Ten Heavenly Stems and Twelve Earthly Branches

Introduction

Short for Stem-Branch or Gan-Zhi, the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches are the most important counting system in the Chinese calendar. There are 10 Stems and 12 Branches.

The Ten Heavenly Stems are Jia, Yi, Bing, Ding, Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin, Ren and Gui.

The Twelve Earthly Branches are Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu and Hai.

From the unearthed inscriptions on bones of the Shang Dynasty (17th century BC - 1046 BC) of Yin Ruins, Gan-Zhi is used to record days as well as in Feng Shui and divination. Now, it’s not only applied for counting hour, day, month and year but also greatly used in Chinese astrology for fortune-telling.

10 Heavenly Stems

10 Heavenly Stems Jia Yi Bing Ding Wu Ji Geng Xin Ren Gui
Chinese Character
Chinese Pinyin jiǎ bǐng dīng gēng xīn rén guǐ

12 Earthly Branches

12 Earthly Branches Zi Chou Yin Mao Chen Si Wu Wei Shen You Xu Hai
Chinese Character
Chinese Pinyin chǒu yín maǒ chén weì shēn yǒu haì

The 60-Year Cycle (Sexagenary Cycle)

The 10 stems, each is paired with an earthly branch forming a 60-Year Cycle which is a cycle of sixty terms and used for recording days, months and years. It starts with Jia-Zi and ends with Gui-Hai. Hereunder is the match of Stems and Branches. The rule is that the Yang Heavenly Stems match the Yang Earthly Branches, and the Yin Stems match the Yin Branches (get to know The Relationship between the Stem-Branch and Yin/Yang).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Jia-Zi Yi-Chou Bing-Yin Ding-Mao Wu-Chen Ji-Si Geng-Wu Xin-Wei Ren-Shen Gui-You
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Jia-Xu Yi-hai Bing-Zi Ding-Chou Wu-Yin Ji-Mao Geng-Chen Xin-Si Ren-Wu Gui-Wei
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Jia-Shen Yi-You Bing-Xu Ding-Hai Wu-Zi Ji-Chou Geng-Yin Xin-Mao Ren-Chen Gui-Si
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Jia-Wu Yi-Wei Bing-Shen Ding-You Wu-Xu Ji-Hai Geng-Zi Xin-Chou Ren-Yin Gui-Mao
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
Jia-Chen Yi-Si Bing-Wu Ding-Wei Wu-Shen Ji-You Geng-Xu Xin-Hai Ren-Zi Gui-Chou
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
Jia-Yin Yi-Mao Bing-Chen Ding-Si Wu-Wu Ji-Wei Geng-Shen Xin-You Ren-Xu Gui-Hai

How to calculate the year and month?

On Chinese calendars and almanacs, you can see this kind of note: e.g. For May 1, 2015, the calendar shows - March 13, Yi Wei (Sheep) Year (2015), Ding Chou Day, Geng Chen Month. This is the use of the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches. It’s used for recording the year, month and day. Hereunder is how to calculate the year and month:

Calculate the year: As you can see from the Chinese calendar, 2015 is Yi Wei Year. To get this, follow the steps below:
  1. 2015 - 3 = 2012 ('subtracting 3 from the Gregorian year')
  2. 2012 ÷ 60 = 33 ('divide by 60 and discard any fraction')
  3. 2012 - (60 × 33) = 32 ('taking the remainder')
  4. Look for 32 from the above table and we get Yi-Wei for the year of 2015.
Find the zodiac animal of the year:
In Chinese culture, each of the Earthly Branch has a corresponding animal. Following is the relationship between the Earthly Branch and Chinese Zodiac Animals:
Earthly Branch Zi Chou Yin Mao Chen Si Wu Wei Shen You Xu Hai
Chinese Zodiac Rat Ox Tiger Rabbit Dragon Snake Horse Sheep Monkey Rooster Dog Pig
As we already know 2015 is Yi-Wei year. Wei is the earthly branch for 2015, check Wei in the above table, we know that the corresponding zodiac animal is Sheep. So, 2015 is year of the Sheep.

Calculate the month:
Hereunder is the relationship between the stem of the year and the stem of the month. Take 2015 for example, as we already know Yi is the Heavenly Stem for 2015, we can get January is Wu-Yin, Februay is Ji-Mao, March is Geng-Chen…from the following table. Please note that the month hereunder refers to the Chinese lunar month. You can use our Gregorian-Chinese Calendar Converter on the Chinese calendar page to get the Chinese lunar month.
Stem of the year Stem of the month
1st
month
2nd
month
3rd
month
4th
month
5th
month
6th
month
7th
month
8th
month
9th
month
10th
month
11th
month
12th
month
Jia or Ji Bing-Yin Ding-Mao Wu-Chen Ji-Si Geng-Wu Xin-Wei Ren-Shen Gui-You Jia-Xu Yi-Hai Bing-Zi Ding-Chou
Yi or Geng Wu-Yin Ji- Mao Geng-Chen Xin-Si Ren-Wu Gui-Wei Jia-Shen Yi-You Bing-Xu Ding-Hai Wu-Zi Ji-Chou
Bing or Xin Geng-Yin Xin-Mao Ren-Chen Gui-Si Jia-Wu Yi-Wei Bing-Shen Ding-You Wu-Xu Ji-Hai Geng-Zi Xin-Chou
Ding or Ren Ren-Yin Gui-Mao Jia-Chen Yi-Si Bing-Wu Ding-Wei Wu-Shen Ji-You Geng-Xu Xin-Hai Ren-Zi Gui-Chou
Wu or Gui Jia-Yin Yi-Mao Bing-Chen Ding-Si Wu-Wu Ji-Wei Geng-Shen Xin-You Ren-Xu Gui-Hai Jia-Zi Yi-Chou

12 Earthly Branches and the Hour

The 12 earthly branches not only stand for 12 Chinese animals but also 12 hours. In the old times, there was no conception of 24-hour for a day. People divided a day into 12 Shichen. Hereunder is the relationship between 12 Shichen and the present time system:
12 shichen The present time
Zi hour 23:00-01:00
Chou hour 01:00-03:00
Yin hour 03:00-05:00
Mao hour 05:00-07:00
Chen hour 07:00-09:00
Si hour 09:00-11:00
Wu hour 11:00-13:00
Wei hour 13:00-15:00
Shen hour 15:00-17:00
You hour 17:00-19:00
Xu hour 19:00-21:00
Hai hour 21:00-23:00

Stem-Branch and Yin/Yang

  Heavenly Stem Earthly Branch
Yang Jia, Bing, Wu, Geng, Ren Zi, Yin, Chen, Wu, Shen, Xu
Yin Yi, Ding, Ji, Xin, Gui Chou, Mao, Si, Wei, You, Hai
Note:
Yin: negative/passive/female principle in nature
Yang: positive/active/male principle in nature

Stem-Branch and Five Elements

Five Element Heavenly Stem Earthly Branch
Wood Jia, Yi Yin, Mao, Chen
Fire Bing, Ding Si, Wu, Wei
Earth Wu, Ji Chen, Xu, Chou, Mo
Metal Geng, Xin Shen, You, Xu
Water Ren, Gui Hai, Zi, Chou

Compatibilities and Clashes of the Stem-Branch

  Compatibilities Clashes
Heavenly Stem Jia and Ji combined into Earth, Yi and Geng combined into Metal, Bing and Xin combined into Water, Ding and Ren combined into Wood, Wu and Gui combined into Fire Jia – Wu, Yi – Ji, Bing – Geng, Ding – Xin, Wu – Ren, Ji – Gui, Geng – Jia, Xin – Yi, Ren – Bing, Gui - Ding
Earthly Branch Six Compatibilities: Zi and Chou combined into Earth; Yin and Hai combined into Wood; Mao and Xu combined into Fire; Chen and You combined into Metal; Si and Shen combined into Water; Wu and Wei combined into the sun and moon Zi - Wu, Mao - You, Yin - Shen, Si - Hai, Chen - Xu, Chou - Wei
Three Compatibilities: Shen, Zi and Chen combined into Water; Hai, Mao and Wei combined into Wood; Yin, Wu and Xu combined into Fire; Si, You and Chou combined into Metal; Chen, Xu and Chou combined into Earth.

Chinese Calendar

SuMoTuWeThFrSa
26十九/19 27二十/20 28廿壹/21 29廿二/22 30廿三/23 31廿四/24 1廿五/25
2廿六/26 3廿七/27 4廿八/28 5廿九/29 五月 (May) 6初壹/1 7初二/2 8初三/3
9初四/4 10初五/5 11初六/6 12初七/7 13初八/8 14初九/9 15初十/10
16十壹/11 17十二/12 18十三/13 19十四/14 20十五/15 21十六/16 22十七/17
23十八/18 24十九/19 25二十/20 26廿壹/21 27廿二/22 28廿三/23 29廿四/24
30廿五/25 1廿六/26 2廿七/27 3廿八/28 4廿九/29 5三十/30 六月 (Jun) 6初壹/1

Lastest Questions and Answers

What do our marriage lines mean? Will we be able to be together forever irl? (1 Reply ) Asked by P***P

Boy : On my left hand, I have only one deep marriage line that slightly curves down towards the heart line(the start of the line is a bit short but straight and the end curves down slightly, seems a bit long and slight curve) in the middle between little finger and heart line. On my right hand, I have only one deep marriage line that is a little above the middle of the point between little finger and heart line. That marriage line comes out straight but health line is connected to it in its middle. So it seems like ending in a fork that the upper branch of the fork is straight and the lower branch is the curved health line. Girl : I have one marriage line on my left hand that is straight but a small fragrant overlaps right above it. The line is in the middle between little finger and heart line. On my right hand, there are three marriage lines, one near the heart line that is short. In the middle between little finger and heart line, there is a long marriage line, quite deep, that forks in its middle(but a little faint in that forking area) and the upper branch of the fork goes straight and deep again and the end of that upper branch seems to fork again or forming an incomplete island that doesn’t touch in all ends like an oval or circle. And the uppermost marriage line is near the base of little finger and it’s deep, and it’s parallel to the middle marriage line. Seems to have the same length as middle line or maybe only slightly shorter than the upper branch(that goes straight quite long) of the fork of the middle line. The uppermost line is quite deep throughout its whole length and straight but near its end, it gives off a fade branch that inclines 45degrees upwards. Between the middle and uppermost line, there’s a fade line(more like a fade fragrament like the fragrament in my left hand). All the marriage lines in my right hand are interconnected with one another via loops between the lines or via upward branches of the lower lines that touches the lower branches of the upper lines. What do our hands mean? About us - He is 23. I’m 19. We are in long distance, we met online and we are from different countries. We are planning to get together in real life in 6 or 7 years cuz I haven’t graduated yet rn. My family is quite reluctant to send me abroad and they are worried that I might settle abroad. Our families haven’t known about our relationship yet. -WHAT OBSTACLES DO WE HAVE TO FACE AND OVERCOME? -WILL WE BE ABLE TO OVERCOME OBSTACLES AND GET REALLY TOGETHER IN REAL LIFE? -WILL I GET MARRIED TO HIM IN REAL LIFE? CAN WE MAKE US TOGETHER FOREVER IN REAL LIFE DESPITE OBSTACLES? -IF SO, IF WE WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE US TOGETHER, WHEN WILL I GET MARRIED TO HIM IN REAL LIFE? AT WHAT AGE WILL WE GET TOGETHER FOREVER IN REAL LIFE? It’s ok even if we have to spend some time in separation but will we be together forever in real life? Will we be able to despite any challenges? Thank you so much for ur time 😊

Strongest element is lucky element? (2 Replies ) Asked by M***s

Hello! I'm very new to Bazi and was reading my chart but I'm a bit confused and have a question about it... because I think that my strong day master is actually my lucky element as well? I've read that you want the elements in your chart to be balanced right? Well, my chart has a LOT of fire and earth. Yin fire daymaster, yang fire hour + month on the heavenly stems, yang fire hour on the earthly branches as well, and then I have 3 earth elements on my earthly branches. Born in a metal year so overall I have 4 fire, 3 earth, 1 metal, and 0 wood + water. Based on this I would think that wood and water are good elements for me as they provide balance to my strong chart but I was reading through my journals & events of my life and thinking otherwise... the best years of my life so far have been 2016 & 2017, which were both fire years, and the absolute worst year of my life was 2014, a wood year, with 2015 not being much better either. Looking at events throughout my life, the best events of my life have often been in fire or earth months, and the worst being in wood months once again. I'm not sure about water yet because what I've seen is too mixed, maybe I'll have more clarity after 2022-2023 though. And finally, I've had wood in my luck pillars since I was 2 years old (I am now 21 so it's ending soon) but my upbringing was horrible and life has had so many downs in ways I can't even get into. I don't mean this in a sad way because I am a very optimistic person, actually, and I know my future is looking bright in spite of it. I'm just being realistic and thinking that it seems pretty unlikely for my life to actually get worse as I exit these wood luck pillars... I would hope so anyway. I have a very limited knowledge so far and I know that looking at the animals adds a whole layer that I haven't even considered yet. But from the little I do understand right now, I'm just wondering why it seems like the best times of my life so far have been during fire years or months when fire is already so strong in my chart? Why wood has been so negative? I wish I had more to say about water but I do not yet. Some very good months in my life have been earth months as well despite it also being prominent in my chart. Thank you for reading and please let me know if you have some insight about this!

Heavenly stems compatibility (0 Reply ) Asked by W***u

I would like to know about the 10 heavenly stems' marriage compatibility. How do the same get along with each-other, like "yang metal" and "yang metal"? Is there a compatibility chart that I can refer to? Your site says: "For example, those belonging to wood in five elements are suggested to marry water or fire people; those belonging to metal are suggested to marry water or earth people; fire for wood or earth, and earth for metal or fire. In addition, those belonging to earth are also matching with each other." Thank you for your answer in advance.

Need Some Insights (0 Reply ) Asked by A***M

RIGHT PALM Heart Line: Ends about 2cm below the middle finger, has one straight 1cm branch almost parallel to wrist Head Line: Nearly similar to the head line example (Fig 5) on this site. Moderate length, ends aligning with middle of the wrist. Two shallow branches stretching out from the ends Life Line: Starts on the Head Line, moderate length, ends aligning with middle of the wrist Marriage Line: Multiple short lines Girdle of Venus: Only about 1cm long, ends with two shallow branches These are the only 5 deep lines on my palms, appreciate any assistance on better understanding their meanings

What will be my career like. (0 Reply ) Asked by S***

What will be my career like.My DOB is 22 August 1997, 8pm. I was born in Alwar, Rajasthan, India. My fate line has a break and then a parallel start again. It is below the head line. Also the new start hhas a star and the lower breaking part of fate line branches to meet the life line.