Chinese Astrology Yijing


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96,961,740 years

Another characteristic of the traditional Chinese calendar is the naming of the year. Early Chinese kings or emperors named the years after their own reigns, and so did the first few emperors of the Zhou dynasty. By the time of the Spring-and-Autumn period, the influence of the feudal princes increased as the power of the monarchy declined. Each feudal prince used a calendar named after his own reign within his own state. The Zuozhuan ^Efll and the Guoyu Hip, for example, adopt the calendar of the State of Lu. There was a need of some uniformity with so many different calendars in operation at the same period. Noticing Jupiter to return to the same spot in the heavens in about 12 years, 12 zones were marked along the equator, such that Jupiter would travel within one zone in 1 year and move over to the next in the following year and that winter solstice would lie at the centre of the first zone. The first zone was called Xingji JUE, followed in the west to east direction by Xuanxiao "2^, Zouzi Jianglou l5^ Daliang XM, Sbicben Jfit, Cbunshou SI'S", Chunhuo f.|X, Cbunwei IIM, Shouxing Si, Dahuo XX and Ximu ifyfc. These were the 12 Jupiterstations (shier ci <lX). Chinese astronomers in the Warring States period had already observed that the movement of Jupiter was not regular, sometimes progressing, sometimes stationary and sometimes retrograding. Probably this gave rise to the need to invent an imaginary Counter-Jupiter that moved uniformly in the opposite direction from east to west. When Jupiter was at Xingji Counter-Jupiter would be at yin J>i, when Jupiter moved to Xuanxiao the next year Counter-Jupiter would be in mao 9fl, and so on. Hence, instead of indicating a year by the position of Jupiter at the relevant

Jupiter-station, it was also possible and, in fact, more convenient to denote a year by the position of Counter-Jupiter upon the branches. This was called Taisui jinian i&jlL&E^ (Chronology Employing the Cycle of Counter-Jupiter).

Taisui jinian used the branch to denote the year. It was often used together with Suijun jinian H^IE^, which used the stem to denote the year. Ancient nomenclatures of the branches and the stems have in recent time become an unsolved puzzle to some historians of Chinese astronomy. When Counter-Jupiter was at the yin branch it was named Shetige SSfi!i§ and at each different branch it was given a different name. These names became synonymous with the names of the branches, i.e. zi corresponding to Kundun 03 JSt, chou to Chifenruo z^Hiir, yin to Shetige, mao to Shane chen to Zhixu si to Dahuangluo jZTn.fiI, wu to Dunzang Wi^-, wei to Xiexia ^hta, shen to Tuantan vfjiit, you to Zuoe f^fP, xu to Yanmao RSBc and hai to Dayuanxian These terms were already explained in the sixth century by Xiao Ji in his Wuxing dayi, which also took into account earlier explanations in the earlier Huainanzi and Erya,32 Nonetheless they sound strange or non-Han to some modern Chinese ears, but no foreign languages approximating to the sounds of these terms have been found. One suggestion is that they came from the language of some Chinese Minorities. The eminent astronomer and geographer Luoxia Hong ^TH (fl. second and first century bc), for example, is cited as coming from the Minorities tribes and not the majority Han. There was a similar set of rather strange names for the stems. As if to further complicate matters, but perhaps for the purpose of avoiding confusion over the years and the months, another set of names for the branches was used to denote the months.

Due to the precession of the equinoxes and the sidereal period of Jupiter being 11.86 rather than exactly 12 years, Jupiter would move gradually closer towards the next Jupiter-station after each year. After 84.7 years it would be found in the next station. This is what astronomers observing the movement of Jupiter referred to as 'Taisui chao chen (Counter-

Jupiter bypassing a branch). Jupiter-stations had long ceased to be used in the Chinese calendar. As is mentioned in Chapter 5, Shen Gua had already remarked on their being out of step with the calendar in the eleventh century. However, being an imaginary heavenly body, no observation was needed or could be made on the movement of Counter-Jupiter and it was not even necessary to know the actual position of Jupiter. The Chinese lunar calendar today still retains the system of Taisui jinian. Counter-Jupiter will feature prominently in Chapter 5 on the Liuren method, although it has a presence in the other two systems as well.

The system of the Yijing

Much has been written on this intriguing subject that had engaged the attention of traditional scholars for well over 2,000 years and that still attracts the interest of modern scholars. The only purpose in describing it here is to provide the bare essentials for an understanding of the three cosmic boards. Therefore due precaution needs to be taken not to be sidetracked into this fascinating subject. It suffices to add that accounts of the system accompanied with excellent bibliographies can be found, for example, in Needham (1956) and Smith (1991). For a brief account of divination using the Yijing system see, for example, Ho Peng Yoke (1991d).33 We shall not concern ourselves here with the myriad schools of interpretations in the past nor with the discovery of the ancient order of the Hexagrams in modern archaeological excavation as they play no part in the understanding of the three cosmic boards.

In the Yijing, the Taiji ^C® (Supreme Pole or Supreme Ultimate) gives rise to the two cosmological forces (er yi —"91) Yin and Yang.iA Yin is represented by a broken line symbol and Yang by an unbroken line. Combinations of Yin and Yang produce the Four Symbols [si xiang H9 J^): Tai Yin ^fcPti with two Yin lines, Shao Yang with a Yang line above a Yin line, Shao Yin 'J^&i with a Yin line above a Yang line, and Tai Yang j^PM with two Yang lines. A further combination of Yin and Yang with each of the Four Symbols resulted in the Eight Trigrams (ba gua A#) qian $Z, kun zhen M, xun H, kan ifc, li gen d. and dui JnL (see Figure 2.9, the Eight Trigrams). Combinations of the Trigrams produced the Sixty-Four Hexagrams. For a long time, two different orders of arrangement of the gua, both Trigrams and Hexagrams, were talked about. One was the houtian ij^ (Later Heavens) order attributed to Wenwang X3E, father of the first emperor of the Zhou Dynasty in the eleventh century bc. The other was the xiantian (Prior to Heavens) order attributed to the legendary emperor taiji ±M

kunify gen Be kan ifc sun SI zhen m pit gentle quake thunder

'/' «I dui Ä qian ti separate exchange paternal heaven maternal limit earth

Figure 2.9 The yijing Trigrams.

Fuxi tKli, although no earlier reference to it can be found before the time of Shao Yong (1011-1077). Even the houtian order attributed to Wenwang may not be that ancient because of its divergence from the arrangement of the text excavated from Mawangdui in the second half of the twentieth century. Much has been told regarding the connection of the xiantian order with the binary system of Leibniz. But the three cosmic boards were more concerned with the houtian system. Neither the binary arrangement in the xiantian order nor the Mawangdui arrangement plays a part at this stage. One needs only to refer to the diagrams in Needham (1956) that show the arrangement of the Hexagrams in the houtian order, as well as to Table 2.9 that indicates the connection between the Trigrams, Yin and Yang, the wuxing and the points of the compass. It is important to note the traditional Chinese convention of orienting the compass with S on top, W to the right, N at the bottom and E on the left, turned 180 degrees from our modern convention.35 This orientation was already pointed out in our discussion on the zibai or so-called colour-coded calendar.

Table 2.9




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