Bitter cold makes us look to onset of spring
By Janet Shin
Those who have studied or are interested in saju or other Oriental cultures related to astrology, would know that Eastern philosophies are based on the lunar calendar. There is a certain tacit definition that Western culture is related to solar energy while it is lunar energy in the Orient. If you are also one of those people, here is a theory that may upset your stereotype.
As mentioned earlier, “change” is a keyword in studying saju. Without this understanding, we cannot comprehend any phenomenon in regards to yin, yang and the five elements. Their true meaning should be reinterpreted. According to Oriental teachings, it is not actually a concept of an “element” ― a compartmental understanding of things. It should rather be “changing stages of being.” The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. So, if we exactly understand their concept, we should focus on their interactions ― mutual generations and restrictions ― and how they balance and change from one to another. It is not only between the two elements but among several of them.
Likewise, when it comes to yin and yang, they should also be translated to cosmic dual forces of harmony instead of two opposite states. Yin and yang co-exist and require each other. Everything in the great cosmos is intertwined. In the stage of highest concentration of yang, there arises a fetal movement of yin, and vice versa. That is the reason why the “taiji” the representative symbol of yin and yang is portrayed as below in diagram A, not B.
Once you understand this correctly, letters in saju can be interpreted with diverse aspects of life.
Let’s go a little bit deeper into its teaching. The philosophy of changing is well represented in saju with its view of time and the seasons. A turning point in one’s life is explained by the force of change from one to another. Therefore those letters that signify in-between seasons are so critical that they usually determine not only momentous occasions but drastic and devastating incidents in our destiny. Many symbols indicating “gods and devils” consist of those letters.
Basically the four pillars or eight letters in saju are acquired by one’s birth year, month, day and time of day. Each is symbolized to either yin or yang, and one of the five elements, respectively. Among them, the month branch is emphasized greatly because it determines the overall environment of one’s life. In classic books, the month branch is defined as a king while the day master is a vassal who must obey his rule. On the one hand, we classify the individual day master and figure out its quality, on the other we must cognize the influence of the month branch and evaluate how the day master works under its climate. What is the month branch? It is when one was born.
Even though the birth year and time exercise great leverage in one’s destiny, the birth month is like a birthplace and the whole life environment.
To decode their meanings correctly, we need to know how ancient people divided a year, on top of seasonal divisions.
In the Orient, they divided a year into 24. They tried to record the change of climate as much as possible, because they had to plan for farming: when to sow, plant, harvest and store crops based on these divisions. Six divisions are allocated in each of the four seasons. They are connected by previous and upcoming seasons organically. In this way, divisions were based on a solar not lunar calendar, as the change of season is more determined by solar than lunar activities. As we must read the climate of one’s life, saju refers not only to the lunar calendar but to the solar divisions of the year. The 24 subdivisions of the seasons are as below.
1. Ipchun : Onset of spring, Feb. 4-5
2. Usu : Beginning of rain (end of snow), Feb. 18-19
3. Gyeongchip : The day on which insects appear from their holes in the earth, March 5-6
4. Chunbun : The spring equinox, March 20-21
5. Cheongmyeong : Clear and balmy days, April 4-5
6. Gokwu : Spring blossom under the rain, April 20-21
1. Ipha : Onset of summer, May 5-6
2. Soman : Green plants cover the earth, May 21-22
3. Mangjong : Bearded grain, June 5-6
4. Haji : Summer solstice, June 21-22
5. Soseo : Beginning of the heat wave, July 7-8
6. Daeseo : Severe summer heat, July 22-23
1. Ipchu : Onset of autumn, Aug. 7-8
2. Cheoseo : Relenting heat, Aug. 23-24
3. Baekno : A wider daily temperature range and dew forms, Sept. 7-8
4. Chubun : Autumnal Equinox, Sept. 23-24
5. Hanro : Cold dew, Oct. 8-9
6. Sanggang : Frost falls, Oct. 23-24
1. Ipdong : Onset of winter, Nov. 7-8
2. Soseol : Moderate snow, Nov. 22-23
3. Daeseol : Heavy snow, Dec. 7-8
4. Dongji : Winter solstice, Dec. 21-22
5. Sohan : Less cold, Jan. 5-6
6. Daehan : Severe cold, Jan. 20-21
Among these 24 subdivisions, “dongji” (Dec. 21-22) and “ipchun” (Feb. 4-5) are more critical periods because they stand for seasons when a new year’s energy flows in and the actual beginning of the year. They are especially important because they are transitional periods for both seasons and years. Due to this fact, many crucial incidents of one’s destiny form and happen during this time of the year.
“Ipchun,” the onset day of spring, falls on Feb. 4, this year. As a saju master, I am meeting more clients because they experience what was destined in the past year and want to know what lies ahead in the coming year. They are just confirming how people are captive within the frame of their destiny.
Information: Are you interested in learning more about the ancient Chinese teaching about the “Four Pillars of Destiny?” For further information, visit Janet’s website at www.fourpillarskorea.com, contact her at 010-5414-7461 or email email@example.com.
The writer is the president of the Heavenly Garden, a saju research center in Korea, and the author of “Learning Four Pillars.”