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19th August 2008


Late Rat Hour in Bazi Chart

A Comparison between the Modern System vs the Traditional System


In the art of 4 Pillars of Destiny or Bazi studies, confusion sometimes arises over the application of Early Rat and Late Rat hours when it come to generating a destiny natal chart of a person. In this article, I will try to clear the doubt over this controversial topic in destiny analysis using Bazi.

In modern times, we divide our hours into 24 parts and called each part an hour. Therefore in a typical day we will have 24 hours, ranging from midnight to the following days midnight. However in ancient China, people divide the day into 12 equal parts and called each part Sichen r and is equivalent to our modern day 2 hours; sometimes they are known as Chinese Hour in the Western world. Each Sichen has a name, which is represented by the 12 Earthly Branches as Zi (11pm to 12.59am), Chou (1am to 2.59am), Yin (3am to 4.59am), Mao î (5am to 6.59am), Chen (7am to 8.59am), Si (9am to 10.59am), Wu (11am to 12.59pm), Wei δ (1pm to 2.59pm), Shen (3am to 4.59pm), You (5pm to 6.59pm), Xu (7pm to 8.59pm) and Hai (9pm to 10.59pm).

As the 12 Earthly Branches are sometimes difficult for people to memorise, they are usually represented by the names of 12 animals. This is also how the Chinese horoscope animal zodiac signs come about. These animal names are Rat for Zi hour, Ox for Chou hour, Tiger for Yin hour, Rabbit for Mao hour, Dragon for Chen hour, Snake for Si hour, Horse for Wu hour, Goat for Wei hour, Monkey for Shen hour, Rooster for You hour, Dog for Xu hour and finally Pig for Hai hour.

In Bazi studies, a birth chart is generated based on the date and time of birth of a person. Using the formula of 5 Rats Determining the Hour , the Day Master (DM) of the day is used as the focal point and based on the hour of birth (Sichen), the Heavenly Stem of the Hour Pillar is determined. The time between 11pm to midnight is called Late Rat hour while midnight to 1am is called Early Rat hour because 11pm to 1am is the Rat hour according to the 12 Sichen definition. But because midnight is the dividing point between 2 different days, people starts to refer 11pm to midnight as Late Rat because it is late at night and refer midnight to 1am as Early Rat because it is in the early morning of the day.

The application of 5 Rats Determining the Hour has 2 schools of thought when it comes to deriving the hour pillar of the Bazi. One is known as the modern school while the other is the traditional school. What is the difference between these 2 schools? The key difference is the application of the Late Rat hour (11pm to midnight).

In the modern school of teaching, when the birth time is between 11pm and midnight, the Day Master of the following day (next day) is used to derive the hour stem using the 5 Rats Determining the Hour formula while the Day Master of the current day remains unchanged as in the Bazi chart. For example, using the date of 19th August 2008 11.45pm as the birth date and time, the Bazi chart will look like:




Geng Xin Geng Wu
Zi Mao Shen Zi

Note that Xin Mao î is the day pillar of 19th August 2008.

In the tradition school of Bazi teaching, when the birth time is between 11pm and midnight, the Day Master of the following day (next day) is still used to derive the hour stem using 5 Rats Determining the Hour formula just like the modern school but the Day Pillar for the birth chart being used is the following days Day Pillar. Using the same example of 19th August 2008 11.45pm as the birth date and time, the Bazi chart will look like this now:



Geng Ren Geng Wu
Zi Chen Shen Zi

Note that Ren Chen is the day pillar of 20th August 2008.

As you have noticed, the Day Pillar in both charts are different when plotted using the modern and tradition school of Bazi theory even though the birth date and time is the same (19th August 2008 11.45pm) and this will greatly influence the accuracy and analysis of a destiny chart. As you know, if the Day Master is different, the 10 Deities will be assigned differently and two people using different systems to plot the chart will get 2 different readings! So the dilemma now is to decide the correct school or theory to adopt to erect Bazi destiny charts. Which school is correct and which school is wrong?

Before we go on, let us examine deeper into the 2 systems and try to understand the rational for their adoption by each schools of practitioners.

In the modern system, we demarcate days at the midnight point. If the time now is before midnight, we call it today; any time after midnight we will call it the next day or tomorrow. Why use midnight as the midpoint to differentiate today and tomorrow or today and yesterday? Maybe it has to do with the way people uses solar time to plot Bazi chart. In a traditional circular chart where the 12 Earthly Branches are arranged in a clockwise fashion, Wu is at the top 12 oclock position and Zi is at the bottom 6 oclock position. In solar time, midday is Horse or Wu hour where the sun is directly overhead and there is no shadow. At the point where the sun is directly overhead is also called 12noon or 12pm. The opposite of 12noon is midnight which is in the Rat hour by definition. See diagram here.

Therefore when it comes to determining the hour stem using the modern system for Late Rat, the current days day stem is retained in the Bazi chart as Day Master (DM) because the time has not passed midnight and it is still considered as the current day; however it uses the next days day stem to derive the hour stem because the hour is already in the Rat Sichen and Rat hour starts at 11pm as a new day for the following day.

In the traditional system, the rational behind the theory is easier to understand. They believe that Rat hour always starts at 11pm and it is considered the start of a brand new day. The concept of midnight as the cutover point for a new day is considered a modern day Western world concept applicable to modern time measurement as there is no concept of "midnight" in ancient China. In olden China, water devices are used to measure time during the night while sundial is used during daytime. Therefore according to traditional Chinese system of time measurement, when the water clock time reaches 11pm, it has already passed into a new day and therefore the next days Day pillar is used to derive the Bazi chart.

The diagram below illustrates the subtle difference in the 2 systems.

Between the 2 systems, I have compared charts of people born in the Late Rat hour using both systems and have found that using the traditional system is more accurate. Moreover, since Bazi destiny analysis is an ancient Chinese art, I would subscribe more to using the traditional system of plotting Bazi charts. You can compare and contrast both systems and see which method is more accurate for you. Recently a forum acquaintance from Iceland was born in the Late Rat hour and her analysis of her chart using the traditional system seems more accurate as compared to the modern system. In some good Bazi charting software, there is an option to select either system to plot the chart. It really depends on your preference and the way you have learned or taught. You need to have case study charts to analyse before you draw your own conclusion.

Finally, one of my Bazi teacher, who uses the modern system approach, once has this to say "Even if you use the wrong chart to do reading for your client, and if your moral is stright and the karmic connection is there between you and the client, your analysis will still somehow turn out to be correct." Unbelievable!


By Cyril Quah

"The Feng Shui Connoisseur"

August 19, 2008

Copyright 2006 Feng Shui Connoisseur. All rights reserved.