Luo Shu Fundamentals
According to Chinese legend, during the pre-historic Emperor Yu’s (夏禹) time (Xia Dynasty), a “magical turtle” emerged from the Luo River, its shell marked with dots in a certain arrangement, now known as Luo Shu, the Luo River Inscription.
Note: Luo Shu Inscription on the left; Depiction of Luo Shu on a Nine Palaces (九宫) format on the right, hence Luo Shu is sometime known as Luo Shu Nine Palaces.
From the Luo Shu pattern we can see that the white dots are odd numbered whereas the black dots are even numbered, similarly to He Tu. From such arrangement, we can come to an awareness of certain key principles.
(1) – Distinct and Correspondence aspect of Luo Shu Numbers
From the Luo Shu, one can observe that the Yang numbers (1, 3, 7 and 9) though each are different, are all located at the four cardinals and having the same innate characteristics of Yang being strong and direct whereas the Yin numbers (2, 4, 6 and 8) though each are different, are all located at the four ordinals and having the same innate characteristics of Yin being gentle and complementary.
(2) – Opposing and Harmony aspect of Luo Shu
Though the Luo Shu numbers are each different, the sum of the numbers in each row, column or diagonal are the same, the sum of 15. This tells us that even though the myriad of all existence in Nature are apparently different, there exists an innate common aspect which brings about harmony between all.
Taking away the number in the middle, the sum of the two numbers in each row, column or diagonal are the same, the sum of 10. The two numbers in each row, column or diagonal are made up of one Yang and Yin number, mutual opposites of each other, yet the sum of 10 of the two opposite numbers are able to connect with each other through the middle; the number 5.
(3) – Association of He Tu and Luo Shu
Both He Tu and Luo Shu contain principles associated with numbers, hence, the numbers of both He Tu and Luo Shu can be associated and interconnected with one another. For example, the numbers 1 and 6 in Luo Shu shares an affinity, both being the (1 – 6) He Tu group. Such affinity between 1 and 6 allows the interconnection of Qi or energies between both numbers.
(4) – Controlling Cycle of Five Elements
As such, bringing in the numbers of He Tu into Luo Shu, one can observe that (1 – 6) water controls (2 – 7) fire, (2 – 7) fire melts (4 – 9) metal, (4 – 9) metal weakens (3 – 8) wood, (3 – 8) wood weakens (5 – 10) earth, and (5 – 10) earth controls (1 – 6) water, in a counter-clockwise controlling cycle of the Five Elements in Luo Shu.
(5) – Placement Pattern of Luo Shu
One can note the placement pattern of the Luo Shu numbers by observing the placement of the numbers in Luo Shu sequentially; starting from number 5 in the center, also known as the Central Palace (中宫), followed by the next number 6 at the bottom right, followed by the number 7 at the middle right, and next the number 8 at the bottom left, and so on before being back to the central palace number 5 (ascending sequence).
Also, do note that the placement of the Luo Shu numbers in this pattern can either be in ascending sequence (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1, 2, 3, 4) or in descending sequence (5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 9, 8, 7, 6), with ascending being Yang and descending being Yin.
Luo Shu Placement Pattern (Ascending Sequence)
Luo Shu Placement Pattern (Descending Sequence)