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RE: [sl] Lo Shu magic square and the Big Dipper

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  • Mark Swaney
    Dan, Yes it does look juicy. Sorry about the silence from my end, the usual excuses apply - still working to finish my new house PLUS my usual political
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 9, 2004

      Yes it does look juicy. Sorry about the silence from my end, the usual
      excuses apply - still working to finish my new house PLUS my usual political
      obsessions - I did get my guy on the ballot in Arkansas - however, the good
      news is that I am almost finished with the house, the political work will be
      declining as the election approaches, and my girlfriend has graduated and
      departed to more lucrative pastimes, all of which will leave me with more
      time in the near future. AND - I am still committed to magic square
      research and publication (in whatever form) of my History of Magic Squares.

      Not to mention my continuing research on Revelations and the riddle of 666.
      Which should be quite a potboiler - though that is not my intention . . .

      Thanks for the heads up. I am collecting all this stuff for future use.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Daniel N. Washburn [mailto:danw@...]
      Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 2:26 PM
      To: sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [sl] Lo Shu magic square and the Big Dipper

      Here is an e-mail re the Lo-Shu magic square of 3 and
      the Later Heaven Sequence of the I Ching that I received
      recently from Sean Bokenkamp. (Mark, this looks like some
      interesting material.)

      I skimmed through your webpage about magic squares and
      read the following:

      "Blofeld (I Ching, 218) says that mankind once
      understood how the Lo-Shu Square is connected with the
      (apparently illogical) Later Heaven Sequence of the I
      Ching, but that it has been forgotten and now only the
      gods know it. I certainly have not been able to find
      it. (The connection established by Hacker (41) seems
      to me to be contrived, although it is remarkable
      enough that any connection can be established at

      First, let me say that I am no expert on anything. But
      you might find the following article interesting. It
      might be hard to find the academic journal Cahiers
      d’Extrême-Asie at your local library, unless you have
      a university library nearby. That is how I unearthed

      "The Practice of Bugang" by Poul Andersen.
      Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 5 (1989-1990): 15-53

      The connection between the Lo Shu found by Yu and the
      actual heavens is drawn quite explicitly. Here are
      three excerpts:

      Pg. 15-16
      The topic of this article is the Taoist practice of
      bugang, “walking the guideline,” that is, the ritual
      walk or dance following the basic, cosmic patterns.
      This practic has occurred as an element of Taoist
      ritual since the early Six Dynasties, but its history
      quite clearly goes even further back.

      Pg. 16
      An ancient term for these dances is Yubu, “steps of
      Yu.” [2] It has remained the generic term for the
      style of walking used by the Taoist priest when he
      performs bugang, and the legends of Yu have continued
      to play an important part as basic formulations of the
      myths underlying the performance.

      Pg. 17-18
      The two basic forms of bugang are the walk along the
      seven stars of the Big Dipper—beginning usually from
      the star closest to the celestial north pole, in
      accord with the ancient, universally accepted
      numbering of the stars—and the walk through the eight
      trigrams arranged in the pattern of the Luoshu
      [characters] (commonly following the sequence of the
      numbers arranged to form the so-called magic square).
      [6] Concrete ritual walks along any of these patterns,
      as opposed to general notions of ritual movements
      following the same patterns, are not to my knowledge
      documented in texts that are earlier than the Six

      [6] On the numbering of the stars of the Big Dipper,
      see for instance Yundou shu (Taiping yulan 5.4a). On
      the Luoshu and the magic square, see below.


      A quick look into the comprehensive works of Joseph
      Needham on the Science and Civilization of China will
      bring up the connections between the Big Dipper and
      the northern-pointing spoon (or compass) of the
      With the 3x3 magic square and its connection to the
      hexagrams, the compass, and to the very heavens
      themselves, it would be understandable why the Chinese
      weren't interested in discovering other magic squares.
      They already had one that fit in with a whole world


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