The Sexagenary Cycle

Originally the 10 Heavenly Stems were used in combination with

the 12 Earthly Branches to produce a compound cycle of sixty terms,

used for recording days and years.


This cycle, and variations on it have been an important part of time keeping in historical calendars in the far east. Nowadays, the traditional method of numbering days and years no longer has any significant role in modern Chinese time keeping or the official calendar.


However, the sexagenary cycle still continues to have a role in contemporary Chinese astrology and fortune telling as used in the Four Pillars of Destiny. It also is used in chronoacupuncture to determine open extra meridians according to the ancient methods Ling Gui Ba Fa and Fei Teng Ba Fa.