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Finger Counting for Determining the Month Pillar

Let’s introduce a method for calculating the Month Pillar, which can be done through a technique of finger counting with the left hand. This method involves arranging the twelve Earthly Branches on the joints and fingertips of the left hand, and calculations are made according to the directions of east, south, west, and north. However, it’s important to note that the directions within the palm are the opposite of those on a map: east is left, west is right, south is up, and north is down.

To proceed with calculating the Major Cycles, it’s imperative that you are familiar with the normal sequences of the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches.

The order of Heavenly Stems is: Jia, Yi, Bing, Ding, Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin, Ren, Gui.

The order of Earthly Branches is: Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu, Hai.

This finger counting technique is used after determining the Year Pillar. Typically, the Year Pillar is arranged before the Month Pillar. Thus, once the Year Pillar is set, the arrangement of the Month Pillar follows. The Month Pillar corresponds to the twelve Earthly Branches, with each month representing an Earthly Branch. Hence, the Earthly Branch for each month is predetermined and does not require calculation.

Two key points regarding the Month Branch should be noted:

  1. The first month starts with Yin in the Jia Zi calendar, not from Zi but from Yin, referred to as “establishing Yin in the first month.”
  2. The boundary between months is defined by solar terms among the twenty-four solar terms. These include both “terms” and “phases.” The terms are: Start of Spring, Awakening of Insects, Clear and Bright, Start of Summer, Grain Full, Slight Heat, Start of Autumn, White Dew, Cold Dew, Start of Winter, Heavy Snow, and Slight Cold. The phases are: Rain Water, Vernal Equinox, Grain Rain, Lesser Fullness, Summer Solstice, Greater Heat, Limit of Heat, Autumnal Equinox, Descent of Frost, Lesser Snow, Winter Solstice, and Greater Cold. The Month Branch is determined based on the terms, not the phases.

Since the Month Branch is already determined, what remains is to determine the Month Stem. The mnemonic for finger counting is as follows: For Jia and Ji years, Bing leads. For Yi and Geng years, Wu heads. For Bing and Xin years, seek Geng to start. For Ding and Ren years, Ren flows in order. For Wu and Gui years, seek where to find. Above, Jia Yin is sought.

For example, in a Wu Yin (1998) year, to find the Heavenly Stem for the Mao (Rabbit) month, we follow the mnemonic. It indicates that the first month of a Wu Yin year starts with Jia Yin. Placing the left thumb on the Yin position and moving one step forward brings us to the next month, Mao. Following the sequence of Heavenly Stems, after Jia comes Yi, making it a Yi Mao month.


Next Recommendation

  1. How to Determine the Month Pillar
  2. How to Determine the Year Pillar
  3. Finger Counting for Determining the Year Pillar
  4. How To Determine The Day And Hour Pillars.

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