Tag Archives: shi shen

Chinese Hour

“I was born on Hai hour. Does that mean I am harmful to others”, a friend asked.

My first thought was why would someone born on ‘Hai’ hour, be harmful to others. Then it dawn upon me that the word ‘Hai’ sounds a lot, in Chinese, like harm. He was visibly relieved after I assured him that his birth time has no direct harmful effect on his friends and family!

But what is ‘Hai’ hour? The ancient Chinese measure time in two hour blocks. ‘Hai’ is the name given to the two hour block between 9 PM and 11 PM.

There are twelve (12) two hour blocks in a day. The first two hour block is between 11 PM and 1 AM. This Chinese hour is called ‘Zi’ hour. This is followed by ‘Chou’ hour which is the time between 1 AM and 3 AM and goes on and finally ending at ‘Hai’ hour. Each of these Chinese hours is assigned an animal sign from the 12 animal zodiacs. For example ‘Zi’ is assigned the Rat. If you are born at say 12.05 AM, then your birth time is ‘Zi’ or the Rat hour.

Please refer below to the 12 Chinese hour and associated animal sign below.

TimeChinese TimeAnimal Sign
11 pm to 1 amZiRat
1 am to 3 amChouOx
3 am to 5 amYinTiger
5 am to 7 amMaoRabbit
7 am to 9 amChenDragon
9 am to 11 amSiSnake
11 am to 1 pmWuHorse
1 pm to 3 pmWeiGoat
3 pm to 5 pmShenMonkey
5 pm to 7 pmYouRooster
7 pm to 9 pmXuDog
9 pm to 11 pmHaiPig

The birth hour is very important in Chinese astrology such as Ba Zi and Zi Wei Dou Shu as they are required to complete the birth chart or the ‘picture’.

What if you are born in between two Chinese hour e.g. at 3 PM? Should you use the Wei hour (1 PM to 3 PM) or Shen hour (3 PM to 5 PM)? Recording of birth time is usually done by the attending doctor and is a best an approximate. Usually he writes down the time after the delivery which can be many minutes after the time that the baby takes the first breathe (more if there are complications).

For the purpose of astrology, it is crucial to figure out the right time. It is also necessary to adjust for any daylight savings adjustments that may have occurred at the time of birth. Otherwise the entire reading is wrong.

This is why determining the correct birth time is the first step to a successful Chinese astrology reading. We do this by asking the person some pertinent questions to see which chart ‘fits’.

So now you know when someone says she was born on the horse hour, it means ‘Wu’ time between 11 AM and 1 PM!

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