Heavenly Stems & Earthly Branches

Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches are two sets of signs in a certain sequence, which were created by ancient Chinese people to calculate the history and record the chronological sequence of events. 

The Origin of Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branches

As early as about 2700BC, the ancestor of Chinese nation, Yellow Emperor (Huangdi), sent Da Rao Shi to create a calendar system. Da Rao Shi explored the rule of changes between sky and earth, as well as that of the four seasons. Then he created ten heavenly stems and twelve earthly branches to make combinations representing a sexagenary cycle. A year can be represented by the composition of two characters, one from the heavenly set, and one from the other. That is believed to be the start of the stem-branch calendar. Thus came a way of counting time which has been passed down through thousands of years.


The Heavenly Stems

乙   丙    戊  己  辛 
jiǎ bǐng dīng gēng xīn rén guǐ
Jia Yi Bing Ding Wu Ji Geng Xin Ren Gui

Earthly Branches

Earthly Branches can be used to count time of years, months and hours. When counting years, people use them with the 12 Chinese zodiacs and strictly one Earthly Branch corresponds to one fixed zodiac. For example, our ancestors have divided a day and night into twelve sections and named each as a 'shi chen', which is equal to today's two hours and has a fixed Earthly Branch name. From 11 pm at night to 1 am is decided to be the first one - 'zi shi', then the second two hours 'chou shi', on the analogy of this.

chǒu yín maǒ chén weì  shēn yǒu haì
Zi Chou Yin Mao Chen Si Wu Wei Shen You Xu Hai
Rat Ox Tiger Rabbit Dragon Snake Horse Sheep Monkey Rooster Dog Pig

Take the year of 2016 for example, 2016 can be described as 'Bing Shen', a combination of the third sign in Heavenly Stems and the ninth one in the Earthly Branches. Then the year of 2017 will be 'Ding You' - the fourth sign and the tenth one's association. 

The Four Pillar of Life (also the Eight Characters of Birth Time or 'ba zi' in Chinese) was very popular and mostly used in fortune-telling. In four pairs of year, month, day, and hour of a person's birth, each pair includes one Heavenly Stems and one Earthly Branchs. There are compatibility and incompatibility relations among the stems and branches. The expression of one's birth time in this way has always been vital especially when it is used for fortune foretelling.

 To know the Compatibility Charts of Chinese Zodiac Animal Signs

The Five Compatibilities of Heavenly Stems – Jia and Ji, Yi and Geng, Bing and Xin, Ding and Ren, Wu and Gui
Explanation: Wood is the corresponding element in Wu Xing to Jia, so is Earth to Ji. Wood grows in earth, so they are compatible combination. The rest can be explained in the same manner. 

The Six Combinations of Earthly Branches – Zi and Chou combined into Earth, Yin and Hai combined into Wood, Mao and Xu combined into Fire, Si and Shen combined into Water, Wu and Wei combined into the sun and moon

The Three Combinations of the Early Branches – Shen, Xi, Chen combine and form Water, Hai, Mao, Wei combine and form Wood, Yin, Wu, Xu combine and form Fire, Si, You, Chou combine and form Metal, Chen, Xu, Chou, Wei combine and forms Earth.

The following content is to introduction the braches in opposition, listing from strong to week power of harms. 

Six Clashes of the Earthly Branches – Zi vs Wu, Yin vs Shen, Mao vs You, Chen vs Xu, Si vs Hai, Chou vs Wei

Earthly Branches punishment:
Special - Yin vs Si, Si vs Shen, Shen vs Yin
Ungrateful – Chou vs Xu, Xu vs Wei, Wei vs Chou
Rudeness – Zi vs Mao
Self Punishment – Chen vs Chen, Wu vs Wu, You vs You, Hai vs Hai
Earthly Branches Harm – Zi vs Wei, Chou vs Wu, Yin vs Si, Mao vs Chen, Shen vs Hai, You vs Hai

* Please select a date according to the Gregorian calendar and search for the corresponding Chinese calendar information.

- Last modified on Sep. 24, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Heavenly Stems & Earthly Branches
Asked by Atom Saleb from UNITED STATES | Sep. 24, 2019 04:08Reply
Dad is a rat born in 1979. What did (and will) this year hold for Dad?
Answers (1)
Answered by Cameron from USA | Sep. 24, 2019 20:57

He is born with Chinese zodiac Sheep sign. Generally speaking, your father will have a normal luck this year. Maybe he can do some investments with low risk. In this way, he may earn some extra money.
Asked by candice from AUSTRALIA | Sep. 13, 2019 17:38Reply
Hi, do I have good wealth stars? I am a Water Pig born 15 May 1983 @ 12.34pm.
Answers (1)
Answered by Charles from CANADA | Sep. 17, 2019 22:38

Generally speaking, there won't have any problems. Your excellent performance at work can ensure a stable salary income. In addition, you would have good luck in investment. In the meantime, it is necessary for you to make a reasonable plan for expenditure in case of many unexpected expenses.
Asked by msf from ENGLAND | Jul. 22, 2019 06:10Reply
What might my year hold for me this year Im a sheep born on october 27, 2003 at 10:47 pm
What might my year hold for me this year?
10 Nov 1987, 1:10am
Answers (3)
Answered by Allison from UKRAINE | Jul. 22, 2019 19:43

Generally speaking, 2019 will be a good time for you to make some breakthroughs. You need to make full use of time to learn more things. In this way, you can pass the important exams easily. In addition, the relationship with family members will also be good.
Answered by msf from ENGLAND | Jul. 23, 2019 02:57

Thank you!

A fortune teller recently told me that I am water and therefore I should not use black, blue, gray for balance and avoid white. I am now confused as in all websites that I research it does say that these colors are actually my favorable elements. Do you agree with her?
Answered by Allison | Jul. 23, 2019 18:10

Based on the prediction, the lucky ones are green, red and purple. Besides, gold, brown, black are the colors you should avoid.
Asked by Alishia from 미국 | Jul. 14, 2019 20:34Reply
What might my year hold for me this year
Im a sheep born on october 27, 2003 at 10:47 pm
Answers (1)
Answered by Keira from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 16, 2019 20:16

According to the prediction, there will have several golden chances to develop your study and careers. People around may provide some help. Generally speaking, the situations will change into the better stage.
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