Study on Tian Ku and Tian Xu Stars

In this article we will touch on the above mentioned minor stars. There are many detractors on theories linking up stars in Zi Wei Dou Shu to actual astronomical basis, as well as practitioners who doubt the usefulness of minor stars and other Shen Sha-derived stars, a trend particularly seen in non-San He styled schools. However, before we dismiss minor stars too readily, or too quick to deduce that ZWDS utilise virtual stars, it is good to have some in-depth reading and understanding on Chinese astronomy and archaic astrology. We are going to touch on two interesting stars, namely Tian Ku and Tian Yue, expanding on their characteristics, touching on their astronomical origins, and also to make some corrections on archaic notions.

Tian Ku (天哭) is the Weeping Star. Tian Xu (天虚) is the Illusions Star. I have touched on the characteristics of these Yi Category minor stars in “The Empyrean Matrix” and in this article I will expand on further insight of these stars for the readers. Here we quote the ancient prose on these two stars: “哭虛為惡曜,臨命最非常;加臨父母內,破蕩賣田庄。若教身命陷,窮獨對刑傷;六親多不足,煩惱過時光。東謀西不就,心事忽忙忙;丑卯申宮吉,遇祿名顯揚。二限若逢之,哀哀哭斷腸。” To also summarize the prose, effectively the two stars are considered malevolent stars, and they bring about failure, frustration and anxiety, with ill effects heightened in poor Life/Body Palaces as well as poor relationships with the six relations. If they enter Chou, Mao or Shen palaces, they will be more fortunate, and encounter with Lu will gain good reputations. Encounters at consecutive decades will bring immense sorrow.

Firstly to expand on the characteristics of Tian Ku. This star is of Yang Metal element. Its transformation is excoriate and its mastery is in sorrow, punishment and scandal. The nature of the star is lonely, pessimistic, over-sensitive, melancholic, tiresome and toilsome. Its transformation in relationship palaces (Parents, Siblings, etc) can also cause estrangement with the six relationships, particularly concerning male relations. Encounter with Ju Men in same palace (and to some extent Tai Yin) tend to bring about misfortune concerning affairs of the heart.

Tian Xu is of Yin Earth element. Its transformation is emptiness and its mastery is delusion, instability, madness and disappointments. The nature of the star is dreamy, stubborn, critical and there is always such tendencies as “spirit is willing, flesh is weak”. So often, there will be such effects like unrecognised talent or effort, hardworking but impractical, and passive impulses, and all these point towards a certain sense of “futility”. Its transformation in relationship palaces (Parents, Siblings, etc) can also cause estrangement with the six relationships, particularly concerning female relations. Encounter with Po Jun  in same palace tend to bring about some misfortunes particularly for female natives.

Both stars when they are in Life Palace, they tend to bring about furrows and sombriety in the natives’ faces. Especially for Tian Ku, it has some repulsion effect on people. For Tian Xu it tend to lend some effects of weakness and superficiality. When they are in Life, Body or Health Palaces, melancholia is inevitable, and there are also some tendencies to destabilise parents. Usually these natives will be lonely in young and old age. Also in the aforementioned palaces, it is not favourable also to encounter Mu Yu, Shuai, Si and Jue locations as the ill effects may be heightened. These stars are not favoured in any six relationship palaces as they will bring estrangement. Like mentioned earlier, when they are in Chou, Mao or Shen locations, it will be the most favourable. However I will expand on these points later in another perspective. Also, encounter with Lu Cun or Hua Lu tend to bring good reputation to the native, which is also a point that was explained in the proses, but also bring about certain level of abundance. Tian Ku is undoubtedly tied in strongly with bereavement, pessimism and sorrow, but Tian Xu actually holds some dispelling quality from case studies. It can seek to reduce the effects of malevolent stars (except Po Jun).

Now, let’s look at the two stars in astronomical details. Tian Ku and Tian Xu are actually always based on two existing stars that are existent in Chinese astronomical knowledge. In the observation of the 28 Mansions, they are found in the Emptiness Mansion (虛宿; Xu Xiu) asterism which consists of β Aquarii (Tian Xu) and α Equulei (Tian Ku). These areas traditionally are associated with passing and bereavement. In older astronomy like Guo Lao Xin Zhong however, there is only Tian Ku and no Tian Xu although in later development the latter is associated with the Shen Sha 月空 (Yue Kong), which is known to dispel evil and this point was made known earlier about its effects in observed case studies.

Concerning its purported favourable positions in Chou, Mao and Shen locations, there is an interesting correlation to the marriage selection Shen Sha known as 埋儿煞 (Mai Er Sha; Bury Offspring Sha). Mai Er Sha is observed based on year branches to derive “bad time”. In Zi year, it will be in Chou, in Chou it will be in Mao, in Yin it will be in Shen, in Mao it will be in Chou, in Chen it will be in Mao, in Si it will be in Shen, in Wu it will be in Chou, in Wei it will be in Mao, in Shen it will be in Shen, in You it will be in Chou, in Xu it will be in Mao and in Hai it will be in Shen. In Mai Er Sha time period, entry into room/consummation is not allowed during wedding, because it will actually cause miscarriages. This same principle in the observation of the time period likewise is not favoured when applied in the ZWDS charts especially in Life or Children Palaces with Tian Ku or Tian Xu, which is a dichotomy.

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