Year of the Ox: What A Feng Shui Master Taught Me About Battling Fan Tai Sui
In Chinese astrology, when the Chinese zodiac cycle circles back to your animal sign at ages 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72 and (hopefully) 84, 96 and 108, you’ll suffer from fan tai sui, a superstition that believes you’ll have a bumpy, unlucky year ahead. And it’s not just the Ox who has to be careful—star signs who are in conflict with the Ox will also be facing Fan Tai Sui. For this year, that refers to the horse, dog and dragon zodiac signs.
While I’m not usually a superstitious person, I wasn’t about to take any chances. After all, bad luck is literally scheduled into my year, and if it’s possible, I’d like to avoid all the promised sicknesses, financial losses, relationship problems and disputes please.
Incense and fortune telling sticks
I decided to turn to the experts, and made my way to Wong Tai Sin temple, a well-known temple dedicated to Wong Tai Sin, a deity known for his healing powers. Once there, I went through the standard practices: offering incense, praying for better luck, and kau chim (求籤)—the old-age fortune telling practice where you kneel in front of an altar with a cup of numbered sticks and pray while shaking the cup until a singular stick falls out. The number on the stick represents one of the oracles, providing an answer to the question you asked during prayer.
While I didn’t have a particular question in mind, I went into kau chim with the wish that everything in my life will go smoothly this year. After some intense shaking of the cup, a stick with the number 52 fell out—a “middle” stick, which means there would be a mixture of both good and bad luck.
I was directed to a Feng Shui master who could interpret the stick for me further, and found Master Tsang, a Feng Shui master at the temple who specialises in all things related to Chinese astrology and fortune telling.
The fortune stick explained
Each fortune comes with a story, and mine is a tale about when a primordial being named Pangu visited Earth during a time when humans weren’t created. During his visit, he separated heaven and earth, creating the in-between space for humans to live.
Much like the in-between, my luck will hover in the middle as well, explained Master Tsang. “You’ll be under a lot of pressure at work, and will be surrounded by lots of gossip in your daily life,” he says. “However, after June of this year, the pressure will ease at work and in your personal life.”
Aside from the slight worry about my work, everything else seems like it’ll be more or less stable. However, Master Tsang did note that I’ll be going through fan tai sui, and reminded me to follow the following core steps to invite better luck in my life this year.
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Facing fan tai sui this year? Here's how to minimise your bad luck
Visit a temple
Visit a Taisui temple to pay respects to Tai Sui to ask for the God’s blessing. You can prepare a package containing a piece of paper with your name and date written on it. Pray, and kau tau (磕頭), which means bowing your head to the ground to all of the 60 Tai Sui Gods to show respect, and burn the package afterwards.
Avoid funerals and hospitals visits
Funerals and hospitals are the hotspot for evil spirits, which will add on to the bad luck you’re already suffering due to fan tai sui. Attending funerals and visiting patients at the hospital are highly discouraged, and if it’s an unavoidable situation such as a family member’s death, try and avoid seeing the body and wait outside the room after offering incense.
Attend more “red” events
To absorb more positive energy, attend more “red”, joyous events such as weddings and birthday celebrations.
Carry a Tai Sui protective amulet
While wearable jade objects such as pendants, earrings and rings are recommended, other Tai Sui protective amulets are also able to help protect yourself against Tai Sui’s fury. Many temples also sell protective blessing cards that you can tuck away in your wallet to give yourself 24/7 protection against fan tai sui.
See also: How To Create Good Feng Shui In The Year Of The Ox: Expert Tips From Thierry Chow