There’s been a slew of popular misconceptions about the ancient science of Chinese Metaphysics. The most common? That it is a form of religion, worship or worse, superstition. That, could not be further from the truth. Let’s put this out there once and for all – there are no religious basis nor connotations in the practice of Chinese Metaphysics.
If it is not religion, then what is it?
Part-science and part-art, Chinese Metaphysics is nothing more than a study of energy.
To fully explain the basis of Chinese Metaphysics, we will need to take a trip back in time, thousands of years back to an era where scholars desperately needed a system to reliably forecast the weather. In an agricultural society, the farmers had to know when to sow, plant and reap.
Put yourself in the hand-woven straw shoes of a Chinese scholar from times gone by. It was an age with no satellite TV, no internet, no YouTube, and no Facebook. A popular pastime among the learned was to while away the long dark nights while declaiming poetry. Eventually, someone noticed that certain stars created a predictable pattern at different times of the year and could be used to track the changing seasons.
Almost everyone would have some passing knowledge about the five elements in Chinese Metaphysics – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. What few know is that Wood refers to Venus, Fire is Jupiter, Earth is the ancients’ name for Mars, and Water is Saturn. Therefore, Chinese Metaphysics is a study of the planets, the energy they represent, and how those patterns affect the individual human being.
Then why the ‘Gods’ and ‘Deities’?
Poetic license, pure and simple. Poetic writing was a prized skill among Chinese scholars. Even the most routine reports were often written in poetry form. So the terms ‘Gods’ or ‘Deities’ were employed for their poetic possibilities instead of the more commonplace term, which would be ‘Stars’.
How then was the superstition label tagged onto Chinese Metaphysics?
Hardly surprising. As the knowledge evolved over a span of thousands of years, facts that had been over-generalized for the consumption of a then largely under-educated population, had morphed into superstitions.
The age of over-commercialization of this knowledge, especially over the past 50 years or so, added to the conundrum.