Celestial Connection of the Chinese Lunar Calendar Print
Kaleidoscope
Shan Ying   

Many people are very proud of the culture and knowledge of the ancient people of their countries. Chinese people too, have every reason to be proud of those treasures, although many of those treasures are still regarded as myths by modern science.

To begin, I will start with the myth of 12 animals, that were selected to present Chinese years. I have to make this clear here that the 12 animals were not chosen by Chinese people in ancient China; it is not an invention of Chinese people. It is a teaching offered to ancient Chinese people to better manage time and lives, and along with some other teachings, it offers Chinese people vital essence in understanding human beings and our connection with the universe.

Some people may ask: who selected those 12 animals? What did the ancient Chinese inherit, and from where? I am not sure if many young Chinese ever knew, that these 12 animals were chosen by a “god” to present 12 years, and continue the circle every 12 years. Along with this teaching, there was knowledge of the principles of medicine, astronomy, celestial knowledge and its influence on earth, the principle of matter, and its connection to the human body. This knowledge is very closely interconnected in the above subjects.

Lets start with the knowledge behind the Ancient Chinese calendar that a god passed on to ancient Chinese about rules or formulas on how to calculate the calendar:
There are 10 heavenly stems, called “Jia, yi, bin, ding, wu, ji, geng, xin, ren and kui”; and 12 earthly branches, called “zi, cou, yin, mao, chen, si, wu, wei, sen, you, she, hai”. (There is not an equivalent translation of those characters in English.) The selected animals, “rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig” also represented the 12 earthly branches. E.g.: “zi” corresponds to “rat”; “cou” corresponds to “ox”……and “hai” corresponds to “pig”.

The combination of heavenly stem and earthly branch form the title for every year. One character represents each year and runs from the first to the last and starts from the beginning again. E.g.: the first ancient Chinese year is called year of “Jia-zi”, 2nd year is “Yi-cou”, and the 11th year would be “Jia-she”. The year of 2010 AD in the western calendar is called the year of “Geng yin”, where “yin” represents “tiger”.

The same method was also used to calculate the month, day and times of 24 hours and even seconds.

You may wonder that as the total combination of these 10 and 12 characters only add up to 60 years, how can ancient Chinese people distinguish times in their history? Well with hundreds of Chinese Emperors, each year was also titled by the name of the then Emperor. E.g.: Qin Bin-Shen fourteen. Means “the 14th Year in Qin dynasty at year of “Bin-Shen”.

What was so fantastic about the making of such a calendar? Why do “gods” want us to learn such calculations?

Let us get answers from the next topic on elements of the universe.

The “gods” in ancient China, were called “Sages” in western society. It was said that the Taoist “god” passed on the principle: this universe is made of five elements: “metal, wood, water, fire and soil (or earth)”, and these elements are existing in all matter within this universe. Also there is “yang-yin” (positive-negative) composition within all matter. Certainly it is within every human body.

The “Book of Changes”, or “I Ching”, offered by a “god” also indicates the composition of five elements and Yang-yin balance in every heavenly stem and earthly branches, and their changing patterns!

To take a practical example: when a person was born, the composition of the five elements, and their “yang-yin” balance which was carried by him or her was set, and can be read by using the calculation derived from above. But remember, since each character involved “yin-yang” elements, the 10 heavenly stem and 12 earthly branches would be counted as 20 and 24 characters with “Jia-yin” or, Jia-yang”, etc. and the combination would go much beyond “60” in the circle.