Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chinese solar new year

While the Chinese lunar new year begins at the second new moon after winter solstice, which, this year, is on February 10, the solar year always begins exactly midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It corresponds in western astrology with 15 degrees Aquarius, and usually falls on February 4. The Chinese solar new year always marks the beginning of Chinese spring season.

In Chinese astrology the solar years and months are always marked in the 9 star system. The 9 stars are called 1 Water, 2 Earth, 3 Wood, 4 Wood, 5 Earth, 6 Metal, 7 Metal, 8 Earth, and 9 Fire. This year, 2013 is the year of 5 Earth. The nature of 5 Earth is to establish perfect balance. In the year of 5 Earth all of the stars return to their original houses, 1 Water star returning to house of 1 Water, 2 Earth to the house of 2 Earth, and so on. This means that all of the elements in this year are back home, and we are at the beginning of a new nine year cycle. All of the forces in Nature are now returning to their original harmony.

The 9 star system is the oldest Chinese astrological system, said to have been discovered by the first king of China, Fu Hsi, about five-thousand years ago. The 9 star system was based originally on observations of the stars in the Big Dipper, the North Star and the star Wega made at regular intervals, and was used as a calendar for agricultural purposes. It also found its way into the Chinese compass systems used in fengshui as seen in fengshui compasses made during the Han dynasty over two thousand years ago. By the Han dynasty this was already known to be a very ancient system.

The 9 Star system came to be linked with the Eight Immortals and realm of the Jade Emperor. The correspondences are as follows.

1 Water Star corresponds with Chang Kuo-Lao, a recluse who has, and can grant magical powers including the power of invisibility. He travels on a mule that takes him great distances, and when not needed the mule is folded up and put away in a wallet. When Chang wants to ride the mule again, he puts water on it and it returns to its original form. Chang always rides his mule backwards.

2 Earth Star corresponds with Ho Hsien-Ku, a lady who, having eaten a supernatural peach, became a fairy. She loves to wander alone in the mountains, and lives on powdered mother of pearl and moonbeams. She brings harmony and joy to people's homes.

3 Wood Star corresponds to Chung-Li Ch'uan, the chief of the immortals who keeps the alchenical secrets of the elixir of life and the powder of transformation. He is depicted as a fat man with a bare belly. He holds a peach and a fan with which he revives the souls of the dead.

4 Wood Star corresponds to Han Hsiang-Tzu, a famous scholar who has the power to make flowers grow and blossom instantly. His emblem is a flute, and he is the patron of musicians. He does not care about money, and, if given any, scatters it on the ground.

5 Earth Star is the central star. It represents the pole star, the palace of the Jade Emperor who rules over the entire operations of the heavens. The Jade Emperor has a minister called Tu Ti Gong, meaning the working of the relations of Earth and Heaven. Tu Ti Gong is also commonly known as Grandpa. Shrines to Tu Ti Gong are always placed low on the ground. He is a very popular deity. Tu Ti Gong brings petitions from the people to the Jade Emperor. The year of 5 Earth Star is auspicious for everyone because 5 Earth Star is in the center of the world this year, and the connection to the Jade Emperor's palace is direct so that this is a very good year to put away old troubles and start new ventures to ensure long lasting success.

6 Metal Star corresponds to Lan Ts'ai-Ho, a woman who wears a blue gown, with one foot shod and the other foot bare, waving a wand and begging in the streets. She sings a song about the fleeting delusions and vanities of this life. She carries a flower basket, and is the patron of gardners and florists.

7 Metal Star corresponds to Lu Tung-Pin, a scholar and recluse. He overcame ten temptations for which he won a sword of supernatural power with which he traveled the earth for 400 years slaying dragons, freeing the world of evil spirits, and healing diseases. He is worshipped by the sick.

8 Earth Star corresponds to Ts'ao Kuo Chiu, a nephew of the empress Ts'ao Hou of the Sung dynasty. Ts'ao Kuo Chiu appears in court costume and holds castinets. He is the patron of the theatrical arts.

9 Fire Star corresponds to Li T'ieh-Kuai, a beggar leaning on an iron staff, carrying a beggar's gourd in which there is a scroll that is flying out and away. Li T'ieh-Kuai is a powerful magician who has the ablity to leave his body and fly into the heavens. His emblem is a pilgrim's gourd, and he is sometimes represented riding on a crab, or accompanying a deer. He brings great luck and prosperity.

If you don't know your birth star, here is how to find it. The cycle of the nine stars repeats every nine years. The stars for men and women are opposite and complementary, the Taoist understanding being that women and men are mirrors of one another. Find your year star either by adding or subtracting 9 or multiples of 9 to or from your birth year until you come to one of the following.

1952 for men and women is 3 Wood Star
1953 for men is 2 Earth Star, and for women is 4 Wood Star
1954 for men is 1 Water Star, and for women is 5 Earth Star
1955 for men is 9 Fire Star, and for women is 6 Metal Star
1956 for men is 8 Earth Star, and for women is 7 Metal Star
1957 for men is 7 Metal Star, and for women is 8 Earth Star
1958 for men is 6 Metal Star, and for women is 9 Fire Star
1959 for men is 5 Earth Star, and for women in 1 Water Star
1960 for men is 4 Wood Star, and for women is 2 Earth Star
1961 for men and women is 3 Wood Star.

If, for example you are a woman born in 1980, you would subtract 27, a multiple of 9, and come to 1953, or 4 Wood Star. Or, if you are a man born in 1980, you would find that your birth star is 2 Earth.

The beginning of the solar new year can be reduced to an I Ching hexagram to tell us something about what the year means. Using the year, month, day and hour of the beginning of the solar year this year, we get Hexagram 11. Hexagram 11 is called Peace. Small things are fading away, great things are coming. Great profits can be made on small investments. This hexagram is very fortunate when it comes in the spring, and this is the beginning of spring. The line in the hexagram given by our computation is the 5th line. It says "The emperor gives his daughter in marriage. Good fortune." The meaning is "to rule is to serve." Carry out what is right in a simple manner and you will enjoy good fortune.

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