RE: [sl] Lo Shu magic square and the Big Dipper
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.
From: Daniel N. Washburn [mailto:danw@...]
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 2:26 PM
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
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
dExtrême-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 dExtrême-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
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.
An ancient term for these dances is Yubu, steps of
Yu.  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.
The two basic forms of bugang are the walk along the
seven stars of the Big Dipperbeginning usually from
the star closest to the celestial north pole, in
accord with the ancient, universally accepted
numbering of the starsand 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).
 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
 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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