8th Day of Lunar 1st Month – Descending of All Star Lords for Year 2017
According to Taoist Contexts, 8th Day of Lunar 1st Month (農曆正月初八) is the Day that All Star Lords aka Xing Jun (眾星君下降日) descending down into the Mortal Realm to conduct Inspections and also, Cleansing of the Surrounding.
These Star Lords include Nan Bei Dou (南北斗星君), Dong Xi Zhong Dou (東西中斗星君), San Tai Xing Jun (三台星君), Lord Tai Sui (當年太歲星君), 28 Constellation (廿八星宿星君), The Four Spiritual Animals' Marshals (四方四靈四大天君), The Eleven Planets (十一曜星君) & Recording Officers of the Dipper Departments (斗府紀錄功曹).
On this Day, Taoists or Chinese will conduct a Simple but yet Official Ritual for the Ushering in of the Star Lords and also, to perform the Requesting of Good Luck and Health for Oneself or the Parent.
According to the Records, on this Day, 2 Pictures or Scrolls must be prepared (準備以下星君畫像):
1) Picture of All Star Lords, especially the 28 Constellation Star Lords (廿八星宿)
2) Picture of Star Lord Bei Dou aka The Great Dipper Group (北斗七元君)
3) Picture of Star Lord of the Eleven Planets (十一曜星君)
After the Pictures or Scrolls are prepared, a Temporary Altar must be placed at an Open Area facing the North or North-west (將供桌面北方或西北方).
Once the Sun set, 49 or 108 Lamps (如可﹐點燃四十九盏或一百零八盏油燈) must be Light-up (in the past, People used small saucers containing Oil to act as Lamp) and 3 bowls of Sweet Dumplings (供上三碗湯圓) & 9 cups of Chinese Tea (九杯清茶) must be offered to the Star Lords.
After the Lamps are being light-up, 9 or 12 Incenses (點燃燈盏後﹐上敬九或十二支清香) will be Lighted and Reports will be made facing North.
Once the Incenses are offered, 15-30 minutes rest and then All the Lamps are to be Put-off and the Pictures or Scrolls and Incenses must be Burnt-off (一刻鐘後便可化寶).
Upon completion of the Burning, the Altar must be cleared off and the Sweet Dumplings must be consumed.
The whole of this Ritual is known as Shun Xing (順星) aka The Aligning with the Celestial Stars or Honouring & Ushering in the Stars for Bestowing of Luck & Health (祭星/接星).
As for Shun Xing Ritual, which later in the Taoist History, it became a Major Ritual for Taoist School, known as Shun Xing Li Dou Ke Yi (順星禮斗科儀), meaning Aligning with the Celestial Stars and Honouring the Great Dipper for Eliminating of Negative Issues and Gaining of Luck & Health Blessing.
In the attachment is the 2 Combination Pictures of The Star Lords. For those who are interested in conducting this Ritual, you may wish to download it and use it during the Honouring.
Recommended Taoist Scriptures to Chant (可誦念以下道教經文):
1 – Bei Dou Scripture (北斗經)
2 – Nan Dou Scripture (南斗經)
3 – San Guan Scripture (三官經)
4 – Eleven Planets Star Lord Scripture (十一大曜消災神咒經)