Five Element Divination(五行占)

Five Element Divination

Headword

오행점 ( 五行占 , Ohaengjeom )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Folk belief

Writer LeeChanwook(李澯旭)

Ohaengjeom (Kor. 오행점, Chin. 五行占, lit. five element divination) is a divinatory practice in which the fortune for the upcoming year is interpreted based on the five elements of fengshui – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. According to the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 1849), this five element divination was performed annually as part of the New Year’s Day customs. The practice has been deeply-rooted in the everyday culture of the Korean people.

To perform ohaengjeom, a date tree branch growing eastward is cut and divided into five short sticks, each measuring two to three centimeters in length. The sticks are then split in the middle, and one of the five characters for wood, fire, earth, metal and water is inscribed on the inner part of each stick. Five coins are sometimes used instead of date branch sticks, and the characters are written on the back sides of the coins. The sticks or coins are then held in both hands cupped together, and shaken while one says, “The message of the heaven shall reach the earth. Have mercy and let your will be known. A certain [name of the person whose fortune is being read], born on [birth date of that person], present here, wishes to know his [her] fortune for this year. I pray to the almighty heaven to grant the wish and enlighten us on what lies ahead.” After the spell is repeated three times, the five sticks or coins are cast into the air. The results are then interpreted based on the position in which the sticks or coins land. There can be a total of thirty-one combinations of six types. The combinations are read as trigrams by applying the principle of mutual harmony and exclusion among the five elements. The first trigram is referred to as sanggwae (Kor. 상괘, Chin. 上卦, lit. top trigram), the second as junggwae (Kor. 중괘, Chin. 中卦, lit. middle trigram), and the third as hagwae (Kor. 하괘, Chin. 下卦, lit. bottom trigram).

Five Element Divination

Five Element Divination
Headword

오행점 ( 五行占 , Ohaengjeom )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Folk belief

Writer LeeChanwook(李澯旭)

Ohaengjeom (Kor. 오행점, Chin. 五行占, lit. five element divination) is a divinatory practice in which the fortune for the upcoming year is interpreted based on the five elements of fengshui – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. According to the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 1849), this five element divination was performed annually as part of the New Year’s Day customs. The practice has been deeply-rooted in the everyday culture of the Korean people.

To perform ohaengjeom, a date tree branch growing eastward is cut and divided into five short sticks, each measuring two to three centimeters in length. The sticks are then split in the middle, and one of the five characters for wood, fire, earth, metal and water is inscribed on the inner part of each stick. Five coins are sometimes used instead of date branch sticks, and the characters are written on the back sides of the coins. The sticks or coins are then held in both hands cupped together, and shaken while one says, “The message of the heaven shall reach the earth. Have mercy and let your will be known. A certain [name of the person whose fortune is being read], born on [birth date of that person], present here, wishes to know his [her] fortune for this year. I pray to the almighty heaven to grant the wish and enlighten us on what lies ahead.” After the spell is repeated three times, the five sticks or coins are cast into the air. The results are then interpreted based on the position in which the sticks or coins land. There can be a total of thirty-one combinations of six types. The combinations are read as trigrams by applying the principle of mutual harmony and exclusion among the five elements. The first trigram is referred to as sanggwae (Kor. 상괘, Chin. 上卦, lit. top trigram), the second as junggwae (Kor. 중괘, Chin. 中卦, lit. middle trigram), and the third as hagwae (Kor. 하괘, Chin. 下卦, lit. bottom trigram).