Have you pacified Tai Sui yet? Experts on Taoist customs and beliefs recommend that, with the Lunar Year of the Water Snake almost upon us, those born in the Year of the Snake, Pig,Tiger and Monkey should go and pacify Tai Sui. Because the Water Snake Year is a “clean year,” people should hurry and clean house so as to attract good luck this year.
Master Huitzu of Fazhi Shengtian Temple in New Taipei City’s Bali District says this year is the Year of the Water Snake and its ruling god is General Hsu Dan, also known as Hsu Wei, who is particularly fond of cleanliness. Master Huitzu therefore recommends that everyone give their houses a good cleaning before the beginning of the New Year and throw out, give away or organize everything that they should while also washing all their dirty clothing. She also recommends that everyone place fragrant flowers in their bathroom throughout the Lunar New Year holiday, or burn natural essential oils inside their houses to bring good luck for the year of the Water Snake.
Those born under the sign of the snake should be cautious this year, while those born in the Year of the Pig need to be careful in all matters
Chang Sheng-shu, managing director of Click108, Shen Long, an ethnologist from the Wolong Temple in Greater Taichung and Lu Kun-yung, head of an association for the promotion of traditional arts, told us that those born in the Year of the Snake are at greatest risk of offending Tai Sui this new year, and that it is best for them to remain still and limit their actions while also avoiding rashness in all matters. Those born in the Year of the Pig are diametrically opposite to Tai Sui this year, and as such they may be more prone to accidents. Apart from it being unsuitable for them to go on long trips, they should also invest less this year and pay attention to road safety. The signs of the Monkey, Tiger and Snake are viewed as the three unluckiest signs this year. Those born under the Tiger sign should beware of external injuries and financial and legal problems, while those born under the Monkey sign should pay attention to minor financial problems and legal problems.
Ethnology expert Shen Long explains that those born in the Year of the Horse are not at risk of offending Tai Sui this year. However, since they have no auspicious stars in their chart this year, but many inauspicious ones, their luck will be about as bad as for those born in the Year of the Monkey and so they should also pacify Tai Sui. Many experts say that because many car accidents happen in Water Snake years, all drivers and other people who use the roads should pay particular attention to road safety.
Shen Long explains that pacifying Tai Sui is a Taoist religious belief and that there are a total of 60 Tai Sui gods, ranging from General Jinchi, who governs the first year of the 60-year zodiac cycle, to General Yu Cheng, who governs the last year of the cycle. They all take turns overseeing the luck and misfortune that takes place in the human realm every year.
While Taoists and believers of folk religions still feel it safer to believe in the concept of offending Tai Sui rather than not, most religions still hold that every day is a good day regardless of one’s zodiac sign and that one will not offend Tai Sui as long as one’s heart is true and pure. Ethnologist Lin Mao-sheng explained how those at the greatest risk of offending Tai Sui will experience major problems even if they do not experience disasters. Lin said that most people who pacify Tai Sui do it for their peace of mind. Taoist and Buddhist temples around Taiwan all charge similar rates for pacifying Tai Sui as they do for the lighting of a small lamp for good fortune during the Lunar New Year, with rates ranging from a few hundred New Taiwan (NT) dollars to more than NT$1,000.
(Translated by Drew Cameron)