Divination vs Astrology


Many are confused with the difference between Divination and Astrology. This happening is, I believe due to the blurring division or definition between the two arts. Let’s examine it’s initial roots.

In Chinese metaphysics, it is divided into 5 categories and hence sometimes referred to as 5 arts of Chinese metaphysics or in short Chinese Five Arts. They are namely:

  1. Divination 卜
  2. Astrology
  3. Physiognomy 相
  4. Medicine 医
  5. Mountains 山

Thus in the past they belong to different categories of study. However, today, modern practitioners use one art for multiple purposes causing the blurring of their true purposes.

Under Astrology category are Bazi 八字 and Purple star Astrology or Zi Wei Dou Shu while under Divination are arts like Plum blossom, Wen Wang coins, Yi Jing imagery, Qi Men Dun Jia, Da Liu Ren etc.

So what is the difference between them?

Divination

This are is mainly to provide us on the moment answer to our questions we have in mind or to know the weather in the near future to assist our planning. In the old days a victory in war is very dependent on weather. A smart military strategist can use it to find out when a fog is coming to use it to their advantage for example.

Example of Qi Men Dun Jia Chart

You probably hear of Zhu Ge Liang the great military strategist who won the battle of Red cliff by using fog to “borrow a thousand arrows” from Cao Cao and also “borrowing the Eastern wind” where he launched fire boats to crush Cao Cao navy after tricking them to tie their boats together.

Or sometimes when we are lost in search of something we look for signs or omen to find a hint as to where the item is. This we can use a suitable divination method. Sometimes we call it Augury.

Coin or Yarrow Stick Divination

Another useful tool of Divination is looking for lost items or person. Divination can provide clues as to which direction or what is the likely area of the lost person or item.

Astrology

We use astrology to calculate one’s life path from young till old age. We can know what is one’s life’s capacity, character, strengths, weaknesses and the long term problems in our life. Is one going to have a blissful marriage or a rocky marriage marred with divorces is one of the key strength of Astrology analysis.

A Bazi Chart

You can imagine like it gives us a glimpse of the bigger picture of our destiny.

So coming back to the story of Romance of the 3 Kingdom where the power struggle between Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Quan. At the end of the long struggle, Cao Cao who rules the kingdom of Wei while Sun Quan rules Wu state and Liu Bei rules the smallest state of Shu.

Liu Bei is the uncle of the dethroned emperor and despite was assisted by many great warriors such as Guan Yu (Guan Kong), Zhang Fei, Zao Yu and the great military strategist Zhu Ge Liang, did not managed to overthrow Cao Cao and had to be reduced to the smallest state. This happens because probably Liu Bei did not had the destiny to be a ruler.

Map of 3 Kingdom towards the end. Green is Zhu Ge Liang’s influenced state lead by Liu Bei while Red belongs to Cao Cao camp.

Each art has it’s inherent strength and weaknesses and thus one has to be clear what is your objective to determine the right tool to use. For example, if one wants to know the marriage life, then Astrology is a better tool to use versus Divination. However if one wants to know if he or she is going to meet some one attractive at tomorrow’s prom night perhaps a better choice of tool is Divination.

If you believe Character is Destiny then to understand oneself better, Astrology can provide a better answer.

Thus we can sum up that Divination is a like a photography while Astrology is like a Video clip.

In my next posting I will discuss between Divination and Feng Shui.

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