Four Pillars of Destiny (Bazi)

The Four Pillars of Destiny is known as 'eight characters of birth time', namely Sheng Chen Ba Zi, shortly as Bazi in Pinyin. As an important component of Chinese fortune telling, the 'four pillars' refers to the year, month, day and hour pillars of a birthday in Chinese solar calendar and each pillar has two characters, eight characters (Ba Zi) in total. Two characters in each pair are made up of one character from the Heavenly Stems and one from the Earthly Branches. 

The theory of the Chinese Four Pillars of Destiny is based on Yin Yang and Wu Xing, and the pillars are represented on the basis of the heavenly stems & earthly branches

Year Pillar

– Ten Heavenly Stems and Twelve Earthly branches combines and create a sexagenary cycle (See this chart to find the year pillar. If your birth year is not in the 60-year circle, it can be calculated by extrapolation from the figures.) Here is a quick way to convert a year in western calendar into the one represented by stem and branch. 

Year's Heavenly Stem – Last number of a year will indicate the year's stem
Jia Yi Bing Ding Wu Ji Geng Xin Ren Gui
4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3

Year's Earthly Branch – the reminder (1-11) of the year divided by 12 will indicate the year's branch

Zi Chou Yin Mao Chen Si Wu Wei Shen You Xu Hai
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 0 1 2 3

Take the year 1985 for example. Last number 5 refers to Yi. 1985 divided by 12 equals an integer 165 with a reminder of 5. Number 5 refers to Chou. So 1985 is Yi Chou year.

Month Pillar

– Month pillar has fixed early branches, lunar January to October represented by Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu, Hai, Zi and Chou. The heavenly stem is changing according to the year pillar. In fact, the division of two month branches is usually up to the 24 solar terms. From the Beginning of Spring which regarded as the real start of a year, the branch shifts every two solar terms. The representation by lunar months is only an only an approximation.

Earthly Branches and 12 Months
Branch Zi Chou Yin Mao Chen Si
Lunar Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
Solar Daxue-



Branch Wu Wei Shen You Xu Hai
Lunar May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct.
Solar Mangzhou-

Day Pillar

– The recondition to know a day's stem and branch, one should remember the stem and branch of the first day of that year in Chinese lunar calendar. Then, Chinese calendar has bigger and lesser month, respectively having 30 or 29 days. One stem-branch cycle needs 60 days. If the stem and branch of the first day of that lunar month has been known, there is a way to extrapolate any day within the month, by the different extrapolation rules applied to bigger and lesser months. 

Hour Pillar

– Similarly, the heavenly branches of the hour pillar is fixed. Jia hour refers to 23:00-01:00, and so forth. The heavenly stem of each day is up to the stem and branch of the day pillar. 

Earthly Branches of 24 Hours (12 Shi Chen)
Zi Chou Yin Mao Chen Si
23:00-00:59 01:00-02:59 03:00-04:59 05:00-06:59 07:00-08:59 09:00-10:59
Wu Wei Shen You Xu Hai
11:00-12:59 13:00-14:59 15:00-16:59 17:00-18:59 19:00-20:59 21:00-22:59

 Here is the Bazi chart interpretation for an individual born at 18:00, on April 12, 1985 (lunar February 23, 1985) in western calendar for example. Generally, a yellow calendar book is necessary to help find the accurate pillars. Now, it is very easy to find an online Ba Zi calculator. 

Pillars Hour Day Month Year
Heavenly Stems Ding Ding Geng Yi
Wu Xing/Yin Yang Yin Fire Yin Fire Yang Metal Yin Wood
Earthly Branches You Chou Chen Chou
Wu Xing/Yin Yang Yin Metal Yin Earth Yang Earth Yin Earth

It has only eight characters, but the relation of the eight characters is very complicated. According to the Bazi analysis theory, year pillar represents ancestors and parents; month pillar represents brothers and sisters; day stem represents oneself; day branch represent spouse; hour pillar represents offspring. In addition, the heavenly stems have their own characteristics which are related to the Five Elements (Wu Xing). The missing element in a baby's Bazi will be usually added into its name as an action of compensation. Among the ten heavenly stems, there are compatible and opposite relations. While among the earthly branches, the relations are more complex, combination, clash, restriction, harm, etc. Abundant relationships may have accurate explanation on the luck of one self or relatives. 

The ancient people believed that birth time is a kind of Qi (aura, something of spirit). People born in the Wei hour have an aura field of Wei. If the birth time is in Wei hour but closing to Shen, the aura field has changed gradually to that of the Shen hour. The Four Pillars of Destiny was created based on vague time, as the time division in ancient time could not be accurate as it is in modern times. So, are there any errors if calculating the Ba Zi because of the time difference? An individual is unique replying on the combination of time, space and spirit. While the Four Pillars mainly talks about time, occasionally space but non spirit. It is an outcome of Chinese metaphysics which is special, interesting but the accurate is debatable.

- Last updated on Mar. 11, 2024 -
Questions & Answers on Four Pillars of Destiny (Bazi)
Asked by C from CANADA | May. 23, 2024 20:19Reply
General reading
Hi, can you please let me know what my fortune will be like this year for career, wealth, and love relationships? DOB April 13, 1988 at 15:30. What should I be careful of? Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Lori | May. 26, 2024 19:37

You are a Dragon in Chinese Zodiac and 2024 is your Benmingnian (zodiac year of birth). There may be changes in your career this year, not very lucky in wealth and not advised to put much energy to find love.
You should wear red underwear to avoid bad luck and your unlucky Numbers: 9, 8, 3.
Asked by Natasha Frykman from SWEDEN | Mar. 10, 2024 08:49Reply
I forgot what is the energy of each of the numbers
I have Chinese compas and have forgot the energy of the number 2
1and 6 are water
4 and 9 are metal
3 and 8 are wood
3 and 7 are fire
Is that correct
Answers (1)
Answered by Rita | Mar. 11, 2024 23:42

1 and 6 are water; 2 and 7 are fire; 3 and 8 are wood; 4 and 9 are metal; 5,10 and 0 are earth.
Asked by Anne from PHILIPPINES | Mar. 05, 2024 06:02Reply
Hi ! I would like to ask your help for a general interpretation of my dob July 17 1969 7:05 !?
My dob is July 17, 1969 7:05 am. Is this a good year for me for health finance health family & my children
Answers (1)
Answered by Linda | Mar. 06, 2024 18:26

This year is complicated for you with a mixed fortune. It is really favorable in your career and wealth. And you may meet many good chances. However, it may not be so luck year in the love relationship and you may need spend more time with family.
Asked by Meg from MALAYSIA | Feb. 25, 2024 00:07Reply
What does 2024 look like for me in summary?
My date and time of birth is :

10th July 1992: 9:02 AM

Trying to understand the Chinese natal chart reading but different sources and given me different meaning of its explanation :D
Answers (1)
Answered by Jessica | Feb. 26, 2024 21:57

It is true so don't rely on too much about this kind of thing. Just work hard to keep positive and life won't disappoint you. Generally speaking, you will have a good luck this year!
Asked by dj.chanreeves from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 21, 2024 05:22Reply
How do I read my 4 pillars?
How do I get a reading for my four pillars and what does it mean? my dob is 8.45am 12/01/1993
Answers (1)
Answered by Harry | Feb. 21, 2024 22:27

You were born in the Renshen Year, Guichou Month, Guisi Day and Bingchen Hour. As for its meaning, you should consult some experts to analyze it.

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