Exploring the Chinese Lunar New Year and the Year of the Wood Dragon w/ Christopher Renstrom

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In this episode, astrologer Christopher Renstrom provides a deep examination of the symbolism and cultural beliefs surrounding the Chinese Lunar New Year and its correlation with Chinese Astrology.

He emphasizes the fundamental difference between Western and Chinese astrology, and also delves into the significance of the animals and elements in Chinese astrology, especially with regards to the Year of the Wood Dragon.

Finally, he tells a symbolic story dating back to the Han Dynasty, which ties back to the central theme of wisdom and enlightenment. This year is one that encourages seeking wisdom and understanding beyond immediate fulfilment or gratification.

 

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Transcript:

Introduction

[00:00:07] Hello, my name is Christopher Renstrom, [00:00:10] and this week I would like to talk to you about the Chinese Lunar New Year taking place on February 10th. I, like so many other [00:00:20] people, are so fascinated by Chinese astrology. But it’s, it’s, it’s such a wonderful reminder that there are so many astrologies that are out there in the world.

[00:00:29] Of course, we’re [00:00:30] used to the Western astrology with its 12 signs of the zodiac, which are associated to 12 constellations that align along our elliptic. Those signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, [00:00:40] Leo, Virgo. Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and finally Pisces. And then it begins the circle again.

[00:00:48] So those are the characters of [00:00:50] our Western Zodiac, of our Western astrology. But there’s a Chinese astrology, there’s a Mesoamerican astrology, there’s an Indian [00:01:00] astrology. And these are just the astrologies we know about, you know. Major civilization on the planet created some sort of form of [00:01:10] astrology, and that was in order to tell time astrology is the world’s first calendar, but as interpreted as symbolized in all of these different [00:01:20] cultures.

[00:01:20] But when I say something like the major civilizations, um, you know, created their own astrologies, what is kind of lacking from that remark is. [00:01:30] All of the astrologies that were created by other civilizations, other societies. Other astrologies that didn’t survive [00:01:40] either because they fell out of practice.

[00:01:42] There weren’t proper records. Uh, the civilization may have been wiped out, you know, or assimilated by a larger civilization. So, the astrologies [00:01:50] that we know of Western astrology, Indian astrology, Chinese astrology, Mesoamerican astrology, these are just the ones we know about [00:02:00] and it sort of staggers the imagination to think of all the ones.

[00:02:04] We don’t know about, but Chinese astrology goes back a [00:02:10] very long time in the Chinese civilization, which is one of the oldest, if not perhaps the oldest continuing civilization from the [00:02:20] time of its inception. Um, uh, the, uh, and what I mean by civilization is. presiding civilization that you can almost see a through line that goes from ancient Chinese [00:02:30] civilization to modern day.

[00:02:32] The memory and the history is that long. The memory and the history is that rich. But as I said, Every civilization, every society,[00:02:40] uh, had some form of astrology. It was in order to tell time. They would look at the, uh, rising and the setting of the sun that began the day, uh, that, uh, began the night, uh, there were the [00:02:50] changing of the seasons, um, and so what they would do is that they would follow the star patterns in the sky or they would follow the planets.

[00:02:56] like we do in the West, along the ecliptic, uh, in [00:03:00] order to tell time. Now in Chinese astrology, um, in China, coordination of human activity with the sun, moon, and [00:03:10] stars can be traced back to the Neolithic Cultures of the fifth millennium, B, c, e. All right, so, so there is, uh, there, there, there are artifacts, um, of, of coordination, of human activity with the [00:03:20] sun ministers that go back to the Neolithic cultures.

[00:03:23] Uh, this isn’t exclusive to China itself. We’ve also seen this in different parts of Europe and we’ve also seen it in [00:03:30] different parts of, of, uh, Africa. Um, but. you know, this idea of tracing the patterns goes back to 5th millennium BCE. then it was Sima Shan, [00:03:40] China’s first great historian who observed, quote, ever since the people have existed, when have successive rulers not systematically calendar, [00:03:50] calendared the movements of the sun, moon, stars, and asterisms.

[00:03:54] I love that, uh, Sima Shan uses calendared, uh, uses the word [00:04:00] calendar as a verb. You know, whenever, when, since people have existed, when have rulers not calendared, you know, the events of their, uh, civilization, their society, according to the sun, moon, stars, [00:04:10] and asterisms. Uh, stars, he’s probably referring to as the planets, the wanderings.

[00:04:14] stars and asterisms are collection of stars. Sometimes they’re constellations, sometimes they’re [00:04:20] not. So he’s basically saying this, uh, very early in China’s history. Now, by the end of the third millennium BCE, [00:04:30] attention in Chinese civilization had already begun to focus on the circumpolar region as the abode of their sky God [00:04:40] D.

The Significance of the North Pole

[00:04:40] And from this time on, the North Celestial Pole became the locus of spiritual significance. Uh, this is taken from Astrology and Cosmology [00:04:50] in Early China by David W. Pakenure. Um, what, what they’re saying here is that Beginning in, uh, the, uh, third millennium BCE [00:05:00] before the common era, right, um, the focus had been towards the North Pole, uh, and, and, and so it, and, and what they saw as being important was the relationship of, of the stars as they [00:05:10] revolved around the North So that’s where the, uh, that’s where the focus was in Chinese astrology, just to sort of, uh, juxtapose here in Western astrology.

[00:05:18] We look to the ecliptic.[00:05:20] Okay. That’s the circle that goes around the middle of the world and, uh, kind of sort of around the ecliptic. Equator and sort of holds the world together like a, like a, a, a, a, a belt. Okay. So it’s, and, and, and actually our Zodiac comes from the idea [00:05:30] of a circle or belt of animals or a belt of creatures, which also refers to the ecliptic.

[00:05:35] This is the path that the sun and moon. travel across the sky. But in [00:05:40] ancient Chinese civilization, that’s not where they were looking. They were looking up towards the pole star. Okay, and basically, uh, where they were looking was the, uh, Big Dipper to [00:05:50] find the pole star. Now, what’s fascinating about this, Is that this becomes systemized in China in 3rd millennium [00:06:00] BCE, which is around the same time that Western astrology is becoming systemized in Sumeria.

[00:06:07] Western astrology becomes, uh, systemized in, uh, [00:06:10] Sumeria in the 3rd millennium BCE. millennium BCE. So this is one of those synchronous events. They just happen to be happening at the same time. Now, it’s not really quite a [00:06:20] coincidence because we’re talking about entire, you know, like, like millennium here.

[00:06:23] But, um, but, but this is when these are becoming more systemized. Uh, this is when they’re becoming recorded, [00:06:30] whether it’s on tablets, scrolls, whatever have you. Um, so in Western astrology, as I said, we track The sun, moon, and planets as they travel along the [00:06:40] ecliptic, where the 12 signs of our Zodiac are to be found, the ones that I already mentioned.

[00:06:44] But in, uh, Chinese astrology, the focus was on the handle of Ursa [00:06:50] Major, which is what we called the Big Dipper. When you think of the symbol of the Big Dipper, what is it? It’s a rudder, okay? So it’s like a handle. And so it was also known as a [00:07:00] handle in Chinese astrology, or in Chinese star maps. Okay, so the North Star, or Polaris, is in the Ursa Major constellation.

[00:07:09] [00:07:10] That’s the Great Bear. Constellation and the Ursa Major could be used to locate Polaris as Polaris is the brightest star of Ursa [00:07:20] Major that that collection of stars. So, from this northern point, remember, we’re looking out kind of like on the ecliptic [00:07:30] in China. They’re looking to the northern point. It’s, it’s, it’s the pole star from this northern point.

[00:07:36] The Chinese divided the cardinal asterisms. That’s a [00:07:40] star group into four groups to be associated with the four seasons.

[00:07:44] Trying to get ahead of mucus there,

[00:07:44] which of course dried out the throat. Sorry.

[00:07:44] Hmm.

[00:07:44] So these four star groups, which revolved around the pole star, the, the, which is the northernmost [00:07:50] point. These were associated, like I just said, with the four seasons. Now, one star group was called the blue green dragon, and that was associated with the [00:08:00] spring. Another star group, the vermilion bird, was associated with the summer.

[00:08:06] This was followed by the white talk tiger. uh, star group, which was [00:08:10] associated with the autumn. And finally, there was the dark warrior, a nefarious, mysterious figure, an, an encircling of turtle and snake. Uh, and [00:08:20] this was said to be winter. So by the late Zhao dynasty, Which was 10 46 to 2 56 BCE, Sean Ween, [00:08:30] uh, which means Sky Pattern Reading had taken at it as its frame of reference, the 28 lunar lodges into which the sky was divided [00:08:40] from this northern.

The 28 Lunar Mansions

[00:08:41] point. The 28 lodges governed over the 12 provinces of the Chinese Empire, and the handle of the Dipper, [00:08:50] the Big Dipper, was regarded as seconding them. So in other words, the 28 lodges, the lunar mansions in which planets would, would pass [00:09:00] beneath, um, these were set up in the sky, dividing up the sky as a kind of municipality.

[00:09:07] And they were associated to the 12 provinces [00:09:10] In China proper below. Um, and then the handle, the dipper was seen to endorse. It was the, it was the, it would endorse the governance of the 28 lunar mansions itself. Okay. So you have, like, these 28 different [00:09:20] governors and then the, uh, the, the, the, um, uh, handle the big dipper would say, yes, I decree that.

[00:09:24] No, I don’t decree that. And, and, you know, it, it had basically yes and veto power over the, um, [00:09:30] 28 mansions, which lurk below. And this is what tied the sky to earth. Although in ancient China, sky and earth were seen as the same. There was no [00:09:40] real division. It was all one idea. It was all one governing entity.

The Year of the Dragon

[00:09:46] Now, the Chinese Zodiac, when we talk about the Year of the Dragon, for [00:09:50] instance, okay, the Chinese Zodiac has 12 animals, it has 12 animal characters. This is not the same as Chinese astrology. Okay, and [00:10:00] that’s a very important distinction in Western astrology. The planets are moving in front of the zodiacal symbols.

[00:10:05] Okay, which are correlated to the constellations along the ecliptic in [00:10:10] Chinese astrology. There is this focus about the star groups around the, uh, northern most star and their impact on the provinces of China [00:10:20] itself below the. 12 Chinese Zodiac animals had nothing to do with star groups. All right, nothing to do with [00:10:30] star groups whatsoever.

[00:10:32] Um, now the Chinese, uh, Zodiac consists of 12 animals that first appeared in the [00:10:40] Zangao period, which is 5th century B. C. E. And the Chinese Zodiac right away became a popular way to determine one’s birth year. So, in the [00:10:50] West, we’ll talk about our birthday, our birth time, our birthplace. With the Chinese Zodiac, because it wasn’t really associated to the [00:11:00] emperor, I mean, the emperor Did, uh, chart the governance of his state based on the star maps that were going up around that north northern star that pole star that it was [00:11:10] talking about.

[00:11:11] But when it came to the Chinese Zodiac figures themselves, these were, these were used to, uh, figure out what year you were born. So there [00:11:20] was no, um, birthday. There was no, uh, birth, birth time. And. Um, Who cared about the birthplace. Okay. So, so it was really the year I was born in the year of the dragon, or I [00:11:30] was born in the year of the snake, or I was born in the year of the ox.

[00:11:35] Okay. So, so, so when you referred. to a Chinese zodiacal [00:11:40] figure, a Chinese zodiacal animal, you were referring to your birth year. Someone could say, Oh, you were born, you know, like eight years ago, or Oh, you were born. Let’s see if I can count 42 years [00:11:50] ago, they would, they would able to determine what year that you were born.

[00:11:54] And this is the first association with the Chinese zodiac animals and, and how [00:12:00] they came became so popular. Now what follows from this is a is is a counting system. All right. Remember that the 12 zodiac animals are not [00:12:10] connected to constellations. They are not connected to stars at all. They are on a fixed circle.

[00:12:15] One follows the other of the other, but this is used more to count. Okay. So each of the [00:12:20] 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac stands for a year in a 12 year cycle. All right, we’re used to thinking of our zodiac [00:12:30] as the 12 signs within a year cycle in the Chinese zodiac. Each of the 12 animals stands for a year.

[00:12:37] in a 12 year cycle.[00:12:40] Uh, they will also stand for a day in a 12 day cycle. And finally, they will stand for every two hours in a 24 hour day. [00:12:50] So you can be born in the year of the rooster, on the day of the pig, uh, in the hour of the snake. Okay, so it’s, it’s a counting [00:13:00] schematic. Okay, you almost imagine like a clock, but it’s a clock within a clock.

[00:13:05] Within a clock, 1 clock is cataloging the years. 1 clock [00:13:10] is cataloging the day and the other clock is cataloging what hour of the day. Okay. And these are each connected to, um, you know, where, where the animal on the circle is, is [00:13:20] turning. It’s very elaborate. Um, it’s very simple. Um. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s analogous to our planetary hours and our [00:13:30] planetary days, but that’s a conversation for another time.

[00:13:33] But anyway, that’s just to show that we have actually an analogy of that. There’s the, there’s a correlation that, that exists [00:13:40] there. Okay. So essentially the 12 zodiac signs or the 12 zodiac animals were used for counting measures of time rather than being [00:13:50] connected to the constellations in the sky. So, what are the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac?

[00:13:57] Well, arranged in clockwise appearance, they [00:14:00] are the rat, the ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, [00:14:10] ram, monkey. rooster, dog, and boar. Okay, so these are the characters of the Chinese zodiac. Each of them rules a [00:14:20] year, and then if you break it down even further, each of them is going to rule over a day and a time of day.

[00:14:26] So in Chinese cosmology, these symbols correspond to the 12 divisions of the celestial equator. Okay, this one you have to follow me, okay? In Chinese cosmology, these symbols correspond to the 12 [00:14:30] divisions of the celestial equator known as the earthly branches, DZ, each of which also corresponds to a [00:14:40] direction.

[00:14:41] So this is what’s happening here. We talked about the North and like the star groups that, that, that follow the North star. Now with the [00:14:50] Chinese zodiac animals, they are being associated to the equator. Okay, uh, and, and when they’re being associated to the equator, which is, [00:15:00] uh, think of a compass. Actually, they’re being associated to a compass.

[00:15:03] That’s the best way to think of it. Each of the animals corresponds to a [00:15:10] direction. on a compass. We’re going to go with compass. Compass is a really, really good example, okay, or illustration. So that rat was associated to the north, [00:15:20] ox was associated to north northeast, tiger was east northeast, hare or rabbit was the east.

[00:15:29] Uh, dragon was [00:15:30] east, southeast. Snake, south, southeast. Horse, the south. After the horse, which is the direction of the south, comes the [00:15:40] ram, which is south, southwest. The monkey, which is west, southwest. Rooster, which is the West. It is the Chinese Zodiac animal connected to the West. After that is the dog, which was [00:15:50] West Northwest.

[00:15:51] And finally, the boar, which was West Northwest. And then you repeat. So we’re We had, uh, where we have [00:16:00] a, uh, a cycle of months, which is associated to a calendar. Um, this is being associated to a compass, which is set up with directions, uh, which [00:16:10] has a tremendous significance in ancient Chinese culture and Taoism.

[00:16:15] But we’re also not going to get into that today. I’m just using that as a reference [00:16:20] point. And to really make the point that the Chinese zodiac animals, the Chinese zodiac signs, are not connected to star groups. They are a [00:16:30] means of counting and measuring time, but they are connected to directions, directions that you would find On a compass.

The Yearly Zodiac Cycle

[00:16:38] Okay. Now, [00:16:40] this whole thing of 12 signs. Okay. That sounds familiar. We can think of our signs and Chinese Chinese zodiac signs, um, and say, [00:16:50] okay, that’s, that’s a, that, that makes sense. Um, but this thing of like, of, of, of each. Chinese zodiac sign ruling a year ruling for a year. Think of it [00:17:00] as being in the ascendancy for a year.

[00:17:03] All right. Um, and, and, and, and some of you, uh, uh, astrologers out there might be like, Hmm, 12 years, what goes around in 12 years? And you’re going to see where I’m going next with [00:17:10] this. Okay. These were connected. These 12 signs of the zodiac were connected to the 12 celestial [00:17:20] stations of the planet.

[00:17:21] Jupiter. Okay, rather than the sun as it traveled along the ecliptic. So here in Chinese, um, with the Chinese zodiac, we’re [00:17:30] using the ecliptic, they’re not connected to star groups, they’re connected to segments of a circle that have been divided into 12 that have been associated with an [00:17:40] animal of the zodiac, and that the planet Jupiter is going to move it from one to another.

[00:17:46] uh, from one section that’s assigned to an animal of the zodiac [00:17:50] to another section, uh, that’s assigned to the animal of a zodiac. That sounds, we’re used to think of that in terms of the sun going from sign to sign, going through all 12 signs [00:18:00] in one year, but in the Chinese zodiac it is Jupiter. So, uh, where the sun takes a month to go through all 12 months to make a year.

[00:18:08] Jupiter is going to take a [00:18:10] year And so, um, this, in Chinese, um, with, with the Chinese zodiac, uh, it’s Jupiter, which is the planet of good fortune and higher [00:18:20] purpose that moves through the 12 sections of the ecliptic that are governed by a sign of the zodiac. This [00:18:30] is why when we say Um, we are now in the year of the dragon.

[00:18:34] Okay, everyone gets really excited and happy because Jupiter, who we know from the West is the planet [00:18:40] of good fortune and higher purpose, is now blessing everyone who was born under, uh, the dragon, who was born in I have to catch myself there. Okay, who was born in the year of the dragon. Um, so Jupiter spends [00:18:50] one year in each sign, which is why we will say that 2024 is the year of the dragon.

[00:18:56] This is the year that, that, that, uh, the, the dragon is prominent. Um, and it means that people born in the year of the dragon, [00:19:00] people born in the year of the dragon will be favored for This year. Okay. Um, our version of it is, uh, Oh, Jupiter’s entering my sign. Yay. You know, and, and we, we’ve seen this with Taurus and then Jupiter will enter, uh, into, uh, Gemini about halfway through this year and it’s yay.

[00:19:09] But, but the Chinese [00:19:10] have set this up so that it’s the beginning of every year. No, no switching signs halfway through the year or at some other point. It’s not. Uh, connected to, uh, the movement of the [00:19:20] planet. It’s connected to when that, uh, Zodiac, that Chinese Zodiac sign, when the wheel turns in its direction.

The Meaning of the Dragon

[00:19:25] What is the dragon? Okay. It’s one of the 12 zodiac animals in Chinese [00:19:30] astrology. Yes. Um, but the dragon is a fascinating figure. It’s it’s it’s just, I mean, I, I, I find it infinitely. Well, the, the dragon in Chinese zodiac is a Yang symbol, meaning that it is masculine. That is the 1st thing that we know about the dragon that it is a Yang symbol.

[00:19:39] Uh, [00:19:40] if you’re familiar with Yin and Yang, Gang is the masculine part and yin is the feminine part and they’re combined together in a, in a, uh, sort of like, uh, two koi [00:19:50] swimming around one another in a pond, you know, one follows the other, follows the other, follows the other. Um, so the dragon is a yang symbol, meaning that it’s masculine.

[00:19:59] What [00:20:00] I found interesting in some research that I did is that the tiger and the dragon. Okay, it’s the tiger and the dragon who were the primary symbols of yin and yang, the [00:20:10] two cosmic forces that direct the movement and transformation of xi, of qi, which is the vital energy that makes up all things. The tiger was [00:20:20] yin and the dragon was yang.

[00:20:23] And what was even more fascinating is that these symbols predate The Taiji diagram, which is the well [00:20:30] known Daiist diagram of yin yang, which portrays the light half of the circle dovetailing into the dark half of the circle. Well, that didn’t appear until the beginning of [00:20:40] the Song dynasty, which was 960 to 1279 AD.

[00:20:45] Okay. So before the common era, [00:20:50] um, you know, for, for millennium, it was the tiger and the dragon that symbolized Yin and yang. [00:21:00] Most Chinese dragons pictures, uh, in, in ancient, uh, Chinese, uh, culture and art have long bodies like snakes and sharp claws like [00:21:10] hawks. They rarely have wings or breathe fire like the Western version.

[00:21:15] of the dragon. Um, what we also have here is that Chinese dragons live at the bottom of seas. Chinese dragons live at the bottom of rivers, lakes, or anywhere [00:21:20] with water. So they’re, they’re, they’re very strongly connected to water. And a dragon, of course, symbolizes imperial power, good fortune, power over weather and water and a pioneering spirit.

[00:21:24] You can kind of hear it. It’s interesting. You can hear, um, Jupiter in, in, in that. I mean, we, we know that

[00:21:24] and dragons symbolize Imperial power, good fortune. [00:21:30] Power over weather and a pioneering spirit. What’s kind of fascinating there is that you can sort of hear some of the qualities or characteristics of Jupiter coming in Jupiter [00:21:40] in Western astrology is the planet of emperors. And so, in China, dragons symbolize imperial power.

[00:21:47] They symbolize the emperor. Um, [00:21:50] now, what we have to remember is that in ancient China, people lived mainly on agriculture, the rain and wind played an important role in people’s lives. Um, And they believed [00:22:00] that there was something powerful controlling the rain and the thunder. And in Chinese mythology, the dragon was such a powerful beast that, as I said, it lived in rivers, [00:22:10] lakes, and seas.

[00:22:11] The dragon was used as a symbol of great power, a ruler even of the emperor himself. According to Chinese legend, [00:22:20] the Yellow Emperor Uh, Huang Di, who was a legendary tribal leader, um, Huang Di launched a series of wars against nine tribes in the [00:22:30] Yellow River Valley. And, uh, when he won these wars, he incorporated the other tribes totems into his dragon totem after defeating them.

[00:22:38] Okay, this explains why the [00:22:40] dragon has attributes belonging to nine other creatures. The dragon in China has eyes like a shrimp or a carp, [00:22:50] antlers like a deer, a big mouth, like a bull, a nose like a dog, whiskers like a catfish, a lion’s [00:23:00] mane, a long body like a snake, scales like a fish, and claws like a hawk.

[00:23:08] Dragons in Chinese [00:23:10] mythology could control the weather and seasons. Although they were wingless, you know, wingless, they were without wings, they could fly, and they could change the rain [00:23:20] patterns. In Chinese mythology, dragons often aided the human race when natural disasters struck.

The Jade Emperor & the Four Dragons

[00:23:27] One such legend, the Jade [00:23:30] Emperor and the Four Dragons, exemplifies the relationship between humans and dragons.

[00:23:37] Now, according to myth, there were four powerful [00:23:40] dragons who were, uh, witnessing a devastating drought that was taking place, um, on mainland China. Now, these four dragons spoke on behalf of the human race [00:23:50] to convince the deity, the Jade Emperor, to send rain. Okay. Uh, they were basically like, you know, please, uh, Jade Emperor, send rain to these [00:24:00] provinces in China.

[00:24:01] Uh, they’re suffering from a drought and, and, and, and they’re in misery. And the deity agreed, um, but being a bureaucratic figure, um, and [00:24:10] if you kind of think of deities of the sky that rule over the cosmos, they are sort of bureaucratic figures, they have other deities that, [00:24:20] that govern for them or in their stead, you know, because they’re occupied with the order of the universe.

[00:24:24] Okay. So this Jade Emperor, um, Um, in, in the sky was, he was like, yes, yes, let, let me get to that. But like [00:24:30] any sort of CEO or something like that, they had other things that were going on at the same time. And, and so the Jade Emperor, um, got distracted, got absorbed and other things that were taking place in the different [00:24:40] corners of the empire.

[00:24:41] And so, um, he had agreed, but he didn’t follow through. He didn’t follow through with the promise. as a result, And so, um, as, as, Many people died. the [00:24:50] land became cracked and dry. Uh, the drought was so severe and the dragons were so distressed. They were distressed on the part [00:25:00] of the people.

[00:25:01] And so what the dragons decided to do was to act on their own. Okay. And what they did is that they took to the air, they took to the rivers, they took to the seas and the [00:25:10] streams, and they brought rain to this part of, of, of, of mainland China that was suffering. Well, the Jade Emperor, when he found out, was furious, you know, because they had [00:25:20] stepped out of line, they had gone out of their bureaucratic functions, they had taken The rule law and authority upon themselves, uh, even though he was [00:25:30] distracted, he, and, and, and this might’ve seen as an assistance, I mean, he did initially give his word.

[00:25:34] The dragons had stepped out of line and, and defied him. And he was angry, um, and he was so angry that he ordered the [00:25:40] mountain God to seal the dragons up inside of it. for all time. Okay, so this emperor was not like, you know, wasn’t like for a couple of months or a year or [00:25:50] two or a decade or three. He ordered the mountain god, he was so angry at these dragons, to seal up the dragons inside the mountain for all time, for all, for the rest of [00:26:00] existence.

[00:26:00] But from this mountain sprang four rivers, uh, and these were the dragons. They sprang rivers from their mountain prison, and these [00:26:10] rivers continuously work to protect China. These rivers are known today as the Yellow River, the Yangtze River, the [00:26:20] Pearl River, and the Amur River. So, so, so this is such a fascinating image, um, you know, that they’re encapsulated, but then the dragons merge with earth to [00:26:30] create rivers that still perform benevolence, that still protect, that still bring life.

[00:26:37] And so this is why ancient Chinese, uh, the ancient Chinese peoples [00:26:40] didn’t blame dragons for natural catastrophes and other disasters. But instead they saw dragons as benevolent. wise and powerful. [00:26:50] And if I dare say maybe a little bit more benevolent and wise than the ruling emperor, but that’s anyway between you and me.

[00:26:57] Okay. So, so here we have the figure of the dragon, this, this [00:27:00] benevolent figure, uh, this, this collage of different animals, you know, it’s not just a reptilian dinosaur with wings, breathing fire and, you know, sporting dragon breath, [00:27:10] you know, no, it’s this collage it’s, it’s it. And, and again, there’s a kind of Jupiterian flavor because Jupiter.

[00:27:15] gathers and weaves together all the different aspects of all the different [00:27:20] planets. Jupiter is an astrology, ultimately, um, uh, an integrator. Um, and, and, and it is eclectic in its nature and the dragon itself is eclectic in its nature. It, it, it’s, it’s, it’s a symbol of empire because it takes in that [00:27:30] original conquest of the other, uh, provinces.

[00:27:32] It takes their totems and unites them together in one. overriding totem, which is the totem of the dragon.

The Elements in Chinese Astrology

[00:27:39] Now [00:27:40] let’s talk about the elements in Chinese astrology. In the West, we have four elements. That’s it’s water, earth, air, and fire. But in Chinese [00:27:50] astrology, there are five. Okay. And the elements in Chinese astrology are, let’s see if I got these, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s wood.

[00:27:53] It’s fire. It’s metal. It’s earth and it’s water. [00:28:00] Okay. I’m not saying that that’s the proper order, but that’s the order of things. So in Chinese astrology, there’s no air element. Um, and then they have the element of [00:28:10] metal and the element of wood, which are curious and infinitely intriguing ideas, um, in Daoist symbolism.[00:28:20]

[00:28:20] Meadow was symbolized as the incense burner, you know, the container that, that held the incense, um, wood was symbolized by a tree, uh, uh, fire was [00:28:30] symbolized by flames, um, and, uh, and water was, uh, symbolized by the lotus, okay, the, the, the lotus on, on the water, and, um, the lotus leaf, And then Earth was seldom symbolized.

[00:28:38] It was actually seen as the [00:28:40] center of the four elements because Earth is the center of the universe and Earth is where we live and we live on land. But when and if Earth was [00:28:50] symbolized, it was often symbolized by pheasants or by other birds that, um, chose not to fly, but to live close to the earth. And that was the symbol for earth and its [00:29:00] fecundity.

The Wood Dragon

[00:29:00] so let’s talk about wood. Why are we talking about wood? Because, uh, this year is the year of the dragon, but this year is the year of the wood. [00:29:10] Dragon. Okay. So, so each of the Chinese zodiac animals can appear or align with an element. All right. And [00:29:20] they can be in any of the elements. You can have a metal dragon.

[00:29:22] You can have a fire dragon. You can have a earth dragon. You can have a water dragon. This year is. a wood [00:29:30] dragon. So, so if you’re thinking of, you know, one, uh, uh, I don’t know, wheel of fortune spinning, it goes click, click, click, click, click, and it hits on dragon. And then an, uh, an inner wheel [00:29:40] goes click, click, click, and hits on wood.

[00:29:41] Okay. This is the time of the wood dragon. Okay. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s the year of the wood dragon. So wood, as I mentioned before, was symbolized by a tree. Um, in Chinese astrology. Um, and it’s intriguing. I just, I, I, I, I swear I wasn’t going to do this, but I have to do this. It’s intriguing [00:29:50] because when you look at tarot cards, okay, which originate in Italy, and which was on the other side of the Silk Roads that were going back and forth.

[00:29:59] Between, um, it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, the Mideast and, uh, it’s the [00:30:00] Mideast and, uh, China, but then it can also be, um, it also goes into, uh, Venice and Italy, the Silk Roads where they’re traveling back and forth. Um, where, where, uh, culture and things are being exchanged along with tea and jewelry and metals [00:30:10] and all these sorts of things.

[00:30:11] In Tarot, what’s interesting is that you have the four elements, uh, water, earth, air, and fire. Um, but you have is,

[00:30:11] I apologize for those stupid ass balloons that showed up. I have no idea why those balloons showed up. Okay. I’m going to go back in time a little bit because those were like so that’s a WTF moment. Okay. Um,

[00:30:11] so what’s interesting about these 5 elements in Chinese astrology, uh, you know, where you have metal and wood, which we wouldn’t really think of as [00:30:20] being an element. Um, and then you’ve got, uh, water, fire and earth. What’s kind of fascinating is when you think of the tarot, [00:30:30] okay, the tarot, you’ve got the major arcana and then you’ve got the minor arcana.

[00:30:33] The minor arcana are known as suits and each of the suits are associated to an element, uh, [00:30:40] water, earth, fire, and air. But what’s fascinating is that when you look at the symbolism in the tarot is two things. One, [00:30:50] You have wood show up in tarot. If you’re familiar with tarot and the suit of wands or clubs, you know that that’s wood.

[00:30:59] These [00:31:00] are wooden clubs, you know, or, or they are wands. They are the idea of things growing up out of the ground. It’s associated to fire, [00:31:10] but it’s definitely the object is wood, uh, in In the tarot, and it’s actually the only object of the four suits that’s a living organism. Okay, [00:31:20] and that’s wood. And I find that curious that that connects to the Chinese elements, but it kind of makes sense when you remember that tarot comes out of Italy and Italy [00:31:30] shared the Silk Road’s route into Asia, where ideas and trade and goods and spices were being brought.

[00:31:38] Back and forth. Remember, [00:31:40] Marco Polo comes from Italy and goes and resides and becomes a governor in in in China. Um, so, so that’s interesting. You know, that in the true that [00:31:50] the element of fire, which is rods and rods is associated to wood. And so you have that sort of showing up there. But then what’s also fascinating is.

[00:31:59] metal. Um, swords are metal, uh, cups, uh, [00:32:00] swords, which are associated with air is metal. Cups in the tarot is metal. Okay. It’s from a metal, um, and, uh, coins in the [00:32:10] tarot, which is pentacles, uh, which is earth, uh, cups is water pentacles is earth that’s metal. And so you have this really fascinating overlay of the [00:32:20] Chinese.

[00:32:21] elements on the Western elements appearing in the tarot deck. Anyway, I just had to do that as a quick aside, a quick, a quick comment. So, so wood, the element [00:32:30] of wood in Chinese astrology was symbolized as a tree. Um, it symbolizes growth. It can be flexible like bamboo, or it can be majestic and long [00:32:40] lived like a cypress tree.

[00:32:42] And cypress trees in China symbolize longevity and the strong heart of a virtuous people who never [00:32:50] surrenders. Um, wood. As an element also stands for the springtime, the east where the sun rises, it’s connected to Jupiter, it’s connected to the [00:33:00] color green, windy weather, and it is connected to the Azure Dragon, which is the dragon of the spring.

[00:33:08] Wood attributes are strength [00:33:10] and flexibility. Warmth, generosity, cooperation, and idealism. Negative expressions of a wood element is anger and hopelessness. [00:33:20] Okay, like a feeling of, I’ve lost all faith, I’ve lost all direction. And then the positive attributes of wood are optimism, courage, patience, and [00:33:30] you recognize the Jupiterian characteristic.

[00:33:32] Benevolence. Wood rules the liver in Chinese medicine. I know I’m like making these correlations, but in [00:33:40] Western astrology, you know that, um, the, uh, Jupiter is also connected to the liver. So you’re getting these, these, the, these connections to Jupiter, uh, that are very strong. So wood is born [00:33:50] from water, okay, in the elemental cycle.

[00:33:53] It feeds fire, okay, so wood springs with water to become a tree and grow. Um, it can, it, it feeds [00:34:00] fire. If you start a forest fire, the trees go up, okay, it feeds fire. Wood controls the element of earth because the roots of the trees of wood hold wood, uh, hold the roots of the trees of wood. Hold earth together.

[00:34:07] Okay. So trees anchor themselves [00:34:10] into earth. And we also know after fires, um, which devastate trees, uh, you have mudslides because there’s nothing holding the earth in [00:34:20] place anymore. So, so. So wood has control, has supremacy over earth, and then, um, and then finally wood can be destroyed by metal because if you take an axe, you can, you can chop down a [00:34:30] tree.

[00:34:30] So, so this is this idea kind of sounds a little bit like, you know, rock, scissors, paper, you know, which element, you know, goes over the L. Over the other and they can all do this, but in that description [00:34:40] that I gave you, you can see the elements that would works with versus the elements that doesn’t really work with or isn’t perhaps that [00:34:50] compatible.

[00:34:50] All right, so what is a wood dragon? Right? Because we’re in the year of the wood dragon. Dragons were believed to preside over the seasons and [00:35:00] the directions of the world. Okay, so you’ve got, uh, east, uh, south, west, north, okay, and then those are going to be connected to [00:35:10] the seasons as well. So the green dragon was identified with the east and the the white dragon.

[00:35:17] ruled the West and was identified with the [00:35:20] season of autumn. White is traditionally connected to death and mourning in Chinese culture. However, a white Chinese dragon also symbolized purity and [00:35:30] virtue. The black dragon, the black dragons ruled the North and were associated with winter. Black Chinese dragons are often related to vengeance.

[00:35:38] In ancient China, The black [00:35:40] dragon is often linked to catastrophes like storms and floods. And if you think of winter, when do you have storms and floods? Okay. In, in, in a country like China, you have them in the winter. [00:35:50] And so that’s associated to a black dragon and the South and China, the South actually got two dragons.

[00:35:55] Okay. I don’t know how they lucked out with that, but the South got two dragons. They [00:36:00] got the red dragon and the yellow dragon. Uh, red dragons are, as we famously know, are associated to luck and prosperity. And, uh, yellow dragons were a symbol of the imperial dynasty.[00:36:10] Um, it was regarded as a royal color. It was the symbol of the emperor, the yellow dragon, and it represented wisdom, good fortune, and power.

[00:36:18] So by being in the [00:36:20] year of the wood dragon, okay, we’re basically in the year of the blue green dragon. Um, and in Chinese culture, blue and green are the colors representing nature, health, [00:36:30] healing, peace. And growth, a blue green dragon symbolizes the approach of spring new life and plant growth. So what we can see with a blue green dragon is that, um, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s spring.

[00:36:39] I mean, what we, what [00:36:40] we could almost regard this year as being a year of spring of things beginning of newness of spring and forth that there being the enthusiasm of, of, of, of moving forward [00:36:50] into our life. Um, The East is the direction that the Green Dragon rules over, and the East is ruled by the wood sire, Monggong, um, who’s, who, uh, the ancient [00:37:00] name was Dongwongong, who was Lord King of the East.

[00:37:04] Wood covers the dragon, so people born in the year of the dragon will do exceptionally well this year. Uh, [00:37:10] people born in the year of the monkey and the rat will also do well. And people born in the years of the dog, ox, and sheep, uh, may find them struggling a bit, [00:37:20] themselves struggling a bit. So, I want to close this with a wonderful medieval, um, story that is told.

The Dragon & The Pearl

[00:37:28] Um, and, and, and, and I believe the title of it is [00:37:30] The Dragon and the Pearl. Uh, during the Han dynasty in the city of Laoyang, there was a cave, and this cave was very dark, and its depth [00:37:40] was unfathomable. No one had ever been to the bottom of this cave. And a woman, uh, who harbored murderous intention towards her [00:37:50] husband, uh, suggested one day, why don’t we go see this cave?

[00:37:53] I’ve never seen this dark cave. And the husband was Like, well, that’s, that’s a dangerous [00:38:00] place. Um, you know, it’s a, it’s a, that, that, that cave is, is bottomless. If you fall, uh, why are you so curious? And she’s like, I’m just curious, husband. So, so let’s go see the cave. And the [00:38:10] husband was like. Okay, let’s.

[00:38:12] And so they go, you know, maybe it’s an afternoon stroll or something like this. Anyway, they go to this cave. Um, and of course, as soon as they arrive, [00:38:20] they enter the cave and it’s very dark. You can’t see anything. And she, you know, says, husband, you go in front of me. You’re, you’re braver. You have more courage.

[00:38:27] He’s like, okay, you know, and of course, he’s peering around the dark and. You know, she [00:38:30] pushes him, she pushes him over and he falls into into the bottomless pit of this cave. You know, he falls down, um, a great height. You hear him go, [00:38:40] he goes on down and, um, and, she doesn’t hear him anymore. He’s disappeared into the void and she’s brought some, um, she’s brought some, uh, sacrifice, uh, with her [00:38:50] and she throws it, she throws it at him.

[00:38:51] Um, after him into the void, you know, this kind of like, uh, uh, uh, asking the blessing of the departed spirit. So, not only is she, you know, push her husband, you know, to his debt, but [00:39:00] she’s offered a sacrifice to his ghost all at the same time. She turns around and she leaves the cave and she also happens to leave the story.

[00:39:08] Um, what was in the [00:39:10] sacrifice? The sacrifice was food. that she had thrown down to feed the hungry ghost that that would emerge from her husband’s body. Well, her husband didn’t die. Um, he, [00:39:20] he fell down this cave and he kind of, and he lost consciousness and he fell a great distance. Uh, but for some reason, he regained consciousness, uh, [00:39:30] at the bottom of the cave and it was very, very dark and his bones weren’t broken.

[00:39:34] He was, he was, fine, but he was desperately hungry, um, at the bottom of this cave and it was [00:39:40] dark and he didn’t know how to get out and he called and of course his voice echoed and nobody answered and and and there he was. So he began to look for a path out of this deep, [00:39:50] dark, forbidding cave and he followed this this path.

[00:39:54] Um, you know, after eating the food that his wife had thrown him and and that felt good [00:40:00] that, you know, he was hungry. And so he ate some food that his wife had thrown his hungry ghost, but he didn’t die. It’s him. And so he’s eating the food and he follows this path and he walks for a very long time. He [00:40:10] walks for several miles on cannibal miles.

[00:40:12] Um, and, and this path was rugged, it zigzagged, it went up and down, it veered to the left and the right. Um, and after [00:40:20] walking several miles, he noticed that the light in the cave became brighter, and it was more than just his eyes adjusting to it. He could actually see, [00:40:30] uh, his, his hand. He could see the sides of the cave, um, and the ground, the ground beneath his feet.

[00:40:37] felt like dust. You know, they didn’t feel [00:40:40] like rocks. They had changed. It wasn’t those sharp rocks, those rugged terrain. It was now like dust in a way. And he began to smell, [00:40:50] wafting through these dark caverns that were gradually becoming brighter, he began to smell the fragrance of rice. So he followed the fragrance of rice and, and, [00:41:00] and he followed it to its source, which was rice, um, which he delighted in, and he ate, ate, ate, ate, ate his fill, and he kind of, you know, stuffed or put, you know, maybe [00:41:10] used part of his tonic or whatever, maybe the sack that his wife had thrown, you know, to, to, to store more rice, you know, as he eats.

[00:41:16] You know, kind of like, you know, eating popcorn in a movie, eating the rice, [00:41:20] uh, continued through the dark passages of this cave. Again, for miles and miles and miles. Um, finally, when he had [00:41:30] eaten all that he had eaten of the rice and he was wondering about what was going to come next, he came upon a huge, enormous, splendid city.

[00:41:39] [00:41:40] Now this city, well, the walls of this city were tall. And the palaces of the city, the palaces of the city were magnificent, [00:41:50] and the terraces, and the pavilions, and the residences of the city were all decorated with gold. Though there was no sun, or [00:42:00] moon, or stars in the sky that he could see, the city was greater than those sources of light, including the sun, the moon, and the [00:42:10] stars.

[00:42:10] It was more golden, it was more luminescent. Um, and there were people, there were people in the city who came out to greet him. Um, there were people in the city who came out to greet him that he, uh, shrunk away [00:42:20] from because they were 30 feet tall. They were enormous people. And he was like, you know, maybe five, six feet or whatever.

[00:42:27] And they’re 30 feet tall. Um, and they wore [00:42:30] resplendent silk garments and played unique music, which was never heard in this. world. Then the man pleaded for food, [00:42:40] and as the medieval author writes here, sadly. Okay, so he, he didn’t just like, you know, hey, do you have something to eat? You know, he pleaded for food, sadly, with [00:42:50] longing, with melancholy.

[00:42:51] He was so hungry. Um, and a tall man came forward and asked him to, to walk in this [00:43:00] direction. And the man said, Yes, he, he obeyed, and following the order of the tall 30 foot man, the husband walked past [00:43:10] nine palaces that were exactly the same, nine palaces that were gorgeous, nine palaces that were aromatic, nine palaces that were more [00:43:20] splendid than one.

[00:43:21] And then this world could possibly offer in, in their colors and in their architecture and in their serenity and in their [00:43:30] beauty. So he walked past these last, these nine palaces. And when he reached the last palace, he was even more hungry than when he had begun the journey. His, [00:43:40] his, his stomach, he just was so starving with hunger.

[00:43:44] And the tall man pointed to a huge cypress tree and under the tree was a [00:43:50] goat. All right. And the tall man directed the husband to the goat and he, uh, told the husband to stroke [00:44:00] the goat’s beard. And when the husband stroked the goat’s beard, out of the beard and into the palm of his hand [00:44:10] fell a pearl.

[00:44:11] And the husband was like, what’s this? And the tall 30 foot man immediately grabbed that pearl and took it out of the husband’s [00:44:20] hand. And the husband looked inquisitively, curiously, why did you do this? And the tall 30 foot man said, stroke. the goat’s beard [00:44:30] again. And so he did, and he stroked the goat’s beard again.

[00:44:33] And again, out of the goat’s beard dropped a pearl. And he was like, this is, and the tall man immediately seized that [00:44:40] pearl too, and took it away from him. And he said, stroke one more time. And the husband did. And out of the goat’s beard fell a pearl. And this [00:44:50] time, this time when the pearl fell into his hand, the tall 30 foot man said, eat it.

[00:44:56] And the man was like, eat it? Eat what? He said, eat. the pearl. [00:45:00] He’s like, eat the pearl. No one eats pearls. And he’s like, eat the pearl. You can eat this one. And so, um, the man took the pearl. [00:45:10] And he bit into it and and and he could eat it. It wasn’t hard like a pearl. He could, he could eat the pearl and and and he swallowed the pearl and [00:45:20] immediately his hunger abated.

[00:45:21] It disappeared. His stomach was full. This pearl, this pearl had completely satisfied his appetite. At that point, the [00:45:30] husband asked the tall man, What are the names of the palaces? You know, and the tall man said, I cannot tell you. And the husband said, Can I stay here? Can I stay here in this [00:45:40] beautiful, resplendent realm with you?

[00:45:41] And the tall man said, No, no, you cannot. And he’s like, well, what’s, what’s to become of me? And the tall man said, You need to go back home. You [00:45:50] cannot stay here. You need to go back home, but you can take these with you. And he presented the husband with the 2 other pearls. And he [00:46:00] said, um, our ruler has already said that you cannot stay.

[00:46:03] But when you return home, you are to ask the wise man Zonghua. Uh, Zang Hua, you were to ask the wise man Zang Hua, who is familiar with this place, [00:46:10] where you have been. And so the husband agreed and he returned home. Now it took the husband a long time to return home. I think it took him like six to seven years [00:46:20] to return home, to find his way out of this and to find his way back to his home.

[00:46:23] But he did. And seven years later, when he returned home, he visited Zhang Hua, and he showed [00:46:30] him the two pearls that had been given to him. And he told him his story, and asked him to explain where he had been. And Zhang Hua, Hua, uh, uh, Zhang Hua said, Well, the substance, like dust, that you walked on, and the husband said yes, substance, like dust, that you [00:46:40] walked on, was the saliva of the Yellow River Dragon.

[00:46:44] It’s like, Oh, remember the dragons that were like, uh, bound in that mountain. It was [00:46:50] the, the dust was the saliva of the yellow river dragon and the mud. The mud was from the cool mountain or the con mountain and the, um. And the immortal Nine Palaces, the immortal who guarded the Nine [00:47:00] Palaces, who came out to greet you, the 30 foot tall man, he is called the Grandmaster of the Nine Palaces.

[00:47:07] And the goat, the goat [00:47:10] was a dim witted dragon, I’m afraid. And he’s like, a dim witted dragon. And he said, yes, he gave you three pearls. And he said, yes. [00:47:20] And he said, the first pearl you got. And he said, yes, this, this first pearl enables one to live as long as heaven and earth. [00:47:30] If the person can eat it. Oh, but, but I can’t eat it.

[00:47:36] And this second pearl that you have. He said, yes. [00:47:40] The second pearl is able to prolong one’s lifespan. It is, yes. If you can eat it. But I can’t eat [00:47:50] this pearl. And he said, and the third pearl that you were given? He said, yes. The third pearl may be eaten just as food. [00:48:00] That’s what I did. I ate it. Just as food.

[00:48:04] And the wise man said, and what did you feel afterwards? And he said, my stomach was [00:48:10] full. And he said, exactly what I love about this story. That’s the end of the story. Um, which [00:48:20] when I reached the end of it, I laughed because it’s very funny, but it’s also very telling. And it’s also very [00:48:30] revealing about this year where Pluto is entering the zodiac sign of Aquarius.

[00:48:36] These are literally pearls of wisdom, okay, which have been given [00:48:40] to this husband, um, who is not a very wise or smart person. Um, he doesn’t suspect his wife. He does for a moment when his wife says, let’s go visit this cave. He walks ahead of her and looks over [00:48:50] the edge and she pushes him, uh, to what was supposed to be his death, death.

[00:48:53] And, um, you know, so, so he’s not the brightest bulb on the tree. He wakes up at the bottom of this pit, you know, which is going to lead into this land of [00:49:00] immortality. Um, and, and he’s, he’s frightened and he’s hungry and, and, and he eats, you know, the first thing he eats is. Is is mortal food, you know, which, as we know, which, as we all know from Persephone and Demeter bound binds him to the [00:49:10] mortal world.

[00:49:10] Um, and and then he travels through the cavern and he smells the rice and he finds the rice and he eats the rice. But what’s happening here is that he’s eating. Okay, he’s eating, he’s [00:49:20] consuming, okay, all he cares about is how hungry he is as he goes through this. Now, at first we can be like, well, come on Christopher, he, he [00:49:30] survived a bottomless pit drop.

[00:49:31] What do you want from this guy? You know? Yeah, it’s true. And, and, and, and no broken bones and, and he’s hungry and he, but, but he’s [00:49:40] hungering Things of this world, he’s hungering for the things of this world that we live in. He’s hungering for something that will sate his appetite. It’s he’s he, he, he wants to [00:49:50] be full.

[00:49:51] Okay. And then he comes to this beautiful city. And he’s shown this goat, this dim witted goat, uh, who produces 3, Pearls. [00:50:00] Okay. So even though the goat is dim witted, it can produce wisdom. And in my interpretation of it, I see the dim witted groat as actually being his double. Uh, the dim witted goat is [00:50:10] as dim witted as he is.

[00:50:11] Okay. And, and, and, and the, the immortal takes the pearls, you know, that he produces out and he holds them apart. And he says, the third one’s the one you’re [00:50:20] looking for. The third one will satiate your appetite and he eats it. He can eat a pearl and he’s like, I feel so good afterwards. And then the immortal, which is what immortals [00:50:30] do, gives him the two other pearls, pearls, one that can bring that can bring life as long as heaven and earth.

[00:50:37] Okay. Which is obviously a reference to [00:50:40] transcendence and the spiritual realm. And the other, which can bring long life. But he can’t eat them. Okay, that’s not what his intention was. That’s not [00:50:50] where his focus was. And the immortal already knows this because the immortal says, you know what, when you get back to your land and when your city ask, um, this, this wise man, uh, [00:51:00] where you have been, he’ll be able to explain it all to you.

[00:51:03] He’ll be able to basically tell you the moral of the tale. And he does. And the man [00:51:10] is left with two pearls that he cannot eat. They are the gifts, which are the most tremendous gifts that one should ever hope or long for. [00:51:20] But, um, he cannot eat them. He cannot take them in. And it’s a beautiful parable.

[00:51:25] It’s a beautiful story about wisdom, you know, [00:51:30] um, and about our bellies and about our spirit. You know, when we are wise according to our bellies, we’re very good at getting the [00:51:40] next thing, you know, to, to satiate our ravenous appetite. You know, um, we, we, we, we are confronted with a mystery. We’re confronted with an enigma and we want the [00:51:50] answer.

[00:51:50] We want the solution to it. Um, and once we get the answer or the solution to it or the moral to the tale or the explanation of why things happened the way they [00:52:00] did, we go, we’re fine. We’re satisfied. And we go on to the next bright, shiny object. We go on to the next riddle. We go on to the next question.[00:52:10]

[00:52:10] You know, and that’s a wisdom that can be perhaps smart. Um, it’s a curiosity that can be satisfied. Um, it’s an attention span that [00:52:20] can be wandering or an attention span or a sense of discovery that doesn’t go beyond the satiated belly. Okay, and and 1 can become very inventive. 1 can be very resourceful.[00:52:30]

[00:52:30] Okay. Uh, 1 can invent marvelous things like our civilization has. doesn’t make us wise. And this is how it plays into [00:52:40] Pluto entering into the zodiac sign of Aquarius. We can create things that are technologically superior to life [00:52:50] before. We can create things that harness, that supposedly harness nature, you know, that harness the dragons.

[00:52:58] Um, and [00:53:00] but yet Fall short, you know, as, as, I mean, I’m not going to tell you, you already know about climate change and global warming and all these sorts of things. We [00:53:10] inherited this, this majestic world and what are we doing with it in our, um, pursuit of technology and [00:53:20] gain and we’re following that 3rd pearl that could from that can be easily, um, eaten and that fulfills the appetite but leaves us hungry or [00:53:30] yearning for more.

[00:53:31] The other two pearls, prolonged life, living as long as earth and heaven, basically [00:53:40] becoming an immortal. We cannot imbibe. We cannot eat. We cannot digest. [00:53:50] You know, uh, because we are so bound to the pearl that wants immediate gratification, that wants immediate satisfaction. [00:54:00] So, like the husband in the story, we carry these pearls of wisdom.

[00:54:05] We can show them to people. We can ask people what they think. People can [00:54:10] admire them. People can interpret them. People can say, this is what it means. We can own them, but we can’t imbibe them. [00:54:20] We can’t digest them. We can’t take them into our being. They always remain outside as gifts, as gifts that [00:54:30] also cannot be opened.

[00:54:32] And the beauty of this story, which combines with Pluto entering Aquarius in this year, is what do you [00:54:40] do with something that you have, but you cannot Take in what do you do with that kind of wisdom and instead of that becoming something that’s frustrating,[00:54:50] you know, that’s bewildering or something that we even get angry at these pearls, these two other pearls of wisdom can [00:55:00] be can be things that guide us through our life, our pursuit of the wisdom, our pursuit of understanding by [00:55:10] asking questions or marveling at miracle or being open to the experience of mysticism, uh, being [00:55:20] open to whatever connections we have with the invisible realms that lie beyond this world, this place where dragons can go to and come back [00:55:30] from.

[00:55:31] This is the sort of wisdom that I pray and hope. That we can acquire, eventually, and that we may, [00:55:40] in our dark, scrambling walks through the rugged, uh, zig zagging passages of the dark, and [00:55:50] hopefully, hopefully, we’ll come to a place of illumination and light.

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