Tai Yi Shen Shu

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A rendering of the position of the symbols and counts of No. 1 Yang Dun array for Tai Yi divination. The entire series consists of 72 Yang Dun and 72 Yin Dun arrays for Tai Yi.

Tai Yi Shen Shu (simplified Chinese: 太乙神数; traditional Chinese: 太乙神數; pinyin: Tài Yǐ Shén Shù) is one of the three 三式 predictive arts from China, the others being Da Liu Ren and Qi Men Dun Jia. These arts are involved in divination and astrology. The San Shi or Three Styles 三式 are considered China's highest metaphysical arts.

In general, Da Liu Ren is considered the highest of the three arts. Da Liu Ren was used extensively from the time of the Song Dynasty until the late Qing. Tai Yi Shen Shu is used to predict macroscopic events like wars or the meaning of supernovae. One form of Tai Yi Shen Shu has been popularized over the centuries to predict personal fortunes.

Genghis Khan, emperor of China, referred to Tai Yi at one point to decide whether or not his planned invasion of Japan would succeed. When the Tai Yi count indicated that invasion would prove unsuccessful, Khan decided not to invade Japan that year. Numerous similar examples abound in classical Chinese literature, especially among the dynastic histories.


The methodology is quite similar to the other arts with a rotating heavenly plate and fixed earthly plate. While the art makes use of the 8 trigrams as well as the 64 hexagrams as a foundation, analysis is conducted from the Tai Yi Cosmic Board and the array of symbols found thereon, with special reference to the position of symbols in specific palaces. Important symbols include the Calculator, the Scholar, Tai Yi and Tai Yi, for example.

A number of spirits rotate around the sixteen palaces of the Tai Yi cosmic board, of which there are 72 cosmic boards for the Yin Dun period of each year, and 72 cosmic boards for the Yang Dun period of the year. The spirits land in different palaces with each configuration of the cosmic board. Each cosmic board contains a number of "counts" or numbers - the Host Count and the Guest Count taking primary importance over the Fixed Count.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Chinese Mathematical Astrology" by Ho Peng Yoke
  • "Tai Yi Divination" by Jack Sweeney*
  • "Tai Yi 72 Yang Dun Situations" by Jack Sweeney
  • "Tai Yi 72 Yin Dun Situations" by Jack Sweeney

External links[edit]

  • [www.phoenixanddragonfengshui.com/index.asp] Tai Yi Shen Shu website of Jack Sweeney.