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Ziwei Doushu - Polestar Fate Assessment

Experience the Wisdom of Ziwei Doushu - Fate Calculation

Chinese wisdom-sciences incorporate a variety of systems for analyzing patterns of the human experience in space-time - Ziwei Doushu - Fate Calculation is one such system of reflecting on external symbols and patterns to awaken internal insight and wisdom. The goal is to illuminate internally so that we can act with more confidence, clarity, and power in the world.


As humans we are subject to many cyclical changes and forces in the world around us.  The sagely scientists of the past organized their observations of weather, human nature and the night sky into a workable system that can be applied to the analysis of an individual's patterns of fate and freedom, also known as 'destiny'. 

Watching the sky, especially the Sun and Moon and the stars has been a basis for human language, culture, and general sense-making for longer than we really know. These traditions root us in our deepest, most ancient selves. It is good to imagine and remember that we are alive today because an ancestor we all share was able to use the signs and patterns of the natural world, in Heaven and on Earth, to survive and pass on their genetic and symbolic gifts.

Michael Brown has been studying and performing readings for over 12 years and can help provide you with a full analysis and report of your polestar chart to give you a deeper understanding of the patterns in your personality, your health/disease/response to treatment, your life, and your relationships. You will gain insight into yourself, into how to resolve recurring challenges, and how to prepare for changes or when they might occur. Ultimately, you should end up with a deeper appreciation for the blessings and challenges of your life's journey.

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"I just had my second Polestar astrology reading with Michael. I had my last one 12 years ago. It was amazing to see how much had happened that the first reading predicted would happen! It really gave me even more faith in this ancient and profound system. I am able to understand myself more deeply and can navigate my next steps in life with more ease since this most recent reading.


I also really love the fact that Michael is also a highly skilled acupuncturist and could guide me in a deeper way when it came to the health aspect of my chart and really the whole thing. His kind heart, vast knowledge, and humble curiosity are an awesome combination. I highly recommend him!


- Adrianna G, DAOM, L.Ac.

Watching the sky, especially the Sun, the Moon and the stars has been a basis for human religion, language, culture, and general sense-making for longer than we really know.

Why get an analysis of my fate?

There is much to derive from interpreting a person's natal chart.  At Abundant Heaven, in Campbell, we use the Ziwei Doshu - "Purple Star" calculation system handed down from Ming Liu through Taiwan and China.  It is primarily a syncretic system with likely Jyotish/Indian and Persian influences.¹  Through assessing one's character (using Bazi) in conjunction with their birth chart we can arrive at a better understanding of one's inner capacity, opportunities, responsibilities, pitfalls and general themes in the most central areas of one's life.

Zi Wei Dou Shu is a reflective, psychological tool of self-reflection and consideration of one's relationships, circumstances, and individual context in space-time-culture. This form of astrology is helpful for understanding oneself, evaluating one's life, reviewing one's circumstances and exploring possible outcomes or directions one can or should take in life.  It can be especially helpful during times of change or uncertainty to reflect on life and its unfolding. It is another tool we use to help healing, integration, and growth.

If you are looking for a general analysis of daily Stem & Branch and Lunar Mansion progressions, please follow Michael's offerings on


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"Michael’s approach is highly academic and he provides me with an extensive report in each session for us to review together. This single feature is very unique to any of my other personal experiences with astrology and in that sense I have never encountered an astrologer who dedicated so much time and effort to their craft.

The Pole Star system he practices has been invaluable to cultivating my relationship to the world and I consult Michael at the beginning of every Chinese New Year to glean wisdom from his interpretation of the years’ coming astrological influences. I have gained so much from working with Michael that I am now sending my patients to work with him so we may incorporate their astral readings in the development of their wellness plans."

- Paul Robison, L.Ac.

What is the difference between this system and other systems?

Chinese astrology is a mathematically-derived system of calculations originally based on the movements of stars, seasonal patterns, and biological cycles. It's core principles and philosophy are uniquely indigenous to Central Asia and synthesize various Chinese numerological and divination methods including the Zhouyi, the 28 Lunar mansions, and the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches (紫微斗数_, n.d.). Similar to modern calendar systems used in the Western world, it is a simplified mathematical system based on the mathematical consistency of the celestial patterns.  Foremost expert on Chinese Astrology, Derek Walters provides further explanation of this form of 'calculation', clarifying (emphasis mine):

"Suàn mìng (算命) could be accurately translated as 'fortune-telling' in the old sense of the word 'tell' - meaning to reckon or calculate (as in 'bank teller').  However, the expression has such a specific meaning that it is now translated by the term 'Fate Calculation'.  This is a method of looking into future events by means of a complex system of numerology which is particularly Chinese, having no parallel in any other culture.  A by-product of astrology, its calculations are based directly on the calendar rather than the astronomical events on which the calendar is based.  The reasons for its creation stem from the fact that Grand Astrology was reserved for the Imperial Court, and there was a demand for a Lesser Astrology which could be used to determine the destinies of the common people.  Although the use of tables of planetary positions was forbidden on pain of death, it seemed to some astrologers that so regular and ordered were the motions of the Heavens that it was no longer necessary to observe them. In this, of course, the Fate Calculators differed from the Heaven Watchers, who discovered and recorded such events as comets, novae - and the mysterious Ch'i. In fact, the criteria of Fate Calculation were entirely numerical. The Stem and Branch of the year is a notional figure, independent of the calendar, and the same is true of the Stem and Branch of the day. But the Branch of the hour is tenuously related to an astronomical event - the length of the day, itself determined by the position of the Earth relative to the Sun.  Similarly, the Branch for the month is determined by the progress of the Earth round the Sun, the Branch changing at (nearly) every New Moon.  Cheng Hsuan AD 127-200, in his commentaries to the Shih Ching (Book of Poetry) speaks of lucky and unlucky years, seasons, months, days, stars, and lunar phases.  Thus, the foundation for the discipline were known in Han (Dynasty) times, but it was not until the T'ang (Dynasty) that it became the exact system which it has remained to this day." (The Complete Guide to Chinese Astrology, p.273, © 1987 Derek Walters)

The classical Chinese astrological viewpoint looks at and reveals meaning from the data derived from the calculations (for more information on classical Chinese astronomy, see The International Dunhuang Project's 'Chinese Sky' resources).  Polestar astrology, and specifically Ziwei Doushu looks at the interplay of an individual's relative fate and freedom - the dance of a person's character (tendencies/capacities) and the cycles of freedom-fate (opportunities / restrictions).  It recognizes that we are born into a mixture of predetermined and undetermined circumstances and that these can be read by a system of calculations and then utilized as a road map into the future.


We can generally explain this by saying:  in some areas of life (house/palace), there may be a 'heavy' fate, which can be 'good', i.e. supportive influences that help a person achieve freedom, e.g. a person has strong predetermined relationships with particular people that help them. Or this 'heavy' fate can be 'bad', e.g. a person may have a lot to 'unravel' (e.g. a difficult childhood, uncaring parents, learning disability, compulsivity, self-absorption, indecision, self-doubt and so forth).  Other times an individual has an area of life (house/palace) that has what is considered a 'light' fate and is free from predetermined likelihoods of a 'story' - there is no 'karmic obstruction'; they are less restricted, allowing relative openness, gracefulness, and opportunity in those areas or periods of time in life.  Ziwei Doushu illuminates a person's life as a dance of obligation and easiness, success and failure, insight or delusion, self-realization or self-destruction, and this is why understanding these patterns in your own life can be so valuable.

From a purely scientific view, this whole ritual and exercise is a useful reflective tool with a historical and cultural flavor to it.  Statistical analysis and research has been done using large data-sets out of China to determine if there is any validity to this patterned view of a year's influence on an individual or a group's life.  Perhaps surprisingly, the research has shown that there is some observable pattern of success associated with signs/years that are presumed to be more successful.  This research may reveal cultural biases that generates society-wide behavioral changes which generate self-fulfilling beliefs, but it does tell us that there are complex and valuable insights to be gained from looking at various multi-dimensional impacts of one's context in the time, place, and societal context within which we find ourselves.



"I have always felt that my life was a struggle. I could not understand the “why” or “how” of my circumstances. I am 50 years old, and I started getting interested in Chinese Astrology just a few months ago and I knew I had to see Michael Brown. He came very highly recommended. Michael pretty much summed up my life and my personality during our session and after such an accurate reading, I learned a few things.

1. I don’t need to be so hard on myself since this is my fate.
2. I could learn to let go and trust because I understood there were some higher powers at play in my life.
3. He showed me how to use the abundant aspects of my fate to help the areas where I struggle.


My past has been validated and I am reassured for my future that I am on the right path. A load has been lifted."

- Deborah Chong, MD

What can I expect from a reading?

When we prepare a polestar fate calculation, we provide a copy of the chart which is delivered to the client at the time of the reading. We record the reading via Zoom, provide a 2-3 page summary of your Ming House, provide a Zhou Yi reading, and provide you with the recording. We set aside about 1 to 1.5 hours to review your chart and answer questions. We go over your character as determined by your Ba Zi/Four Pillars, followed by each of the houses and then a general overview of the patterns observed, strategies to consider in resolving fate, and themes that may provide deeper insight.  The primary houses cover majors areas of life and are as follows:

  • Ming/Destiny - life-story, character, behavioral patterns, overall themes

  • Childhood/Sibling - childhood relationships, childhood friends and mentors

  • Spouse/Partner - romantic relationships, marriage partnerships

  • Children/Offspring - likelyhood of having children, fertility, relationship with children

  • Wealth/Money - ability to generate income, relationship to cash and debt

  • Health/Body - longevity, inherited patterns of health/disease, relationship to medical care

  • Travel/Career - career path, work opportunities, relationship to world as professional

  • Assistants/Allies - relationship with or as a assistant(s), service, customers/clientele

  • Superiors/Career - fulfillment of career path, relationship to bosses, mentors, leadership

  • Property/Home - relationship to physical space/place, ownership of property

  • Pleasure - experiences of enjoyment/leisure, relationship to happiness and culture

  • Ancestors/Parents - connections to the past, emotional & genetic inheritance, family as a larger self

Michael asks that you sign up for a Natal Reading first, before requesting an Annual Transit reading.

When possible, please have your birth certificate date and time for a most accurate assessment.

Astro Ref

¹ From Chinese Mathematical Astrology by Ho Peng Yoke, 2003:


"In time to come the Daoists adopted the method described in the Zhang Guo
xingzong. We find in the Daoist Tripitaka, the Daozang, a book entitled Ziwei doushu (Numbers According to Ziwei and the Plough) which mentions the signs of the zodiac and lists the 12 houses exactly in the same order as the Zhang Guo xingzong. It is remarkable that, apart from the name of the 12th house, the order and names of the houses in this version of Ziwei doushu are quite similar to those given in the fourteenth century Ming text Mingyi tianwenshu (Ming Translation of an Astrological Text), which was a Chinese translation of a version of the Madkal by the Persian astronomer Keiyar. It gives further evidence of the link between the Ziwei doushu method in the Daozang with Ptolemaic astrology via Persia where the Zhang Guo xingzong, from which the Daoist text was probably derived, has already acknowledged its Persian source in its own text" (p. 75).

"As long as there have been Heaven, Earth, and Human Beings, human beings have sought to divine the way of Heaven and Earth.  Whether a basic curiosity or a fundamental need to survive, divination is a part of human life.  It lies behind all the world's religions (diviners becoming shaman, priests, prophets, and mystics) and today behind the new religion of scientism ('proving' by statistical research data).  In the broadest understanding, divination is the foundation of human culture in it's various forms - from fortune telling to scientific research, from literature to mysticism, divination is either the method of culture (jazz) or the record of divined precedents (classical)."  - Ming Liu



"I highly recommend Michael for Polestar readings. I had my second one with him a few weeks ago and I am so grateful for his time and expertise. His explanations are easily applicable and his interpretations illuminating. I left feeling a sense of knowledge, empowerment and appreciation for the subtleties of Chinese wisdom-sciences.


- Sara Leung, R.D.

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