introduction about the lunar year and the Five Elements
THE LUNAR YEAR
lunar year is divided into twelve months of 29? days. Every
two and a half years, an intercalary month is added to adjust
the calendar. The addition of this month every third year
produces the Lunar Leap Year. For easy reference, the beginning
of each lunar month is the date of the New Moon marked on
the Western calendar.
You may be interested to know that on the first day of Spring,
as indicated by the lunar calendar, a freshly laid egg can
be made to stand erect on its base. Try it: I know this has
to be seen to be believed. (In the Gregorian calendar, the
first day of Spring always falls on the 4th or 5th day of
THE FIVE ELEMENTS
During the complete 60-year cycle each
of the animal signs (sometimes also referred to as the twelve
Earth branches) is combined with the five main elements: Wood,
Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The element of your lunar sign
will exercise their influence on your life.
A fundamental part of Oriental philosophy is the interrelationships
among the five elements. These are divided into Conducive
and Controlling interrelationships, and are as follows:
From Metal we get Water. In this context,
the metal could mean a vessel or container for holding water,
so we can say that metal traps water. In another sense, metal
is the only element that will change into a liquid when heated.
From Water we get Wood. Water here means the rain or dew that
makes plant life flourish, thus producing wood in the process.
From Wood we get Fire. Fire cannot exist by itself but is
produced by burning wood.
From Fire we get Earth. Symbolically fire reduces everything
into ashes, which becomes part of the earth again.
From Earth we get Metal. All metal has to be extracted from
The entire universe is composed of these
five elements. They are interdependent and each is controlled
by another. Hence we find that:
Metal is controlled by Fire. Metal can
only be melted and forged with great heat.
The Moon, being the closest heavenly
body to Earth, has shown its many visible powers to mankind
since the dawn of civilization. Its magnetic pull has ruled
the rising and ebbing ocean tides as well as all other bodies
of water. The Chinese culture has built itself firmly around
the lunar influence, believing it to affect humans so immensely
because our bodies consists of three-quarters liquid. Likewise,
plants and animals are subject to its all-encompassing force.
Fire is controlled by Water. Nothing will put out a fire as
fast as water.
Water is controlled by Earth. We dig canals in the earth to
irrigate fields or build dikes to keep out or absorb water.
Earth is controlled by Wood. Trees and their roots hold the
soil together and get their nourishment from the earth.
Wood is controlled by Metal. Even the largest tree can be
felled by the metal blade of an axe.
Under this philosophy, we see that no element can be called
the strongest or weakest. They are forever dependent on one
another and are equal. They are linked by the chain of life
that brings about their existence, and there is no power struggle.
Each has its own place and function.
Would it be too farfetched, therefore, to speculate that even
nations will be beneficially or adversely affected, depending
on whether they were born under a good or a bad moon? Will the
year in which a country is formed have a great bearing on its
place in history? Chinese fortune-telling leaves us to draw
our own conclusions, after providing us with the necessary tools.
It is said that astrology is an accurate science, based on
fixed formulas and mathematical calculations. Likewise, lunar
horoscopes are equally exacting and scientifically evolved.
Yet I hasten to add that it can be considered as an art form:
the art of recognizing relevant facts in whatever disguises
they may appear or expressed in. The Chinese sages of old and
the fortune-tellers of today liken themselves to medical diagnosticians
of the present, probing, searching and forever interpreting
telltale signs of what the future may hold.
The ancient Chinese method of chance reading is never dogmatic
or fatalistic. We are never made to feel hemmed in by our weaknesses
nor inhibited by our deficiencies. rather, we are encouraged
to exploit our resources in varied and imaginative ways.
Thus, Chinese horoscopes, instead of restricting us, teach us
how to plot new courses if our present methods of approach do
not meet with success, and how to circumvent the circumstances
of birth and other barriers and to reach our goals by taking
new routes. As they instruct us in self-analysis and in knowing
what to expect from situations, we will be able at worst to
face, at best to solve, the problems we are most fated to encounter.