天上的宫殿

The Celestial Palace

这是我们所熟悉的星空…… This is the starry sky we are familiar with.
夏天的夜晚,银河高挂在空中。天鹅座……在高处飞翔,天琴座……和天鹰座……隔河相望…… 连接这三个星座里最亮的星星,构成的夏夜大三角熠熠生光。 It is a summer night. The Milky Way stretches across the sky. Cygnus the Swan soars high. Lyra and Aquila gaze at each other across the Milky Way. The Summer Triangle, formed by the brightest stars of the three constellations, glows over the starry night.
沿着黄道,分布着大家耳熟能详的室女座、天秤座、天蝎座和人马座等黄道星座。 Along the ecliptic are the zodiacal constellations, which are often heard: Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, etc.
我们脚下的这座古观象台已经有了500多年的历史,它见证过人间的沧海桑田;可是和星空的年龄相比,这只是短短的一瞬间。 This ancient observatory has a history of more than 500 years. It is a witness of the great changes time has brought to the world. 500 years was a flash, however, as compared to stellar ages.
500多年前在这里仰望星空的先辈们,看到的星空几乎和现在没有什么变化,但他们使用的星座,却和我们现在习惯的这些星座大不相同。 The night sky that we see today, is barely different from that was seen by the predecessors, who was here 500 years ago. However, the constellations they used, are extremely different from the constellations we have gotten used to.
在中国几千年的历史中,曾经有一套自己的星座系统。和西方的星座不同,中国古代的天文学体系,是在“天人合一”的文化传统下建立起来的。 In many thousands of years, China used its own constellation system. Different from the western constellation system, the ancient Chinese astronomical system was built upon the cultural belief of "harmony between man and nature".
天上的星辰代表着人世间大大小小的万事万物,是一个自成一格的社会。 The stars in the sky represent all possible things on Earth, and form an integrated society of its own.
从宫殿……到粮仓;从城市设施……到政府机构,从兵营……到集市,事无巨细都被古代中国人搬到了天上。银河,这条雾蒙蒙的光带, 则是横贯整个天空的一道天河。当我们来到这个天上的世界,看到的……仍然是山川原野,城市村庄。 Palaces and barns, city facilities and governmental agencies, military camps and fairs, the biggest and the tiniest, all have been reproduced in the heaven by ancient Chinese. The Milky Way, the dim band of light, became a celestial river wrapping around the sky. When we get to this world in heaven, we still see: Mountains, rivers, plains, towns, and villages.
这一切都是人间的映射,“天人合一”的理想在这里得到了充分的体现。 Everything reflects its piece in the mortal world. The ideal of "harmony between man and nature" is completely interpreted here.
和西方的星座系统相比,中国的星座更具备现实的意义。天上的仙人和凡人一样,有着日常的工作和生活,也有自己的社会和国家。 Compared to the western constellations, the Chinese constellation system has more links to the real life. The immortals have their jobs and daily life, society and country, which are exactly the same as us, the mortal beings.
这个国家里最主要的建筑,是三座城池和一条道路。 The primary constructions of this country are three cities and one pathway.
天帝居住的“紫微垣”、政府官员办公的“太微垣”、官方的贸易市场“天市垣”,合起来称为“三垣”。 The cities are called Three Enclosures: Purple Forbidden Enclosure where the celestial ruler lives, Supreme Palace Enclosure where the governments work, and Heavenly Market Enclosure, the official supermarkets.
太阳经过的黄道和月亮经过的白道在这里合并成了天上的主干道。日、月、行星都在这条道路上前进。 The pathway is combined by the Moon's orbit and the ecliptic that the Sun appears to move along. The Sun, the Moon, and the planets move on this pathway.
其中月亮的速度最快,大约每二十八天就在天上绕行一周。整条路因此被分成了二十八段,称为“二十八宿”。每一宿都被想象成一个驿站。 The Moon appears to move the quickest on the pathway. It completes one orbit every 28 days approximately. Therefore, the path is marked with 28 stops, which are called "The 28 Mansions". Each mansion is imagined as a post house.
二十八宿分为四组,每七个一组,各自组成一种图腾。 The 28 Mansions are grouped into four, each containing seven mansions. Each group forms a totem respectively.
夏秋之交的斗、牛、女、虚、危、室、壁七宿,组成的是“北方玄武”; When time flies from summer to fall, Dou the Dipper, Niu the Ox, Nv the Girl, Xu the Emptiness, Wei the Rooftop, Shi the Encampment, and Bi the Wall together form the "Black Warrior of the North".
初冬星空中的奎、娄、胃、昴、毕、觜、参七宿,组成的是“西方白虎”。 In the early winter night, Kui the Legs, Lou the Bond, Wei the Stomach, Mao the Hairy Head, Bi the Net, Zi the Turtle Beak, and Shen the Three Stars make up the "White Tiger of the West".
再加上“南方朱雀”和“东方苍龙”,合起来就是我们常常说的“四象”。 The two totems above and the "Vermilion Bird of the South" and the "Azure Dragon of the East" are collectively called "The Four Symbols".
其中的“东方苍龙”,在天文史上曾经占据特别重要的地位,一直到现在,龙都是华夏民族最重要的图腾。 Among which the "Azure Dragon of the East" is often highlighted across the astronomy history. Till now, the dragon symbol is the most important totem of many Chinese ethnic groups.
它包括角、亢、氐、房、心、尾、箕七宿,构成了一条活灵活现的苍龙。 It includes Jiao the Horn, Kang the Neck, Di the Root, Fang the Room, Xin the Heart, Wei the Tail, and Ji the Winnowing Basket. The seven mansions make a lifelike dragon.
二月二,龙抬头。大仓满,小仓流…… The second of the second month, the head of the dragon rises.
Big barns: full to the brim, smaller barns: grains stream.
这条龙在春天露出头上的角,提醒人们春天到了,需要按时播种。在农业社会里,季节是最重要的事情。因此人们非常重视苍龙七宿, 尤其是苍龙心脏部位这颗特别明亮的“大火”星。 When the dragon shows its horn in spring, it reminds people that it is time to sow seeds. In the agricultural society, understanding seasons is the most important. Therefore people paid great attentions to the seven mansions of the Azure Dragon, especially the bright Antares, the heart of the dragon, the great fire.
红色的大火星像是一团熊熊的火焰。在商代,有专门的官员在观星台记录大火星的位置变化,遗址就在现在的商丘。 有很长一段时间,人们都依靠对大火和其他几颗亮星的观测来确定季节。 The red giant Antares is like a flamy blaze. In the Shang Dynasty, some officers were appointed to track the position changes of Antares at the observatory, the nowaday Shangqiu (Hill of Shang). People determined the seasons by observing Antares and some other bright stars for quite a long time.
我国古代的典籍记录下了这些观察。从记录的天象推断,华夏先民对大火星的重视,早在几千年前就开始了。 后来,又从它附近的亮星衍生出了苍龙星座。 The Chinese history recorded these observations. According to the written celestial phenomena, Antares caught the sight of ancient Chinese thousands of years ago, and the Azure Dragon symbol was derived from this flamy blaze and its bright neighbors.
其中最明亮的,要数白色的角宿一和橙色的大角。顾名思义,它们都曾经与苍龙的角有关。 The brightest neighbors of Antares are the white Spica (The First of Jiao) and the orange Arcturus (Da Jiao). We can tell from the names that they are all related to Jiao the Dragon's horn.
连接角宿一和大角,再沿着弧线延伸出去,可以一直连到北方的北斗七星。这就是西方有名的“春夜大弧线”。 Draw a line to join Spica and Arcturus, then extend the arc to the north, and you will reach the Big Dipper. This is the well-known "Arc to Arcturus" in the western world.
让我们顺着这条弧线换个方向,面向北方来观察星空…… Let's follow this arc and look into the northern night sky.
从北斗星的勺头,可以很方便的找到现在的北极星,它的中国名字是勾陈一。 By the two stars at the end of the bowl, it is fairly easy to find Polaris, the current north star, with its Chinese name the First of Gou Chen, the Curved Array.
北极星指的是离北极最近的恒星。天空中所有的恒星都围绕着北极转动,古人因此觉得所有的恒星都位于北极的统率之下。 The "north star" means the star closest to the North Celestial Pole (NCP). As the Earth rotates, all stars in the sky seem to make circles around the NCP. The ancients therefore crowned the north star the master of all stars.
所以在中国的星座系统中,北极是至高无上的天帝的化身。而围绕在天帝周围的那些星星,自然也就跟皇家有关。 皇室成员居住的城池,叫做“紫微垣”。 So, in the Chinese constellation system, the north star stands for the sacred celestial ruler, and the stars surrounding this emperor logically become the royals. This imperial residence is named "Purple Forbidden Enclosure".
内廷官员镇守在左右城墙上,左八右七,一共是十五位官员,他们又组成了紫微垣的城墙。 The inner imperial officers guard the left and right sides of this enclosure. Eight on the left and seven on the right. The total fifteen stars build the walls of the Purple Forbidden Enclosure.
这座宫殿并不是具体而微的,它更具有抽象的意味。宫殿内的具体设施并不完备,只有那些最典型、最具有代表性的元素才被映射到了天上。 This palace is not punctilious, instead, it is pretty impressionist. The details in the palace are not complete. Only those most symbolic and representative elements are projected to the heavenly world.
天帝居住在宫殿深处,这里还有太子、庶子、后宫等皇室成员。 代表妃子的勾陈星座位于另一侧,勾陈一就是现在的北极星,不过它并没有担任过天帝的角色。 The immortal emperor lives deep in the palace, where the prince, the illegitimates, and the harem reside in as well. The concubines represented by Gou Chen live opposite the emperor and the prince. The First of Gou Chen is the current north star, yet it never played an emperor role in the past.
负责皇宫内部事务的是尚书、女史等官员。三公、九卿、四辅等王公大臣也被安排在这里。 The inner imperial affairs are taken care of by the Royal Secretary and the Female Protocol etc. The Three Excellencies, the Nine Senior Officers, and the Four Advisors are also scattered here.
在正对紫微垣南门的地方设置了天床,供人们休息。紫微垣只是天帝居住的地方,天庭的政府机构在离这里不远的太微垣。 At the south gate of the Purple Forbidden Enclosure lies the Celestial Bed, for people to take rest. The Purple Forbidden Enclosure is just the celestial emperor's residence. The government, however, is the Supreme Palace Enclosure next door.
紫微垣外还有不少与天帝相关的星座,都可以看作是天帝出巡的办公室。 There are also quite a lot of royal constellations outside the Purple Forbidden Enclosure, and can be considered the offices when the celestial emperor makes inspection trips.
天帝出巡所乘坐的马车,就是等候在紫微垣南门外的北斗七星。《史记》说“斗为帝车”,指的就是这个故事。 The Big Dipper outside the Purple Forbidden Enclosure south gate is the carriage prepared for the emperor to cruise around. "The dipper is the emperor's carriage", stated The Records of the Grand Historian.
北斗七星是天帝的御座,古人认为它载着天帝巡游四方。这是因为,北斗的斗柄在不同的季节指向不同的方向…… The Big Dipper is the movable throne of the celestial ruler. The ancients believed it carried the emperor to travel around his country. The reason behind this is, that its handle points to different directions with seasonal changes.
北斗在夏天指向头顶方向,秋天仰躺在地平线上,冬天指向大地,春天则是平趴在地平上方。古书《鹖冠子》说: “斗柄北指,天下皆冬”;“斗柄南指,天下皆夏”。古人觉得,这就意味着天帝在不同的季节来到了不同的地方巡游。 The handle of the Big Dipper points to the zenith in summer, stretches in parallel with the horizon in fall, droop to the ground in winter, and lies above the horizon in spring. The ancient book He Guan Zi stated: "The north-pointing handle indicates arrival of winter", "The handle pointing to the south brings summer to the Earth". This meant to the ancients that the celestial emperor traveled to different places as the season changed.
沿着北斗、大角、角宿一的弧线,又可以把北斗指示的季节变化和苍龙指示的季节变化联系起来。 正是因为这样,角宿才成为了二十八宿之首。这条弧线甚至一直可以延续到大火星。 Let's follow the arc to Arcturus again, and we can build the link between the seasonal change indicated by the Big Dipper and that indicated by the Azure Dragon. This made Jiao the Horn the leader of all 28 Mansions. The arc to Arcturus can be even further extended all the way to Antares, the great fire.
大火星在某些时候,也充当着天帝的化身。 Antares sometimes represents the celestial emperor as well.
中西方的星座在这里有了一个奇妙的不谋而合。大火,这颗明亮的红巨星,既是苍龙的心脏,也被认为是西方星座中天蝎座的心脏。 The oriental constellation system and the western one made a close rapport here: Antares, this bright red giant, is the common heart of the dragon and the scorpion in Greek Mythology.
天蝎和苍龙的尾巴,都埋在银河的光带中。 Both tails, of the dragon and of the scorpion, fade into the brightness of the Milky Way.
这条贯穿整个天空的河流,见证了中西方星座神话中最为著名的爱情故事。 This river in heaven, which wraps around the sky, witnessed the most famous love stories in both Chinese and western myths.
在西方的星座神话中,这里有俄耳甫斯的竖琴。俄耳甫斯是人间最杰出的音乐家,他追随故去的爱妻来到冥界, 用美妙的琴声感动了冥王,却最终没能拯救心爱的妻子。 In Greek Mythology, Orpheus' lyre lies here, Orpheus was the most eminent musician, who traveled to the underworld and by his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, but failed to bring his wife Eurydice back to the upper world.
而在中国的传说中,这条宽广的天河把牛郎和织女分隔开来。 In Chinese Mythology, this wide starry river separates the Cowherd (Altair) from the Weaver Girl (Vega).
织女是王母娘娘疼爱的女儿,和凡间的放牛郎相爱,却因为王母娘娘的阻挠而不能相聚。 牛郎星和织女星隔河相望的情景,两千年来激发过无数诗人的灵感。 The weaver girl, whom her Goddess Mother was the fondest of, fell in love with a young cowherd of the mortal world, but their love was obstructed by the Goddess, and they were set apart by the Milky Way. The scene of the two stars watching each other from afar inspired many poets in the past two thousand years.
只有在每年的农历七月初七,王母娘娘才会特许喜鹊们搭成一座鹊桥,让牛郎和织女在桥上相会一次。 They are only permitted to meet once a year, when the Milky Way is crossed by a bridge of magpies, at the seventh night of the seventh lunar month.
七夕也因此成为“中国的情人节”。 The Night of Sevens thus became the "Chinese Valentine's Day".