Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday: Small Story

Over time people do have very memorable experiences of the world, and the most amazing thing is what happens to people. I, like many people, like a good story or two. I also have a story or two to tell of, and one thing that has stuck to me is a small moment in my life. Not the most amazing story but a story still.

I did something called work experience a couple years back for school, and for five days I was a gardener rather then a school student.
My work experience was as a gardener to my pleasure and luckily for me it also means going from place to place to do gardening. One thing I did during work experience was picking up the plant material that was left behind from someone else who was cutting back some plants. It wasn’t the most fun of things to do but for me it beats being at school plus it was quiet and peaceful despite being near a street that would get busy at times.

Next thing I hear is a bicycle, I turn to see some young girl who appeared about twelve was riding a bicycle on the middle of the road. I didn’t know who she was, never seen her in my life. This girl out of all things smiled and winked at me as if trying to be a flirt. I found this creepy considering how young this girl seemed to be nor did I know what to think of this girl either. I was just left looking at this girl ride her bicycle while I was left confused.

There were questions that did go through my mind at the time: Whose the girl? Why wasn’t she at school at the time? Why is she riding a bicycle in the middle of the road?
This small moment in time has stuck to me and on a personal level this is a story to look back at to get a little laugh.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Fu

Fu (also called Fu Xing) is the god of happiness and good fortune plus a part of a group called San-Xing. Fu is also symbolized by the bat and his name means “Lucky Star”. Fu can be told apart by his usually blue or green clothes of a civil servant, a ’winged’ hat and in the company of children.

Fu is said to have been a sixth century government official called Yang Cheng from a village known as Dao Zhou. People of Dao Zhou were notably short and every year the emperor would summon a large number of these people to his court as the emperor loved to be around such short people.

The short people never went back to their town of Dao Zhou and the emperor summoned more and more of these people to his court, in turn the population of Dao Zhou was reduced greatly over time. Fu eventually requested the emperor to show consideration for the people of his hometown, moving the emperor so much with the request that he never again summoned the short people of Dao Zhou.

Fu’s name is a common symbol in Chinese literature where it represents happiness and good fortune to which  it is common to find it in Chinese households and businesses.

Fu is also commonly mistaken for another god, Tian Guan, who is also a god of good fortune.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chinese Zodiac Origins

I have now posted about each animal of the Chinese zodiac, but there is still the story of how this zodiac came to be.

The ruler of Heaven, the Jade Emperor, thought it would be a good idea to have a race to assign twelve animals to the zodiac. At the time it is said that Cat and Rat were good friends, both were also excited about the race who decided to leave early to get a head start. Rat tricked Cat, however which lead the two to be enemies.
The Rat was asked to wake up Cat early the morning of the race, however Rat simply woke up early and didn’t wake up Cat. Cat slept throughout the day and lost the race.

All the animals in the race had to go through a river, with Rat being a poor swimmer asked the Ox to allow Rat to be carried on Ox’s back. Ox agreed and Ox being the fastest getting through allowed Rat to jump off of Ox’s back at the other side of the river, becoming the first animal of the zodiac. Ox came right behind of Rat and took second.

Next in place was the Tiger who went alone across the river, swimming against the strong currents and became third. Rabbit came alone, too, who jumped from stone to stone across the river and was fourth.
Next was Dragon, who was only fifth seeing as Dragon had to stop to make rain to help the people and creatures of the earth.

The Horse came soon after the Dragon with the Snake hidden in the Horse’s hoof and gave Horse a fright when it came out. The fright the Horse got of Snake caused Snake to become sixth of the zodiac while Horse seventh.

Ram, Monkey and Rooster soon came to the end of the race, who used a raft to get across the river. The Jade Emperor declared Ram eighth, Monkey ninth and Rooster tenth. Dog came afterwards after deciding to take an extra long swim in the river for fun and Boar came twelfth due to the poor decision of having a feast and taking a nap during the race.

After this, the placing of the animals was how they were placed within the zodiac. Cat, however, was unhappy at the fact that Rat tricked Cat and was last in the race but couldn’t do anything,  it was from here on that Cat and Rat were enemies.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Totems: Tiger

The tiger itself is one of the worlds most beloved animals out there and as a totem has quite a few lessons to teach.

Power and will are a lesson, to use one’s power and to have a strong will. The tiger uses its own power to its advantage to hunt, to feed itself and its own cubs. As top of the food chain it is an important animal, and it is such an animal that helps prevent the overpopulation of herbivores. Indeed the tiger teaches to use one’s own power for good and keep a strong will even when facing odds.

As a hunter the tiger needs focus and patience for when trying to prey on an animal. When hunting one needs to be both focused and patient as a tiger.  Both focus and patience are lessons many could learn.

The tigers found in the wild will tend to have a litter every three to four years with a litter of one to six. It is this maternal tiger that devotes herself dearly to her litter for their survival. Devotion is of much importance as the female tiger can tell of, caring for her children deeply until they are ready to live on their own.

The concept of Yin and Yang is very apparent when one looks at the unique pattern of tigers. Contrasting their black stripes with their orange and white fur. The tiger teaches the principal of Yin and Yang and how one needs to keep in balance. Balance of masculinity and femininity, of good and evil, this is what the tiger teaches; balance.

Tigers are known for their healing properties which causes people to go after the very parts of the tiger to use in traditional Chinese medicine and exotic herbal remedies. It is said that those with the tiger as their totem heal quickly and the power of healing is of a lesson of this beautiful hunter.

Tigers are very associated with the element of water and are known to swim, enjoying the water that they are in. The water element is of psychic ability which those with the tiger totem are said to have plenty of.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mid-Autumn Festival

On the fifteenth day of the eight lunar month, roughly around the time of the autumn equinox is the Mid-Autumn Festival or Zhongqiu Jie. It is held that at this time of the year when the moon is visually most large and bright or “fullest”.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is when farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season and when families gather to enjoy the beauty of the autumn moon. In terms of important Chinese holidays, this specific one is second in importance only to the Chinese New Year.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival, Lantern Festival, Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon and Festival of Reunion. Why it is known as the Festival of Reunion is due to the full moon being a symbol of family reunion and families do have reunions during this time.

Alters to the moon goddess Chang E are often made during the Mid-Autumn Festival with incense burning as an offering. Alters to Chang E typically are facing the moon and such items as lotion, bath salts and make up are placed on the alter for the moon goddess herself to bless as Chang E is said to endow those who worship her with great beauty.

People also carry lanterns that are brightly lit and lantern shows are a part of some celebrations. People are also known to perform or attend Dragon Dances and other performances. Planting trees are common practice of the Mid-Autumn Festival along with having a dinner during the family reunion.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival people commonly make and eat mooncakes which are sweet, round and about three inches in diameters. Mooncakes have many varieties reaching into the hundreds, typically being filled with such things as nuts, melon seeds, almonds and orange peels. The crust of mooncakes often have symbols on them associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditionally people pile thirteen mooncakes to symbolize the thirteen lunar months of the year and it is said the best place to eat a mooncake outside while under the moon.

A Chinese legend states that mooncakes helped bring a revolution during the Yuan dynasty (1280 to 1368AD), established by the invading Mongolians of the north. It is said that a Han Chinese rebel, Liu Fu Tong, created a scheme to arouse the Han Chinese to rise up against the ruling Mongolians.

Liu Fu Tong wanted permission from Mongolian leaders to give gifts to friends as symbolic gesture of honouring the longevity of the Mongolian emperor. The gift was mooncakes where Liu Fu Tong had followers place pieces of paper with the date the Han Chinese were to do a rebellion that just happened to be on the fifteenth night of the eighth month. Liu Fu Tong got word to the Han Chinese who set out to overthrow the Mongolians and ending the Yuan dynasty. Since then giving mooncakes on the Mid-Autumn Festival has became a tradition.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


The bunyip is described as a large mythical creature which is sad to lurk near swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds and waterholes. It is the bunyip who appears a part of traditional Aboriginal beliefs and stories throughout Australia.

Bunyips have been much feared and one to defend its home and devour those who invade it. The bunyip also has a lovely taste for women and children, preying for them at night.

The term ‘bunyip’ seems to have stemmed from the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginals of South-eastern Australia, with ‘bunyip’ translating to ‘devil’ or ‘evil spirit’. By the 1850’s ‘bunyip’ came to be a word for an impostor or pretender and today we see many things named after this fearsome creature, notably the Bunyip River and a place in the state of Victoria, Bunyip.

When Europeans first settled in Australia the idea that the bunyip of being an unknown animal awaiting discovery was common, and seeing as European settlers were unfamiliar with not only the sights and animals of the large island, but also the sounds where unfamiliar animal calls or cries were thought to be the calls or cries of the bunyip.

During the nineteenth century there were many sightings of the bunyip, with sightings of bunyips taken not so seriously from the early twentieth century where it is thought that those sightings were nothing much other then sightings of fugitives in hiding. The billabongs of the twentieth century was in fact a great place to go to hide if you want to try to hide from the law due to such a place being inhospitable.

People, in fact did hide by billabongs and were called swaggies. These people would take cover under the water of the billabongs whenever they heard of people coming. When it was thought people were gone, it is time to get above water and when one would rise out of the water muck and weeds would cover the person(s). Whomever saw muck and weed covered people coming out of the water would have certainly given anyone a fright, possibly mistaking whoever was coming out of the water as bunyips.

The expression, “Why search for the bunyip?” eventually appeared, probably from the many people who searched to get a body of, or at least a look at, the bunyip which all ended in futile attempts.

Descriptions of the bunyip does have the tendency to vary from person to person. Common features describing the bunyip in newspapers of the nineteenth century  is of a dog like face, dark fur, a horse like tail, flippers, and either walrus like tusks, horns or a duck like bill. The Aboriginal people have been asked by others what the bunyip looks like. The Moorundi peoples of the Murray River are said to have described what the bunyip looks like before 1847, where apparently there was difficulties describing the bunyip yet an enormous starfish is what the bunyip was said to look like. Bunyips have also been described being covered in feathers, they have also been described as having scales like of a crocodiles.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


One can trace many things back to China itself and the first chopsticks are said to been not only of ancient China but apparently from five thousand years ago but nobody is too sure of when chopsticks first came to be.

Its thought that as the population of China grew and resources became limited, people cut up their meat, vegetables and whatever else they would have put in their cooking pot. Food was cooked quicker and there wasn’t a need to cut up their food again with knives, so the branches used for fishing ended up being turned into chopsticks.

Many know who the philosopher Confucius is and it is this man who is likely to have made chopsticks even more popular with his teachings. Confucius himself was a vegetarian who held the belief that knives would remind people of slaughterhouses and therefore too vulgar for use at the dinner table.

Confucius himself lived from 551 to 479 BCE it wasn’t until around 500 AD that the use of chopsticks were used all across China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam with chopsticks still used by many to eat.
Japanese chopsticks are notably shorter then the Chinese counterparts along with being rounder and sharp at the end. Chinese chopsticks can be recognised by being rectangular and straight at the end.

Besides the differences in the shape of Chinese and Japanese chopsticks there are absolutely many kinds of materials people have made chopsticks with, people have made chopsticks out of wood, metal, bone, stone, bamboo, plastic, coral and even jade. Aluminium from recycled cans are also used to make chopsticks which are both light in weight and easy to clean.

King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty is actually thought to have once ordered his craftsman to make chopsticks out of elephants teeth.

In the past silver chopsticks were commonly used due to the belief that the chopsticks would turn black if they came into contact with poisonous food which was later disproved. It even was this belief that had Emperor’s using silver chopsticks specifically and silver chopsticks today are passed down as family heirlooms.

There are many Chinese proverbs out there, one is “We sit at the dinner table to eat, not cut up carcasses.” This dictated not to use knives at tables while at the same time to eat already cut up food in which chopsticks come in useful. While Europeans were cutting up their meat at the table the Chinese for centuries considered this practice barbaric.

There are some taboos with the use of chopsticks, such as stretching out the index finger while using chopsticks due to that being seen as an accusation  to another. While using chopsticks there is a taboo of inserting the chopsticks vertically into the food as the Chinese insert chopsticks vertically into food during the time of giving sacrifice to the dead.

In Chinese culture it is also taboo to suck on chopsticks as it is considered as impolite and a way to show a lack of education.
People avoid hitting the side of a bowl or plate with chopsticks for the very reason as it is said that only beggars do this while begging for food.

Chopsticks as they are called in English may have came from “chop chop” meaning “quickly quickly” in what is known as Chinese Pidgin English. In Chinese chopsticks are known as kuaizi, with “kuai” meaning “quickly” and “zi” meaning “baby” so it is not uncommon for newlyweds to be given chopsticks as a wedding gift.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday: Victoria

It is nearing the end of school holidays throughout Australia, with some issues of when school starts for the year in Victoria. Some say it is on the first of February with others disagreeing and saying it is on the fourth. The reason for this is that on some calendars it says school starts within Victoria on the first and some calendars saying that the school year starts on the fourth.

This situation is unusual in itself as in my experience calendars usually agree with each other rather than disagree when the school year starts and ends, nor have I personally have come across this before. As a problem its really nothing to really worry about as people can simply call up their local school on the first and ask if school starts that day or on the fourth.

Besides that, the last time I have actually been updated on how the flood affected Queensland a day or two ago I heard Queensland is just a disaster zone and at risk of a cyclone. After hearing of that I haven’t really heard anything of what is going on.

There are also floods in Victoria. Some places in Victoria are still going to flood the last I heard, and people are using sandbags to try to stop their houses flooding. There have also been sandbags stolen or so I’ve been told.
I don’t really know what to think of this sandbag stealing business, all that I am left asking is why steal sandbags when you can ask for them? Apparently there are plenty for those who need some.

Hopefully over time I will become much better at making such posts as I did today, all I can suggest to myself is practice. Sounds like boring and generic advice, but from experience I know practice really does help.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Hanuman

It is about time I actually made a post about a god or goddess of Hindu mythology, especially seeing as I know so little of Hindu mythology in the first place. I have to thank ED BULEY, also known as THE SPIRITUAL HOBO, for this seeing as he mentioned being also known as Hanuman. It is the monkey god Lord Hanuman himself who I find interesting while at the same time I know so little about.

Hanuman is known for aiding another god, Lord Rama, in fighting against evil forces and believed to be an avatar, or incarnation as some may say, of the god Lord Shiva. Hanuman is well known for appearing in the epic Ramayana in which Hanuman was assigned the responsibly of looking for the wife of Lord Rama, Sita, who was sadly abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana.

Punjikasthala, an attendant of the god Vrihaspati, was cursed to take the form of a female monkey. This curse could only be stopped if Punjikasthala gave birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Eventually Punjikasthala was reborn and became known as Anjana, as Anjana she did her best to please Lord Shiva who granted her the birth that could stop her curse. This is how Hanuman became to be.

Soon before Hanuman was born Anjana was meditating and was delivered a drop of divine pudding into her hands by the god of wind, Pavana. Because of this, Pavana became Hanuman’s godfather.

Seeing as Hanuman’s birth freed Anjana from her curse she was to return to Heaven, but before Anjana returned to Heaven Hanuman asked of his future. Anjana told Hanuman he would never die and that fruits as ripe as the rising sun would be his food. Hanuman, mistaking the sun as his food, leapt for the sun but was struck down by a thunderbolt from Indra and was thrown back down to earth. Pavana carried Hanuman to the nether world known as Patala and the god Brahma begged Hanuman to return where blessings of invincibility, immortality and of super strength was given to appease Hanuman.

The sun god Surya was whom Hanuman went to with the request to teach Hanuman the scriptures. Surya agreed and Hanuman became disciple. Hanuman’s concentration made it possible for Hanuman to master the scriptures in only sixty hours. Surya told Hanuman that the mastering of the scriptures was Hanuman’s fees for being taught, however, Hanuman requested Surya to accept more then that. Hanuman was requested to assist Surya’s son, Sugriva, by being his minister and compatriot.

Hanuman met Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana while Rama was in exile within a jungle and looking for his wife Sita who just happened to have been abducted by a demon known as Ravana. While looking for Sita, Rama and Hanuman came to Pampa Lake at the foot of Mount Risyamukha where a monkey king called Sugriva and his minsters were hiding. Sugriva was being persecuted by his brother Bali suspected that Rama and Lakshmana might have been sent by Bali himself to kill Sugriva himself. Hanuman approached Sugriva and his minsters as the guise of the god Brahmin.

Hanuman introduced Sugriva to Rama and did a large search for Sita. Finding the whereabouts of Sita, she was consoled by Hanuman and the city Lanka was burnt down. Hanuman brought Rama to the burnt city and fight the demon Ravana with his own army, defeating the demon.

Hanuman later saved the life of Rama’s brother Lakshmana by getting the herb Sanjivani and from then on served Rama. Hanuman is often depicted carrying a mountain that he is said to have carried when going back to Lakshmana with the herb Sanjivani, as Hanuman apparently was unable to identify the herb himself so he uplifted the whole mountain the herb happened to be on and took it to Lakshmana.

Tuesday’s, and for some, Saturday’s, are when many fast in honour of Hanuman and give offerings to him. It is also common among Hindu’s to chant the name of Hanuman or the hymn of Hanuman, “Hanuman Chalisa”, during times of trouble. Of the full moon of the Hindu month Chaitra at sunrise, what is known as Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated as a commemoration of the birth of Hanuman.

Hanuman is very much beloved by many people and one of the more widely worshipped Hindu gods. With a large appeal to devotes that includes wresters, healers, politicians and even monkey catchers.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chinese Zodiac: Pig

The Pig is number 12 of the Chinese zodiac and the last animal to appear. The Pig is also known as the Boar in Japan while the Elephant in Northern Thailand. The hours of the Pig is 9 to 11PM, direction being North-northwest. The saying of the Pig is, “I preserve” while the month of the Pig is November, its gemstone being the diamond and the colours black and royal purple.
The last Pig’s born are the Fire Pig’s who were born between 16th February 2007 to 6th February 2008 and the next Pig’s to be born are the Earth Pig’s from 5th February 2019 to 24th January 2020.

Pig’s themselves are people of sincerity, tolerance and even honour. These people aren’t the one’s to let others down and are the kind of people known for their kindness to others. While people may try to take advantage of the Pig, it won’t be an easy task to fool the Pig.

The Pig are easygoing people who are honest and expect honesty back. Pig’s like their peace and will do what’s needed to keep it. These people are those who do things for others rather then have things by others for them.

Pig’s are like Monkey’s in the sense of being intellectual and with a thirst for knowledge. Pig’s are however the one with a great adoration for food and are known to over eat.

In love, Pig’s are those who are sensitive and caring, one who is quite the romantic. Yet, it is the Pig who is possessive and jealous. The Pig is supportive while at the same time sexual, Pig’s generally tend to make good partners.

The allies of the Pig is the Rabbit and Sheep while the secret friend the Tiger.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Totems: Kangaroo

The kangaroo is one of the most recognized animals of Australia. Legend has it that when explorer Captain Cook first saw a kangaroo he asked the local Aborigines the name of the creature who responded, “Kangaroo.” which translates to, “I do not understand you.” The more likely story of how the kangaroo got its name being that the word ‘kangaroo’ comes from the Aboriginal word ‘gangurru’.

This totem teaches to always move forwards instead of backwards, kangaroos themselves cannot personally move backwards but the importance of moving forwards will always be the same.

Kangaroos are known for their strength and stamina. Kangaroos do teach the need to have, not only strength, but also leadership and decisiveness. Endurance and of dealing with obstacles with instincts is also what the kangaroo teaches.
It is this creature who tells of the power of the warrior, not only in men, but women and children too.

There is also the lesson of the importance of family and hierarchy. Our role within a family is important as it is one’s role within a family and even with friends that can keep a family and friends together or tear them apart. This is probably why another lesson of the kangaroo is responsibility, as our actions and whatever consequences that follows is due to what we have done. Being responsible in general is important, making it a great lesson of the kangaroo.

The kangaroo itself is a great guide for those learning herbalism, have a strong connection to trees or have a wish to develop a stronger connection to all flora, as the symbolism of plants is relevant when the kangaroo totem is around.

Offerings to the kangaroo totem may include grasses and leaves, but it might also include fruits and vegetables such as carrots and corn.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Catnip is best known for its effects on cats. It is a perennial herb of the mint family Labiatae. It is considered native in North America after being introduced from its native Mediterranean area.

This plant grows to the height of two to three feet, producing small flowers coloured white or lilac. The foliage of catnip is green with a slightly gray or blue tint and the leaves are heart shaped with serrated edges with a light fuzz.

For young and old cats catnip doesn’t respond much or at all as it would to cats of neither young or old age. Some cats don’t respond to catnip at all, with an estimated ten to thirty percent of  cats with no response to this herb. This lack of response to catnip by some ten to thirty percent of the cat population likely has to do with genetics.

Male cats who haven’t been neutered tend to have the greatest reaction as the active ingredient of catnip resembles a chemical found within the urine of female cats. The chemical within catnip that cats have an effect to is called nepatalactone.
Catnip is not addictive so there is no worries of withdrawal if taken away. Cats won’t overdose on it and will just walk away if they have had enough.

Catnip is not only used by cats but by people too due to its uses. It can help prevent gas, nausea and diarrhoea. Catnip also promotes relaxation while at the sae time helps with menstrual cramps and whatever sore or tight muscle. Thanks to catnips properties to help relax it is useful to relieve stress and ease anxiety.
This herb actually promotes sweating making it useful as a remedy in treating patients with feverish conditions. Catnip can actually be applied externally to cuts and scrapes to help stop bleeding and to promote healing.

While catnip does has its many uses for people it is suggested that pregnant women, women who breastfeed and those with chronic medical conditions consult a healthcare professional before taking catnip. One may urinate more frequently if taking catnip and some do get an upset stomach from it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ghost Festival

On the fifteenth night of the seventh lunar month (on the fourteenth night in southern China) the Ghost Festival, also known as Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated. The seventh month itself is described as Ghost Month while the fifteenth day is referred as Ghost Day.

It is on this day respects to ancestors is given as the gates of hell itself are opened, permitting ghosts to come to the world of the living to receive food and drink. Food is offered, usually the vegetarian variety, alongside the burning of incense and joss paper.

Legend has it that a Buddhist priest called Mu Lian was concerned for his mother who wasn’t a good person when alive. Remembering the teachings of the Buddha about when the wisdom eye is opened, that one can see anything. Taking on this teaching and using his power Mu Lian looked everywhere he could for his mother, where she was finally found within hell itself.

Mu Lian was saddened, his mother was trying to get all the food she could just as other ghosts were also attempting to do. Offerings of food were sent, but the food turned into burning coal that burnt the mouth when attempted to be eaten. Mu Lian went to his teacher who advised to make plenty of offerings on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, it worked and his mother was fed well. From then on people made offerings of food to the ghosts of their ancestors on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.

To Mahayana Buddhists the seventh lunar month is a month of joy due to its origins. The fifteenth day of the seventh month is also known as ‘Buddha’s joyful day’, where it is said that when the Buddha was alive his disciples meditated within the forests of India during the summer. Three months later on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the disciples would come out of the forest from their meditation and report to the Buddha on their progress.

While on Tomb Sweeping Day ancestors are honoured at their graves, on the Ghost Festival ancestors are honoured within families homes. Offerings are alike for these two holidays, ancestors are offered incense, joss paper, food and drink, but on the Ghost Festival it tends to be more elaborate seeing as it is within one’s home where it is offered rather at a grave.

At night incense is burnt at the front of doors of each house, the more incense the better as incense also represents prosperity. People also make lanterns and use them to help the ghosts get around, shops are also closed to leave streets open just to the ghosts and in the middle of each street an alter is set up with incense and fruit. Monks also sing songs behind the alters for the ghosts.

In the more rural areas, small roadside fires are made for the purpose of burning joss paper.
People will also perform dances and sing in front of live people who take up much of the seats except for the front few rows who leave the seats empty for the ghosts.

During the seventh month it is said that it is a bad month to go swimming, as it is said an evil ghost might cause you to drown. Children are also advised to return home early in addition to not to wander alone at night as ghosts might possess children.

In Feng Shui it is said that the seventh month is a dangerous month seeing as there are many ghosts wandering the streets, making it taboo to move houses and to get married. The next month just happens to be an auspicious month.
During the seventh lunar month it is also said to be a not so good time to attend funerals and visit the sick, but it is a good time to do charity work.

Monday, January 17, 2011


One thing I am going to start doing is making a post every Monday containing happenings of my life and/or my thoughts on a topic, the reason for this is that I have noticed a very small amount of posts about events that have occurred to me or of my thoughts. While I do love sharing information and learning, the fact that I don’t really make a post about events in my life and my thoughts on a certain topic I find a little sad.

The idea to do this obviously came from other bloggers who make posts about their lives and thoughts on topics, but what influenced me the most to do this was the Vlogbrothers oddly enough. In a way this is a shout out to Nerdfighteria, sorry for not being really involved within it besides watching John and Hank’s videos.

Originally I had no New Years resolution, but making a post about happenings in my life and/or thoughts on a topic every Monday might just be the best thing I can do for a resolution. Good luck to me in doing this.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Zhu Rong

Zhu Rong is the god of fire and the ruler of the southern hemisphere who can be recognised as a man in armour, wielding a sword and riding a tiger. He is said to be one of the gods who helped separate Heaven and earth.

Zhu Rong has to be most famous for battling Gong Gong who is said to be either a water god or water demon. It is said that Gong Gong had done some lovely flood causing and even the son of Zhu Rong himself, not only that but Gong Gong apparently wanted to seize the throne of Heaven to which is said why Zhu Rong and Gong Gong fought. The battle between the two is said to have started in Heaven which lasted for days, eventually the two fell to earth and Zhu Rong won.

While Zhu Rong did win against Gong Gong and returned to Heaven victorious, Gong Gong did sort of commit suicide that in turn caused one very large flood.

Those who have read Romance of Three Kingdoms may remember Lady Zhurong (or Madam Zhurong as she is sometimes called), a wife of a chieftain called Meng Huo. It is Lady Zhurong who is said to be a descendant of Zhu Rong himself and like many characters of Romance of Three Kingdoms appears in the Dynasty Warriors games where Lady Zhurong is called Zhu Rong.
In other media Zhu Rong appears on a card, the card game in question in which he appears in is Anachronism.

Zhu Rong himself is said to have been an official in charge of fire under the Yellow Emperor and the son of a tribal leader. Zhu Rong is said to have been known as Li or Chu Jung as a child who was tall and intelligent yet had a bad temper. Zhu Rong is also said to have used fire in war, even helping the Yellow Emperor win a battle at a place called Zhuolu Plain using fire attacks.

Another person discovered the method of making fire by drilling wood by didn’t know much about keeping or utilizing fire so Zhu Rong, seeing as he had a special bond with fire, became an expert in managing fire, using fire itself for cooking, heating, lighting and driving both insects and beasts away.
Zhu Rong is even said to have discovered the method of creating fire by hitting two stones together.

A lovely person called Tetsakumi is said to have imprisoned the Queen Mother of the West, hoping to get a peach of immortality. Queen Mother of the West was able to get a message to the ruler of Heaven, Jade Emperor, who gave Zhu Rong the title Heavenly Executioner and sent him to deal with Tetsakumi. Tetsakumi tried to avoid Zhu Rong as much as possible, which included sacrificing the lives of others and thanks to this Zhu Rong got so enraged by the deaths that Heaven shook.

Zhu Rong did eventually get to deal with Tetsakumi but got a mortal wound during the battle with Tetsakumi, Queen Mother of the West tried to save Zhu Rong by feeding him a peach of immortality which did not work. The Jade Emperor decreed that Zhu Rong shall be eternally reincarnated until he learnt to control his own temper, where if done he will gain his place as the god of fire and Heavenly Executioner once again.

There are some monks living in mountainous regions who are said are trying to search for the child who is the reincarnation of Zhu Rong for the purpose of guiding the child so he can get his place in Heaven.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chinese Zodiac: Dog

The 11th animal of the Chinese zodiac is the Dog whose hours are 7PM to 9PM and direction is West-northwest. The Dog says “I worry” with their month October and gemstone being the diamond plus having the colours of yellow and turquoise. The latest born Dog’s are the Fire Dog’s from 29th January 2006 to 17th February 2007 and the next to be born Dog’s are the Earth Dog’s from 16th February 2019 to the 4th of February 2019.

Dog’s are known to be loyal, honest, faithful and sincere. It is this person who you can most count upon and who won’t let you down, you can even tell the Dog secrets without worry of having these secrets being told to others.

However, while these people will be a good companion when in a good mood, but in a bad mood the Dog is best described as nasty. Judgmental, defensive, temperamental, narrow-minded, stubborn and picky as it is what the Dog will be, yet will be the greatest companion you’ll find if you treat the Dog respectfully and with kindness.

Love wise, Dog’s will be very honest and straightforward but will have romantic problems probably their whole lives likely due to his own faults due to being anxious and doubting their own feelings. Dog’s tend to not care for money, power or success, which would motivate others, unless there’s a loving partner with a stable family and home life.

Dog’s themselves will value their friends highly, listening always to those friends in need of help and are amazingly attentive. Dog’s should sometimes pay more attention to their needs and are people who are known to worry a lot.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Totems: Black Cockatoo

This is actually talking about black cockatoos in general  and these birds themselves is notably the totem of a clan known as Wamba Wamba. These birds and their habitats are sacred to the Noongar people of Western Australia and are the totem of several families and groups.

It is even said that if a black cockatoo makes its call it is an indication of rain coming and the black cockatoo is associated with rain magic itself. If a black cockatoo appears it might be an idea to try to get in contact with rain or water spirits and gods.

These birds are also associated with the occult which probably have stemmed due to its black feathers and the fact that black cockatoos are associated with rain magic. It is the black cockatoo teaches of both emotional and spiritual freedom which does mean dealing with the occult if one chooses to do so.
With emotional freedom, there are some people who don’t want to let their emotions be free or cannot express their emotions freely and it is the black cockatoo who teaches that it is okay to show emotions.

It this bird who tells of travel, long or short, it is this bird that teaches of travelling. One thing that has stuck with me is that once I did see a pair of black cockatoos while walking to school, the pair landed in a dead tree. I looked at them while they looked at me and decided to go flying off. The two were obviously travelling and travelling itself is needed for many reasons, this just happens to be one of the lessons of the black cockatoo.

Some black cockatoos are known to drum for the purpose of courting partners, getting something to use as a beating instrument and then finding a good hollow log or branch for the very purpose of drumming. Drumming is great, one can experiment with objects to use for drumming or use a proper drum. One can even honour the black cockatoo by drumming.

There is the lesson of creativity, and this is also important for when one is drumming, too. Besides creating music with drums, one can be creative in multiple ways which does include but is not limited to cooking, gardening, artwork and even pranks.

In this world one does have to remember that there are many spiritual truths out there, especially so for nourishing one’s own motivation (or inner fire one can call it) as the black cockatoo will teach and likely help with.

Wealth is also taught. To take time to appreciate one’s own wealth that one does have both material and spiritually. Obviously preserving what one cares for is important such as looking after one owns house and possessions and not having people around who will damage or steal possessions. Even though one would advise to keep those who will damage or steal the black cockatoo does teach that every person has some sort of beauty within despite how unspeakable their actions have been..

As mentioned before the black cockatoo can be honoured with drumming. One can offer the seeds and flowers of native trees and shrubs of Australia such as Grevillea, Hakea and Banksia. There are other things people can offer to the black cockatoo, such as corn and fruits such as apples.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Brides across the globe wear white, with brides wearing white in Japan to symbolize the death of the old family but the union of the bride and groom symbolizes the birth of a new family.

White, while it is associated with purity, cleanliness and neutrality, in China and Japan white is of death with white itself being a colour of mourning in China. White being the colour of death is probably due to bones being white.
In some parts of Africa, or so I have heard, white is also a colour of mourning with white representing death plus a lifeless desert in ancient Egypt.

Amongst medieval queens of Europe white was used in mourning rather then black as it is said to be the colour of deepest mourning, this tradition of European queens wearing white rather then black survived until the end of the fifteenth century. Queens of France also had the custom to wear ‘deuil blanc’, or ‘white mourning’.

Obviously, there is a symbol of surrender known across the globe which is the white flag. And in Victorian Britain an apparent coward would actually be presented with a white feather.

Dr. Jigor Kano, who was the founder of Judo, created divisions of students with belt colours so they can be given recognition for achievements where the white belt is of innocence, purity and the virginity of both mind and soul.
The white garment seen being worn in churches can be seen of innocence and purity but better known for the meaning of a sinless life while within the Bible white is unsurprisingly the colour of the divine.

White within a dream is thought of to represent happiness at home while white castles the symbol of three things, achievement, spiritual perfection and destiny being perfectly fulfilled.

In general, white and paler coloured flowers are more strongly scented then their dark counterparts. In landscaping white is used to brighten up a garden and a good choice for dark areas plus can be used as a background for other colours, with white itself actually being considered a neutral colour in landscape design.

White is associated with hospitals, doctors, nurses and dentists. Japanese people have been known to refer to nurses as Angels in White, with angels themselves associated with white.
Some even consider white to be the colour of royalty and/or of gods.

In the early days of a genre of movies, Westerns, the good guys actually wore white while the bad guys black.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Medicine Bag

Said to be traditionally of Native American origin yet known to many cultures, the medicine bag is possessed by many to this day where various items would be placed into the bag itself.
It is common to have a medicine bag made of leather or felt and usually within a tribe the medicine man or shaman would possess a medicine bag, but anyone could have one.

The items within a medicine can be quite varied from person to person as it is known that people will keep leaves, feathers, stones, herbs and any other object considered spiritually significant, some people will even carry a small musical instrument in their bags. Some can even say the medicine bag can contain almost anything.

Size wise a medicine bag can be as small as one inch by one inch but can be as large as thirty inches by thirty inches. The medicine bags of the Native Americans are quite large due to the needing to be large to contain such items as ritual masks.

A medicine bag itself is a holy item in which others shouldn’t open as it is within the bag that contains items considered holy in which is used in such things as healing and protection.
The colour of the bag tends to be of an earthly tone or a colour found in nature. Medicine bags are usually decorated with symbols or drawings which includes, but not limited to, plants, totems, runes, and astrological signs.

Cultures across the globe have some sort of medicine bag, such as the gris-gris (also called the grigri), which is used in Voodoo and of African origin. Within the Caribbean there is the wanga/oanga bag with wanga being from an African word meaning ‘charm’ yet also can be translated as ‘spell’. The incense bag of China is traditionally made during the Dragon Boat Festival and filled with herbs to help ward off disease and often have fish or an animal of the zodiac depicted on them.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Nu Wa

Nu Wa is a creator goddess, goddess of mankind, marriage and mud. She is often depicted as a beautiful woman or a half serpent/dragon and half human, with the half human part of her noticeably beautiful. Nu Wa’s surname was Feng and is also known as Mi Xi. Nu Wa and Mi Xi can also be spelt as Nuwa and Mixi, with the spelling Nuwa also being a girls name meaning ’mother goddess’.  Nu Wa herself is even said to be the first empress of China.

A legend goes that Nu Wa created mankind itself, some say she even created everything but people tend to say she created mankind only. It goes that Nu Wa existed at the beginning of the world and was lonely due to the lack of both humans and animals. Nu Wa created chickens, dogs, sheep, pigs, cows, horses and eventually men with yellow clay or mud (it is notable that some say animals were already around so Nu Wa only created humans). Hand  by hand these people were individually created, but Nu Wa grew tired from creating humans this way so the clay/mud was dipped in rope and flicked it so blobs went everywhere. These blobs became the common people while the one’s made individually became nobles.

Two gods are known to have fought to see who is most powerful between the water god also known as a demon, Gong Gong, and the fire god, Zhu Rong. Gong Gong, upon losing committed suicide by hitting his head against a pillar that held up the sky causing the pillar to collapse and caused the sky to tilt towards the northwest and the earth to shift to the southeast. Due to this happening, fires and floods appeared causing much trouble. Nu Wa cut the legs of a giant tortoise off, using them as a replacement of the fallen pillar.

Nu Wa is also the sibling of the god known as Fu Xi, and the two married after getting approval from Heaven (using a smoke from a fire to seek approval or disapproval from Heaven). Nu Was and Fu Xi appear in  the Dynasty Warriors games where Nu Wa is depicted as a full human of the age of eighteen and her first appearance being in Dynasty Warriors 3.

Some minorities of South-Western China hail Nu Wa as their goddess and hold festivals, such as the Water-Splashing Festival, in her honour. The Miao people also hold Nu Wa as their traditional divine goddess.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chinese Zodiac: Rooster

The Rooster is the tenth animal of the zodiac and has the saying of “I know”. The hours of the Rooster is 5PM to 7PM, direction is west with the month being September. The gemstone of this sign is citrine while the colours white and violet. Between the 9th of February 2005 and 28th of January 2006 the Wood Rooster’s were being born and the next Rooster’s will be the Fire Rooster’s from 28th of January 2017 to 15th February 2018.

Rooster’s are observant people and tend to be very accurate plus precise with their observations. It is the Rooster who can be best described as neither complicated nor profound but very forthright and straightforward. These people are also multitalented.

It is not easy to fool Rooster’s and these people both are cautious and sceptical. Rooster’s like to be flattered and noticed, it is these people who are often attractive and beautiful. These people are also sociable people who are conscious about clothing and appearance.

The Rooster is a dreamer who are practical and resourceful, also making great hosts that love entertaining.

These people are highly loyal, keeping promises and always true to their word. In love it is the Rooster who will do what they can to get or keep the affection of their loved one, even putting themselves in harms way. It is the Rooster who will unlikely deceive or cheat on their partners. Emotionally passionate and have been known to lack commitment when it comes to serious relationships.

These people, besides being resourceful and talented they are known to be hardworking, Rooster’s are self-assured people who possess powerful personalities. The Rooster itself is dominant and notorious for this very dominance, yet also vain and boastful. Rooster’s make great small talk who are open and honest who can be a bit too blunt at times.

The allies of the Rooster is the Ox and Snake with their secret friend being the Dragon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Totems: Raven

Ravens are known as the largest songbirds in North America and it is this bird that can be found across the globe. Often mistaken for crows yet can be distinguished by their larger size, call and even tail feathers, both the crow and raven have similar lessons.

People will often think of one of two things when they hear of ravens, that they are intelligent or they are bad omens. The ravens natural talent of recycling is what is said to have given this bird a bad reputation, and recycling is most certainly a lesson. The usefulness of recycling is apparent and it is the raven that use recycles in the sense of cleaning up nature itself by eating dead animals and using nests year after year with repairs being made when needed.

With a strong intellect and cleverness, the raven also teaches the importance of these two things. With intellect and cleverness one can solve problems like the raven. Adaptability is also important, as in new situations one has to adapt to deal with new problems and even new tools.

Trickery is of what the raven is about and it is the trickery of the raven itself that can fool people but this trickery is what is likely to benefit people.

Teamwork is also of note, as it is teamwork the raven will use with wolves to help wolves hunt down food in exchange of getting some food. The ravens who can use teamwork alongside the wolf get a great deal of food from wolves.

Mystery is also a part of what is taught by the raven. There are many things said about the raven, but it is a mystery if it so. In Sweden, ravens are thought of as ghosts of dead people while in Germany the souls of the damned.

The raven can also be thought as a teacher and a creator. Some legends say the raven itself created the land. A particular legend of the Alaskan Inuit peoples talk of a raven called Raven Father, who taught men and women skills such as raising children and creating fire.

Ravens are known as messengers. Ravens themselves are said to send messages from one world to another to communicate as it is said that a raven was the talisman of a Greek god, Apollo, that told of Apollo’s prophecies.

Fun fact: While crows are lot more likely to be seen living near people, it is ravens who are rarely seen doing so as ravens prefer to live in densely wooded areas.

Offering wise, it should be noted that ravens will eat pretty much anything. They are omnivorous and will eat meat, fruits, berries and grains so offerings may need to be really thought about.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Amethyst is a popular stone and often worn by healers. Healers themselves are known to wear several pieces of amethyst, and interestingly, while one is being healed for whatever reason it is common practice to have the person being healed hold an amethyst piece with the place in need of healing having another piece of amethyst placed upon it.

Amethyst is also associated with the Chakras (the Third Eye and Crown Chakras), a number of the zodiac (Virgo, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) and the planet Jupiter. Due to the amethysts association of psychic awareness and how easy it is to get, it is common to see an amethyst used in divination,

Amethyst itself is used for problems within blood and with breathing, but also for overcoming fears and cravings plus to help relieve headaches. As a meditation focus the amethyst increases positive spiritual feelings. Amethyst can also help with alcohol addiction, happiness, contentment, emotional stability, inner strength, enhance flexibility and cooperation, plus creative thinking.

A stone that is protective and wearing it as jewellery or carrying in a pocket is for protection of psychic attack specifically. Having a piece of amethyst by the side of one’s bed during sleep can protect against nightmares.

Keeping multiple pieces of amethyst together is called a cluster and people will keep clusters of this crystal in one’s house to keep the air and chi clean. Amethyst clusters when kept by a window that receives sunlight most of the day also has its benefits, namely healing negativity in the home. Clusters of amethyst is also kept in moonlight to help the family feel calmer.

Amethyst is also known as the Sobriety Stone probably because the Ancient Romans used crushed amethyst as a way to ward of intoxication. Then again, the very word amethyst comes from a Greek word amethystus which translate to ‘not drunken or intoxicated’.

A Greek legend tells of why the amethyst is purple in colour. It goes that Dionysis (god of wine) was annoyed by Artemis (goddess of virgins) that Dionysis sent his sacred tigers onto a maiden attending Artemis’ shrine. This maiden, funnily enough called Amethyst, was petrified by Artemis into sparkling quartz and had Dionysis pour his cup of wine over the petrified maiden, infusing the purple of the wine.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dragon Tortoise

The Dragon Tortoise is said to be a hybrid of two Heavenly creatures, the dragon and the tortoise. It is notably a tortoise with not a head of a tortoise but of a dragon and it is used by many Feng Shui practitioners. This very creature has been said to be able to live 3,000 years without either food or air. 

The Dragon Tortoise is often seen on top of coins and with a coin in its mouth, but also often with a tortoise on its back to represent one’s descendants. Having a Dragon Tortoise with a tortoise on its back placed within one’s home is said to increase the luck of one’s very own descendants. Ribbons are also seen instead of a coin within the Dragon Tortoise’s mouth, blue ribbons in a Dragon Tortoise’s mouth is said to help with poor health, while a red ribbon is for a good relationships and for wealth a gold ribbon itself is used.

This creature is a powerful symbol said for attracting support, wealth, good luck and is an even more powerful symbol for luck in career. The Dragon Tortoise combines the dragon’s courage, determination and success with the tortoise’s longevity, stability and of ensuring a long and successful career. It is the Dragon Tortoise that it is said to be a must have for those doing a business.

Within Feng Shui, it is suggested not to place a Dragon Tortoise in a room where people rest, mainly the bedroom, it is also suggested not to place a Dragon Tortoise in one’s kitchen or bathroom. The best placement within one’s house or office is generally of the north (for career) or the southeast (for wealth), one might even place a Dragon Tortoise in the east as it is the east that is traditionally seen as the direction of the dragon.

The Dragon Tortoise can be placed the north or east on a desk for luck with careers, or close to a front or back door for longevity and prosperity. The Dragon Tortoise may also be placed by a cash register.
When placing a Dragon Tortoise take note not to have it directly in front of you where you sit as if you are confronting it, as this is seen as bad luck.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Five Elements

The Five Elements, also known as Wu Xing, the Five Movements, Five Phases and Five Steps/Phases which is of in many traditional Chinese fields such as Feng Shui, astrology and traditional Chinese Medicine.

The elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water with its productive cycle being of wood feeds fire; fire creates earth; earth bears metal; metal carries water and water nourishes wood.
But there is also the destructive side to it, wood parts earth; earth absorbs water; water quenches fire; fire melts metal and metal chops wood.

Wood in itself is associated with the colour green, plants, rectangular shapes, plants, east, Jupiter, spring. Wood is a generative energy with the phase of New Yang and the Heavenly creature being the Azure Dragon.

Fire is of the colour red, triangles, fire, light, south, Mars, and summer. An expansive energy with the phase of Full Yang and with the Heavenly creature being the Vermilion Bird.

Metal has a round shape and the colour of purple. Metal is of gold, silver, the west, Venus and autumn. Metal has New Yin and is contracting, with the Heavenly creating being the White Tiger.

Water is of a curve, water and mirrors. Of the north and of Mercury with the season of winter. Water of  Full Yin and is conserving. The Heavenly creature of this element is the Black Tortoise.

Earth is associated with yellow, squares, clay and stones, its planet being Saturn. Instead of being either north, east, south or west, earth is of the center and actually has a balance of Yin and Yang. It is a stabilizing energy and symbolizes the change of seasons every third month. The Heavenly creature of the earth is the Yellow Dragon.

In Feng Shui, the Five Elements are basic and it is said that all five of these elements are needed in our own homes and office spaces to be able to thrive and feel healthy. When one is trying to bring a certain element or elements into balance it depends not only the possessions within a house but also colours, shapes and specific images. A plant, for instance would represent the wood element, while the soil the earth element and depending on the colour of the pot it may represent another element.

When the Five Elements are within balance people are able to function at peak level, while if out of balance things such as disease, stress and depression may occur. There are of course ways to balance elements such as with mantras, phrases that are repeated.

In the Chinese Zodiac there are twelve animals and obviously takes twelves lunar years before it gets to an animal again. Some people think the whole cycle of the Chinese Zodiac is only of twelve lunar years, when it is in fact a cycle of sixty lunar years due to the five elements  being a part of it. The Five Elements are indeed within the Chinese Zodiac and it is not just the animal one is born as that’ll affect someone, but also the element they are born as.

Fun fact about elements; incense in Wicca represents air which is mainly due to the fragrant smoke created while incense burns, but some Wiccans may say incense represents fire as people will say it does within Feng Shui tradition due to the fact that incense burns.

Eight Immortals: Zhongli Quan

Zhongli Quan is one of the oldest of the Eight Immortals, considered the most ancient and to be the leader of the Eight Immortals by some. Zhongli Quan is also known as Zhongli of Han, Han Zhongli, the True-Yang Ancestor-Master and Master of the Cloud-Chamber. He is usually depicted as a bald man with a long beard, bare bellied and with a bare chest while holding his talisman, a fan that can revive the dead. Zhongli Quan is the patron of military operations.

This immortal was a general who was sent on an expedition against and enemy up north where he sadly lost the war. Due to this loss Zhongli Quan became a fugitive who rode alone through wild and mountainous country, it is on this journey a man met at a village taught Zhongli Quan a process for attaining longevity, knowledge of divine elixirs and something called ‘Green Dragon Swordsmanship’.

There are several stories of how Zhongli Quan attained immortality, one is that he lost a battle with an enemy and fled to the mountains here Zhongli Quan met five Taoists who gave him the teachings of immortality. Several hundred years after this happened Zhongli Quan taught Lu Dongbin, another of the Eight Immortals.

Another story tells how Zhongli Quan met a old Taoist master in a forest who gave Zhongli Quan the prescriptions on how to attain immortality upon request. One story tells how during a famine Zhongli Quan made silver coins by magic and distributed these very coins to the poor, and one day a wall of the place Zhongli Quan taken as a hermit collapsed during meditation, behind the fallen wall it was discovered that there was a jade vessel containing how to attain immortality which was followed.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Shennong

Shennong, also known as the Farmer God, Divine Farmer and the Emperor of the Five Grains, is the Chinese god of Chinese medicine, agriculture, farming and of the five grains. It is said that Shennong was first known as Yan Di, or the Emperor of Fire.

Shennong is considered the father of Chinese agriculture who taught his people how to cultivate grain as food and how to avoid killing animals. Shennong himself is said to have helped people transition from a diet of meat, clams and wild fruits to one based on grains and vegetables plus for developing herbal medicine. The Shennong Herb-Root Classic is attributed to Shennong, which was first compiled during the end of the Western Han Dynasty which lists various medicinal herbs discovered by Shennong.

It was Shennong who went around testing hundreds of herbs for their properties to which he is well known for and was crucial to the development of traditional Chinese medicine. Tea is claimed to be Shennong’s discovery, where leaves of tea twigs blew upwards from a fire and landed in the cauldron of boiling water. It is also notable that Shennong was able to identify seventy poisonous plants that he had tried himself.

Shennong and Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, are even said to be friends who shared alchemical secrets of medicine, immortality and making gold. Supposedly the two are kin and the Han Chinese regarded them both as joint ancestors. It is also said that Shennong, with Huangdi and another god, Fuxi, took part in creation of an instrument known as the guqin which is referred as “the father of Chinese music” or “the instrument of the sages”.

Shennong has two horns on his head, clothed with leaves and often with a plant in one of his hands to be tasted.

Eight Immortals: Zhang Guolao

Zhang Guolao, also known as Elder Zhang Guo, was a hermit who lived on Zhongtiao Mountain. He often rode on a white donkey and has been known to travel thousands of miles a day, with every rest Zhang Guolao taking he would fold his donkey up into a piece of paper and slipped it into his box. When in need of riding his donkey again he would put water on the paper to make the paper transform back into a white donkey. Zhang Guolao can be recognized by the fact he carries a peach of immortality and a phoenix feather while at times rides his donkey backwards. His talisman is a drum that can tell of future events and perform divination. Zhang Guolao is the patron of the elderly and out of the Eight Immortals it is Zhang Guolao who has the most magical ability.

In 735 AD, also known as the twenty-third year of the Kai Yuan period, Emperor Xuan Zong summoned Zhang Guolao, making him Chief of the Imperial Academy. It was later that the very Emperor tried to give Zhang Guolao some wine but was declined. Zhang Guolao stated he can only drink two pints but has a disciple that can drink ten.

Zhang Guolao’s disciple was summoned and when asked to be seated by Emperor Xuan Zong, Zhang Guolao protested that his disciple should stay standing. The disciple stayed standing and was given ten pints of wine, where Zhang Guolao said that the ten pints was his disciples limit but the disciple was given more. As a result of drinking more ten pints of wine, the head swelled and gushed out.  The disciple had transformed into a golden wine-cup to the amazement of the Emperor Xuan Zong, and upon inspection the cup could only hold ten pints of wine. Zhang Guolao was honoured and conferred the title of Master of Taoist Mysteries thanks to this.

Zhang Guolao is also known for his love of wine and winemaking, to which he has been known to make wine made from herbs and shrubs with other members of the Eight Immortals known to drink it. It is said that the wine Zhang Guolao makes has healing properties. Zhang Guolao is also known to go without food for days, surviving only on a few sips of wine.

Emperors of the Tang dynasty often invited Zhang Guolao to court but always declined. Empress Wu once asked and Zhang Guolao agreed, upon reaching the gates of a temple Zhang Guolao suddenly died with his body seen decomposing but was later seen alive and well. Zhang Guolao actually fell ill between 742 to 746AD and died, upon having his tomb opened by disciples Zhang Guolao’s body was empty.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chinese Zodiac: Monkey

The Monkey is the ninth animal of the Chinese Zodiac who rule over 3PM to 5PM, west-southeast and August. Has the saying of “I entertain” and the colours of white and yellow with the gemstone of Monkey’s being the peridot. The last Monkey’s Born were the Wood Monkey’s from 22nd January 2004 to 8th of February 2005 with the next Monkey’s born to be the Fire Monkey’s from 8th February 2016 to 27th January 2017.

Monkey’s are fun and loving people, known for being ever cheerful and energetic. These people are known to get plenty of attention, it is their charm and humour that gets this attention plus popularity. However, Monkey’s can be deceptive and will hide their opinions of others through friendliness

Monkey’s are good at problem solving, are intelligent and curious. It is this curiosity itself that will cause Monkey’s themselves thirst for more knowledge. Monkey’s can be egotistical and self-centred at times while also very opportunistic but they couldn’t care less about this due to being indifferent.

These people make loyal and devoted friends but as lovers can be very passionate and flirty, yet get easily tired of their relationship and look for another lover. I also find it amusing that it is said that Monkey’s will tease Tiger’s unmercifully but the two will make great lovers.

It is also worth noting that Monkey’s are the kind of people who can pretty much do any job as long as they put their minds to it due to their adaptability. Monkey’s are also likely to become famous or well known, but Monkey’s have also been known to not care about their own reputations.

The allies of the Monkey is the Rat and Dragon, with the secret friend being the Snake.

Eight Immortals: Lu Dongbin

Lu Dongbin is considered by some as the leader of the Eight Immortals. He had the Taoist name of Chun Yangzi and was born with the name of Lu Yan. Out of all of the Eight Immortals Lu Dongbin is the most famous and most mentioned.  His talisman is a magical sword that subdues demons and evil forces. Lu Dongbin can also be recognized not only by his sword but by the scholar clothes he wears.
Lu Dongbin is the patron of jugglers, magicians and barbers.

At the time of Lu Dongbin’s birth a divine fragrance was with the house and as a child he was intelligent. He could even memorize thousands of lines a day. By the age of twenty Lu Dongbin hadn’t married and he had taken imperial examination twice but failed.

Lu Dongbin was at a tavern at a place called Chang’an where he met a man called Zhongli Quan. While Zhongli Quan was cooking a pot of yellow milled Lu Dongbin fell asleep. Lu Dongbin had a dream, that he took the imperial examination and did great. That he had became a government official and later prime minister. In this dream Lu Dongbin was also married twice with both wives from families of wealth and position and with children of his own.

However, despite the success in his dream, he dreamt that people were jealous of his success who accused him of a crime which lead to his possessions being confiscated, and to his wives and children being separated. From dreaming of gaining fame to being a solitary outcast, Lu Dongbin awoke to find the yellow millet still being prepared. To this Lu Dongbin realized the impermanence of fame, glory and wealth to which he went with Zhongli Quan to cultivate Tao.

Over the years Zhongli Quan instructed Lu Dongbin but refused to teach Lu Dongbin how to attain immortality unless Lu Dongbin did a least three thousand good deeds. The amount of good deeds was eventually reached and Lu Dongbin was active in the mortal world after attaining immortality, often testing people, giving rewards for those proving themselves virtuous.

Lu Dongbin himself is said to be a ladies man, even after becoming immortal, so people don’t really invoke Lu Dongbin with romantic problems. Not only that, but Lu Dongbin is also known for his bouts of drunkenness and soon after becoming immortal himself deformed a riverbank in a bout of anger.

There is a Chinese proverb, “dog bites Lu Dongbin”, meaning an inability to recognize goodness and repay kindness with vice.