Bazi in a literal translation means 8 characters. It is also known more famously as the Four Pillars of Destiny. Your Bazi is your Chinese Birth Chart that is made up of 4 important records – your birth year, month, day and time. Each is considered as a pillar – hence the term four pillars. And each pillar is made up of heavenly stems and earthly branches which is written vertically which sums it up to 8 characters.
The trinity in Bazi comprise of Heaven, Man and Earth. What comes from above – beyond our control – are the heavenly stems. These are represented by Yin and Yang sides of the 5 elements – Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire.
What comes from below us; the Earth, are called the Earthly branches. These are represented by the 12 animals which are the same as the Chinese Zodiac animals – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each of these are also represented by the Yin or Yang side of the 5 elements – Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire.
The relation between the Earthly Branches and Heavenly Stems is read by looking at the elements that sit on top and below. The Cycle of production or destruction is used for understanding this; and when one understands and can read this relation, that is how your life story can be read out from your Bazi chart.