10 Heaven Stems And 12 Earth Branches

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
E2 丑 (Chou) Ox -Earth NE1
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.