Q&A Forum

Sexagenary Cycle?

Dear Karin,

I just downloaded a sample of your book: “Calculating the Bazi” from Google Play book store and upon inspecting the Sexagenary cycle chart on page 46/48 (There doesn’t seem to be a page 47!), I noticed the chart starts with “1. JiaZi Metal; 2. YiChou Metal”. Is this a mistake? I’m sure Jia and Yi are meant to be wood. 

I’m sorry if I’m just missing something and the elements on this chart are indeed referring to something else entirely, but as I said, I find this confusing.

I would love if you could clarify this for me.

Kinds Regards,

Dear Stephen,

Great question! As to the first point about page numbering on your digital copy, the numbers actually vary from device to device, depending on the size of your screen and the size of your font setting.

In the paper copy of the book, the Sexagenary Cycle reference chart fits on one page, page 46. I am not sure how many pages come in the free download? If you see all 60 Stem-Branch pairs, rest assured you have the entire chart.

As for your main question:

Firstly, yes, Jai and Yi are both Wood Heavenly Stems.

However, the Sexagenary Cycle (LiuShiHuaJia 六十花甲, Sixty Transformations Transforms [back to] Jia) is a traditional method of numbering the days and years in the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It has been in use at least since the 2nd century BCE. The sexagenary cycle reflects the transformative properties of all possible pairings of Stems and Branches and the new energetic Five Element nature that ensues.

For example, the first two pairings in the chart, 1. JiaZi 甲子 and 2. YiChou 乙丑 energies, both transform to have a Metal quality.

It is a fascinating concept! If you read Chinese (which sadly, I do not) there are 30 poems (one for each of the 30 transformational pairings, with two StemBranch couples per pairing – hence 60 transformations) that describe these new energies. Legend has it these poems come from the Warring State period (about 2,400 years ago), but I don’t think concrete evidence for this claim has been established.

Want to learn more? My husband and I discuss the “Sixty Stem Branch Combinations” in more detail in our book, Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches. You may be interested in checking it out.

As for my book Calculating the BaZi, it is specifically designed to teach people how to calculate the Chinese astrology chart given specific birth details. I provided the Sexagenary Cycle chart purely as a reference tool as it is needed for the calculations I present.

I hope this helps!