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: http://magazine.beloit.edu/?story_id=240813&issue_id=240610

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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lunar World Preview 2018 05-23

As the Lunar World Turns
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
[a] Cat Preview ("What...double red ink?") RF
Well, it is such a good day that I hesitate to hype it. It's 100% chocolately, auspicious goodness. Let's take a closer look.

Day Personality
(Section Five—Characters Six and Seven)
Today's "constellation personality" is Eastern Wall (). Calendrical interpretations stress that it presages ample returns and bountiful treasuries. Building and digging projects are auspicious, and children born of marriages on this day will make their parents proud. Not bad for a little eastern wall huh?
[b] Eastern Wall RF

The jianchu "personality" is Open (). This is one of the best-of-the-best. It's a good day to, well, be open. Weddings, receiving guests, tallying accounts, and (of course) studying—not to mention meeting friends, and perhaps studying with them—are all bountiful. Be open.

Lucky Stars
(Section Two)
There are four beneficent asterisms today: Generational Branch (歲支), Virtuous Days (德日), Generational Branch (歲支), and Six Linkages (六合). Yesterday had three linkages; today has six. Not bad. And, no, I don't know why Generational Branch is repeated. I think that I have seen it before, but I can't remember when. It is quite odd.


Auspicious Times
(Section Three)
[c] Opening Ponds RF
There are four inauspicious (凶) two-hour periods, three in-between () times, and five auspicious () times. Not bad.

Things to Avoid
(Section Four)
It's a bad day for Planting and Cultivating (栽種), Boring Wells (穿井), Opening Ponds (開池), and Tailoring (裁衣). Think about these. They span the day's activities from inside to outside (and from land to water. Do your best to keep those wells' attention (maybe a little Agatha Christie instead of Hegel today).


Just Plain Counting
(Section Four—Characters 1-4)
It is the ninth () day of the fourth lunar month. The cycle of sixty character is #54: yimao (乙卯). The days cycle—1, 2, 3, 58, 59, 60, 1, 2, 3...—in perpetuity. 
Elemental (and Phased)
(Section Five—Character 5)
[d] Studying RF
Today's slice of the "Five Phases" (sometimes called the "Five Elements") is Water (水). Ordinarily, the Five Phases weave their way, two-by-two, through the calendar. Yesterday was Water. Today is Water, and tomorrow is Earth.

Appropriate Things
(Section Six) 
It's a solid day for sixteen different things, including Studying (入學), Meeting Friends (會友), Marriage (嫁娶), and Moving Households (移徙). If you think about those four items in narrative sequence, they could constitute a story prompt. Click the link for the other twelve. They share the narrative potential of this bustling, active day.
Wednesday's Lunar Calendar
Solar Periods
(Section Six—Upper and Middle)
[e] Long Star RF
We are in the eighth of the twenty-four fifteen day solar periods (the 二十四節氣), which began on Monday, May 21 and runs through Monday, June 4. It is called Grain Full (小滿). We are in the twenty-first of the seventy-two five-day solar micro periods (the 七十二候). It is called Bitter Herb Grows Tall (苦菜秀). It began on Monday, May 21, and runs through Friday, May 25.

Fear Your Unlucky Stars 
(Bottom of Section Six)
The baleful asterisms (the bottom of section six) are Lower Amputee (下兀), Classified Balefulness (班煞), Heavenly Fire (天火), and Yang General (陽將). The big, bold, baleful centerpiece is Long Star (長星). That always reminds me of Texas (and the joke only works in English). As my wife always tells me, it's a long way across Texas (and is farther from Texarkana to El Paso than it is from El Paso to Los Angeles. That's the Long Star state, people.
Miscellaneous Omens and Activities
(Sections Seven and Eight)

Today's miscellaneous omens are Person (人) and Person (人). Yes, I think that we have a day of repeats. The miscellaneous activities are Gate (門), Mortar (磨), and Pestle (碓). Nobody knows what they mean (and that not-really-glib assessment is based on thirty years of calendrical fieldwork).

See You Tomorrow
So, people, it is time to luxuriate in red-ink auspiciousness. Enjoy it while you can, and I will see you back here on Wednesday night for a preview of Thursday in Lunar World.

China's Lunar Calendar 2018 05-23

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: ⇦⇦⇦⇦
5/28..................................................................................................................5/20
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
廿
三期星
Fifth Month, Twenty-Third Day 
Wednesday, May 23
————

Section Two
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
六歲德歲
合支日支
Generational Branch
Virtuous Days
Generational Branch
Six Linkages

Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
申辰

酉己丑
凶凶
戌午寅
吉中吉
亥未卯
吉吉
23:00-01:00 In-Between
01:00-03:00 In-Between
03:00-05:00 Auspicious
05:00-07:00 Auspicious

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

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

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) 

裁開穿栽
衣池井種
Planting and Cultivating
Boring Wells
Opening Ponds
Cutting-out Clothing

Section Five 
Cosmological Information






Ninth Day (Fourth Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: yimao (52/60)
Phase (element): Water
"Constellation Personality" Cycle: Jade Wall (14/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Open (11/12)
————
Section Six
Appropriate Activities
and Miscellaneous Information  
(top-to-bottom; right to left)
上開出祭
樑市行祀
修交嫁祈
倉易娶福
置修納入
產造采學
納動移會
畜土徙友
星長
陽天班下
將火煞兀
————
Appropriate Activities
Venerating Ancestors
Inquiring-into Fortune
Entering Study
Meeting Friends
Going Out (and about)
Marriage Alliances
Grain Payments
Moving Households
Opening Markets
Trade and Commerce
Repairing and Constructing
Moving Soil
Raising Beams
Repairing Granaries
Setting-up Production
Livestock Payments

Long Star

Baleful Astral Influences
Lower Amputee
Classified Balefulness
Heavenly Fire
Yang General
***Check out the full explanation of today's lunar-solar calendar translation*** 

Section Seven
Inauspicious Stars
(top-to-bottom; left to right)
人 人
Person, Person
———— 

Section Eight 
Miscellaneous Activities
(top-to-bottom; left to right)
門 磨 碓
Gate, Mortar, Pestle

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lunar World Preview 2018 05-22

As the Lunar World Turns
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
[a] Cat Preview RF
It's 50-50 again, but it "leans red" (in an auspicious calendrical and not a political sense). Let's take a closer look.

Day Personality
(Section Five—Characters Six and Seven)
[b] Three Linkages RF
Today's "constellation personality" is Pyre (). Calendrical interpretations stress that it resembles a ceremonial pyre, and it has taken on themes of proper regulation and timely offerings. It is red-ink auspicious, especially for family concord.

The jianchu "personality" is Receive (收). Although it is printed in black ink, it has a generally favorable outlook, especially for weddings, studying, and so on. It is a bad day (in Lunar World, at least) for visiting the doctor or dentist (or holding funerals).

Lucky Stars
(Section Two)
There are two beneficent asterisms today: Generational Branch (歲支) and Three Linkages (三合). They are red-ink positive.


Auspicious Times
[c] Hunting RF
(Section Three)
There are four inauspicious (凶) two-hour periods, four in-between () times, and four auspicious () times. Nice and balanced.

Things to Avoid
(Section Four)
It's a bad day for Opening Granaries (開倉) and Venerating Ancestors (祭祀). There aren't too many days in a year when it is not good to venerate the ol' forebears, but this is one of 'em.

Just Plain Counting
(Section Four—Characters 1-4)
It is the eighth (初八) day of the fourth lunar month. The cycle of sixty character is #51: jiayin (甲寅). The days cycle—1, 2, 3, 58, 59, 60, 1, 2, 3...—in perpetuity. 
Elemental (and Phased)
(Section Five—Character 5)
[d] Bitter Herb RF
Today's slice of the "Five Phases" (sometimes called the "Five Elements") is Water (水). Ordinarily, the Five Phases weave their way, two-by-two, through the calendar. Yesterday was Wood. Today is Water, and tomorrow is Water.

Appropriate Things
(Section Six) 
It's a solid day for only two things: Trapping (捕捉) and Hunting (田獵). This fits rural Montana better than, say, Los Angeles, but use your imagination.
Tuesday's Lunar Calendar
Solar Periods
(Section Six—Upper and Middle)
We are in the eighth of the twenty-four fifteen day solar periods (the 二十四節氣), which began on Monday, May 21 and runs through Monday, June 4. It is called Grain Full (小滿). We are in the twenty-first of the seventy-two five-day solar micro periods (the 七十二候). It is called Bitter Herb Grows Tall (苦菜秀). It began on Monday, May 21, and runs through Friday, May 25.

Fear Your Unlucky Stars 
(Bottom of Section Six)
The baleful asterisms (the bottom of section six) are Eight Specialties (八專), Plundered Balefulness (劫煞), Lunar Harm (月害), and Soil Charm (土符). I always look over my shoulder more often when Plundered Balefulness shows up, but maybe that's just me.
Miscellaneous Omens and Activities
(Sections Seven and Eight)

Today's miscellaneous omens are White (白) and Ghost (鬼). The miscellaneous activities are Divination (占), Furnace (爐), and Gate (門). Nobody knows what they mean (seriously, I am not kidding).
[e] Grain Full RF
See You Tomorrow
O.k., get ready to Receive, and don't get scorched by the Pyre. I'll see you back here Tuesday night for a preview of Wednesday in Lunar World.