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 Jul. 20, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on Heavenly Stems & Earthly Branches
Asked by Emma Chamberlain | Oct. 24, 2020 16:19Reply
Love life prediction
How does my love life look for the next few years?
I was born January 16th, 1996 at 10:10 am.
Asked by Isa from BEIJING | Sep. 18, 2020 08:21Reply
on Marriage - born 22 September 1972, 7:36 Beijing time, any possibility of spouse?
Answers (1)
Answered by Chase | Sep. 21, 2020 01:50

Isa, you should have more confidence about yourself. The prediction shows that you will have a high possibility to find a partner at the end of the year. Good luck!
Asked by Pamela from UNITED STATES | Jul. 16, 2020 19:26Reply
Fortune for the rest of 2020
I was born October 28, 1963 and husband October 10, 1949. What can you tell me about relationship, finances, career, etc.? Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Cole from GERMANY | Jul. 20, 2020 02:05

In general, there is no ups and downs in the next months in your life. Don't worry so much. Based on the prediction, you can invest some money on low-risked investment fields. Maybe you can earn some extra money from this.
Asked by Mark from UNITED STATES | May. 24, 2020 14:10Reply
What does this year have in store for me? I was born September 29 1964. Year of the dragon
What does the rest of the month have in store in regards to finances? Also what does my relationship opportunities look like in meeting a female companion?
Answers (1)
Answered by Adrian from CANADA | May. 24, 2020 22:59

It is predicted that your wealth would be good in the following months. Thus don't worry. You would have a high possibility to fall in love with someone this year. When you have feelings to someone, I think you should be brave to pursue love.
Asked by Eluzabeth from UNITED KINGDOM | Mar. 03, 2020 16:12Reply
Born 21.30 3rd December 1949 ,what should my 2029 priority be?
Answers (1)
Answered by Keith from NEW ZEALAND | Mar. 04, 2020 00:21

Well, do you mean 2020? If yes, you would have some chances to make some breakthroughs this year. You can accumulate wealth step by step. If possible, you can have more physical exercise in order to keep the body healthy.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)