Students like to ask me what is “catching useful god”. This term is a direct loose translation from the chinese words 捉用神. I told them it is one of the more advance and abstract concepts in the study of ba zi. How useful then is this god? Can we pray to it and get blessed in return?
Not exactly. Useful god is one of the most sensitive elements in one’s bazi in the sense that if this element is injured (being countered), one will suffer from bad luck such as losing money, health condition, accident, depression and etc. In gist, chinese like to say that that year is ”not smooth” or “suay” (in Hokkien).
On the other hand, if one has strong useful god, success comes much easier and earlier in life. You are surrounded by helpful people, able to earn alot of money, promote faster than your peers and receive recognition from your boss and even society.
The next question is, how to fish out this element in your ba zi? This is the toughest part for most students. Usually, before one comes to this step, you got to determine strength of daymaster, structure of ba zi that one belongs to and favourable Ten-gods in one’s chart.
Why do we need to catch hold of this guy?
Apart from predicting when good luck and misfortune will befall, it is used to determine someone’s achievement in life. Put it simply, it addresses the question of “how far he or she can go?”
Let’s face it. The cruel fact is that you can be extremely hardworking (doing OT everynight and over weekends) and earn $5,000 a month but another person who has very powerful useful god merely needs to work one day to receive $5,000. You have heard such cases, don’t you? Another example, one slogs so hard the whole life as a hawker but only earns enough to make ends meet while another started from a hawker but becomes owner of chain restaurants after few years in business raking in million of dollars. Both can be equally uneducated and so what makes the difference? Luck cycle? This is just one dimension. If one’s useful god is not strong, it is not easy for him to earn that type of money.
The topic on useful god is often covered at length once students have a good grasp of the fundamentals. We have to also visit some of the important ba zi classics and understand the thinking behind why certain bazi structures are classifed as superior and noble. It is quite a heavy weight topic since useful god can also be categorised into the following:
1. Structure useful god [格局用神]
2. Arbitrating useful god [通关用神]
3. Regulating useful god [调候用神]
In addition, we have to check if useful god is born in season, is it rooted, where is it positioned in the pillars, is it countered or combined away? Are they also protected by Guarding God [护神] just like the concept of embrace in landform. This will prevent them from being vulnerable to external attack during luck or year cycle.
Catching the useful god has to be done in a bottom-to-top holistic way going through a filtering and judging process. In fact, it is imperative to know that our ba zi are categorised into 8 types and I call them the 4 Forward and 4 Reverse structures [顺格与逆格]. Everyone’s bazi belong to a specific classification. The 4 Forward structures, which are deemed as “auspicious”, are 财官印食 structure while Reverse structures are 杀伤刃劫. The latter are deemed as “the rebels” in the ancient societal context. It does not imply that if you are born in the Forward structure your life is naturally good.
In Zi Ping Zhen Quan it is said that
Let me sum it. Before we talk about identifying the useful god, we got to go through this step. For instance, if you belong to 7 Killing structure, you belong to the “rebel” – the Reverse structure. But it is not necessary a bad thing if this rebel can be tamed. Whether it can be tamed depends on the presence of another element to “soften” or hold the rebel down. In this case, it will be apt to see another Eating God star in the ba zi. But one also needs to check if a Wealth star is present. In the case of absence of Eating God but prominent presence of Wealth star, it is deemed as a broken structure or 不成格. Then the achievement of this person is so-so.
While this is considered a very important fundamental in ba zi, I am not surprised that many ba zi schools do not talk about them. Personally, I would prefer to teach this topic of 4 Forward and 4 Reverse in my Ba Zi Master class for bazi master-to-be in conjunction with Useful God topic as the course materials might be too philosophical, technical and complex for beginners.
In my next posting, I will talk about Guardian God.