The 12 stages of growth

4 thoughts on “The 12 stages of growth”

  1. Thank you for your article. I noticed that Bing & Wu are the same as well as Ding & Ji. Will you clarify this for me please?

    1. Hi Carl, sorry for the late reply but I have been away from this blog for several weeks.

      The reason why the Fire and Earth phases have a similar progression is justified by the position of the Earth in the Chinese Compass as a phase of transition (a centre that splits in four sections occupying the four directions NE, SE, SW, NW associated with the branches Chou, Chen, Wei, Xu); hence the Earth is not associated with any of the four cardinal directions. Moreover, the cycle called the “12 stages of growth” 十二长生 works only according to 4 directions arranged in 3 stages (the so called three unities) this is why, as you can notice, the metal phase is born at fire branch-Si; which is like saying that Metal is born in Fire. However, since (a) the Earth phase is predominantly associated with the SW direction (there are many good reasons for this: cosmological and astronomical, yang/yin transition ext…), (b) in the sheng-creation cycle Fire is the mother of Earth and (c) stem-Ji is an additional hidden stem of the branch Wu, Fire (stem Bing and Ding) and Earth (stem Wu and Ji) phases were given the same life cycle hence the progression in the table above.

      I hope this helps

  2. Thank you for this interesting article. Could you explain how to interpret this stages of growth? What does it means about the person? Thank you

    1. Dear Carole, sorry for the very late reply I have been so busy that I forgot to check my website.

      This article is mostly about how each of the five phases, and more precisely each yin and yang aspect of the five phases, expresses itself and develops through 12 progressive life stages. Every living process is born, grows and after having reached its maximum development, starts declining and eventually dies; then it is forgotten and goes back to a state of void that leads to a new time of gestation/birth. This means that according to the influence of the season of birth (branch of the month), each yin/yang phase of the four pillar chart have different strengths. For example Wood is supple and strong when it is born in winter, even stronger when reaches full development in spring, declines in summer, dies in late summer and it is in void in autumn when it is dry and brittle. This means that two people with strong wood features but born in different seasons are going to express their wood traits differently (i.e. an autumnal wood would be less confident and possibly more fragile and introspective than a springy wood).

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