Q&A Forum

The Balance Element

Q: Dear Karin,

I’ve read through your book with great interest. I’m already analyzing me and my family’s charts. It’s very exciting.

You mention “the balance element” on page 180. This seems like “the magic cure” to balance oneself. I was wondering if you could lift the veil for how this is found?

A: Dear Marcus,

Thank you for asking the million dollar question! Yes, the balance element is the treasured reward of your evolving BaZi skills. As with other developed aptitudes, finding the balance element takes time, dedication and practice. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Study the symbolic and energetic meanings of the 22 characters. Our book, Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches is an invaluable resource. In it my husband and I provide detailed explanation of the 22 GanZhi symbols, outline the characteristics of each, describe their interactions and relationships and provide individual internal cultivation practices for each. Learn to write the characters in the proper stroke order. These practices will help you connect with and embody the energetics of each character.


The book, Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, by Master Zhongxian Wu and Dr. Karin Taylor Wu
My husband and I were asked to create these GanZhi flash cards after some senior students saw my own personal study cards during an Advanced Chinese Astrology Retreat we held years ago.

2. Study each chart in detail. Start with the basics – analyze the relationship between the Day Stem, the Commander and the Partner in terms of the birth and control cycles. Then consider how the influences of the TaiYuan, MingGong, and current Luck Cycle support or hinder the Day Stem.

3. Based on your theoretical knowledge and your intuitive understanding of the chart, create a working hypothesis about which Element will bring the most support to the Day Stem and start a conversation! In the beginning, finding the Balance Element can feel like trial and error. The easiest place to start is with yourself: incorporate the thoughtfully chosen Balance Element into your daily life – with appropriate colors, food choices, cultivation practices, directional energy (N, S, E, W, NE, SE, NE, SW), etc. – for a minimum of 49 continuous days. Keep a daily journal. Note the changes you notice in sleep patterns, energy levels, appetite/digestion, your physical body, menses (if you are a menstruating woman) and sense of well-being. If you have noted significant improvement in some or all of these things, chances are you are on the right track! If you notice your symptoms are not changing or even growing worse, re-analyze, re-work your hypothesis and try another approach.

4. Practice, practice, practice! Practice calculating as many charts as possible – I recommend doing at least one daily for a long while. Practice with family members, friends, clients, famous people … when you create the chart of someone you are familiar with, you can more easily connect what you know about various aspects of their lives and their history with your developing intuitive sense of the BaZi characters in their chart. After 100 charts, you will feel fairly competent in determining the balance element. 🙂

5. As you grow more advanced in your practice, begin to expand your analysis of the Day Stem to include all the Hidden Stems in the chart and the GanZhi transformation relationships (see chapter 4 of the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches book). Your astrology cases will likely get more complicated as your skill level matures.

I hope this helps!