Research Project


The Sinification of Western Astrology from the Aspect of the Taoist Canon

Wen Zhao

My research in IKGF Erlangen has investigated the Ling-tai jing preserved in the Taoist Canon (DZ 288), which contains rich information of the Dorothean Astrology. However, the composition of this scripture has a comprehensive background. The author of Ling-tai jing probably worked as an official astrologer in late Tang or northern Song periods. He was familiar with the so called "Yu-si-cluster of texts" (Mak 2015), which are associated with the Chinese translation of the Carmen Astrologicum, Du-li-yu-si jing, but he did not fully agree with the methods described in those texts.
The author had a wonderful knowledge of the Dorothean Astrology, and developed some new methods which can be only understood in the context of the Hellenistic and Perso-Arabic Astrology. Based on the limited sources, we know that his methods are centered on the calculation of the power of planets, particularly of some key planets in the natal chart, such as the ruler of House of Life (Ascendant), the ruler of Moon Sign, and the rulers of triplicity. The calculation of the power of the key planets and the others is relying on the dignities, including Domicile, Exaltation and Triplicity. In addition, the rulers of triplicity are also applied for indicating one's fortune in certain period of the lifespan, mainly based on their position in the natal chart. Furthermore, with regard to the fortune of each year, one shall look at the house of the annual profection, and the ruler of that house.
Notably, the author of Ling-tai jing introduces the Hellenistic and Perso-Arabic Astrology mainly based on the Chinese horoscope, including the twelve earthly branches and the twenty-eight lunar stations. Even when it talks about the degree of the Exaltation, only the corresponding lunar stations are mentioned. Thus, the author might be an Astrologer who received the education on Perso-Arabic Astrology and worked collaboratively with the Chinese Astronomers to introduce his understanding of the Dorothean Astrology to the Chinese audience - just like the case of the translation of Du-li yu-si jing, which is a collaboration between the foreign Astrologer and the Chinese Astronomer.

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