Posts Tagged ‘Year of the Dog’

Quick Sand

July 25, 2018

Feng shui update: we mere mortals are currently experiencing the vagaries of fortune that characterize the Sheep Month during the Year of the Dog (YoDog).  Traditionally, the Dog and Sheep are bitter foes –not merely because the former preys upon the latter unless domesticated as a guardian, but also because the two creatures are located 90 degrees apart on the circumference of the Chinese zodiac.  This orthogonal angle may be useful for earth-bound architects and builders obsessed with stasis, but it’s in fundamental conflict with the necessarily constant dynamics at work and play in the cosmos above.  Thus, animals separated by an arc of 90° in the celestial firmament are fated to have a relationship fraught with clash and confrontation.

In this particular year, the Sheep-Dog conflict is intensified and made manifest by the specific configuration of Celestial Stem and Earthly Branch during the Sheep Month (July).  Recall that YoDog is a double Yang Earth year: strong Earth energy is heaped up upon itself into a mighty mountain.  All well and good for the Dog, except that the Sheep is a yin (weak) earth animal –and the Celestial Stem for the Sheep Month this year is   [ , meaning ‘unravel threads’ ] a yin earth phase in the celestial cycle.  So in July 2018, virtually at the peak of the solar year, we have a double yin earth month appearing on the scene in cosmic contradiction and refutation of the Dog’s mighty Yang Earth mountain. This is the beginning of the Dog’s inexorable decline, but the interactions of strong and weak earth energies bring misfortune to the Sheep as well.

F’r Instance

Laos

A hydroelectric dam under construction at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy power project has collapsed, killing at least 19 people as it swept away dozens of homes in flash flooding.  More than 3,000 people need to be rescued in a remote part of southern Laos, where at least seven villages were submerged in muddy water on Monday.

Iceland

An enormous landslide on Fagraskógarfjall mountain in Hítardalur in West Iceland [has blocked] a well-known salmon fishing river with mud and rock and almost completely changed the face of the landscape.  The landslide is thought to be the largest that has ever occurred in Iceland.  Local farmer Erla Dögg Ármannsdóttir said that the landslide has formed a dam across the Hítará river.  “The dam is a few dozen meters high —I’m not exactly sure— and several hundred meters long and it’s completely blocking the Hítará, which is a serious problem.”  The blockage has caused a lake to begin forming above the debris.  “The water level is rising with every hour.”

Myanmar

At least 27 people are feared dead following a landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar, police said Wednesday, as heavy rains hampered the search for survivors. Dozens of people have been killed by landslides this year in the Hpakant region of Kachin state, with 15 deaths and 45 others injured by a mine cave-in just a week earlier.

Japan

Dozens of people have been killed and two million forced to flee their homes after record rains pounded southwest Japan, triggering widespread flooding and deadly landslides.  At least 75 people are dead and 40 have been reported missing or are unaccounted for, according to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Ethiopia

The project manager of Ethiopia’s 6,000 megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was found dead in his Toyota Landcruiser in the capital Addis Ababa on Thursday. Simegnew Bekele was the public face of the dam being built near the country’s western border with Sudan which, when completed, will be Africa’s largest. Two of its 16 turbines are scheduled to start producing electricity in 2018.

Simegnew’s death is the second of a high-profile company official in recent months: in May, gunmen ambushed and killed Deep Kamra, the country manager for Nigeria’s Dangote Cement, alongside two others in the Oromia region outside Addis Ababa.

 

What’s next?  Well, during the August Monkey Month, we’ll have double Yang Metal to deal with.  Be seeing you.

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Dog v. Dragon

March 28, 2018

Now is not the time for a nostalgic look back at how much better things used to be: it’s the Year of the Dog (YoDg for short), and the Dragon Month is just a few weeks away.  Why does that matter?  Mere mortals may soon learn.  As any friendly neighborhood feng shui soothsayer can tell you, the Dragon and Dog are fierce enemies.  They directly confront each other across the boundless sky from their respective positions in the celestial zodiac, and since each is a Yang Earth animal, they’re scrapping for possession of the same contested turf (so to speak).  When the Dog is the ruler of the year and the Dragon Month rolls around, their conflict is inevitable and immediate.  We humans must strive to minimize the collateral damage by exerting our feeble powers to protect what little we can.

Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes: here are a few salient features of this year’s Dragon Month which may provide some guidelines for what to expect.  The first thing to know is that Lunghu calibrates the beginning of lunar months with the new moon phase, which means that the Dragon Month will “officially” start on April 15th.  In the United States that’s also the day your federal income taxes are due, but that’s undoubtedly(?) just a coincidence this year.  Secondly, in 2018’s YoDg the Dragon Month is governed by the Yang Fire celestial stem, which means that the Yang Earth Dragon will writhe beneath (strong) Yang Fire.  Furthermore, the Dragon is associated with the East-Southeast direction, while the Dog is located in the West-Northwest.  So there you have it: a convergence of time, vector and what we might call “cosmic meterological conditions.”  In the Lorenzian brane-space of our puny little bubble adrift in the infinite multiverse, these things may actually “matter.”

So … what kinds of material manifestations should we anticipate for this coming April, “the cruelest month“?

East-Southeast is all relative, depending on who and where you are –>

  • Bermuda seen from New York?
  • Kazakhstan from Moscow?
  • Jeju-do relative to Beijing?
  • As Bern and Basel are to Paris, or Budapest to Bonn?

Bearing all that in mind, it’s worth noting that very soon we’ll be getting a preview of fire-over-earth, when a certain “Celestial Palace” tumbles from high in the sky to the ground far, far below:

“China’s experimental space station Tiangong-1 is now orbiting at an [extremely low] altitude of approximately 126 miles, and is expected to deorbit between March 31 and April 2 2018. The station will re-enter the earth’s atmosphere between 42.7°N and 42.7°S latitude, at an unknown longitude.”

Eighty-five degrees of latitude is a rather large swath of Mother Earth, so this broadly indeterminate splashdown zone will inevitably be ESE of somebody.  It also just so happens to include the Southern Ocean area where MH370 is almost certainly submerged.  Is this some kind of a cosmic April Fool’s joke?  Or is Tai Sui calibrating his version of the lunar calendar according to the full moon rather than the new moon?  Just another mystery of the Dao.

However, once Tiangong-1 has landed, we’ll still have the entire Dragon Month stretched out before us, giving us (at least) a further four weeks of fire-over-earth.  April 1st or April 15th: does it really matter when the Dragon Month begins?  If we’re lucky, the Yang Fire/Yang Earth combination will manifest in relatively harmless forms such as intensified displays of the aurora borealis or a few dramatic volcanic eruptions in sparsely populated regions of the globe.  Dragons in clash with the Dog Year may not escape so lightly.

अवतु वक्तारम्।
तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु मा
ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

 

“The [text] shifts between voices of satire and prophecy featuring abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location, and time … while conjuring a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures.”

 

May-lay-day

January 25, 2018

One of the world’s medium-term mysteries is about to be solved.  As you may recall, Malaysian Airways flight MH370 disappeared from the skies –and the face of the earth– in March 2014.  A two-year search of the Southern Ocean floor (in all the wrong places) found no traces of the missing Boeing 777 aircraft or the 239 people on board.  Malaysia and Australia called off the hunt, citing the multi-million (US) dollar cost and relying on questionable scientific predictions of the aircraft’s “likely” position on the seabed.  China wasn’t happy, since most of the passengers were Chinese.  Behind the scenes, the Chinese government has been “encouraging” Malaysia to undertake (yeah, a grim pun) a new recovery mission in waters to the north of the original 46,000-square-mile search zone.

In October 2017, a face-saving solution was found: a private seabed survey company will carry out the renewed search at its own expense, in return for a contingency fee of USD$70 million if they find the aircraft.

Ocean Infinity, a Houston-based company that specializes in geophysical seabed data mapping, [will be using Canadian] high resolution synthetic aperture sonar onboard eight robot submarines that operate down to depths of 6,000 meters. [The submarines will be launched from] Ocean Infinity’s search vessel, Seabed Constructor, which is equipped with a 250-ton crane and 1,300 square meters of free deck space. The ship is in the second year of a six-year lease from Swire Pacific Offshore.

Based on my personal idiosyncratic reading of the feng-shui auguries for Year of the Dog, I’m gonna predict that Ocean Infinity will annnounce discovery of MH370 wreckage during the Dragon Month (mid-April to mid-May).  How so?  Let me count the whys:

  1. The year’s Stem and Branch —Wù 戊 over Xū 戌— are two spears thrusting into the earth.  Those who can envision the purely aural will recognize the unseen image of synthetic aperture sonar pulses jabbing into the ocean floor.
  2. The #6 Heaven Star is in the Southwest, bringing good luck and expert assistance when it’s most needed. The new search zone is to the southwest of China, Malaysia and Australia.
  3. The Dragon Month this year is characterized by Yang Fire over Yang Earth. It’s the first time that a Yang Earth month occurs in the Yang Earth year, so although the Dragon is a foe of the Dog, the month is supporting the year because Fire creates Earth. The image of Fire over Earth also evokes the final hours of MH370’s long flight toward flameout and oblivion.
  4. Ocean Infinity’s contract with Malaysia allows for a ninety-day window of operations (basically, the remaining Southern Hemisphere summer season). Those ninety days will have elapsed just about when the Dragon Month begins.

 

One More Thing …

While I’m on the topic of maritime mysteries, let’s all share a ration of grog while we ponder the ongoing saga of the M/V LTW Express, formerly known as M/V Arctic Sea. Why is this vessel …

  • registered under a Tanzanian flag of convenience?
  • formerly moored in the Black Sea port of Constanta? (one-time berth of the Battleship Potemkin)
  • currently anchored in the Danube River on the Romania/Ukraine border?
  • ostensibly en route from Galati (Romania) to Diliskelesi (near Istanbul Turkey)?

 

Kodiak Moment

January 23, 2018

Technically, I told you so, but since we’re still in the Ox Month (yin Water over yin Earth), Tai Sui is merely announcing his imminent arrival in the Northwest octant of the heavens.  Nothing too serious … yet.

The January 23, 2018 Magnitude 7.9 earthquake southeast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska occurred as the result of strike slip faulting within the shallow lithosphere of the Pacific plate.  Focal mechanism solutions indicate faulting occurred on a steeply dipping fault striking either west-southwest (left lateral) or north-northwest (right lateral).

Large earthquakes are common in the Pacific-North America plate boundary region south of Alaska.  Over the preceding century, eleven other M7+ earthquakes have occurred within 600 km of the January 23, 2018 earthquake.

At magnitude 7.9, this counts as a “large” earthquake rather than a “great” earthquake (M 8.0 or larger). So we got that going for us.

Y2K9x2

January 11, 2018

As we approach the end of the Rat Month in the Yin Fire Year of the Fowl, it may be useful to examine what lies ahead in the Year of the Double Yang Earth Dog.  This will be a Double Yang Earth year because both the Celestial Stem [ 戊 ] and the Earthly Branch [ 戌 ] are Yang Earth element signs.  Thus we have strong earth supporting strong earth, firmly centered and (seemingly) providing a stable foundation for all-under-heaven. But in the feng shui universe there’s always a catch, a wrinkle in the play of cosmic forces that can potentially undermine our superficial expectations.  In this case, the fact that both the Stem and Branch are strong/yang elements may cause problems: a balance of yin and yang is almost always preferable. Thus the very strength of Earth element in heaven above and the terrestrial terrain below has a potential to trigger conflict, competition and struggle.

Furthermore, we definitely should take note of the fact that the Chinese characters for and both contain the character (meaning “spear”) as the radical.  This evokes the image of two spears thrusting into the soil … or perhaps arising from the earth itself.  If we’re inveterate optimists who always accentuate the positive aspects of things, this might suggest the idea of “swords bent into plowshares” –a picture of peaceful, productive agriculture resulting from repurposed implements of war.  Bamboo shoots emerging from the forest floor, or asparagus spears thrusting forth into the springtime sunshine.  On the other hand, perennial pessimists might instead envision a gloom-and-doom scenario of ballistic missiles falling from the sky … and launched from underground silos.

The choice of yin or yang outlook is yours: you have the option to live your life governed by fear or by hope.  Dig a fallout shelter deep underground, or plant next year’s harvest in fecund soil.  No matter which you choose, you will be creating the world that you expect to live –and inevitably die– in.  The rest of us will be living in the alternate worlds that we have chosen.

But suppose Ceres and Ares aren’t your sole modern-day poles of imaginative reference.  Perhaps Edwin Drake, Thomas Edison and Claude Shannon are the latter-day saints who inhabit your technocratic pantheon of 20th century luminaries.  In that case, the image of spears-thrusting-into-earth might suggest industrial practices such as petroleum drilling, mineral extraction, or highway/railway and tunnel construction.  Maybe even data mining.  Once again, both optimists and pessimists can foresee either positive or negative possibilities implied by the interaction of tools and terrain.  Fabulous motherlode discoveries of valuable natural resources and archaeological treasures … or catastrophically disastrous failures of technological hubris?  Maybe both.

Enough of this idle chatter: let’s move onward to a discussion of the coming year’s Earthly Branch, the Yang Earth Dog, and his implications for the fate of men and nations in 2018.  First, it should be noted that the Dog is associated with both terrestrial heights and depths (mountains, valleys, ditches and caves) because of his Yang Earth element.  You may have noticed that dogs are avid diggers, burrowing into the earth in search of buried bones, rabbits, or a cool place to rest on a sweltering hot day.  Taoist seers noticed this long ago: hence the Earth element link.

This association with the soil –and the fact that canids are carrion-eaters– has meant that the Dog is also considered related to death, the occult, and the spirit world.  In an interesting parallel to ancient Greek and Egyptian beliefs about the role of Cerberus/Anubis as guardian of the afterlife, the ancient Chinese appointed the Dog as keeper of the “Gateway to Hell,” where spirits of the dead are destined to travel.  Because the Earth element follows the Fire element in the feng shui creative cycle (and thus replaces it), the Earth Dog is said to “bury Fire.”  Therefore, although Fire creates Earth (e.g., volcanoes), in doing so its power is extinguished, and Earth benefits as a result.  In this way the strong Earth Dog of 2018 will succeed 2017’s weak fire Fowl.

As always, the animal ruling the year has his duly-appointed friends and foes.  Their respective roles are determined by each animal’s relative position on the circumference of the Chinese zodiac.  Animals 90° and 180° away from the year’s ruler are usually his adversaries, while those at 120° are allies.  This year, the Tiger, Horse and Rabbit are in a favorable position as friends of the Dog.  The Dragon, Sheep and Fowl are his enemies: the Dragon is most disfavored, since he’s 180° away from the Dog on the other side of the zodiac.

These cosmic friendships and animosities have implications for mere mortals here on earth, since we all, both individually and collectively, are affiliated with one or more of the zodiac animals.  How so?  At the moment we enter this world, the year, month, day and hour of our birth link us to the combination of zodiac animals who govern that specific segment of time.  The animal of the year is usually held to be most significant overall, but the month, day and hour animals are also said to affect certain aspects of our fate.  As a rough-and-ready guide, persons born in either the Year of the Dog or Year of the Dragon are expected to be in for a tough time in 2018.  This is because the Dragon is “in clash with the Dog,” and the Dog is “offending the Year.”  Hey, I didn’t invent this stuff: that’s just the way it is … and has been for a few millenia.

In this context, it has not escaped my attention that the Year of the Dog may perhaps portend “challenges” for a blog that bears the Dragon’s name.  A three-fold remedy may be effective in warding off such trouble: first, treat all dogs with warmth and kindness.  Second, deploy the tiger facet of the dragontiger dyad to assuage the Dog’s ire with tigerly friendship.  Third, place the traditional feng shui charm –a skein of six gold coins– in the Southeast (Dragon) sector (in order to attract favorable chi).  Whether or not these preventative measures turn out to be successful in achieving their intended purpose, it’s important to bear in mind that the problems of a single individual are relatively insignificant in the larger scheme of things.

Therefore, rather than now recite an exhaustive catalog of well-known personages in peril because they were born in a Dog Year (Donald Trump) or Dragon Year (Valdimir Putin), instead I’ll focus my macroscale attention on entire nations at risk in 2018 because of their affiliation with either the Dog or the Dragon.  These are countries whose national animal is a dog (or related canid creature) or a dragon –and maybe a few that somehow indirectly fit the bill for cultural or historical reasons. Special caution may be advisable in the Dragon (April), Sheep (July) and Fowl (September) months.

Dog Daze Ahead:

England — John Bulldog

  • Brexit meltdown = Putin’s payoff for his investment in Nigel Farage
  • RIP QE2
  • Premier League scandal: will it be doping, bribes or boys? Perhaps a trifecta.
  • coal mine disaster in the year of Double Yang Earth?

 

Egypt — home of the world’s first dog-headed god

  • presidential election scheduled for Dragon Month
  • IS spillover from Libya?
  • border conflict with Sudan?

 

Malta — Pharaoh Hound

  • You can’t straighten out the crooked tail of a dog.

 

Algeria — Fennec Fox

 

Finland — Brown Bear

 

Russia — Brown Bear

  • howls of protest at Russia’s program to slaughter stray dogs in World Cup host cities
  • Comrade Bear is actually a Dragon –will the fourth time be a lucky charm?
  • ve vill bury you“:  alcohol and tobacco inexorably take their toll on Russian men –the demographic trends foretell an improbable feminist success story

 

Serbia — Wolf

  • when you look back to Tito’s Yugoslavia as your country’s Golden Age, neither the present nor the future look very good.
  • principal allies are Greece, Bulgaria and Russia.  And they’re embarrassed about it.

 

Turkey — Grey Wolf

  • surrounded by faithless “friends” and historic foes: a lone wolf is always dangerous

 

United States — “Comrade Wolf”

  • Tai Sui is in the Northwest this year. Things may get shaky in Alaska.
  • the Iditarod sled race will be “offending the Year” in 2018.
  • perhaps it’s fortunate that the University of Georgia Bulldogs were defeated by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national collegiate football championship game. But maybe they were actually beaten by the referees.

 

Dragon Their Heels:

Bhutan — everybody Wangchuk tonight

  • mountains, earthquakes, landslides: it’s all downhill from here in a Double Yang Earth Year
  • Big 5 Yellow Misfortune Star in the North (China), #2 Sickness Star to the West (India)

 

China — Giant Panda … and dragons, too

  • will credit crisis bubble up in mid-April Dragon Month?
  • Tai Sui prompts Mongolian disturbances in the Northwest?  Beyond Mongolia, there’s always Russia.
  • #3 Conflict Star in the Northeast: squabbles with Korea and Japan

 

Indonesia — land of the Naga and Komodo dragon

  • Double Yang Earth: earthquakes are always a possibility
  • open-pit mining may disturb earth spirits in Irian Jaya

 

Next time, corporate entities and others facing difficulty because of their Dog affiliations.  And some feng shui “flying star” portents.

Poultry Sum-mation

January 8, 2018

The Year of the Yin Fire Fowl is in its waning weeks, and the Double Yang Earth Dog is already scratching and snuffling at the henhouse door.  I’m currently preparing my eagerly-awaited 2018 feng shui predictions for the Year of the Dog, but before posting them here, I decided to provide a brief “course review” for those of you who may not have been paying close attention to world events during the past year.

According to the ancient Taoist seers, a year influenced by the Yin Fire element in the Celestial Stem has the potential to show destructive characteristics when it is matched with a Metal element in the annual Earthly Branch (because fire melts metal).  Since the weak (yin) metal cannot control fire, the possibility of fire-related misfortune increases. Such was the case in 2017, when the Yin Metal Fowl aligned with the Yin Fire stem.  So here’s a partial list of noteworthy hyperthermal events from the Year of the Fowl, courtesy of folks with the street cred in such matters:

February:

A massive fire in a Manila (Philippines) shantytown left 15,000 people homeless, but no one died.

April:

Twenty-five people were killed by fire during a religious festival in Madina Gounass, Tambacounda, Senegal

May:

A firework depot explosion in San Isidro, Mexico killed 14.

June:

  • Fire ripped through London’s 24-story Grenfell Tower apartment building, killing 80 residents.
  • Thirteen workers died in a coal mine explosion in Cucunuba, Colombia.

July:

Large wildfires in France, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and British Columbia (Canada).

Madeira

August/September:

A series of wildfires burned over 1 million acres of forest and farmland in Montana (USA). Oregon, Idaho and Washington State also experienced serious forest fire incidents.

October:

  • Wind-driven wildfires swept through more than 110,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties (California USA), killing 22 people and destroying more than 5,600 buildings.
  • At least 47 people were killed and dozens more were injured in a fireworks factory explosion near Jakarta, Indonesia.

November:

  • Uncharhar power plant explosion in Uttar Pradesh (India) killed 26 and injured more than 100.
  • Nineteen Chinese migrant workers were killed in a flophouse fire in the Beijing exurb of Daxing.
  • A series of intense eruptions from Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia, forced thousands to evacuate and closed airports.

December:

  • In Jecheon, Korea, a burning car in a ground-level parking garage set fire to the mixed-use commercial building above, killing 23 occupants trapped on the upper floors.
  • Several huge wildfires burned out of control for almost a week in Southern California (USA). In Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the Thomas Fire burned nearly 282,000 acres and was the largest fire in California’s history.
  • Thirty-seven office workers died of smoke inhalation when a fire broke out at a shopping mall in Davao City, Philippines.

January:

Thirty-two crewmen were missing and presumed dead when an Iranian oil tanker burst into flames after colliding with a Hong Kong freighter in waters east of Shanghai, China.

Remember: correlation ≠ causation.  Coming soon, Lunghu’s unique perspective on the Year of the Dog.

Moon-walkin’

January 1, 2018

While some folks talk their talk, others walk the walk.

President Moon Jae-in on Monday welcomed the new year with a three-hour mountain hike up Bukhan-san, [located north of Seoul], and watched the New Year’s Day sunrise.  Moon made the climb with a group of six young Koreans honored as “righteous persons” for the year 2017 because of their good deeds. Among them was Park Jeong-hyon, who was recognized for saving a woman from sexual assault despite being stabbed in the abdomen by the assailant.

Afterward, the hikers had breakfast with Moon’s chief secretaries at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

As I have pointed out on several prior occasions, political events and photo ops in Korea always have a subtext that is silently staged in the background, either with an artificial scenic backdrop or –as in this case– with a powerful natural landscape. Let’s review the messages and the medium.

First, Moon is acknowledging his political base –Korean youth– by publicly recognizing and rewarding their “righteous” civic behavior.  Moon is implicitly paying tribute to those tens (hundreds?) of thousands whose Yin Fire candlelight lit the way for his landslide election.  The fact that all six of his fellow hikers were male is either an effort to avoid sexist innuendo or a practical concession to the masculine feng shui energies of the current double-Yang-Water Rat month.

Second, President Moon is showcasing his personal physical vigor and active spirit. What other national leaders in the northeast Asian region are getting out of bed at 4AM in mid-winter for a three-hour mountain hike?  Kim Jong-eun? Not hardly.  Shinzo Abe? No chance.  Xi Jin-ping? Probably not.  Donald Trump? Not even for an early tee time.  Vladimir Putin? Sure, he could do it, but only for a covert operation.  Moon’s morning hike is a declaration that he’s healthy, he’s strong, and he’s going to work long hours to accomplish righteous deeds.

Third, the Bukhan-san Moonwalk evokes the awe-inspiring terrain and sweeping vistas that Koreans can expect to experience at the PyeongChang Olympics, just two months away.  Spectator attendance is likely to be a problem: bone-chilling cold and high travel costs will deter many Europeans and North Americans, as will lingering anxieties about potential flareup of geopolitical tensions in the region.  But all those doubts and inconveniences can be set aside when you’re gazing across a beautiful landscape from atop a majestic mountain peak.  At least that’s the hope of the PyeongChang Olympic organizing committee.

need lots more snow…

 

OK, that’s the more-or-less obvious political meaning to be inferred from President Moon’s New Year’s Day excursion. But what about the sub-subtext, the historical/cultural allusions that a cultivated Korean sensibility might be able to discern in this public performance? Here are some aspects to consider:

  • Location: Bukhan-san is a national park of 80 square km situated on the northern fringes of Seoul. Its name means “big north mountain.” It is also called Samgak-san, which means “three-peak mountain.”  In starting off his New Year by getting up early to climb the big mountain in the north, President Moon is yet once again asserting his intention to seek amity with the DPRK despite the fact that it’s uphill all the way.  Perhaps we can think of the three Kims as the three peaks of Samgak-san.
  • Amity is one thing, preparedness is another.  The mountain is also the site of Bukhansanseong fortress, built with a wall about 8.5 km long specifically to stop foreign invasion.  It is one of the representative mountain fortresses of the Joseon Era.  Who was invading Joseon back in the day?  Jurchen tribesmen from the north … or the Chinese.
  • Contemplate this: Sangunsa Temple (built by the monk Won-Hyo), Seungasa Temple on east Bibong Peak, Munsusa Temple halfway up Musubong Peak, and numerous other temples are scattered throughout the mountain area.

One day, King Taejo visited the great monk Muhakdaesa. The King wanted to amuse himself, so he proposed that they freely exchange jokes without concern for social status. “You look like a pig!” said Taejo to the monk.
Muhakdaesa replied, “And you, sir, look like Buddha to me.”
King Taejo was confused, “We agreed to forget our politeness and make fun of each other.  If you say I look like Buddha, how could that be funny?” asked the King.
Muhakdaesa replied, “Pigs can only see other pigs and Buddha can only see Buddha.”
Hearing this, Taejo realized his character was still immature and come to admire Muhakdaesa even more.

  • Taoism precedes Buddhism: The Year of Yin Fire Fowl is almost over, its flickering flame being inexorably quenched by the double-Yang-Water Rat (Dec/Jan) and yin-water/yin-earth Ox (Jan/Feb) months.  In forty-five days or so, the approaching double-Yang-Earth Dog Year will be here.  Double-Yang-Earth (strong earth supporting strong earth) is not merely soil heaped upon soil like a cropland furrow: it is solid rock piled high –a mighty mountain.  Moon Jae-in is already climbing that big north mountain, in company with six righteous citizens.  Does he know that the #5 Yellow Misfortune Star will reside in the North during the Year of the Dog?  I think he does, hence the six righteous citizens in his entourage.  There’s nothing like righteousness to ward off misfortune.

Later in the day, Moon made phone calls to public officials, including quarantine officials combating the outbreak of bird flu, PyeongChang Olympic organizers … and American soldiers stationed in South Korea and thanked them for their dedication to service.

On Tuesday, he is scheduled to invite people from every social sector, including business leaders, to his office to exchange New Year’s greetings.

Compare and contrast.