on Feng Shui
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Article FS12/oct1
Historical Records of Breaks in the Sexagenary 60 Cycle Counts

Prof. Dr.Ong Hean-Tatt 26th October 2011

Finally unveiled: age-old imperial deception of
creation of Qi Men Dun Jia, Liu Ren and Tai Yi divination from Zi Wei Dou Shu!


Recent research shows that the 60 cycle counts for the Four Pillars are not continuous! Modern datings are in serious errors.


In the previous article, ancient historical dates with their sexagenary signs for days (5) and years (2) were collated and subjected to careful mathematical calculations. The mathematical calculations show that, since the Han dynasty, the 60 cycle counts were not continuous for days and years.

Since then we got another 2 ancient dates for days and 2 for years. Again, the calculations show the 60 cycle counts were broken.

A number of people were surprised but accepted the findings and the adverse implications in that current date methods may be grossly invalid.

This article continues presenting the research findings which now reveal the historical evidence that the 60 cycle counts in the traditional Chinese calendars were tampered with.


As astrology has scientific basis, astrological systems of ancient cultures should be the same. An earlier article shows that Zi Wei Dou Shu, Western and Hindu astrology systems are of the same astronomical sources.

Our research has found that it is possible to examine ancient dates to determine if the 60 cycle counts were continuous.

Historic Tampering with the Ganzhi Sign of Day

There is a remarkable historical record that the imperial court changed the 60 cycle counts of the day.

Wechsler (1985) published an analysis of the Jade and Cotton Sacrifices (Wechsler, Howard J. 1985. Offerings of Jade and Silk. Ritual and Symbol in the Legitimisation of the Tang Dynasty. Yale University Press. New York and London). In this book, he noted how the Tang imperial court switched the Ganzhi sign of the day:

  • Thus, at the time of his sacrifice to Shang-ti at the Ming-tang situated at the foot of Tai-shan, Emperor Wu announced his new calendar. The epoch of this calendar, named Grand Inception (Taichu) was December 24, 105 BC.... (Weshsler p.215).

    In 640, Tai-tsung was planning personally to perform the round altar sacrifice in the southern sburbs. According to the Wu-yin calendar, the winter solstice was to fall on a chia-tzu day, which was the second day of the eleventh month. But Li Shun feng had calculated that the winter solstice would fall on a chia-tzu day that would be on the first day of the month, the new moon, cosmologically a much more satisfying configuration and a replica of the epoch of the Han dynasty Grand Inception Calendar. After court discussion on the mattter, Li Shun-feng's calculations were accepted as correct. .. (Weshsler p.219-220).

The date in question, the first day of the eleventh month, was a gui hai day (no.60). It was the second day of the eleventh month which was a jiazi day. But the imperial court directly shifted the jiazi from the second day to the first day. This is very clear historical evidence that the 60 cycle counts for the day was broken!

Note that the shift was for administrative purpose, to imitate the Han Grand Inception Calendar. The imperial court was not afraid to break the counts, especially as there was no astrological significance to it.

Wang Mang (AD 13) had a similar intention when he ordered to change the day signs:

  • [Wang Mang] ordered that in the primary schools of the empire [the day] mou tzu should take the place of [the day] chia-tzu as the first day of the sixty-[day] cycle... (Pan Ku, The History of the Former Han Dynasty, Volume 3 p.346).

Wang Mang was a highly superstitious person. He would not have dared to meddle with the 60 cycle counts if the counts had divination roles. As the counts had only administrative purposes Wang Mang dared to order the counts broken.

So, we have at least two historical records that the 60 cycle counts were never continuous for the day.


The new and full moons dates are critical in all astrology! The current Four Pillars system for day counts is faulty and ignores the new and full moon effects.

Historic Tampering with the Ganzhi Sign of Year

Let us look at one historical incidence which shows that the imperial circle broke the continuity of the 60 cycle counts of the year. Lim et al (2000) noted the debate to replace the Yuanjia calendar:

  • We will now give some details about the Yuanjia calendar, since that was the calendar which Zu Chongzhi sought to reform. Its author, He Chengtian, was probably the pre-eminent scholar of the early Liu-Song period... his Yuanjia calendar was the fruit of more than 40 years of research and astronomical observation. ... After 2 years of rigorous assessment by court astronomers, the Yuanjia calendar came into official use in the first month of 445.

However, Zu Chongzhi objected to the Yuanjia calendar and made new proposals (Lim et al 2000):

  • Firstly, we take Zi to be the first of the earthly branches, and its position to be due north. As for the lunar mansions, Xu is in the middle of the Northern Palace and therefore represents due north as well. Therefore the beginning of all things should have been from this point... For the new calendar, the sun's position at Great Year 1 is thus set at 1 within Xu. Secondly, Jiazi is the first combination of the stems and branches, and so a calendar should begin in this year. Yet, of the 11 calendars used since ancient times, none has put its Great Year 1 in a Jiazi year. For the new calendar, its Great Year 1 is a Jiazi year. Thirdly, a calendar should begin the motion of the heavens with the start of Great Year 1, but the Jingchu calendar only lists the time remaining from the start of Great Year 1 to the next node or perigee. He Chengtian's calendar even sets a different Year 1 for each of the 5 planets, while retaining the compromise of "time remaining to node" and "time remaining to perigee". Thus the only conjunction is in the sun and moon. This is haphazard and far from the level of perfection that the ancients aspired to. The new calendar introduces a method by which the paths of the sun, moon and 5 planets, as well as the node and perigee, all coincide at the beginning of Great Year 1.

    Since the Taichu calendar of the Han, calendars had taken the winter solstice as the beginning of the solar or astronomical year, the new moon as the beginning of the lunar month, midnight as the beginning of a day. Besides this, the winter solstice was also taken as the starting point for the motion of all the heavenly bodies, and the Jiazi combination was taken as the first in the system of Heavenly Branches (Tiangan) and Earthly Branches (Dizhi). Therefore, the Great Year 1 had to begin at midnight on the new moon of the 11th month, on a Jiazi day, in which the heavenly bodies would all be in alignment at the winter solstice point. Obviously, such a year would be incredibly hard to find, and it would take a lot of astronomical guesswork, not to mention the likelihood of inaccuracy in older astronomical records. This might explain why, although a description of a Great Year 1 was given at the beginning of almost every Chinese calendar, the exact method of deriving it was never shown.

What Zu Chongzhi meant was that the ancient calendars had a beginning year called "Year 1", but that none of them attached the sign jiazi to that Year 1. He proposed that in future a new calendar should start during a period of the conjunction of 5 planets and it should be labeled with a jiazi sign.

Zu Chongzhi got his way when his proposal was implemented in the calendar in AD 465 (lLim et al 2000):

  • stronger argument, but all the ministers of the court chose to agree with Dai Faxing out of fear of his political power. The only one who supported Zu Chongzhi was, strangely enough, Dai Faxing's colleague Chao Shangzhi. Perhaps, being himself a Palace Secretarial Attendant in the emperor's favour, Chao was keen on showing that he was Dai Faxing's equal. Whatever the case, Chao Shangzhi insisted that the new calendar was worth adopting, and the emperor was gradually won over to this point of view. Apparently, Liu Jun himself had a taste for unusual things, especially those with a sense of antiquity about them. Zu Chongzhi's advocacy of the ancient idea of the Great Year 1 may have appealed to him. He decreed that the new calendar would come into use in the following year, since he had planned to change his reign title anyway. By this time, the debate had dragged on for 2 years, and it was now 464 AD (the 8th year of Daming). Therefore the new calendar would be used from 465 onwards.

It is very important to realise that Zu Chongzhi did not apply the jiazi sign as a continuance of any preceding year count. Note: "Obviously, such a year would be incredibly hard to find, and it would take a lot of astronomical guesswork, not to mention the likelihood of inaccuracy in older astronomical records." There was no reliable basis in any preceding 60 cycle counts to name any year jiazi. The sign jiazi was just arbitarily applied to a period of the conjunction of 5 planets for administrative convenience, thereby breaking any potential previous count.

1984 is said to be a jiazi year. AD 465 to 1984 cover 1519 years. 1519 divided by 60 gives 25.317 cycles. 0.317 x 60 gives 19.02. If AD 465 was a jiazi year, then 1984 should be a Ren wu year (no.19) not jiazi (no.1). Even if the "conjunction of 5 planets" occurred a few years plus or minus, 1984 would still not be a jia zi year. Somewhere in between the year count was broken.

What the historical testimony shows was that when a new calendar was made, the imperial creator often broke the continuity of the 60 cycle counts and changed the Ganzhi signs. They would do it, not for astrological purposes, but for administrative convenience.


The Four Pillars 60 cycle counts for years have not been continuous! They cannot synchronise with the actual movements of the planets, especially Saturn and Jupiter.

Ganzhi Signs for Year Started in Wang Mang Time, Han Dynasty

Note that the year signage began during the reign of Wang Mang AD 13. Chao Wei-pang (The Chinese Science of Fate Calculation, p.279-315) wrote:

  • ... in the oracle inscriptions of the Yin period, the most ancient document preserved, the sexagenary cycle, which is formed by combining the 10 stems with the 12 branches, had been used in designating the days.
    The year is generally designated by a stem-branch. According to Liu Shu and Ku Yen-wu this began from the 5th year of Wang Mang (13 A.D.).
    From the above consideration we see that the days were designated by the 60 stem-branches and the months by the 12 earthly branches from very early times, but that the designation of years by the stem-branches are comparatively later facts...
    Hence, the origin of the Chinese fate-calculation cannot be very early. It cannot be earlier than the time when the years were first designated by the 60 stem-branches, viz. the period of Wang Mang

The designation of the year by the Ganzhi signs started only with Wang Mang in the Han dynasty. Where did people get the foolish notion that the first year of Yellow Emperor Huang Di reign was a jiazi year? (so-called 2637 or 2697 BC). Someone just worked backward from an assumed modern date to get that fictitious date.

Also, where did Wang Mang get the idea of the signage for the year? Certainly not from any precedence but from administrative purposes.


Research more to unveil the imperial deception

The findings here compose a fantastic breakthrough of the centuries! There are now proofs that the 60 cycle counts of the Four Pillars amount to a myth!

Although incidences of breaks in the 60 cycle counts would be relatively rare, our intensive research have managed to collate some one dozen dates for analysis on whether the 60 cycle counts were continuous. These one dozen cases would constitute a major portion of the incidences and show that the 60 cycle counts were never continuous for day and years since the Han dynasty The results of the scientific analysis of the dates are supported by this article, which collates the few historical incidences to also show that there had been purposeful breaks to the 60 cycle counts for both days and years.

There had never been any historical or scientific proof that the 60 cycle counts were continuous, even as Adam (2010) admitted:

  • For the Western Zhou period, there is no conclusive means of demonstrating that the 60-cycle was uninterrupted, either in its progress from the earlier Shang period, or onwards to later periods when the mapping of Julian days to 60-cycle days can be performed with complete confidence. (Adam Smith p.26. "The Chinese Sexagenary Cycle and the Ritual Origins of the Calendar," in Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World, edited by John M. Steele. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2010.).

Yes, let any one try to find the historical or scientific evidence to prove the continuity of the 60 cycle counts. It is just a false assumption which is finally exposed here. So, instead, this article vindicates the few scholars who, Adam (2010) knew, were skeptical that the 60 cycle count was continuous:

  • The only expression of skepticism regarding the continuity of the 60-cycle that I am aware of in Chinese-language scholarship is by Li Xueqin (1957), p. 122. Shaughnessy (1991), pp. 135136, and Keightley (1977), p. 267, simply note the nature of the assumption being made.

One may wonder how almost a whole community of Chinese geomancers are on the wrong horse. But, it is quite evident that almost all current practitioners are never familiar with the historical background of the development of the ancient Chinese calendars. These people just never study the history or make the mathematical calculations but blindly misplace faith in what their so-called masters taught them. It has been astonishingly naive for thousands of practitioners down the ages to assume that the 60 cycle counts were ever continuous.

  • Ironically, in the current usage of the Four Pillars with the lunar calendar, the 60 cycle counts for the months are never continuous. Intercalary months assume the signage of the previous months. Remember that the positions of the intercalary months changed down the dynasties: end of the year for Shang, middle of year for Chou, after any month in Sui and Tang, never at the end of year for the modern Qing calendar. These inconsistent to and fro shifts of the month's sign would never make astrological sense .

One sad thing is that perpetuating the idea that the 60 cycle counts for the Four Pillars had been continuous can be said to be a great bluff which has conned and ripped off many people. It is especially more a bluff when attempts are made to make as if such 60 cycle counts were continuous since the time of Yellow Emperor Huang Di in a so-called non-existent 2637 BC. Year counts never existed before Wang Mang in AD 13 and no one really knows Huang Di's time. It is just a tainted pack of cards swept away by the historical and scientific evidence.

Many who had boasted of their skills in Chinese geomancy will feel threatened by the findings of the articles here. But they should be proactive and admit their errors and change to improve the Chinese geomancy.

previous article: the scientific calculations


  • Note: There was a way where the ancients during and before the Han dynasty used the 28 Lunar Constellations to determine the dizhi sign of any year, month, day and even hour. At that time, the astronomical basis of the signs were known. Also, at that time, only Earth Branches were used and hours were not used. One can adapt it for the tiangan signs which came later. We have recovered this lost original method and you can learn its amazing secrets in our courses.

Read startling highlights of our findings on Zi Wei Dou Shu, including how the emperor faked the current Zi Wei Dou Shu!

Some of the faked aspects also affect the Ba Zi Eight Characters, Qi Men Dun Jia, Liu Ren, Tai Yi, which are actually inferior astrology systems extracted from a small part of Zi Wei Dou Shu.

GUI Management Centre has a special comprehensive course on the over 140 stars of Zi Wei Dou Shu astrology including detailed treatment of the 4 Si Hua stars which takes special steps to overcome the potential errors in the dating system. Practitioners should undertake this course to avoid the pitfalls in other astrology and Feng Shui systems.

Online Home Study courses are available on the methodologies of Qi Men Dun Jia, Liu Ren and Tai Yi divination and their serious errors. Write in to register your interest in our non-exorbitant courses.


Special articles from Dr. Ong's monumental scientific astronomical research into Chinese astrology and Feng Shui. Gui Management Centre is making available preliminary findings of our highly scientific research into Chinese astrology and Feng Shui, backed up by intensive analysis of the ancient texts.

Insights from Ho Peng Yoke's "Chinese Mathematical Astrology"

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