“Man models himself after Earth. Earth models itself after Heaven. Heaven models itself after Tao. And Tao models itself after Nature.” [TTC 25 Chan]
A new year brings a fresh start and hope for some; while others turn over a new leaf. It is all part of nature and mankind, for nature also has its seasonal changes. Taking lessons from such changes, the ancients learned to align with nature to be in harmony with Tao.
“If one observes the Way of Heaven, and maintains its doings (as his own), all that he has to do is accomplished. To Heaven there belong the five (mutual) foes, and he who sees them (and understands their operation) apprehends how they produce prosperity. The same five foes are in the mind of man, and when he can set them in action after the manner of Heaven, all space and time are at his disposal, and all things receive their transformations from his person. The nature of Heaven belongs (also) to Man; the mind of Man is a spring (of power). When the Way of Heaven is established, the (Course of) Man is thereby determined.” [Yin Fujing 1, 2, 3– Legge]
Watching for signs from Heaven and reading the stars together with some knowledge of nature and the interaction of the five celestial forces or “five elements” form important studies for the ancient Chinese. A total eclipse of the Sun could signify a forthcoming change of the Mandate of Heaven for example from the Shang or Yin to that of the Zhou (refer to The Mandate of Heaven by S J Marshall on the findings of a total solar eclipse in 1070 BC before King Wu’s immediate march against the Shang and for its obscure depiction in the lines of Hexagram 55 Feng.) While comets and shooting stars could presage tumultuous times and deaths of important personages respectively (refer to Records of the Historian on the first emperor of Chin during his conquest of the other states and just before his death).
“Thunder within the earth; the image of The Turning Point. Thus the kings of antiquity closed the passes at the time of solstice. Merchants and strangers did not go about, and the ruler did not travel through the province.” [Hexagram 24 Fu / Return]
The winter solstice has always been celebrated in China as the resting time of the year-a custom that survives in the time of rest observed at the New Year. In winter the life energy is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be strengthened by rest, so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely. [W/B]
From the image and its commentary, it appears that the ancients follow nature to recuperate. Therefore the ancients seek alignment with nature, but bloggers are not ancients, kings, merchants or strangers therefore one has to blog throughout this winter too.
Happy New Year!