Reading Journey to the West: Passage of Daily Time

I decided to leisurely grapple with this repository of wonders in the original language at my own pace.

The Journey to the West begins with a strict definition of time & the years. It tells us about the 12 Zodiac demarcations and what occurs in each section of the day corresponding to that Zodiac representation (take note that the Earthly Branches does not equal to the actual Zodiac animals, rather the Zodiac animals corresponds to the Earthly Branches. But for the sake of poetic finesse, I feel that translating the hours by animal is more interesting)

Some people, like Evola, have expressed how following Celestial Time is extremely important because it connects our temporal and fluid time to the eternal time of the gods. Without attaching ourselves to a greater cosmic structure, the very essence of our experience degrades into chaos. An initiate believes that history is a book that has already passed, and any deviation from the sacred re-enactment must clearly be blasphemous. It is this stability that drives men away from the clamor of their own lives and towards the performance of strange arrangements.

An interesting thing to note is that the day doesn’t start at sunrise, but at the moment when one “得阳气”, or receive the qi of the Yang. The English translation translates it as: “the positive begins at time I”

子时得阳气
而丑则鸡鸣
寅不通光
而卯则日出
辰时食后
而巳则挨排
日午天中
而未则西蹉
申时晡而日落酉
戌黄昏而人定亥

Translation

Energy grows in the hour of the Rat,

While the crow sings at the Ox

The Tiger’s sun is not quite light

And only appears at Rabbit’s Door

One eats with the Dragons

And processes his plans at the Snake

The sun peaks at the Horse

And gallops to the West of the Goat

Then continues the Monkey’s afternoon

And the setting sign of the Cock

The Dog howls in evening,

And people rest like Pigs.