This article will only cover the symbolic meaning of a “Penalty”. To learn more about the fascinating and comprehensive system of BaZi (or Four Pillars of Destiny), please read here. Or click below for articles covering other symbolic meanings.

penaltyWhen evaluating a person’s Four Pillars of Destiny or BaZi, we look for additional meanings to give us better and deeper insights into a person’s life. In a way, it helps us understand why they are the way they are, and we can learn to accept and embrace them for who they are. Similarly, this also helps us understand why certain events materialize in one’s life.

If you think about it, there are certain triggers in life that have, and will, cause us to question the energetic flow of our personal luck or fortune. There are ups and there are downs. Penalty, for instance, is one of the more interesting symbolic meanings in light of the ups and the downs because it is responsible for hardship. Yes, hardship. While Nobleman offers a more positive, supportive, and comfortable feeling, penalty is quite the opposite, and it is considered more serious than a clash.

Generally speaking, penalty is the root cause of worry and hidden danger. Grand Master Raymond Lo often reminds me that our birthdays have hidden messages. And a penalty can be hidden inside our birthdays, revealing additional messages for us to pay closer attention.

You may wonder why a penalty is considered more threatening. To put it simply, it is actually normal for everyone to experience a clash (and every living person does), but not everyone will have a penalty. There are many different forms of penalty and the one I am highlighting below is more precarious. This one, in particular, is called the 3-Combine Penalty and it is considered to be more dangerous because it is harder to form. It takes three animals to formulate. Please remember, the cause of penalty will manifest differently for different people; therefore, a personalized one-on-one BaZi reading is necessary to understand the impact.

A 3-Combine Penalty has only two pairs. And when each pair of three animals (or elements) connect, they form and create a strong and an unfavorable element related to the Earth Element and Fire Element. Hence, the pairs are called Earth Penalty and Fire Penalty and they look like this:

Earth Penalty = Ox 丑 + Goat + Dog

Fire Penalty    = Tiger + Snake + Monkey

Some people are already born with a “half combine” penalty in their chart, meaning two of the three animals already exist in their chart, and they are simply waiting for the third one to show up to complete the penalty formula. Here is an example of someone who already has the Goat and Ox in their chart. So whenever the Dog appears, the Earth Penalty will connect and it will be the culprit that creates diseases, adversity, suffering, troubles, worries, and misfortune.

half combine

Similarly, this is an example of a half combine Fire Penalty. This chart has a Tiger and Snake already. That means this chart is just waiting for the Monkey to show up to complete the formula.

Fire penalty

And for some people, like Julia Roberts’ BaZi chart below, are born with the string of penalty already in their chart. In her case, she has the Earth Penalty = Ox 丑 + Goat + Dog .


That’s why, certain things happen when they do and some are bigger and more dramatic than the rest. There are truly no coincidences or randomness. Everything is a cycle. And everything can be explained by BaZi. Surely, you cannot physically stop a certain Element from arriving. For instance, the year of the Monkey 申 will come no matter what you do, just like all the other celestial animals. And when these Elements show up and connect, they will have different meanings and influences to your chart, one way or another.

It’s true, some things are predetermined at birth (i.e., fate), but the anomaly to this analysis depends on what YOU choose to do. Therefore, the element of mystery still lies within a person’s choice. If you have such a penalty in your chart, you do not have to resign to fate; instead, you can choose how to navigate through these times with a more positive, receptive, careful, and thoughtful attitude, and proactively manage times of hardship with healthier choices.

If you’re interested in understanding your personal BaZi, please contact Feng Shui by Jen for a consultation. Remote services available.

Other Symbolic Meanings:


Peach Blossom

Traveling Star


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