Yueh1 shui 3 huo 3
Speak water fire
We speak of water, fire,
Yueh see line 57.
Shui originally meant level. It is a picture of flowing water; it
influences the north, and is the name assigned to the planet
Mercury. It usually appears in composition as 氵 on the left.
Huo is a picture of flames; it influences the south, and is the name
assigned to Mars. When at the bottom of a character, in
combination, it is expressed by four dots (lines 13, 77).
Mu4 chin1 t'u2
Wood metal earth
wood, metal, aud earth.
Mu was originally written with the horizontal line bent upwards at each end; it was thus a picture of branches in the air and roots in the ground. It influences the east, and is the name assigned to the planet Jupiter.
Chin is composed of 土 t'u earth, with two lumps inserted to represent ore, and 今 chin now, present, which gives the sound. It is specially the yellow metal, which knows no defilement and may be melted again and again without losing weight, q.d. gold. It is also commonly used to mean silver, as in money calculations in which gold does not appear. It influences the west, and is the name assigned to the planet Venus.
T'u is supposed to be a picture of plants springing from the soil. It is the name assigned to the planet Saturn.
Tz'u wu 3 hsing 2
These five elements
This five operate
Tz'u see line 59.
Wu see line 15.
Hsing is supposed to represent two steps, the three strokes on the left being a step with the left foot, known as the double-man radical (line 273), and those on the right a step with the right foot. It means to walk, to act, to operate. Read hsing* it means conduct; and read hang 2 , a row, a series, from which is taken the word hong, a place of business.
The San Tzu Ching 33
Pen 3 hu 2 shu4
Root in number
have their origin in number.
Pen see line 2.
Hu see line 64.
Shu see line 43.
[For the above two lines Pere Zottoli has, "Ista quinque elementa fundamentum sunt pro numeratione rerum," with the following gloss, "Siquidem omnia ex his conflantur, et sic constituitur numerabilis individuorum series." In other words he makes number spring from the elements instead of the elements from number. But what becomes of 乎 , which has clearly a prepositional value, as in line 64? Eitel has, "These are the five mutable-elements, radically related with regard to the numerical proportions (of the cosmos)," which would seem to be less available, for tutorial purposes, than the original text. The meaning however is that in the beginning there was One (lines 45, 50). This divided itself into Two, and these forces, known as male and female, positive and negative, heaven and earth, light and darkness, produced the five elements which inform all creation. Heaven is said to have begun by producing water, Earth followed with fire, Heaven with wood, Earth with metal, and lastly Heaven produced earth (soil). Then water began to produce wood, wood to produce fire, fire to produce earth (ashes), earth (soil) to produce metal, metal to produce water, and so on. All this time water was destroying fire, fire was destroying metal, metal was destroying wood, wood was destroying earth, and earth was destroying water, in an endless chain.]
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