The Arts of Divination...

are many and diverse in Chinese culture and in folk magic, ranging from the simplest to extremely complex.

On this page we will discuss some of the methods used, some are very well know and others not so much.

One method is shown on the left. Several objects , each representing a specific principle are places in a bowl, basket or sieve. A special talisman is burned and mantras uttered. The items are then shaken and poured out onto a flat surface and read by the diviner. In the bowl are the ruler, Five Thunder Block, scissors, threads, moon blocks, two white chopsticks and a red one, and a Chinese wine yeast ball. This method is peculiar to Maoshan and is usually used in a Temple or Shrine context to ascertain a person's problems of a spiritual nature.



Literally means 'Eight Characters' because it uses eight numbers derived from a person's date and time of birth.

Bazi is sometimes thought of as an astrology system but this is quite incorrect as it is only loosely based on certain stars in a symbolic manner. However like astrology it does look at certain combinations and relationships of factors based on the Chinese Calendar.

Due to its relative simplicity Bazi is one of the first systems learned in Maoshan, and will set up the student for more complex systems of divination.

We do try to avoid modern 'popular' Bazi which tends towards interpreting Bazi principles with modern pop psychology which was never the proper method of Bazi reading.

Purple Star Astrology


This is probably the favoured method of astrology among Maoshan and other folk magical schools and is considered a higher and more Imperial art than Bazi.

Purple Star Astrology is based on the movements of the Big Dipper, the Controller of Fate and experience shows it to be far more profound and accurate than the more simplistic Bazi.

To reflect its profundity however, Purple Star Astrology does take much more time to master.


六爻 Liu Yao 梅花 Mei Hua

Most westerners are still reliant on the 'toss coins and read a book' method of Yi Jing popularised by Carl Jung and countless authors in the west.

However in China and among Taoists and folk magicians in particular the Liu Yao(Six Lines) and Mei Hua (Plum Flower) methods are far more popular than the toss and read method .

Both Mei Hua and Liu Yao dispense with the text and lines of the Book of Zhou and rely on intuition and interpretation by combining with the Chinese Calendar, numerology and so on.

Mei Hua is the more intuitive and can involve reading the oracle by the way a client moves, the first word spoken, the passing of birds, the shape of a cloud , the chance seeing of numbers and colours and so on.

Liu Yao is a more complex system that interprets each line of a hexagram in terms of the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches and therefore the Elements and other factors to provide a highly accurate reading.



Qi men Dun Jia is difficult to directly translate to English, but a rough translation would be Astonishing Gate Escaping Method. Qi men has a magical origin, though its associated magical techniques are being lost in favour of more mundane and quasi-psychological interpretive methods of quite a recent evolution in its history.

In legend Qi Men was a gift from the Goddess Jiu Tian Xuan Nu and was a method of divining the favourable or unfavourable flow of Qi in the Three Realms plus methods of magically escaping dangerous situations or placing one's self in a favourable position and the opponent in an unfavourable one.

Here at Jasper Lake we prefer to teach the traditional method and its magical system, which is still tied to Jiu Tian Xuan Nu and the so called Spirits of Time and Space, the Liu Jia and Liu Ding.



Da Liu Ren is again difficult to translate but refers to three figures in the cycle of the calendar of sixty.

Whereas Qi men concerns strategy according to the flow of forces, Da Liu Ren looks directly at how phenomena are generated, modify and pass away, and is very accurate in prognosis.

As well as the Big Dipper, Da Liu Ren uses the 28 Lunar Mansions and the Twelve Moon Generals to make its amazingly accurate predictions.

Interestingly Da Liu Ren went on to form the divinatory and magical core of Onmyodo in Japan. Da Liu Ren is only taught after some competency in the arts above mentioned.