The 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches takes feng shui into the time and directions dimension.
It was during the Shang dynasty of 1600 to 1046 BC that developed a 60 year cycle that incorporates the the heaven stems and earth branches.
This is one reason why the Chinese culturally believe that 60 years equates to one era, or in modern times, one generation.
This means that for every 60 years, the heavenly stems would run it’s course 6 times, which the earthly branches would run it’s rotation cycle 5 times.
For simplicity and easier comprehension, heavenly stems will be represented by “S” while earthly branches will be represented by “E”.
Plus (+) and minus (-) signs refer to yang and yin respectively.
Regarding the directions like N1, N2, N3, etc, refer to the 24 mountains here.
Heavenly Stems (H1-H10)
|H1||甲 (Jia)||+ Wood||E1|
|H2||乙 (Yi)||– Wood||E3|
|H3||丙 (Bing)||+ Fire||S1|
|H4||丁 (Ding)||– Fire||S3|
|H5||戊 (Wu)||+ Earth||Center|
|H6||己 (Ji)||– Earth||Center|
|H7||庚 (Geng)||+ Metal||W1|
|H8||辛 (Xin)||– Metal||W3|
|H9||壬 (Ren)||+ Water||N1|
|H10||癸 (Gui)||+ Water||N3|
Earthly Branches (E1-E12)
|E1||子 (Zi)||Rat||+ Water||N2|
|E3||寅 (Yin)||Tiger||+ Wood||NE3|
|E4||卯 (Mao)||Rabbit||– Wood||E2|
|E5||辰 (Chen)||Dragon||+ Earth||SE1|
|E6||巳 (Si)||Snake||– Fire||SE3|
|E7||午 (Wu)||Horse||+ Fire||S2|
|E8||未 (Wei)||Goat||– Earth||SW1|
|E9||申 (Shen)||Monkey||+ Metal||SW3|
|E10||酉 (You)||Rooster||– Metal||W2|
|E11||戌 (Xu)||Dog||+ Earth||NW1|
|E12||亥 (Hai)||Pig||– Water||NW3|
The earthly branches can be further broken down into hours of a day.
|E1||2300 – 0100|
|E2||0100 – 0300|
|E3||0300 – 0500|
|E4||0500 – 0700|
|E5||0700 – 0900|
|E6||0900 – 1100|
|E7||1100 – 1300|
|E8||1300 – 1500|
|E9||1500 – 1700|
|E10||1700 – 1900|
|E11||1900 – 2100|
|E12||2100 – 2300|
Not only are the heavenly stems and earthly branches are used extensively in the practice of feng shui in general, they are also specifically essential in deciphering the 4 pillars of destiny (bazi) and the application of flying star feng shui.
This is because together with monthly and annual flying stars, the stems and branches make sequential movements in and out of a house as well.