There are basically two methods of generating a set of bazi.
Both have their advantages and pitfalls.
Manual plotting of bazi is of course, prone to human error. Sometimes as human beings, we can be unfocused and make mistakes like:
- Looking at the wrong page
- Looking at the wrong line
- Looking at the correct page and line but somehow wrote a different character other than the correct one
- Not knowing how to look
- Not knowing where to look
While calculators eliminates human error, don’t forget that the database and algorithm are written by people.
This means that if a wrong formula or reference instruction was programmed into a calculator, then it is possible that every set of 4 pillars generated is flawed. Lacking integrity, credibility and validity.
I have come across such calculators online. And they belong to some of the most popular websites. I can only sigh and feel bad for people who have used these bazi calculators as they must have thought that the bazi charts they have generated are correct.
There are actually some basic ways to check whether a set of 8 characters is valid in the realm of bazi.
This is important to ascertain validity as unlike what many bazi readers claim, there are limits and thresholds to the number of possible bazi permutations.
Here are simple ways to check the validity of a bazi.
1) Stem and branch must have same polarity in each pillar
This rule states that on each pillar, whether for the year, month, day or hour, the heavenly stem must have the same polarity as the earthly branch.
The implication is that if the stem of a particular pillar is of a yang state such as Geng metal, then the branch can only be one with a matching yang state.
So if you find that there is one or more pillars in a bazi that contains both polarities of yin and yang, it is a bazi that lacks integrity and therefore not a valid bazi.
This in effect means that anyone you find saying that there are 10 possible stems each with 12 possible branches for each pillar does not know what he/she is talking about.
There are only 6 possible branches to pair with each stem. Which is why there is only the 60 jiazi, not 120 jiazi.
Conversely, we can also say that there are only 5 possible stems that can be paired with each branch on a pillar.
2) Check the hour stem
Because there are twelve 2-hour blocks in a day of 24 hours, and there are 12 animal signs that represent each 2-hour block, a pattern of consistency can be observed from the hour branch of a bazi.
The below table shows the starting heavenly stem in the starting hour of rat (E1) for each of the 10 heavenly stems in the day pillar.
|Day Stem||Hour Stem in hour of rat|
|Jia (H1)||Jia (H1)|
|Yi (H2)||Bing (H3)|
|Bing (H3)||Wu (H5)|
|Ding (H4)||Geng (H7)|
|Wu (H5)||Ren (H9)|
|Ji (H6)||Jia (H1)|
|Geng (H7)||Bing (H3)|
|Xin (H8)||Wu (H5)|
|Ren (H9)||Geng (H7)|
|Gui (H10)||Ren (H9)|
When the starting hour stem is determined, it can then be worked forwards or backwards to the correct stem on the hour pillar by referencing the day stem and the time of birth.
For example, if a person was born at 6am on a Ren daymaster, then it can be observed that the Ren day starts with a Geng stem in the rat hour. At 6am, the correct stem of that hour would be Rabbit hour which is three characters away. The character that is three characters forward from Geng stem would be Gui water.
This is actually a concept that is part science and part theory.
The starting hour stem for each day stem is the control element of the specific day stem created by the 5 combinations of the reference day stem.
I know that is quite a mouthful to digest. So let’s use an example.
If the day stem is Gui water for instance, Gui is slated to combine with Wu earth to create Bing fire. The control element of Bing is Ren. Thus, the starting hour for a bazi birth chart with Gui self-element would be Ren water (H9).
This is how a proficient bazi expert with the birth data of someone would be able to tell a person’s hour pillar without looking at the 5 rats escape chart within 10 seconds.
The logic behind this also inadvertently answers the question of the validity of the early and late rate hours.
It also means that with reverse engineering, if you have the hour pillar of someone but not the date of birth, you have a 1-in-2 chance of identifying the daymaster.
3) Check the month stem
Like the hour pillar, the month pillar also has a clear pattern to it because there are 12 months in a year represented by the 12 zodiacs.
The below table shows the starting heavenly stem in the starting month of tiger (E3) for each of the 10 heavenly stems in the year pillar. Take note that the starting month is tiger for each year (roughly commencing around 4-5 Feb) as we are referring to the Hsia Calendar when analyzing bazi. You have to convert to Gregorian dates yourself.
|Year Stem||Month Stem in month of tiger|
|Jia (H1)||Bing (H3)|
|Yi (H2)||Wu (H5)|
|Bing (H3)||Geng (H7)|
|Ding (H4)||Ren (H9)|
|Wu (H5)||Jia (H1)|
|Ji (H6)||Bing (H3)|
|Geng (H7)||Wu (H5)|
|Xin (H8)||Geng (H7)|
|Ren (H9)||Ren (H9)|
|Gui (H10)||Jia (H1)|
The table illustrated above can also be known as the 5 tigers installation (五虎建寅) and allows us to calculate the month stem as long as we know the month of birth and the year stem. We do this by counting forwards in a sequence depending on the starting month stem as determined from the year stem.
For example, if the year stem is Wu (H5) and date of birth is April 15, it can be observed that this date is on the third month of the Solar year (april). Since a year stem with Wu starts each tiger month with Jia wood, the third month would be two stems after Jia (H1), leading us to Bing (H3).
And like the checking of hour stem, there is a logic to this madness.
The starting month stem for each year stem is the production element of the specific day stem created by the 5 combinations of the reference year stem.
For example, if the year stem is Ji earth, we can see that according to the 5 combinations of heavenly stems Ji (E6) combines with Jia (H1) to create Wu (H5). The produce element of Wu would be Bing (H3). Therefore, the starting month stem of a year with Ji year stem would be Bing.
If you are well-versed in the 10 stems and 12 branches of Ganzhi, this simple check for the integrity of the bazi should not take more than 10 seconds also.
4) Check the year stem
Because there are 10 heavenly stems, 60 years in the sexagenary cycle, and 120 years in the grand Xuan Kong cycle, we can determine that heavenly stems repeat themselves every 10 years.
And if you look at the Hsia Calendar, you would notice that these 10-year cycle of stems always commence with Jia wood in a year ending with 4 (e.g. 1954, 1984, 1994). Take note that the solar year starts on Feb 4-5.
This means that using the years ending with 4 as a base, we can work out the heavenly stem of a year pillar by counting forwards or backwards in a sequence.
For example, if someone has a birth year of 1977 (after Feb 4-5) which is a year of the snake, we can observe that 1974 was Jia. And that 1977 would be 3 stems away which leads us to Ding fire.
This should be simple enough for most learners to understand.
It must be said at this point that the above equations and formulas can play a critical role in checking a bazi’s validity when you don’t have the tools or technology on hand to do the same task, and have to rely only on knowledge.
Either that, or you are questioning the reliability of the bazi software you are using.
In any case, the best method of plotting bazi is to do it manually.
It should also be noted that there is no formula to validate the accuracy of a day stem as a month can consist of various different numbers of days. This is unlike the standard 12 months in a year and 24 hours in a day that enables us to work with the equations listed above.