Who is Tai Sui (太岁)?

Every Chinese New Year, you will hear people say that certain Zodiac animal will offend/conflict with the Tai Sui (太岁). It is said that if your Zodiac animal clash with the Tai Sui, you will be unlucky for the year. In order to have a peaceful year, you need to pay your respect to the Tai Sui.

They say that my zodiac animal, the monkey, is in conflict with the Tai Sui this year. Which makes me wonder, so who exactly is Tai Sui? So I went on a googling trip and gather quite a lot of info about Tai Sui. It’s quite interesting actually. Do you know that there are actually 60 Tai Sui?

Disclaimer: All the info below are from information that I gathering all over the internet. Some of the information are not consistent. Maybe it’s due to differences in translation or practice. I’m no expert in feng shui or Taoism. If there are any mistakes, feel free to correct me in the comment section.

Tai Sui is being referred to as Grand Duke Jupiter or Grand Commander of the Year. According to the Hsieh Chi Pien Fang Shu (協紀辨方書), Tai Sui is the deity taking charge of the well-being of the Mortal World. The Chinese years are classified according to 10 “Heavenly Stems” and 12 “Earthly Branches.” The succession of Stems and Branches produces a sixty year calendar cycle. There are 60 Tai Sui in total and each of them take charge of 1 year in the calendar cycle. (I guess that is why the Chinese are very particular about 60th birthday. That means you been thru one cycle.)

Yue Hai Qing Temple (粵海清廟) at Philip Street has the oldest set of 60 Tai Sui in Singapore. Most of the Tai Sui are real historical figures whom were highly respected by the people because of their good deeds. You can find more info about the 60 Tai Sui here and their stories. The Tai Sui for year 2010 (year of the tiger) is Great General Wu Huan (邬桓). He was born during the Yuan Dynasty at Xin Gang (新昌). He had a character of high morality and liked to be of help to others. As the district officer in the district of Li Yang (溧阳), he helped the weak and young, suppressed the tyranny, eliminate corruption and reduced manipulation by the authorities. All these enabled the country folks to maintain a less disturbed way of life. Upon his death while on duty, the country folks remembered him and his merits for a very long time.

People respect the Tai Sui highly, and fear to offend him because it would cause misfortunes and bad luck. Every year, some Zodiac animals are considered to be in conflict with the Tai Sui. I found quite a number of articles on how to find if your zodiac animal is in conflict with the Tai Sui. But some of them are not consistent and I don’t know which is the right method. But most articles agree that both the same zodiac year and opposite zodiac year are in conflict with Tai Sui.

Same zodiac year means those who are born in the year of the zodiac this year. A quick way to check is to divide your age by 12. If there is no remainder, then you are born in the same zodiac year. Those born in the same zodiac year is call “Same Zodiac Year Conflict” (年冲) or “Zhi Tai Sui” (值太岁).

Opposite zodiac year means those who are born in the year that is directly opposite of the zodiac this year. Imagine the 12 zodiac animals arranged in a circle, the animal directly opposite the circle is the opposite zodiac year. A quick way to check is to divide your age by 12. If the remainder is 6, then you are born in the opposite zodiac year. Those born in the opposite zodiac year is call “Opposing Zodiac Year Conflict” (对冲) or “Chong Tai Sui” (冲太岁).

There are also “Secondary Year Conflict” (偏冲) which is, from what I understand, lesser conflicting than the same zodiac year and opposite zodiac year. Some say that you can find the secondary year conflict by dividing your age by 12. If the remainder is either 3 or 9, then you are in the secondary year conflict.

Like I mentioned, different article I found online have different method of finding out which zodiac animal is in conflict with the Tai Sui. The safest method is to consult your elders, temple caretakers or feng shui masters. And usually, the list of zodiac animals that are conflicting with Tai Sui will be spread thru word of mouth.

6 Responses to 'Who is Tai Sui (太岁)?'

  1. Anthony says:

    太歲 in the view of 風水, is actually 木星 (Jupiter). Jupiter takes 12 years to complete one cycle around the Sun. Earth need 1 year to complete the cycle. Sun, Earth and Jupiter together need 60 years to back to the original degree and position.

    Jupiter as the biggest planet in our Solar System, part of the Feng Shui system is to study how Jupiter impact Earth in different degree and angle, just like moon’s gravity impact the sea level of Earth. It does impact earth’s weather and impact the good or bad harvest. Hence it becomes very important. Just my two cents.

  2. dk says:

    Anthony: Actually, I’ve seen a few articles saying that Tai Sui refers to stars directly opposite to Jupiter. It’s an intangible star whose movement is directly opposite to that of the planet Jupiter.

    Too confusing man.

  3. Ben Goh says:

    Thank you for your research and illuminating discussion. This has really helped me to understand Tai Sui better. Interesting thing to think about: what is the role of numerology in all of this? Also, how does this Chinese worldview or larger unseen undefinable cosmological forces affect the way we construct our individual and cultural identity?

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