In March of 2015,  a Liaoning (遼寧 China) peasant Wang Cheng De (王承德 ) had dug up a 70 Kg. “Real Grand Duke”– a rare type of mushroom that is supposedly has many medicinal applications according to ancient Chinese medicine texts.  He had sold the mushroom for RMB$ 3 million (US$500k).


Peasant Wang and his Grand Duke mushroom


A close-up look of this Grand Duke mushroom

Unlike other people with sudden riches, Wang did not spend his new found fortune on luxuries nor speculate on stock market.  Instead, he had invested RMB$1.5 million to build a vacation resort, RMB$260k on 50 donkeys, RMB$180k on a new car, the rest of the money is invested on a fish pond to raise fishes and ducks.


Wang’s donkey stable



Wang raised ducks and fishes


Wang’s favorite pastime is looking at his fishes and ducks from this tree house


Guests at Wang’s vacation resort

Wang is a typical industrious peasant who likes to work.

In the summer of 2017, a giant flood had destroyed Wang’s resort and fish pond.  His fishes and ducks were disappeared in a flash.  Wang did not even have a place to stay but to live on his tree house.  His capital equipment is gone and with no funding source.


Wang lived in the tree house after the giant flood

Wang had fallen in depression.  He did some soul searching and reflection in the tree house.  He had decided to sell his remaining herds of about 40 donkeys at cost and raised RMB$200k.

He used the money to buy some pigs and raise them in the donkey stables.  He also bought 2000 chicklings to raise them up as “free range chickens“.  At the same time he formed a co-op for cultivating mushrooms.


Wang examines his free range chickens


Wang bought eggs of other exotic birds


Wang raises pheasant too


Wang feeds his pigs


Wang once again is full of hope for his future.  He said by next year at around this time, he will have 10k free range chickens and a rebuilt fish pond.

He is unfazed by the wrath of Grand Duke.


Grand Duke comes in many forms.  Grand Duke can represent a direction not to be disturbed in Feng Shui or a time marker that may clash the birth year of some people.

The “Grand Duke” here is one type of Ganoderma or 肉靈芝 in Chinese.  Because of its rarity, it is enshrined with many mysterious medicinal functions.

According to traditional belief, this Grand Duke mushroom should not be touched or moved except for saving life【太歲勿動除非用作藥材救人】.  When discovered, Grand Duke mushroom is enshrined and worshiped.

According to legend, Grand Duke mushroom is the guardian spirit of the land.  If it is removed, the land in which it resides will lose its “earth energy“.  The pictures below are different variations of the Grand Duke mushroom.


This 1000 years old Grand Duke mushroom worth US$30M!


A suspected “Grand Duke” mushroom


This Grand Duke was dug from a field


White Grand Duke is more valuable

Ken Lai

© 2017 Ken Lai, all rights reserved.

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Grand Duke or Tai Sui was probably started as an astronomical concept and evolved into an important metaphysical construct.  For example, in Feng Shui, Grand Duke (GD) represents a direction and space associated with a time frame.  GD is also an important time concept in date-selection.  For example, in a Mao year (rabbit, like 2011), you do not want to choose a You (rooster) day for any important activity because the day clashes Grand Duke.

Tai Sui originally refers to the imaginary or invisible star that orbits around the zodiac in opposite direction of the Jupiter or from west to east along the zodiac.  Sui Xing or yearly star is the visible Jupiter which revolves around the sun once in about 12 years.  The Zodiac is divided into 12 segments and each segment is named after an earthly branch (Chinese Zodiac animal).  Orbit of Tai Sui is assigned with 10 heavenly stems for each year.  Combining the two we have the 60 Tai Sui or Grand Dukes, which fits the 60-years cycle of Chinese calendar system.


The idea of Grand Duke was based on the strong energy field created by Jupiter that is balanced by the imaginary Sui Xing (yin-yang balance principle).  It was not easy to be understood by average people, especially when literacy was not widespread during ancient time.  By assigning a name and face to each of the 60 binomials (GD), people can conceptualize and GD easier than as an energy or qi.

According to Daoism, 60 GDs are the immortals from the North Big Dipper constellation, ruled by Dou-mou , the mother of 60 GDs.   These immortals were born in different historical periods to show and teach people the Dao and righteousness.  The personalities associated with 60 GDs were drawn from actual historical figures who were characterized by high moral principles, civic spirit, patriotism and compassion.  They were mostly pious government officials or loyal and patriotic military generals.  All the 60 GD personalities were taken from pre-1644 time period  (before Qing Dynasty).  So we can deduce the personalization of GD came after 1644. This is relatively “new” in terms of the 5000 years of Chinese history.

According to Daoism,  60 GDs, are the emanations of Dao (“The Way”).  On human level, GD handles the “fortunes and misfortunes, including health and sickness” of people according to their pre-determined destiny and personal choices/behaviors after birth.   GD does not “punish” but simply executes what are scheduled and arrange rewards/disasters based on people’s merits..

However, Daoism also stresses “my destiny is determined by myself and not heaven and earth“.  It holds that if we do charity work and practice kindness,  GD will protect us from misfortune.

According to Daoism, every individual is under the constant observations of two GDs.  One is his/her “Personal GD” or the one’s birth year GD.  For example, I was born in 1955.  GD of 1955 is General Yang Sen.  Yang is my personal GD who is in charge of my life and death events.  He is the Chinese version of your personal guardian angel (note:  there is a daoist method of harnessing the power of one’s Personal GD for success and avoidance of misfortunes).  The second GD is the “Annual GD” which changes every year.  Annual GD is the “ruler of the year” who is in charge of your annual luck and events.

Grand Duke statues inside Qing Shan Temple, Hong Kong

The idea of Personal and Annual GDs to keep track of your good and bad deeds and administer rewards and disincentives accordingly may be scary enough to make some people kow-tow or worship GD.  But some people may treat it as another bogeyman story.  How can Daoism draw a direct relationship of GD to every person on earth?

With Chinese metaphysics, it is easy to accomplish because almost every Chinese metaphysics subject is associated with heavenly stems and earthly branches.  60 Grand Dukes is based on the 60 Jia-zi calendar system.  This means it is in terms of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals.  People in China are born with an Zodiac animal sign.  The basic interaction rules of branches like 6-clashes, penalty, and combinations are turned into personal relationship between individual and GD.

Basically, if one’s animal sign has any interaction with Annual GD’s animal sign, is generically called “violate GD” (fan tai sui) with clashing GD being the most serious violation that could bring major misfortune, sickness and even death.

At least once every three years one will “violate” GD in some ways and once every 6 years a major clash with GD.  This really brings a major reason to appease GD.  GD worship is an important income source for most Daoist Temples.  Even some Buddhist temples put up Grand Duke Halls to draw in worshipers.

Stems and branches, the “a-b-c” of Chinese Metaphysics, are multidimensional concepts.  They can represent directions, time, seasons, shapes and the likes.  In other words, they can jump or change to different dimensions, be it time, space, seasons and etc..  So for Feng Shui, GD becomes a directional space with strong energy that should not be disturbed or misfortunes will happen.  For example, in Dragon year (2012), GD will be in the Chen mountain (SE1).  One should not have construction or excessive movement there.

For date-selection systems, the logic is similar to Feng Shui except in this case, GD is in terms of time dimensions– year, month, day and hour.  For example, in Chen year (2012), you don’t want to chose a time (month, day, hour) that has the Xu (dog) sign.

The GD concept and its applications are pervasive in Chinese metaphysics.  It is used in Feng Shui, date-selections, Bazi and more.  The origin of it may be just from the 12 branches/ animals!

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The Year of Rabbit will start at Spring Solstice (Li-chun) or Feb. 4. According to Chinese custom, a new ruler of the year, or Grand Duke (Tai-sui) will come for each year. For 2011 or Xin-mao (metal-rabbit) year, the Grand Duke is General Fan Ning.

For 2011, Grand Duke sits on Mao mountain or the East (E2). If your house faces E2, it is considered “clashing Grand Duke”. The residents may face accidents, obstacles or losing wealth. The cure is minimizing movements in the facing and put a Grand Duke talisman (see samples here) facing E2.

On the other hand, if your house sits on Mao mountain, it is considered having the support of Grand Duke. The tenants will do better in business ventures and competition. Historically speaking, countries at war with Grand Duke at their back are likely to win. But if your house or office does not sit on Mao mountain, you may use a Grand Duke Talisman at your back side as support (not recommended for people clashing GD for the current year).

In terms of individuals, people who have something to do with current year’s Grand Duke are generally considered “violating Grand Duke“. This “violation” can be distinguished in 3 ways:

1. People who have the same animal sign as the Grand Duke are considered “on duty” or “zhi 植” with Grand Duke. For 2011 , people who were born in rabbit years (1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999) are “on duty” with Grand Duke. The symptoms will be minor sickness, emotionally imbalanced and minor misfortunes.

2. People whose animal sign clashes the Grand Duke are “chong” or clash Grand Duke. For 2011, people with rooster animal sign (born 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993) are clashing Grand Duke for the year. This is the most serious Grand Duke violation that may cause:

  • career changes (promotion or demotion)
  • moving
  • frequent travels
  • major monetary losses or bankruptcy
  • death in the family
  • major sickness/ surgery
  • accident or death

3. People who have animal sign that “penalizes” Grand Duke. For 2011, people who have rat (zi) animal sign (born 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996) penalize Grand Duke. Normally, penalizing is less severe than clashing Grand Duke. However, zi-mao penalty is one of the infamous “Three Penalties”in Bazi or 4-Pillars of Destiny.  This becomes more a Bazi problem than Grand Duke violation.  Zi-mao penalty normally jinxes the close relatives of the person involved.

One way to cure Grand Duke violation is to carry the Grand Duke talisman shown here. However, a mere reproduction of this talisman does not have the divine energy to fix the problem. A talisman needs to be “activated” or “benedicted” by a Daoist teacher or priest to be effective. A benediction alone easily costs US$60. Here is the special offer– for a donation of US$30 to the charitable organization listed below (or any of your local legitimate charity), I will send you an individually benedicted and empowered Grand Duke Talisman. You simply forward me the email acknowledgment of your donation (or scanned image of the donation receipt).  No money will go through me. You send the donation DIRECTLY to the charity.  Your donation must be dated on or after Dec. 1, 2010 to qualify.   I will pay the postage for sending the talisman to you.

The followings are some suggested charities:




American Red Cross (you may donate to your local Red Cross)

To calculate the equivalent of US$30 to your local currency:


Online currency calculator


If you need more than one Grand Duke Talismans, here is the discount schedule:

  • one talisman US$30 donation  (US$5 if you are unemployed)
  • two talismans US$50 donation  ($10 if unemployed)
  • three talismans US$60 donation ($15 if unemployed)

Talisman that is grounded with a charity event works more effectively because it has an exchange of one type of energy to protection energy.

Please forward your donation receipt with the talisman recipient name and address to:



This unique talisman is custom-made and invokes many powerful deities for protection and blessing. You cannot buy it anywhere. Each talisman is individually activated, blessed and stamped with the red seal of the ultimate powerful Daoist deity. It is further blessed with your name and address (or city/ country). Here are the inscriptions inside the talisman:


口奄om勅令chi-lingtài ___nián __

星君xīng-jūnzhènshǒupíngāngāng *

By the order of Buddha: Xin-Mao Year Grand Duke General Fan Ning to station here

rì * yuè * Sun * Moon

tàiyáng星君xīng-jūn * tàiyīn星君xīng-jūn *

Deity of Grand-Yang (Sun) * Deity of Southern Galaxy


Order 6-Jia Celestial Generals: order Celestial Officials to draw treasures and grant blessings (to this family)

勅令chi-lingjiāzháiguāngmíng *

Order to guard and secure the righteousness of this family

léi雷雷雷雷雷 * Thunder (5)

niánquánzāizhīhuò *

There will be no disaster throughtout the year

léi雷雷雷雷雷 * Thunder (5)

yuèyǒutàiláizhīqìng *

There will be good news and celebrations every month

běidǒu星君xīng-jūn * tàiyīn星君xīng-jūn *

Deity of Northern Galaxy * Deity of Grand-Yin (moon)


Order 6-Ding Celestial soldiers, to draw wealth and blessing (for this family). Also order granting security and peace to this family.


Thank you for reading this message!

Happy New Year!

Ken Lai

updated 12/31, correction made on people with rooster sign will clash GD in 2010.

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Wu-zi mouse year is only 2 months away. You may want to
know which directions are not suitable for construction or
‘earth-moving’ for next year, so you can do it before this
year is over.

Wu-zi year is another not-so-friendly year like bing-xu
year for some people.

Wu-earth combines with gui-water to form fire. Adding more
fire to some 4P charts may mean caner or heart related

Wu-earth muddies up ren-water. People with Ren-water
day-master may go nuts or make stupid decisions if attacked
by wu-earth.

Zi-water clashes wu-fire. People with wu day-branch may
have traffic accident or surgery or martial problems.

Zi-water and mao-wood form a serious penalty. It can jinx
yourself or your close relative.

Zi-water forms 3-unity or semi-3-unity combination with
shen-metal and/or chen-earth. If your chart likes water,
it will be great, esp. if water is your wealth element. If
otherwise, pray or take my future “destiny management”
course on how to handle this situation.

People with mao, you, and wu in their charts will need to
sweat it out when zi year arrives. Formation of
zi-wu-mao-you clash can mean major disaster. This is
called “4-cardinal clashes”. Again, pray, do charity works
and/or take my “destiny management” course.

Here are some major precautions:

1. 5-yellow star will be in the south. Sui-Po or year
breaker will also be in the south or wu-mountain.
— avoid digging or construction; avoid movements

2. Grand Duke or Tai Sui will be in zi mountain or in the
— avoid digging or construction; you can sit on GD
location but not facing it.

3. San Sha or 3-killings will be in the South (si, wu, ding
— definitely avoid movement or digging here, Sui-po and
5-yellow are also in this palace!

4. The auspicious 8-star will be in the east and 9-purple
star in the SE. You may want some movements here.

People with horse and mouse animal signs and were born in
the first, fifth and eleventh months of the lunar calendar
should avoid attending funeral for the year.

Ken Lai

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The idea of “Grand Duke” is not the monopoly of classical Feng Shui. It is also widely employed in 4P, fortune-telling and Chinese folk religions.

In terms of 4P and fortune-telling, someone is said to “violate” Grand Duke when his/ her Chinese animal sign is identical to the current year. For example, 2002 is the year of Horse, whoever is 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84… should be careful and avoid high-risk behaviors, because they are in “violation” of the Grand Duke.

For people who are 6, 18, 30, 42, 54, 66, 78, 90… or whose animal sign is rat (for the year of horse only), they “clash” with the Grand Duke. If you pay attention, people tend to die in year which clashes their own animal signs.

The 5 element nature of horse is fire and for rat is water, so rat clashes with horse.

In Feng Shui, Grand Duke is a directional energy which changes direction according to the animal sign of the year. Movements and constructions should be avoided in the direction of Grand Duke. Misfortunes like accidental death, loss of wealth and severe injury will happen if the Duke is disturbed.

Where can we “see” Grand Duke?

In some Chinese Temples, you may see there are 60 doll-sized figurines in a corner. All figures look the same except each has a label with a unique name. These are the Dukes.

Why 60 figures and not keeping it simple to have just one Duke? Chinese calendar is based on a 60 years cycle (“jia”). One different Duke per year is a logical deduction.

To explain the concept of Grand Duke is not easy, especially in ancient times when people’s literacy levels were low.

Some smart people, mostly marketers, had personified the Grand Duke with 60 statues and names, so people could buy sacrifices and stuff to pray to the Duke on duty to forgive the clashes and violations.

Appeasing Grand Duke rituals is a staple income for many temples in China.

People do not know where to worship if you tell them Grand Duke is some sort of energy.

Is there any scientific basis of the Grand Duke concept?

Well, today is your lucky day, I just learn this a few hours ago in Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

In terms of western astronomy, the Chinese Grand Duke corresponds to the Jupiter.

Jupiter circles the sun once every 12 years. Our earth does that in a year.

The shadow of Jupiter casts on earth is the location of the annual Grand Duke.

Do you know Jupiter has the strongest magnetic field in the solar system? It is 25 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field.

Ken Lai