine the overall meaning of the chart. In addition to the birth chart, there is also a 10 yr. luck cycle, a yearly and monthly cycle that all need to be compared for best results, especially for determining auspicious dates. The charts can include up to 144 stars in total--the lesser stars can add a bit of flavor, but have a lesser significance.
Of the fourteen main archetypal stars, their names and personalities simulate the personalities of a royal court, reminiscent of the Western gods and goddesses who lived on Mount Olympus.
1) Zi Wei: "The Emperor" Is considered the most important star (North star) and is the location of the pole star in an astrological chart. The house it resides in is often what you become known for in your life and is considered a leadership star. If Zi Wei is in your Ming/Self court, you are often the most accomplished one in your family.
2) Tian Ji: "The Advisor" Is strong in intelligence and knowledge. It carries an energy that is sensitive, acute and perceptive. It is a plain-spoken and an active energy that can sometimes can be unstable because it brings change.
3) Tai Yang: "The Masculine or Father aspect" Represents the Sun influence, is masculine and shows an area where you will shine and be influential. It is upright, enthusiastic, altruistic and also represents your father or husband.
4) Wu Qu: "The General or Manager"Is the star of wealth earned through hard work and application. It is calm, steadfast, duty bound and promises money where it is placed.
5) Tian Tong: "The Lover of Life" Is the star of good fortune, leisure, has a good heart and is an area of sensitivity. It is child-like, dreamy and idealistic.
6) Lian Zhen: "The Politician or Charismatic"Is the star of charisma and gives you the ability to sway others to your goals. Lian Zhen type people may be indecisive because they like popularity, but know right from wrong, and love peach blossom.
7) Tian Fu: The Treasurer"Is a conservative and tolerant influence that represents the treasury and has the ability to store things like wealth that is beneficial for success.
8) Tai Yin: "The Feminine or Mother aspect" Represents the Moon, the changeable lunar influence and femininity. It is emotional, quiet, reserved and moody and has the power to attract opportunities where it is placed.
9) Tan Lang: "The Artist or Talented one" Is the star of the arts, desire, romance and personal drive. Tan Lang is curious about life's experiences, acquisitive and likes material things-- and can also be spiritual in later life.
10) Ju Men: "The Spokesman" Is the star of thinking, communication, speech and verbal abilities.
11) Tian Xiang: " The Administrator"Has a social conscience and represents prudence and perseverance. It is conservative, fair-minded and is often called the prime minister.
12) Tian Liang: "The Teacher or Priest" Has the power to transform bad luck into good in the court it resides. It represents honesty, fairness and truth. It is a high ranking person, or someone who has the power to change your fortune.
13) Qi Sha: "The Adventurer or Soldier" Is an assertive star, loves taking risks and can bring big changes. Qi Sha is brave, fiery and adventurous and loves challenges or difficult situations.
14) Po Jun: "The Rebel" Represents a breaking down in order to rebuild something better, sometimes violently. This star is a powerful reformer, revolutionary or transformer similar to a Uranian or Plutonian influence.
Some of the smaller stars represent such things as advisors, affairs or angelic protectors with a few trouble stars that come to test one's progress. The older more traditional Chinese interpretations of these stars can be quite negative since ancient man's survival was more tenuous in the past. I have reinterpreted many of these archetypal influences in light of modern times and psychology.
Also important are the transforming stars that shift monthly, yearly and every ten-year cycle. These are Quan (power), Ke (fame/name), Lu (happiness) and Ji (trouble). These transforming stars can change the meaning of the other stars quite dramatically as they move about during the time cycles. You have a permanent set of these stars in your birth chart, and then a moving set for the 10 yr. annual and monthly cycles.
When I draw up a personal natal chart for a client, I use both Zi Wei Dou Shu and Western astrology to do a comparison study. There is a wealth of information available from comparing these two systems that is amazing in its detailed descriptions of our life potentials. Free will always plays into this template, and we make better decisions when we know our hidden or shadow side. The areas of our personality veiled from us will have a subconscious influence, so it is better to understand those tendencies, as they may undermine our best efforts to be happy. Many psychologists today (especially Jungian) are using astrology increasingly as a tool for insight into the human personality and what makes us tick. If you have never had your natal astrology chart done, isn't it time you found a good astrologer to reveal your life's potentials?