The following is taken from the “4P Bootcamp” manual.  This is an update of an earlier version published a few years ago.

I wrote this because a software developer wants me to recommend his 4P software to my students.  The software is above average but the English translations of 4P terms are horrible and confusing, like translating day-master as “self” and bi-jian also as “self”.  So you will find more than one “self” in a chart.

Let’s begin:

There are no commonly agreed translations of 4P terms.  Different schools or teachers translate 4P terms according to his/her personal preferences.  There are three major rules used in translations:
1. Literal translations: This simply gives a faithful and very
often, horrible (in terms of culture shock) translations of the terms. For examples, “shi-shen” is translated as “eating god”, “qi-sha” becomes “7-killings”, “shang-guan” becomes “hurting officials or officers” and the likes. Problem with literal translations is that it may bias student perceptions towards certain term as “bad” or negative because it sounds horrible. In reality, every one of the “10 gods” or ‘transformation stars” (my terminology) can be positive or negative depending on the composition of the 4P chart. Another common misconception is the ubiquitous uses of the term “god” in 4P, like “useful god” (yong shen), “enmity god” (chou shen) and the like, making 4P sound “religious” when it is actually more statistical and logical in nature.

2. Pin-yin translations: This gives a transliteration of the 4P terms like “shi-shen”, “zheng-guan” and etc. It takes some time to get used to these foreign terms. But it is great when you go back to the
original Chinese texts or switching teachers/school.

3. Translation based on interpreted meanings: This translates the 4P terms based on the understanding of the translator. For example, shi-shen and shang-guan are translated as “output” stars. But different people have different understanding of the terms, so the translations can sometimes be
confusing and shocking as well. Good translations under this should be “value-free” or NOT “value-laden”. It should also give meanings that are faithful or close to the original meanings of the terms. The translated terms should not influence the perception of the readers and students.

4. Mixing of all of the above
My personal bias is trying to make the translated terms as neutral as possible, so as not influence the reader’s perception.  Each of these 10 “stars” or “gods” can be positive or negative depending on the combination of the natal chart and luck periods.  Ancient Chinese writers used the term “god” pretty loosely to draw attention.  In fact, the meaning has nothing to do with religion or gods or spirits.
In this course, we use both pin-yin and interpreted meanings approach.  The following table shows some major terms as translated by different schools:
Note:  top row is the convention used in 4P Bootcamp
4P TERMS: Stem/ Branch interactions
Five Stem
Combinations (
— combinations
Stem Clashes (天干相剋 )“ke”
— clashes and countering
Six Branch
Combinations (
地支六合) ”he”
— combinations
Six Branch Clashes (地支六冲) “chong”
— clashes
Branch 3-Meetings   (地支三会) “san hui”
— frame, directional combinations, regional combinations
Branch 3-Unities (地支三合)  “san he”
— 3-harmony, triangular branch combinations, 60-degrees combinations
Half 3-Unities (半地支三合) “san he”
— semi/half 3-harmony
Branch Six Harms (地支六害) “hai”
— harms
Earthly Branch Six Damages (地支六破) “po”
— destruction
Branch 3-Penalties (地支三刑) “san xing”
— punishment
Branch Self-penalties (自刑) “zi xing”
— self-punishment
4P TERMS: Miscellaneous
Favorable element (“Yong Shen”)用神
useful god”: the element that a chart needs most
Unfavorable element (“Ji Shen” )忌神
annoying god”:  the element that hurts a chart most
Supporting element (“Xi Shen” )喜神
happy god”:  the element that nurtures the favorable element
Vengeful element (“Chou Shen” )仇神
“vengeance god”:  the element that nurtures the unfavorable element
Trivial element (“Xian Shen” )閑神
“trivial god”:  the element that does not affect Day-master much
Transformation platform (“Fa Shen”) 化神
— “transformation god”:  the element needed for combination and transformation to take place
Profiles/ Chart type
Extreme strong专旺格
w/ Extreme wood 曲直格, Extreme fire 炎上格, Extreme earth 稼墙格,
Extreme metal 從革格, Extreme water 潤下格
— ultra-strong
Extreme weak 從弱格
w/ Follow wealth , Follow sha (power) 杀格, Follow offspring 從兒格,
Follow the powerful 從势格
— ultra-weak
Follow the strong 從强格
— follow strength
Qi-transformation 化氣格
JIA-JI EARTH transformation 甲己化土格
YI-GENG METAL transformation 乙庚化金格
BING-SHEN WATER transformation 丙辛化水格
DING-REN WOOD transformation 丁壬化木格
WU-GUI FIRE transformation 戊癸化火格
— qi-transformation
 Happy Chinese New Year!

Ken Lai

“Destiny/Luck Mgmt. w/ Bazi- Basic/ Advanced w/18 hr. HD video each
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“Feng Shui Toolbox: Sha-qi, Health/Wealth & Career” w/ 7 hr. HD video
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