Category Archives: Date Selection

Four Departure & Four Extinct Days and Impoverish or No Wealth Days

The basic principle of date selection is to first avoid the bad days and then selecting the good ones from the remaining days.

In earlier articles I have touch on Year and Month breaker days. These days are highly inauspicious and must be avoided at all cost.

I have also touch on Personal Clash days. These are days where the earthly branch of the day clash with the earthly branch of the birth year of the person. These days should also be avoided.

In this article, I would like to touch on two other bad or inauspicious days. They are the Four Departure and Four Extinct Days and the Impoverish or No Wealth Days.

There are four seasons in a year namely spring, summer, autumn and winter. Every season has a start day which you can read off a Ten Thousand Year Calendar. Pay attention to the day before the start of spring, summer, autumn and winter. They are collectively known as the Four Extinct Days as the ‘qi’ on these days is believed to be exhausted or stale. They are highly inauspicious and you should avoid using them for any activities.

The mid points of each season are called the Spring Equinox, Winter Solstice, Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. The day before each of these mid points are called the Four Departure Days. The ‘qi’ of the day before each of these mid points are also believed to be exhausted or stale. They are again highly inauspicious and should be avoided.

This brings me to the Impoverish or No Wealth Days. I am not going to explain the ration behind or the derivation of the above days. It will take an entire article to so. Instead I will simple tell you that during the period from 2004 to 2013, any days with the stem branch combination of ‘Ding Hai’ and ‘Ji Chou’ are Impoverish or No Wealth Days.

These days are highly inauspicious for wealth pursuit activities such as opening or commencing business, finalizing business deals, signing contracts etc.

I remember a friend asking (jokingly) if such a day is good for lending money! In my opinion, probably not but it would be a good idea to check with finance companies whether there is a higher incidents of delinquent cases when a loan is dispensed on such days!

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

The 12 Day Officers Pt 2

The fourth in the list is the Balance Day. The Balance Day is suitable for activities that have a win-win outcome. It includes marriage, starting construction or commencing on a trip. It is also good for business negotiation and especially good if you do not have the upper hand. The day will help you to improve your position and achieve a balance outcome. However do not sue anyone on a balance day unless you think a balanced outcome acceptable!

Chinese Calendar
Chinese Calendar

The Stable Day, also known as the Set Day is day for activities where you want a set or long lasting outcome like marriage. It is also good for official openings, hiring key staff and seeking medical treatment that will result (or at least you hope) in a permanent cure. It is not suitable for funerals, burial and travelling for obvious reasons.

The next is Initiate Day. It is suitable for starting a new project, accepting assignments, opening business or starting renovation works. It is not suitable for travelling or moving as ‘initiate’ implies that the activity starts and never ends!

Destruction Day is next. This day is suitable for demolishing a building or structure. It is not suitable for most other activities.

The next day is the Danger Day. It is not suitable for most activities that have an element of danger e.g. commencing a journey, base jumping, bungee jumping, white water rafting on a grade 5 river etc. It is however suitable for religious activities and ground breaking.

The most positive of the 12 days is the Success Day. This day is imbue with positive energy and is suitable for most activities including burial! Success Day can be used for marriage, seeking medical treatment, construction and moving. However avoid breaking up and divorces as you do not want too much successes in these areas.

Next come Receive Day which is a day that you use to receive something. It is a good day to try to close a sale, ask for a raise (or inheritance!), request a big favour, learn something or propose marriage. It is also a good day to commence a course or start a job. It is not however suitable for burials or medical treatment.

The second last on the list is the Open Day. It is good for official openings, house warming, marriage and business functions. It is also a good day for commencing a course or to assume a new position but not suitable for burial or ground breaking.

The last in the list is the Close Day. It is generally speaking not a good day and you should not use it for any significant activity.

In practice a day is not selected based solely on the above 12 day cycle. Inauspicious days such as year and month breaker days and personal clash days are first marked out. Other inauspicious days such as the four diverse and extinct days and no wealth days are sometimes marked out too. Then days with positive ‘qi’ such as Yearly Virtuous and Wealth Days are given greater consideration. Finally the short-listed suitable days may be checked against Grandmaster Dong Superior Days and the 28 Constellations to arrive at a finer set of good days.

Different practitioners may place different emphasis on the selection criteria. It is thus not uncommon for two Feng Shui practitioners to arrive at different days for the same activity (although both are likely to be auspicious days).

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

The 12 Day Officers Pt 1

There are many systems of date selection. There is the Xuan Kong Da Gua Date Selection method, the Grandmaster Dong System, the Great Sun Formula, Qi Men Dun Jia etc. These methods require an in-depth knowledge of Chinese Metaphysics.

In this two part article, you will learn a simple but highly popular date selection technique. It is the foundation of date selection found in the Chinese Almanac and is known as the 12 Day Officers method and also as the Establish Divest 12 Gods (Shen) method.

The 12 Day Officers method is a simple system that is based on the concept that each day is governed or influenced by a certain type of ‘qi’. There are altogether 12 types of ‘qi’ that is repeated every 12 days, hence the 12 Day Officers.

Chinese Calendar
Chinese Calendar

The 12 types of ‘qi’ have names and are order in a fixed sequence. They are Establish, Divest, Full, Balance, Stable, Initiate, Destruction, Danger, Success, Receive, Open and Close. Establish is the leader of group and it falls on the day where the earthly branch is the same as the earthly branch of the month.

For example, the first Chinese solar month of 2008 is Jia Yin and includes the days from the 4th Feb to the 4th Mar. The stem and branch of the 8th Feb is Wu Yin while the stem and branch of the 20th Feb is Geng Yin. The branches of both the days are similar to the branch of the month and hence they are Establish Days. The next days i.e. the 9th Feb and the 21st Feb are Divest Days. Next comes Full and the cycle is repeated every 12 days (there are exceptions which I will not cover in this article).

Each of the 12 Day Officers (or types of ‘qi’) has a function and is suitable for certain type of activities. Of the 12 days, only Success Day and Destruction Day have clear cut positive and negative aspects respectively. The others have both positive and negative aspect and the trick is to match the correct day to the right activities.

The first of the lot is the Establish Day. As the name suggest, this day is suitable for establishing or starting an activity. For example, starting a new job or negotiating to start a new business. It is also suitable for proposing marriage (not the marriage itself), starting school, commencing a trip, kicking off a business plan, signing up for a study course and also for starting construction work (but not ground breaking). It is however not a good day for funeral or burial.

The second in the list is Remove Day. Remove Day can be used to start demolition work on a building. It is also a good day for a business to conduct a sale to get rid of old stock. It can be used for cleansing activities or getting rid of something (including the unseen). Sadly by correctly it is also a good day end a relationship or file for a divorce!

Full Day is the third on the list. It is the day to use if you want to have good returns. It is a good day for signing contracts and conduct official openings. It is also a good day for holding a house warming party and for marriage. Some even say that it is good for collection (collecting in full)! It is not however suitable for demolition or burial.

You will learn about the remaining days in part 2 of this article.

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

Animal Sign: Are you a Horse or Goat?

Let’s take someone born on 31st Jan 1979. Is this person born under the Chinese zodiac sign of the horse or goat? Not sure?

The confusion arises because the Chinese uses two popular calendar systems, the solar as well as the lunar calendar. They are also known as the LuniSolar or YinYang Calendar. The first day of the solar calendar starts on or around the 4th Feb every year in conjunction with the Start of Spring while the first day of the lunar calendar can start between late January and late February. Click on the calendar links above to find out why it is so.

From a Chinese Solar Calendar perspective, someone born on the 31st Jan 1979 belongs to the previous year animal sign (Horse) as the current year animal sign (Goat) only takes effect on the 4th Feb. However from a Chinese Lunar Calendar perspective, this person is most definitely a Goat as the Chinese Lunar New Year started on 28th Jan 1979.

Why is this important? In many Chinese metaphysics study such as Chinese Astrology and Feng Shui, we need to know the yearly zodiac sign.

Most system of Feng Shui such as the Eight Mansions and Flying Stars uses the Chinese Solar Calendar. So does Ba Zi, a popular system of Chinese Astrology.

On the other hand, Zi Wei Dou Shu, a less popular but also highly accurate system of Chinese Astrology uses the Chinese Lunar Calendar exclusively.

What can go wrong if we use the wrong animal sign? A lot.

For example if you use the Eight Mansions Feng Shui system and you get the animal sign and year wrong, you could end up sleeping in all the wrong directions. Liu Sha (Six Killings) or Jue Ming (End of Life) instead of Sheng Qi (Living Breathe) or Tian Yi (Heavenly Doctor)!

It can get far worse if you say use Zi Wei Dou Shu for compatibility analysis. If you get the animal sign wrong, it can be the difference between highly compatible and not compatible at all!

It pays to be sure which calendar system you should use.

You can find out the first day of every year for each of the calendars by using the Ten Thousand Year Calendar reference book or via my on-line Ten Thousand Year Calendar.

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches

The Chinese system of time keeping is based on the Ganzhi system. Ganzhi is the short form for Tian Gan and Di Zhi which means Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches.

The Chinese Solar or Xia Calendar is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun while the Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the moon’s rotation around the earth. Many cultures including the Chinese believe that life on earth is influence by the movement of the heavenly bodies that include the sun, moon and planets such as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury etc that ! Keeping track of their movement and their influence on mankind is not an easy task. It requires a good knowledge of astronomy and mathematics!

Many practitioners believe that the Ganzhi system is a model of this astronomical system and its influences. The outstanding feature of this system is it simplicity and that it can be understood and applied by almost anyone.

There are 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches. They have either yin or yang properties as well as elemental property of the Five Elements as shown in the table below.

StemStatusElement BranchStatusElement
JiaYangWood ZiYangWater
YiYinWood ChouYinEarth
BingYangFire YinYangWood
DingYinFire MaoYinWood
WuYangEarth ChenYangEarth
JiYinEarth SiYinFire
GengYangMetal WuYangFire
XinYinMetal WeiYinEarth
RenYangWater ShenYangMetal
GuiYinWater YouYinMetal

The stems combine with the branches in a sequence shown below to form a cycle of 60 combinations known as the “60 Jia Zi”.

1 – 1011 – 2021 – 3031 – 4041 – 5051 – 60
Jia ZiJia XuJia ShenJia WuJia ChenJia Yin
Yi ChouYi HaiYi YouYi WeiYi SiYi Mao
Bing YinBing ZiBing XuBing ShenBing WuBing Chen
Ding MaoDing ChouDing HaiDing YouDing WeiDing Si
Wu ChenWu YinWu ZiWu XuWu ShenWu Wu
Ji SiJi MaoJi ChouJi HaiJi YouJi Wei
Geng WuGeng ChenGeng YinGeng ZiGeng XuGeng Shen
Xin WeiXin SiXin MaoXin ChouXin HaiXin You
Ren ShenRen WuRen ChenRen YinRen ZiRen Xu
Gui YouGui WeiGui SiGui MaoGui ChouGui Hai

This 60 Jia Zi is mapped to the year, month and day and repeated infinitely. For example the year 1924, 1984 and 2044 are all Jia Zi Year. The following years of 1925, 1985 and 2045 are all Yi Chou Year which is the next combination in the sequence.

Similarly if this month is Yi Chou, then the next month is Bing Yin which is the next combination in the sequence. The same applies to the day. If today is Jia Zi then tomorrow is Yi Chou. The cycle is repeated every 60 days. And if this bi-hour is Ding You, the next bi-hour is Wu Xu the next combination in the cycle.

This explains why in the Chinese Solar or Xia Calendar every day is represented by four Jia Zi combinations namely the Jia Zi of the year, month, day (and hour if specified).

To find out the Jia Zi combinations of any western day you can use this Ten Thousand Year Calendar.

Let me give an example of how this system is used to find a very inauspicious day called the Year Breaker. The stem branch combination for the year 2006 is Bing Xu. In the system of stems and branches, Xu clash with Chen (not covered here) and hence any Chen day in 2006 is considered inauspicious. This type of inauspicious clash is known as a Year Breaker!

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

The Chinese Lunar Calendar

In addition to the Xia or Chinese Solar Calendar the Chinese have a Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is based on the moon’s rotation around the earth which takes approximately 29.53059days.

The ancient Chinese felt the need to synchronize the Chinese lunar calendar with the Chinese solar calendar. Unfortunately this is not an easy task. Twelve lunar months add up to 354.36708 days and is not equal to one solar year of 365.242199 days!

To solve this problem, the Chinese added an addition month in 7 out of every 19 years. The additional month takes the name of the month before and is known as a leap month. Due to this addition month, the 1st day of the 1st month (also known as Chinese New Year) varies from year to year between the months of January and February. This can be very confusing but it works.

The first lunar month is not called January. Instead it is simply called the 1st Month. The second month is called the 2nd Month and so on until the 12th Month!


Each lunar month can have either 29 or 30 days. When the month has 29 days, it is considered to be small and when it has 30 days it is considered to be big.

Hence a lunar 1st Month that has 30 days is called 1st Month Big while a 6th Month that has 29 days is called 6th Month Small.

The lunar year is name after the 12 Earthly Branches with names like Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao and so on. To make it easy for the general population, they associate an animal with each of the Branch. For example Zi is Rat, Chou is Ox, Yin is Tiger, Mao is rabbit etc. This cycle is repeated every 12 years. For example 1960 is the year of Zi or the Rat and so is 1972, 1984, 1996 and so on.

To find out the Chinese lunar calendar equivalent of any western date you can use this conversion calendar.

Most traditional Chinese festivals such a the Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, All Souls Day, Mid-Autumn (Moon Cake) festival are based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

The Xia Calendar

According to the classics, the Xia Emperor Yao instructed the Ho Hsi brothers to revise the calendar in 2405 BC.

This revised calendar is also known the as The Xia (Hsia) calendar. It is quite similar to the western Gregorian calendar as it is also based on the earth’s orbit around the sun. However instead of starting the year on the 1st of January, the Chinese Solar calendar start the year on the 1st day of Spring which falls on or around the 4th Feb. The earth takes 365 and a quarter day to orbit the sun.


Every quarter day makes one extra day and the western Gregorian calendar accounts for this extra day by inserting a day into Feb every 4 years. The Chinese Solar calendar takes account of this extra day by making adjustments to some of the years. This explains why the start of spring wobbles between the 3rd and 5th of February.

In the Xia Calendar, each year is divided into four seasons and 12 months. The naming convention is based on the Earthly Branches. The first month is Yin and this is followed by Mao, Chen and so on. Each month is further divided into two sub-months, the first known as Knot and the second half as Qi. This is illustrated in the table below.

Xia Calendar
MonthBranchKnot & QiWestern Dates
1YinStart of SpringFebruary 4th/5th
  Rain WaterFebruary 19th/20th
2MaoInsects AwakenMarch 6th/7th
  Spring EquinoxMarch 21st/22nd
3ChenClear BrightnessApril 5th/6th
  Grain RiceApril 20th/21th
4SiStart of SummerMay 6th/7th
  Small HarvestMay 21st/22nd
5WuSeed PlantingJun 6th/7th
  Summer SolsticeJun 21st/22nd
6WeiSlight HeatJuly 7th/8th
  Great HeatJuly 23rd/24th
7ShenStart of AutumnAugust 8th/9th
  Hidden HeatAugust 24th/25th
8XuWhite DewSeptember 8th/9th
  Autumn EquinoxSeptember 23rd/24th
9HaiCold DewOctober 8th/9th
  Frost DescendsOctober 23rd/24th
10JiStart of WinterNovember 7th/8th
  Slight SnowNovember 22nd/23rd
11ChouGreat SnowDecember 7th/8th
  Winter SolsticeDecember 22nd/23rd
12GirlSlight ColdJanuary 6th/7th
  Great ColdJanuary 21st/22nd

You may notice that the names of the Joint and Qi have an agricultural undertone. This is due to the fact the calendar was devised to regulate agriculture and it is also known as the Farmer’s Calendar.

You can use the on-line Ten Thousand Year Calendar to find the solar equivalent date for any western Gregorian day.

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

Personal Clash Day

The process of date selection starts with eliminating inauspicious dates.

Two of the most inauspicious dates are the year breaker and month breaker. The year breaker is the day where the earthly branch of the day clashes with the earthly branch of the year. The month breaker on the other hand is the day where the earthly branch of the day clashes with the earthly branch of the month.

As a rule the year and month breaker are not used but in exceptional circumstances certain year and month breakers are allowed.


In addition to the year and month breaker, the personal clash day is considered to be a highly inauspicious day and is not used. So what is a personal clash day? It is the day that clashes with the earthly branch of the year of your birth.

In the Chinese calendar system, our year of birth is denoted by a set of heavenly stems and branch. To find out the stem and branch combination of your year of birth, you can simply refer to the Ten Thousand Year Calendar.

Let’s illustrate this win an example. Let’s suppose that you are born on the 1st June 1957. Using the tool above we find out that the stem branch combination is Ding You.

The earthly branch is ‘You’. In the clash and combination of the branches, ‘You’ clash with ‘Mao’. Therefore a ‘Mao’ day is a personal clash day for anyone born in the year of ‘You’. It should not be used for any significant activity such as renovation or moving.

How do you know if a day is a ‘Mao’ day? Again you can use the Ten Thousand Year Calendar. You do not have 10,000 years of data but the 100 or so years given are more than sufficient. Most Chinese calendars also show the stem branch combination. Nowadays it is possible to purchase a diary in English showing the stem and branch of the day (and year and month).

You can even do it with Microsoft Outlook. Click Tools menu followed by Options. Select Calendar Options under the Preference Tab. Enable Alternate Calendar under the Advanced Option and select Chinese Simplified or Traditional and Zodiac. That is it! Other versions of Outlook may have a slightly different setting sequence so you may need to figure it out yourself.

So far so good but there is still a problem. The stem and branch is shown in Chinese character. If you find a way to display the Hanyu Pinyin equivalent, please let me know. Meanwhile you can learn how to recognize and write the characters of each of the 22 characters of the stems and branches here.

What if you need to find a date for moving for a family of three? For example father is born on a ‘You’ year, mother is a ‘Shen’ year and son in a ‘Hai’ year. If possible you should eliminate all clash days which includes ‘Mao’ (clash with ‘You’), ‘Yin’ (clash with ‘Shen’ and ‘Si’ days (clash with ‘Hai’).

However if it is not possible, then you should at least eliminate the personal clash day of the head of the household. It used to the husband or father by default but these days it is advisable to ask. It could be the wife or mother!

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

What is a Day Breaker?

The Day Breaker is the most inauspicious time period of the day. As a rule, we avoid carrying out any auspicious activities such as engagement, marriage, opening business, signing agreement, house warming etc during this time period.

There is a reason why I use the term time period instead of hour. Unlike a Western hour which is made up of 60 minutes, a Chinese hour is 120 minutes long. For example the “Zi” or Rat time is from 11 PM to 1 AM. The “Chou” or Ox time is from 1 AM to 3 AM and so on. Please read my article titled, “Chinese Hours” for more on the subject.

So how do you figure out the Day Breaker for each day?

The answer lies with the Earthly Branch of the day. In Chinese time keeping, every day is represented by a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch combination. The usual way to find out this combination is be referencing the Ten Thousand Year Calendar. This reference book used to be available in Chinese only but is now available in English.

A faster way is to use my on-line Chinese Calendar Converter. Select the Gregorian date, hit the submit button and the tool will provide you with the equivalent Chinese Lunar and Solar day as well as some other information. Look for the Chinese Solar day on the third line. It should read X Y day. X is the Heavenly Stem of the day while Y is the Earthly Branch of the day. Take note of Y. It should be one of the 12 Earthly Branches namely Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu or Hai. There is a correlation between the Earthly Branches and Chinese animal signs. For example Zi is Rat while Chou is Ox etc. Please refer to the table for the rest. So if the Branch of the day is Zi, that day is also known as a Rat day.

Earthly Branch Corresponding Animal Sign

Earthly BranchCorresponding Animal Sign

There is a clash relationship between the animal signs. For example Rat clash with Horse and vice versa. Please refer to the table below for the rest of the clash relationship.


Now let’s go back to Day Breaker. Every Chinese Hour (Two Western hour equivalent) is represented by an Earthly Branch or Animal sign. For example the hours between 11 PM and 1 AM is known as the Zi or Rat time, the hours between 1 AM and 3 AM id Chou or Ox time and so on.

Earthly Branch Animal Sign Hours

Earthly BranchAnimal SignHours
ZiRat11 pm to 1 am
ChouOx1 am to 3 am
YinTiger3 am to 5 am
MaoRabbit5 am to 7 am
ChenDragon7 am to 9 am
SiSnake9 am to 11 am
WuHorse11 am to 1 pm
WeiGoat1 pm to 3 pm
ShenMonkey3 pm to 5 pm
YouRooster5 pm to 7 pm
XuDog7 pm to 9 pm
HaiPig9 pm to 11 pm

The Day breaker is the Chinese Hour or time period that clash with the Earthly Branch of the day. For example if the Branch of the day is Chou or Ox, then the Day Breaker of the day is the Wei or Goat hour (between 1 PM and 3 PM).

I will elaborate on this using a couple of real life examples.

Let’s take the 11 Nov 2011. Using the Ten Thousand Year calendar reference or my on-line tool, you find out that it is a Wu (or Horse) day. The Horse clashes with the Rat. Therefore the Day Breaker hour is Rat or Zi (from 11 PM to 1 AM).

Let’s take the 12 Dec 2011. Using the Ten Thousand Year calendar reference or my on-line tool, you find out that it is a Wei (or Goat) day. The Goat clashes with the Ox. Therefore the Day Breaker hour is Ox or Chou (from 1 AM to 3 AM).

That is a Day Breaker for you.

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download

Month and Year Breaker Days

In Chinese date selection techniques there are two type of bad days that are considered to be very inauspicious. There are the Year Breaker and the Month Breaker.

In the Chinese solar or Xia calendar every year, month, day and time is represented by a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch combinations. There are altogether 60 combinations and are often called the 60 Jia Zi.

For example the year 2006 is represented by Bing Xu or more commonly referred to as the Fire Dog. Why Fire and why Dog? The stem Bing is fire while Xu is commonly equated with the Dog. That is why!

The first solar month is always Yin. This followed in the second month by Mao, the third month by Chen and so on until Chou in the 12th month.

Finally every day is represented by a stem branch combination or 60 Jia Zi. For example the 4 Jun 06 is Jia Zi. The next day is Yi Chou followed by Bing Yin and so on. The cycle is repeated every 60 days.

Year and Month Breaker

So what is a Year Breaker and why is it a bad day?

It is the days when the branch of the year clashes with the branch of the day.

The solar year 2006 stretches between 4th Feb 06 and 3rd Feb 07. It is represented by ‘Bing Xu’ and is commonly called the Dog year. In the combinations and clashes of the earthly branches, ‘Xu’ clash with ‘Chen’ (or dragon). Therefore any ‘Chen’ days in Solar year 2006 is a Year Breaker day and is considered a bad or inauspicious day.

For example, the 8th Feb represented by ‘Wu Chen’ is a Year Breaker day.

Then what is a Month Breaker day.

It is the days when the branch of the month clashes with the branch of the day.

The first month of any solar year is Yin. In the combination and clashes of the earthly branches, Yin clash with Shen. Therefore any ‘Shen’ day in the first solar month is a Month Breaker day.

For example, the 12th of Feb which is Ren Shen is a Month Breaker day and is considered a bad or inauspicious day.

Are there more bad days or inauspicious dates? You bet there is. But that will be covered at another time or in another venue!

In the meantime, if you want to know the stem branch combinations of any western date you can do so by using my on-line Chinese calendar converter.

Feng Shui Buy House Guide
Click here to Download