Throughout this course, there have been many interconnecting themes and overarching ideas. A very big idea is that life is out of our hands. A lot of parts of life are controlled by ancestor spirits, gods, demons and creatures. To try to get some amount of contrl, rituals were established. People with knowledge and power over the supernatural were looked up to and spent their whole lives working on their craft. The belief in spirits was widespread among both the higher and lower classes. The emperors relied on spirits for their legitamacy. The heavens were important to the people and if the emperor failed to predict an eclipse, it made him look bad

Another important thing is the idea that all things are connected and related to each other. This is mostly seen in Yin Yang and the Five Phases. Almost everything was related to the five phases from music pitches to natural disasters. The five phases also are related to medicine. If a powder tastes bitter, something sweet is given after it so that the phases are balanced in a person. Food and medicine were intertwined as well. The foods and tastes you consumed would affect the balance of the phases in your body. If the phases went out of balance, health problems would occur. This is pretty similar to the idea of the humors in old western medicine where there were multiple forces that had to be balanced. Both systems had some questionable medical practices. Bloodletting for the humors and rat poop used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Overall, learning about the ancient Chinese system of belief was a very interesting experience. One thing that will stick with me is the oracle bones and how random cracks could be interpreted as answers. Overall, the biggest idea that is present in Chinese mythology is that life is outside one’s hands and that there is an unseen world that affects every part of it.

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