In the last article, I shared a method to figure out your animal sign using a finger counting method. In this follow up article, I will expand on it and share with you how to figure out the heavenly stem (and hence element) of the year as well.
To recap, There are 12 earthly branches and each of them is associated with an animal sign. They are Zi (Rat), Chou (Ox), Yin (Tiger), Mao (Rabbit), Chen (Dragon), Si (Snake), Wu (Horse), Wei (Goat), Shen (Monkey), You (Rooster), Xu (Dog) and Hai (Pig). The positions of each of these branch or animal was shown in the previous article.
There are 10 heavenly stems and each of them has a elemental property. The 10 stems are Jia (Wood), Yi (Wood), Bing (Fire), Ding (Fire), Wu (Earth), Ji (Earth), Geng (Metal), Xin (Metal), Ren (Water) and Gui (Water).
Remember the Rat position. Remember 1924, the year of the Rat. Well 1924 is also Jia Zi, the first of the sixty year stem branch or Gan Zhi cycle. In other words if you are born in 1924, your birth year is Jia Zi. Since Jia is wood and Zi is Rat, 1924 is also known as the Wood Rat year. This is repeated 60 years later in 1984, also a Wood Rat year.
So how do we figure the stem for the remaining 59 years?
Here is how. There are 10 heavenly stems. Since 1924 is Jia, so are 1934, 1944, 1954 and every subsequent 10 years. Refer to the diagram on the left above. Starting with 1924, lets count to 10 in a clockwise manner. We arrive at 1934 at the Xu or Dog position. This position which represents the year 1934 is Jia Xu or Wood Dog year. Refer to the diagram on the right above. Now starting at 1934 we count to 10 again in a clockwise manner. We arrive at the Monkey position. This is 1944 or Jia Shen or Wood Monkey year. Repeating the process we can figure out the positions of each of the Jia years to 1984 and beyond. This is shown below.
Now lets run through a couple of examples. Lets figure out the stem branch for someone born in 1956. Locate the position of 1954 (nearest to 1956) on the diagram below (left side). This is Jia Wu. Counting clockwise you arrive in 1956. Stem is Bing (Fire). Branch is Shen or Monkey. 1956 is Bing Shen or Fire Monkey year.
Lets do it for someone born in 1991. Refer to diagram above (right side). Since 1991 is between 1984 and 1994 we start at 1984 which is Jia Zi. Counting clockwise we have Jia (1984), Yi (1985), Bing (1986), Ding (1987) , Wu (1988), Ji (1989) Geng (1990) and Xin (1991). Since that is the Wei or Goat position and Xin is metal, we have Xin Wei or Metal Goat year.