Chinese Astrology, Constellation, and Astronomy — Three Enclosures, Four Symbols, Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions

In ancient China, people observed that seven celestial beings are bright and extremely influential: Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn. 

Besides the Seven Celestial Beings, many other stars that are shining in the sky were divided into some groups based on their locations: Three Enclosures, Four Symbols, and Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions.


Every group covers an area that is considered as a coordinate, or "mansion" that the Seven Celestials "stay" in during their movements.


In ancient China, this astronomy system was used to observe the movements and mark positions of the Seven Celestials, and record date, month, and year.


Combined with Yin-Yang and Five Elements Theory, every mansion has assigned a beautiful name, a deity, and an auspicious animal to guard. 

Part of Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions' Deities in Chinese Astrology, Painted by Liang Lingzan (about 690 — 757) — Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts

In the central section of the North Celestial Pole, stars are divided into Three Enclosures: Purple Forbidden, Supreme Palace, and Heavenly Market. 


Surrounding Ecliptic and the Equator are Four Symbols in four ordinal directions: Azure Dragon in East, Black Tortoise in North, White Tiger in West, and Vermilion Bird in South.


Every Symbol contains seven mansions, and each mansion consists of a few stars. 


These mansions around the Ecliptic and Equator formed the Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions.

The Earliest Artifact (Lacquer Suitcase) with the Entire Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions' names, Unearthed from Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (about 477 BC — 433 BC) — Hubei Museum

This picture showed that this ancient Chinese astronomy system had already formed in the Warring States Period (403 BC — 221 BC).


In Chinese astrology, when the Seven Celestial Beings moved to certain mansions, it corresponds to or shows signs of different events in the secular world, based on their various meanings and auras.


This has been widely used and believed in Chinese history, from emperors to civilians, to predict and divine important events. 


Meanwhile, since the moon moves to a different mansion every day, every person's birthday corresponds to one of the Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions that tells one's personality, destiny, love life, suited careers, and relationship with others.

Input Your Date of Birth to Check Out Your Chinese Constellation 

Three Enclosures


Purple Forbidden Enclosure — Royal Palace and National Well Being


Purple Forbidden Enclosure located in the central section around the Circumpolar Stars area. The Big Dipper is included in this enclosure. 


It is the palace for the Great Emperor of Heaven to live in.  


Hundreds of stars in this enclosure are divided into 39 groups, and each group is named mostly after the emperor, queen, crown prince, high-rank imperial officials, and some powerful deities that in charge of the weather, longevity, war, agriculture, etc.


Purple Forbidden Enclosure in Chinese Astrology

To correspond to the Purple Forbidden Enclosure, Chinese emperors built their royal palaces and named them after this enclosure, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing.  


Meanwhile, in ancient Chinese Astrology, the star phenomena of the Purple Forbidden Enclosure are the significant harbingers of the emperor's reign. 


If all stars are bright, it represents a stable, wealthy society that the emperor and officials are doing great jobs. 


If certain groups of stars are gloomy, it means that the correlated people or the emperor are incapable, and need to improve or be replaced.


Meteor indicates the upcoming departure of the corresponding person.


If all stars in this enclosure are dark, war or disaster would be happening. 


Other unusual changes of stars' brightness and colors, showing of meteors or other phenomena, special positions of Seven Celestial Beings in this enclosure, all predict different events in the secular world.

Supreme Palace Enclosure — Government and Political Affairs 


Supreme Palace Enclosure is the place that the Great Emperor of Heaven administers political affairs, which correspond to governments on earth.


Therefore, hundreds of stars in the Supreme Palace Enclosure are divided into 20 groups that are named after important political officials and powerful nobles.

Supreme Palace Enclosure in Chinese Astrology

Bright and stable stars mean an efficient, excellent government that is cooperating and reigning the nation well.

Gloomy stars indicate the incapability of the correlated officials in government.


Deviation of certain stars tells inappropriate assignments or inappropriate punishment about matching officials.


The shaking of stars in this enclosure predicts upcoming rebellions of correlated officials or nobles. 


Movement directions, positions, and the brightness of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Saturn, and appearance of meteors in the Supreme Palace Enclosure also indicate significant political events.

Heavenly Market Enclosure — Worldly Civilians


Heavenly Market Enclosure is the marketplace of heaven, which corresponds to prosperous cities and civilians on earth. 


So, hundreds of stars in Heavenly Market Enclosure are divided into 19 groups that are mostly named after ancient states, municipal officers, equipment, and products on the market.

Heavenly Market Enclosure in Chinese Astrology

Astronomical phenomena of this enclosure represent correlated places' economical and agricultural situations in Chinese Astrology. 


Brightness and color of stars, Movement directions, and positions of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Saturn, meteors all indicate different conditions of correspondent industries and places.

Ancient Chinese Constellation and Horoscope — Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions


Surrounding Ecliptic and the Equator, The Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions are divided into four groups that lead by Four Mythical Symbols: Azure Dragon of the East, Black Tortoise of the North, White Tiger of the West, and Vermilion Bird of the South.  


Combined with Chinese Mythology and Yin-Yang and Five Elements Theory, every mansion is represented by an animal and guarded by a deity.

Azure Dragon in Chinese Astrology
Black Tortoise in Chinese Astrology
White Tiger in Chinese Astrology
Vermilion Bird in Chinese Astrology

Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

  • Facebook Fun withChinese Culture
  • Twitter Fun withChinese Culture
  • G+ Fun withChinese Culture
  • YouTube Fun withChinese Culture
  • Pinterest Fun withChinese Culture
  • Instagram Fun withChinese Culture
© All Rights Reserved