Ten Heavenly Stems

The universe is comprised of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. In heaven, the principle of the five elements functions as the five movements (오운 五運). Each of the five movements has yin and yang aspects. These five movements and their two yin-yang aspects produce the Ten Heavenly Stems—gap, eul, byeong, jeong, mu, gi, gyeong, sin, im, and gye—which represent the cycle of energy in heaven. Moreover, each of the Ten Heavenly Stems paired with each of the Twelve Earthly Branches form the sixty pairs of the sexagenary cycle, which traditionally has been used to denote years, months, and days. See also “Twelve Earthly Branches” “sexagenary cycle.”