The Chinese Calendar 1 - What You Must Know
The historical account of the Chinese Calendric sciences are both interesting and intriguing often laden with puzzles, hypotheses and dogmas. On one hand, it needs to account for the evolutions of the GanZhi 干支 system of Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branches while on the other, the all embracing system of Yi in the forms of Hexagrams and Trigrams 卦. As commonly understood, there are 60 GanZhi as opposed to 64 Hexagrams. So technically, a complete cycle of the GanZhi 干支 system may not match the complete cycle of the system of Yi in the forms of Hexagrams and Trigrams 卦. However through the centuries, there are many attempts to consolidate both systems into a workable model and through 3 generations of Chinese Calendars was born:-
1. The first was known as TaiChu Li or the Calendar of the Great Beginning.
2. The second was known as SanTong Li or the Calendar of the Three Concordance.
3. The third was known as SiFen Li or the Calendar of the Four Remainders.
These are models based on a LuniSolar attempt or the combination of:-
1. Lunar – Calculation based on Lunation of the moon around the Earth.
2. Solar – Calculation based on Sun path in relation to Earth rotation commonly known as the Yellow Path.
Where both GanZhi and YiGua are used. In Chinese Metaphysics, both GanZhi and YiGua are equally important: -
1. SanHe – Emphasis on GanZi
2. SanYuan – Emphasis on YiGua
Are these systems measuring the same Qi? What sort of calendar does the system employ? Better, what are GanZhi and YiGua measuring to? If one look at the SYSTEM itself, starts from 1 WuQi, 2 Slices of YinYang, 3 Components of SanCai, 4 Seasons, 7 Luminaries, 8 Guas, 9 Stars, 10 Stems and all through 24 sub seasons and 30 pairs of NaYin to 64 Hexagrams. How would one consolidate such into a meaningful working model?
1. Has any of the basis of Yarrow Stalks Divination method has to do with calendric sciences?
2. Why would one group the 24 sub seasons into the group of three instead of two as commonly understood?
3. A trigram is made of 3 Yao (3 lines comprising the composition of solid or broken line). Why a Yang Yao (solid line) must take the value of 9 as opposed to Yin Yao (broken line) which take the value of 6 as the basis of measuring time? If these fundamentals are not sorted out, how would one understand the working mechanism of DaGua date selections and confronting SanSha? How would one understand the use of GuaYun and GuaQi? What are these units measuring to in the first instance?
The Chinese Calendar 2 - What Has Divination And Calendar Has In Common?
Using YiGua for divination purposes is a very common practice. The casting of the Hexagram is based on the age old practice of heating up the tortoise shell until it cracks to casting of the yarrow stalk, flipping copper coins by shaking the tortoise shell and the more up to date, iPhone Apps. These are techniques of seeking an answer from Heaven through a randomly casting medium such as yarrow stalks and tortoise shell which are believed to have contained spiritual Qi, LingQi. What interests me most is the fundamental basis of the Yarrow Stalk method which conceals the will of Heaven annexed to the numerology in the science of the calendrics. It cannot just be a random or simply numbers pluck from thin air. For example, why there are 216 divination sticks for Qian and 144 divination sticks for Kun? The answers can be found in the HeTu, LoShu and the Seasonal Nodes, the very fundamental building blocks of Chinese calendar. Understanding such one will continue to be puzzled that a simple method liked the Yarrow Stalks are beyond just mere superstitions of the commonly known, street fortune telling but also the basis of computing the rotation of the 7 luminaries as close to our modern astronomical calculations.
The Chinese Calendar 3 - Revisit HETU
Follow up from the Yarrow Stalk Method of Divination, the Classic says: -
“Therefore, it is stated that Heaven Numbers are 5, Earth Numbers are 5. 5 positions having obtained one another, each has a match. Heaven numbers 25, Earth numbers 30. Both heaven and earth numbers 55. This is that which having completed the alternations and transformations, sets in motion the Gui and Shen spirits.”
What it actually meant was:-
1. Heaven Numbers are 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 (Total 5 numbers)
2. Earth Numbers are 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 (Total 5 numbers)
3. Sum of Heaven Numbers: 1+3+5+7+9=25
4. Sum of Earth Numbers: 2+4+6+8+10=30
5. Total Sum of Heaven and Earth Numbers = 55
6. When it is correctly apply, Qi is in motion.
Such is apply, mainly in XuanKong methodology with a close relationship in the Chinese Metaphysics.
The Chinese Calendar 4 – Knowing the Year, Seasons and Days
A Tropical Year is calculated on the basis of the Earth moving around the Sun. The equinoxes and the solstices demarcating Earth’s distance, nearest or furthest away from the Sun marking the 4 seasons where the extreme Yin begins in Zi and the extreme Yang begins in Wu month. Of the 4 seasons, the 24 seasonal nodes are referred to as solar markers. One season governs 6 seasonal nodes. Therefore, each portion governs 3 seasonal nodes, thus vernal equinox in spring becomes an important marker where wood Qi is at its optimum. The Stables Qi is at its infancy (growth), the Cardinals Qi is at its peak (prosperous) and the Graves Qi is at its tomb (storage). These are the basis of SanHe’s 12 growth phases, measuring the “HouQi” or vital Qi which implies that influence between 2 gravitational forces at its strongest and weakest. It takes 15 days for a revolution of HouQi. Multiply by 24 seasonal nodes, a year contains 360 days. But our Modern Day calculation state that it takes about 365 1/4 days for a year. Would such make the Calendar obsolete?
The Chinese Calendar 5 - Ancient Time Piece
The Chinese Calendar 6 – HouQi, LiuJia and NaYin
Since Shang Dynasty, a 10 days week module was introduced, led by a particular GanZi making the 6 Jia (LiuJia) cycles of Stem and Branch. 60 JiaZi obtained 360. Each day is assigned to a JiaZi. HouQi is the Vital Qi measurement of the resonance forces of nature. It is an interaction between stem and earth branch, some called Acquired Melody. Although 60 JiaZi is individually unique, it undergoes its own YinYang resonance. A competent practitioner will able to discern its YinYang attributes to determine its timing and its medium. Therefore, it is common to say there are only 30 pairs of Acquired Melody coincidentally give one a rotation of 360 per year. A rough idea to demonstrate such will be the resonance emitted from the interaction between Earth orbiting the Sun while the moon orbiting the Earth. The gravitational stretch among these planetary masses through the medium of water and earth “vibrates” creating wave liked effects liked “sound”. It is also known as penetrating “melodic” of the 5 elements as it has to pass on through a medium liked earth. Modern comparison would like “ultra-sound”, seeing the imagery through the lens of vibration. Therefore, the ancients equal it as Vital Qi. As to equate such Vital Qi with radioactive properties such as Radon is again, subject to debate. Although in ancient time, radioactivity is not so much apparent compared to the use of other substances such as mercury. That is one reason Vital Qi equals radioactivity may not be entirely True. So to speak spring begins in the arrival of spring may not necessary meant wood Qi has arrived. It has to wait until its vital Qi arrives and that is measurable. So, 360 rotation a year compared with 365 ¼ days a year may result in 5 ¼ days off grids. So a certain devise to calibrate its differences is required. The question is what it is?