10 Elements of the Heavenly Stems

In Paht Chee, we have the 5 elements of Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire, and they appear in two variants of yin or yang element. Collectively, they form the 10 elements found in the heaven stems. These are Yin Earth, Yang Earth, Yin Metal, Yang Metal, Yin Water, Yang Water, Yin Wood, Yang Wood, Yin Fire and Yang Fire. Some people call these the 10 Deities, or the 10 Gods.

Your SELF-ELEMENT is the element in the heavenly stem of the Day Pillar, and this is the cornerstone element in all of your Paht Chee analysis. Each of the 10 heavenly stem elements has distinct characteristics, which manifest as the personality of a person, and in the life of the person. However, the other 3 heavenly stems in the month, year and hour pillars together with the intrinsic element of each of the 4 Earthly Branch animals will also play a part in determining the strength of your self-element.

In other words, someone with a strong self-element will exhibit more of the characteristics of their self-element, while someone who has a weak self-element will correspondingly show fewer of the characteristics of their self-element.


There are two rules in determining what elements are beneficial or not beneficial. The first is that missing elements are automatically beneficial. The second is that when your self-element is strong, elements that serve to weaken it are beneficial; and when your self-element is weak, elements that strengthen it are beneficial. Below is a simple table to help you refer better.

In this issue, we start by talking about the two kinds of metal and its effects on our chart.

Yin Metal is represented by Soft Metals such as Gold or Silver

People of Yin Metal exude a soft radiance, very unique and not easily influenced by others. They are known to be very approachable and they like to help others. They are also known to be sympathetic, with high moral attributes. They are sharp and quick in thinking and able to differentiate good and bad, and know when being lied to. Such people possess a high level of self respect and a strong persona. They love new things, new knowledge and new possessions, which can sometimes lead to over-spending.

Their shortcomings are stubbornness and a tendency to having overly strong opinions with no compromise. When this element is excessively strong a self-element, it can manifest in extreme stubbornness, with extreme willpower to succeed.

Yang Metal is represented by Strong Metals such as Brass or Iron

People of Yang Metal are similar to a weapon being prepared for war. They have very strong personalities, are mentally sharp, determined, very straightforward and strong-willed. Such people would hardly admit defeat or failure.

They prefer not to waste time planning or contemplating; instead, they will take action very quickly. They have a strong sense of justice and they despise unfairness or hypocritical behaviour from others. They have the heart of a warrior and will stand for and speak for those they see being victimized or treated unfairly.

Their shortcomings are severe stubbornness, and they can be very careless, not paying attention to details or other people’s feelings. They can also be very ruthless and show no mercy for those whom they dislike.

To try and make this clearer, let us look at the example here, which is the partial Paht Chee chart for Stephen Hawking – the world-famous cosmologist and physicist born on 8th January 1942.

Click to enlarge

Although his time of birth is unknown, we can see clearly from the 3 pillars above that this is someone whose life is potentially missing the elements of Wood and Water. From just the 3 pillars, we have 4 units of Metal, 1 Earth and 1 Fire. His self-element is therefore very clearly very strong Yin Metal. In addition, in the earthly branches of his chart, we find the Yin Ally group combination of Rooster, Ox and Snake producing yet an additional element of Yin Metal.

From his chart it is obvious he will be someone with a high intellect, strong self-discipline, and stubborn as well. The Intellectual ally group further confirms his high level of mental ability. Metal being very rigid, he will be someone who is focused and not easily swayed or led astray; this also gives him qualities that make him successful in pursuing research.

He has 3 elements that are lucky for him; these are Wood, Fire and Water. There are also 8 animal years of the Rat, Tiger, Rabbit, Snake, Horse, Rooster, Ox and Boar which bring him luck. But because his basket of elements is so unbalanced, we can conclude that when his luck is bad, it is seriously bad. Let us look at some turning points in the history of his life.

We know that one of the major turning points came at the tender age of 21, when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and was given only two years to live. When we look at his 10-year luck pillar, we see that it is Yang Earth on top, with Yang Earth Dog below. Although Earth is very unfortunate as it strengthens his self-element of Metal, Earth is also somewhat lacking. So although this 10-year period is not terribly lucky for him, if other elements that are beneficial come in the individual years, his luck will improve.

Fortunately for him, the elements of that year that he was diagnosed (1963) was Yin Water and Yin Wood Rabbit, which brings him some help. This was followed by (1964) Yang Wood – Yang Earth Dragon, which formed the House of Magic, which led to his renewed will to live and his engagement to this future wife Jane Wilde. A year later, he married her on 14th July 1965 which was the Year of the Snake, and the day of the Snake. His happiness and luck continued to improve.

In 1973, when he turned 31, he started his most famous study into quantum mechanics and quantum physics, which eventually led to him being honoured with a chair in the Royal Society, for his discovery of Hawking Radiation – in March 1974. It is also interesting that this was when he moved to the luck pillar age 31 with Yin Fire and the Rooster helping him by further activating the intellectual group in his Paht Chee chart.

Again in 1983, when he entered the next 10 year luck pillar of Yang Fire and the Monkey, he became famous again, this time for his collaborative efforts with Jim Hartle and their new Theory of Hartle–Hawking state (which proposed that prior to the Planck epoch, the universe had no boundary in space-time; before the Big Bang, time did not exist and the concept of the beginning of the universe is meaningless.) A year later, his book “A Brief History of Time” was published by Bantam books and went on to sell over 9 million copies and was translated into many different languages.

When 1990 came around, the Monkey played havoc with his marriage as he fell in love with his nurse and divorced his wife in the spring of 1995. When he entered the next pillar with Yang Wood and Yang Fire, his love for family rekindles and he quietly divorced his second wife and returned to his family in 2006. As for what is in store for him in the coming years, he is now in luck pillar 71s with his luck going strong, as there is Yin Water and his own animal sign to foster his inner strength. Although his body has steadily degenerated over the 50+ years he has lived, it is amazing enough that his strong Yin Metal has had the lasting power to keep him productive and living, indeed thriving, through all the odds.