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Tuesday, 11 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Eight: The Tragedy of Koda Shosei.

In October 2004 a young 24 yr old Japanese man, Koda Shosei, travelled alone to Iraq from Amman in Jordan, and shortly after entering that country, was captured by Islamic fundamentalists associated with Al Qaida, and brutally murdered by having his head hacked from his body with a hunting knife. The event was filmed live and broadcast to the world as part of the terrorist’s campaign to gain world attention. In that at least, they were successful. But what on earth had enticed this clearly innocent but fatally naïve young man to go somewhere as dangerous and chaotic as Iraq? There had already been several beheadings by the same group, and indeed just shortly prior to Koda’s entering Iraq, another group of Japanese volunteers had also been kidnapped and held to ransom. The Japanese government steadfastly refused to capitulate and pay the ransom money to that group of terrorists. Fortunately, the captives were released unharmed and successfully evacuated out of the Iraq, to Japan.  Although there was genuine public outrage in Japan, they did not go without opprobrium by others in Japan however, many of whom considered their actions not only foolhardy in the extreme, but also to have brought shame on Japan. Sadly, Japanese public reactions to young Koda Shosei’s plight were much the same, and his parents felt obliged to apologise for the embarrassment their son had brought on the nation.

A far cry from the (deserved), outraged indignation in Western countries whose citizens have met the same grisly plight. 

Prior to entering Iraq, Koda had been in New Zealand on a working holiday and it seems, had on a whim, decided to go to Iraq and see for himself exactly what was going on. One might think him foolish in the extreme for this, and many have blamed him for his naivety, but there is an innocence to his story that makes his end truly tragic. Although young Shosei had been raised as, and indeed was a Christian; something of a novelty in a country like Japan, the church he was raised in was a far cry from the rabid, evangelical milieu John Chau mixed in. It seems the simple if deadly curiosity of inexperienced youth is what led young Koda forward and into the arms of evil, rather than any desire to proselytise and convert Iraqis. 

So, what might we learn from Koda Shosei’s Four Pillars? What was it that took him so far from home and into the clutches of Islamic extremists? What do his four pillars show us of his personality and his character?

Koda Shosei’s Four Pillars:

29th                                        Nov                               1979

Yang Metal                          Yin Wood                      Yin Earth

Rat                                         Pig                              Goat 

Luck Pillar at time of death: Yin Water Rooster

Koda Shosei was a Weak Metal man. We can say this since he was born on a Yang Metal Day, in the season of Water in the Month of the Pig. This means his self-element of metal, was out of season and must therefore, be considered weak. As I have already noted, weak metal people are usually considered to be good looking, and with a very determined personality, not easily deterred from what it is they have set their minds to. 

Perhaps one of the most indicative aspects of his four Pillars for us, is his intelligence element and his current Luck Pillar. He entered his final Luck Pillar in1996, at the age of 17. It’s worth noting that Koda quit high school in his junior year to go working as a painter and decorator, more than likely around the same time as this change of Luck Pillars? This was Yin Water sitting on the Rooster. This indicates that he would be particularly rebellious and hard to control in this Luck Period, simply due to the Yin Water aspect of this Luck Pillar. This was due to yin water being his intelligence element from his yang metal day pillar. Remember, water is the intelligence element of metal. Since his day pillar is yang and the water of his luck pillar is yin, we again see this imbalance of yang and yin, when for this aspect of his four pillars, it should in fact be either yin/yin or yang/yang. This means that even when someone is telling him to think again, to be extra vigilant, he would be unlikely to heed such counsel. In addition, the Rooster is the Yang Edge to Yang Metal. The Yang Edge is inclined to bring out a particularly yang/active even reckless aspect of one’s personality; meaning again, that it is difficult to get them to heed wise advice and that they tend to act impulsively, rashly even, under the influence of the Yang Edge. We have already examined this kind of impulsive, rash behaviour brought on by the presence of the Yang Edge in Strong Water people, when assessing what happened on the day to: John Chau (Yang Water Day Pillar of Birth – Rat on the Day of the 16th November, when we know he returned irrevocably to North Sentinel Island and was most likely killed outright for that rash decision. The Rat is the Yang Edge to Yang Water. Furthermore, we saw the precise same dynamic at work with the impulsive behaviour of George Armstrong Custer on the day he ordered the attack on the far superior numbers of the congregated tribes at Little Big Horn. Custer too was Yang Water in his Day Pillar of Birth and both the Day and the Year of the 25th June 1876, were Rats, his Yang Edge. This made his actions that day rash and impulsive beyond rescue! 

Thus, we see a similar if not quite identical dynamic at work in the tragic figure of 24yr old Koda Shosei. Born on a Yang Metal day, he entered the Luck of the Rooster at 17yrs of age in 1996 and no doubt felt its impact until the day he had his throat cut in cold blood by his ruthless Islamic murderers. The Rooster is the Yang Edge to Yang Metal.

Koda Shosei

He is known to have entered Iraq from a check point in Jordan on the 20th October2004. This day was a Monkey Day. The first of his San Sha. I have already described San Sha in the foot notes (#4) on page 15 above. This means that for the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of November, 2004, he was far better not to have begun any new enterprises, especially not one as perilous as entering a war zone, such as Iraq then was. The Day Master for the 20th October 2004, was Opening, which may have meant his entry to Iraq was smoother and easier than he might have otherwise expected, as indeed it appears to have been. That ease of entering Iraq would have proved illusory however, with the Day Master of the 21st being Closing, from which we might expect poor Koda to start to realise things were not as straightforward as he might have felt they had been to that point. 

Sadly, having followed what can only be described as this naively, rash impulse to enter Iraq at such an incredibly dangerous time, it was only a matter of time before someone with evil intent found him and held him to ransom. By the 29th he had been held for several days by his captors who claimed he was a member of the Japanese military, then in Iraq. They were demanding that Japan immediately remove their troops. Japan refused, confirming that all their 500 military staff were accounted for. Clearly, Koda did not in anyway resemble a military man. Regardless, he was executed live on video on the 29th of October. Since it was the month of the Dog, no Nobleman appeared for him and poor Koda met his appalling end. As with John Chau, its easy to be scornful of this inexperienced and unworldly young man. But that really is where the similarity between them ends. Unlike Chau, Koda had no intention of imposing his particular rancid version of Christian colonisation on isolated tribes-peoples. No intention to convert anyone. There was no attempt to deceive the lawful authorities of his intent, no bribes paid to enter the country unlawfully. He simply wanted to see for himself what was happening in Iraq. And while we can find that ridiculous and dangerous to the point of stupidity, I personally feel it is far less reprehensible than those self-entitled actions by the likes of Michael Rockefeller and the venality of his patrons at institutes like the museums he was collecting for. Certainly Shosei;s rash actions caused untold misery to his family and in the minds of certain Japanese he brought shame to his country but realistically, they are the ones lacking compassion under these circumstances and should have been the ones to be ashamed. Neither was Koda Shosei acting with the racist arrogance of Chau, Cook, Custer and Gordon. who was perhaps similar to Chau with his evangelical Christian perspectives of the Sudanese and the Mahdi’s hordes. 

But what other insights can we take from these six cases? Perhaps the first is the incredible amount of cultural and ethnic insensitivity displayed by each of these first five individuals. It may be possible to excuse the earlier cases of Cook, Custer and Gordon for their Imperialistic arrogance, given the age and times they lived in; but for Rockefeller and his cohorts and patrons that encouraged such behaviour, it becomes harder. Killed at a time when the conflict in Vietnam was being escalated, one might have hoped that the kind of venal appropriation of sacred objects by native peoples would have been lessening. Alas, obviously it was not. That Michael Chau should have been encouraged and led on by those promoting their brand of particularly reprehensible evangelical Christianity in this day and age, is simply religious imperialism of the very worst kind. It is only to be hoped that wiser, more temperate minds will now hold sway and stop this kind of madness from occurring in the future. There is I think, a good argument for the Indian authorities to hold John Chau’s missionary sponsors to legal account.

Whatever our eventual assessment of the actions of these 6 men caught up in the events of their times, all were nevertheless subject to the energies of their Four Pillars and had they chosen to take more moderate and measured actions; had they been aware of the influence time itself has over us, perhaps they and all the myriads of others eventually affected by their rash and hasty decisions, the results might have been far less violent and drastic? 

And what of the Four Pillars themselves, as a means of investigating and assessing people and their lives from a historical perspective? Whilst they are frequently used as a means of finding out just what might have gone wrong for someone individually, or as the result of some wider event; think of the Boxing Day Tsunami, the 9/11 attack on the Twin Trade Towers in New York, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 etc. this application of them forensically to help understand the past is but one way in which they may be applied. 

An even more frequent use is to help predict the future, especially for example, at the beginning of a new year, trying to understand what the coming year will bring in the way of hidden-time dynamics. They are used in checking the compatibility of prospective marriage partners, business partners and so on, and just as frequently to see if the timing is right for a new enterprise. Few Chinese people I know, would ever dream of undertaking a serious investment in a new business for example, without first checking with a Four Pillars master as to what their luck in their present or future period is likely to bring them. It is this application, through the use of the Chinese Tong Shu or Almanac that one so often finds people checking to see what the day or the next few days will bring. Imagine just how more effectively some of our own enterprises might have gone had we known in advance, which days and time were fortuitous and those which were not? How much more could be accomplished and with so much less conflict and harm. What if Cook had had the advantage of the Four Pillars to fall back on in retrieving his silly boat. Do you think he would have forged ahead that day knowing it would cost him his life to even try? Would Custer have dashed so foolishly into the fray had he known in advance the days energies were so against him? What about young Rockefeller? Would he have so recklessly braved those shark and crocodile infested waters, knowing there was a good chance that day that there just were very likely to be cannibals ready to enjoy him as a tasty meal of revenge against the Dutch had he known? Of course not! Neither would poor naively reckless Koda Shosei have gone anywhere near Iraq had he been aware of the value of consulting one’s Four Pillars in advance of such an undertaking! 

I am reminded of a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which Brutus exhorts his fellow conspirators to take advantage of the timing available to them with these immortal words:

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” 

I will leave you, the reader to decide whether you think the Four Pillars of Destiny are a helpful and discerning method or not to examine history and the figures who have made it so fascinating. 

If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018 

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn

Wednesday, 12 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Seven: The Curious Case of Michael Rockefeller.

In November of 1961, one of the younger scions of the wealthy Rockefeller family, Michael Clark Rockefeller, disappeared somewhere along the coast of Southwest Netherlands New Guinea, as it was then known. He was the youngest son of Nelson Rockefeller who was later to serve as Vice-President to Gerald Ford, and at the time of Michael’s disappearance, was Governor of New York. 

Having served time in the US army, Michael, turned his attention to doing something he himself wanted. He’d completed a business degree and served his country’s military requirements, he knew he would be expected to go into business by his family. (This shows up in his four pillars but more on this shortly.) With an interest in the arts and a taste for adventure, he joined the Harvard Peabody Museum expedition to document and film the Dani cannibals in the Highlands of New Guinea who it was thought were facing distinction. “I want to do something romantic and adventurous in a time and place which is about to disappear”, Michael is reported as having said. 

However, both this first expedition and the one that followed, were contentious and caused grave concerns to the Dutch authorities, who strongly disapproved of the manner in which the Americans, Rockefeller in particular, encouraged intertribal conflict. It seems they wanted to be able to film warfare in action. Later, Michael again came in for Dutch censure on this second trip, for having taken in so many expensive gifts to trade with the natives in exchange for traditional native artwork. The crew were also looking to collect dried heads and this saw an increased desire on the part of the locals to go to war just to procure more skulls for the Americans. Of course, in today’s politically changed society, this seems to have been incredibly insensitive and totally culturally inappropriate; but we are talking early 1960’s here and not the 1860’s after all. Perhaps however, what it really reflects is the greed and ruthlessness of first world museums and their highly competitive and unscrupulous methods of filling and keeping their collections? 

Finally, Michael and a Dutch friend, Rene Wassing, began traveling along the south coast of Netherlands New Guinea as it was then known, now Irian Jaya, a part of Indonesia. They called in at villages and mission stations along the way, looking to trade for artefacts. They had constructed a small catamaran out of two canoes with a small covered platform between the two. The priests at the missions they stayed at warned them repeatedly that it was not at all suitable for the kinds of tides and seas, they were heading towards but Rockefeller chose to ignore these words of sound advice and carried on regardless. Shortly after, they found the advice of the priests had been right and their boat was quickly swamped, tossing them into the high running seas where they were forced to cling tightly to the upturned hull. Two native youths who were travelling with them as guides, set out to swim to shore to get help. By this time, they were fast losing sight of land and floating out to sea. Michael grew impatient and decided the guides had not made it to shore and decided to swim to shore himself. ‘Being restless and not one to sit around’, is how one account describes him. 

Michael said he was sure he could reach shore. In shark and crocodile infested waters, his companion, Wassing, refused to leave the comparative security of the hull of the canoes, which were at least still keeping them afloat. Although he remonstrated with Michael, pointing out that the tide was now against him, Rockefeller simply, stripped off, tied a red jerry-can to his midriff for flotation with his spectacles around his neck and set out for shore. This was the last he was ever seen. Later in the day a plane flew over and spotted Wassing on the upturned hulls. They came back and dropped provisions for him and eventually a Dutch government vessel turned up the next day and rescued him, 22 miles out to sea.

Rockefeller’s cobbled together catamaran; totally unsuited to the waters in which he and Rene Wassing were sailing.

An impressive rescue mission was mounted, with both Dutch and Australian helicopters employed, and offers of help from the US 7th Fleet. Even President Kennedy called to offer aid, sending a small ship, but all that was found after a week of desperate searching was a jerry-can floating 120 miles out to sea. Emphasis was laid on the waters being shark infested and the coasts with crocodiles, but it had to be admitted that with cannibals still active all along the coast, there was a distinct possibility of his having been taken and eaten by them. 

Some years later, a Dutch investigative journalist, and even some of the priests from the missions Michael and Rene had visited, voiced the opinion that he had in fact been taken by cannibals, killed and eaten. Further, there were reports that in 1958, several leaders from one of the villages in question Otsnajep, had been shot and killed by Dutch authorities. The question then was asked, were cannibals still active in 1961 and were they looking for revenge? Had they found Michael Rockefeller and killed, cooked and eaten him. Finally reports started to trickle in of men who said they had found a white man swimming towards the coast at the time Michael had gone missing. They claimed to have shot him with their arrows and dragged him ashore. They said they had then scalped him while still alive before killing, cooking and eating him in revenge for the earlier killings by the Dutch. Eventually it seems his mother, had sent investigators to see if they could at least find his remains. She had offered a substantial reward for any evidence that could conclusively prove either way whether he was alive or dead. One of these investigators did manage to obtain three human skulls and presented them to the family. The reward money was paid at that time without any comment from the family. Although we have no proof, this does at least seem to suggest evidence from the skulls was accepted by the family. Perhaps from dental records?  

So, what if any light does Michael’s Four Pillars throw on his disappearance and probable death for us today?

Michael Clark Rockefeller’s Four Pillars:

18th                                         May                                1938

Yang Metal                            Yin Fire                        Yang Wood

Dog                                       Snake                              Tiger 

Luck Pillar at time of Death: Yin Earth Goat

Michael Clark Rockefeller was a Weak Metal man.

As with General Charles Gordon, he has Yang Metal sitting on the Dog of his Day Pillar, meaning that he too had Days of Fai Kong, signifying that he was an especially strong and resilient character. His interest in the arts can be taken from his having the match of the Tiger in his Year of Birth and the Dog in his Day Pillar. Such Star of Arts is also a loneliness star, it indicates that he was a young man who would also have suffered considerable loneliness in his time. One factor I find particularly interesting is the Yin Fire sitting on the fire of the Snake in his Month of Birth. Since the Month Pillar represents our parents and it is his conquering element, rather than it being his money element, or the element he conquers, which is what it ideally would be, ie wood. It indicates I believe some likely tension between he and the pressure he would have felt to conform to family expectations. This is not to say there was the same tension between his actual father, who was in deed a wood man. I believe, this is probably an indication as to why it was so important to Michael to go somewhere completely different and be involved in something so utterly removed from the type of work he was later destined to do.

Michael Rockefeller

Another intriguing factor in his Four Pillars to conjecture about, is Michael’s sexuality. He was known to be gay, in a time when it was neither socially acceptable and indeed could be legally hazardous to be known as gay. What if anything does his four pillars show of this facet of his life? It is notoriously difficult to predict with any absolute certainty about who may or may not be gay from one’s four pillars. However, there is a clue or two here for us to follow. As there are no particular combinations of animals that tell us this kind of thing, one thought is that homosexuality may show up in the elements. Since the other four elements, wood, fire, metal and water, are distinctive, earth by contrast has some of all the others in it and so contains a kernel of all, thus making it indiscernible by itself. Thus, when found as what is often described as ‘a problem in the House of Spouse’, it may be an indicator that someone is gay. Notice I have said, may. There are no definitives with this. However, Michael did have a lot of earth in his four pillars and since he was metal and there is only the earth of the dog in his House of Spouse, and yet more strong earth to be found in his previous and last Luck Pillars. Indeed, the Luck Pillar he was in at the time of his disappearance was Yin Earth sitting on the Goat. 

So, just what did happen to Michael Rockefeller? Do his four pillars throw enough light on the day of his disappearance to show us more clearly? I believe so, although we certainly cannot eliminate all mystery from this story.

Date of Michael Rockefeller’s Disappearance:

19th                              Nov                                  1961

Yang Fire                    Yin Earth                          Yin Metal

Dragon                           Pig                                  Ox

The day was a Weak Fire day, this in spite of the Heavenly Stem of Yang Fire. Since it was the season of Water in the Month of the Pig, the fire of the day was weak. Weak fire is emotional, explosive and shows an anger that is deep and resentful. Is this perhaps our first clue that Michael was killed for revenge by tribesman still livid at the earlier Dutch killings of their own men three years earlier, as was feared by those who went searching for him? Furthermore, being a Dragon Day, no noblemen were likely to come to rescue him. There was a strong Clash between the Snake of his own Month of Birth and that of the Month of the Pig the day he disappeared. 

However, the most intriguing factor I think is the presence that day of Yang Fire in the Day Pillar. There is a distinction needed to be made here between, Yin and Yang Heavenly Stems and whether someone’s element is then either weak or strong. Yin Fire, for example is the Yin expression of the element. It is often described as being like a candle, flickering and the Chinese character that is used to represent it is this . Yang Fire is likened to the Sun and is represented by the Chinese character   . By contrast what determines the strength or weakness of the personal element, is primarily the season. If it falls in its own season, fire in summer is going to be strong, but fire in winter will be weak. This is not the same as the Heavenly Stems at all.  Since Michael Rockefeller was a Weak Metal man with Yang Metal as his Day Stem, the element that had control over him was his destroying, or conquering element, Fire, specifically Yang Fire. If this element is present on the day some one is killed, and there is a suggestion that it might be homicide, this is one way we can tell whether it is likely or not to in fact be murder. Furthermore, if the suspected killer has that element too in their own four pillars, and can be placed at the scene of the murder, it is usually understood to be a strong indication that that person then is the killer. This is how feng shui masters asked by law enforcement officers over the years, to help them identify the possible perpetrators begin to work it out. In this case however, we have no body, no evidence, no definitive information as to exactly what happened to him when he got out of that boat, just supposition and rumour. How then can we tell if he simply drowned at sea, was taken by sharks or even crocodiles or was instead the victim of foul play; the first white man to be seen by vengeful tribesmen with a score to settle? With the presence of the dragon that day, I think it is impossible to tell with any real certainty. It is likely there will always remain some final mystery as to what exactly happened to Michael Clark Rockefeller. Dragons are after all, of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac the most mysterious and mystical.  

Go to Part Eight: From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Seven: The Curious Case of Michael Rockefeller.

The Four Pillars of Koda Shosei: Thank you for taking to time to read this article. If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn



Thursday, 13 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Six: The Four Pillars of General Charles (Pasha) Gordon.

In yet a further parallel to the Battle of the Big Horn, this time 9 years later, 1885, we find another case of a small imperialist force, far from its home base, trying valiantly to defend their government’s invasive policies over local tribal peoples and coming off second best. Until that is, the reinforcements of a larger relief column are expected to inexorably ride in and wreak righteous revenge and retribution. This time it was the British adventurer and career soldier, General Charles Gordon. He was there ostensibly, to report on the best way for the withdrawal of Egyptian Forces in the Sudan to be carried out. The Egyptians were under threat from the supporters of the self-proclaimed Mahdi, (Islamic saviour - Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah). The (Mad) Mahdi, as the British frequently referred to him, was hell bent on freeing the Sudan of its Egyptian overlords and converting all in his path to his particular brand of mystic Islam. (The Mahdi extolled a particular form of Sufism, famous for its whirling dancing devotees who reached a form of spiritual ecstasy and were known to the British as the Whirling Dervishes, whose adherents can still be found today in the Sudan. In fact, his Black Flags and the Islamic Caliphate he was attempting to create, was a forerunner of today’s ISIS’ attempt to the do the same. Even their black flags are reminiscent of the Mahdi’s earlier campaign and his own black flags. It seems there is little new in either religion or politics.)

General Charles George Gordon in Egyptian Uniform

The Sudan was at that time a colony of Egypt, which was itself a part of the wider Ottoman Empire. However, the British and French had long been vying for control of Egypt and the Nile and especially the Suez Canal. England’s Liberal Prime Minister of the period, William Gladstone and his government wanted to cut the Sudan free, deeming it more trouble than it was worth, and to focus instead on retaining British control of Egypt and Suez. 

By this time Gordon, was already a hero in England, having made a name for himself during the Crimean War, and in China fighting the Taiping rebellion on behalf of the Ching government; hence the appellation of China Gordon. Hero he might have been to the common man but he was nevertheless, something of a maverick character to those who tried to keep him within reasonable bounds. Widely recognised for being incorruptible, albeit with a fierce temper and frequently mercurial often changing his mind, which drove his superiors to despair. He had a reputation for disobeying orders, doing what he himself thought was ‘right’ instead. He was also a devout evangelical Christian, although he never belonged to any particular denomination; developing instead, his own highly idiosyncratic ideas of faith and devotion. It is thought by many historians, that Gordon was most likely gay, and this meant he was unable to reconcile his sexuality with his strongly repressive Christianity. Due to this level of deep, inner conflict, he developed what many have described as a death wish. Much of this was unknown to the general public, at the time, of course, who had come to view him as a romantic hero, courageous, indefatigable, even something of a Christ like figure to many. 

There was, understandably, considerable reluctance on the part of the Gladstone government to send Gordon to the Sudan. A radical Tory supporter, Sir Garnet Wolseley, Adjutant General at the time and a close friend of Gordon’s, had skilfully orchestrated a newspaper campaign against Gladstone’s policies towards the Sudan and had stirred up public opinion against the withdrawal of British influence. The government felt as if they had had their hand forced by Wolseley’s press campaign swaying public opinion into insisting on Gordon; who had actually been very vocal in his criticisms of government policies regarding the Sudan. Gordon believed adamantly that Britain should be fighting hard to maintain its proxy rule in the Sudan and not giving one inch of Imperial influence away, anywhere at all. He was the ultra-Imperialist. 

Upon being requested by Gladstone to go to the Sudan however, Gordon, loyally accepted the commission. However, there was a problem from the outset. Gladstone was under the impression that having given-in to pressure from the press and the public to send Gordan, he had made it abundantly clear that Gordon’s role was a very limited one of reporting on the situation in Khartoum and the best way for the Egyptians to withdraw, only. However, at this point, Gladstone retreated to his country estate to recuperate from an illness and it was left to his ministers to fill in the details. They unfortunately, left Gordon with the impression that he was at liberty to make executive decisions for himself. In addition, after a meeting with Wolseley, he had decided it was his Christian duty to hold Khartoum from the heathen hordes of the Mahdi. At least that was how he interpreted the Minister’s instructions, and the longer he stayed in Khartoum, the more entrenched he became in this determination to do ‘God’s work”. 

Sadly, it was all to end in disaster. On reaching Khartoum Gordon busied himself frantically preparing the city the for the Mahdi’s onslaught. For months the Mahdi blockaded the city until eventually the inhabitants were starving. Gordon, growing ever more erratic and emotional in his behaviour and the signals he sent to Cairo, and from there London, that eventually, and very reluctantly a relief column was finally organised. However, the relief forces delayed so long that arriving by steamer into Khartoum on the 28th January 1885, they found the city in ruins, and Gordon dead. After all the hype of being sent to relieve him, they were two days too late.  

Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah – Self-proclaimed Mahdi.

Just prior to dawn on the 26th January, The Mahdi’s forces had finally attacked the city and broken through, killing all in the way. It seems that Gordon had donned his best uniform and come out to face his attackers. Many romantically have him fearlessly facing his attackers unarmed, as he had frequently ridden into battle in his heyday. However, it seems that on this occasion, he had in fact, armed himself with a pistol and his sabre, intending to take as many of his assailants with him as he could. We will probably never know the exact details of those last desperate moments in which, for many still, he presents a valiant, noble, figure cut down by a heathen onslaught. What we do know is that despite the Mahdi’s order to the contrary, he was killed, and his head cut off. Upon being presented with Gordon’s head, the Mahdi, had it hung in a tree for all to see and for children to throw stones at. 

So, what do General Gordon’s Four Pillars reveal of the man to us? Can we find any identifying factors from them that would help to separate the man from the legend? And what of the day he died? What dynamics of that day perhaps added to his final and bloody, vainglorious death?

General Charles George Gordon’s Four Pillars:

28th                                               January                       1833

Yang Metal                                  Yin Water                   Yang Water    

Dog                                                Ox                           Dragon 

Luck Pillar at Death: Yin Earth Goat

General Gordon was a Weak Metal man.

When the self-element is weak, it needs supporting and strengthening. The elements that helped to do this for him were Earth, Metal and a little Fire.

He had both Earth and Fire in his previous Luck Pillar and earth was present on his incoming Luck Pillar when he was killed. So why didn’t this help him? We will look at this later but first let’s consider what Weak Metal people are usually considered to be like. Weak people are strong, very determined individuals, not easily dissuaded from their goals and can have a ruthless streak about them. They are very loyal and expect others to be so too. They are intellectual and often quite moderate in their views. Since metal is related to skin in Chinese metaphysics, weak metal people often have very nice skin. Men are usually attracted to weak metal woman, as they are very feminine. 

Beyond this however, something that strikes us immediately in assessing his four pillars, are two very special features. The first of these is that General Gordon was born in a Dragon Year and on a Dog Day. Moreover, he was born on a Yang Metal Day. Let’s consider the first of these. Those born with both Dragon and Dog in their four pillars are said to be caught in the Net of Heaven and Hell. As with both John Chau and George Armstrong Custer, when either one of these two animals appear in the four pillars it indicates a heightened spirituality. This is because both represent the Gates of Heaven (Dragon) or Hell (Dog). Since the Dragon is the only one of the 12 animals to reside in the sky, it is said the Dragon opens the Gate of Heaven. Whenever the Dragon comes, there will be unusual sights in the sky. Thus, during the hours of dawn, as the sun comes up and our eyes are drawn heavenward, we notice the dawn light. It is frequently said that UFO sightings are more common during the time of the Dragon - Hours 7am -9am, Days, Months (April), and the Years. As an example of there being strange sights in the sky during the hour of the Dragon, we need look no further than the attacks on the Twin Trade Towers of 9/11, which occurred during the hour of the Dragon that day. But we have many instances. The attack on Pearl Harbour was during the hour of the Dragon; drawing all eyes upwards at the strange and terrifying sight of Japanese planes dropping bombs over the American fleet moored there. Ironically, four and a half years later, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima during the Hour of the Dragon, while that on Nagasaki was on a Dragon Day. Strange sights in the sky indeed the huge mushroom clouds each made. 

By contrast, the Dog is the only one of the 12, to live at ground level, often digging slight holes to escape the wind, as any dog owner will tell you! [1] It is this focus at ground level where the sun fades beyond the horizon and we lose the light, that sends us looking downwards during the hour of the Dog. Thus, it is said the Hour of the Dog opens the Gates of Hell. [2] Therefore, whenever either the Dog or the Dragon are present, no Nobleman come to rescue those in trouble. It is for this reason that when major calamities occur, like 9/11 or the Boxing Day tsunami, there is such a high death toll and so few survivors. 

Since the Dog and the Dragon oppose each other in the zodiac of the Four Pillars, they are in a Clash relationship with each other. Whenever they appear together in one’s four pillars, it is said, the person is caught as if in a net between Heaven and Earth. Such people seem to have more spiritual experiences. It is no surprise then that General Gordon, was as religiously inclined as he was. Furthermore, people who have the Net of Heaven and Hell are highly sensitive to the atmosphere around them. His can make them extremely empathic but also vulnerable to the energies they might be subject to.

There are no rabbits indigenous to China. The Chinese rabbit is actually a hare. Hares do not burrow like rabbits, but rather, make nests at ground level Pigs are primarily domesticated in China and kept in pens, usually with a roofed area of sorts. 

I am reminded of the old farmers adage in English of ‘Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning. Red sky and night, shepherd’s delight.

A typically Victorian over-romanticised image of Gordon’s last stand

by W Joy. The truth of his death was certainly a lot grislier.

However, a closer look at General Gordon’s Four Pillars, also shows that he has both Yin and Yang Water in his Month and Year Pillars. The water element represents his Intelligence element, in other words his creative or output aspects of his personality. However, as with Chau, Cook and Custer, when the self-element is Yang and the Intelligence element is Yin, they are not considered in sync with one another and this evidences itself as rebelliousness, and being hard to control. In Gordon’s case his insubordination was so well known that he even wrote apologising for it in his last months, but even then, he excused himself, saying that was the real him, and he couldn’t and wouldn’t ever change. 

The second factor of note in his Four Pillars is the Yang Metal Dog of his Day Pillar. This too is a special characteristic in anyone’s chart. Appearing only in the Day Pillar, it is called the Days of Fai Kong, after a very famous General in Chinese history, known for his inner determination and strength. Those who have the Days of Fai Kong are usually very tough, resilient individuals indeed, as we know Gordon was. 

Another factor of interest comes from his Month of Birth. He was born in the month of the Ox, and so having Yang Metal in his Four Pillars, meant that he also had both the Heaven Stars of Virtue and the Month Stars of Virtue. These give the person a charismatic air about them and in times of need, can indicate lucky escape from danger. Gordon was well known for his personal charisma and ability to charm and engender real loyalty from his men.

Sadly, General Gordon also had Lonely Stars in his Four Pillars. These can be found in the combination of the dragon and the Ox of his Month of Birth. It indicates that, as we know, he was a deeply lonely man. Having the Ox and the Dog in his Birth Chart, only needed the appearance of the goat to come and activate what in General Gordon’s case would be a terminal penalty, a three-earth penalty. This is a serious penalty and I believe was a major contributor to his drastic change of luck that January of 1885.

So, what happened on that final day, after months of holding out against the Mahdi and his forces, anticipating the arrival of the relief column? We know from his diary and the reports of his men, he spent countless hours on the roof terrace of the Governor General’s Residence in Khartoum waiting and watching forever vigilant for the sight of smoke from the river that would have heralded the arrival of relief. Some have suggested that the Mahdi could easily have attacked earlier but had got wind of the imminent arrival of the British arrival and so decided to attack just before they came and made his task all the more difficult.

Here we have a portrayal of the Mahdi’s men showing Gordon’s severed head to one of his men, already in capture and chains.

The Four Pillars of the final day reveal some further details that help us understand just what the energies aligned against General Gordon were in the early hours of that morning and how strong they were. The first of these is the Month, with its Earthly Branch of the Ox. This was in direct Clash against his new incoming Luck Pillar of the Goat. This was a serious Clash and when added to the Day of the Snake, which was the first of his San Sha days,[1] indicates it was a very tough time for him indeed. Added to these dynamics were further Clashes between the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches of his Four Pillars. The first of these is that clash between the Yang Metal of his Day of Birth and the Yang Wood of the Year 1885. There is then the Clash of his Yin Water Month of his Birth and that of the Yin Fire of the Month of the Ox of 1885. The final and it must be said very intriguing factor in the day of his death is that of the Yin Metal sitting on the Yin Wood of the Rabbit. Since Yin Metal signifies a knife or a sword (a sharp metal weapon), and of the rabbit, the neck. Thus, we have the stark imagery right there in the Four Pillars of a beheading that very morning.

San Sha are based on one’s year of birth and are three consecutive days on which it is best not to engage in important new ventures. Since he was born in a Dragon Year, the Snake is his first San Sha Day. San Sha can have a seriously detrimental effect on us. See notes below regarding San Sha, Yang Edge and Death Angel.

Date of General Gordan’s Death:

5-7am                               26th                         Jan                  1885

Yin Metal                        Yin Metal                 Yin Fire           Yang Wood

Rabbit                              Snake                      Ox                  Monkey

The man who led the relief column was none other than General Herbert Kitchener, that bastion of Empire who, was eventually to avenge Gordon’s death at the Battle of Omdurman. 

Go to Part Seven: From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Six: The Four Pillars of  General Charles (Pasha) Gordon.

The Four Pillars of Michael Clark Rockefeller: Thank you for taking to time to read this article. If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn

Friday, 14 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Five: The Four Pillars of George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Custer’s fatal attack on the Plains peoples, made famous as the Battle of the Little Big Horn, known to the Lakota as the Battle of the Slippery Grass, also known as Custer’s Last Stand.  It was a decisive and total rout of the regiment of that proud and haughty United States Army which he impulsively led into battle on the day. It’s a battle that has gone down in the annals of history as a day that native people fought back and won. Of course, the dreadful and revenge filled retribution imposed by United States government forces that followed, is an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth for white America to face today; one usually avoided or simply ignored.

George Custer, portrayed as swaggering hero; the truth of the man is likely to have been something far less admirable.

The background for Custer’s attack was an aggressive policy by the United States government to drive the Plains People into enforced confinement on predetermined reservations, thus leaving the Black Hills of the Dakota region, free for white exploitation, especially for gold. The Indians, naturally resented being forced from their traditional and sacred lands and were resisting. A totally impractical deadline of January 31st 1876 had been declared by President Ulysses Grant as the date all Indians were to be on the specified reservations, beyond which, all tribes people, found off the reservations, were fair game and could and would be killed as hostiles. The deadline however, was completely unreasonable due to the heavy mid-winter snows and freezing temperatures at that time of year. The Indians had ignored the decree anyway, and gathered by mid-June for their traditional buffalo hunting and Sun Dances. When Custer was told by his scouts that there was a large Indian encampment nearby, he decided at first to attack the next day and then, impulsively changed his mind and ordered the attack for that same day. He split his forces into three, which it seems was a big mistake, given the sheer numbers of Indians he ended up facing. There has been some conjecture as to whether at the time of his order to attack, he was actually aware of the overwhelming numbers of Indians present in the camps. Whether he was or not, it seems likely that he simply acted out of impulse that day. He had a well-deserved reputation for loving the limelight and was thought of by many as little more than a glory hunter. Certainly, the Four Pillars reveal his rebellious, impulsive nature in action that fateful day.

George Armstrong Custer’s Four Pillars:

5th                                   December                            1839

Yang Water                      Yin Wood                          Yin Earth

Dragon                                Pig                                   Pig 

Luck Pillar at time of Death: Yang Water Monkey

Red Horse’s representation of the Battle of the Greasy Grass.  This shows details of the battle from a native perspective rather than the tragi-romance of the usual white perspective.

Like Captain James Cook and John Chau, Custer too was a Strong Water man, born as he was on a Yang Water Day, in the Month of the Pig – Water Season.

In fact, his double Pigs only increase the Water Penalty for him. His Day Pillar of Yang Water sitting on the Dragon, which also hides water, makes his self-water-element very strong indeed. In fact, here we have a rather intriguing factor. This hidden water of the Dragon in Custer’s Day pillar hints at an aspect of his life that he himself no doubt preferred to keep concealed. This hidden water within the Dragon of his Day Pillar, hints at there being competition for his wife from other women. The Day Pillar is separated into two aspects of one’s life. The Heavenly Stem, is referred to as the House of self. This shows us the person’s self-element and thus, his relationship to all the other elements in his chart and, as one’s life progresses, to other people and to events as they occur. The Earthly Branch (the animal sign of the day), gives us insight into their life partners, their spouses or otherwise. This is why we call this the House of Spouse. By tradition, a man, in order to have a proper relationship with his wife, should have her conquering element. (Remember, this is the traditional viewpoint we are referring to here and can be difficult to reconcile with our own modern-day perspectives.) Therefore, a water man like Custer, as with Cook, would be expected to have fire in the House of Spouse, in order to have a conventional and successful marriage. (Water conquers fire.)

Here however, we see a divergence from that expected norm. Custer’s House of Spouse being Dragon, is earth. This would indicate that his wife, is likely to have some controlling aspect over him. George Custer married Elizabeth Bacon in February of 1864, and had, apparently, 12 happy if tumultuous years together before he was killed in battle. 

Elizabeth (Bacon) Custer’s Four Pillar:

8th                                     April                                  1842

Yin Fire                         Yang Wood                       Yang Water

Goat                               Dragon                               Tiger

As we can see from her House of Self, Elizabeth Custer was a Weak Fire Lady, and so a good match for Custer’s strong water. However, the earth element of the Goat in her House of Spouse, hints that she is likely to have competition within the marriage. Indeed, George Custer is known to have taken a young Cheyanne woman, Mo-nah-se-tah 18 yrs old, as his unofficial native wife, from the winter of 1868, just four years after his official marriage to Elizabeth. Mo-nah-se-tah, was the daughter of a Cheyanne chief killed in a battle led by Custer and taken prisoner. Clearly under such circumstances, the girl had little choice in the matter. She bore Custer at least one son, with another, potentially being his brother’s rather than his. Hardly ethical and a fact he certainly would not have wanted Elizabeth to have known about, but a common enough practice for the time. In one last foot note to this aspect of his unofficial marriage to Mo-nah-se-tah, two Cheyanne women are said after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, to have stopped a Lakota warrior from violating his body, telling him that he was a relative of theirs. In Cheyanne traditions, a marriage such as between Custer and Mo-nah-se-tah, was recognised as a proper marriage. They said later they had pierced his ears with needles, so he would better listen in the after-life, as he had broken his promise after the battle in which Mo-nah-se-tah’s father had been killed, to never again fight the Indians. 

As noted with both Cook and Chau earlier, strong water people, do not need more water. On the contrary, they need Wood, and Fire to help lessen their excessive self-water-element. Furthermore, we see that from 1868, Custer was in the Luck Pillar of Yang Water sitting on the Monkey, the strong metal of which, only serves to further resource his already too strong water. 

One other factor in Custer’s Four Pillars that reveals something of his personality to us, is the interplay between his Yang Water Heavenly Stem of his Day of Birth and the Yin Wood of his Month. Since Water is his self-element and it is Yang in the Day Pillar, wood is his outlet or intelligence element. With this particular interplay, of self-element and intelligence elements, they should be the same. That is, they should both be either yin or yang. When the self-element is yang, and the intelligence element is yin, it shows a rebelliousness in the person’s character, indicating they are impulsive and hard to control.  

Elizabeth (Libby) Custer

The Battle of the Little Big Horn:

25th                                           June                            1876

Yang Wood                           Yang Wood                   Yang Fire

Rat                                         Horse                            Rat

Since the year 1876 was a Rat year, and June is the Month of the Horse, the month was a Clash month against the year of the Rat. This means that June that year, was not a good month during which to undertake risky or dangerous actions. Furthermore, Custer’s Day element is Yang Water and the Rat is Yang Edge to Yang Water. Yang Edge often increases one’s propensity to impulsive and rash (excessively yang) behaviour, thus inhibiting an otherwise, natural caution he might have exercised. I have not been able to find any definitive hour for the attack by Custer’s men on the Indian encampment, but if one were to assume that it was after 7am, then it would have been in the hour of the Dragon; an hour when no Nobleman come to one’s rescue. In this case the rescue of the aggressors. If it were in the following hour, the hour of the Snake, then it would have been a time of strong Clash against Custer’s double Pigs and perhaps when he might have begun to realise the rashness of his decision to attack? From 11am – 1pm it is the hour of the Horse, which too would have seen him on the receiving end of the double Clash against the two Rats present that day.

A very strong clash indeed. Neither would the following hours of Goat which that day was a Yin Metal Goat, have helped him, given that metal was an element he did not need and would in fact have proved detrimental to him, as would the earth of the Goat itself. In the Hour of the Monkey, which was that day a Yang Water Monkey, he would once more face the problem of too much water and metal in the energies of the day. Likewise, with the hour of the Rooster, from 5pm to 7pm. The hour of the Dog follows and has been discussed in previous accounts above, when either the Dragon or the Dog are present, no Nobleman come to the rescue. It is likely however, that the main action was long over by this time on that awful day anyway.


So once more, just what are we to make of this event? This time instead of a lone, rogue intruder, as with John Chau, Custer went on the attack and clearly bit off more than he could chew. Alas for the Plains Peoples, retribution and revenge quickly followed. The US army eventually hunting them down, killing many and forcing the remainder onto the reservations where their descendants still live in poverty and deprivation to this day.

Go to Part Six: From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Five: The Four Pillars of George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

The Four Pillars of General Charles Gordon: If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018 

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn


Saturday, 15 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Four The Four Pillars of Captain James Cook:

Perhaps the one example that many people, especially here in the Pacific will all know of well, and many further afield too, is that of Captain James Cook, explorer and cartographer extraordinaire.

Killed by outraged Hawaiians on his third trip to the Pacific Ocean when he tried to kidnap a paramount chief and hold him to ransom over a boat that had gone missing from one of his ships. For some he is a hero who took his men on an incredible voyage of discovery and scientific exploration, while to others he is a villain, just as bad as Christopher Columbus, one to be reviled and cursed.

Captain James Cook’s Four Pillars:

7th                            November                     1728

Yin Water                  Yin Water                   Yang Earth

Goat                             Pig                          Monkey

Luck Pillar at the time of his death: Yang Earth Dragon

Like John Chau, Captain James Cook was a Strong Water man. Although his Day Pillar has Yin Water sitting on the earth of the Goat, since he was born in the season of Water, in the month of the Pig, we must consider him to be Strong Water. 

The Day Pillar is separated into two aspects of one’s life. The Heavenly Stem, is referred to as the House of Self. This shows us the person’s self-element and thus, his relationship to all the other elements in his chart and, as one’s life progresses, to other people and to events as they occur during the period of the life. The Earthly Branch (the animal sign of the day), gives us insight into one’s life partners, recognised spouses or otherwise. This is why we call this the House of Spouse. By tradition, a man, in order to have a proper relationship with his wife, should have her conquering element. (Remember, this is the traditional perspective we are referring to here and can be difficult to reconcile with modern-day considerations.) Therefore, a water man like Cook, would be expected to have fire in the House of Spouse, in order to have a conventional and successful marriage. (Water conquers Fire.)

Here however, we see a divergence from that expected norm. Cook’s House of Spouse being Goat, is earth. This would indicate that his wife, is likely to have some controlling aspect over him. But we know from his four pillars that Cook was not easily controlled and needed his freedom, taking it regardless, when it was not granted freely. His House of Spouse shows that his wife was earth from the earth of the Goat, but what it also tells us, is that she had hidden fire, as the Goat also hides fire.

Nathaniel Dance-Holland’s reverential image of Cook, as explorer, navigator and cartographer extraordinaire. Many native populations

see him as something else and curse his ever having visited them

Therefore, although superficially it may seem as if she wore the trousers; no doubt reluctantly, giving him leave to go on his long and perilous journeys, the hidden fire within the Goat tells a somewhat different story. It must have been a hard and wearisome road that poor woman trod. They had six children during the years of their marriage; all were to predecease her, and with her husband long dead, she lived on to the very advanced age of 93 yrs. Unfortunately, we do not know Elizabeth Cook’s date of birth to be able to delve further into her four pillars. Nevertheless, such insights help us better understand the dynamics of Cook’s own four pillars.   

Furthermore, since his Luck Pillar had recently changed, in the previous November, 1778, entering the luck of the Dragon, which has water hidden within it, he had even more water enter in his Four Pillars. Remember, when the self-element is strong, the person does not need more of it, and indeed having more can be and often is, very detrimental. The previous year, Cook had left the South Pacific and sailed his way up into the North Pacific, searching his way ever northwards in the hope of finding the elusive Northwest Passage. His luck seemed to have changed during this leg of his voyage and between the extreme cold of the Alaskan coastlines, the lack of suitable and appetising fresh meats, the crew began to complain bitterly. Cook is reported to have been particularly intransigent with the crew, insisting they eat walrus meat which they detested. It is said he became more and more irrational from this point forward. For the first time, it appeared as if Cook may have lost the charisma that had kept his crews so staunchly loyal to him. Unable to find the Northwest Passage, he turned south once more and headed back to the South Pacific, where he knew he could obtain fresh water and fresh tropical fruits.

Resolution and Discovery moored close together in Kealekua Bay

He arrived back in Hawaiian waters in early 1779 and after sailing around the islands for a time, finally entered and put down anchors in Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawaii. His arrival coincided with the Hawaiian festival of Malahiki, and a celebration of the god Lono. It has been claimed that the Hawaiians mistook Cook and his ships for the incarnation of Lono, and welcomed him as such, although this has since been contended. Either way, Cook and his ships were welcomed and honoured as propitious guests. After a month, Cook and his expedition left Kealakekua Bay, and the Hawaiians moved on to the next phase of their own lives. However, the foremast on Resolution, Cook’s lead ship, broke. He returned to a very different reception by the Hawaiians. By now the festival of Lono was over and with it, the Hawaiians patience with Cook and his interlopers. They had been treated with the utmost deference earlier, when it had been appropriate, but their unexpected return now, was an unwelcome intrusion. Tensions quickly arose between the visitors and locals. Then a small boat from one of the ships was reported stolen. Cook was furious and determined to retrieve the boat. Unable to locate it; Cook decided then to kidnap one of the paramount chiefs and hold him ransom, until the boat was returned. This strategy had worked for him on other occasions it seems, and so he set out to lure the chief by deception onto his ship. In doing so he and his men inadvertently trespassed onto a site held sacred to the locals, causing yet further offense. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Cook or any of those with him how arrogant and inappropriate all of this might appear to the Hawaiians.  The end result was that having acted so disrespectfully towards the locals, the Hawaiians reacted with fiery indignation and events rapidly deteriorated even further, they attacked Cook, some of his men and killed them outright. So, let’s look at what the Four Pillars dynamics were for that day and the most probable timing of his death.

He was killed on 14th February 1779. A reasonable timing for his death would be the hour of the Snake (9am-11am) although this is now almost completely impossible to verify, it seems to be the most reasonable from the accounts of the witnesses who were there and lived.

Cook’s Death:

9-11am                    14th                  February                  1779

Yin Earth              Yang Wood            Yang Fire                Yin Earth

Snake                     Monkey                Tiger                        Pig 

Luck Pillar at the time of his death: Yang Earth Dragon

James King (later Captain); who took over from Cook and led the remainder of the expedition home, notes that he and Cook had left the Resolution between 8 and 8:30am that day, and by the time those who witnessed the killing had got back to the Resolution, it was already after 11am. It seems reasonable to conjecture therefore, that the attack on Cook took place between 9am and 11am, the hour of the snake in Chinese time keeping.

Checking the dynamics of the day against his birth chart, the first thing we can see is that Cook was killed in the Year of the Pig. This created a penalty against his Month of Birth, also Pig. Penalty indicates hidden health problems and indeed, it is reported that he was suffering from digestive and stomach troubles. There was a Clash between his Year of Birth, Monkey against the Tiger Month of his death. Clash is a serious factor and when in danger, can indeed prove lethal. Furthermore, there was a doubling of this Clash with the Day of the Monkey that day. This means the Day Master would have been Clash, not a good day at all on which to try to kidnap a high chief. Adding to the chaos of the Four Pillars on that day for him, then is the likelihood that he was killed in the Hour of the Snake. The Snake Clashes directly against both the Pig of his Month of Birth and the Year of 1779. This kind of multiple Clash is very serious indeed. Penalty alone is bad enough but there is one further penalty to be taken into account. This is the chain that occurred at the time of his death. This is when the Tiger Month, the Monkey Day, and finally the Hour of the Snake all came to amalgamate. These three in combination make a very serious fire penalty, lethal even under the circumstances of what he was doing that day. Since Cook was born in a Monkey Year, he would have been directly affected by this very strong fire penalty.

Johan Zoffany’s unfinished but romanticised Death of Captain James Cook

From a cultural perspective, it’s clear that Captain Cook, with his insistence on retrieving his boat, even in the face of out-staying his welcome, having unwittingly trodden on forbidden sacred ground as he went to lure the chief to accompany him aboard the Resultion, where he intended to keep him hostage, and by continuing to demand things be done his way. As with John Chau, the tribal people lost all patience and took what they saw as appropriate steps to rectify the situation. Here, the Hawaiians stepped in to protect their own aristocracy and their cultural norms. As with the case of John Chau, the energies of the day were against Cook and those killed along with him. Unfortunately, we don’t know the four pillars details of any of the others involved on the day, but by applying the Four Pillars of Destiny to just these two cases, we can see just why events turned to what otherwise could have been very different outcomes. Had Chau not been as delusional and deliberately deceptive as he clearly was, he might be alive today. Just as he had no right whatever to go anywhere near the Sentinelese. Had Cook too been more sensitive to the indigenous people he met on his voyages, and not insisted on doing everything his way, and not intruding back into Kealakekua Bay, he too might have met a more peaceful end, in spite of his Luck Pillar adding more hidden water to his Four Pillars.

Whilst John Chau is unlikely to have exhibited a violent or aggressive demeanour to the Sentinelese; he did nevertheless break their rules and invade their territory. Cook on the other hand clearly was that day completely insensitive to the feelings and cultural norms of the Hawaiians. Just as with John Chau’s unlawful and deceitful landing, which put the Sentinelese at risk from any deadly diseases, he may well have been exposing them to; so too did Cook and his men. Indeed, we know the crews of his ships introduced many pathogens to the peoples of the Pacific. As with the peoples of the Americas before them, they too had no immunity to these introduced Western diseases. The end for the Pacifica, North, Central and South American peoples, was dire. Millions of men, women and children all over the Pacific died as a result of the diseases introduced by Cook and his men and those who were to follow them. As had been the case with Columbus and the Conquistadors earlier.  It has quite rightly been called a holocaust. In many cases, indigenous numbers were so weakened, that they still have not rebounded to pre-European contact levels. It remains as a continuing source of grievance and anger to many in the Pacific, as in the Americas. The Hawaiian descendants of those who killed Cook, still consider it a matter of pride that they were the ones to rid the world of such a dangerous and disrespectful invader. Many still hold him in contempt for the pestilence he and his crews visited upon their ancestors. 

This brings us to yet another example of a tribal people, quite justifiably, retaliating in kind at the unwarranted attack by violent aggressors in the form of George Armstrong Custer’s attack on their peaceful, traditional inter-tribal summer gathering. Although they won the battle on the day, alas, they, like so many other indigenous peoples, were to face swift and genocidal reprisals.

Go to Part Five: From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Four The Four Pillars of Captain James Cook:

The Four Pillars of George Armstrong Custer: If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018 

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn

Sunday, 16 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots Pat Three: The Four Pillars of John Chau.

John Allan Chau’ Four Pillars:

18th                              Dec                       1991   

Yang Water               Yang Metal              Yin Metal

Dog                             Rat                          Goat    

Current Luck Pillar from:       2017 (Age 26)   Yin Water   Rabbit 

Since we don’t know the time of his birth, we only have the Day, Month and Year of his birth to work from. This is not so important as the hour of birth is related more to one’s children and the later years of life, and we are not considering either of these factors. Further you will notice that we also have a fifth pillar, drawn up, that of his current ten-year luck period. These are known as one’s Current Luck Pillar. They have an impact on the period covered by them and divulge further information for us.

By taking the Heavenly Stem of his Day of Birth, and considering the season in which he was born, the water month of the Rat, we find that John Chau was a strong water man. Had he been born during the months of Fire, May and June, we would then consider him to be weak water, but since he was born during the season of strong water in the month of the Rat, we must consider him to be a strong water man. Water people in general are kind and accommodating. Strong water people tend to be forceful and impulsive in character, often leading to charges of their not being willing to listen to others. Weak water has a certain reputation for dishonesty.

It is sometimes said weak water people are often criminal - so beware! Although John Chau was a strong water man, its interesting to note that despite strong avowals to his Christian faith, he was nevertheless perfectly willing to by-pass India’s sovereign laws on more than one occasion to reach North Sentinel Island and his goal of converting its inhabitants to his religion, in spite of their being protected by law and off-limits to all! 

When examining his Four Pillars we must first of all pay attention to the interplay between the Five Elements of his Year, Month and Days and his Current Luck Pillar. As a strong water man, he did not need any more water. More water entering his chart would indicate that he would become even more impulsive and listen to advice even less. Therefore, we can see that from 2017, he was in the Luck Period of Yin Water. This was not helpful to him and no doubt added to his inclination to forcefully pursue his goal of reaching North Sentinel Island, despite the legal prohibitions against this. A further dynamic within his Four Pillars that would have made him act even more rashly, is the presence of the Rat in the month of his birth. The Rat too is Yang Water and indeed is known as the Yang Edge to Water. This factor usually indicates more impulsive, yang, actions on the part of the person with it in their Four Pillars. This becomes even stronger whenever the Rat shows up in the calendar, as it did on the day of his death. But now we are jumping ahead of ourselves. 

When considering the element that water produces, wood, we see that there is no wood in John Chau’s birth chart, but there is by contrast an abundance of metal. For a water person, metal is the Resource element. Given that John Chau was a strong water individual, he does not need metal either. Instead he needs wood - his intelligence or creative element, fire – his money element since water conquers fire, and earth, which is the power or boss element to water, since earth controls water. From 2017, the Rabbit (Yin Wood) showed up in his Luck Pillar. Since Yin Wood represents his intelligence or creative element (water produces wood), it should have been good for him, and no doubt allowed him to strategize his way onto the island. However, this yin wood is yin to his yang self-element, and indicates a period in which he will demonstrate a strongly rebellious streak; declining to listen to the advice of older, wiser counsel. 

Yet another factor related to the Rabbit for him is that the Rabbit is one of his Nobleman. These are considered to be something akin to the western notion of a guardian angel. These are helpful people that come to our aid, especially when we are in trouble. Some Four Pillar Masters claim that Nobleman only appear when we are in trouble and need their help to save us. However, it is said that Nobleman do not appear when either the Dog or the Dragon are present. This is because, the Dragon opens the Gate of Heaven, due to the Dragon being a sky born entity, while the earth-bound Dog opens the Gate of Hell. Therefore, when either of these two gates are open, no Nobleman appear; even in times of dire trouble. It is said that this is a contributing factor to there being such high death rates in major disasters, when either the Dragon or the Dog are present. (As an example of this, the terrible death toll in the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Trade Towers in New York, which occurred between 7-9am, the hour of the Dragon. There are many, many recorded examples of such Dragon and Dog events.)

All of this, paints a picture of a misguided, impulsive young man, all enthused with his life’s dream of travelling to North Sentinel to convert the reclusive tribe living there. This, in spite of all the sovereign  laws he was knowingly prepared to break to get there, the very real danger to himself, never mind about the jeopardy his wilful actions might expose the innocent Sentinelese to.

Men from North Sentinel Island preparing to ward off a helicopter

that flew over to check for damage after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

Now let us examine the day prior to his death, when he made contact with the tribe and then the day of his death and the dynamics that can be seen to come together to conspire in his demise.

15th                              November                      2018

Yin Metal                       Yin Water                   Yang Earth

Pig (yin water)             Pig (yin water)                   Dog

This was a day of yet more metal and water, none of which were helpful to John Chau. In deed the two Pigs combine to create a double water penalty for him. However, even though he faced a very real danger this day, with a young boy shooting an arrow straight at him, he seemed to make a successful get-away and survived the encounter. However, it was to be the next day on which he returned, and tragically this time, went to his death. (There are differing reports as to exactly which day Chau was killed, the 16th or the 17th when his body was spotted being dragged across the beach by the fishermen who had delivered him to the island. However, it seems most likely he was killed as soon as the Sentinelese became aware of his return. If he was not killed then, it would seem that he had spent the night of the 16th – 17th with them. If that was the case, it would mean he had something of a breakthrough with them as nobody else has ever been able to land and not be attacked by them. So why let him stay the night and then kill him? The Four Pillars show he was killed on the 16th and not on the 17th.

Most Likely Day of John Chau’s Death:

16th                                November           2018

Yang Water                     Yin Water          Yang Earth

Rat (yang water)          Pig (yin water)          Dog

Rat = Yang Edge

On this day, the water energies had strengthened even further with the presence of the Yang Water Rat. The Rat, itself is yang water and Chau’s Yang Edge. Had he removed himself from the situation the evening before, and retreated to Port Blair, leaving the islanders to their peace, he might have saved himself. Instead, the Yang Edge present on that day overtook him and clearly increased his rash determination to return, in spite of the obvious danger. This aspect of the Yang Edge in such cases can have very dire consequences. As the Indian authorities have said, his insistence on returning to the island saw the tribe lose all patience with him, and they killed him for his disrespect.  

However, the negative energies of the 15th were somewhat ameliorated by the Day Master or the Day Ruler, (Different feng shui masters seem to use both terms interchangeably.). This is a further aspect of the Chinese Solar Calendar in which the quality or the measure of the day is expressed by its name. The first of these is Establish, which has the same Earthly Branch as that of the Month. Therefore, in a Pig Month, the Establish Day will always fall on a Pig

Day. Establish is a day positive it’s said, for travelling and taking up new postings; both of which John Chau attempted to do on the 15th November. Establish is then followed by the Day Master Removal, a day on which it is not good for taking up new postings, or for the pursuit of status or promotion. If we think of what John Chau was actually trying to do on this day by returning to the tribe, he clearly was hoping to overcome their resistance and win them over. This was a very bad day for such an enterprise. In addition, Removal is a good day for getting rid of bad luck and for catching thieves and pest control. No doubt this is exactly how the tribe viewed Chau’s intrusion onto their island. It seems pretty obvious they were simply eliminating an unwanted threat to their peace. Furthermore, Yang Earth is the Power or Bosses element to Yang Water. One’s power or boss’s element, appears in life as those with authority over us. Since 2018 is the year of the Yang Earth Dog, it’s easy to see that on that day, with the forcefulness of his own Yang Edge from the Rat rashly taking him back to the island, in spite of the clear warnings he had been given, we can consider the Power or Bosses of the island decided to use their authority to rid themselves of his intrusion. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a less positive day for him to have chosen to return to the island and force himself onto the Sentinelese. One final dynamic that is likely to have had an influence over this sad and misguided young man is that he was born on a Dog Day. Since both the Dog and the Dragon are related to spiritual experiences, he already had a propensity towards the spiritual. This obsession he had with the people on Sentinel Island would only have strengthened during 2018, the year of the Dog.

When thinking of the facts surrounding this case, it’s important to consider the disruption and upset that Chau’s actions will no doubt have caused to the lives of the people on North Sentinel. Such uninvited and unwelcome intrusions, especially towards uncontacted peoples must be discouraged at all costs. Even now, it remains unknown whether Chau did in fact introduce lethal pathogens to the people of North Sentinel. Evangelical Christian groups, no matter how well intentioned and entitles they may feel themselves to be, must realise such actions are completely, unjustifiable and unconscionable in today’s world! Perhaps it would be a good idea for governments to start holding these proselytising groups who encourage such behaviour to legal account? After all, Chau broke numerous Indian laws. Groups who encouraged him in this recklessness, too should be held to account. 

However, John Chau is far from being the only one to impose himself on previously uncontacted and remote peoples. As the story of John Chau’s death unfolded, it led me to think of others like him who have also been killed when interacting, often uninvited, with indigenous peoples. History is littered with them.

Go to Part Four: From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots Pat Three: The Four Pillars of John Chau.

The Four Pillars of Captain James Cook: If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018 

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn

Monday, 17 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots Part Two: An explanation of the System.

Traditionally the Chinese have observed both a Solar and a Lunar calendar. We will be using their Solar calendar, also called the Hsia or Farmer’s calendar.

This calendar is made up of two inter-connected cycles: One cosmic or astral, represented by the 10 Heavenly Stems (Gan) and, the other earthly or temporal, represented the12 Earthly Branches, (Zhi); better known as the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Together, they are known as the Gan-Zhi and when drawn up, one on top of the other, they make up 4 the Pillars of Destiny. One pillar for the year, one pillar for the month, one pillar for the day and one pillar for the hour. Both upper Heavenly Stems and lower Earthly Branches are in fact representations of the 5 elements of Chinese Yin, Yang theory. This theory posits that all things within the universe are either Yin or Yang. The way in which Yin and Yang interact with one another and move from Yin to Yang and vice versa, is through a series of transformations known to us in English as the 5 Elements.

These are:

  • Wood
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Metal
  • Water

Each of these in turn has a Yin and a Yang expression. Thus, we have:

  • Yang Wood
  • Yin Wood
  • Yang Fire
  • Yin Fire
  • Yang Earth
  • Yin Earth
  • Yang Metal
  • Yin Metal
  • Yang Water
  • Yin Water

You will further notice that the order these are in, as presented here, is considered to be their Productive Cycle, in which each element produces or creates the following one. This productive or engendering cycle is considered to be a beneficial, helpful cycle.


The Productive Cycle:

There is another cycle of the 5 elements that we must also consider, when looking at the relationship between each of the 5 elements and their interplay with one another. This is a harmful, or antagonistic cycle, one arousing conflict between them and which brings the dualistic nature of Yin and Yang to the fore; instead of the harmonious aspects that Yin and Yang are able to bring when they are in unison. This second cycle therefore is known as the Destructive Cycle. Examples of the elements being in a conflict relationship with each other are as follows:

  • Metal chops or conquers Wood
  • Wood dominates or grows from Earth
  • Earth constrains the freedom loving nature of Water
  • Water conquers/puts out Fire
  • Fire conquers/melts Metal 

You will notice that the terms Conquer, Constrain and Dominate are used in this cycle. Since no one likes to be constrained or conquered, this will naturally arouse conflict and a rebellious response on the part of the element under attack. Therefore, it is deemed to be of a negative or destructive nature in their relationships. 

Although both cycles can be understood as two sides of the one coin, whereas one cycle, the productive cycle engenders harmony and progress, the opposite, destructive cycle arouses conflict and disharmony. It is within this aspect of the 5 elements that trouble between them lies, and where we find discord and upset occurring.

The Destructive Cycle

Nature of Yin and Yang within the system:

One more thing to consider here is that when there is more Yin than Yang, things will tend to be more oblique and hidden in nature, more secretive, even passive. When Yang dominates, there will be more overt, open energies, more aggressive aspects that show up. 

The 10 Heavenly Stems:

  • Yang Water
  • Yin Water
  • Yang Wood
  • Yin Wood
  • Yang Fire
  • Yin Fire
  • Yang Earth
  • Yin Earth
  • Yang Metal
  • Yin Metal

The order of the 12 Earthly Branches and the elements they represent:

  • Rat – Yang Water
  • Ox – Yin Earth
  • Tiger – Yang Wood
  • Rabbit – Yin Wood
  • Dragon – Yang Earth
  • Snake – Yin Fire
  • Horse – Yang Fire
  • Goat – Yin Earth
  • Monkey – Yang Metal
  • Rooster – Yin Metal
  • Dog – Yang Earth
  • Pig – Yin Water 

Four Earth Seasonal Interstices:

You will have noticed that there are 4 Earth Animals but only two for each of the other elements.

The reason for this is that each of these four earth animals acts as a seasonal interstice between the 4 seasons. This then gives us 12 Earthly Branches/animal zodiac signs and not just 10 as with the 10 Heavenly Stems.

  • Dragon – Yang Earth – End of Spring
  • Goat – Yin Earth – End of Summer
  • Dog – Yang Earth – End of Autumn

Ox – Yin Earth – End of Winter

The 12 Earthly Branches

The 60 Year Cycle:

It takes 60 years to repeat the cycle of each Heavenly Stem paired with the same Earthly Branch.


Go to Part Three: From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots Part Two: An explanation of the System.

If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. 

Thank you for taking to time to read this article. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018 

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn

Wednesday, 19 December 2018 00:00

From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots Part One – John Chau’s Folly.

Recent news reports have covered the dramatic story of a young, idealistic American man, John Chau; a Christian missionary, who while attempting to bring his particular brand of faith to a remote, off-limits tribe, was killed by the very people he was trying to save. The case aroused considerable international interest and controversy. Highlighting as it has, the plight of remote, uncontacted peoples and the potential dangers such encounters raise for these tribes. It would appear that his misplaced enthusiasm for evangelising blinded him to the risks that he, as an outsider, posed to the peoples of North Sentinel Island in the Andaman Archipelago. Contact with such tribes poses a very real and immediate threat to their continued existence, wherever they are found, as they have no immunity to the diseases of the outside world. In previous encounters, even the common cold has been responsible for wiping out large portions of such tribes. It’s a sensitive issue. Millions of people died upon first contacts with adventuring and exploring Europeans over the centuries. The Andaman Islands were no exception. Many groups of indigenous people died there from Western introduced diseases during the course of the 19th and 20th century British occupation of the archipelago. Furthermore, in this case, the tribe have for many years made it abundantly clear they do not wish to be contacted by the outside world, killing all who attempt to land there. So remote are they, that scientists, postulate they have been there for perhaps as long as 60,000 years. Anthropologists don’t even know the name they have for themselves, so little is known about them. Their language is unintelligible, even to similar tribes on nearby islands. They have however, made it abundantly clear to all visitors, that they do not wish to be disturbed. 

In 2006, a similar event occurred on the same island. Two fishermen from one of the other islands, had had too much to drink and fell asleep. In-spite of their friends in other boats calling out desperately to them, trying to warn them of the impending danger they were in, their boat drifted onto a beach where the Sentinelese attacked and killed them, burying their bodies on the beach. Attempts at retrieving the bodies by helicopter failed when the natives again attacked with bows, arrows and spears.

Despite the well-known aggression of the North Sentinelese to outsiders, and we do know that Chau was very aware of both the tribe’s violent reputation, and that there were strong legal prohibitions against outsiders like him trying to make contact with them, he still insisted on breaking the law to reach his goal of going there to convert them.  By doing so, he put not only himself, the fishermen he had had to bribe to take him there, but more importantly, the islanders themselves, at great risk. On his first attempt to land on the 15th November, a young Sentinelese boy fired a metal tipped arrow at him, penetrating his bible, upon which, Chau fled terrified back to the fisherman waiting for him off-shore. The next day, 16th December, 2018, he went back onto the island in a further attempt. This time he instructed the fishermen not to wait for him, that no matter what, he would be staying on the island this time. That decision was to cost him his life! The next day, the fishermen in fact did go back to try and check on him but instead, saw a group of Sentinelese men dragging Chau’s body across the beach where they proceeded to bury him.

John Chau - martyred missionary or dangerously naïve fool?

It’s easy to write John Chau off as an arrogant and foolhardy zealot, who got the end he deserved for transgressing the Tribe’s boundaries. Many have, condemning his Christian proselytising as a form of modern-day religious Imperialism and it’s easy to agree with that view. Particularly since he broke Indian civil laws just by entering the country as a missionary without the appropriate visa, knowing he was going to be trying to preach to the Sentinelese.  Further, he deliberately bribed the fishermen to take him to the island and put the seriously off-limits tribe at considerable risk of contracting any pathogens, he might be carrying. Given their total lack of any immunity to such diseases, this alone was an incredibly selfish and ill-considered thing for him to do. 

In spite of the clear risks he posed to the tribe, some of the more fervent American Christian missionary groups, have demanded his body be recovered and his killers be brought to justice. Fortunately, the Indian civil authorities have responded in a far more measured and rational way. They have both declined to extract his body; knowing that any such attempt would only endanger more lives and further distress the people of North Sentinel. Neither are they pursuing the arrest and charging of the defenders of the island with murder. Quite rightly so too! In all of this, none of these Christian groups seem to have considered the damaging impact all of this is likely to have had on the islanders themselves. The consternation, they no doubt felt at yet another unwanted, uninvited intruder daring to land on their island, the turmoil his arrival must have caused them and the worry some may have felt at his death. Were they then in turn concerned about outside retribution for his killing? 

So, what are we to make of this sort of situation? After all, John Chau is not the first intruder to be killed by hostile indigenous groups, defending their territories from unwanted interlopers. The pages of history are littered with stories of missionaries and other trespassers ending up killed by angry and indignant defenders. 

What was it about this otherwise, seemingly intelligent, personable young man that so convinced him to risk everything in trying to preach his particular brand of religion to these unwelcoming people? What made him think that he was to be the one to get through to them, when all other approaches had been repelled so vehemently? Was it the arrogance of his beliefs? Or was he just a naïve young fool, rushing in where older, wiser heads knew not to tread? We have some insight to his own inner torment on those last couple of days, from the pages of his diary in which he asks two very revealing questions, which show both his naivete and his cognitive dissonance. In the first, he asks why the Sentinelese are so angry. Had he really wanted to comprehend the history of these islands, and North Sentinel in particular, he would have had no need to ask that question. He would have known the answer. 

With the arrival of the British on the Andamans and the setting up of their penal colony there, a very young (20yrs old) colonial administrator by name of Maurice Vidal Portman, in 1880 is supposed to have taken a large and heavily armed party onto South Sentinel, seeking to pacify the natives. However, the islanders simply retreated into the thick forests that cover it and hid. Eventually Portman’s party found two elderly people, too old and feeble to run away, and several children with them. He proceeded to kidnap the entire group and took them back to Port Blair, whereupon the two elders soon sickened and died, having, unsurprisingly, succumbed to the diseases so rampant amongst the British, but to which they had no immunity. Portman, is then supposed to have regretted his actions and returned the children back to North Sentinel. But in what by today’s standards, was a bizarre set of ongoing attempts to civilize the group, he repeatedly kidnapped members of the Sentinelese and applying what seems to have been an early form of eugenics, fanatically measured their bodies from head to toe, with a particular emphasis on the genitalia, studying every conceivable part of them. We can only imagine how traumatising this must have been for these people. This appalling contact with the island seems to have stopped after Portman retired and returned to England. It is now suspected that these abductions and bizarre actions of measuring every intimate inch of their bodies and photographing them in every conceivable format, may lie at the heart of their desire to protect themselves from any intrusion from the outside world. Can we blame them? 

That was the last serious attempt made by the British to establish further contact. The risk of isolated native tribes dying out completely by our introduced pathogens, is so real, in fact, that many other similar groups in the Andamans have simply died out completely. John Chau most certainly would have been aware of this, and the danger therefore, that any approach made by him to the North Sentinelese. Yet he still chose to deliberately put himself, and more significantly, the Sentinelese in the path of harms way from the diseases he might have been carrying. Time alone will tell us perhaps if the people in North Sentinel did actually contract any illness from him. It is probably far too soon for us to know just yet. 

In the second of his questions, he asks in bold capitals, ‘WHO WILL REPLACE ME?’ Here we see the contradiction of faith, in which having committed himself to doing his god’s work, he then question’s the certainty of that god’s plan. Cognitive dissonance at its best. 

From a modern Western perspective, the dilemma is one in which the rights and wrongs of it will no doubt be argued over for years to come. It’s a situation that seems to arouse strong emotions in people. The ethics that surround the situation demand discussion and wise, considered responses, especially in light of the vast and incalculable harm that has been wrought all over the world, wherever colonisation has been enforced. And with it, Christian missionaries always followed, proselytising and demanding allegiance to their particular versions of the divine. It seems completely relevant for us to examine such cases today, especially given what a mess of the environment our present way of life has created and the devastation that such intrusions on indigenous peoples the world over have wrought. 

It is with this in mind that I think there is merit in examining the John Chau case through the eyes of the ancient Chinese system of Destiny Analysis, better known as the Four Pillars of Destiny. This approach is unique in that it looks at time and events through the perspective of Yin Yang Five Element theory. It is the only system that does this.

Go to Part Two:  From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots Part One – John Chau’s Folly.

The System: If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+64 (0)21 1993 888

Dec 2018 

© All international copyrights apply and are the preserve of L D Thorn

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 00:00


In a couple of on-line discussion panels, I occasionally follow, attention has recently been drawn to the feng shui of the Singapore venue for the upcoming meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. The summit, if it does actually go ahead, is slated to be held on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, at the prestigious Capella Resort Hotel. Designed by renowned British architect Sir Norman Foster; principal architect behind HSBC’s Hong Kong HQ, the Capella has, what is frequently, but incorrectly referred to, as a Colonial Style façade. I say incorrectly, because more appropriately the style is in fact, Imperialist. The distinction in this case, is important, when we consider that the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, are both imperialist in nature. Kim is quite clearly Emperor in all but name in his dynastically ruled realm, and the USA behaves quite un-ashamedly imperialistically in its self-appointed role of ‘Leader of the Free World. Indeed, never more-so, than since Trump has been president.   

 The Imperialist style architecture of the Capella Hotel’s facade, Sentosa Island.

The significance of the symbolism and getting the terminology used to describe it, correct, becomes crystal clear when putting it the into context of a frequently used but rather enigmatic, even highly controversial method in feng shui which calls up or, evokes, potential consequences that might be expected to result from either the shape or imagery of buildings. It is wise however, to always keep in mind that this form of feng shui analysis is highly subjective and can, and frequently does, quickly lead from the sublime to the ridiculous! If we look at earlier instances where this kind of methodology has been applied to buildings in traditional feng shui analyses in attempts to work-out something of the effect their shapes and symbolism have on the surroundings and people within their vicinity, we need look no further than Singapore’s arch feng shui rival, Hong Kong; often claimed to be the feng shui capital of the world. (Quite a claim huh?) Three of the more famous buildings referenced for their nefarious feng shui in Hong Kong are:

  • The Bank of China’s highly aggressive axe/knife-like imagery. So aggressive is it deemed, that its reputed that the HSBC in a tit for tat move, placed a pair of faux cannon atop its own megalithic tower to ward off the glass axe of the Bank of China. In a kind of ‘Gotcha, hahaha, my cannons trump your glass axe!’, kinda move.

The Bank of China (1990) and its aggressive glass-axe feng shui and the HSBC building (1985) with the faux cannons added atop and firing at the BOC.

Image © Danny Thorn

  • The much older but none-the-less just as controversial Connaught Centre (now renamed Jardine House), Hong Kong’s first true skyscraper (1972). It’s a building that has been perceived by many to have negative feng shui because of all the round porthole style windows, which it’s been claimed, replicate bites taken out of a piece of cheese by hungry mice; giving it a chewed-up look. Another, even less salubrious moniker for it, has been ‘The House of a Thousand Arseholes’. (Well, I did warn you it was less than salubrious!) Others however, perhaps with a more glass half-full perspective, take the line that with so many windows being round like coins, the building actually sucks in wealth from Hong Kong’s fragrant harbour. However, as in any glass half-empty/glass half-full argument, both sides point to factors they feel validate their own perspectives. We have to concede, nevertheless, the outcomes are nearly always subjective anyway. (I personally know of at least three companies which once enjoyed the razzamatazz of the Connaught Centre’s dizzying heights, but that ended up in sickeningly controversial, official doodoos over their questionable trade dealings, and all of which ultimately went out of business. One rather spectacular case even climaxed with its directors on the run from Uncle Sam and his decidedly, imperialistic CIA!) That said, there was a time when the New Zealand High Commission also ran their offices out the Connaught Centre; I don’t recall any issues for the High Commission whilst there?

The Connaught Centre, now renamed Jardine House.

Mouse bitten, ‘House of a Thousand Arseholes’, or a building with coins to attract in wealth? You choose!

Image © Danny Thorn

  • The Hopewell Centre (1980). This was Hong Kong’s first circular, high-rise tower and caused much consternation at the time of its initial erection in feng shui circles, believed as it was then, to represent a candle such as might be found at a traditional Chinese funeral. The response by the building’s owner to this fiery feng shui criticism was to place a further floor on top which contains a swimming pool, thus preventatively, and permanently, hushing its apocalyptic naysayers.

So, what’s to be intuited from a similar analysis of the Capella Hotel’s main building on Sentosa, where ‘The Donald’ will confront ‘Little Rocket Man’? (Let’s not forget too quickly here, the vicious abuse these two have until just very recently been hurling very publicly at one another.)

Hong Kong’s Candle-like Hopewell Centre.

Considering the Imperialist façade of the Capella, just what might we expect? The apparent face of formality and authority along with the usual, meaningless conservative, consensus end-of-summit statements that leave us wondering just what the hell it was all about and moaning about yet another tax-funded junket for the politicians and their myriad hangers-on? For sure we can expect some imperialistic bombast and posturing from both sides. But might we not also anticipate something a little more telling? Examining the rear of the building is interesting with these thoughts in mind. 

Capella Hotel, Sentosa Island, Singapore

Imagery courtesy of Google Earth

The rear of the building is scrunched-in like some overwrought handheld exercise gadget, suggesting perhaps, we should keep an eye out for the angst-ridden handshakes the Don is becoming infamous for. Given the Donald’s proclivity for alpha male-ing the greetings thing, might we perchance see him simply give his usual gorilla grip to Little Rocket-man instead of his once promised ‘They will be met with fire and fury’ threats? Maybe instead, he will want to hold hands and pucker-up in an almost-but not-quite kiss with Kim Jong-un as he did with Macron, before leading him away too, to some secret inner sanctum?

Eeew, awkward Donald!

Trump leads a clearly bemused Macron away by the wrist.


Perhaps instead, Kim will come armed with a can of deodorant to protect himself from the foul whiff of Trump’s scandals – “He cannot deodorise the nasty smell from his dirty body woven with frauds and sexual abuses.” North Korea’s State-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun. Remember here the wider Russian scandals and the claims of peed-on wet bed sheets in a prostitute-filled Moscow hotel? You can bet your cotton socks Little Rocket-man sure hasn’t! Maybe it’ll all work out just fine and instead we’ll see images of the two fondly kissing, holding hands and dusting-off the imaginary dandruff from each other’s collars? Some suggest that the loop of the building indicates an incessant, unbreakable round and round the merry-go-round; a here we go again folks, set of talks between the two, with no outcome or solution possible. Or will we instead perhaps, find lurking in the imagery, treacherously hidden away sharp blades of modern curve-handled box cutters as shown below? Might that signify that one or either party has enough dirt on the other to slash them in the back?

Modern box cutters with rounded handles and hidden blades just like those discernible to the willing eye examining the rear view of the Capella Hotel?

Can hidden blades be perceived in the shape of the Capella? Will treachery prevail?

Imagery courtesy of Google Earth

Whatever the outcome of June 12th’s summit, one thing is for sure, Singapore and the feng shui of the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island are bound to figure large in the minds of those of us with an interest in the subject and be argued and debated over for some time to come.

Oh, and by the way, in one last, anachronistic twist of imperialist irony, it is the Ghurkhas, those doughty little Nepali men who have kept the citizens of the British Empire, now the British Commonwealth, safe for over 200 years[1], who will be taking care of security for The Don and Little Rocket man, two of the most abjured leaders of their times. And all this, in paternalistic, repressive yet apparently democratic Singapore. Now that, really is imperialism for you!

1st Gurkha Rifles circa 1857 on full imperial service.

Imagery from Wikipedia Common.

 The Gurkhas were first incorporated into the British Indian Army in 1815; the year Napoleon Bonaparte lost the Battle of Waterloo to the Duke of Wellington and was sent into exile on the island of Helena where he died in May of 1821. It was also in the January of 1815 that the British and the Americans last fought face to face in the Battle of New Orleans. Both nations continue even today, to pursue their separate imperialist ambitions.


Wednesday, 07 February 2018 00:00

Waitangi - a Cause to Grieve?

I am often mindful of just what a peculiar thing classical feng shui can be. What strange and downright bizarre elements it reveals in life. Now that Waitangi Day has come and gone peacefully, this year, without any major incidents or displays of intense frustration, it’s time to take a look at what was different from previous angst burdened Waitangi Days, and see just what if any part the feng shui of Waitangi itself might be playing an all of this.

Although events on Waitangi Day have a long history of being fractious and disputatious, in the most recent past, since the obstreperous protests of 2015 at Te Tii Marae led National’s John Key to abandon government presence at Waitangi altogether; a policy followed in 2017 by Bill English, that changed this year when new Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Adern chose to return for the main celebrations; although not to Te Tii. Instead she opted to go to the Upper Marae, which is, as it happens, also the National Marae. In another break from previous routines, where Key and his predecessors hosted a formal breakfast with Iwi and business leaders from the Far-North, Adern hosted a BBQ for the public.

This ongoing government absence from the lower marae at Te Tii, has caused concern for some, especially in Ngapuhi it seems; and led to the only protest of the day. A mild display of discontent by Kingi Taurua which was unseen by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern, as she was putting another sausage on the grill.

So just what is it about Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Tii Marae, that sees, what is meant after all, to be a national day of celebration, instead, turn regularly into a tempestuous, often undignified fracas? For sure, Ngapuhi, by default as the hosts of successive governments over the years, have seen an opportunity to air grievances, not only their own, but as a voice for all Maori to let governments know of their displeasure. Since the government represents the Crown and it is with the Crown, legally, that Maori must seek redress when an issue arises, it is only natural that the day on which we, as a nation recognise and celebrate the partnership between Maori and the Crown, be an appropriate day on which such grievances might be aired. In many ways it’s not unlike the proclamation made by the officiating priest at a traditional Christian wedding of, “If any of you has a reason these two should not be wed in holy matrimony, then speak now or forever hold your peace!” And with what shock and excited horror, it is received too, when such protests are actually made! Surely government’s very presence at Te Tii is a signal of an appropriate time and place for grievances to be aired? But why the frequent resort to such aggressive agitation? And what was different this year that seemed to allow peace and genuine celebration to reign over the day?

From a classical feng shui perspective, and with an understanding of the locale of the two sites at Waitangi, it’s possible to quite quickly work out why the geomancy is having such a disruptive effect on proceedings on our National Day.

Let’s start with an overview of the main two sites:

  • The Treaty Grounds and the Upper Marae
  • Te Tii Marae

The Treaty Grounds are on a small but prominent peninsula at the northern end of Pahia and is separated from it by the inlet of the Waitangi River. Directly to the south of this is the sharp, spear like protuberance that is Te Tii. Here we find Te Tii Marae, with its Te Tiriti O Waitangi Meeting House. Built in 1880, by Aperahama Taonui with the Treaty Memorial alongside. (He organised the opening ceremony to mark unity then between Pakeha and Maori.)

The notably sharp point of Te Tii pokes directly and aggressively at Waitangi.


Since the inception of Waitangi Day as a Public Holiday in 1974, not only has Te Tii Marae but also the bridge across the river and the road up to the Treaty Grounds themselves, been the site of frequent volatile exchanges between Maori and police. Indeed, Waitangi has been a location of ongoing protests by Maori on most Waitangi Days since. But it is not just the political protests that have marked this as a location of trouble. The Waitangi Hotel built just across the bridge and right next to the Treaty Grounds has also had a pretty chequered history. So just what in the surrounding feng shui might be stirring up the forces of agitation and unrest at Te Tii and the Treaty Grounds.

As can be seen from the image above, Te Tii Marae is sited on a sharp promontory that jabs directly towards the Treaty Grounds, and the Waitangi Hotel, just like the sharp end of a Taiaha or traditional Maori fighting staff. Spikey points of land such as can be found at Te Tii, are well recognised in classical Chinese feng shui as generating discord, even engendering outright aggression. Another location with a similar land formation is that bastion of English Imperial dominance, and cause of much hoary argument between England and Spain, the Rock of Gibraltar. It is only Britain’s continuing armed presence on ‘The Rock’, that keeps Spain from asserting its repossession. Even then, Gibraltar is not as sharp and does not whack into any nearby landmass simply as there is no nearby landmass.

The Rock of Gibraltar, like Waitangi is a site of on-going strife between the UK and Spain.


The following images show just how angular and aggressive both peninsulas are. But Gibraltar’s tip is more rounded than Te Tii, which is sharper. One notices that there is an indented area on the southern side of the Waitangi Peninsula. This very yin aspect receives and does not fight back against the very yang ‘fight’ of Te Tii.

Since it requires yang qi to make money and the Waitangi Hotel is on the receiving end of the very yin sha qi from Te Tii, it will have always been adversely affected. There is an almost exact precedent of this kind of adverse yin/yang sha qi at work in Hong Kong, feng shui capital of the world.

The lance like tip that is Te Tii, which in classical feng shui, attacks Waitangi, both hotel and Treaty Grounds.

The Rock of Gibraltar and its spearhead.


Directly opposite Kowloon’s protruding peninsula, on the Island of Hong Kong is a concave stretch of coast. This bay is the largest on the inner side of Hong Kong Island and faces the mainland’s Kowloon Peninsula. This district is called Wan Chai or Little Bay in Cantonese, once made infamous for its red-light notoriety by the 1960 film ‘The World of Suzy Wong’, starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan. Indeed, during the period of British colonial rule, Royal Navy ships and those from other allied armadas would lay anchor directly off Wan Chai and disembark their crews for eagerly awaited R. & R. amongst the bars and fleshpots of the cove. However, Wan Chai until relatively recently, had never been deemed to be particularly prosperous. Rather it was nearby Central, the pulsating financial district slightly to the west where the main banks and famous trading houses are located that was deemed the power house of Hong Kong’s fortunes. It was in Central where all these great mercantile empires had made their incredible wealth over the past one hundred and sixty years or so. Central, with its tiny restrictive land, seemed tucked away to the side as it were but still shone as the great hub of finance.  Wan Chai by contrast, with its larger more open area of flat land just never seemed to quite get there.

Just what was it about Wan Chai that prevented it matching the prosperity of its neighbour Central? According to the principles of classical feng shui, it was the fist-like aspect of the Kowloon Peninsula stabbing directly out towards Wan Chai’s vulnerable concaved shores that prevented it being an equal to wealthy Central. Here it was considered that the whole of the Kowloon Peninsula was striking into the soft, receptive shoreline of Wan Chai. Wan Chai in other words was the Yin to Kowloon’s Yang. Thus, it was not possible to make money from the interaction of Yin and Yang in Wan Chai. It takes Yang energy to make money. That was the situation until the feng shui masters were consulted and the decision was taken to improve the fortunes of poor old Wan Chai. From 1988 to 1997 a two-phase project saw an extension of the land out into the harbour with both reclaimed land and a man-made island designed to mirror the Kowloon Peninsula; atop these have been built the highly acclaimed Hong Kong Convention Centre. Since then, Wan Chai’s prosperity has increased noticeably

Still occasionally, one catches sight of the old, nefarious side of ‘Little Bay’. In 2014 Rurik Jutting a British citizen and Merrill Lynch banker, tortured and killed two prostitutes in his flat in Wan Chai’s.

Seagull or Tortoise?

Hong Kong’s famed Convention Centre.

© Photo is from the author’s private collection

Wan Chai with the ‘fight-back Convention Centre faces the Kowloon Peninsula.

Returning however, to Waitangi and New Zealand’s national day. No doubt, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s humble, consoling words helped set the tone when addressing Iwi elders on the Upper Marae. But is that really all it took to placate the indignation that is otherwise aroused so regularly down at Te Tii? It would appear from a feng shui perspective rather, that it was moving the main talkfest to the Upper Marae, which is far enough away from the sha-qi of the Lower Marae at Te Tii, that enabled the conciliatory, peaceful day of national celebration that was enjoyed this year. Although it cannot be denied there is both a need and an appropriate time for airing grievances and issues of the day between Maori and the Crown, it cannot, in my opinion, help either side by the aggressive, feng shui of Te Tii.

One final point to be made, and its one I have made before and it is this: Weeping or Grieving Waters is hardly an encouraging name for a national day of celebration of our nationhood. While respect for the Treaty and its original site of signing are to be expected and honoured, and the need for genuine grievances to be heard a legitimate right, can we realistically expect their combination to be found all in one day and in a place which continues from a feng shui perspective, to engender angst and rowdy quarrelsome behaviour?

In the meantime, let’s hope that the peaceful day of celebration that ensued from moving the Waitangi Day celebrations to the Upper Marae, and out of the direct line of Te Tii’s sha qi this year, continue to see us enjoy our national day.


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