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Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 •

歸嵩山作

On Returning to Sōng Shān


清川帶長薄,

車馬去閑閑。

流水如有意,

暮禽相與還。

荒城臨古渡,

落日滿秋山。

迢遞嵩高下,

歸來且閉關。


Clear river, a ribbon long and thin;

Horse and cart go at their leisure.

Waters flow wherever they will;

Evening birds return with each other.

Bleak city walls meet the old ferry,

As sunset fills the autumn hills.

Below far-off Lofty Mountain’s height,

Returning through my door, I’ll close and lock it.


王維

Wáng Wéi

701-761

Táng Dynasty )

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Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Daily posts will likewise return shortly.

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Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 •

尋隱者不遇

Seeking the Hermit, Not Meeting


松下問童子

言師採藥去

只在此山中

雲深不知處.


I asked the boy beneath the pines.

He said, “My master’s gone alone.

Gathering herbs on the mountainside,

Cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown.”


賈島 Jiǎ Dǎo

777-841

(Táng Dynasty)

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Saturday, 4th of September


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE WILLOW, or “The Willow Branch,” which is suggested by the shape of the 8 stars forming the asterism for which it is named.  Willows have very ancient associations with the life-giving vitality of Tài-Yáng ( 太 陽 ), the Sun, and were planted near the main doors of residences, to symbolize and attract the Yáng.  The hardiness of the willow against wind, water, drought, and disease made it a symbol of strength, endurance, and resilience against hardship.

In addition, willows quite easily sprout roots, even from cuttings, or broken-off branches.  Seeming in this way to “defy death,” they are therefore symbols of the eternal, and of continual connection with the spirits of those who have gone past death, the ancestors.  Willow branches have long been carried as funeral ritual tokens, and the trees themselves therefore represent sorrow and loss, as well as the wish to remain in spirit relationship with the dead.  Even when simply leaving the presence of a loved one or friend, breaking a willow branch is a sign of deepest grief at the separation, a promise that presence in memory will be maintained.

THE WILLOW is, not surprisingly, an inauspicious indicator for most activities.  The indications of this Lunar Lodge point towards the sorrows of loss, and towards the resilience one must summon under suffering.   The vitalities of the day are connected to the difficulties of human life, and have, in a sense, already been dedicated to the ancestors.  Thoughts and actions must not be diverted to mundane, personal, or commercial concerns.  The only public action appropriate is the paying of debts.  This is reminiscent of the funereal affairs of settling accounts on behalf of those who have died, so that their spirits may achieve release from their former lives, and maintain the proper relationship with their lineages.  Actual funerals are inauspicious, as the sorrowful nature of THE WILLOW may disturb ritual propriety, and send the departed off with grief only, and without the proper  respectful remembrance.  Think today of what you have received from those who have gone before;  consider what you are doing in your life, to honor the appetites and labors of the past, and to aim for their fulfillment in the future.

The spirit animal for THE WILLOW is the Roebuck, the male of a species of rather small and quite delicately formed deer, which ranges through the northern and western mountains of China and Mongolia.  Roe deer are primarily solitary, except during mating season.  Secretive and elusive, they are active mainly during the pale light of twilight hours.  Extremely shy, and scrupulously avoiding humans, domesticated animals, and even the fields where cows or sheep have been grazing, they are rarely to be seen in the open.  Like mysterious “masters of the mountains,” they are regarded in folk-tales as having special knowledge and ability in finding medicinal plants, particularly those enabling long life.  In Daoism, they are premier symbols of longevity, and of rising with ease to “high office.”  The Roebuck, the male of the species, is a frequently depicted companion to Shòu-Xīng( 壽 星 ), the smiling and beneficent God of Longevity.  The Roebuck is an image advising solitude, restraint, and a turn away from public life and its sorrows, in order to “rise high,” and “find the elixir of immortality.”

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The Solar Index today is HARVEST, which is the name of the second month of Autumn in the agricultural calendar, from early September through early October.  It contains the Autumn Equinox, and represents the time when the vitality of the year distills to an essence;  the plants wither and grow stiff while the fruits and seeds grow plump and ready to drop from their stems.  The labors of humans at this time of the year are hard, and must be accomplished with speed.  The results of the harvest, however, fulfill the labors of the entire rest of the year, and are a source of great satisfaction and relief.

In most editions of the almanac, HARVEST days are printed in black, as their association with Autumn makes them inappropriate for weddings.  In terms of industry and production, however, HARVEST symbolizes the gathering in of the abundance of the natural world, and the fulfillment of human labor, in preparation for the sternness and cold of Winter.  This is a favorable sign for commerce in general, and for investing, borrowing, and lending, in specific.  It is not suitable for medical treatment in the Chinese traditions, as the  is going down and thinning, and though the shēn is ample, its presentation can be misleading.  Better to wait for a day, to determine a more accurate understanding of the patient’s condition, and to make an adjustment more likely to “take.”

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  You’ll need to be conservative with your efforts today, and focus on lowering the potential for those around you to misunderstand your motives, and to drag you into more complexity than you’ll be able to see coming.  Explaining yourself won’t be difficult, but don’t forget to ask the questions you need answered to make sure you understand the background of your circumstance.  When in doubt, a polite but firm “no,” will guard you from difficulties.  Tomorrow’s Horse will stabilize your situation somewhat, but will make it hard to tell what’s going on.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  Your internal sense of balance between effort and outcome will be strong today, and if you stay attuned to it, you’ll catch more than a few lucky breaks.  Stay talkative, as this Snake always stimulates your social charm, and improves the likelihood that you’ll fit smoothly into the motives and plans of those around you.  As beneficial as this will be for the pursuit of your long-term purposes, you really ought to allow yourself some personal pleasures today.  Indulge yourself, and take some mental snapshots of your satisfaction;  you’ll need to refer to them over the next two day, just to keep from going into a sour mood.  Tomorrow’s Horse will help to stabilize the waning Monkey Moon, but question your competence and aims.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  As the Monkey Moon is waning, you’re slowly regaining your sense of balance between risks-to-be-taken, and appetites-to-be-appeased.  This Snake, however, will make you feel that most questions you have to deal with are strong on “risk,” and weak on “appetite.”  You will probably not be able to take the obvious tack, and steer clear of conversation and social duties, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do more than the minimum required to make a showing.  Don’t forget your ability to state the obvious facts;  it will help you keep from responding with more energy or information than is necessary, on the one hand, and keep you from letting your temper flare, on the other.  Tomorrow’s Horse will help to stabilize the Monkey’s path, and give you more control over your current options.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  This Snake has a lot of allure, but prefers to present it to you in the form of practical improvements in your access to what you’re already aiming at.  Consequently, you should take the day with a “go for it” attitude, and not worry about hidden complexities or unexpected problems.  Even the worst of them will still come with little sign-posts pointing towards your benefit, and prove to you the power of your personal field of serendipity.  Your psychic powers will be strong, but don’t try to apply them to others’ gifts or difficulties;  focus on what you’re after, and let the others follow along in your wake.  Tomorrow’s Horse will have a calming influence on the Monkey Moon as it wanes, but you’ll need to stay awake and aware to make use of it.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  You’re in a tactically advantageous position when this Snake arrives with his perfect balance of memory, wisdom, and daring, but you’ll have to remember to “stay the course” and honor your prior strategic decisions in order to make use of it.  Small results in exactly the right direction will prove much more beneficial than big gestures that can’t be assured of accuracy or completion.  Don’t be afraid to exert yourself to restrain others from over-stepping their office, or from putting you into embarrassment, simply by acting younger than they actually are.  Acting out of kindness will be highly effective, particularly in those situations where you’ve already made the Cool Calculations.  Tomorrow’s Horse will stabilize the waning Monkey Moon, and give you access to the Big Push.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  This Clan-Mate of yours might be a “party animal,” but he also likes to “mix business with pleasure.”  For you, this guarantees that the promise of the Monkey Moon will be stronger today—even though it’s waning—than has been so for most of its transit, and that your sense of options and opportunities will be clear and accurate.  If you want to maximize your results, your task will be to go through each choice, planning to leave at least 20% of the benefits unharvested;  going for something closer to 100% will cause complexities to tumble down on you like boxes falling from the high shelf in a closet.  On the other hand, if it’s only Fun and Games you’re after, take it as a day to Go For It, and just make sure that part of your enjoyment includes the satisfaction of dealing with each box individually, and getting it eventually back into place.  Tomorrow’s Horse will bring energy and control to your efforts, and help you tune your actions for greater accuracy.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  This wily and wise member of the Clan of Scales and Fangs has no difficulty leaping over Sober Consideration and going directly to Presumption of Control.  While this attribute is guaranteed to put the Tiger in a snarling mood, it can be counted on to bring out your highest levels of exertion and willingness to make a contribution.  If you don’t pay much attention to the fact that most of what you’re engaged in today is being driven by the choices made by others—and that damned few of them are even stopping to question where your sense of “contribution” is coming from—you’re going to have a very productive and relatively trouble-free day.  If, on the other hand, you notice how low on the agenda your own decisions happen to be falling, don’t spoil your own enjoyment by making an issue of it. Tomorrow’s Horse will put your needs at the top of the list again, and stabilize the Monkey’s ability to help you with them.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  This member of the Clan of Scales and Fangs likes to make sure that he’s minimizing disturbance while maximizing results, and so his style will fit easily into your preferences.  On the other hand, he also likes to make sure that he can “mix business with pleasure,” and if you feel that your affairs are falling away from their proper compass point, most likely it’s because you’re under-estimating the potential for looseness of motion to produce tightness of result.  The river meanders only because it’s the absolutely shortest and most efficient pathway, given the actualities of the terrain;  let the Snake give you a lesson today in The Water-Course Way.  Tomorrow’s Horse will stabilize the Monkey Moon, and give you access to the control of your circumstances.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  It’s fortunate for you that this member of the Clan of Scales and Fangs has quick reflexes and unerring aim;  he’s going to have you feeling giddy with possibilities before breakfast, and aiming to take over the world by lunch.  If you take your lift of spirits as a payment on the other side of the ledger-line from the difficulties and compromises you’ve had to pay out over most of this year so far, and don’t assume that it means that you’ve hit the jackpot, then the Snake’s capacity to go Directly To Go will harmonize with your own powers to leap past Sober Consideration, and you’ll hit the target you’re aiming for with minimum disturbance of your environment, and maximum satisfaction of your needs.  You won’t be able to please everybody, today, but you can raise the number you do, if you point some of your nimble ability at cleaning up after yourself as you make your Minor Miracles happen.  Tomorrow’s Horse will bring stability to your course, and more momentum to whatever you’ve already got going.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  You’re going to feel more than faintly psychic while this member of the Clan of Scales and Fangs is on the watch, and it’s going to be perfectly within your choice whether to make use of your powers of intuition and imagination to accomplish the Purely Practical, or to aim them at the sometimes sloppier problems of Social Satisfaction.  On the other hand, this Snake does like to “mix business with pleasure,” so if you’ve got the taste for it, you could easily spend the day flickering back and forth between the two categories, without damaging your potential for success in either one.  Just make sure that you’re clear which one you’re going for in the moment, or you’ll find yourself sending out mixed signals, making others scratch their heads, instead of lending you a hand.  Tomorrow’s Horse will help to stabilize the waning Moon, and you should take that as a sign to focus on deleting items from your agenda of concerns.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  It’s a good thing for you that this member of the Clan of Scales and Fangs is as wise as he is wily, and that he insists on “paddling his canoe without muddying the waters.”  Otherwise, his stimulating effect on the mischief-making of the Monkey would put you into Pure Torment for the day, and give you no end of problems coming from no telling where.  As it is, you’ll have to summon your patience to get through the day, but if you can just agree to keep moving in the various directions the pokes and prods demand, you’ll find that there’s some Method to the Snake’s Maddeningness, and that your troubles have been worth something after all.  Snap for show, if you must, but make sure you don’t aim to bite.  Tomorrow’s Horse will bring some stability to the waning Moon, and give you clear sign of where to put your efforts.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Fire Snake on duty today has a deep understanding of the power of the present, and no romance about the meaning of battles won or lost, no delusions about the limitations of style over substance.  The Mutual Admiration Society that’s always called into session when Snake and Monkey mix, always looks to you as if it’s been called together to insert frustration into your affairs, and irritation into your sensibilities.  You should take it as a stroke of Great Luck then, that this member of the Clan of Scales and Fangs—while still stimulating the mischief-making of the Monkey—is devoted to maximizing effect while minimizing disturbance, and will do his utmost to keep the disruption of his field of operation to Only As Necessary levels.  Count your lucky stars today, then, and do what you can to simply stay Out Of The Way of the construction crew;  they will be making mince-meat of your plans and peace of mind, but you might actually like what they’ve done to your kitchen, once the Remodel From Hell is completed.  Don’t be too annoyed if they’ve left you most of the cleaning up to do.  Tomorrow’s Horse will bring stability to the waning Moon, and some extra energy to your for that “cleaning up.”

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

Along the cliff’s edge, the sea-birds soar west in long lines, effortlessly coasting through the air;

The light of the day goes soft, and the Sun sinks into deep haze at the far off rim of the ocean.

If you do not venture forth beyond your own courtyard, don’t expect your Luck to go to the trouble of finding you.

If there are burdensome stars in your Fate, perhaps you should use them to steer into the night.

“’Eight birds’ means gathering in;  ‘nine birds’ means paying out.”

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Friday, 3rd of September


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE GHOSTS, second day of the Southern Palace of the Vermillion Bird.  It’s named for an asterism composed of four stars, forming the corners of a square, with a bright nebula in the center.  In the western zodiac, this square of stars is the body of Cancer, the Crab.  The nebula inside is known as Praesepe, Latin for “the Beehive,” its cloudy glow being taken for a blur of many bees impossible to pick out individually.  In ancient China, THE GHOSTS was associated with the ritual offerings made to the ancestors at the beginning of each of the four seasons.  The ancestors were invoked for guidance on a ritual hunt, and the results of the hunt were brought back for the offering ritual itself.  The nebula— described in one text as “like a cloud, but not a cloud;  like a star, but not a star”—represented the ancestors who guided the hunting parties, and for whom the offerings were dedicated.

In a later era, the four stars were given the poetic description of “chariot” or “carriage,” i.e., the vehicle used to carry the offerings to the altar, and the asterism came to be known by the phrase “The Carriage of Ghosts.”  The character for THE GHOSTS ( 鬼 Gǔi ) is a cartoon of a human form floating in the air, that is, human spirit without connection to the ground and its physicalities;  the ancestors were conceived as having the shape and nature of living people, but not the bodily form.  Thus, the “ghosts” or “spirits” represented in this Lunar Lodge are not of a “haunting” or “spooky” variety.  This is a sense of the word “ghost” something like “living presence in memory,” and without any presumption of bad influence, or troublesome meddling with the living and their affairs.  Indeed, under the proper invocation, the presence of the ancestral spirits was expected to yield beneficial influence, bringing whatever blessings they had power to bestow.

But since this ghostly presence of the ancestors has a ritual meaning, the influence of this Lunar Lodge is regarded as dour, serious, and austere, like proper deportment in rituals and ceremonials.  In a much older tradition, this asterism was known as “Willow Pollen,” the nebula in the center depicting the dusting of pollen from the neighboring asterism, “Willows,” the next Lunar Lodge.  Willow trees, willow branches, and (here) willow pollen are signs of departure, loss, grief, and sorrowful respect for the dead.

This Lunar Lodge is lacking in direct benefits for the living, except through the showing of proper respect for the remembered dead, and for the ancestor lineage at large.  Ritualized gestures and offerings to them, acts of generosity, and properly serious action and demeanor are all auspicious.  Enjoyment of leisure pursuits, commercial or legal activities, and certainly weddings are ill-advised.  Divinations, and direct address to the ancestors, are proper; as are funerals, and other, less formal memorial acts, such as the simple preparation of dishes specially enjoyed by the departed, now to be enjoyed in their stead by the living.  Burials, however, are inauspicious, as they have to do with the disposal of remains in the human world;  this day is for the direct relationship with the ancestors, as spirits or “ghosts,” themselves.

The spirit animal for THE GHOSTS is the Sheep, the character for which ( 羊 yáng ) is generic, and used for all kinds of sheep and goats.  The Sheep has a special range of meanings in comparison with the other eleven of the Twelve Animals, but its attribution as spirit animal for THE GHOSTS is more specific.  There is anthropological evidence that in many places, sheep and goats were the first animals drawn into domesticated service to human life.  They certainly have a very long history with human culture and its ritual traditions.

Sheep and goats are the source of many benefits to those who keep them:  meat, milk, horns, wool, and even (in places where they live in the dwelling with humans) heat.  They form the basis, in many traditional cultures, of the system of wealth and inheritance.  They require proper care, and diligence of attention to insure these benefits, and that too, is a basis of the development of culture.   This ancient cultural relationship, not of ownership, but of proper attention and care, and the benefits which can thereby be earned, is a model to be emulated in relationship with the ancestors.  They too require proper attention, and thoughtfulness in action, to ensure the maintenance of the long link back into the past.

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The Solar Index today is COMPLETE, which is the name of the first month of Autumn in the agricultural calendar, from early August through early September.  This is the time of relaxation of growth and labor, and of the preparations for harvest.  The  of the year begins to shrink back, and the stalks devote their stored energies to the “completion” of the grains.  The vitality of the growing season is being invested into seed-form, partly to nourish the animal partners of the natural world, and partly to ensure that the plants can endure the coming winter, and renew life when spring arrives again.

This day in the Solar Index cycle is a bright indicator, partly because of the lightening of labor it represents, and partly because it captures the hopefulness of the coming harvest.  The character with which COMPLETE is written ( 成 chéng) can also be translated “accomplish,” “attain,” “fulfill,” “succeed,” “become,” or “finish.” Seeing to the fulfilling of promises, and finishing the preparations for hard work soon to arrive, are both highly auspicious.  “Don’t delay until tomorrow what you can do today,” is very timely advice.  That “tomorrow” is liable to have little free time available;  in fact, “free time” may be the thing on shortest supply.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This member of the Clan of Scales and Claws has a very powerful engine, and in a certain sense, you’re going to be at the steering wheel.  When the Dragon and Monkey make themselves available to your influence, there are very few limits to what can be accomplished.  Of course, your triumvirate only has a day to exert its formidable influence before Time shifts the balance again, but if you take a “sky’s the limit” attitude, and balance it with a clear recognition that the scale of energy that you have to bring to the effort is the weakest of the three, you’ll see that it’s imagination that you’re being turned to for, and you’ll let your mental and creative powers run free.  Honor the Tiger by telling the truth in the most deft and tactful terms you can summon, but bite your tongue before you sugar-coat the facts or over-state them.  Tomorrow’s Snake will complicate your position by stimulating the Monkey, and raising the Tiger’s suspicions.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This most energetic and “hands-on” member of the Clan of Scales and Claws is not exactly opposed to the accomplishments of your aims, but it is true that his efforts frequently run perpendicular to them, and can complicate the course of your affairs with apparent cross-purposes.  This will certainly be true today, as he breaks the Monkey free from confinement, and throws raw demands down in front of the Tiger, challenging him to rise to the demonstration of his highest capacities.  You may feel like you’re at center court in a tennis tournament, and if you’re keeping your eyes on the ball, you’ll be looking to one side and then the other all day long.  While the Tiger’s considering his narrowing options, you may as well sit tight, and enjoy the long volleys.  You’ll more than make up for the delay tomorrow, when the Snake arrives to startle the Tiger into the air, and clear your way to move forward again.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most energetic and direct member of the Clan of Scales and Claws, and since his first order of business will be to spring the Monkey from jail, you’ll have both of them to deal with, forming a united front.  They’re not going to be satisfied with anything less than a solid attempt on your part to demonstrate your highest levels of courage and ability, and they won’t care a whit whether you think you’re quite ready for the challenge, or not.  Take the day as zen combat, then, and let their instigations make you leap before you quite know what you’re doing.  It won’t feel a whole lot different from catching the shampoo bottle in the shower before you even knew you’d dropped it;  in fact, the only troubling thing about your accomplishments today will be the strange and partially embarrassing sensation that you’ll have no idea how you did them.  Tomorrow’s Snake will line up with the Monkey, as well, but they’re both going to be putting the emphasis on your “embarrassment,” more than on your “accomplishments.”

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most energetic and fearsome member of the Clan of Scales and Claws, and while he brings luck and vision to everything he turns to, your most frequent take on his displays is that they’re over-stated by half, and more showy than substantial.  You’ll have to admit today, however, that once he arranges the Monkey’s liberty from that corner he’s been cramped into for the last couple of days, the two of them make a formidable team in challenging the smug confidence of the Tiger.  While their union today will be focused on getting the Great Stripéd One to demonstrate how high he can leap, there may be some instigations coming your way from their direction, as well.  It would be a big mistake to think you’re supposed to figure them out before you launch into a response;  today’s about the zen of The Jump, and if you just—as the Buddhist masters say—wú chí chū, “put forth without consideration or hesitation,” you may be surprised where your effort takes you.  Tomorrow’s Snake will make much more alluring offers for you to engage your energies, and give you immediate rewards for complying.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This most energetic and direct of your Clan-Mates will waste no time getting the Monkey out of the corner he’s been wedged into, and launching a series of tactically shrewd attacks towards the Tiger, insisting on a demonstration of the great powers and agility the Great Stripéd One is capable of, and caring not a bit whether it puts him into triumph or tantrum.  This is a day for you to make your demands known, and to state your desired aims in no uncertain terms;  you may need to demonstrate your own “great powers and agility” to get them accomplished, but you’ve not had this suitable an opportunity to expect success for over four months.  Make sure you keep your hand on the throttle, however;  once you accomplish the results you’re after, it’s fundamentally important that you do an immediate slow-down, and start to cool your engines.  Tomorrow’s Snake will do a little victory dance with the Monkey over your accomplishments, and you’ll have to make sure they don’t over-do the revelries.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This most energetic and direct member of the Clan of Scales and Claws will make shreds of whatever jail the Monkey’s gotten himself locked up in, and free him to join in a Tactical Assault on the Tiger’s position, and—more importantly—on the attachment the Tiger is showing towards it.  You will find this all quite amusing, but you should be very cautious to remain off the field, instead of aiming for a spot in the Dragon’s front lines.  Getting the Tiger to move requires a delicate balance between invitation and insistence, and since he’s already outnumbered, adding your style and stealth to the equation might spook him, and cause more of a rout than the clean action the Dragon’s aiming for.  Save your energies for tomorrow, when the Snake arrives to celebrate the Monkey’s release, and you’ll get to take home a few party favors.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most energetic and direct member of the Clan of Scales and Claws, and once he’s freed the Monkey from confinement, he’ll be making an assault on the Tiger’s position, demanding that he pull up stakes, and move.  Whether this turns out to result in an advance or a retreat on the Tiger’s part, is really inconsequential to the Dragon;  it’s just Change that he’s after.  Well, that and a demonstration from the Tiger that Movement Is Possible, whether he feels “quite ready” to do it, or not.  For you, this means a day of great energy and activity, and not all of it will need to feel purposeful in order to feel satisfying;  if you’ve got duties and reasons to pursue, so much the better.  But you’ll be of most use to others, and most satisfied with yourself, if you take a zen attitude:  when running, just run, when walking, just walk, and when sitting, just sit.  Tomorrow’s Snake will also join forces with the Monkey, and they’ll have clear ideas about what they want you to do.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most energetic and determined member of the Clan of Scales and Claws, and while his directions and purposes are not usually about blocking your way, it’s easy for his actions to have that effect.  He’s going to waste no time getting the Monkey out of confinement, principally because he’s got some tactics to apply to the Tiger’s position that require the Monkey’s daring and agility.  Once they launch their assault, you can pretty much count on your state of equilibrium going right out the window, and your careful plans going totally haywire.  You’ll have very little traction in trying to resist the increasing chaos, and so I advise you to offer no resistance at all;  watch your papers as they’re blown up into the air and scattered across the room, as if in an elegantly choreographed ballet.  You may find some very beneficial results among the accidental re-arrangements, which you can put into practice tomorrow, when the Snake arrives to help the Monkey keep the Tiger moving.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most energetic and direct member of the Clan of Scales and Claws, and he’s coming crashing through the gate with an armored car to bust down the bars of the jail-cell you’ve been cramped into, and sweep you off with him into the skies.  Well, actually, he might make his entry more like a lawyer in an expensive Italian suit, producing a Writ of Habeas Corpus from the pocket in his elegant red-silk lining, and walking you out with him, into the sunlight.  In any case, the Dragon’s not just being friendly or altruistic here;  he’s got tactical uses for your skills, in launching an assault at the Tiger, and forcing him to demonstrate his great power and agility, by giving up the attachment he’s been showing to His Position, and making a Grand Leap.  Consequently, you should regard your tasks today as follows:  1.) Look for the orders; 2.) Read the orders; 3.) Follow the orders.  You’ll know you’re on the right path if you’re already doing things before you’ve even begun thinking them through;  Dragons have that effect on you.  Tomorrow’s Snake will have things for you to do, as well, but they’ll be all about having a good time, and not at all about being judicious about it.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most energetic and direct member of the Clan of Scales and Claws, and you’ll find great enjoyment in the artful manner in which he magically arranges the Monkey’s release from confinement, and mysteriously confronts the Tiger in such a way that a Grand Leap from the Great Stripéd One will seem virtually inevitable.  While the Big Boys are thus engaged, it will be perfectly appropriate for you to look around to see if there any less grand results you can turn your attention towards, whether it’s through your own actions, or through spurring others on.  Just make sure that you keep your eyes and ears open;  a lot of opportunities will only be noticeable to the sharp-eyed, and “timing will be of the essence.”  Then again, you’ll want to be sure also that you don’t inattentively end up occupying the spot the Tiger is making his Grand Leap to.  Tomorrow’s Snake will keep the Monkey busy with a victory celebration, and you’re going to be seated at the head table.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most energetic and direct of the Dragons, and as far as you’re concerned, that makes him also the most terrifying and inconsiderate.  His first point of attention in the day will be to release the Monkey from his confinement, and his second will be to launch an assault on the Tiger and his Staunchly Held Position.  Whether he can use the Monkey to get the Tiger to make a retreat or an advance will be a matter of Time and Chance, but since the Dragon doesn’t really care about the Tiger’s direction of movement, there’s going to be no position you can move to with any certainty of it putting you safely out of the way, and no direction you can plan on as your escape route, without the possibility that it would only put you smack-dab in the middle of the action.  You’ll just have to keep your wits about you, and your attention keyed up;  when things start moving, just go with them, and don’t worry about taking too much along with you.  Remember the words of Sūn-zi:  ”Advance without coveting fame;  retreat without fearing disgrace.”  Tomorrow’s Snake will offer diversions to the Monkey, instead of orders, but you’re not going to find them playful.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Fire Dragon on duty today has a flair for practicality and realism, borne with a boldness of spirit, and with a preference for immediacy of action which will help free the Monkey, and urge the Tiger to spring from consideration into accomplishment.  This is the most direct and energetic member of the Clan of Scales and Claws, and he’s sweeping in to foment change.  His first tactical step will be to arrange the Monkey’s release from confinement, and his second will be to take up a position from which he can offer the Tiger “an offer he can’t refuse.”  To whatever degree you’ve become accustomed to the position the Tiger has taken—and which, so far this year, he’s apparently refused to give up—the Dragon’s challenge is going to seem Highly Inconvenient, if not Damnably Presumptuous.  Still, with the Monkey’s daring and agility bolstering the Dragon’s vision and tactical wisdom, the Tiger’s going to be fundamentally outnumbered, and will have to yield.  Whether he chooses to advance or retreat will be difficult to say in advance, and in truth, the Dragon doesn’t really care which it is;  it’s movement, per se, that he’s after, and he’s determined to get it, whether the Tiger likes the idea, or not.  You, I think it’s safe to say, are not going to like it, but you’ll have to pack up your objections and take them with you, down the road.  You’ll probably want to keep on moving tomorrow as well, when the Snake arrives to hold a celebration party with the Monkey, adding—as far as you’re concerned, anyway—insult to injury.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

In any small depression on the ground, the rains will gather before sinking into the soil;

Through any valley between the mountains, a river will run eventually to the great oceans.

Even if it’s just a drizzle coming down, one hesitates going out the door and into the courtyard;

The stove’s still hot, and the kettle not yet empty;  enjoy the limitation with another little pot of tea.

“First, open mind;  then, receive guidance.”

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Thursday, 2nd of September


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE WELL, beginning the week-long Southern Palace of the Vermillion Bird.  This asterism consists of eight stars which very clearly depict the shape of the character for “well,” or “deep pit” ( 井 Jǐng ).  It’s also known poetically as “Head of the Phoenix,” as it forms the head of the Vermillion Bird, the body and tail of which fill out the rest of the Southern Palace.  Astronomically, this is the widest Lunar Lodge, and it takes the moon almost three days to traverse it.  Astrologically (as each of the Lunar Lodges is assigned to one day in the 28-day cycle), the attributions of THE WELL are therefore regarded as being made more gentle (and in some ways, weaker) because of the moon’s “slow” movement across this portion of the zodiac.

This is a generally favorable sign, but it does not favor initiation of activities or new pursuits.  Carrying on-going things forward, and even better, bringing things to conclusion or certainty, are highly auspicious.  Not surprisingly, THE WELL is quite favorable for actions regarding or involving water, or travel by water;  by extension, servicing and repair of vehicles of all kinds are also particularly appropriate.  As the earth gives forth water through springs and wells, this Lunar Lodge is also a particularly appropriate time for giving gifts or rewards.

On the other hand, the attribution to watery things makes THE WELL inauspicious for complaining or criticizing.   Water being the Phase ruling death and dispersal, such negative expressions are liable to have a destructive (rather than corrective) effect.  Because the character for “well” also means “deep pit,” this is not a good day for ceremonies (which are favored by more Yáng conditions.)  The negotiating or signing of contracts should likewise be delayed, to a time when a greater over-view of matters is available;  water from the well, as it were, must first be spread over the fields, or used to wash down the vehicle, before values and prospects can be accurately ascertained.

The spirit animal for THE WELL is the Tapir, which is an ungulate, most closely related to horses and rhinoceroses (which are also odd-hooved.)  Tapirs look rather more like pigs, with rotund bodies, and stout, powerful legs.  They are most active in twilight or night-time hours, hiding and sleeping through the days.  They have thick hides (like elephants), particularly around their massive necks, making them difficult prey even for the larger cats.  As they are short and bulky, like pigs, they similarly feed close to the ground, and are able to dart nimbly into undergrowth in the forests and jungles where they live.  Like horses, they are quite swift and agile.  Due to their elusiveness and speed, they are better hunted with traps and snares, rather than by stalk and chase.

The character for “tapir” ( 貘  ) was originally used for a mythological beast having some attributes of the horse, but with the the trunk of an elephant.  The character is natural to use for tapirs, as well, since they have extremely long snouts, which are so flexible and dexterous as to be partially prehensile.  The Tapir is an image uniting delicacy of action, with speed and mass in movement, in a form that seems to imply the opposite.  The Tapir represents the “hidden resources” tapped by “wells”  …and perhaps also, the “deep pit” necessary to capture so elusive a quarry.

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The Solar Index today is DANGER, named after the third month of Summer in the agricultural calendar, from early July through early August.  At that point in the Solar Year, the sun is still close to its height in the day’s skies.  Temperatures are even warmer than earlier in the season, and provided there is enough rain or water for irrigation, the crops thrive in it.  However, lack of rain or lack of water in such heat could spell disaster.  The height of heat needs balancing cool.  This is similar to the quality represented by the DANGER day;  the energy is high, and full of potential for accomplishment, but it requires coolness of heart and calmness of action to yield its best results.

DANGER is written with the same character ( 危 wēi ) as the Lunar Lodge, THE ROOFTOP:  a picture of a person standing on the edge of a cliff or precipice.  In the case of the Lunar Lodge, this means “the caution necessary when working on the roof of a house.”  Working on the roof equals danger, as it were.  In more general use, the character can be translated as “danger,” “daring,” “awkward,” “precipitous,” or “tricky.”  This is actually a bright indicator, and is printed in red in most traditional Chinese almanacs, largely because it’s regarded as extremely favorable for weddings.  The excess of Yáng gives vitality and good luck to the couple, and a feeling of happiness to the ceremony and celebrations.  For practical purposes, and more industrial uses of the day, it’s still favorable, but so “close to the edge” that the pair of black dots in the Ming Li Tong Shu is offered as a warning.  It’s safer today to err on the side of under-doing;  just a touch too much, and all may collapse like a house of cards.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  Your range of options will still be fairly narrow today, though if you’re slow enough in movement, and responsive enough to recognize offerings when they’re made, the Rabbit may show his soft generosity, and open more doorways for you.  Maintain scrupulously formal good manners, but don’t let that make your smile stiffen;  things held out to you for your attention—or your grasp—should be acknowledged respectfully, even in you decline to receive them.  Both the Monkey and Rabbit need your calming influence, so acting excitable or overly enthusiastic is not a good idea.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will put you in a position of power, but you should be careful not to take on too much of the work.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  While the Rabbit’s response to yesterday’s Double Tigers will be to take their expression of Commanding Force and aim to hold it in place, he’ll do this not so much by locking things down, as by continually shepherding them back into position.  This puts your knack for steady and easy-to-read movement into a favorable light, and if you don’t mind a bit of bustling around you as you go, the Rabbit will easily accommodate to your position and trajectory.  Try to maintain a sociable manner, but as long as you acknowledge invitations respectfully, you shouldn’t feel you have to divert yourself from your own purposes in order to accept them.  On the other hand, the Clan of the Long Ears is famous for setting a table with delicious food in simple cuisine, so if you’re making good headway, perhaps you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to gain some restoring refreshment.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will bolster the Monkey again, and cause you some disturbance and disorder.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  The Rabbit will take on the Double Tigers’ accomplishments as his own, and take very seriously the task of maintaining the Monkey’s confinement.  This will extend your respite from the interventions of the Pesky Beast, and allow you to see to all sorts of logistical matters that have had to be delayed for the last three weeks.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself capturing brief cat-naps through the day, but similarly, don’t be disappointed if you no sooner close your eyes, than you think of something else to jump up and take care of.  Make sure you eat frequently, and the simpler foods are probably better;  you can be sure, however, that your appetite is accurate today, and if you have a yen for something refined or complicated, it’s most likely exactly what your body and spirit need.  Just remember the rule: “A little is enough.”  Tomorrow’s Dragon will let the Monkey escape again, and place him in front of you to deal with.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This most well-balanced of your Clan-Mates will take it as a Very Serious Duty to honor the accomplishment of yesterday’s Double Tigers, and keep the Monkey in his confinement.  This doesn’t, however, mean that the day will follow the manner of a full lock-down;  it’s more in the style of your Clan, after all, to allow some wobble and movement, and to use activity instead of physical constraint, continually bustling about, shepherding things back into their right positions and correct relationship to the environment.  Don’t allow yourself to get too frazzled;  the spirit of the day is more about Active Indifference than Fussy Fretfulness.  You can feel entirely comfortable being slightly bored with what you’re doing, and still accomplish it with grace and panache.  Put your interest instead in your inner calm, and aim for the feeling of flowing through the day and its tasks.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will let the Monkey back out of his cage, and threaten your state of peace and indifference.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This is the most well-balanced member of the Clan of the Long Ears, but he’s not going to demonstrate that fact in any way that benefits your equilibrium.  He’ll be taking up the accomplishment of yesterday’s Double Tigers, and assuming the office of Jailer for the cage the Monkey’s been locked away in, and though he’s not a stickler for protocol or punishment, you’re liable to feel he’s being rather harsh in the way he’s fulfilling his duties.  Try to remain polite, and if you can’t do that very well, at least maintain your distance.  “Better to say nothing and leave them wondering, than speak and confirm their worst suspicions.”  Small tokens of friendly respect can be offered to good effect, but if you make them more showy or significant, you’ll only be accused of trying to offer a bribe.  Your greatest harmony with this Rabbit is your ability to exude indifference;  if you do it with a smiling and casual air, you’ll get through the day with the most security and the least exhaustion.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will pull off a jail-break, and put you in a position of great influence.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This most well-balanced member of the Clan of the Long Ears will be honoring the accomplishment of yesterday’s Double Tigers, and taking up the task of seeing to it the Monkey’s is not allowed out of his confinement.  Fortunately for you—and, of course, for the Monkey—he’s not fussy about jail-house protocols, or stiff about the maintenance of arbitrary rules.  He’s more concerned with shuffling things back into proper position than with stapling them to the floor so they can’t be moved at all.  Consequently, you’re going to have Full Visiting Privileges, and will be welcomed by almost all you come across as a bearer of news and goodies;  keep a sunny disposition, and I think you’ll find that the world is Your Oyster.  Speaking of shell-fish, this is an extremely good day for you to see to your nourishment, and if you’ll just take a moment to check your appetite before picking what to eat, about 50% of what you eat and drink will have medicinal value, restoring your energy, clarifying your mind, and balancing your organs.  Be careful however, that you’re listening to your appetite rather than talking to it;  the Rabbit is quite happy to give you what you want, even if it’s not strictly good for you.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will arrive with the proper paper-work to set the Monkey free, and to put you into a more serious frame of mind.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This is the most well-balanced member of the Clan of the Long Ears, and though he’s going to take very seriously the office of maintaining the confinement of the Monkey, his style is more about nudging things back to where they’re supposed to be, than about tying them down tight, so they can’t move.  This puts you in a position where decrease in excitement balances decrease in freedom to move at all;  there’s always the possibility that something will spook you a bit, and put you into momentary frenzy, but if you remember that you can test your situation by trying a little of the movement you think you want to do a lot of,  you’ll find your appetite for it is not nearly as large as you thought.  The Rabbit’s soft-and-fuzzy outside can be quite calming for you today, and you should encourage it by taking things at face value, and by avoiding topics that might strike to the heart of the matter.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will arrive to release the Monkey again, and give you access to Free Space, and some reasons to use it.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This is the most well-balanced member of the Clan of the Long Ears, and while he’ll be quite earnest in the office he’s taking over from yesterday’s Double Tigers—keeping the Monkey in his confinement—he’s liable to be a little loose in the way he interprets the rules, and quite liberal about leaving the cage door unlocked, if only so visitors will find it more convenient to come and go, as they will.  For you, the flexibility of the Rabbit’s style will allow you to enjoy the calm that can sometimes only come by getting the Monkey out of the way, and let you put your attention in Whatever Mode, so it can roam through your full array of concerns, re-shuffling order, and seeing to details of accomplishment and planning you’ve been perhaps diverted from since the Monkey Moon made its entrance three weeks ago.  Keep your eyes open for confrontations arising around you;  your powers of diplomacy are at a peak today, and you can be highly instrumental in keeping Minor Disturbance from turning to Major Disaster.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will arrive with documents demanding the Monkey’s release, and forcing you into a weaker—though not necessarily damaging—position.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This is the most well-balanced member of the Clan of the Long Ears, and though he’s going to be quite diligent in taking up the duty he sees yesterday’s Double Tigers as having left him—keeping the Monkey cornered, and out of contention—his style is rather relaxed and loose, and not at all fussy about fine details of protocol, or so stiff about the meaning of “confinement” that you’ll feel “bound-and-gagged.”  He’s a “go along to get along” kind of guy, and if you’ll take up that same spirit—biding a time when your natural appetite for swinging through the trees can be satisfied—you have every possibility of enjoying your diminished freedom, and even getting a bit of rest and recuperation out of it.  If you can think of yourself as Temporarily Powerless, you’ll do much better than if you misunderstand the Rabbit’s easy-going attitude as an opportunity to plan out a jail-break.  “Don’t make him angry;  you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.”  Tomorrow’s Dragon will be getting you out of jail—one way or another—and putting very clear orders in your hands, which you should aim to follow to the letter.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This is the most well-balanced and easy-going member of the Clan of the Long Ears, and though he’s going to have his attention devoted to upholding what he sees as the duty yesterday’s Double Tigers have left him—maintaining the Monkey’s close confinement—he’s going to be on a hair-trigger where you’re concerned, and will lose all of his casual friendliness if you so much as raise your hand to ask a question.  Now, this doesn’t strictly mean that you’re going to have to spend the day as if it’s you who’s under lock-and-key, but you will be much better served by the presumption that everyone you come into contact with is fussy, pompous, and a little bit angry.  Take a “lower than thou” attitude in response, and express your interests and wishes in polite contingencies, and—though you may not get the Rabbit to smile and crack jokes with you—at least you won’t find yourself roughed up while nobody’s looking.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will arrive with a Full Pardon for the Monkey, and with some encouraging plans for you.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This is the most well-balanced and easy-going member of the Clan of the Long Ears, and as he’s going to be taking quite seriously the duty he sees as having been passed to him by yesterday’s Double Tigers, his attention will be firmly placed on the task of keeping the Monkey in close confinement, and out of everyone else’s way.   Since he’s also rather relaxed in style, such “close confinement” will be maintained more by a continuous attention to scuttling things back to where they should be, than by nailing them into place, so they can’t move at all.  This will leave you in the sweet position of being free of the Monkey’s pesky interference, and more able to enjoy the full range of Fun and Games for which the Rabbit is famous.  Eating and drinking are liable to be at the top of your agenda, and as long as you don’t go overboard, I think that’s as it should be.  Try to pace yourself in your activities today;  getting a bit of rest will be much more difficult to fit in than you might imagine.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will demand the Monkey’s release, and call your revelries to a sudden close.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Wood Hare on duty today has a mild and friendly temperament, and an attentive disposition, and displays a fluid balance between confidence and curiosity.  This is the most well-balanced member of the Clan of the Long Ears, and as he will be taking quite seriously the duty he sees that yesterday’s Double Tigers have left him—making sure the Monkey stays in custody, and out of everyone else’s way—you’ll find yourself free to enjoy a calmer day than you’ve come to expect since the Monkey Moon made its entrance three weeks ago.  The Rabbit has an easy-going manner, however, and will be much less fussy about the details of the Monkey’s confinement than you might prefer, and will have to divert his attention continually to put things back into their places, making you much less in control of the way things progress through the day than is frequently the case when the Rabbit’s on duty.  Still, there will be many opportunities to add touches of refinement to the simple fare the Rabbit will put on the table for you today, and you should revel in them, noticing how they are just out of reach of the Monkey’s grasp.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will arrive to re-assert the Monkey’s freedom to move, and to put your appetites into restriction, if not into actual lock-up.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

Taking a day for the country air, and wandering without destination on the open roads,

One comes upon an acquaintance from town, casually strolling across a golden meadow.

Does one tip one’s hat, and pause for polite formalities?  Or wave from distance, and pass on?

Looking back, the city walls are far behind;  looking forward, the line between hills and sky seems artless, care-free.

“In conversation, it’s the listener who’s most generous.”

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Wednesday, 1st of September


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE TRIO, finishing the week of the Western Palace of the White Tiger.  The asterism for which this Lunar Lodge is named is technically the whole of the constellation Orion, The Hunter.  In the Chinese view, he was a Supreme General, displaying all the marks of character, bearing, and intelligence to make him worthy of the command of the entirety of the empire’s armies.  One of his many names was THE TRIO, after the trio of stars at the center (the belt, in the image of Orion) which are so note-worthy in the northern skies.

These three stars had many attributions:  the General and his Left and Right Commanders, the Three Ranks of Command (soldiers, petty officers, and staff officers),  and The Heart of the General (which of course, in Chinese, means also “mind,” that is to say:  strategic and reasoning power.)  In addition, they have association with the Three Gods of Happiness, as well as the Three Pure Ones;  they bear and represent the balance of attributes which make the Supreme General worthy of his command.

The character for this Lunar Lodge ( 參 Cān ) originally meant this particular trio of stars, the focal center of the figure of the Supreme General at large.  By extension from his attributes, the character now also means “resplendent,” “glorious,” “supreme,” “to reflect on,” “to consult,” and “to visit a superior.”  Accordingly, the auspices of THE TRIO are generally favorable, and highly supportive of activity taken in competent response to duty, or pursued with the proper sense of austerity over luxury.  The proper commander may be perfectly comfortable amidst the luxuries and intrigues of the court and palaces, but is more at home in a tent in the same field as his troops, more in his element matching wits with bandits, brigands, and would-be invaders.

The spirit animal for THE TRIO is the Gibbon, which has a special place in Chinese iconography.  It represents the quick wit and nimble mind of the Monkey, but without the knack for falling into (or creating!) trouble.  Perfectly at home in his lofty treetops, and without apparent interest in human affairs, the Gibbon was regarded as the “gentleman of the forest,” and according to one Daoist tradition, was capable of living a thousand years, and of finally becoming human.  As such, the Gibbon is an elegant embodiment in the animal world of the calm and reflective mind—poised well above petty affairs—which is the mark of the Resplendent General, and of the attributes of the day.

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The Solar Index today is DESTROY, named for the second month of Summer, from early June through early July.  This is the agricultural month which contains the Summer Solstice.  In farming life, the work in the fields can turn to the destruction of weeds and vermin, since the crops have attained nearly their full height, and they can stand disturbance without being damaged.  Weeds have accomplished enough growth to be pulled up by the roots.  As they have not yet set seeds, they can simply be left on the soil to mulch, returning nutrients to the plants, and helping to keep moisture in the soil.

The character for DESTROY ( 破  ) can also be translated “break,” “solve,” or “spoil.”  This is the month when the Yáng reaches its peak, and its rise is “broken.” For the next 6 months, Yáng will be declining, and pouring nourishment into Yīn.  This alchemy is necessary for the crops to gather their  into useable fruits and grains, and for the year to renew itself in the dark depth of Winter.  Like this month, DESTROY days are appropriate for clearing away inessentials, beginning to give up the rule of Yáng, and yielding to the nourishments of Yīn.  Start turning towards ends and accomplishments;  the time for investigation, striving, and “the big push” is not over, but it’s beginning to fade.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will endeavor to put the Pesky Monkey back in his cage today, and as they’ll have him outnumbered, they’ll be quite confident of their success.  This will leave you with even fewer options available for you to pursue than yesterday, and all of them have to do with scrupulously reading the events around you, and fitting into them as adroitly as you can.  Serving the requests of others will be more well-received than attempting to steer their choices, and if you’re going to put your honesty on the table—always an option with a Tiger in the room—you must make sure that you use all your tact.  It’s not a bad day to show your sentimentality, but emotionalism for its own sake will be safer than trying to use it as a technical device to forward your ends.  Tomorrow’s Hare will arrive to stand watch on the Monkey’s cage, and you’ll be very wise not to tease either of them about it.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  Even if it’s only by dint of outnumbering him, the Double Tigers will fairly well remove the Monkey’s more annoying interventions, and for you, this means more ease, more calm, and a smoother course for your interests.  Your inner state of emotionality will still be a bit difficult for some to read, but as the Way of Stripes favors aloofness, nobody’s liable to pester you to cough up a report on your “true feelings,” or risk raising your wrath by giving you open opposition.  You could use the extra blank space the Tigers are giving you to make up for what you might think of as “lost time,” but a far better use of it would be to put yourself on Auto-Pilot, and take the day off from anything like Pressing Forward.  The Tigers are pointing forward today, and if you just turn your attention to follow their arrow, you’ll see far into the terrain up ahead, and can begin laying down your plans for the remainder of the year.  Tomorrow’s Hare will bring an appreciation of simplicity to the day, and allow you the freedom to Do Your Own Thing.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will, naturally enough, be thinking ahead of your intentions, and corralling the Pesky Monkey into a corner, from which he’ll have trouble meddling with your sensibilities or successes.  The Monkey’s power is waning now, and the convention of your Clan-Mates will hold him down long enough for you to get an undistracted look at your progress so far this year, and to make a sober assessment of what’s still left undone or undecided.  Toy with details today, if you like, but don’t toss aside this day of Clear Seeing without good reason;  the Monkey’s got a few more good shots to get in at you before the Moon ends, and you’ll be much better at bobbing-and-weaving to avoid them, if you’ve got your eyes on the future over his shoulder.  Tomorrow’s Hare will arrive as if on guard duty, aiming to keep things quiet, and to give you time to get your forces aligned.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Monkey’s Meddlings are a point of curiosity for you, more troublesome by virtue of their power to unnerve the Tiger, than irritating to you directly.  Consequently, as the Double Tigers join forces to put the Monkey back in his cage for the day, you’ll have a clear sense that things have turned in a more bland direction, and that your appetites and thinking process have come to an actual opportunity to settle themselves.  Don’t be too quick to turn the simplicity towards busy-ness;  the whole Tiger Year is an appropriate time for you to favor Casual Consideration and Doing Just Enough, over Fretful Focus and Striving To Finish.  Take today as a sort of calm amidst the storm, and let yourself toy with the possibility that everything is actually okay, just as it is.  The Monkey’s Meddling will have things knocked about the room again, soon enough, and waiting until we’re closer to the end of the Moon to demonstrate your constitutional diligence and commitment, will make your efforts more definitive and efficient.  Tomorrow’s Hare will have a natural taste for leaving things simple, and you’ll find your willingness to leave your world “as it is,” satisfactorily enhanced.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will have their attention focused mainly on the Meddling Monkey, and will be carefully backing him into a corner.  If they accomplish this delicate task early enough in the day, you may find that it’s you they turn to next, on account of your High Visibility, and your irrepressible willingness to support the Monkey’s Maneuverings, whether for your own direct gain, or not.  You probably won’t have to back away from the Tigers confrontation, if it comes to that, but you must be very careful to make sure of the ground you’re occupying before making a stand, and you should be both declarative and honest about your aims, biases, and observations.  The Tigers will only respect you if your declarations are heart-felt, and your facts are unassailable;  plan on giving them something to think deeply about, as they choose their next leap.  Tomorrow’s Hare will be devoted to simplicity and keeping Good Order, and you’re liable to find things a bit too dull for your liking.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will be joining forces to outnumber the Pesky Monkey, and intimidate him carefully back into his cage.  If they do this quickly, then the day will have some dangers in it for you and your plans;  the Tigers are in Mine-Sweeping Mode, aiming to regain some of their lost composure and clarity of thought, and anyone else who might seem to challenge that aim will be in for some Industrial-Strength Intimidation, as well.  You don’t really need to go into hiding, but you should be careful only to take actions that are routine or fundamentally necessary, and even then, only if the steps you take are pre-approved, and clearly observable, by all concerned parties.  You might consider either working way off somewhere in private, or else taking a sort of soft Vow of Silence, for the day;  gossiping and chatting will only get you into trouble.  Tomorrow’s Hare will aim to maintain exactly the kind of simplicity and attention to Good Order than you find most convenient and re-assuring.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will be aiming to establish a kind of simplicity for the day.  Granted, since they’re going to be doing it by using teamwork to intimidate the Meddlesome Monkey back into his cage, a great deal of the day might be completely lacking in “simplicity,” but I think you can count on the screeching and jittering to subside by a little after lunch-time, if not before.  The Tigers’ diligence will have a salutary effect on your spirits, of course, and allow you that kind of gleeful freshness of attention that pops up when a bell—ringing off in the distance for so long you’ve stopped noticing it—suddenly stops ringing.  Take the moment to assess your overall awareness, and respond accordingly.  It’s highly possible that the Monkey’s Maneuverings have disturbed your appetite, or the rhythm of your exercise regime, or your indulgence in a favorite hobby, or your enjoyment of social connections.  Whatever springs to mind today ought to be pursued;  engagement from this sense of freedom will help you feel the way the Tigers are pointing towards the future, and help you to align your expectations along their arrow.  Tomorrow’s Hare will stand guard outside the Monkey’s cage, supporting simplicity and the stability of the status quo.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will join forces against their common foe, and carefully wedge the Meddlesome Monkey into a corner, through artful intimidation, and a judicious snarl or two.  For the time it takes this strategic trick to be accomplished—it could happen, I suppose, even before dawn—you may feel a bit restive and excitable, the same way any fan tenses with the athlete in the natural course of spectating.  But as soon as the Tigers have their way, you’ll feel a calm descend over you, as if the pills you took for your headache suddenly demonstrated their effect.  Part of the purpose of the Tigers action is—of course—just to get rid of the Pesky Beast for a breather;  but in a larger sense, it’s peace of mind, and clarity of consideration, that they’re after.  Whether you share their antipathy for Long Tails and Nimble Fingers or not, you’ll certainly find some good uses for the respite they achieve, particularly since—as you’re most likely perfectly aware—it’s due to suffer some relapses before the Moon’s over.  Stay in your calm today, then, and look about you;  the Tigers are going to be looking towards the future, and if you are attentive, you’ll see omens of the direction their arrow is pointing all around you.  Tomorrow’s Hare will take it as a point of honor to keep the Monkey in his corner, and will insist on the observance of simplicity and harmony—even if he has to do some complex knocking of heads to enforce them.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will have no difficulty in quickly coming up with a team-approach to settling the Whole Monkey Question, and will be rounding up anything with a Long Tail and Nimble Fingers for an enforced Time Out;  in a word, you should prepare yourself to be staring into a corner somewhere.  The Tigers have the upper hand here—and not simply be virtue of their force of numbers—and so there’ll be nothing you can do but comply with their Policing Action.  If you’re lucky, they may be playing Good Cop, Bad Cop, and what is denied to you from one direction may still be available from another.  But have no doubt:  even the little compromises will all have the purpose of putting you out of action.  This is not all a bad thing, or at least it doesn’t have to be.  If you promise to “go along quietly,” and agree to the notion that you might, in fact, have a few things you should think over, then being quiet might well turn golden, and lead to a much more successful week while the waning Monkey Moon makes its exit.  Who knows?  You might even find you have an apology or confession to make when your term of confinement is over.  Tomorrow’s Hare will arrive to stand guard duty, but if you’re in your most civilized state of mind, he might give you some “time off for good behavior.”

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will be joining forces and making a unified assault on whatever position the Pesky Monkey has chosen to perch himself in, and they’ll spend as long as it takes today to intimidate and cajole him back into his cage.  They might do it well before dawn, or it could take until well after dinner-time, but they will do it.  You’re under no particular danger from their quasi-military maneuvers;  your affinities with the Clan of the Long Tail are inconsequential from the Tiger Point-of-View.  But if there’s a lot of noise and scuffling about, due to the Monkey’s considerable distaste for confinement, and ferocious terror when confronted by Stripes, then you could easily get caught up in the action.  While that may not turn out to be damaging, it would certainly be disturbing.  Consequently, I can only advise you to stay off to the sidelines, and wait for the “all clear” signal before you start strolling out in the open.  Tomorrow’s Hare will be taking up a guard post, wherever it is that the Monkey’s been locked up, and while the guard may look comical and inarticulate to you, he will still have the power to check and disapprove your papers.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will be forming up a team, and putting their heads together in an effort to come up with a successful strategy to get the Pesky Monkey back into his cage for the day.  Whether they do it through Artful Deceit, Coy Cajoling, or Industrial-Strength Intimidation—or more likely, a combination of all three—they will accomplish their mission;  count on it.  For the first part of the day, you’ll have to be very attentive and cautious, taking care not to fall out of harmony with their tactics, or find yourself embarrassingly in the proverbial Wrong Place at the proverbial Wrong Time.  Once the deed is done, however, you’ll know it by the shift towards security and light-heartedness you feel, like that peacefulness that sometimes descends on a Sunday afternoon, or the freedom you feel when discovering that an onerous task has already been settled, without you needing to take it up.  Lounge about, if you will, but it would be wise to keep up a different sort of attention at this point:  the Tigers will end up pointing forward today, and if you keep an eye open to it, you’ll be able to line up with their arrow, and set your compass accordingly for the remainder of the year.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Wood Tiger on duty has a cagey but uncomplicated nature, and demonstrates in the clearest ways possible the attributes of patience, boldness, and fairness which are the watchwords of the year.  The Double Tigers will easily join forces today, and come up with the necessary array of strategies and tactics to corral the Meddlesome Monkey, and back him up into his cage.  The maneuvering will be complex, and both Tiger and Monkey are liable to bring their A-games, and demonstrate the full range of their counter-posed attributes and antipathies.  No matter how long it takes, however, the Tigers will keep going until they can claim “mission accomplished.”  For you, this should be a Spectator Sport, only;  you’ll be cheering the Tigers on, of course, and moaning in loud disappointment should the Monkey briefly get the upper hand, or—worse—threaten to break free and make his escape.  But running onto the field to demonstrate your support, or your skill-set, will only get your thrown out of the game;  better to stay in the stands, and take your pleasures and pains vicariously.  Once the game’s over, and the cheering stops, you’ll also have a chance to review the strengths and predilections demonstrated by Team Tiger in a new light, and interpolate from the style and spirit of their play, just how they’re liable to play the rest of the season, and through the remainder of the year.  Tomorrow’s Hare will take up his post to act as guard of the Monkey’s Confinement, and will be insisting that simplicity and Good Order be the watchwords of the day.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

Sometimes after a long day’s labor, there’s the sweetness of the fire, and a simple meal to be shared;

A story or two, the laughter that follows a private joke, and the smoke trailing straight up into the dark.

Before smiles there are frequently anguished cries;  without frustrations, how could there be relief?

One should not count on meeting a Great Personage;  but if one does, answers come best between friends.

“’No need to be polite!’ is the warmest admonition.”

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Thursday begins the Lunar Week:

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