At times it seems in Thailand (and large part of Asia, including China) nothing in the public or private sector advances, no decision is made, no event announced until an ‘auspicious date’ and “auspicious time” have been calculated. Setting a wedding date, opening parliament, launching a new aircraft, meeting a client, opening a new business, and on and on.
If you trace the smoking gun back on auspicious dates it generally is found in the hand of Chinese mystics who read the stars, chicken entrails, the dirt lines under fingernails, and the horoscopes of those seeking the date. For example, on 10th August between 9.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. and between 7.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m., open that business or make that business transaction as this is an auspicious time. Unless, of course, you were born in the year of the Dog, then it is Not. On the 23rd of August, it is the pig whose birth year clashes in opening a business or doing a deal for more gruel. As you get an idea, this auspicious timing is a tricky business, and no wonder international businessmen find their horoscopes exclude a deal closing on the 10th of August if they’re a dog, and definitely left to cool their heels in the waiting room if their a pig on the 23rd of August. This isn’t something the average MBA from the West would include in their power point presentation to shareholders.
My favourite auspicious time is the 27th August reserved for space cleaning. Unless you happened to be born in the year of the rabbit, then you’d better leave your messy nest for another date. I’d like to hear from any unfortunate rabbits who unknowingly cleaned a space between 7.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. on that date. Let me know what misfortune has befallen you since making that cosmic error.
A little closer to home, this Sunday 19th September 2010 is an auspicious moving to new house/office in year 2010. Only if your born in the year of the Tiger. Stay in that den. Don’t move. This advice isn’t exactly from the horse’s mouth; it’s from a Google search, and what astrologer can compete with Google God that now throws up over 200,000 sites to consider before committing to a time and date.
The business of setting the auspicious date becomes complicated as charts must be done for both the prospective bride and groom. What may be good for the dog may be bad for the pig. It’s that kind of world we live in. Also marriage is just one event in a string of decisions, each of which needs an auspicious date. The engagement is one such date. Another crucial date is reserved for installing the bridal bed. And it is better if the groom fetches the bride in the dark. I thought that cover of darkness (at least in a metaphorical sense) was pretty much a universal standard but the Chinese astrologers claim it as their own in auspicious date theology. It is better to be married on an even numbered day, and the 7th lunar month is in auspicious as this is the month of the Hungry Ghost. Just think with all of these rules, restrictions, and taboos, the Chinese still manage to have produced more than a billion people. If it hadn’t been for astrology we might have been looking at double or triple of that number.
Time is also sliced and diced and each segment given a cute name.
Chinese divide time like a research physicist into 12 periods, each 2 hours in duration. The Chinese day commence at 11 pm the night before. These are the corresponding time.
|子(zi)||11pm to 1 am|
|丑(chou)||1am to 3 am|
|寅(yin)||3am to 5 am|
|卯(mao)||5am to 7am|
|辰(chen)||7am to 9am|
|巳(si)||9am to 11am|
|午(wu)||11am to 1pm|
|未(wei)||1pm to 3pm|
|申(shen)||3pm to 5pm|
|酉(you)||5pm to 7pm|
|戌(xu)||7pm to 9pm|
|亥(hai)||9pm to 11pm|
One funny wrinkle in the sheet of time is the calendar. You see the Chinese calendar and Gregorian calendar aren’t the same calendar. If you’re getting married, you need to make certain you are both on the same calendar. That’s not necessarily a bad rule. Indeed a case could be made it ought to be made mandatory around the world. Divorce is basically working off different pages of the calendar until the marriage ruptures into a thousand little dragon tails.
The thing about auspicious dates is this is the start of the slippery slope and it is a long ways down the mountain. You need a birth chart with your year, month, day, hour and place of birth and this plugs you into the position and movement of 116 stars. Forget that there are 100 billion galaxies and 100 billion stars in each galaxy (including our own Milky Way), your energy this life depends on their place on your birth. Amulets or lucky charms squeeze that extra bit of positive energy out of the cosmic orange for your good health and prosperity. And you need to find the source of your qi or chi, that universal umbilical cord that ties you to the universe. Sitting direction is also a factor not to be dismissed when taking into account the full range of cosmic forces. Learning a few mantras is also good to position yourself in the right mood and time for the event of your choosing, such as installing the marriage bed.
If you think this is only a Chinese tradition, think again. Hindus are devoted to auspicious dates, too. Thus add another billion or so people who are in the auspicious date realm. According to the BBC, May 16, 2010 was an auspicious date that saw over 50,000 Indians leaping into the appropriately installed wedding bed. The BBC interviewed an Indian on the matter and discovered:
“Hindus believe a union between two souls is very important and choosing that auspicious date is incredibly important,” Dr Sharma told BBC Asian Network.
“It has been particularly inauspicious between February and 16 May – our scriptures telling us that this would be a period of calamity, and so it has caused this backlog.
“Most Hindus, even if they are marrying non-Hindus, would want to marry on an auspicious date to build the best foundation possible for their relationship.”
In the West, we seem to have been left off the auspicious date train. Too busy trying to figure out the nature of the universe and making money to be bothered with ancient beliefs from a time when people and events moved at a much slower pace.
One problem with the traditional Chinese and Indian approach boils down to time. Not auspicious time but the time it takes to arrange appointments with astrologers and the like. These are busy people and it unlikely a good idea to consult one only to find it is an inauspicious time and you need to rebook next month. So if you wonder why the Internet has been such a huge hit in China and India, well I have a theory: it cuts out the astrologer from chain of those who need to be consulted in finding the right time and date. All you need to do is plug in your birthday details, and you will automatically have a computer online make the calculation for you. Find Your Fate is one such site. In fact, you can probably outsource the auspicious date business to someone in India. There must be a call center company that has branched off into this potentially lucrative business.
If your desk is a mess, your bed unmade, you need a haircut or the car repaired, lean over from your bed (no need to get out) and go on line to see if it is one of those days when it is auspicious to put the pillow over your head and sleep for another two hours.