Tea Ceremony and Fortune-telling.
“Spring’s Start and the Tiger” and “Well Shining Water”. (Part 1)
By Souchuu Sekine

During the year end’s many pressures, everyone is writing New Year’s cards. In these cards, many expressions such as “Congratulations on Spring’s Start”, “New Spring”, “Spring Hymn” and “Welcome Spring” are used for the new year. But usually, Spring is the three months of March, April, and May; and Winter is December, January, and February. In short, the New Year’s cards are delivered in January, which we can say is right in the middle of Winter.

Thus, despite that January is in Winter, we use the word “Spring” to congratulate the new Year: Why? In China, the four seasons, which are called “Shunkashuutou”, revolve in a circle from Spring to Summer to Autumn to Winter to Spring again. Thus, we celebrate the year’s start which is Spring’s start. But as said before, in Japan, Spring is from March to May. On the other hand, in China, Spring is the three months from February to April. February is called “Spring’s Start”, March is “Mid-Spring”, and April, “Spring’s Evening”.(Dig.1)

In China, Feburary or Spring’s Start’s “Lunar New Year” is celebrated as the year’s start, just as Japan’s New Year is. The Japanese New Year on the old calendar is equivalent exactly to this Chinese “Lunar New Year”. Japan inherited the Chinese “Spring celebration of the year’s start” on the new calendar, which places it in January, which is the end of Winter. But we still use the word “Spring” talking about the new year. In accordance with such a seasonal viewpoint, in Japan even now, in the not-yet-summer May news we write “this Summer’s Start season”, and we call September’s moon the “Mid-Autumn’s harvest moon”.

This way that Japan received China’s fortune telling theory’s influence, that is delaying the seasons by one month in Japan by treating March to May as Spring, isn’t a cause for doubt about the theory.

Next, let’s try and see about the seasons and 12 earthly branches as well as their relation to time. “Spring’s Start” and “New Spring”, being February, are equivalent to the earthly branch of the Tiger. How the earthly branches and seasons/month combine are in the manner indicated above. (Dig. 2) These twelve earthly branches divide into one year and we can apply them to divide one day into 24 hours. (Dig.3)

At the ancient Imperial Court’s Divination Bureau, one hour was the length of two modern hours. A.M. was considered Yang, and P.M. was considered Yin. Time was measured by the earthly branches’ animals and “bells” or “drums” were struck. At the Hour of the Mouse, bells or drums were struck nine times. At the Hour of the Sheep, eight times. Midday, at 12 o’clock, is called True-Horse, because it is exactly at the Hour of the Horse. There is the phrase, “Even plants sleep at the third part of the Cow Hour.” The Hour of the Cow is from 1 am to 3 o’clock and is divided into quarters. The third quarter is the reason for saying “third part”. From 2 am to 2:30 is exactly the middle of the night. Also, the Hour of the Sheep (3pm) is called the “Eighth Hour”. Because 3pm is the eighth hour, we call any example of snacking the “Eighth Hour”. Actually, at the Urasenke office, we have a habit of eating an Eighth Hour snack at about 2:30pm.

As a matter of great interest, Dig.3 (the earthly branches and time diagram) is identical to a modern day clock’s face. On the diagram, the Hour of the Mouse, or midnight, has the same placement, overlapping a modern clock’s midnight. Because of this sort of thing, we understand that our modern day selves’ everyday life is deeply affected by fortune telling. Thus, we can appreciate the continuously rotating, and reoccuriny nature of fortune telling.

茶の湯と易。

「初春*寅」と「生華水」。

関根宗中

年末の多端の中、誰しもが年賀状を書く。年賀状には「初春の御喜びを申し上げます」「新春」「頌春」「迎春」等「春」の語を使って新年を表す事が多い。然し、一般に春は三月、四月、五月、の三ヶ月で有り、冬は十二月、一月、二月を言う。詰り、年賀状が届く一月は冬の真只中と言う事に成る。

此の様に、一月が冬で有るにも拘わらず、「春」と言う言葉を用いて新年を寿ぐのは何故なのだろうか。中国では四季を、春夏秋冬と言うように、春>夏>秋>冬>春…と循環する事から、春を一年の始まりとして御祝する。先述の通り、日本では、春は、三月から五月を言う。一方、中国では、二月から四月の三ヶ月を春とし、二月を初春、三月を仲春、四月を晩春と称して居る(表1)。

中国では、二月‐初春の「春節」を日本の正月のように、一年の始まりとして御祝いする。日本の旧正月と呼ばれる時期は、丁度此中国の「春節」に当たる。中国の「一年の始まりで有る春を祝う」事が新暦を主とする日本に受け継がれ、晩冬で有る一月に「春」の言葉を用いて新年を賀するように成ったので有ろう。此うした季節観に従って、日本では今でも、未だ夏でない五月の便りに「初夏の候」と記し、九月の月を「仲秋の名月」と言う。

此様に日本では中国の易思想の影響を受けた四季と、三月から五月を春 とするようなひと月ずつ遅らせる四季とを疑問を持つ事も無く使い分けて居る。

次に、四季と十二支及び時間の関係を見て見よう。「初春」「新春」で有る二月は、十二支の寅の月に当たる。十二支と四季、月の組み合わせは上記(表2)の通りで有る。此十二支は一年にも配当し、一日二十四時間にも当てはめる事が出来る(表3)。

古代の宮中の陰陽寮では、二時間を一刻として、午前を陽、午後を陰とし、時刻を知らしめる手段として十二支の動物を描いた「時の鐘」や「太鼓」が使われて居た。子の刻は九つ、未の刻は八つ鐘や太鼓を打つ。御昼の十二時を正午と言うのは、正に午の時に当たるからで有る。「草木も眠る丑三つ時」は丑の時間で有る午前一時から三時を四刻に分かち、其の三番目を丑三つと言う所に由来する。丁度午前二時から二時半の深更で有る。又、未の刻に当たる午後三時に「御八つ」と称して御菓子等を頂くのも、時間が八つ時で有る事から、間食の代名詞として御八つとか御三時とかの呼び方が定着したので有ろう。実際、裏千家の事務所では、午後二時半頃に御三時と称して抹茶を頂く習慣が有る。

興味深い事に、表IIIの十二支と時間の表は現代の時計の文字盤と同様で有る。表の、子の刻の午前零時は二十四時と同じ位置で有り、重なって居る。此様な事から、易は、現代の我々の日常生活とも深く関わって居る事が分かる。然して、易とは、間断なき循環且つ連続の思想で有る事が理解出来よう。

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