Astrologers' Community  

Go Back   Astrologers' Community > General Astrology > Chinese Astrology

Chinese Astrology 本板块使用英语讨论中国占星术。This forum will hold discussion on Chinese Astrology in English language.


Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 04-21-2011, 08:33 PM
Mark's Avatar
Mark Mark is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Georgia, US
Posts: 1,428
Questions about the Chinese Calendar

I am a Western astrologer trying to understand the best way to implement Eastern knowledge in my current work. The first stumbling block I ran into was the same for Tibetan/Chinese systems as it was for the Hebrew system, the lunisolar calendar. The trouble is that the lunisolar calendar uses a leap month to keep the activities of the Sun and Moon relatively (though not very closely) synchronised over long periods of time. The Gregorian calendar uses leap days to adjust for the fact that a year can't be measured in whole days and must use fractions of a day. This means that both calendars have an inherent drift and the drifts are based on different things. Either one could be superior, depending on what it is you're trying to measure.

It's worth mentioning that the Chinese calendar changed several times in the first few centuries B.C., which is certainly after the peak of Chinese prediction/astrology. My worry here is that revisions of the calendar were made for political reasons and the predictive/astrological value of the calendar was not adequately considered. A quick read on Wikipedia describes several of these changes that may or may not have broken the calendar. At any rate, it is clear that the Chinese calendar is NOT a long, unbroken line of measured time.

The Chinese lunisolar calendar is the one used for prediction/astrology, but intercalary (leap) months were often inserted in an almost arbitrary manner until the advent of the Sifen calendar (around 484 B.C.), which was much more mathematical than intuitive. It seems that the previous arbitrary nature of the months didn't effect the predictive accuracy of Chinese divination/astrology, even though that divination/astrology often depended on counted days from the beginning of a year or month.

As a Western astrologer, my first thought as to how all this can be simplified is to anchor the Chinese zodiac to the tropical year. As dr. farr mentioned in another thread, the Rabbit (a time of year I understand is called Chunfen or Shunbun) is supposed to begin with the vernal (Spring) equinox. Anchoring the zodiac to the tropical year has worked quite well in the West, so it stands to reason that the same should work for the Chinese zodiac. This, however, is not a simple problem of choosing tropical or sidereal measurements of the same things. The months of the Chinese calendar are lunar months, not 12 divisions of solar movement, and there are a number of predictive/astrological techniques that require this lunar foundation. Auspicious days, for example, are often counted from the beginning of a lunar month. Without the lunar month, those techniques make no sense.

It seems that if we were to do nothing more than anchor the Chinese zodiac to the tropical year, we would have a Chinese version of the Western zodiac and not much more. The official Chinese calendar, however, is not an unbroken, linear measurement of time, so we can't trust that the Chinese calendar would give us the same information today that it would have a few thousand years ago. Therefore, we can't rely on a simple accumulation of days counted since an anchor date to provide us with reliable information. Luckily, given the "broken" nature of the Chinese calendar, this may not be necessary. After all, people were still using it for prediction/astrology while it was being changed. I have no idea, though, whether they compensated for the changes or followed them.

So, here are some direct questions. Is it true that the predictive/astrological calendar of the Chinese is supposed to "float" around observed phenomena, meaning that the equinox and solstice points are not the beginning or end of any year, but the full or new moons that fall around them provide the beginning and end points of the year? I suppose what I'm really trying to ask is how the beginning of the year should be determined if you had no knowledge of the beginning of last year? Should the starting point be the last full moon before the vernal (Spring) equinox? Should it be the new moon before the equinox? Forgetting all the calendrics and mathematics, what simple rule could be used to determine the beginning of the predictive/astrological year?

Of course, if I am mistaken about some of the things I've said, please correct me. Forgetting math and calenders, what acts of the Sun and Moon should be the start of the year that is useful for prediction/astrology?

__________________
http://www.twelvestaralmanac.com/
Free Astrological Tools, Calculators, and Ephemerides
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 04-21-2011, 11:45 PM
26Degree 26Degree is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 119
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

The beginning of the New Year in Chinese divination is the first day of "Li Chun" which always falls on Feb 4. Read the follow wiki entry for details:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%AB%8B%E6%98%A5
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 04-22-2011, 10:29 PM
Mark's Avatar
Mark Mark is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Georgia, US
Posts: 1,428
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

If the beginning of the year always falls on February 4th (or even in a small window in early February), then it can't be produced by a lunisolar calendar. The Chinese have two calendars: a solar calendar for mundane matters (which parallels the Gregorian calendar) and the traditional lunisolar calendar. According to the lunisolar calendar, the year often begins in late January or in the middle of February. The mundane calendar should not be used for astrology, because that would produce Western-style astrological information. That is fine, but we already have tons of that. I'm looking for a simple rule to determine the beginning of a lunisolar year on any year.
__________________
http://www.twelvestaralmanac.com/
Free Astrological Tools, Calculators, and Ephemerides
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 04-23-2011, 02:37 AM
26Degree 26Degree is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 119
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

I repeat, for divination purposes, Chinese practitioners follow the "24 Solar Terms" as mentioned in the wiki entry above. Farmers also used to look at these solar terms to time their agricultural activities. You could say that it's some kind of a farmer's calender/almanac.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 04-23-2011, 04:10 AM
dr. farr dr. farr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: los angeles california
Posts: 12,474
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

A good, succinct explanation of this matter is given in Derek Walters "Chinese Astrology Bible"; if you want a more detailed academic/historical examination, see Walters "Complete Guide to Chinese Astrology", which devotes an entire 30 page chapter to the calendar issue (currently this book is available @ Amazon for as little as $1.90! It is possibly the best expert level examination of Chinese astrology within its historical and philosophical context, available in the English language)
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 04-23-2011, 08:00 PM
Mark's Avatar
Mark Mark is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Georgia, US
Posts: 1,428
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

26Degree: Then the question I'm asking would be, "When does Lichun start?" I know about the solar terms, but they are based on the start/end of the year. If they always agree with a solar calendar, then those aren't the ones I want.

dr. farr: You're filling up my amazon book list. I will probably be ordering the Complete Guide to Chinese Astrology by Walters to flesh out my book collection. I have books that cover Chinese astrology, but none that are devoted entirely to it. Perhaps this will help to clarify a perspective of Chinese astrology for me.

General Address: Okay, I'm starting to think the easiest way to start a lunisolar calendar is with this rule: The year begins on the last full moon before the vernal equinox. This would mean that some years would naturally get 12 months and others would get 13, and the rule would have no preference for any particular year. This may not jive with the ancient nor modern Chinese calendars, but it seems a very simple way to begin. The arbitrary nature of the ancient intercalary (leap) month seems to say that this rule would not cause problems. What do you guys think of that?
__________________
http://www.twelvestaralmanac.com/
Free Astrological Tools, Calculators, and Ephemerides
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 04-24-2011, 09:20 AM
dr. farr dr. farr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: los angeles california
Posts: 12,474
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

The Chinese lunar calendar begins (the year) on the second new moon following the Winter solstice: this date floats about somewhat but returns to the same day every 19 years.

The second calendar used in Chinese astrology (especially in determining the year for the natal Animal) is the exact middle of the time between the Winter solstice and the Vernal equinox, which has been February 4th for a long time.

So the Chinese use 2 calendars one with a floating day for the beginning of the year, and the other with a fixed day (reminds me, by analogy, of our Tropical fixed zodiac on one hand the the moving sidereal constellational zodiac on the other)

A (very) small percentage of (ultra) traditional Chinese astrologers (almost all of them still in old China or adjacent countries in Asia) continue to adhere to a (very) ancient doctrine which always starts the astronomical/astrological year at the Winter solstice
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 04-24-2011, 01:50 PM
SniperBomber328's Avatar
SniperBomber328 SniperBomber328 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Unknown to prying eyes
Posts: 572
Red face Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
26Degree: Then the question I'm asking would be, "When does Lichun start?" I know about the solar terms, but they are based on the start/end of the year. If they always agree with a solar calendar, then those aren't the ones I want.

dr. farr: You're filling up my amazon book list. I will probably be ordering the Complete Guide to Chinese Astrology by Walters to flesh out my book collection. I have books that cover Chinese astrology, but none that are devoted entirely to it. Perhaps this will help to clarify a perspective of Chinese astrology for me.

General Address: Okay, I'm starting to think the easiest way to start a lunisolar calendar is with this rule: The year begins on the last full moon before the vernal equinox. This would mean that some years would naturally get 12 months and others would get 13, and the rule would have no preference for any particular year. This may not jive with the ancient nor modern Chinese calendars, but it seems a very simple way to begin. The arbitrary nature of the ancient intercalary (leap) month seems to say that this rule would not cause problems. What do you guys think of that?

I don't know if this will help, but there are many good books of the Chinese Zodiac by Theodora Lau.
I personally have the 2010 Chinese Horoscopes book by her, and the Chinese Horoscopes Guide to Relationships, Finance, Etc. Although I don't own them for Astrology Purposes, but mostly just to see if a Family or Friend matches their Year, Day, Hour or Month Descriptons. In other words, for a fun purpose.
__________________
"If you do what you love, you will never have to work a day in your life" - Confucius
.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 04-25-2011, 12:18 PM
eric1981's Avatar
eric1981 eric1981 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: GZ,China
Posts: 43
Send a message via MSN to eric1981
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

As far as I could tell,there are currently no easy equation to calculate a beginning of a year without knowledge of the last year.

And in my opinion,it is impossible to anchor the Chinese zodiacto the tropical year.A lunar month counts 29.5306 days and a tropical year 365.2422.There is no way (at least for now) to find the relationship between those two numbers.And this is the root of the problem.All others,leap year,leap month,etc.are derived from that fact.

I have studied various calculations and articles on how to determine the month,year,Gan-Zhi.All of them require reference to a certain year (i.e. 1900).And no calculations are 100% perfect.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 04-28-2011, 10:06 AM
quying quying is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: china
Posts: 4
Re: Questions about the Chinese Calendar

In China Every 4 years , there will be a leap year. Calculated for the entire year out of 4 and 12 of that year is a leap year. There are only 28 days in February in the leap year, the average year are 29 days.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
beginning, calendar, chinese, lunisolar, questions, year

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sirius and the Western Calendar. Monk Mundane Astrology 23 06-14-2019 10:25 PM
My Purposal Of New Calendar ScorpioMinistry Recommendations 3 10-11-2014 05:44 AM
Chinese Astrology, Seasons. Months, Days duan Other Astrology 5 08-27-2008 05:02 PM
Euro 2008 Amit89 Sports Astrology 18 06-30-2008 08:45 AM
Proper Horary Questions FlyAway Horary Astrology 6 09-25-2006 05:48 PM



All times are GMT. The time now is 06:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2005-2018, AstrologyWeekly.com. Boards' structure and all posts are property of AstrologyWeekly.com and their respective creators. No part of the messages sent on these boards may be copied without their owners' explicit consent.