Q&A Forum

Early Zi method


I’ve been collecting all the English books on BaZi SiZhu I can find, and I was ecstatic to get yours. It’s the first that lays out calculating without the 10,000 year calendar, and that’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that info!

My question is this: I’m one of those people with funky early zi birth hour going on.

5/11/1971  00:33 AM

Which becomes

5/10/1971 23:33 PM

when DST is accounted for.

My problem is I am getting different hour pillars, both in my calculations and when I try to use different online calculators to make sure I’ve done it right. I get BingZi, WuZi, and also DingHai (?!). 

Usually, I get BingZi:

Day Stem: Yi = #2

Branch : Zi hour: #1

Stem: (2×2) +1-2 = 5-2 = 3 = Bing

The only way I get Wu, which is what most online calculators say, as well as the WanNianLi, is if I leave out the -2. Is that right?

What am I doing wrong, please?

Also, I’m not very clear on what the early Zi method is, exactly. Can you clarify? I’m not sure if I’m supposed to apply it or not.

Thank you,


Hi Aidan!

Thank you for sharing your BaZi excitement with me 🙂

Yes, calculating the chart using the early Zi method for the Day Pillar can be confusing. The trick is to remember to only use the early Zi method for the Day Pillar calculation, and not carry your “Early Zi” DP calculation over into your Hour Pillar calculation. We never use the Early Zi method in the Hour Pillar calculation.

You may also like to review my post regarding practice exercise 4, questions 6 & 7 (Early Zi and Day Stem).

#1. Find the Day Pillar, using the Early Zi method

DP = R of [(71 X 5) + (71/4) + 9 + 10 + 1 + 0] /60

DP = #32 (YiWei 乙未)

#2. Find the Hour Pillar, NOT using Early Zi method

We know the Day Pillar #32, YiWei 乙未. The temptation is to carry this information through in the HS equation. However, please remember that we are NOT to use the Early Zi method in the DP equation! 

There are two ways to approach this. 

  1. Calculate the DP value again, this time using birthdate + 1 in the DP part of the HS equation (because we do not use the Early Zi method to find the Hour Pillar).
  2.  A short cut, if you don’t want to work the DP calculation again, is to know that when you add one to the birthdate, you will essentially move one up in the sexagenary cycle chart. In this example, we know your Day Pillar is #32, YiWei 乙未. Now, move up one (+1) in the sexagenary cycle chart and you will see that we will use #33 BingShen 丙申 in the Hour Pillar calculations.
  3. Use the adjusted DP pillar information to find the Hour Stem:

HB = Zi 子

HS = (#3 x 2) + (1 – 2)

HS = 6 – 1

HS = 5 Wu 戊

Your Hour Pillar is ZiWu 子戊

Early Zi Method

In the “Calculate the BaZi Day Pillar” section, points 1 and 2, I explained the use of the Early Zi method.

In traditional Chinese traditions, the new calendar day begins at 23:00. Using this way of thinking, for the people born during that first hour of Zi, we need to adjust to using birthdate + 1 during the Day Stem calculation.

However, over time, BaZi practitioners have found that using the “Early Zi method” gives a more accurate chart reading. This basically means that we think of the Zi hour (23:00-00:59) as covering two days, which is what we who use the Gregorian calendar do intuitively anyway – there is a one calendar day difference between 11:59pm and 12:00am.

However, we only use the Early Zi method during the Day Pillar calculation formula! This means that when it comes time to move on to the Hour Pillar calculation, we have to make sure we do not apply the Early Zi method anywhere in our HP calculation.

In the few cases when this is applicable, we must either re-calculate the DP using the birthdate + 1 or more simply, move one up in the sexagenary cycle chart (from our previously calculated DP).

I hope this helps!

2 thoughts on “Early Zi method”

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