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The Big Dipper In Taoism Essay

1842 words - 8 pages

The belief and worshipping of the Big Dipper has been around for ages and it has appeared many different cultures due to the influence of the Han culture. This is because of the popularity of Taoism as a religion. Due to the flourish of Taoism, the worshipping of Big Dipper star group bloomed among the people. However, with the fall of Taoism due to modernization and the impact of foreign religions such as Buddhism, Christianity and other religions, there has been a significant decandancy in the worshipping of stars. In this essay, I am intending to find out how the worshipping of the Big Dipper came about and the influence that it created among the different cultures in China.
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The seven stars is right in the middle of Heaven and they form everything in the world including time and land and governments. However, when Taoism was formed, it emphasized on the importance that it has to humans by stating that it holds the power to humans’ destinies.
Big Dipper in Taoist Astrology
In Taoism, each timing stands for a particular star. For example, one maybe born in the 23rd Feb, at 3pm. Each of this timings, 23rd Feb and 3pm, can be linked to a particular star and these stars will affect one’s destiny and character in time to come. Thus, stars are exceptionally important in Taoism as it directly affects the wellbeing of humans.
There was a book, 《星经》 the Book of Stars. The author of this book was not recorded and it should be written around the Han dynasty. In this book, it was written that the Big Dipper was in charge of the Emperor’s destiny and longevity.
During the Jin Dynasty, the status of Taoism rose through the ranks amongst other religions and philosophy. This is due to the literature culture during the Wei Jin Dynasty. 玄学 flourished thus causing Taoism to be of a certain status in that period of time. During this period of time, Taoism conveyed the idea and importance of the Big Dipper. In 《晋书。天文志》, which means under the section of astronomy in the Jin Historical Book, the Big Dipper was given special responsibilities, they belonged to the 5 elements and they were in charge of the good and bad destinies in the world. From there, the Big Dipper was included in many literature works such as 《搜神记》 In Search of the Supernatural which was one of the novels describing many supernatural events. Fox spirits and many other demons were described in this novel. One of the important points is, it was also mentioned in the novel that the South Dipper (consisting of Polis, Kaus Borealis, Ain al Rami, Nunki, Hecatebolus and Ascella) was the group of stars that was in charge of the births while the Big dipper was in charge of deaths.
From these few records, Taoism absorbed the belief and came out with a system that divides the Big Dipper into 7 gods whom have their own responsibilities. In the Taoism scriptures, Tian Shu was called the 贪狼星君,in charged of destiny. Tian Xuan was called 巨门星君, in charged of prosperity. Tian Ji was called 禄存星君, in charged of fortune. Tian Quan was called 文曲星君, in charged of academic achievements (which was rather important in ancient China as being well versed in classics and literature was the key to holding official posts in the government). Yu Heng was called 廉贞星君, in charged of romance. Kai Yang was called 武曲星君, in charged of courage, martial arts achievements and also fortune. Lastly Yao Guang was called 破军星君, in charged of capabilities and responsibilities. Taoism anthropomorphized the seven stars in the Big Dipper and gave them each responsibilities. This is a common sight in Taoism. Taoism has a lot of gods and immortals and many times each of them have their own responsibilities and...

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