The Early Rat And Late Rat Hour Predicament In Bazi

One of the most basic skills in the practice of bazi analysis is in the plotting of an individual’s bazi.

There are several guides that have been shared by writers and master practitioners to help learners understand how it is done.

Even so, experts who are authorities on the subject in their own right can have very different views on something that can make a huge difference in how a bazi is read.

And the rat hour is one of these subjects.

Because the rat hour is between 2300 (11pm) to 0100 (1am), it is said that 2300 to 0000 represents the final hour of a day which represents a late rat hour. And from 0000 to 0100 represents the first hour of a day and therefore an early rat hour.

This is sometimes referred to as morning rat and night rat.

This implies that two persons one born at 2359 and one born at 0001 would have different characters on the hour pillar even though they both came into this world within the rat hour.

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New learners of bazi can often be totally confused by this as many have read about bazi basics. And this concept challenges what they have read about themselves.

Late rat early rat hours

The table that is used to determine heavenly stems and earthly branches of the hour pillar is called the 5 rat escape or wu shu dun (五鼠遁). It is as below.

Day HS H1
H6
H2
H7
H3
H8
H4
H9
H5
H10
2300 – 0100 H1
E1
H3
E1
H5
E1
H7
E1
H9
E1
0100 – 0300 H2
E2
H4
E2
H6
E2
H8
E2
H10
E2
0300 – 0500 H3
E3
H5
E3
H7
E3
H9
E3
H1
E3
0500 – 0700 H4
E4
H6
E4
H8
E4
H10
E4
H2
E4
0700 – 0900 H5
E5
H7
E5
H9
E5
H1
E5
H3
E5
0900 – 1100 H6
E6
H8
E6
H10
E6
H2
E6
H4
E6
1100 – 1300 H7
E7
H9
E7
H1
E7
H3
E7
H5
E7
1300 – 1500 H8
E8
H10
E8
H2
E8
H4
E8
H6
E8
1500 – 1700 H9
E9
H1
E9
H3
E9
H5
E9
H7
E9
1700 – 1900 H10
E10
H2
E10
H4
E10
H6
E10
H8
E10
1900 – 2100 H1
E11
H3
E11
H5
E11
H7
E11
H9
E11
2100 – 2300 H2
E12
H4
E12
H6
E12
H8
E12
H10
E12

For the sake of this discussion, we would refer to the above table as the original.

But I must add that I have seen so many of these tables that claim to be the genuine original… that I can no longer have full conviction of what the original 五鼠遁 looks like.

The main reason for this is that many sources also claim that the original 5 rat escape table states the early rat and late rat hours specifically.

Let’s move on shall we.

When the rat hour is divided into late rate and early rat hour, the first row of the original table would be split into two rows comprising of the following.

Day HS H1
H6
H2
H7
H3
H8
H4
H9
H5
H10
Late Rat
2300 – 0000
H3
E1
H5
E1
H7
E1
H9
E1
H1
E1
Early Rat
0000 – 0100
H1
E1
H3
E1
H5
E1
H7
E1
H9
E1

With these two tables compared, it is so easy to conclude that if a person was born on a particular day, being born during the late rat hour would result in a different heavenly stem on the hour pillar than if he was born during the early rat hour.

Take note that the original table assumes that everyone would have characters from the early rat hour instead of the late rat hour.

This early and late rat hour can present a predicament for a bazi reader. If he was born during the late rat hour of between 2300 and 0000 hours, should he use the characters specified in the original table or the characters of the late rat hour?

For clarity, if the dilemma is present because a person cannot really determine his hour pillar as he was born within 2300 hours and 0000 hours, there is really no issue.

This is because if there was doubt about that time frame and he might have been born just after midnight, making him an early rat, then the late and early rat table corrects itself from this predicament,

This is because if we observe the table carefully, we can observe that if a person was born after midnight, based on the next day master, the hour pillar would remain the same.

For example, a person was born on 10 September 1982 at 2359. He would have the following bazi according to the original table.

Hour Day Month Year
H7

+ Earth

H3

+ Fire

H6

– Earth

H9

+ Water

E1

+ Water

E9

+ Metal

E10

– Metal

E11

+ Earth

If he was born after midnight, his day master would technically move to the next heavenly stem of H4. This would result in the same hour pillar (using early rat hour) as illustrated below.

Hour Day Month Year
H7

+ Earth

H4

– Fire

H6

– Earth

H9

+ Water

E1

+ Water

E10

– Metal

E10

– Metal

E11

+ Earth

It would essentially result in a new birth date.

But the point here is that the hour pillar does not change.

It would only be different (according to the late rat early rat hours) if a person was born on a date either between 0000 and 0100, and 23 hours later between 2300 and 0000.

This is a major distinction compared to being born in the same 2-hour period of 2300 to 0100.

In the case of the former, it is almost impossible for someone to be confused with his birth time being 23 hours apart.

The argument that the early rat and late rat hours apply in bazi has merit as it is contested that a major change occurring at 0000 hours (the moving into the next calendar day) has to be accounted for.

The difference in opinion and how the rat hours are viewed essentially comes down to different schools of bazi reading and analysis.

However, I lean towards the original table as I feel that the early and late rat concept is flawed.

More validation that the rat hours only exist as one

If the above is not enough to convince you that the 2 rat hours only exist as one in the generation of bazi, there is an old-fashioned method of deriving the hour pillar used by veteran practitioners who continue to erect birth charts manually instead of using computers and calculators.

Using this method, the starting hour stem can be derived by referencing the day stem and it’s association with the 5 combinations between heavenly stems.

To apply this method, the day stem is referenced with the other stem that forms it’s 5 combinations (五合). This produces a new stem. The stem that controls the resulting stem would be the starting hour stem in a person’s bazi born in the rat hour.

For example if the day stem is Bing fire, then it can be observed that Bing combines with Xin metal to create Ren water according to 5 combinations theory. The control element of Ren is Wu earth. Therefore, the hour stem in the rat hour would be Wu.

All resulting hour stems using this methodology mimics the early rat hour. None would produce results from the late rat hour.

Then there’s the verse in the study of bazi that students would be as familiar with as how kids are familiar to the tune of twinkle twinkle little stars.

This verse says all there is to say to this debate really.

The original 5 rats table

Before we go on, it must be acknowledged that there is no definitive way for us to answer this question once and for all.

Everything a master or expert states about the legitimacy of the early/late rat hour is just an opinion. Including the one that you are going to read below against it.

Firstly, if the saying that the two rat hours arise from ancient writings is correct, then it should also account for the notion that ancient Chinese days start from 11pm!

I kid you not.

This means that if we account for this day-shift at 11pm, then the late and early rat theory can be debunked as there is no major energy shift at 12 midnight. The energy shift has already occurred at 11pm when the Pig hour transitions into the Rat hour.

Secondly, the main argument about the two rat hours come down to the welcoming of a new day at midnight. This is reason enough to concur on a major energy shift represented by the late rat hour moving into the early rat hour.

But let’s not forget that by transitioning from 2359 to 0001, we are already moving into the next heavenly stem and earthly branch on the day pillar of bazi.

This is a major cosmic energy change in itself, and already accounted for in the day pillar.

Thirdly, if we are to accept that a significant energy shift occurs at midnight compels us to split the rat hour, then the horse hour between 1100 and 1300 should be split down the middle as well at noon.

12 noon is after all, the tipping point of maximum yang energy.

Fourthly, if you are for the argument of implementing early and late rat hours in bazi plotting because of the movement from one day to the next, then by the same token, an even more influential energy crossing from one year into another should be accounted for as well.

This is because the Chinese New Year don’t start the same day as the Hsia Calendar (used in bazi). This in turn means that the zodiac sign of one person according to the lunar calendar might show a different zodiac sign in the bazi.

The crossover days occurs either on January or February. Leaving some people with a specific zodiac year according to the lunar new year, but a different year sign in the bazi.

If the concept of the early and late rat hour is applicable, then the concept of an early year and late year should also apply too.

For example, the date February 8 1969 is late into the Monkey year according to the traditional Chinese new year calendar, but the day is early into the Roster year according to the Hsia calendar.

So should this be read in bazi as an early Rooster year or late Monkey year? This would give new meaning to the term early bird.

The answer as we all know, is that there is no such thing.

This paradox can also be said of the period when we move from December 31 to January 1.

Fifthly, and most elusively obvious, is that this table is named as the 5 Rats Escape. Or some call it 5 Rats Chasing Day.

Read carefully: 5 RATS

The original table indicates 5 rats represented by the character 子 (E1).

If the late rat and early rat hours are included in the table, it would make up 10 rats.

There are actually many more reasons why many bazi experts are against the concept of the two different rat hours in plotting bazi. But including them all here is unnecessary.

This is because if you are someone who can be convinced on this matter, you would already have been. And if you are not one who is willing to think otherwise, no amount of elaboration would be able to change your mind.

I would however, ask that one makes his or her own determination of what applies by researching into the source. Don’t insist on what is correct or wrong just because it was taught to you by your teacher.

Finally, do note that the term early rat and late rat is frequently used in feng shui, date selection and bazi. And what we are discussing here is only about the plotting of bazi with different hour pillars based on different time frames within the rat hour.

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