Monday, January 5, 2009

Chinese Astrology and 2009: Part II

If I haven't yet confused you with Part I, let me finish that task with Part II, as I start with a brief precis of the horoscope, and then delve into Chinese astrology.

The horoscope is a diagram of the heavenly bodies, showing the relative positions of the sun, moon, stars, planets and other sensuous curves at a given time. Astrologers prepare an individual horoscope using the person's exact time and place of birth, throwing in winds, tides, barometric pressure, antecedence, dealer prep and options. Incorporated with the zodiac, astrologers claim to be able to predict an individual's future and advise him/her/whatever on the courses of action or decisions open to them. When wrong, they blame Republicans, and insist that more money will fix everything.

Signs of the Heavenly Bodies in a horoscopial sense include the Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Mazda, pre-bankrupt GMC, Cadillac, Angie Harmon and Shania Twain. Amongst today's more politically correct, required flexibility lends itself to substitutions of any of the above -- particularly the latter two -- for gender preference.

Speaking for me, screw political correctness and I'll stick with Angie and Shania, but I digress.

As noted in Part I, Western and Eastern astrology took something of different tracks approximately 1800 years ago. Despite that, Chinese astrology shares the core philosophy that a person's destiny is linked to their moment of birth.

In ancient China, astrological secrets were originally deemed too weighty for the ordinary person, thereby confining the secrets of astrology to the Emperor's Court. To study astrology ouside of the Imperial circle was tantamount to audible flatulence in church.

Expansion of the vast empire changed that belief, as flatulence was recognized to be pretty normal in a society built around eating bean sprouts. Similarly, the view of astrological secrets became more open, and became seen by the elite as a means of maintaining ordered society, by way of ritual and ceremony. Thus, the Chinese people began to be educated about astrology about 1,000 years ago through Ming Shu, meaning "footwear made of priceless pottery".

Under the Chinese astrological teachings, a person's hour, day, month and year of birth constituted the "Four Pillars of Fate". A person's destiny could be told, based on how their birth date(s) corresponded to the Four Pillars, the twelve astrological symbols (coming up), and fortune cookies from Fast Tommy Wang's Four Pillars Chinese Restaurant (delivery within four mile radius). The Four Pillars of Fate were instrumental in determining who could marry whom; even in death, one's funeral could not be held until the Four Pillars were "favorably disposed" toward it.

Don't know if that pun was intended or not.

The Chinese system, like its Western counterpart, has twelve astrological symbols (the Chinese shake their inscrutable heads at Gorkus), but each symbol represents a year, rather than a month in the Western version. The twelve year cycle of Chinese astrology is roughly based on the twelve years it takes the planet Jupiter to orbit the sky. And the progression, from one year to the next, falls irregularly, being based on the lunar calendar, when a new year begins generally between late January and mid-February.

When Ming Shu was first introduced to the peasants, the twelve symbols were represented as "The Twelve Earthly Branches", and were presented as abstract numeric concepts, difficult for the peasant to grasp. Just imagine several hundred million "Duhs".

So one enterprising Chinese prince, pondering the problem, the next year presented the concept more uniquely, as "The Twelve Playboy Centerfolds". About half the population got it, while the female half let them have it with the dinner wok, beginning another tradition that's for discussion at another time.

Shortly thereafter, the numeric branches and dented woks were mercifully replaced by symbols of animals, to better help the peasantry with their understanding of astrology and a marked reduction in concussions to males of the species. According to one legend, Buddha sent out an invitation to all the beasts in the land, but only twelve accepted his invitation. To each attendee, Buddha bestowed a place upon the astrology chart, one befitting of the animal's strengths and weaknesses. To those who failed to RSVP, Buddha sent a William Shatner's Greatest Singing Hits CD.

Like Ma Nature, it didn't pay to blow off Buddha.

The twelve animals that answered Buddha's summons were, in their order of arrival: the rat, the ox (bull), the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat (sheep), the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig (boar). As aforementioned, each animal brought its own unique strengths and virtues to the chart, as well as its own weaknesses-- much as the humans -- being foretold by the chart.

Finally, as a guideline for the upcoming horoscope and astrological forecast for 2009, I will conclude Part II with a few examples of the Chinese years, as applied to the horoscope. For example, if you were born between January 31, 1900, and February 18, 1901, you were born in the Year of the Rat, and are older than running water. The next Year of the Rat fell between February 18, 1912, and February 5, 1913.

Upcoming examples for each year are:

Rat: February 7, 2008-January 25, 2009
Ox: January 26, 2009-February 13, 2010
Tiger: February 14, 2010-February 2, 2011
Rabbit: February 3, 2011-January 22, 2012
Dragon: January 23, 2012-February 9, 2013
Snake: balance of 2013
Horse: 2014
Goat: 2015
Monkey: 2016
Rooster: 2017
Dog: 2018
Pig: 2019
Pet Rock: 20...uh...Seymour, I said edit, not fantasize....

In Part III, more on the particulars and characteristics of the horoscope symbols.


Blogger Little Lamb said...

Somehow I've never gotten into astrology.

My word verification was cathy.

05 January, 2009 08:14  
Blogger Debbie said...

"Under the Chinese astrological teachings, a person's hour, day, month and year of birth constituted the "Four Pillars of Fate"."

I don't know the hour I was born. Good thing I did not worry about the four pillars of fate before I met hubby.


Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

05 January, 2009 20:06  
Blogger Mayden' s Voyage said...

My b-day is 5-30-1969, making me a double spirited (Gemini) Chicken(Rooster).

Or a 2 faced chicka...

Oh...I think I've been insulted by the universe!


word veri was "unsked"
was that short for "unskunked"?
hmmm ;)

05 January, 2009 21:24  
Blogger Serena said...

I don't think I like Chinese astrology much. Can you give us a little Latvian astrology instead?:-)

BTW, I'm pretty sure your WordVer called me a dirty name: porso.

06 January, 2009 14:56  

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