An Eastern Perspective On The Stars...
In keeping with the Lunar theme from my post last week, I am going to explore another branch of astrology that is based on the Lunar calendar – Chinese Astrology! Its also a bit of a misnomer as so many other Asian cultures follow this Lunar based system of stargazing. As of January 25th, we have moved into the New Lunar Year and known as The Year of The White Metal Rat. But before I go into more about this, I’m going to give more insight and information about how the Lunar timing works, because its central to understanding.
Lunar Months & Calendars
A lunar month is determined by the period required for the moon to complete its full cycle of 29.5 days, a standard that makes the lunar year a full 11 days shorter than its solar counterpart. This difference is made up every 19 years by the addition of seven lunar months. The 12 lunar months are further divided into 24 solar divisions, marked by the four seasons and times of heat and cold. This makes a close relationship to the yearly cycle of agricultural work and always reminds me of how our Farmer’s Almanacs work.
The Chinese calendar - like the Hebrew - is a combined solar/lunar calendar and it strives to have its years coincide with the tropical year and its months coincide with the synodic months. It is not surprising that a few similarities exist between the Chinese and the Hebrew calendar: An ordinary year has 12 months, a leap year has 13 months. An ordinary year has 353, 354, or 355 days, a leap year has 383, 384, or 385 days. When determining what a Chinese year looks like, one must make a number of astronomical calculations:
First, determine the dates for the new moons. Here, a new moon is the completely black moon (that is, when the moon is in conjunction with the sun), not the first visible crescent used in the Islamic and Hebrew calendars. The date of a new moon is the first day of a new month.