Of Chronology And The Calendar


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In this chapter I shall describe the essential components of Jung-tsi astrology, which is a Chinese-based system. These components provide the framework for Tibetan chronology, and as the most important interpretive elements in the study of astrology, they must be understood from the very beginning. These factors derive Irom interactions between cosmic or planetary energies and terrestrial energies. We are not dealing here with the planets a1, yjch but rath« with their action in contact with the earth.

It has often been said that Chinese astrology is not so much an astrological system as a geomantic art; and it is terrestrial experience rather than metaphysical speculation that dominates


Tim Itve Elements

TV five Chinese element', arc known in Tibetan as jmgwa: iSbingh Hnt (Me), Earth (J«), Metal {(.hah), and Watet - {Cit») These elements should run be confused with the i.onstit uents of the un.ver.se (Earth, Water, Fire, Air. and Ether), which are also used Indian asuology to designate the main components of material or subtle phenomena. Thus in the bodv, Earth denotes flesh and bones; Water denotes bodily fluids; Fire denotes body heat; Air denotes the Winds; and Ether or Space corresponds to consciousness.

The five Chinese elements, however, are a little different. They are, in fact, natural forces of transformation, in constant interaction with each other. The term "element" is to be understood as a dynamic principle, a principle of energy; and certain authors prefer to speak of "agents" rather than the more confusing "elements." However, it is possible to establish correspondences between the two systems, assimilating Wood to Air and Metal to Earth.

The names of the elements—Wood, Fire, Earth, Water, and Metal—are symbolic: they allow description of the elements by analogy, but have little to do with the objects of the same name. None of the elements is good or bad in itself. However, in contact with each other they react according to their affinities. There are therefore favorable, neutral, and harmful relations. An element can also become dangerous when there is too much or roo little of it.

Elements and Directions

Each element is associated with a direction arid i season. In thejungtsi Men Ng.ik lltuv Osc-, we find a description of how the elements are bested in space, with reieiencc to the great cosmic turtle, the base of the universe-

Here is the uachmt on <Whve yam of the umk science ha* been esraMMu-d thanks to the method ^ «t^"

sciuiii); the world ot !hC

pn.fi.vmd waning ot ih* teaci.ins nwst be understood.

The k„c of the v,,nld is a turtle lymS on its-t^k to head deu„r,, the south „id the element .I ^/^fT

the diicctioii F.„t ami the ck.*.« h> klf mJ.

shows the West ami the dement Metal, Its tail Indicates the North and the demein Water. Finally, its lour limbs. in the four intermediate directions (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and southwest) correspond to the element Earth.

AH the sciences of astrological calculation arc established on this basis.

It will be noted that Earth occupies a place of particular importance. This can be interpreted in a number of ways: As the force that emanates from the Earth when it enters into contact with

SOUTH Summer Fire

NOKTH Winter Water

The orientation of the Coma Turtle, the seasons, and the elements

■ ,;H-'ON.°l<,f" 1 H ( r: A I. I N £) A R

the four " ' it assigned the center as ,,, direc tion, or alternatively the four intermediate points. According to other sources, the Earth element « composed of the four other, and only appears as a result of their miction. It is therefore not assigned any particular direction.

In the course of the year, each of the elements predominates m one of the seasons; in spring. Wood dominates; in summer Fire; in autumn, Metal; and in winter, Water. However, at the end of each season, its characteristic dement loses strength, and it is at this time that Earth, hitherto hidden, predominates; and then the following season supervenes, dominated by another element. Thus the Earth element only shows its strength between seasons; and since each season is connected with one of the cardinal directions, Earth is naturally associated with the intermediate points.

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