This year you Fan Tai Sui, must be very careful, because this year no good for you.
First, I’m not talking about this:
This Tai Sui (太岁) is a slab of soil meat (imagine a slab of meat found in the middle of dirt), which arises naturally from sticky germs compound between dead beings. In the Chinese mythology, there’s yet another Tai Sui, which is actually a position in the celestial heavens who is in charge of determining the annual fortunes of all of us. Today we also understand that Tai Sui is actually the planet Jupiter (木星), its importance in Chinese mythology maybe due to its high visibility from earth. There are many gods who would rotate to take up this position, as it’s an almighty position, the most powerful year god. It’s also commonly known as Tai Sui Xing Jun (太岁星君) or Sui Jun (岁君). Some also know it as the “Annual Prince” (年中天子).
A side note if you’re not aware: according to Chinese culture, based on the different year you’re born in, you’ll be classified using a different animal to represent your terrestrial branch. This Chinese Zodiac is very influential in the East Asian region, as it is one of the fundamental basis of determining your fortunes for the day/month/year much like Horoscopes.
A total of 60 gods take their turn to be Tai Sui every year. Based on your Chinese Zodiac animal, you might come into a position that “offended” Tai Sui, thus the commonly uttered Fan Tai Sui. Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. This just stem from the world view that everything has its times of good fortune and times of bad fortune, so you’ll have years of good fortune and years of bad ones.
The other quasi-scientific explanation that is commonly used is to simply attribute the phenomena to the movement of Jupiter, which affects the magnetic field around us, depending on the year you were born. This explanation usually bodes well with the western audience already educated with zodiac systems based on stars and planets.
Those who Fan Tai Sui typically have a not-so-smooth year, i.e. all your health, career, love life, etc will be affected. According to the commonly referred to Huang Li (黄历), a folk calendar which tells you what is suitable to be done today and vice versa, there are many tips and tricks where you can appease Tai Sui, thus the commonly said An Tai Sui (安太岁).
An example of how people An Tai Sui in Taiwan.
What is easier than just burning Tai Sui Money like these?
Well, keeping things simple, I won’t tell you how to An Tai Sui in this article, as there are many Feng Shui gurus that will give you 1001 advice on how to nullify the effects of Fan Tai Sui. You can find some of the answers here, here and here.
So who is the Tai Sui this year? That would be none other than General Feng Ji (封济大将军). Again, just to simplify things, the Chinese calendar goes by this 10 round times 12 animals cycle (each cycle is 60 year, half of what is possible). This year is the year of the Pig (亥), Round 4 (丁), thus 丁亥 year (wow, even shown on the Chinese wikipedia’s logo), so you can look this up on this really interesting collection: http://teens.theweb.org.tw/utopia/taisui/24photo.html
General Feng Ji is born in the Ming Dynasty, a meticulous and humane general who never put the evil forces in his eyes. The people love him because he manage to remove much corruption in the government during his time. He died without much possessions in his house, and following the Chinese folk standards, all these “good people” will be immortalized and become “gods”. This year, General Feng Ji will become Tai Sui, and will be worshiped by many to ensure that they have a peaceful and prosperous year.
Specifically in year 2007, the people who Fan Tai Sui (offended Tai Sui) are people who are born in the year of the Pig, Snake, Tiger and Monkey. Snakes are the most serious of all (冲太岁), the Pigs “sitting on the head of Tai Sui” (命犯刑克, 太岁当头坐) but a bit lesser in offense, monkey (犯相害) and tiger (犯相破) to a lesser degree. If you’re interested, there are enough key words here (in Mandarin) for you to start scouring the net.
Another tidbit for the uninitiated. The Chinese compass looks at the sky (as compared to the Western one, which looks at the floor. Remind yourself about this fact when you play Mahjong.
This year, Tai Sui is sitting at the North Western corner. So in order to please Tai Sui without going to the temple, according to some Feng Shui magazine I picked up from the shop, you can put a Pi Xiu (貔貅) at the northwest corner of your house/room/office etc. And don’t renovate / build stuff at the northwest corner of your room/house/city etc. Damn simple right?
But seriously, how bad is bad? Have you ever taken stock (i.e. don’t see what’s going to happen in the future, but record your luck down and compare it with the notes in Huang Li or other predictions to see how well they match up)
Of the many articles I’ve used to do research on this topic, I’ve found a paragraph from this article about Fan Tai Sui particularly interesting (if you can read traditional chinese):
Roughly it can be summarized to:
The philosophy of An Tai Sui is simple – calm the god in your own heart. Only those that are emotionally calm and free can face the world in an intelligent and sincere manner, rid oneself of the bad habits, greed and finally bad luck. In fact, the more one is careful with its own wealth, the more one wants to help others, the more one would just end up being happy. Ancient religious leaders used this myth about Tai Sui to remind people that we have to be aware of cause-and-effect (a Buddhist teaching), be afraid of the gods and never do bad things. If you do bad things, the time will come where you have pay for it. By then, your begging for mercy is no longer heard.
Wah… Such a big disclaimer for Communist China? I wonder if the author is sincere. In extreme superstitious South East Asia, where people like Lillian Too is making BIG BIG bucks, people don’t even have time to complete the 20 things that they have to do (put crystal A at location B, build water fountain C at corner D in the house facing direction E, hang artifact F in the car, etc. etc.) what more think about morale issues. Just search around the Internet (I believe I saw pretty good photo-journalism by TV Smith’s duasen some time ago on this topic) and you’ll find the things that you didn’t know we Chinese of of the southern seas do to keep the gazillion gods happy.
At the end of the day, if you really think that it isn’t too much of a trouble, perhaps give it a shot. You only live life once, live it the way you think suits you best For me, I think living with some culture isn’t so bad after all. And remember:
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