Monday, June 27, 2011

Zi Wei Dou Shu (4) - The influence of Indian astrology

The four residue stars in Qi Zheng Si Yu are obviously borrowed from Indian astrology. For example,
羅睺 Fire Residue is directly taken from Rahu and
計都 – Earth Residue is Ketu.
These are the meeting points of the solar path and the lunar path as seen from earth.

Even Qi Zheng Si Yu has undergone a lot of changes and improvements to become what some scholars consider authentic Chinese astrology. The astronomical flavour is very strong and the projected results are statistically oriented. Famous astrologer Wu Shi Qing 吴師青who was active in Hong Kong in the early 20th century has published a book called Heaven Luck Astrology 天運占星學. In the preface of this book, he quoted Han Shu 漢書: "Huang Di 黄帝 ordered three scholars one to divine the sun, the second one to divine the moon and the third one to divine the stars." He tried to shake off the Indian flavour in Qi Zheng Si Yu and studied extensively the eight planets (Pluto was not included). All the stars on the sky provide the background for these planets to act on. The idea is like using the stars as body and the planets as application. No Indian names are used.

Chinese astrology is actually deeply astronomical influenced. The accuracy of the chart is extremely important. Wu Shi Qing was an astronomist himself and he communicated with other top astronomists in China frequently to make sure the charts he drew were accurate. The exclusion of Pluto from the planets in his book is not without grounds.

Other people who were not astronomists followed a different path. Both Zi Ping 子平and Zi Wei 紫微 are much more an art than a science. The astrologer is like a photographer who has an unusual camera eye and can see what common people cannot see. In Zi Wei Dou Shu, although the names of the stars can be associated with the real stars on the sky, the way of charting does not justify the association. It is just like how Pablo Picasso paints a portrait of his love.

It is most likely that when Zi Wei Dou Shu was invented, Buddhism was most influencial in China. Therefore, the names of the stars are from the translated Buddhist writings. To most people the association of astrology with religion makes destiny analysis more credible. Unfortunately, there were some obvious mistakes in assigning the names.

Tan Lang 貪狼 literally means a greedy wolf. No matter whether it is used in Feng Shui or Zi Wei Dou Shu, we cannot associate this name with the personality of the star.

Lian Zhen 廉貞 literally means clean (opposite to corrupt) chastity. Whether it is in Feng Shui or Zi Wei Dou Shu, this star has an evil nature that most people fear.

However, a name is just a name and it does not alter the nature of the star. We can see the importance of fully understanding the nature and personality of the stars before we can use Zi Wei Dou Shu to study destiny.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Zi Wei Dou Shu (3) - Stars

The first system of astrology in China was known as “Five-Star System Wu Xing Shu 五星術”. It uses the five planets:

Jupiter 歳星 – Wood Star

Mars 荧惑 – Fire Star

Saturn 鎮星 – Earth Star

Venus 太白 – Gold Star

Mercury 辰星 – Water Star

Later, the Sun Tai Yang 太陽 and the Moon Tai Yin 太陰 were included.

These were real heavenly bodies and astronomical calculations were used to locate them for astrological purposes.

There were four other heavenly bodies introduced:

紫氣 Wood Residue

月孛 – Water Residue

羅睺 Fire Residue

計都 – Earth Residue

The system is now known as Seven Proper and Four Residues (七政四餘).

The four residues are speculatively associated with Neptune, Uranus, Pluto and a Comet.

Both Zi Ping Shu (子平術) and Zi Wei Dou Shu (紫微斗數) were inventions to replace Qi Zheng Si Yu. They both gave up using real astronomy to do the charting. Zi Ping Shu or Four Pillars Destiny Analysis (四柱命理學) uses the ten stems and twelve branches but some special combinations owe their origin to Qi Zheng Si Yu. For example, stars used in Zi Ping Shu like Hong Luan 红鸞, Tian Yi Gui Ren 天乙貴人 have the corresponding stars in Qi Zhen Si Yu. Likewise, they also appear in Zi Wei Dou Shu.

The stars we use in Zi Wei Dou Shu have a lot in common with the real stars in Qi Zheng Si Yu. However, it is interesting to note that the names of some major stars are based on names derived from Buddhism. For example:

The Chinese names of the stars in the Big Dipper are:

(1)Tian Shu 天樞 (2) Tian Xuan 天璇 (3) Tian Ji (4) Tian Quan 天權 (5) Yu Heng 玉衡 (6) Kai Yang 開陽 (7) Yao Guang 摇光

The corresponding names used in Zi Wei Dou Shu are:

(1)Tan Lang 貪狼 (2) Ju Men 巨門 (3) Lu Cun 祿存 (4) Wen Qu 文曲 (5) Lian Zhen 廉貞 (6) Wu Qu 武曲 (7) Po Jun 破軍

Suffice it to say that the stars we use in Zi Wei Dou Shu are virtual stars pretending to be the real stars we see on the sky. In other words, it is a system of life reading but only virtual astrology.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Zi Wei Dou Shu (2) - Ziwei Domain

Ziwei is the name of the entire domain situated in the north pole of the sky globe. It consists mainly of a left wall and a right wall. Included in the domain is the Emperor Constellation together with his administrative staff.

Outside the domain is the most noticeable Big Dipper. The stars in the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) form the backbone of the major stars we use in Zi Wei Dou Shu.

Zi Wei refers to the Ziwei Domain. Dou refers to the constellation Bei Dou or the Big Dipper. Shu means destiny (as prescribed by a numeral). Therefore, the name of this system of astrology should be interpreted as "Ziwei and Beidou Destiny Analysis".


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Zi Wei Dou Shu (1) - Chen Tuan

This is caligraphy by Chen Tuan 陳摶(also known as Chen Xi Yi 陳希夷, Chen Tu Nan 陳圖南, Fu Yao Zi 扶搖子, Bai Yun Xian Sheng 白雲先生) who was born at the end of the Tang Dynasty. During the "five generations" period, he became a hermit in Hua Shan 華山practicing Daoism. He fed solely on air and slept continuously for 100 days. He met the founder of the Song Dynasty long before the latter became emperor. One day they played Wei Qi 圍棋 and the bet was the mountain Hua Shan. He won and when Song Tai Zu 宋太祖was coronated as emperor, he remembered his bet and waived the tax on Hua Shan.

Chen Tuan was so famous that when Zi Wei Dou Shu 紫微斗數 was compiled in writing, his name was on it as the author. This was the usual practice in ancient China and it created a lot of trouble for scholars later to determine who the author really was.