Three New Years Greetings
Greetings from sunny Stockholm! Unlike the record warm winter we had last year, we are finally experiencing some snow and freezing temperatures this winter. My wife Karin and I are enjoying this winter-Qi – the greatest source for rejuvenating all new life energy. We will continue to take advantage of the winter feeling and maintain our focus on our annual winter personal retreat. I am sending this seasonal greeting a little early this year because I would like to share some special cultivation ideas for the coming new energetic year with you all.
Utilize the rhythm of Nature
According to ZhouYiCanTongQi 周易參同契, one of the most important Daoist internal alchemy classics, the rhythm of nature has great influence on human beings, and it is therefore important to understand the rhythm of nature and know how to cultivate with the changing rhythms.
By doing so, you will optimize your potential for inner transformation and for deep healing to occur.
Three New Years!
There will be three important shifts in the rhythm of Qi as we move from the current JiaWu 甲午 Year to the coming YiWei 乙未 Year:
- Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi
- Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi
- Chinese New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi
Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi
This YiWei 乙未 Cosmological Year will start January 20, 2015
The Heavenly Stem Yi 乙 represents Yin Wood and the Earthly Branch Wei 未 represents the Earth and carries the Goat as its spiritual animal. According to Chinese cosmology, I expect that the coming year’s climatic pattern to be influenced by Revenge Fire, Damp Earth, and Cold Water energies.
This means that I predict more rainstorms than average this year, with hail in the summer and snow storms in the winter.
I also expect that there will be strong windstorms in the coming months, especially on west coast area of your region.
Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi
Spring season will begin on February 4, 2015
The next animal sign begins on LiChun 立春, which marks the beginning of spring. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the annual solar cycle. According to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin on February 4, 2015.
In my tradition, the coming of spring correlates with the start of a new annual animal sign – and this year it will be YiWei, the Year of Yin Wood Goat. In Chinese astrology, one of the four pillars that make up the basic chart is the animal which correlates to the Solar year of birth.
For example, all babies who are born between February 4, 2015-February 4, 2016 will have the Yin Wood Goat as their yearly animal sign.
Whether you have a goat in your chart or not, we will all be affected by the Goat energy this year.
Here is a brief synopsis of the symbolism of the Goat, as extracted from my book The 12 Chinese Animals:
“Goats give you gentle and peaceful feelings when they chew grass with a slow, grinding motion. Yet they move with great speed and agility when navigating their way through rough, rocky, mountainous areas. They have strong horns and are always ready to defeat their enemies.
Goat is the eighth animal symbol in the 12 Chinese Animals System.
We use Wei 未 to represent the Goat symbol in the 12 Earthly Branches.
Wei is a symbol for the 13:00–14:59 time of day, and for the sixth month in the Chinese Lunar-Solar calendar (which is approximately July 7 to August 8 in the Gregorian solar calendar).
Wei represents the napping time of day and the third summer month when nature is in its ripest season. It is a time or a place where Yang energy (life energy) continues its decline and when the life cycle becomes more mellow. We use the tidal hexagram Dun 遁 ䷠ to symbolize the Goat.”
Chinese (Lunar) New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi
This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015
The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the Winter solstice each year. This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015. In China, we also call the New Year ChunJie 春節, or Spring Festival.
The Spring Festival is the most important and longest holiday of the year in China, the one in which we all prioritize spending time with family and friends. Traditionally, the celebration begins new year’s eve and lasts for almost an entire month.
YiWei and your Health
While the combination of YiWei energies will be good for those of you who need support from the Wood elements, it will also possibly cause added difficulties for those of you who have weak lung Qi, poor digestive function, and/or a lower sexual drive.
Some people will suffer more pain in their joints and tendons over the next couple of months.
I will go into more detail about how the seasonal cosmological influences will effect us in my coming seasonal greetings.
YiWei New Years Qigong – Goat Internal Alchemy
As I always emphasis, Qigong practice is a great medicine that will help you maintain balance and a sense of well being in your life.
The special Goat internal alchemy qigong form will be a powerful addition to your daily Qigong practice during this YiWei year.
This year, I will teach the entire 12 Chinese Animals Internal Alchemy form in Anchorage, Alaska on Sunday April 19th. In the workshop, I will explain the form in relation to the twelve Tidal Hexagrams – the spirit of Yijing (I Ching), and cover healing and spiritual transformation applications of the form.
For those of you who will be unable to join us in Anchorage, here is one of the Goat internal alchemy practices for you:
Tidal Hexagram Dun ䷠ Meditation
With a lit candle in front of you, start the meditation by straightening your back and feeling that your body is as stable as a mountain.
Make the Dun mudra by placing each thumb on the tip of the ring finger. The tip of the ring finger is related to the hexagram Dun.
With open and relaxed fingers, place your right mudra on your right knee, palm facing up and raise your left mudra to the level of your left shoulder, palm facing forward.
Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep, and even.
Feel each breath connect with your spleen, heart, and liver.
Meditate in this position for as long as you can.
At the close of your meditation, please cite this little prayer:
May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unwavering mind
May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unbroken breath
May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unpolluted body
Spring Courses in the US!
Below please find a brief summary of my upcoming courses in the US.
Events with a special early registration price are noted.
QiDao ChaDao: Qigong and the Dao of Tea
Qigong is an ancient technique for healing and inner cultivation. For thousands of years, sages have used the tea ceremony as a gateway to understand the Dao. Please join us for a sampling of special Chinese tea and demonstration of traditional Qigong.
March 13 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)
April 17 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)
Dragon Body: The Secret of Daoist Internal Alchemy
In Chinese culture, the dragon represents shifting, changing, invisible, mystery, flexibility, transformation, high spirituality, supernatural, and power.
The Dragon Body practice is a way to express all the characteristics of the dragon in your cultivation practice.
This practice strengthens the vital link between the governing meridian and conception meridian and is one of the most important ZhouTian 周天 (Cosmic Orbit) methods to transform your Qi and nourish your spirit.
*Please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 6!
Daoist Internal Alchemy – BaGuaXinJing 八卦心鏡
In this BaGua XinJing (Eight Trigrams Heart-Mirror) training, we will review HunYuanZhuang 混元樁, the fundamental Heart-Mind standing posture, and the XinJing – the eight gentle movements designed to increase physical strength, nourish the joints and balance the mind. This practice represents the very foundation of YiJing (I Ching) philosophy.
*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!
Daoist Internal Alchemy – ShengXiaoGong 生肖功
The twelve rhythms of nature are represented by ShengXiaoGong (Twelve Animals Qigong), from China’s esoteric Mt. EMei shamanic Qigong lineage, and give us access to the deepest spirit of the Yijing (I Ching).
*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!
Karin and I are wishing you and your families a healthy and happy year of the Goat!
Master Zhongxian Wu
Yin Water Snake Greetings from Master Wu
Greetings from bright and sunny Stockholm! Since my winter solstice greeting, the daylight is returning quickly here in Sweden. Karin and I have been enjoying our new home, continuing our inner cultivation practices, writing, hiking in the impressive Royal National City Park, and watching the cycle of freezing and thawing of the waterways in Stockholm (the city itself is made up of 14 islands). We are still appreciating the strong life energy of the North. After our time in northern Europe last winter, I no longer feel shocked to see green grass patiently waiting under the icy fields. Green belongs to the Wood Element – it is the color of new life energy and the spring season, and it reminded me today to write this seasonal update.
Spring 2013 begins tomorrow! February 4, 2013 marks the beginning of GuiSi 癸巳 the Year of the Yin Water Snake
The Chinese New Year falls on February 10 this year. However, according to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin tomorrow, February 4 at 00:13, which is the same moment that the Year of Yin Water Snake begins.
In China, the Snake is also known as XiaoLong 小龍 (Minor Dragon) and is generally regarded as an auspicious animal symbol. We commonly say that children born in the year of the snake are likely to be very smart!
Contrary to popular belief, the new yearly animal sign and Chinese New Year do NOT typically fall on the same day
Many people think that the Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar. In fact, it is a lunisolar calendar, called WanNianLi or YinYangLi 陰陽歷. In Chinese, YinYangLi means moon and sun calendar, with Yin representing the moon, Yang signifying the sun, and Li meaning calendar. The fundamental building blocks of the Chinese calendrical system are GanZhi 干支, the 10 Heavenly Stem and 12 Earthly Branches. This year, year of the Yin Water Snake, is denoted by the combination of the Heavenly Stem Gui 癸 and the Earthly Branch Si 巳. The calendar tells us information about the lunar phase as well as the position of the sun.
The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after Winter solstice each year. This is why the actual date of the Chinese New Year changes from year to year – it does not follow the Western Gregorian calendar. The Chinese New Year is recorded based on the Yin aspect of the calendar.
The LiChun 立春, or beginning of spring, indicates the beginning of the next yearly animal sign. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the yearly cycle. As I discussed in my book, The 12 Chinese Animals, the 24 segments are known as JieQi 節氣, and they symbolize the 24 positions of the sun’s movement across the sky and detail the 24 energetic patterns of each annual cycle – the Yang aspect of the calendar.
The message of GuiSi 癸巳
Each Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch contain many layers of symbolic meaning. As the situation or context changes, we may interpret the same Stem or Branch in a totally different way. I will briefly decode a Chinese cosmological perspective of GuiSi for you here.
The Heavenly Stem Gui represents Yin Water and the Earthly Branch Si represents Fire and carries the Snake as its spiritual animal. This is why this coming year, GuiSi, is known as the Yin Water Snake Year. According to Chinese cosmology, Gui Water will transform to a deficient Fire energy. In general, I expect that the climate will be drier than it was during the Yang Water Dragon year. Si Fire will transform to JueYin 厥陰 Wind Wood, which provides a clue that the first half year will be windy and the second half of the year will be warm, including an unseasonably warm winter (in the Northern hemisphere). Together, GuiSi shows us that these cosmological energies will weaken the immune system of many people and suggests that the flu season will continue through March 22th. Of course, each season will have its own impact, and I will go into detail about the next season in a few months.
Daily Cultivation Practice
Although we can not completely avoid the influence of the cosmological energy on our health, keeping a daily Qigong practice is always a great way to strengthen your immune system and maintain balance. I often say that Qigong is easy to learn but difficult practice on a daily basis. One of my students, an acupuncturist, recently shared her blog with me. She has decided to commit to practicing Qigong continuously for 365 days. With her permission, I am attaching the link to her blog for you here, and hope that it will bring some of you inspiration to dedicate yourselves to a daily cultivation practice (365qigong.wordpress.com).
Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – study card set!
Karin and I finished our newest project – a Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches study card set. It will be published by Singing Dragon in April 2013. We are still working with the companion book and hope it will be ready this summer.
Opportunities to study XinYi internal martial arts
We are excited about our Yijing, FengShui and internal cultivation trip to China next month. For those who are interested in joining us for just the one week XinYi 心意 internal martial arts trip (March 14 – March 21), we still have a few spaces available. We will be training with my master, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong 趙守榮. You are welcomed to email me for details.
I will also offer a Dai family style XinYi workshop in Brooklyn, NYC in May during our upcoming visit to the states.
Updated 2013 teaching schedule
The April life long training program level 1 is now full! If you would like to be added to the wait list, please let me know. During our trip to the US, I will be teaching weekend workshops in Oregon (Portland) in April and in New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn) in May. When we return to Sweden, we will offer a Daoist Internal Alchemy and Qi Healing certification program during the week of the summer solstice. Our summer and fall schedule thus far include workshops in Germany, England, and Scotland, with preliminary plans to teach in Spain and Greece – please check www.masterwu.net for details!
Best regards from Karin and I,
Dear Qi friends,
Happy RenChen 壬辰 (Water Dragon) Year!
Although most Chinese and many other Asians celebrate the new year on the second new moon’s day after winter solstice, the astrological animal year actually starts on LiChun 立春 (Establishing Spring), which occurs each year around February 4. According to my Ten Thousand Year Chinese Calender, the Year of Water Dragon will officially begin February 4, 2012 at 18:22.
With respect to traditional Chinese cosmology, this will be the same moment that this spring season will start. My wife Karin and I are delighted for the opportunity to practice Fire Dragon Qigong with some Qi friends here in London this coming weekend when the Water Dragon arrives. I will send the Dragon’s Blessings of Great Transformation to you during our cultivation.
Regarding cosmological patterns, the Water Dragon will transform to Wind Wood and Cold Water. This suggests there will be powerful and perhaps disastrous wind and rain storms this year. The strong Wind Wood and Cold Water energies will also weaken many people’s kidney Qi, immune function and life energy.
On the other hand, Chinese Dragon is also a symbol for great transformation. As such, the Water Dragon Year will be the best time to commit to your inner cultivation practices. Spending some time everyday with your Qigong practice and other inner cultivation techniques will help you maintain well-being and recover from sickness or imbalance.
In Chinese, we have a saying – ShiBanGongBei 事半功倍 – which means achieve better results and exert only half of the usual effort. This year, Water Dragon Qi will make your Qigong and other spiritual cultivation practices more fruitful, thereby allowing you to reach your goals with much less effort compared with other times. I hope you will take advantage of this rare opportunity to spend more time practicing your inner arts and make a great change in your life.
After sharing some Qigong and Chinese Medicine teachings in the UK, Karin and I will spend about two weeks in the Arctic circle to cultivate with the Northern Lights in late February, when the Water Dragon will be raising its head on the horizon.
To continue to support our Qi communities, we will finish the Fire Dragon Meridian Qigong Book and DVD as soon as possible, and will offer more workshops across the world during the Water Dragon year.
Also, as requested by some Qi friends, we are considering opening a new entry level of our lifelong training program on the West Coast when we are in Oregon this May.
Please check my website (www.masterwu.net) for updates in my teaching schedule if you are interested.
With wishes for Auspicious Dragon Transformation,
Dear Qi friends,
“Greetings from Ivy, VA! Although most leaves are still radiating their illuminations here, the light snow this morning told me that winter season arrived earlier than expected. According to Chinese cosmology, the official start date of the winter season will be November 8th.”
… I began this seasonal greeting letter to you on the 29th of October, during a break time from packing up our house and moving everything into a storage unit. However, I had to let go of my idea to get a letter to you early and instead focus on the big job of moving.
The early snow signaled that this winter will be extremely cold in most areas of the northern hemisphere. It will bring more challenges to many people in both the physical and mental levels. By reducing your social activities, bringing your Qi within, and turning your focus on your inner cultivation practice, you will be better equipped to transform the obstacles ahead.
The Metal Rabbit has been a big year for my wife Karin and I. We have experienced the Seven Emotions (Joy, Anger, Worry, Longing, Grief, Fear and Shock) of the Five Elements stages (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) at a very profound level. I am afraid that I am unable to share the details of our story with you in this letter, as it is much too tender still. Our destiny has put us in the situation of being ‘homeless’ – or, from a spiritual perspective – becoming “Daoist wanderers.” We steered ourselves to Sweden just yesterday and hope the wintery Baltic Sea will nourish us and help us gain wisdom and insight regarding our next destination.
From one perspective of the Five Elements principle, winter is the season of death and rebirth. It is the season that allows the Old to decease and the New to grow. Death is always an awkward topic to talk about, and most everyone avoids referencing it. Yet, no one can leave death alone as it is a part of the universal Five Elements natural cycle. In the Chinese Immortal’s tradition, we have an expression – XinSi ShenHuo, which translates into English as “allowing your heart to die will let your spirit live.” In my interpretation, this means that in order to achieve true enlightenment, we have to respect death and bring it gracefully into our hearts. The founder master of the Complete Reality School, Wang ChongYang, achieved his enlightenment after he dug his own grave and spent three years in it, cultivating his internal alchemy practices (Daoist meditation techniques).
To continue moving through our grief energy after the recent death of our son TaiLiao, Karin and I chose to spend next few months cultivating in the true winter energy of Northern Europe, rather than escaping to a warm, southern summer Qi area. As LaoZi tells us in Chapter 1 of his DaoDeJing, within the darkness inside the darkness lies the doorway to all wonders. We know that the mystical northern lights appear brightest in the Water Direction (the North) during the darkest hours of the night, and we trust that our time hibernating in the dark, cold, and silent winter will brighten our future path.
Although you are always welcomed to write back, I ask you to please understand if I do not respond to all the emails I receive during this winter season. For those who are interested in my teachings, I have scheduled a couple of workshops in the early spring of 2012 (you can check the details at http://masterwu.net/events.html). In honor of the coming year of great transformation, a few of my long term American students will join us here in Sweden for an Advanced Chinese Astrology retreat, which will be held during the Chinese Spring Festival in January. When the Yang Water Dragon raises his head in February 2012, I will give a lecture on Qigong as the root of Chinese Medicine at the Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine, London South Bank University. I will also hold Fire Dragon and Five Elements Qigong workshops in London and in Oxford during our trip to the UK. You may look for my next greeting letter when the Year of Water Dragon arrives on February 4, 2012.
With warm regards and wishes for a peaceful winter to you and yours,
Congratulations, Master Wu!!!
We are so pleased to announce that Master Wu’s book, The 12 Chinese Animals- Create Harmony in Your Daily Life Through Ancient Chinese Wisdom, has received the Silver medal in the Mind-Body-Spirit category of ForeWord’s 2010 Book of the Year Award.
Please check out the link:
A Word About the Book of the Year Awards
ForeWord Reviews‘ Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers of the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors. ForeWord is the only review trade journal devoted exclusively to books from independent houses.
This unique awards process brings readers, librarians, and booksellers together to select their top categories as well as choose the winning titles. Their decisions are based on editorial excellence, professional production, originality of the narrative, author credentials relative to the book, and the value the book adds to its genre.
Only those books which expand a reader’s world, introduce a voice society needs to hear, offer practical knowledge where none existed before, or simply entertain so compellingly that all distractions fall away, are submitted for the Book of the Year Award.
- Editorial excellence
- Intent of book met by author
- Originality of subject matter
- Author credentials
- Professional packaging
Finalists are determined by a jury of judges consisting of editors and reviewers of ForeWord Reviews, booksellers, librarians, and other industry professionals.
Happy Spring, Chinese New Year, and Year of the Rabbit from sunny Ivy, VA! The buds of the crocus flowers pushed their way through the frozen field of our back yard lately, reminding me of the power of spring new life energy in breaking this last stage of cold winter.
According to Chinese cosmology, this Chinese New Year’s day will be February 3, 2011 and the Rabbit Year of 2011 will start on LiChun 立春, February 4 at 12:32. The Chinese New Years’ day is the first new moon’s day of the first lunar month every year in Chinese calendar. The New Year is dependent on the pattern of the moon (Yin energy of Nature), while the animal sign of the year starts on LiChun, which is the beginning of spring season. The LiChun is dependent on the position of the sun (Yang energy of the nature). In general, the Chinese New Year’s day and the marker of the new yearly animal sign, LiChun, are on different dates every year, sometimes, even a few weeks apart. It is very special to have these two dates so close this year, which indicates that the Yin and Yang energies of the nature will work together well and we can expect this Rabbit Year will be an easier, bountiful and prosperous year for many of us.
We use Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch XinMao辛卯 to represent this energetic Rabbit Year. The rabbit has a quiet and gentle character, and it looks cute. Rabbits give you soft, lazy, slow, and stable feeling when they are quiet. But they are fast and agile once they start running. They are good at staying hidden and they have multiple dens. Rabbit do not have sharp teeth and they are not interested in fighting with others. Rabbit is a symbol for wisdom, skill, ambition, humanity, and secrets in Chinese tradition. Babies born this Rabbit Year will likely have an easy and steady life.
Although XinMao辛卯 indicates that this energetic Rabbit Year will have peaceful and harmonious energy impact our lives, the dampness energy which I mentioned in my previous seasonal greeting email will continue to affect many places until late March. This dampness will bring some health problems to human beings with weak digestive function. Besides the GI flu, kidney and heart diseases, and immune system problems will also affect some people in this Rabbit Year. Please continue your daily Qigong practice to keep your Qi flowing well.
I will reduce my traveling and teaching activities this year to take the advantage of balancing Rabbit Qi to further uplift my personal cultivation from the BiGu ShiQi (Avoiding Food and Eating Qi) practice and to support the small group of Qi friends on this same path. Aside from my weekly classes here in Charlottesville and some local events, I only have plans to offer a one day workshop this spring, which will be on 12 Animals and Inner Cultivation on March 13th in Portland, OR. Also, there are only two spaces left for the April XinYi (Heart Mind) Internal Martial Arts and Internal Alchemy China trip. Some other exciting news: I will offer a new Lifelong Qigong Training Program in June on the East Coast. We have already started taking registrations.
By the way, to celebrate my 10th year teaching in the West, I have had a small amount of organic cotton Qigong t-shirts made. They have with my Qi-calligraphy “Dragon” talisman on left front chest pocket area and “Nourish Your Heavenly Truth” talisman on the back. The t-shirt is available in men’s and women’s sizes S-XL, in black with white calligraphy and in white with black calligraphy. Sorry, it is not available online because it is a limited offer. Please email me at email@example.com if you are interested in purchasing a t-shirt.
I’ll have a Summer Seasonal Greeting for you in May. Until then, please check my website http://www.masterwu.net for frequent updates.
All my best with harmonious Qi,
This is an excerpt from the introduction of my new book, “The 12 Chinese Animals – Create Harmony in Your Daily Life Through Ancient Chinese Medicine”, published by Singing Dragon and ready for purchase in Fall 2010. It was also recently published in The Empty Vessel, a Eugene, OR based journal on contemporary Daoism. I hope you enjoy reading about the wisdom of twelve.
The Wisdom of Twelve
Living in harmony within family, among society, and with nature is the ancient Chinese way of life. People in China have been enjoying living in a very harmonious society for thousands of years, since at least the time period of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1122 BCE – 771 BCE). In Chinese, we have an expression to illustrate this style of life, ye bu bi hu, lu bu shi yi (夜不閉戶, 路不拾遺), which means there is no need to close your door at night when you go to sleep, and you will be able to get your belongings back easily if you lose them because no one will take them away. In ancient China, there were no religions, no police, no taxes, and no lawyers. There was only a special kind of wisdom to guide Chinese people to cultivate their true humanity. This true humanity contains the spirit of love, compassion, faith, courtesy, justice, and humbleness. With this true humanity, people are able to respect each other, support each other, and create a harmonious community together.
You might wonder what this wisdom is. This wisdom is still being held in some ancient Chinese classics; Yijing (I Ching), is one of them. Yijing wisdom has guided countless Chinese to live in harmony in their daily life for thousands of years. One of the most important concepts in the Chinese wisdom traditions is trinity; three in one, is one. Yijing contains three secret and sacred layers of wisdom: symbology, numerology, and philosophy. This book will give you a little taste of this ancient Chinese wisdom. By understanding the twelve animal symbols and twelve tidal hexagrams from Yijing wisdom, you will be able to learn a way to find your inner peace and live in harmony with your family, your community, and with nature
The wisdom of Yijing is vast; it looks like a tree of the universe. The roots of the tree embrace the entire earth and the tips of the tree hold the whole heavenly realm. There is a very tiny branch on this tree, called the twelve animal symbols system, which is related to your birth, your energetic life cycle or destiny, twelve tidal hexagrams of Yijing, and the cycle of nature. It is also a small sub-branch of the Yijing prediction system. As I emphasized in the Afterword of my book Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System, Yijing prediction is magic, but it is also an art, a way of life, a way of nature, and it is a way of the universe. It is a way to express the great universal compassion, which gives birth to all beings and protects them. The spirit of Yijing prediction or Change is to help people find a way to Change their lives and experience living in a consistently peaceful state, especially during difficult situations. This prediction system provides a way for people to live in harmony.
Life is magic! Twelve animal symbols of Yijing wisdom is a way to help you to understand this magic, to help you live a harmonious life. In this book, I will share with you how these twelve animal symbols can help you understand your destiny. By using the wisdom of the animal symbols as guides, you will be able to better understand your personality, and make choices that influence your health, relationships, career, finances, the colors you wear, and the food you eat, so that you live up to your greatest potential. It will be easier for you to apply the wisdom of the twelve animal symbols in your life if I provide you with some fundamentals about the number 12, Chinese astrology and animal symbols, and the 8 trigrams and 12 tidal hexagrams of Yijing.
I. Numerological Meanings of 12
In ancient times, people lived closer to the cycles of nature and followed the way of nature. This harmonious lifestyle is patterned in a Chinese phrase, ri chu er zuo, ri luo er xi 日出而作,日落而息, which means ‘Sunrise, go to work; sunset, go to rest.’ Through their observation of nature, ancient Chinese understood 12 as an important number in their daily life.
In Chinese, the number 12 is Shier十二. It is a symbol for the universal clock, i.e. Shier Chen十二辰, representing both time and space. In Chinese cosmology, we certainly recognize the number twelve as contained in the twelve Chen辰 in a day (1 Chen is equal to two hour segments), the twelve months of a year, the twelve spiritual animals related to the Chinese zodiac, and the 12 years of a life cycle. The number 12 is described as the twelve Earthly Branches in Chinese tradition. The branches are representative of the waxing and waning of the two primal energies of Yin and Yang throughout daily or yearly cycles. As I explained in my book, Vital Breath of the Dao, the chaotic primordial Qi gave birth to two types of Qi: heavy Qi and light Qi. These two types moved in opposite directions. The heavy Qi, Yin Qi descended to form the Earth, while the light Qi, Yang, rose to form Heaven. These terms, Yin and Yang, allow people to understand any phenomena as the expression of opposites. For example, in the cycles of nature, you have to understand the concept of night which is considered Yin, in order to understand the concept of day, which is considered Yang. It is said that the knowledge of twelve Earthly Branches comes from ancient Chinese through thousands of years of observing astronomical phenomena.
The number twelve represents the energetic changes our bodies experience in a twelve Chen day, the twelve months of a year, and 12 years of a life cycle. In Chinese medicine, the number 12 also corresponds to the 12 organ meridian systems in the human body. The human body itself is seen as a microcosmic representation of the macrocosm of the Universe. The number twelve stands for the 12 different energy patterns found in nature. Ancient Chinese shamans used the 12 tidal hexagrams of Yijing to describe the 12 energetic patterns of the microcosm (the human body) and the macrocosm (nature, and the Universe at large).
II. Chinese Astrology and 12 Animal Symbols
Are you familiar with Chinese astrology? You may think of the twelve animals of the zodiac commonly printed on restaurant menus. In actuality, Chinese astrology is vastly more complicated than this.
In the West, most information available to the public on how to find your Chinese animal symbol is incomplete and misleading. Many Chinese animal sign or horoscope books and popular websites will tell you that each animal symbol starts from the Chinese New Year in the Chinese Lunar calendar. This is, in fact, an incorrect method to find your animal symbol.
Generally speaking when most people talk about Chinese animal symbols, they are referring to the yearly animal symbol. For instance, if you were born in 1951, most readily available resources will tell you that your animal symbol is Rabbit, based on the assumption that 1951 is the Year of Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac system. Actually, being born in 1951 does not always mean you will have Rabbit as your animal symbol. Furthermore, according to Chinese astrology, you have at least 4 animal symbols in your birth chart! The yearly animal symbol is related to the energetic year in which you were born, the monthly animal symbol is related to the energetic month in which you were born, the daily animal symbol is related to the energetic day in which you were born, and the hourly animal symbol is related to the energetic hour in which you were born. I emphasize the energetic year, month, day, and hour because they are different concepts than those of the regular solar calendar.
Chinese Astrology is based on ancient Chinese cosmology and the Five Elements theory. Each individualized chart is a life reading that gives insight into a person’s past, present, and future. Through the chart, one can obtain guidance about health, career, relationships, and more.
An individual Chinese astrology chart is constructed with a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch for each year, month, date, and time of birth. The combination of a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch for each parameter is called One Pillar; all together they are called the SiZhu or Four Pillars. Each Pillar is composed of a Heavenly Stem and an Earthly Branch. Thus, there are two characters per Pillar. With a total of Four Pillars, the entire chart is composed of eight characters. As such, the name for Chinese astrology is BaZi (eight characters).
It is said that Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches existed even before the invention of the Chinese characters, which the oldest recorded evidence dates back to 8000 years ago. Numerous examples of the symbols for the Stems and Branches are seen in the unearthed ancient Chinese oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (1766 to 1111 BCE).
As you can see, for any particular individual, there will be eight characters (BaZi) that reflect his or her personal energies. These are derived from all the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, within the Four Pillars, that support the body. In other words, by understanding the energy of the macrocosmic Universe at a particular time, we can understand the microcosm of the individual.
In Chinese tradition, we commonly use the 12 animal symbols to represent the 12 Earthly Branches in the astrological chart, because it is easier for people to understand their destiny through the symbolic meaning of the animals. These 12 animal symbols are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. In The Beginning of this book, I will introduce the way to find your fundamental power animal symbols. You will then be able to learn the wisdom of your personal animals in subsequent chapters, which will support you living in harmony with your family and friends, your community, and with nature.
III. Eight Trigrams, 12 Tidal Hexagrams, and the Cycle of Nature
There are 12 very important hexagrams in Yijing system, known as the 12 tidal hexagrams. Each hexagram represents the energetic pattern of its related animal symbol in Chinese astrology. We often use the wisdom of these tidal hexagrams to give people guidance during a consultation. Bagua, or Eight Trigrams, form the basis of Yijing. The entire Yijing text book is made of 64 hexagrams, and each hexagram is made up of two trigrams. Let me share some information about the trigrams before we further discuss the 12 tidal hexagrams. I hope it will help you better understand each hexagram in this book.
Bagua is the model of the universe. Everything in existence, including every part of the body, can be classified by one of the trigrams. Ancient shamans understood this connection and they brought this connection into their interpretations of their divinations. Trigrams are symbols made up of three lines, representing Heaven, Earth, and the Human Being, and reflect the universal energy. The Eight Trigrams are: Qian 乾 (Heaven), Dui 兌 (Marsh or Lake), Li 離 (Fire), Zhen 震 (Thunder), Xun 巽 (Wind), Kan 坎 (Water), Gen 艮 (Mountain), and Kun 坤 (Earth). Each line in a trigram will be either a solid line (–) or a broken line (–). The solid line is called the Yang 陽 line and the broken line is called the Yin 陰 line.
Now, let us let take a look some information about the 12 tidal hexagrams. The 12 tidal hexagrams are used to depict the energetic cycle of nature. In Chinese, we call these hexagrams Shier Xiaoxi Gua 十二消息卦. Shier means twelve, while Xiao means decrease, reduce, waning, and xi means increase, gain, waxing; together, Xiaoxi means information, waxing and waning of the tides, or the changing faces of the moon. Gua means trigram or hexagram. In general, we translate Shier Xiaoxi Gua 12 tidal hexagrams.
These 12 tidal hexagrams stand for different energetic stages of the cycles of nature or life patterns. These 12 hexagrams help us to understand the 12 month yearly cycle of nature, to learn the 12 meridian systems of the body, and to make sense of the different stages of the life. The 12 tidal hexagrams are: Fu 復 (Rebirth), Lin 臨 (Deliver), Tai 泰 (Balance), DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper), Guai 叏 (Transform), Qian 乾 (Strengthen), Gou 媾 (Copulate), Dun 遁 (Retreat), Pi 否 (Break), Guan 觀 (Observe), Bo 剝 (Peel), and Kun 坤 (Flow). These 12 also reflect the continuous cycle of energy change, for example, the rhythm of day turning into night, or the change of seasons.
You can look at the energetic pattern of the 12 hexagrams together and see that they depict a pattern of steadily increasing, then decreasing intensity. This is the natural wave pattern of life.
Hexagram Fu 復 (Recover) Lin 臨 (Deliver), Tai 泰 (Balance), DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper), Guai 叏 (Transform) Qian 乾 (Strengthen), represent the six waxing stages of the rising Yang energy pattern, until Yang reaches its peak.
Hexagram Gou 媾 (Copulate) Dun 遁 (Retreat) Pi 否 (Break) Guan 觀 (Observe Bo 剝 (Peel) Kun 坤 (Flow) illustrate the Yang energy dropping to its nadir and Yin energy rising to its zenith in the six stages of the declining Yang energy pattern.
Together, these 12 tidal hexagrams symbolize a perfect wave of life. I am sure that all of us have experienced times of great joy and times of sorrow. No one could live in their climax of life all the time. The Yijing wisdom of these 12 tidal hexagrams gives us great guidance to live harmoniously through different life stages. We will discuss some details of the hexagrams as they relate to their associated animal symbol later in this book. Traditionally, these 12 hexagrams are also used to describe your energy state during specific internal cultivation practices like meditation, Qigong and Taiji. I will share different internal cultivation methods connected with the 12 tidal hexagrams at the end of each chapter in the book. I hope you will be able to use the practices to better understand the wisdom the 12 animal symbols and the 12 tidal hexagrams, and to strengthen your life force and find your inner peace.
The chart below illustrates the aforementioned correspondences.
|1||Zi 子||Rat||Fu 復 (Rebirth)||23:00 – 00:59||Gall bladder|
|2||Chou 丑||Ox||Lin 臨 (Deliver)||01:00 – 02:59||Liver|
|3||Yin 寅||Tiger||Tai 泰 (Balance)||03:00 – 04:59||Lung|
|4||Mao 卯||Rabbit||DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper)||05:00 – 06:59||Large intestine|
|5||Chen 辰||Dragon||Guai 叏 (Transform)||07:00 – 08:59||Stomach|
|6||Si 巳||Snake||Qian 乾 (Strengthen)||09:00 – 10:59||Spleen|
|7||Wu 午||Horse||Gou 媾 (Copulate)||11:00 – 12:59||Heart|
|8||Wei 未||Goat||Dun 遁 (Retreat)||13:00 – 14:59||Small intestine|
|9||Shen 申||Monkey||Pi 否 (Break)||15:00 – 16:59||Bladder|
|10||You 酉||Rooster||Guan 觀 (Observe)||17:00 – 18:59||Kidney|
|11||Xu 戌||Dog||Bo 剝 (Peel)||19:00 – 20:59||Pericardium|
|12||Hai 亥||Pig||Kun 坤 (Flow)||21:00 – 22:59||Triple burner|
Karin Elizabeth Taylor Wu provided editorial assistance for this article.
© 2010-2013 Zhongxian Wu
 This article is part of the Introduction of Master Wu’s new book, Twelve Chinese Animal Symbols.
 Wu, Zhongxian. Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System. London: Singing Dragon. 2009: 213
 Wu, Zhongxian. Vital Breath of the Dao – Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong. St. Paul: Dragon Door Publication. 2006: 56
 Wu, Zhongxian. Vital Breath of the Dao – Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong. St. Paul: Dragon Door Publication. 2006: 10
 Wu, Zhongxian. Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System. London: Singing Dragon. 2009: 67
This is an excerpt from my latest book, “The 12 Chinese Animals – Create Harmony in Your Daily Life Through Ancient Chinese Wisdom”, which will be published by Singing Dragon and available for purchase this coming fall. I hope you enjoy reading about the Tiger!
Tiger and Tai 泰 (Balance)
In the West, most information available to the public on how to find your Chinese animal symbol is incomplete and misleading. Many Chinese animal sign or horoscope books and popular websites will tell you that each animal symbol starts from the Chinese New Year in the Chinese Lunar calendar. This is, in fact, an incorrect method to find your animal symbol.
Generally speaking when most people talk about Chinese animal symbols, they are referring to the yearly animal symbol. According to Chinese astrology, you have at least four animal symbols in your birth chart! The yearly animal symbol is related to the energetic year in which you were born, the monthly animal symbol is related to the energetic month in which you were born, the daily animal symbol is related to the energetic day in which you were born, and the hourly animal symbol is related to the energetic hour in which you were born. I emphasize the energetic year, month, day, and hour because they are different concepts than those of the regular solar calendar. For instance, LiChun 立春 is the marker for an energetic year animal symbol. LiChun means the beginning of spring season, and it is one of the 24 JieQi. In Chinese cosmology, we divide one year into 24 JieQi, with each JieQi lasting approximately 15 days. In English, we commonly translate JieQi as Solar Term or Segment. 24 JieQi symbolize the 24 sun positions in the sky and the 24 energetic patterns of a year.
LiChun time of 2010 is February 4 at 06:47, which is the moment the energetic year for 2010, a Tiger year, begins. This Tiger year will end following LiChun on February 4, 2011, at 12:32. This article will share with the wisdom of the Tiger symbol and its associated Yijing hexagram, Tai.
The tiger has a wild nature and needs a big space or territory for living. Tigers act slowly and carefully while stalking their prey, and move very quickly and with great power once they start to attack. In the Chinese tradition, Tiger is a symbol for caution, valiance, power, optimism, attraction, and ambition. It is the third animal symbol in the 12 Chinese Animals System. We use Yin寅to represent the Tiger symbol in the 12 Earthly Branches. Yin represents dawn in the daily cycle, and the first month of spring in the annual cycle. It can represent either a time or a place in which Yang energy (life energy) is awakening its new stage in a new life cycle. We use the tidal hexagram Tai to symbolize Tiger.
Having a Tiger animal symbol in your Chinese birth chart suggests that you are careful, graceful, powerful, enthusiastic, friendly, and attractive. As a Tiger animal person, you have great caution and vitality, which will help you achieve your goals. You have strong desire to get things done once you have a plan formulated. You have a tendency to be very direct when you communicate with others, so you would be wise to learn to sometimes express yourself in a softer way. Doing so will help you reach your destination, no matter how difficult the situation is.
General speaking, you have pretty good luck in life. People will gladly support your leadership if you show respect for differing opinions. You would do well to choose an independent job, like being your own boss, a writer, designer, or organizer. When you work directly with people, remember to continually cultivate your tranquility and flexibility; otherwise, you may come across as being haughty or angry. The important thing for you to remember if you are in a relationship is to learn how to assuage your anger and to truly honor your partner’s opinions.
If Tiger is your yearly animal symbol, you are elegant, graceful, and talented. You have potential to do great things by helping others. Please cultivate your patience and do not to be egotistical when you are in your flourishing time, otherwise, your life might take a turn for the worse. .
I will categorize some general Tiger features here for your further interest.
Personality: You are careful, graceful, powerful, enthusiastic, friendly, and attractive, and can sometimes be easily angered, have difficulties taking advice, or have challenges with authority. You take great vigilance before you move into actions that will help you achieve your goals. You are vivacious, like fast growing spring bamboo shoots, which will help you achieve your ambitions. Your emotions can also act just like bamboo in your garden, quickly taking over all the space if left uncontrolled. So, please practice being calm and flexible, in order to help you cool down your firey desire. Managing your firey nature will help you reach your destination, no matter how difficult the situation may be.
Health: You have strong life energy and good health potential. It might weaken your immune system if you suffer from an unresolved grief. Also, being easy to anger can potentially cause a weakness in your gallbladder system and/or problems with your thyroid. Relax and cultivate more peace in your daily life — this will greatly benefit your health.
Relationship: A Horse, Dog, or Pig person may be your soul mate, or at least can be your very close friend. A Rabbit or Dragon person will make a great business partner for you. Be careful around a Snake person because it is easy to have some conflicts between the two of you. Try to make peace with a Monkey person – sometimes, you to get into fights for no real reason. You will have simple relationships with other animal symbol people.
Career: With your good leadership qualities and cautious character, you can suit yourself well as a writer, designer, organizer, or as a self-employed person.
Finance: You have good luck with money. Not only can you can easily make money by your efforts, but you also have some chance at coming into an inheritance.
Color: Green is your spirit’s original color, and will always help you feel deeply connected with your spirit. Red is the color that will help you find your own potential energy and talent. Dressing in red color when you have an important social activity, such as public speaking or lecturing, will help bring your talent out. White color will help you feel grounded. As yellow or brown is your financial color, these two colors will bring you good luck in your finances – so have some of them in your office! Black is your spiritual source color, and having it in your cultivation room or bed room will nourish your body physically and spiritually.
Food: White color vegetables, pungent spices (like garlic and onion), fermented foods, mulberries, poultry and wild bird game are good for you.
3. Tai (Balance)
Tai is the tidal hexagram that represents the energetic pattern of the Tiger animal symbol. The Chinese character Tai means stable, great, maximum, safe, peaceful, luxurious, arrogant, and balance. The symbol of the hexagram is made with three Yang lines at the bottom and with three Yin lines on top. This symbol represents Yang Qi, or life energy, getting stronger than the previous pattern Lin, in a natural cycle. The combination of three Yin lines and three Yang lines within the hexagram indicates the balance state of Yin and Yang. Tai represents the time or place where you can easily achieve your goals because you feel comfortable, peaceful, and harmonious.
In an annual cycle, Tai represents the Yin month, which occurs from approximately February 4th to March 6th in a solar calendar. This is the first month of spring season according to Chinese cosmology. It is also the time that new sprouts and buds are growing, and when hibernating animals are awakening in certain parts of the northern hemisphere. It is the season where nature begins to show signs of the new cycle starting. Yin symbolizes showing off your energy or talent during peaceful times or situations, just as it is the time when nature bursts forth with new life energy and shows off its beauty during the spring months. Yin also represents the wisdom of choosing the right environment to be able to accomplish your life mission.
Let us discover more information about Tai from Yijing wisdom. Hexagram Tai is made up of two trigrams, the top trigram is Kun (Earth) and the bottom trigram is Qian (Heaven). It is an image of Heaven below the Earth. Heaven is the symbol for circulating and strengthening new life energy or power. Again, Earth is the symbol for holding yourself stable or centering your mind. Hexagram Tai is a harmonious energetic pattern of Heaven and Earth, in which the Heavenly Qi (rain) is descending and the Earthly Qi is ascending. It is image of a powerful person with a gentle attitude. Tai is also the image of you in meditation: Steady your body and mind, then regulate your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep and even. Bring your breath into your Dantian (lower belly) in order to circulate your Qi. This will allow you to feel your Qi free flowing in your body to maintain balance and peace in your whole physical and spiritual body.
The wisdom of the Tiger symbol and its related hexagram Tai, Balance, advises us that we should be gentle, soft, and humble in our power and hold our strength within, no matter who we communicating with. It also tells us that a balanced or harmonious situation is always made with Yin energy embracing the Yang energy, or the soft embracing the hard. This same principle applies to health as well. If you can learn to keep your inner spirit strong, while maintaining a relaxed body and mind, it will be easier to preserve your health and to recover from illness. The reason all traditional Qigong forms have powerful healing functions is because the practices follow this Tai philosophy. I hope you can try some inner cultivation with me at Tai time; it is a time for you to be aware of your inner power and wisdom, and to bring balance to your life:
At anytime when you need help bringing balance to your life, or when you want to enhance a current state of balance in your life, light a candle in front of you and start this meditation.
First straighten your back and feel that your body is stable like a mountain. Then, make the Tai mudra by placing each thumb on the palmer crease of the index finger. The palmer crease of the index finger is related to hexagram Tai. Keeping your fingers relaxed and close together, please place your left palm close to your navel, facing earth, and place your right palm, facing heaven, above your head. Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep, and even. Feel each breath connecting with your skin, small intestines, stomach, and gallbladder. Meditate as long as you can. Before ending, please say a little prayer –
“May the Spiritual Lights transform all the grief energy to joy,
May the Spiritual Lights transform my ego to have great compassion,
May the Spiritual Lights transform all conflicts in the world to bring balance and peace!”
© 2010 Zhongxian Wu