The field of Chinese metaphysics for its many application systems, heavily relies on such basic tools as Hetu Yellow River Map (河圖), Xiantian Gua (先天卦) – or Former Heaven sequence of Trigrams, and Houtian Gua (後天卦) – or Later Heaven sequence of Trigrams. While Magic Square and Luoshu (洛書) are not synonymous, yet, these terms are used interchangeably.
One cannot be mistaken for the other.
There will be something ‘arithmetical’ (in that case not energetical) about Magic Square, while there will be something ‘energetical’ (in that case not arithmetical) about Luoshu.
Each time as we employ 9 Stars and Luoshu, we would need to yet determine when exactly the 1-9 range comes to us as just numbers or quantity, then, when as Stars and quality.
Magic Square is Luoshu in nothing
Magic Squares can be of odd or even order. Their use is mainly arithmetical. Magic Squares of even order do not have a ‘central’ unit.
Magic Squares can be in use also for purpose of astronomy, where they may depict angles of planets, distances between planets and so forth.
A Magic Square can accommodate numbers, letters or symbols, which – once distributed over the Magic Square – may redistribute, these symbols then otherwise not able to transform or transmute in the process.
Luoshu is Magic Square in nothing
What may be confusing is that – pretty much as the Magic Square of order 3 -, Luoshu appears as a 3 x 3 image, 9 ‘units’ in all, with seemingly a central unit.
Luoshu, however, is to either just accommodate Eight Trigrams or just 8 out of 9 Stars only. Nothing ‘happens’ at a notional central unit, because there isn’t any.
The problem is in, both Magic Square of order 3 and the basic Luoshu of 5 Yellow, seem to depart from the same configuration of ‘numbers’.
Because now, Luoshu appears as a ‘Magic Square’ of odd order, Luoshu seems to produce a central unit.
Only adding to the misperception is the very first notion given out about Magic Square in any class or book that says “Magic Square of order 3 adds to 15”, which is supposedly why no-one seems to give it a second thought that by this alone, Luoshu cannot be a Magic Square.
For sake of convenience, Luoshu has visually what would seem a central unit. Energetically, however, there is no central space in Luoshu to host 9 Stars (extensive blog post on the subject, that you should take a note of if you are a serious adept in 9 Stars and Luoshu, moreso I’ll say if you are a professional).
This is same as in saying that, if we have 9 Stars, one Star will be ‘the odd one out’, as it will not find a central unit in Luoshu. If then still we ‘squeeze in’ a central unit in Luoshu to accommodate this ‘left-over’ Star, this is done for sake of convenience.
We must learn to appreciate the difference between Magic Square for numbers (arithmetics) and Luoshu (electromagnetic energy) for 9 Stars.
9 Stars associate with Trigrams, by that, 9 Stars and Eight Trigrams are not synonymous. Most in the field of Flying Star Feng Shui and 9 Star Ki, however, would imagine to have the Trigrams migrate through Luoshu, just as would be the case for 9 Stars.
Body and Application, Host and Guest
Trigrams in Hou Tian Gua, however, otherwise remain in their fixed position (Body – Ti 體), whereas 9 Stars migrate through Luoshu on the wave of years, months and days (Application – Yong 用).
We are accustomed to cartography, in that, we will mostly see ‘square’ depictions, often with demarcation lines, but which are notional at best.
Rather, of course, you would each time visualize a 360 degrees depiction, even where you’ll see a 9 grid square.
To the far left is Xian Tian Gua. No-one has a problem in seeing that Trigrams here will be fixed to their appointed unit, no matter how then 9 Stars would migrate through Luoshu for years, months and days. Next is Hou Tian Gua, then next its translation into 9 Stars, then called basic Luoshu of 5 Earth, or basic Luoshu of 5 Yellow.
Only if it appears as a 3 x 3 Magic Square with number 5 at the center, are we to refer to the image as “Saturn Square”.
What’s so challenging for any one of us in the metaphysical field is to finally see that, just for reason that either one of above images would be taken to illustrate energy, each time these three ‘9 boxes’ depictions would lack a center.
In other words, the ‘space’ we see reserved in Luoshu to denote a ‘center’, is just notional, as there would be no such central ‘space’.
Just as the configuration of Trigrams lies fixed in Xiantian Gua, the Trigrams as ‘emblems’ in Houtian Gua should remain fixed.
Once Trigrams become 9 Stars and once Stars migrate through Luoshu, we see that the original Houtian configuration will remain untouched, so that 9 Stars do not so much as transport the Trigram emblems as such, but – it’s subtle – their Trigram attributes, rather.
The reason being that, even though with 9 Stars we seemingly need ‘9 spaces’ in Luoshu, there would still not be a central space to host any Star, because to begin with, Luoshu is a depiction of 360 degrees divided by 8 gives 8 x 45 degrees of magnetic directions, so that there will not be a ‘9th’ direction at the center.
Were we to divide 360 degrees by 9, we’d end up with 40 degrees, one of those 40 degrees ‘parked’ at the central unit, and it doesn’t make sense.
It is through this type of observations, that we’d like to see new topics for discussion in the field of 9 Stars and Luoshu applications such as Flying Star Feng Shui and 9 Star Ki.
Many practitioners may find it hard initially, to understand this, so let’s see what situation were to occur, were we to have for example the annual Luoshu for a Star 6 year, then now Houtian Trigram emblems to migrate through Luoshu with the annual Stars just the same.
Instead, if we let Trigram emblems in Hou Tian Gua migrate through Luoshu with 9 Stars, we would have an ‘empty’ space somewhere along the perimeter of Luoshu each time that another Star then ‘enters’ the Luoshu ‘center’, such void then instrumental for Star 5, but which 5 Yellow we know does not assume a Trigram.
Magic Square units are called ‘cells’.
Units in Luoshu are not to be referred to as ‘House’, but more faithfully ‘Palace’ (Gong 宫).
Now, 5 Yellow still taken for electromagnetism and gravity – as such, it may not receive a Trigram, but it is still very much one of 9 Stars -, so it is still possible to imagine for it to take in 45 degrees of magnetic direction, but the image still raises questions if at all we should imagine for the Houtian Trigram emblems to be riding on the back of 9 Stars as these 9 Stars migrate through Luoshu.
The question mark (?) in above annual Luoshu for a 6 Metal year, would have shown Trigram Xun Wind (Xun Gua 巽卦) for Star 4 Wood in the basic Luoshu, whereas here, it would seem as if the 45 degrees Southeast direction has been left devoid of a Trigram.
We may argue, if it is possible to have both at the same time, i.e. and we can have Houtian Trigrams fixed in the Luoshu Palaces, and the Trigrams associate with 9 Stars so much so, that by all means Trigrams migrate through Luoshu on the back of time cycles.
Once more a matter of Body & Application, above Luoshu very much still rests Li Gua in the so-called 9 Fire Luoshu Palace, even though the annual Luoshu momentarily takes Star 1 for Kan Gua – its attributes, such as for objects, events – into this position.
The Trigram emblem for Li Gua, still in the 9 Fire Luoshu Palace is now ‘Host’ to the Trigram attributes associated with Star 1 for Kan Gua (Guest), while 9 Ki Divination has it that, somehow the ‘circumstance’ as it will be provided by Li Palace in Luoshu will now ‘meet’ with properties linked to Star 1.
Whatever the ‘actual’ situation, it still poses the interesting question, if not our metaphysical field would need to start seeing where ‘emblem’ starts and ends, where 9 Stars and Trigram ‘attribute’ starts and ends, where ‘number’ starts and ends, then, when ‘numbers’ would have become Stars.
We’ll have to therefore solve, if in Fei Xing Feng Shui, certain Flying Star chart styles would have derived from sheer arithmetics, or if indeed, each time that we see the 1-9 range, these are 9 Stars and intendedly energetics.
In other words, if such chart styles as Add To Ten (He Shi – 合十) are just numbers juggling, or if it will have energetic relevance, while we project same question onto such chart styles as Fu Mu San Ban Gua (父母三般卦), Fu Yin (伏吟) and Fan Yin (反吟) and so on.
Technically, the ancient scholar could have employed the 1-9 range both arithmetically, as also we could have proclaimed ‘energy’ (Qi 氣) there and arrive at 9 Stars. We can squeeze numbers into a Magic Square, then 9 Stars into Luoshu, whereas the difference is in, which one would reserve a unit at the center to accommodate what?
That is same as in asking, when is the 9 square boxes a Magic Square – so that it could just as well have been a 5 x 5 Magic Square, a 7 x 7 Magic Square and so on -, when is the 9 square grid actually a depiction of the 360 degrees compass circumference, with then only a geometric center (a dot), then not a central unit to denote energetic center, everything as in: geometric center and energetic center are not synonymous.
Question: is Magic Square on the left also ‘Luoshu’, so that Luoshu will have a central unit, or, would all Magic Squares of odd order (3 x 3; 5 x 5; 7 x 7) have a central unit as a rule, by that not Luoshu?
Stated differently: are any and all Magic Squares just intendedly numerological, except the Magic Square of order 3, now that it has number 5 at its center, which then ‘magically’ becomes Luoshu for 9 Stars?
Numbers, Trigrams and 9 Stars will be often mentioned in the same breath, whereas we’d have to really make the distinction.
One ‘7’ can be a number with no further connotation as to electromagnetism, while another ‘7’ can be Star 7 for Dui Gua. Same ‘7’ can one time denote Heliocentrism, another time Egocentrism or Geocentrism.
Numbers 2 and 7 in a Magic Square
If these came as ‘numbers’, we can add 2 and 7 to obtain 9, we can subtract 2 from 7 to obtain 5. At no point, however, would we say that number 2 and number 7 were to produce events.
Stars 2 and 7 in Luoshu
If for purpose of 9 Ki Divination, Star 2 taken for a rucksack, then Star 7 for a knife, if we see the Star combination 2-7 anywhere in an annual- and monthly Luoshu, this may read as ‘a knife goes into a rucksack’. There’s then nothing still numerological about Star 2 and Star 7.
Hetu Yellow River Map – 河圖
Equally, we often see the number range 1-9 in Hetu Yellow River Map mentioned in the same breath as when someone were to define Luoshu. In other words, number 1 in Hetu will be regarded equally as energetic as Star 1 in Luoshu, as these would be considered one and the same.
The ancient scholars would have been astronomers, mathematicians and physicists, mostly assigned to work for the emperor. Many these ancient scholars would have mastered the Yi (易) to concern of Yin and Yang, Wuxing Five Transformations 五行 , magnetism and physiology.
Competition among scholars to come into favor of the ‘emperor’ and be assigned official duty, would have been murderous, and it was ‘art’ in itself, to be able and come up with a new system, each time derived from ‘same’ 1-9 range, same 8 Trigrams.
It also means that, where the number range 1-9 could have culminated into any otherwise just mathematical invention, such ‘in the mean time’ newly established system could well be dressed up and be presented as an energetic application.
We need be able and distinguish one from the other and appreciate when a certain number configuration is to denote astronomy or arithmetics, when a certain number configuration were to denote energy as in 9 Stars, because the former could have as such nothing to do with 9 Star Ki or Flying Star Feng Shui, yet fully employed there for purpose of divination.