Chinese Astrology: Qi Men Dun Jia


By Hu Xuezhi

Part 1
What is Dunjia?
Why Dunjia be Used for Divination?
Basic Background
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Part 1

What is Dunjia?

Qi Men Dun Jia (or Qimendunjia) is one of the three most powerful oracles--Tai Yee, Liu Ren and Qi Men---to know both good luck and bad luck in aspects of time and space(direction). Tai Yee is used to divine the big events that happen with contries, such as earthquake, big hurricanes, massacre, natural disasters, etc. Qi Men is generally used for military action and take what strategic methods in ever-changing battle field. Liu Ren is mostly used for divining the general daily events which means it is close to our daily life.


Qi means mysterious or strange in usual, but here, it means valuable or holy. Men means a gate, and Dun means hidden or escaped (to make hidden), and Jia is the first one of ten stems, which is considered as the most sacred in this method.


All the three oracles use very special chart to divine and give conclusion. Yes, all of them cannot do without Heavenly stems, earthly branches, Ho drawing, Luo Drawing, Eight Trigrams, Emblematic elements and divine number, etc.


Dunjia can be divided into Year School Dunjia, Month School Dunjia, Day School Dunjia and Time School Dunjia in terms of the time. In terms of reasoning methods it should be divided into Line-Up Palace Dunjia and Jump-in-Palace Dunjia.


Here we introduce Time School Dunjia, Line-Up Palace Dunjia.

People may ask when the Dunjia came into presence and why it existed. Nowadays many people believe Dunjia originated from milatary force arrangements in the battle field and such statements gained wide approval in the scholar circle.


In the very old book The Song from Old Fishing Man carried the following story:

XuanYuan Emperor fought a fierce battle with Shi You without results for many years. In a dream he dreamed Heaven gave him an oracle and XuanYuan paid respect in a sacrifice platform and practiced such arts latter and got a final success soon after. He ordered maliatary man Feng Hou to write down the arts in words and that was the beginning of Dunjia.

Also, it was Spring and Warring Times when the so many states fought endless battles to occupy territory and there was enough demand for application of such arts.

Also the book Arts of War carried similar words concerning the theory of Dunjia. Yet, most people don't understand the meaning exactly till now.

In Three-Dynasty Times the famous military counsellor Zhu Ge Liang applied Eight Trigram Arrangement in the battle field and won many times of success.

In Dun Jia(or Dunjia) theory, we use a kind of direction chart called Pan, which is drawed as a square divided into nine blocks( 3 x 3. eight directions and centre ). In each directional block, one of the eight gates is positioned. We put away Jia(because of its holiness) and use other nine stems to put them into Dun Jia Pan chart at first, and after several process of making, Jia comes into the Pan chart from one of the eight gates. And that's why this method is called Qi Men Dun Jia.

Later due to the wide application of Dunjia this divination approach gradually broke its own boundary and gained application in disease diagnosis, business desicion, agricultural divination, etc.


Why Dunjia be Used for Divination?

Any divination approaches, whatever forms they assume, are models set up to imitate the social society, the nature and the universe, etc. Dunjia is a mathematic and physical model set up by incorporating heaven aspect, earth aspect, human aspect and unexpected aspect, the time elements and space elements. There are basic nine Yang Dun Ju and nine Yin Dun Ju which provide us a dynamic unified model to imitate all transformations and changes for universal things. Therefore it can be used to divine the society, nature, individual life time or all which stays out of human's reasoning ability. By calculation we know there are altogether 216,000 Jus and ancient Chinese people hope that 216,000 Jus can imitate most part of situation in this practical world.

This is one of the most typical characteristics of Dunjia. In ancient age, those who won using Dunjia tried to keep it as top-secret, and suppressed Dunjia-masters to prevent from Dunjia-secret leaking to the enemies of the governors.

Many Dunjia-masters were arrested, but they'd never made the secret of Dunjia clear.


Basic Background

1. Heavenly Stems, Earthly Branches, Nine Palaces and Eight Trigrams
1-1. Hevenly Stems

Most people are familair with Heavenly Stems, there are Jia, Yi, Bing, Ding, Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin, Ren and Gui. For Western people, they may feel difficult to understand the meaning and remember them. In fact, ten Heavenly Stems have close connection with the movements of sun. It was heard that Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches were created by Da Nao, a very mysterious figure in ancient China.The following lists the general meaning of ten Heavenly Stems:


  1. Jia: Bud - the sign of growth
  2. Yi: Sprout - the spread of growth, bursting forth from Earth
  3. Bing: Concentrated growth like fire in the house
  4. Ding: Maturity, solidity, Heavens kiss.
  5. Wu; Flourishing and nuturing
  6. Ji: Full bloom
  7. Geng: Harvesting and abundance. Fullness leading to changes
  8. Xin: Dead heading, reformation
  9. Ren: Sustenance, supporting life
  10. Gui: Regenerating roots and preparation for spring

In terms of Five Elements attributes, ten Heavenly Stems fall in to the following category:


Pin Yin Five Element
Yin Yang
Jia(HS01) wood yang
Yi(HS02) wood yin
Bing(HS03) fire yang
Ding(HS04) fire yin
Wu(HS05) earth yang
Ji(HS06) earth yin
Geng(HS07) metal yang
Xin(HS08) metal yin
Ren(HS09) water yang
Gui(HS10) water yin



1-2. Earthly Branches

Earthly Branches have close connection with the movements of moon. They are described as follows:


  1. Zi: Young shoot of a plant
  2. Chou: Young plant supported by stick
  3. Yin: Celebration of spring and New Year
  4. Mao: Life springing forth
  5. Chen: Pregnant and timid
  6. Si: 7 months pregnant with fully formed embryo
  7. Wu: Summer solstice
  8. Wei: Big tree with solid branches
  9. Shen:Expansion
  10. You: Harvest, celebration
  11. Xu: Clearing and preparation
  12. Hai: Conception, mating of yin and yang

In terms of Five Elements attributes, ten Earthly Branches fall in to the following category:


Zi(EB01) water yang
Chou(EB02) earth yin
Yin(EB03) wood yang
Mao(EB04) wood yin
Chen(EB05) earth yang
Si(EB06) fire yin
Wu(EB07) fire yang
Wei(EB08) earth yin
Shen(EB09) metal yang
You(EB10) metal yin
Xu(EB11) earth yang
Hai(EB12) water yin


1-3. Orientation Attributes for Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches


Orientation Season Heavenly Stems Earthly Branches
East Spring Jia, Yi Yin, Mou
South Summer Bing, Ding Si, Wu
Center End of each four seasons Wu, Ji Chen, Xu, Chou, Wei
West Autumn Geng, Xin Shen, You
North Winter Ren, Gui Hai, Zi


1-4. The application of ten Heavenly Stems in Dunjia
Besides the time meaning represented by the ten Heavenly Stems, each Heavenly Stem has hidden meaning which denotes the personalized military force. Jia denotes the general who often hides in the military force arrangements. Just on account of this it is called Dunjia--Dun means hidden in Chinese, Jia indicates the first Heavenly Stem Jia. Yi, Bing and Ding are often called Three Wonders. In fact, they are three important assistant commanders close to the general. In modern military framework, they are similiar to the headquater, political department and logistic department. Sometimes we can understand them as the following below: Yi is the idea man, Bing is the general's bodyguard, and Ding is the logistic officer.

Sometimes we can regard the three as the arm forces often appearing suddenly.


Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin, Ren and Gui are six detachments (We call Liu Yi), each holding up flag of different color.
Wu, earth element, yang, holds up a just-yellow flag
Ji, earth element, yin, holds up a deputy-yellow flag
Geng, metal element, yang, holds up a just-white flag
Xin, metal element, yin, holds up a deputy-white flag
Ren, water element, yang, holds up a just-black flag
Gui, water element, yin, holds up a deputy-black flag.


In the sixty Stems and Branches system, Heavenly Stems will repeat six times while the Earthly Branches repeat 5 times, forming sixty combinations as follow below:


Jia-Zi Jia-Xu Jia-Shen Jia-Wu Jia-Chen Jia-Yin
Yi-Chou Yi-Hai Yi-You Yi-Wei Yi-Si Yi-Mou
Bing-Yin Bing-Zi Bing-Xu Bing-Shen Bing-Wu Bing-Chen
Ding-Mou Ding-Chou Ding-Hai Ding-You Ding-Wei Ding-Si
Wu-Chen Wu-Yin Wu-Zi Wu-Xu Wu-Shen Wu(HS05)-Wu(EB07)
Ji-Si Ji-Mou Ji-Chou Ji-Hai Ji-You Ji-Wei
Geng-Wu Geng-Chen Geng-Yin Geng-Zi Geng-Xu Geng-Shen
Xin-Wei Xin-Si Xin-Mou Xin-Chou Xin-Hai Xin-You
Ren-Shen Ren-Wu Ren-Chen Ren-Yin Ren-Zi Ren-Xu
Gui-You Gui-Wei Gui-Si Gui-Mou Gui-Chou Gui-Hai


So, ancient Chinese people regard sixty years as one cycle. In one cycle Jia should appear six times, they are Jia-Zi, Jia-Xu, Jia-Shen, Jia-Wu, Jia-Chen and Jia-Yin. In them the Jia-Zi is the general, the other five are commenders. The six military officers should hide themselves each under a different flag and they should not change anyway.

Jia-Zi hides under the just-yellow flag holding up by Wu
Jia-Xu hides under the deputy-yellow flag holding up by Ji
Jia-Shen hides under the just-white flag holding up by Geng
Jia-Wu hides under the deputy-white flag holding up by Xin
Jia-Chen hides under the just-black flag holding up by Ren
Jia-Yin hides under the deputy-black flag holding up by Gui


1-5. Nine Palaces and Eight Trigrams.
Nine Palaces derive from Luo Drawings. To fill in the numbers we can get the following chart imitating Luo Drawing:


4, 9, 2,
3, 5, 7,
8, 1, 6,

For the easy memory, we often recite them as: 9 up on the head and 1 down under my feet, left 3 and right 7, 4 and 2 on my shoulder, 8 and 6 are my feet. Correspondingly, the congenital Eight Trigrams occupy diferent palaces.


1-6. San Qi
San Qi means three high-valued wonderful commanders or enforcements and consists of (sun wonder), (Moon wonder) and (star wonder).

1-7 Liu Yi
Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin, Ren and Gui are six detachments (We call Liu Yi), each holding up flag of different color, under which six Jia-Zi, Jia-Xu, Jia-Shen, Jia-Wu, Jia-Chen and Jia-Yin hide them.
Wu, earth element, yang, holds up a just-yellow flag
Ji, earth element, yin, holds up a deputy-yellow flag
Geng, metal element, yang, holds up a just-white flag
Xin, metal element, yin, holds up a deputy-white flag
Ren, water element, yang, holds up a just-black flag
Gui, water element, yin, holds up a deputy-black flag.

It consists of ,, , and .



2-1. The Arrangement of San Qi and Liu Yi in Nine Palaces
San Qi and Liu Yi, nine in total, will fall into nine palaces in a succession. They are , , , , , , , , . Among them , , , , , , each has one Jia general or one of five Jia commanders hiding under it-- they are Jia-Zi, Jia-Xu, Jia-Shen, Jia-Wu, Jia Chen and Jia-Yin. When Jia-Zi falls into one palace (for example, No. 4 palace) in a Yang Dun Ju, we call it is a No. 4 Yang Du Ju.


2-2. Ju

Ju means situation. In Dunjia method, there are cyclic numbers on year, month, day and hour of Dunjia calendar. For example, Ju number of the date February 2, 1996 is 9, Yang Dun Ju. It means JiaZi falls in the No. 9 palace.To know one day is Yang Dun Ju or Yin Dun Ju and the Ju number people can look for the Dunjia calender. That is very important.


2-3. Yin Dun and Yang Dun

There are two ways of heavenly Qi's moving, Yin Dun and Yang Dun. Both are concerned with moving of Earth around the sun.


Yin Dun Yin Dun is a period from summer solstice to next winter solstice. When during the Yin Dun period, Yin energy is born and increasing its power day by day.
Yang Dun Yang Dun is a period from winter solstice to next summer solstice. During the Yang Dun period, Yang energy is increasing.