From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

China's Lunar Calendar 2018 07-17

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Calendars and Almanacs" 
***Check out the full explanation of today's lunar-solar calendar translation*** 
⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦ From right to left: ⇦⇦⇦⇦
7/17...................................................7/13.......................Monthly Information
This is one in a never-ending series—following the movements of the calendar—in Round and Square perpetuity. It is today's date in the Chinese lunar-solar (or "luni-solar" calendar; I call it the "lunar" calendar in order to distinguish it from the kinds of calendars most Westerners use. It has a basic translation and minimal interpretation. Unless you have been studying calendars (and Chinese culture) for many years, you will likely find yourself asking "what does that mean?" I would caution that "it" doesn't "mean" any one thing. There are clusters of meaning, and they require patience, reflection, careful reading, and, well, a little bit of ethnographic fieldwork. The best place to start is the introduction to "Calendars and Almanacs" on this blog. I teach a semester-long course on this topic and, trust me, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the lunar calendar. Some of the material is readily accessible; some of it is impenetrable, even after many years.

As time goes on, I will link all of the sections to lengthy background essays. This will take a while. In the meantime, take a look, read the introduction, and think about all of the questions that emerge from even a quick look at the calendar. You will likely find that several of the translations seem quite "fanciful" in English. I am simply trying to convey that they also sound fairly fanciful in Chinese.
Section One
Solar Calendar Date

Seventh Month, Seventeenth Day  
Tuesday, July 17
***Check out the full explanation of today's lunar-solar calendar translation*** 
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
Ten Spirits
Heavenly Kindness
***Check out the full explanation of today's lunar-solar calendar translation*** 
Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
23:00-01:00 Inauspicious
01:00-03:00 Inauspicious
03:00-05:00 In-Between
05:00-07:00 In-Between

07:00-09:00 Inauspicious
9:00-11:00 In-Between
11:00-13:00 Auspicious
13:00-15:00 Auspicious

15:00-17:00 Auspicious
17:00-19:00 In-Between
19:00-21:00 Inauspicious
21:00-23:00 In-Between

The hours above are for Hong Kong. It is up to you if you want to recalibrate or to assume that the cyclicality of the calendar "covers" the rest of the world. This is a greater interpretive challenge than you might think.
***Check out the full explanation of today's lunar-solar calendar translation*** 
Section Four 
Activities to Avoid  
(top-to-bottom; right to left) 

Binding Nets
Moving Soil

Fifth Day (Sixth Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: gengxu (47/60)
Phase (element): Metal
"Constellation Personality" Cycle: Pyre (13/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Level (4/12)
Section Six
Appropriate Activities
and Miscellaneous Information  
(top-to-bottom; right to left)



Upper Prostration

Appropriate Activities 
Leveling Roads
Adoring Embankments

Hawks Begin to Study
(usually printed 鷹乃學習)
(the thirty-third of seventy-two five-day solar micro-periods on the agricultural calendar)

Baleful Astral Influences
Inauspicious Stars
丫 鬼
Bifurcation, Ghost
***Check out the full explanation of today's lunar-solar calendar translation*** 
Section Eight 
Miscellaneous Activities

栖 磨
Perch, Pestle

Lunar World Preview 2018 07-17

As the Lunar World Turns
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
[a] Cat Preview RF
Well, it looks "50-50" black-red for Tuesday, but it's even better than that. It's going to be a nice Tuesday, so let's take a closer look.
Day Personality
Constellation Personality (Section Five—Character Six)
Today's "constellation personality" is Pyre (室), or House. It is the thirteenth of twenty-eight "lunar mansions" (宿) or "constellations." Traditional calendars state print it in red ink, and the "pyre" image is one that is meant as a positive. Even more so is the image of a house (or pyre-pile) of riches. It's a good day for construction work of all kinds.
Jianchu Personality (Section Five—Character Seven)
[b] Level RF
The jianchu "personality" is Level (平). It is the fourth of twelve characters in the jianchu cycle. Flowing from (albeit black-ink) Fullness yesterday, today's (albeit) black-ink Level is meant to keep 'er going. Be full...but level off a little.
Lucky Stars
(Section Two)
There are two beneficent asterisms today: Ten Spirits (十靈) and Heavenly Kindness (天恩). Not many, but they loom large.

Auspicious Times
(Section Three)
There are four inauspicious (凶) two-hour periods, five in-between () times, and only three auspicious () times. Maybe we're regaining our senses here.
Things to Avoid
(Section Four)
It's a bad day for Binding Nets (結網) and Moving Soil (動土). Just Don't Do It.
Just Plain Counting
(Section Four—Characters 1-4)
It is the fifth (初五) day of the sixth lunar month. The cycle of sixty character is #47: gengxu (庚戌). The days cycle—1, 2, 3, 58, 59, 60, 1, 2, 3...—in perpetuity. 
xxxday's Lunar Calendar
Elemental (and Phased)
(Section Five—Character 5)
Today's slice of the "Five Phases" (sometimes called the "Five Elements") is Metal (金). Ordinarily, the Five Phases weave their way, two-by-two, through the calendar. Yesterday was Earth. Today is Metal, and tomorrow is Metal.
Appropriate Things
(Section Six) 
It's a solid day for only two things today: Leveling Roads (平道) and Adorning Embankments (飾垣). Do 'em.
Tuesday's Lunar Calendar
Solar Periods
(Section Six—Upper and Middle)
[d] Hawk RF
We are in the eleventh of the twenty-four fifteen day solar periods (the 二十四節氣), which began on Saturday, July 7 and runs through Saturday, July 21. It is called Slight Heat (小暑). We are in the thirty-second of the seventy-two five-day solar micro periods (the 七十二候). It is called Hawks Begin to Study (應始摯). It began on Thursday, July 17 and runs through Monday, July 21.
Fear Your Unlucky Stars 
(Bottom of Section Six)
The baleful asterisms (the bottom of section six) are Upper Amputee (上兀) and Soil Charm (土符).
Miscellaneous Omens and Activities
(Sections Seven and Eight)

Today's miscellaneous omens are Bifurcation (丫) and Ghost (鬼). The miscellaneous activities are Pestle (碓), Perch (栖), and Mortar (磨). Nobody knows what they mean, but the first and last should work together (perhaps on a perch?)...
See You Tomorrow
O.k., build your pyre of auspiciousness, and have a wonderful day. I'll see you back here on Tuesday night for a preview of Wednesday in Lunar World.