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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Lunar World Preview 2018 03-31

As the Lunar World Turns
Saturday, March 31, 2018
[a] Preview Kittens RF
Saturday will be a magnificent day in Lunar World, people. In fact, it is way (wei) good, as I'll explain, below. On top of it all, spring is here (and lightning storms begin).

Day Personality
(Section Five—Characters Six and Seven)
Today's "constellation personality" is Stomach (). That may not sound all that great to you, but, trust me, it's great. It really has more of the idea in Chinese cosmology of a storehouse, and the sense of abundance. It's all good, unless you're incarcerated, but that is a long story.
[b] Stomach RF

BOTH personalities are pronounced wei ("way").

The jianchu "personality" is Danger (). This is the only one of the "personalities" that repeats in each cycle. In the jianchu cycle, Danger is "lucky" (and the opposite in the constellation cycle). The only way to spin it is to say that this "danger" is all about the opportunity that lies within (you never get very far without taking a little risk, right?)...

Lucky Stars
(Section Two)
[c] Irrigation RF
The auspicious asterisms are Linked Days (合日) and Golden Hall (金堂). They're good. I'll have more to say about the particulars as we proceed, but just know that section two is all about the good things in Lunar World.

Auspicious Times
(Section Three)
There are three inauspicious (凶) times today, three in-between () times, and six auspicious () times. I am sensing a kind of "auspiciousness inflation" this year, but I'll keep watching before I say more. Half of the day is great, and three-quarters is red-ink. Maybe that works for today (note the "personalities"), but it seems suspicious to me, based on twenty-five years of calendar reading (in which days almost always come out 4-4-4).

Things to Avoid
(Section Four)
It's a bad day for Opening Sluices (開渠), meaning irrigation activities, and Putting-into Water (放水). Think about these. Water is a big problem today. Rubber ducks are all right (in my interpretation), but keep the kayak, canoe, or boat on land (at least in Lunar World).
[d] Movin' On Out RF

Just Plain Counting
(Section Four—Characters 1-4)
It is the fifteenth (十五) day of the second lunar month. The moon should be full tonight. It is also #59: renxu (壬戌), the penultimate combination in what we call the Cycle of Sixty.

Elemental (and Phased)
(Section Five—Character 5)
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 six different things, including Going Out (出行), Moving Households (移徙) and Opening Markets (開市). Click the link below for the rest of 'em. 
[e] Perch RF

We also have today one of the seventy-two little five-day periods that make up the heart-of-the-heart of the agricultural calendar. Today's is First Lightning (始電), and it is a sure-fire sign of the start of spring.

Fear Your Unlucky Stars 
(Bottom of Section Six)
The baleful asterisms (the bottom of section six) are Upper Amputee (上兀) and Lunar Balefulness (月煞). They're bad.

Miscellaneous Omens and Activities
(Sections Seven and Eight)

Bifurcation (丫) is the miscellaneous omen of the day. No one knows what it means (and, seriously, I am only partly joking. If you have read this far, please know that I have asked dozens of calendrical experts, and they shrug their shoulders and say some version of "beats the hell out of me."

The miscellaneous building activities are Granary (倉), Perch (栖), and Storehouse (庫). No one knows what they mean either (see my final sentence in the paragraph above; I'm not kidding).

See You Tomorrow
So, it's a boffo, red-ink wonder-day (with a little bit of red-ink "risk." Go for it, people, and I'll see you back here for a preview of a very confusing Sunday, which (in the larger global context, if not in Lunar World) doesn't know exactly what it wants to be.
[f] Storehouse RF

China's Lunar Calendar 2018 03-31

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: ⇦⇦⇦⇦
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

Third Month, Thirty-First Day 
Saturday, March 31

Section Two
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
Six Linkages
Golden Hall

Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
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 Auspicious
11:00-13:00 In-Between
13:00-15:00 Auspicious

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

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.

Section Four 
Activities to Avoid  
(top-to-bottom; right to left) 

Opening Sluices
Putting-into Water

Section Five 
Cosmological Information

Fifteenth Day (Second Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: renxu (59/60)
Phase (element): Water
"Constellation Personality" Cycle: Stomach (17/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Danger (8/12)

Section Six
Appropriate Activities
and Miscellaneous Information  
(top-to-bottom; right to left)

Appropriate Activities
Going Out (and about)
Marriage Engagements
Grain Payments
Moving Households
Opening Markets
Positioning Beds

First Lightning
(the twelfth of seventy-two five-day solar micro-periods on the agricultural calendar)

 Baleful Astral Influences
Upper Amputee
Lunar Balefulness
Section Seven
Inauspicious Stars

Section Eight 
Miscellaneous Activities

栖 庫

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lunar World Preview 2018 03-30

As the Lunar World Turns
Friday, March 30, 2018
[a] Preview RF
It's a starkly extreme day—close to all-bad meets all-good. Seriously, this is a deeply fragmented day that is sort of chasing its tail (or, perhaps, chasing its tale) in a narrative with a big rip through the middle.

Day Personality
(Section Five—Characters Six and Seven)
Today's "constellation personality" is "Mound" or "Tower" (). It is really, really good, people.
[b] Tower RF

Calendrical interpretations stress that it has happy associations of domestic concord. It is a good day for construction, marriages will result in pockets full of gold, and all people will enjoy their blissful days. It's just about the best-of-the-best.

The jianchu "personality" is "Destroy" (破), and it is the worst-of-the-worst. There is no other way to spin "Destroy," other than to say that you should keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble (incarceration will go badly if it starts on a "Destroy" day.

Lucky Stars
(Section Two)
The beneficent asterisms are Jade Hall (玉堂) and Expelling Spirits (除神). They're good.

Auspicious Times
(Section Three)
The day begins with four straight hours (into the middle of the night) of "in-between" times., followed by a staccato of good, bad, and in-between all-day long. The breakdown is three inauspicious (凶) hours, six in-between () hours, and three auspicious () hours.

[c] Soy Sauce RF
Things to Avoid
(Section Four)
It's a bad day for Mixing Sauces (合醬), and Mourning Visits (行喪).

Just Plain Counting
(Section Four—Characters 1-4)
It is the fourteenth (十四) day of the second lunar month, and the full moon comes tomorrow. The "cycle of sixty" day is #58: xinyou (辛酉).

Elemental (and Phased)
(Section Five—Character 5)
Today's slice of the "Five Phases" (sometimes called the "Five Elements") is Wood (木). Ordinarily, the Five Phases weave their way, two-by-two, through the calendar. Yesterday was Wood. Today is Wood, and tomorrow is Water.

Appropriate Things
(Section Six) 
[d] Lunarity RF
It's a solid day for only destructive things, but do that destruction on your own property. Destroying Rooms (破屋) and Smashing Embankments (壞垣) are "appropriate" today.

Fear Your Unlucky Stars 
(Bottom of Section Six)
The baleful asterisms (the bottom of section six) are even more ominous than ususal. Among them are Lunar Destruction (月破) and Lunar Taboo (月忌). In addition, we find Disastrous Balefulness. And, as if to run salt back into the wound, we are told to avoid mourning...again with Repeat Mourning (復喪).

Miscellaneous Omens and Activities
(Sections Seven and Eight)

White (白) and Landmass (州) are the miscellaneous omens today. The activities highlighted are Kitchen (廚), Gate (門), and Stove (灶).

See You Tomorrow
Do your best to enjoy the whiplash day that Friday will be (at least in Lunar World). Don't mix sauces, and feel free smashing up your garage, sun room, or patio (make sure it's your property, though). I'll see you back here tomorrow night for a preview of Saturday in Lunar World.