The Twenty Eight Lunar Mansions
The Chinese Calendar is derived from the placements of the New and Full Moons, and is consequently known as the Lunar Calendar. It is the oldest in continuous use, and is undoubtedly more complex than the Western Solar calendar.
The Chinese also have a solar calendar, which is fixed to the four solar markers: the two equnioxes (March 21st and September 23rd) and two solstices (June 21st and December 23rd, and divided into the twenty-four periods of fifteen or sixteen days. These twenty-four periods are known as ch’i. Ch’i, as we already know, has several meanings. The various meanings include agricultural terms such as corn rain, corn sprouting, great heat, white dew, etc.
The original Chinese did not have names for months. They were only known as the first month, second month and so on.
The Chinese epoch is a period of 3,600 years, divided into sixty cycles, each of sixty years. 1984 was the beginning of the eighteenth cycle of the second epoch since the beginning of Chinese history. Each cycle of sixty years is divided into five great years of each twelve years.
The twelve years are numbered to a sequence called the twelve Branches.
The twelve animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger and so on) were not known in early Chinese history.
One of the significant factors in Chinese Feng Shui is the twenty eight lunar mansions and their influence on character and events. “Lunar Mansion” refers to the twenty-eight segments of the sky containing the constellations; that is the constellations that the moon passes through during its 28-day cycle in the sky, starting with the New Moon.
The New Moon is a conjunction of the Sun, Moon and Earth all in the same degree. The Full Moon follows 15 days later. The full moon occurs monthly when the Sun and Moon are in opposition in one of the 12 segments of the zodiac or constellations. The Earth is always in opposition of the Sun, therefore when there is a full moon, the earth is always in conjunction with the Moon. This is when most people feel strange. The word lunatic is derived from this association of strange behavior with the moon.
The twenty-eight sediments have always been of prime importance in Chinese culture. Edward Schafer in his book, “Pacing The Void”, quotes the poet TU Mu (AD 803-852 as my birth was in Chio (Hsin1) Mao (Hsiu 18, the Pleiades and Pi (Hsui 19, Hades) are eight places away, the place of sickness and frustration; also called the Palace of the Eighth Curse.
In western astrology these two segments are known as Taurus 28 degrees and Scorpio 29 degrees. The seventh curse are the placements of the planets, Saturn and Mars, so Saturn, earth star in this degree, followed by (Mars, the fire star, and the Wood Star, Jupiter. “Wood was in Chang (Hsui 26, the eleventh from Chio, the Palace of good fortune and virtue.
Getting back to ch’i. The twelve ch’i are known as Monthly Festivals or Chieh. They are important factors in determining what is called the fatal periods. Each period was celebrated by a Festival. At least two of these Festivals have a special significance in the Chinese social calendar. Ch’ing Ming (Clear and Bright falls on or about April 4th. It is a special day for decorating and cleaning family tombs and offerings made to the ancestors. It became a season for holiday making and country excursions since the tombs were originally situated in the country. It is interesting to note this time is around our Easter.
The first of the solar periods, Li Chun is considered the first day of Spring and is always represented on the Chinese almanacs as the Spring OX. If it appears on the left hand side of the farmer it is before Feb 4, which is celebrated as the date for the New Year. If it is on the right hand side it is after this day.
Li Chun is the first New Moon in Aquarius. The first New Moon in Aquarius can occur anytime from Jan 21st through February 19th. The New Moon falling before Feb. 4th is considered to be a year this is the luckiest for marriages, festivals and harvesting of good crops, thus stimulating world wide prosperity.
To this day, Chinese almanacs include another calendar which combines 28 day periods to a 13- day cycle, producing a year of 364 days, thus slipping behind the regular calendar by 30 days every three years. An extra seven months are intercalated every nineteen years. This is known as the ‘Metonic Cycle.’ The distribution of these extra seven months is made so that the spring equinox always occurs in the second month, the summer solstice in the fifth month, the autumn equinox, the eighth month and winter solstice, the eleventh month. These intercalary months always have the same number of days. The first, eleventh and twelfth months are never duplicated.
Last updated on December 12, 2017 at 1:30 am. Word Count: 812