Based on Chinese Astrology, a person’s date of birth is divided into 4 heavenly stems and 4 earthly branches.

Together they make up the four pillars of destiny which is a branch of Chinese Astrology known as BaZi. The four pillars hold the 4 heavenly stems and 4 earthly branches in a BaZi’s birth chart and together they make up the year pillar, month pillar, day pillar and hour pillar.

However, when it comes to the hour pillar, it can be quite tricky as Chinese Astrology’s method of time keeping assigns an animal sign to a time slot in a cycle of a day. There are 12 animal signs in a day cycle just like there are 12 animal signs in a year cycle based on Chinese calendar. Each day has 12 time slots and each time slot accounts for 2 hours. There are altogether 12 time slots making up the 12 animal signs in a day starting from the Rat and ending with the Pig.

The day starts with the Rat hour which occupies the time slot from 11.00 pm to 1.00 am. Unlike the western calendar which is based on Gregorian system of time keeping, the beginning of the day under the Chinese system is not so straight forward. According to the Gregorian system, the new day starts at one second past 12.00 (midnight hour).

However, the Chinese system breaks the midnight hour into early Rat hour and late Rat hour. If you are born at 11.00 pm, you belong to the early Rat hour. For a person born at 00.10 am, it is considered the late Rat hour. The early Rat hour starts from 11.00 pm to 11.59 pm whereas the late Rat hour starts from 00.00 midnight to 00.59 am. This is a point of contention among Ba Zi practitioners. Should the early Rat hour or the late Rat hour be taken as the start of a new day pillar in a Ba Zi birth chart?

Chinese BaZi masters use a conversion manual known as the Ten Thousand Years Calendar to convert a person’s western birthdate into the four pillars’ heavenly stems and branches. For example, a person who is born on 10th May 2011 at 11.30 pm has the hour pillar of Earth Rat, the day pillar of Wood Ox, the month pillar of Water Snake and the year pillar of Metal Rabbit. This makes it simpler for Ba Zi practitioners to formulate their birth chart by just knowing their western birth date. Whether they should follow the early Rat hour or late Rat hour to determine the day pillar depends on the different Ba Zi schools of thought.

You should take up a full reading of your birth chart to know your luck for this year and the future. The Chinese Four Pillars of Destiny is a fascinating art that can reveal your destiny through your date of birth.

For a start, you can get a copy of my book on Chinese Astrology at
You will be amazed at the mysticism of this ancient art known as Ba Zi (Four Pillars of Destiny).

Author's Bio: 

I am a freelance consultant in Chinese Metaphysics. I offer readings of a person's Birth Chart based on the Four Pillars of Destiny (Ba Zi) and Feng Shui tips.

I believe a person's luck can be activated by taking the right action at the right time. By making informed decisions through an analysis of his or her birth chart, a person can live a fulfilling life and be happy and successful.

My name is Alvin Yap and I can show you the way to enlightenment.

For a personalized sample reading of your birth chart, you can visit my websites at and