Each year, month, day, and hour has its own energy, or qi. The qi that surrounds you as you take your first breath is your destiny.
These complex energy patterns, stacked on top of each other, are what form the four pillars. Each character (element and animal sign) placed in your birth chart carries with it a frequency, or unique energy pattern, and the combination of these frequencies forms a certain synergy, or influence.
"Synergy" is the working together of separate entities (signs and elements, in this case), cooperating for an advantageous final outcome.
This dynamic between the stems (elements) and the branches (animal signs) is what makes up the four pillars birth chart, and what forms the sum and substance of your astral signature, or horoscope.
Here is an example of a four pillars chart for a person born on September 5, 1959, at 10:34 a.m.:
Each element (upper stem) and animal sign (lower branch) is strategically placed in one of eight locations to tell the story of your destiny.
Using information gathered from the time and date of your birth, a Chinese astrologer is then able to draw up a blueprint or map of your karma and life, and advise you accordingly.