Why Does Everyone Hate Me? The Chinese Zodiac Three Penalties

Many people only think of the Chinese Zodiac as Chinese New Year celebrations get closer. There are some interactions between the Animal Signs that can last a lifetime, so if you find that others tend to use you or suddenly turn on you, you may be suffering from a Zodiac Branch Three Penalty.

According to Wikipedia “Scapegoating is the practice of singling out a person or group for unmerited blame and consequent negative treatment.“. There are certain people that find themselves in the role of scapegoat no matter which group they join, and many have Three Penalties. They receive negative treatment from friends and family for no reason that they can see. The perverse nature of Penalties means that someone with these on their chart can also quite easily victimize others.

The Rat in 2020, Ox in 2021, Tiger in 2022, Rabbit in 2023 and the Snake in 2025 activate these Penalty formations, so if you find that you have a difficult time in these years or in the same month every year then read on.

What Are The Chinese Astrology Three Penalties?

The Chinese Zodiac Three Penalties are 3 groups of Animal Signs or Branches that can have a profoundly positive or negative effect on your life. They are also known as Triple Penalties, or Three Punishments.

The Three Penalties are -

  1. Earth Group: The Ox, Dog and Goat/Sheep, called the Bullying Penalty.
  2. Travel Horse Group: Tiger, Snake and Monkey, called the Ungrateful Penalty.
  3. Peach Blossom Group: Rat and Rabbit, called the Uncivilized or Challenge Power Penalty.

The Earth and Travel Horse Penalties only need two out of the three as long as one of them is a Dog or Snake. The rules become a bit complex for the Travel Horses because the Tiger and Snake also qualify as a Harm, and the Monkey and Snake form a Six Combination.

When a Four Pillars BaZi birth chart contains all three of Groups 1 or 2, or both the Rat and Rabbit, then the person can find two general outcomes –

– It will be difficult to make reliable friends, family will tend to interfere in their lives or they may even find themselves forced into positions of servitude, not being given their due.

– They serve others but on their own terms, usually in positions of authority, and depending on the full chart structure, they can become very famous.

If you are both Type A and B together, then you could have a Triple Penalty.

How to Tell if Your Zodiac Penalty Helps or Hurts

Different teachers and Masters have different methods. Some say that the only way to improve your Penalty formation is to develop Karma by doing good deeds and being selfless. I’ve found that this helps to improve the outcomes when your Penalty does bite you, but doesn’t really tell you when it will strike or how hurtful it will be.

Some different methods -

a) Look at the overall Elements balance of the chart. If the Penalty Elements are helpful to the Day Master, then the Penalty will generally be benign.
b) Combinations can mitigate your Penalty or make it lucky, for example a chart with Dog and Ox half-penalty can benefit from Horse, Rabbit, Rat or Rooster. Which one is best depends on the Day Master and the rest of the chart.
c) Check the Heavenly Stems to see which Penalty Sign is supported in the Branch Hidden Stems. This Branch will ‘win’ against the others and can show you who to expect problems from, and when (if you know how to read the Chinese Calendar).
d) Convert your Penalty Pillars into NaYin Elements. If the Year Pillar NaYin is drained or controlled by the others, then the Penalty is considered to be negative.

e) Check the position of each Penalty sign in your Four Pillars. This can tell you which area of life and which family members will affect you.
f) Look at the 12 Lifestages to see if the Penalties affect a negative (good outcome) or positive (bad outcome) one.
g) Adding the missing Animal Signs is a fix from one school of BaZi. Having all Four Earths, Travel Horses or Peach Blossoms is considered to be very lucky but can lead to burnout.

Characteristics of the Chinese Zodiac Penalty Groups

1. Ox, Dog and Goat/Sheep Punishment

People with this Punishment generally come across as arrogant and overconfident. If the Year Pillar NaYin is hurt by the other NaYin, then the behaviour is to hide their innate lack of confidence. If the Year Pillar NaYin is supported, then the arrogance is probably real. In either case, Earth Penalty people are very determined individuals.

Despite appearances, a self-aware Earth Penalty person can be very loyal, at least until they feel taken advantage of, bullied or unappreciated. Then they tend to create an abrupt ending to the relationship, and start ghosting. An unevolved or very selfish Earth Penalty person can become vindictive and spiteful, creating a lonely life for themselves.

They can have an angry temperament, imagine a barking dog, charging bull or butting ram. If they had a strict childhood which most Penalty charts did, then they may withdraw from society for a while to recuperate after they have been hurt. This then gives them the appearance of not caring and being selfish. 

Earth Penalty charts biggest lesson is appreciating oneself whilst remaining humble, and their best results come from following Karmic Laws #3: The Law of Humility, #8: The Law of Giving and Hospitality and #12: The Law of Significance and Inspiration.

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2. Tiger, Snake and Monkey Punishment

The rule of “if you want something done, give it a busy person” applies to the Travel Horse Penalties. They can work very hard, but their reward is usually more work.

An ardent believer in the pecking order, this Penalty will look down on you and try to extract the most they can if they feel you are beneath them. Conversely, they will find themselves over doing it for people they see as above them, leaving themselves a target for easy manipulation.

Where Earth Penalties can be fiery and explosive, Travel Horse Penalties are cold and ruthless, true Machiavellian’s. A gift from them usually comes with strings attached. In the Solar BaZi system of Chinese astrology, Strong Day Masters with this Penalty make the best use of it’s nature, tight-lipped and able spot opportunities. Weak Day Masters tend towards stinginess and can become bitter as they get older. Out of all the Penalties, this one has the chance to turn bad luck into gold when Luck Periods or annual energies arrive that bring the Day Masters most helpful Element and combine with the problematic Penalty Branch.

Travel Horse Penalty charts biggest lesson is slowing down, being aware of their worth and understanding that they can be the masters of their own destiny without taking advantage of others. Their best results come from following Karmic Laws #4: The Law of Growth, #9: The Law of Here and Now, and #10: The Law of Change.

3. Rat and Rabbit Punishment

From the outside, this Penalty can be seen as coarse with an overinflated sense of self-worth. They get told to “mind their manners” a lot when they are children and like to be anti-authoritarian. The truth of the matter is that most Uncivilized Penalty charts are actually wanting to help others, they just don’t do it very well or in a way that really benefits the other person.

When this Penalty is strong in the Four Pillars chart, the person can be a tyrant either physically or verbally but will have themselves controlled by others in return. If it is weakened by animal Branch combinations or gaining a Heavenly-Hidden Stem combination that is also the Day Masters favorite Element then the chart can become articulate and elegant.

Since there are only two animal signs in this Penalty, it is statistically more likely that people with this Penalty will never feel it’s full effects. When they do, they will be cut off from family (in-laws included) and will find themselves victims of gossip. This then makes them stauncher in their opinions and even more dogmatic, leading to a downward spiral in their relationships.

Peach Blossom Penalty charts biggest lesson is closing their mouth and opening their ears. Their best results come from following Karmic Laws #1: The Great Law, #3: The Law of Humility, and #5: The Law of Responsibility.

after all is said and done

The Three Penalties can have a bigger psychological impact on a person than clashes and combinations simply because they tend to live in a world of extremes. They can be hyper-focused and productive one day, and lamenting their place in the world the next. They can be super-caring and loving one minute, then switch off the faucet if they’ve taken offence to something you’ve said.

My personal belief is that Three Penalties charts are working off a Karmic debt and are here to learn a balance between their boundaries, destructive impulses, self-preservation instincts and their willingness to serve humanity.

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Dean French

With over two decades of practical Feng Shui experience, Dean is known for his down-to-earth attitude and his direct and honest communication. A writer for Wellbeing Predictions and former writer for Wellbeing Astrology magazines, he has turned to a wider audience through this website. Visit to book an Astrology reading or Feng Shui consultation.

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