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Finally, the Fire Monkey fulfills the departure awaited by so many, and the Year Spirit takes up the form-and-flow embodied in the image of the Fire Fowl.


May the New Year bring a rebirth of prosperity and the renewal of satisfaction and success!


The Fire Fowl has an easy-going manner (with plenty of confidence to justify it), but prefers to display a conservative attitude in social affairs, a determined restraint over self-limiting appetites and indulgent ambitions, and a preference not to look too widely beyond immediate circumstances and obvious opportunities. After the Fire Monkey’s pesky and impertinent improvisations (which might very well seem to have been designed to produce sheer consternation, as much as to produce any practical or solid results), the Fowl’s shrewd intensity and close attention to order, precision, and detail will bring great relief to the mind, increased calm to the spirit, and deeper grasp of “things as they are.”

Indeed, the Fowl’s predilections are perfectly suited to considering in turn each apparently random particle of whatever rubble the Monkey tossed into careless arc through empty space, then snatching it out of its haphazard trajectory, and placing it deftly into perfect position, making of the Monkey’s dizzying chaos, an artful mosaic of durable value and illuminating clarity. The Fowl’s entry cannot promise always to feature the smoothness and gloss of well-preened feathers, or the softness and warmth of a down-filled bed, but for those who can summon the alertness, tolerance, and good-hearted patience necessary to endure the exacting gaze and the sharp beak for which the Clan of Feathers and Claws are well-known, the year will bring great promise of insight, wisdom, and —finally!—a working ground of practical results.

If the Monkey left you puzzling over Mystery, welcome in the Fire Fowl to make demonstration of Mastery. Just make sure to stand firmly in that confused feeling that you “don’t get it”—which was, in truth, the Monkey’s great gift to you—and allow the Fowl to work out the world around you, marking out the path to a confident comprehension, a deeply plumbed center-line of placement in the world, and the indispensable wisdom of “knowing not-knowing.”


Blessings Arrive


Many thanks to all those who joined me on the 21st for my Preview Talk for the New Year, hosted by my good friends at Sanford’s Martial Arts in Soquel. We recorded the event on video (which is currently being edited to ensure better sound quality) and the recordings will be available for download through a link at Ming Li Tong Shu Online in a few days. Simply go to the welcome/sign-in page, where you’ll see the link button for “Digital Products” at the lower left. I’ll make an announcement here on Tong Shu Talk once the recordings are available for download, so if you’ve signed up to follow this blog by submitting an email address (that option is available in the sidebar on the left side of this page) you’ll receive an email automatically, letting you know they’re up and ready to go!

I’m so grateful for the Sanfords’ gracious and unfailing support in hosting the event, and I hope that you may find value and enjoyment through the video recordings. Part of the material covers a series of “do-little dates,” and that recording comes with a .pdf of the handout sheet I gave out as a reference for the coming year.






Saturday evening, January 21st, from 6:30 to 8:30, with some additional time afterwards for those who wish to stay for questions.

Sanford’s Martial Arts, 4626 Soquel Dr., Soquel Village (through the red door next to Aldo’s Bakery, and upstairs to the second floor.)

Cost is $25 at the door (cash or check)

Once again this year, my good friends at Sanford’s Martial Arts in Soquel Village have offered to host me in giving a Preview Talk about the coming year in the Chinese calendar. This time, of course, it’s the Year of the Fire Fowl, which begins with the new moon on January 28th.

If you’re near the Santa Cruz area, I’m hoping you can join us in person for the event. If not, I’ll be making a recording of the talk, to be made available for download at Ming Li Tong Shu Online, hopefully by the 25th or 26th of January.


As the Fire Monkey is making its exit, the Fire Fowl will offer new opportunities for clearer thinking, deeper insight, and the discovery of unrecognized pathways to practicality and resolution. The Monkey’s impertinent acrobatics, teeter-tottering between giddy hopes and frantic fears, have left many feeling exhausted, confused, and a bit sick at the stomach.  Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who can look back with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, it may be hard to have confidence in the ground on which you find yourself standing, given the Monkey’s penchant for magical illusion and showmanship-over-substance.

If the Monkey has treated you roughly, the Fowl has the power to help redeem your losses, and if not fully to comfort you, then at least to bring you proper value in recompense for what you’ve been through. If you’re caught in the puzzle of juggling the various oddly-shaped blessings which the Monkey has dropped into your hands, and you (perhaps) find yourself gradually losing confidence in your ability to keep the Monkey’s Magical Machine twinkling forward, then the Fowl’s calm clarity of gaze (and laser-like exactitude of aim…!) can help to bring you a more sober view of your true and natural capacities, and help you to discriminate between those actions ahead of you which will only lead to more “acting,” and those which can lead in fact to “actuality.”

To start off the Preview Talk, I’ll be discussing the year at large, with special attention to several periods of problems and potentials, and handing out a list of dates through the year when taking or avoiding action are advisable.

I’ll finish up with my analysis of the year for those born in each of the Twelve Animal Years, with some watchwords for avoiding pitfalls and recognizing opportunities. If you don’t know your Chinese Animal, don’t worry: we’ll look it up for you!

You don’t need to register for the event, but if you have special questions or requests, please give us a call:

Sanford’s Martial Arts   (831) 475-9676

Robert’s iPhone             (408) 963-9988


“Good Fortune and Prosperity Through the Four Seasons!”



“Long Life Surrounded By Blessings!”


I’m very happy to announce the addition of 80 years of data now available for subscribers of Ming Li Tong Shu Online. Many thanks to my friends and business partners at Great Applications for driving the process forward, and extending the database from 1900, all the way to the end of the 21st century!

Click on the “Decade” button in the navigation area at the top of any Daily Page to see the array of years we’re now making available—up to and including 2100! From this array, you can navigate as usual to any date shown, to see any Daily Page, and access the Chart Pages for each of the Chinese Hours. We’re very excited to offer this extended “view of the future” to our subscribers, and hope that you’ll enjoy using the information we take pride in making available for many years to come.

The current Daily Page will continue to be available to all who wish to check the site out. You can also download digital products, such as recordings of my annual preview seminars. The next one, for the Year of the Fire Fowl, is scheduled to be recorded in the first couple of weeks in 2017, and released before the end of January.

Signing up for a Free Account will give you access to the previous week of Daily Pages as well. You’ll need to supply us with an email address (which we can use to notify you of updates to the site, and never pass on to any third party.) Click on the “Create Free Account” button on the welcome page to gain access at this level.

A full subscription now gives access to 201 years of Daily Pages, with Chart Pages for each Chinese Hour, acupuncture Open Points tables for each day, and Personalized Service on the Daily Pages (highlighting favorable and unfavorable conditions based on your date of birth). Just click the “Subscribe” button on the welcome page, and welcome aboard!

For all who are interested, as I am, in the ancient calendar traditions of Chinese culture and their practical uses in the contemporary world, I hope you find Ming Li Tong Shu Online a valuable resource. And for our continuing subscribers, I want to offer my deep thanks for your engagement, your encouragement, and your continuing support.



“Long Life Surrounded with Blessings!”


MonkeyKing BaGua @280x285


This year, March 9th is the first day of the Hare Moon in the Chinese calendar.  Just as dawn arrives in the Hare Hour, so the Hare Moon brings in the dawning of the radiance and beneficence of the New Year.  On this day, the powers of the Yang confer with the Jade Emperor, laying plans and strategies for guiding forth the strength and agility of the Fire Monkey for the benefit of all. (If you’re lucky enough to see the sun appear at dawn, you should consider yourself to be on the Monkey’s short list of Those To Be Helped…)

The Tiger Moon that has just passed may have rightfully given the Monkey some fright and startled him into hiding high in the treetops. If you don’t feel you quite get the gist of what’s going on around you, that’s entirely appropriate. Satisfy yourself with developing a taste for what might be, and let the Monkey calm down a bit before you ask for a demonstration of “the truth of the matter.”

As it unfolds, the Hare Moon will prove much more agreeable to the Monkey’s quirky and inquisitive nature, even though certainty and confidence will likely remain difficult to grasp and yet harder to rely upon.  Still, those teasing flashes of new potentials and freshly inspired alternatives which the Monkey has brought into fashion will have a better chance to spread out in the growing sunlight, and get their kinks and wrinkles properly ironed into smooth display.

The true glory of the Monkey’s Magic isn’t scheduled to come forth until the Dragon Moon arrives in April, when the resulting acrobatics are liable to be both awe-inspiring and a little giddy-making. So take the Hare Moon’s gentle and comforting invitation to get your thoughts and dreams properly aligned with your current status and access to resources. If you’re going to get your chance in the cock-pit of a jet airplane, you’ll want to get resolved about your reflexes and strength of will (not to mention your aims) first!

For more of my advisories about the Year of the Fire Monkey, check out the recordings of the Monkey Year Preview Talk, available through Ming Li Tong Shu Online.



MonkeyKing BaGua

Recordings of the Monkey Year Preview Talk I gave recently are now available as downloads through Ming Li Tong Shu Online. You’ll find the link for “Digital Products” on the welcome page, or you can use the link for “Products” once you’ve gone to the daily page on the site.

There are three separate sound files you can download:

• The first is an overview of the Year of the Fire Monkey for everybody, with explanation of the Monkey’s special character and possibilities, and attention to months that are more available for profitable action and those that are better devoted to “watching and waiting.”

• The second covers advice and warnings for each of the Twelve Animals, focusing on practical strategies for making the most of the Monkey’s powerful and quirky nature. To get the fullest use of the information, you’ll need to know the Animal for your year of birth. This can easily be found (if you don’t already know it) by registering for a free account on Ming Li Tong Shu Online. This will give you access to the full database of years on the site. Getting a free account requires a working email address which the system uses as your ID.  We do NOT sell this information, nor do we use it beyond ID purposes.  (There are rare circumstances in which we send important alerts to the registered members and subscribers using their emails, usually regarding changes to the site or disruption of service.). This download also includes questions from the attendees, and while they’re sometimes poorly audible on the recording, I tried to make the nature of the questions clear through my responses.

• The third is briefer and goes over the “Do-Little Days” for the year, explaining how they fit into the flow of the year, with some ideas on how to make best use of them. For easy reference, this recording also comes with a .pdf of the dates to observe throughout the FIre Monkey Year.

The first two files are $12.97 each, and the shorter one is $9.97, charged to your credit card. They are .mp3 files and are playable on virtually any device. (Apple users will need to downlad to a computer hard drive first, and then transfer them to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad if you want to listen to them them there.)


“May Monkey’s play bring Monkey’s power!”



“When Monkey reigns, doorways open and magical blessings abound!”


Hou BaGua



“Long life, surrounded by blessings!”








“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!


Red Sheephead Glyph Trigrams

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…!

32_YiWei_Tài-Suì_YangXian Da Jiang-Jun

32-Yi Wei Tai Sui Yang Xian Da Jiang-Jun


 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.


Thursday begins the Lunar Week:

June 2018
« Jan    


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