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Earthly Branches can also form Quadrant Combinations

The Earthly Branches can also form Quadrant Combinations, as the twelve Earthly Branches correspond to specific cardinal directions: Zi is located in the due North, Wu in the due South, Mao in the due East, and You in the due West. Therefore, Zi, Wu, Mao, and You are collectively referred to as the “Four Cardinals.” The following diagram illustrates the arrangement of the twelve Earthly Branches into four quadrants:

Hai, Zi, Chou in the North form the Northern Water quadrant; Yin, Mao, Chen in the East form the Eastern Wood quadrant; Si, Wu, Wei in the South form the Southern Fire quadrant; Shen, You, Xu in the West form the Western Metal quadrant.

The rules for forming Quadrant Combinations are as follows:

  1. For a Quadrant Combination to occur, all three relevant Branches must be present; none can be missing. The arrangement need not be sequential and can be interspaced.
  2. The combination, although assembled, may not transform without the corresponding Heavenly Stems being present. Specifically:
    • For Hai, Zi, Chou to form a Water combination, Ren or Gui must be present in the Heavenly Stems for Water to manifest.
    • For Si, Wu, Wei to form a Fire combination, Bing or Ding must be present in the Heavenly Stems for Fire to manifest.
    • For Yin, Mao, Chen to form a Wood combination, Jia or Yi must be present in the Heavenly Stems for Wood to manifest.
    • For Shen, You, Xu to form a Metal combination, Geng or Xin must be present in the Heavenly Stems for Metal to manifest.
  3. The transformational element must not be directly countered by the Branch of the Month. For instance, if Yin, Mao, Chen are combined for Wood, but the Month Branch is You (Metal), which counters Wood, then the combination cannot transform due to direct opposition.

Example illustrations:

In the diagram above, the combination of Si, Wu, Wei suggests a Southern Fire quadrant, but without the presence of Fire in the Heavenly Stems, no transformation occurs. However, in 2016, the Bing Shen year, Bing (Fire) appears in the Heavenly Stems, enabling the transformation into Bing Fire.

In the diagram above, Hai, Zi, Chou combine to form a Northern Water quadrant. Despite the presence of Gui (Water) in the Heavenly Stems, Earth as the dominant element in the Month Branch counters Water, preventing transformation.

In the diagram above, the Earthly Branches Shen, You, Xu form a Western Metal quadrant, with Xin (Metal) in the Heavenly Stems complementing the combination, thus enabling transformation.

Having discussed Six Harmonies, Half Combinations, Three Harmonies, and Quadrant Combinations, which combination holds the most significant power?

Quadrant Combination > Three Harmonies > Half Combination of Prominence > Six Harmonies > Half Combination of Tomb

For example, You Chou half combining for Metal (Tomb half combination), Chen You combining for Metal (Six Harmonies), Si You half combining for Metal (Prominence half combination), Si You Chou three combining for Metal, and Shen You Xu forming a Metal Quadrant Combination, with strength increasing in that order.

The relationships between Earthly Branches are complex, encompassing more than just combinations, including conflicts and clashes, which we will explore in the next chapter on Six Clashes of the Earthly Branches.

Next Recommendation

  1. Determining Bazi Structures
  2. The Earthly Branches can also form Directional Combinations
  3. The Yin and Yang, Five Elements of Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, Hidden Stems

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