Tea Ceremony and Fortunetelling:
Fortunetelling and the Brazier (Part 1)
by Souchuu Sekine

The Brazier and May

In chanoyu, we divide one year into two seasons. This is, needless to say at this late of time, the brazier and hearth periods. The period of the brazier is from May to October; the hearth is from November to April of the following year. At the age of 20 and a university student, I was a beginner in Urasenke chanoyu. At that time, the matter of changing the brazier from May, changing the hearth in October was mysterious, I thought. May was yet late Spring, not Summer. November was late Autumn, not Winter. It was because I thought that this seasonal viewpoint was indeed half-baked. However, I admitted we (write) “Early spring season” without any sort of doubt in the greeting of our letters etc. when it becomes May.

Like I fully explained about “Early Spring” as an example in the February edition of this magazine, the reason is not the Japanese use one or the other of the old and new calendar; They are using (both) with a skillful mixing. Whether Chinese New Year is celebrated in February is considered; and in July on the New Calendar there is Obon. Also, while January on the New Calendar is not Early Spring, we put out New Year Cards with “I lift up congratulations of early Spring”; We celebrate Obon at the time of the lunar Obon in August. Among things like the Doll Festival in March or April, the water ceremony of Todai-ji Temple, formally called the Shuni-e and that is a February event to greet early Spring, is seriously conducted in March.

There is this sort of Japan and Japanese. As for the seasonal viewpoint of chanoyu, for fortunetelling, the foundational old calendar is the base.

Summer starts from May, which in order to understand is early summer on the chart on the top of the next page, and we change to the brazier. The coming of Summer is formally from Rikka (this year’s May 5th). There is the elementary school song, “Even Summer draws near on the 88th day…” which is the time of May 2nd. Because it is not yet summer, “Even Summer draws near…” is sung. As for the calendar, it is written about Rikka that “the spirit of Summer stands next to the spirit of the feeling of yang of the universe”, until Risshu “All creation is teeming, plants and branches growing thickly, great and full” and so on and in regards to this seasonal viewpoint it is in the same way as yang tends to grasp. As in the lower chart, until November the yin yao : is the period that comes and grows from the bottom, applying the seasons which shift from yang to yin.

These seasons which shift from yang to yin are Summer and Autumn; the half year from May to October becomes the period for the brazier. November’s trigram on this chart is the trigram of the return of Spring (the long-awaited, favorable turn of fortune). It is called the tea master’s New Year’s. I want to explain about this matter in this Autumn’s edition.

茶の湯と易
易と風炉
関根宗中

風炉と五月

茶の湯は一年を大きく二つの季節に分ける。其れは今更言うまでもなく風炉と炉の時期で有る。風炉の時期は五月から十月、炉は十一月から翌年の四月迄で有る。私が裏千家茶道に入門したのは大学時代の二十歳の時で有り、其の頃は、五月から風炉に変わり、十一月から炉に変わる事を不思議に思ったので有る。五月は未だ晩春で夏では無い。十一月は晩秋で冬では無い。此季節観が如何にも中途半端で有ると思ったからで有る。然し、我々は五月に成ると手紙等の冒頭に何の疑問も無く「初夏の候…」と認めて居る。

本誌二月号に「初春」を例に挙げて述べたように、日本人は旧暦と新暦のどちらか一方を使用するのでは無く、混交して器用に使いして居る。二月に旧正月を御祝いしたかと思うと、七月に新暦でお盆をする。又一月の新暦に初春でも無いのに「初春のお慶びを申し上げます」と年賀状を出し、お盆は八月の旧盆で行う。お雛祭りを三月や四月にしたり、東大寺のお水取りは正式には修二会と称し、初春迎えの二月行事で有るが三月に厳修される。

このような日本と日本人で有るが、茶の湯の季節観は、易に基tづく旧暦が基本で有る。

次首上段の表で分かるように初夏で有る五月から夏で有り、風炉に変わるので有る。夏の到来は正式には立夏(本年は五月五日)からで有る。小学唱歌に有る「夏も近づく八十八夜…」は五月二日頃で有り、未だ夏で無い為に「夏も近づく…」と唄われる。暦には立夏に就いて「天地感陽の気となり夏の気立つなり」と記され、立秋迄「万物充満し草木枝繁る大満…」等と季節観的には陽のように捉えがちで有るが、下の図表のように十一月迄陰の爻:が下から増してくる時期で有り、陽から陰に移りゆく季節に当る。

この陽から陰に移る季節が夏と秋で有り、五月から十月の半年が風炉の時期と成る。この図表の十一月の卦は一陽来復の卦で有り、茶人の正月と言われるが、此事に就いて今秋の号で述べる事にしたい。

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