In the last article I have briefly introduced the 12 Asian zodiac signs and their origin. This time, we shall see how they are used in the calendar system and why they are so important in Feng Shui and fortune telling.
Zodiac Signs in the Calendar
In the Feng Shui calendar system, there are 12 Earthly Branches (地支). Each Earthly Branch correspond to one of the 12 zodiac signs.
You probably know that this year (2020) is the Year of the Rat. This comes from the fact that this is a Zi year (子年) in the 12 Earthly Branch cycle. Whenever it is a Zi year, it is the Year of the Rat. The year after Zi must be Chou year (丑年), which is the Year of the Ox.
The Earthly Branches are also used to represent years. In the Gregorian calendar, there are 365 days in 12 months in a year. In the Feng Shui calendar, there are also 12 months, each represented by a Earthly Branch.
The Feng Shui calendar system is not the same as the lunar calendar that the so called “Lunar New Year” or “Chinese New Year” is based on. The lunar calendar is mainly based on the moon, a lunar month lasts for 29 to 30 days only.
On the other hand, in the Feng Shui calendar system, a month lasts for around 30 days. As seen from the earth, the sun moves around the earth and completes a cycle in a year. If we divide this orbit into 12 zones, each zone is a Feng Shui month.
The first month of a year in Feng Shui calendar, which begins in early February each year (usually the fourth day of February), is called the Yin month (寅月). Yin corresponds to the Tiger sign. The next month is Mou month (卯月), which corresponds to the Rabbit sign.
The 12 Earthly Branches and the corresponding 12 zodiac signs are also used in the next two lower levels of calendar and time system, i.e. day and hour.
There is a 12 Earthly Branch cycle of days, from Zi day (the Rat day) to Hai day (the Pig day). The 24 hours in a day are also represented by the 12 Earthly Branches, each consists of two hours. The Zi hours starts from 23:00 to 00:59 the next day, the Chou hours begins from 01:00 to 02:59. The Wu hours (午時) is from 11:00 to 12:59, it spans over the noon, this is why the word Wu (午) also means “noon” in Chinese.
The Importance of the Earthly Branches and Zodiac Signs
The Earthly Branches are important, not only because they represent the time but also because they are related to the natural cycle of energy change.
In a day, midnight is when the sun is right below the ground, down at the bottom. At noon, the sun is up on top of the sky, directly above us. The sun’s energy as felt by people should be the weakest and the strongest respectively. The magnitude of the solar energy changes from one extreme to another in the hours between midnight and noon. So the solar energy gradually increases from midnight (Zi hours) to noon (Wu hours), then diminishes from noon (Wu hours) to midnight (Zi hours). This cycle repeats everyday.
The same goes for the energy change in a year. Zi month is around December in the Northern Hemisphere. It is almost the end of Winter, an absolutely cold time.
On the other hand, Wu month is around June, in the Northern Hemisphere, which is in summertime. The 12 Earthly Branches represents the change of solar energy in a year, as felt on the earth.
The birth chart of a person, in the form of Bazi, consists of four Earthly Branches and four Heavenly Stems (天干). We can tell if a person’s energy is balanced by checking the Earthly Branches and Heavenly Stems.
Then how about Zodiac Signs? As they are the signs of the Earthly Branches, Feng Shui masters could use them to restore balance of a person’s energy. For example, if the Fire element is favourable to a person, he may consider wearing a horse-shaped pendant (horse equals to the Wu Earthly Branch) on a necklace to increase his level of “Fire” energy.
Likewise, the zodiac signs could also be used in a house to improvement the Feng Shui. Of course, expert advice by a Feng Shui master is need when doing so.
Now you know why Zodiac Signs are not only important in Asian culture but also significant in Feng Shui and fortune-telling. They are tools to achieve harmony in energy.
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