Tai Sui part 3. Astronomical and Astrological Origin of Tai Sui 太岁

Tai Sui part 3. Astronomical and Astrological Origin of Tai Sui 太岁

Originally, Tai Sui or Grand Duke Jupiter 太岁was an imaginary star that follows the exact path of Jupiter in the opposite direction (directly in front of Jupiter), after which it was transformed into a group of 60 deities. When we speak of “star” we must more imagine a “body of energy”.

Ancient Chinese astronomy, astrology, divination use the Chinese calendar which is calculated using the 10 Heavenly Stems 十天 干 (5 elements yin and yang) and the 12 Earthly Branches 十二 地支. The two handsets produce a 60-year cycle (60 Jia Zi).

Coming back to Jupiter

To return to Jupiter, one must know that this planet revolves around the Sun in 11.86 Earth years. As a result, the 12 Earthly Branches were born and the celestial sphere was divided into 12 sections each representing one of the Earthly Branches or Astrological Sign, but also each represents two hours of a day.

As Jupiter revolves around the sun in 11.86 years and the celestial sphere has been divided into 12 sections (divisions of the Jovian orbital cycle, while the Western Zodiac is based on the apparent movement of the sun relative to the celestial sphere) it does not synchronize to give an accurate interpretation of the astrological signs. After a long time, the errors become noticeable. Thus the concept of Tai Sui comes into play. This intangible imaginary star was created to correct this lack of synchronization, and thus revolves into the celestial sphere in exactly 12 Earth years. With the introduction of Tai Sui, the astrological signs could then be interpreted with precision and coherence. As you can see, the concept of Tai Sui was first created for mathematical and scientific purposes.

The day when the Tai Sui transits from one section to another in the celestial sphere, is the day of Li-Chun 立春 or Beginning of Spring, it is also the best day to pay homage to him.

Later in ancient history, 60 honorable generals were personified as deities and became 60 Tai Sui. It seems that the first texts referring to Tai Sui date from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). But it was with the Jin Dynasty and Emperor Zhangzong (1168-1208) that the Tai Sui began to be revered.

The 60 Tai Sui, Celestial Generals, are supposed to help the Jade Emperor control and be in charge over the world of mortals, while the latter ruler of Heaven is in charge of the celestial sphere. Each Tai Sui is responsible for a particular year in the 60 year cycle.

What about Yin Jiao?

Among these 60 Tai Sui, there is one who is responsible for all the others! His name is Yin Jiao, son of the evil king Zhou of the Shang Dynasty (often illustrated with 3 heads and 6 arms and a fierce face). Nowadays it is more often the image of a little boy holding the banner Dang Nian Tai Sui or Zhi Nian Tai Sui, not so scary than the original image 🙂

At the beginning of each year there are 4 types of conflict that affect certain astrological signs. These 4 conflicts are: Punishment of Tai Sui, Opposition to Tai Sui, Destruction of Tai Sui, and Harm or Injury to Tai Sui. This has already been explained in the first article on Tai Sui.

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