“Four Seasons Send Wealth”
An archive of daily notes on the Chinese Astrological Almanac, commentary on calendar observances, and considerations of the ancient Daoist traditions in modern practice.
“Four Seasons Send Wealth”
A subscriber asks:
I noticed that tomorrow’s (6/16) lunar hexagram jumps from Shi [7 The Army] to Gou [44 Pairing] even though today it is only line 5 of Shi. Shouldn’t tomorrow’s hexagram still be Shi, Line 6?
This is a good question, and I’m glad you noticed the apparent anomaly!
The answer is that the Lunar Hexagram cycle is keyed to the arrival of each new moon. For Moons that last 30 days in the calendar, all of the five Hexagrams included in that Moon have time to go through all 6 Lines. For Moons that last only 29 days, however, the last Line is skipped in order for the next day to start with the proper first Hexagram for that Moon, beginning with its Line 1.
The length of each Moon is governed by astronomical timing relative to the date in China on which it happens. Consequently, there will be some years when (for example) the Snake Moon will have 30 days, and the last line of Hexagram 7 will be included, and other years (like this one) when it will only have 29, and Line 6 will be skipped.
Please let me know if you have further questions I can address, and thanks for being a subscriber to Ming Li Tong Shu Online!
With many thanks to my partners at Great Applications (as well as to the clients and students who have kept me so busy for the last four weeks!) I am happy to say that an edited version of the Sheep Year Preview Talk I gave just before the New Year is finally available. There are two sections, available separately, through Ming Li Tong Shu Online. You’ll see the download link on the sign in page, and if you’re already signed in, you can access the download form through the “Products” button at the top of the page.
The first recording (which was actually the second half of my talk) previews the Sheep Year for each of the Twelve Animals, with responses to several questions from the attendees.
The second recording goes over the “Do-Little Days” for the year, explaining how they fit in the year, and several ways to make best use of them. For easy reference, this recording also comes with a .pdf of the dates to observe throughout the Wood Sheep Year.
Each recording is $12.97, payable on your registered credit card through Stripe, the payment system we’re using now for subscriptions. I hope you’ll find the recordings helpful, and if they prompt any questions, I’ll be using future postings on Tong Shu Talk to respond.
Now that the Earth Hare Moon is here, I’m forecasting a bit more fluidity as well as bounce in almost all matters. The Tiger Moon brought a lot of energy, but left the Sheep a bit perplexed as to what to do with it. Now that it’s past, it’s time to get focused, raise your confidence, and look around for partnerships that will bring satisfaction, productivity, and jovial feelings.
This Rabbit isn’t all that much of a Party Animal when you get right down to it, but will so delight in harmonizing with the Sheep’s inerrant sense of organization and purposeful labor that even mundane tasks will very likely lead to “whistling while you work.” For surest results, wait for this Moon’s first Pig Day on the 24th to stomp on the accelerator. Just make sure that you’ve got both hands on the steering wheel…!
Two images of Yi-Wei Tai-Sui Yang Xian Da Jiang-Jun
Tai-Sui Yang-Xian’s “spirit name” amulet
The 60 year Stem-and-Branch Cycle (and indeed, every cycle of time) is governed by a series of 60 star-deities with the title “Tai Sui,” roughly meaning “Great Year.” Each is a “Great General” by military title, and carries the honorific nobility title “Grand Duke.”
The Tai-Sui “star” is a virtual position that moves through the heavens in the opposite direction as Jupiter (which the Chinese call Mu Xing, meaning “Wood Star”). This year, Tai Sui is calculated to be in the region of the zodiac associated with the Branch “Wei”, and that is what makes this the Year of the Sheep.
As Mu Xing rules remembrance of the past and dedication to the future, Tai Sui rules the state of the present, with all its complexities, opportunities, and dangers. On the ninth day of the New Year, he is appealed to, asking him to be merciful in his judgements and generous in his blessings. Any offering is appropriate, as long as it is made with humility, calm intention, and clear thought. It’s also thought to be perfectly suitable to make any request you may be aiming for in the year, though the traditional warning is equally suitable: “Be careful what you ask for….”
This practice is regarded as most important for those who may inadvertently make offense to the Grand Duke. Those born in the Year of the Sheep are this year at particular risk of doing so. Those born in the Years of Ox, Rat, Dragon, and Dog are also in an awkward position this year, and could clearly benefit from Tai-Sui’s good graces. For those who want to take the practice that seriously, making offering to Tai-Sui on every Sheep Day through the year is regarded as highly appropriate as well. This would be particularly important for those born in the Year of the Sheep. After the first offering has been made, displaying his image or amulet is regarded as helpful, and serves to keep your attention clear and your spirit calm, and to keep your responsibilities in proper focus.
Each of the 60 Tai-Sui deities is an example of the Daoist image of spiritual transformation, which is to say: an actual human being who has been recognized for their true-heartedness, valor, or spiritual dedication, and who has therefore been raised to a celestial status after death. Yang Xian (杨仙), for instance, lived in the Song Dynasty, and was renowned as a traveling hermit, who loved traversing mountainous country, and cavorting will all sorts of wild animals including leopards and tigers. He regarded the concerns of the materialistic world as completely superficial, and embodied the perfect image of a Mountain Immortal, passing through the world without attachment, rancor, or fear. His unclouded vision gave him the ability to predict future events with undeniable accuracy, and his speech was invariably crisply phrased and exactly to the point. At the end of his time in human form, he announced—during a wine-drinking session with his host—his will to depart the world, and he left his body without pain or suffering the following night. An official arriving shortly after his burial opened his grave to examine his remains, and found the grave empty.
The traditional image of Yang Xian shows him seated on the Tai-Sui Throne in his imperial military court dress, holding up a double-edged sword in his right hand (symbolizing clear vision, proper discrimination, and authoritative judgement), and holding his left hand palm-upwards in a meditation position, either in front of the Dan Tian just below the waist, or just below the Heart in front of the chest.
If you’re in the Santa Cruz area, i’m hoping you can join us for the Year of the Wood Sheep Preview on Saturday evening, February 7th, from 6 to 8 at Sanford’s Martial Arts, 4626 Soquel Dr., Soquel Village. I’ll be covering the ups and downs to expect for those born under each of the Twelve Animals. There will be plenty of time for questions, and special information on “lucky days” and on those dates when doing less will produce more. Bring your friends, particularly the ones you want to understand better. If you don’t know your Animal, don’t worry: we’ll look it up for you!
There’s the outside possibility that the talk will be recorded to make it available to those who can’t attend, but if you can make in person then you for sure won’t miss out!
Cost is $25 at the door (cash or check.)
You don’t need to register, but if you have special questions or requests, give us a call:
Sanford’s Martial Arts (831) 475-9676
Robert’s iPhone (408) 963-9988
I’m very happy to report that Ming Li Tong Shu is now live and available. We are confident that with this new formatting on the new server host there will be no further interruption to your service. I will continue posting the Daily Pages through the first week of November here on Tong Shu Talk, and the earlier postings back to February will remain in the archives as well.
To check out the new launch, please log into tongshu.com and complete the registration process. The re-launch includes the opportunity to look each day at the Daily Page, without even signing in. It’s a great way to show the site to friends and associates you think might find the site useful.
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