In rewriting the monthly ordinances, I have worked from four primary sources-
- Wilhelm, Richard & Baynes, Cary F. (1990) The I Ching or Book of Changes. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Endotes reference is ‘I Ching’.
- Major, J. S. (1993). Heaven and earth in early Han thought: Chapters three, four and five of the Huainanzi. Albany: State University of New York Press. Endnotes reference is ‘Yueling’.
- Lü, B., Knoblock, J., & Riegel, J. K. (2000). The annals of Lü Buwei =: [Lü shi chun qiu] : a complete translation and study. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. Endnotes reference is ‘Lushi chunqiu’.
- Tzu, K’ung-fu & Legge, James. The Li Chi or Book of Rites, Part I of II. www.forgottenbooks.org Note that this book can be accessed online. Endnotes reference is ‘Li Chi’.
I had additional help from “Correlative Cosmology in Chinese Medicine: The 12 Organ Systems and their Relationship to the 12 Months of the Year, the 24 Seasonal Nodes (jieqi), and the 72 Material Manifestations (wuhou)” by Heiner Fruehauf.
I have added endnotes to the individual months in an effort to document deviations and, more to the point, inspire thought and discussion. You may also find a decidedly non-Taoist influence in these writings. Over the past fifteen years, I have participated in indigenous ceremony and ritual. The original peoples of North America held a deep knowing of this land- this knowledge and respect for all beings is resonant with the wisdom contained within the monthly ordinances.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
The question will always be asked- do these ancient texts hold value? We live in a time when data can be accessed instantaneously. Our first inclination is to check the weather website, not step outside.
Don’t confuse technology for science…
Are these texts relevant?
I obviously stand on the yea side. Even if there were no equivalent of ‘decaying vegetation transforms into fireflies’, I have still come out the other side with a greater ability to see, hear, feel and inquire. Joseph Needham puts it eloquently-
“There is a tendency for modern scientists, imbued with the idea of linear progress, to imagine that man’s observation of his environment has become more accurate over time. The reverse is rather the case, for as man develops his technical skills and becomes more independent of nature he is bound to pay it less attention. It is among hunter-gatherers and primitive agriculture, especially those living in a harsh or unreliable environment, that the most sophisticated correlations of natural phenomena with the tasks essential to human survival are to be found.”
To know the transformations of qi through experience, through direct relationship with Nature rather than from a book or well-intended group email that insists I immediately forward it, else I deny myself and others spiritual transformation and financial abundance…
The choice is simple. I invite you to join me.
“This is a poem about the world
that is ours, or could be…
I was thinking
So this is how you swim inward
So this is how you flow outward
So this is how you pray.” 5am in the Pinewoods, Mary Oliver