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Chinese Astronomy: How the Stars in the Sky are Categorized

  • 24
    2024
    1 月
    12:37 下午
  • 61

Ancient Chinese astronomers performed extensive and meticulous observations over long periods to identify a unique celestial pattern they called the Chinese star, dividing the celestial sphere into seven regions based on fixed stars: Three Enclosures and Four Symbols. The Three Enclosures circle around the North Star in a triangular fashion while beyond them lie Vermilion Bird, Black Tortoise, Azure Dragon and White Tiger constellations – with vermilion Bird, Black Tortoise being central in each region while beyond lie Vermilion Bird, Black Tortoise Azure Dragon and White Tiger constellations.

Feng Shui uses four terms to denote directions. One such term, Vermilion Bird, refers to the southern constellation which resembles a large bird and corresponds with Wu Xing (Five Elements) element ‘Fire. The northern constellation depicting an intertwined tortoise and snake represents the water element, hence it has been given the moniker Black Tortoise or “Xuan”, in keeping with water’s characteristics. This conceptual framework, which links Chinese stars with Feng Shui and the Five Elements, marks an incredible synthesis in ancient Chinese astronomy combining celestial observations with earthly wisdom. The Azure Dragon constellation associated with dragons and wood elements can be called Azure Dragon while White Tiger constellation represents metal elements. Together these constellations make up what are commonly referred to as Chinese stars or Chinese star constellations in Feng Shui or Five Element systems.

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