A cycle of fortune
THE Cambridge dictionary defines luck as "the force that causes things, especially good things, to happen to you by chance, and not as a result of your own efforts or abilities".
For example, "when I met this gorgeous woman, I couldn't believe my luck" is essentially the western concept of luck.
The Chinese, on the other hand, do not see luck as a chance happening but rather as a cycle that can be predicted.
For example, a Chinese astrologer may predict, after reading your life chart, that between the ages of 33 to 38, you will enjoy good career luck that will likely result in a promotion.
Or that between the ages of 42 to 44, you will have poor spousal luck and there will be a strain in your relationship which may result in a separation or divorce.
While the destiny portion of the chart shows the potential, it is the luck portion of the chart that gives the timing.
For example, your chart may suggest strong career potential, however, it does not tell you when this will happen. The luck portion of the chart does that.
Most Chinese astrology systems divide luck into cycles of 10 years, also known as the 'decade luck', or 'big luck'. These decade cycles are then further divided individually into 'annual luck', or 'small luck' years.
These decade luck cycles do not necessarily start from the day we are born. For example, a certain individual first decade luck cycle may be from two to 11 years old while another may be from five to 14.
Subsequent cycles are of 10 years each. In the case of the period with luck cycle two to 11, his subsequent cycles will be 12 to 21, 22 to 31, 32 to 41, 42 to 51, and so on.
In some cases, the luck may be mixed. For example, the first four years may be great, followed by six years of less-than-stellar career luck.
While the decade luck cycle tells you about the condition of your luck over a 10-year period, your annual luck gives you an insight into the state of your luck in any particular year.
Like the decade luck, you can 'see' your luck in the area of career, wealth, relationships, health, and travel in any year. With the same chart, it is technically possible to 'see' your luck by the month (Chinese month), by the day and by the hour of the day. In practice, most of us stop at the year or month.
There are two types of luck events. One is called a 'set' event, and these will happen no matter what. The other is called a 'likely' event and these will happen if we allow it.
Let me give you an example of a 'likely' event. Suppose your chart shows a potential spousal relationship issue this year. However, you love your spouse very much and you make every effort to retain this relationship. You may very well get through this year without an issue.
Even for a 'set' event that is bound to happen, you can still have some say over the intensity.
For example, if your chart indicates a health issue involving your heart in 12 years' time, by starting a healthy lifestyle now, you are likely to survive the life-threatening event, perhaps with just a mild problem.
While it is possible in theory to predict one's luck by month, by day, and by the hour, in practice, I do not go down to such fine details, firstly because it gets more difficult, and secondly, I find the readings to become less reliable.
Henry Fong is an electronic engineer by qualification and he approaches feng shui with the same analytical and investigative approach he uses in his training. Readers can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.