Have you ever seen Card Captor Sakura?

Also called Sakura’s Magical Cards

Yes I have. You remember Clow, the most powerful magician?

He’s actually the origin of all evil.

Clow’s Cards got four elements. You know that, right?

You’re talking about like water, air and so on?

Correct, air, water, fire and earth.

And beyond these there is also light and dark.

While fire and earth is under light

air and water is under dark

So cards of air usually have something to do with motion

Like JUMP and FLY.

Yes, FLY, JUMP, FLOAT and also MOVE, which is YI in Chinese.

And STORM, apparently, it means tempest.

There’re two cards that interest me a lot

Under Air there’s TREE and DASH

These two actually adapt the concept of the Xun symbol and Zhen symbol in our Eight Diagrams rule

Have I talked to you about Xun and Zhen?

I kinda forgot

That’s fine. So Xun actually symbolizesmild wind or a breeze

and Zhen symbolizes strong wind like a storm

Or like a tornado. Exactly, the image of a dashing wind

So the most obvious difference between eastern and western systems of metaphysics is the inclusion of wood

So TREE and DASH kind of give a hint of the element wood here

Xun representing wood of Yin, and Zhen the wood of Yang

Then the cards under the water basically describe the different forms of water


but not all the card types represent one single element

it may also include others of the four elements remixed

or re-arranged

such as CLOUD card is actually water and air

Water and air?

Right, try to imagine a cloud in real life

Doesn’t it combine water and air?

Cuz it’s condensed water, but at the same time, it’s mobile

I think I can see that

It’s water, but it’s affected by the wind

Yes, that’s the thought.

Everything in this series which is based on the magic of Clow the magician is associated with the composition of six elements

air, fire, water, and soil, and light and dark

so if try analyzing something like acid rain

it can be attributed to water and dark

Or if you think of the Buddha in Monkey King

who can just save your life with a bit of holy water

then that might be analyzed into water and light elements.

Also, there’s a card called MIRROR underwater cards

You’re talking about ‘JING’ right? Yes correct

I actually expected that MIRROR would be a card of light

cuz you can only see yourself if there’s light

But maybe I’m thinking in a modern way when a mirror has been invented

But in ancient time they did use the surface of the water as a mirror

Or you can say that amongst the four natural elements

water is the only one that carries the property of reflection. Yes.

These are the cards with fire attribute

GLOW, THUNDER, POWER, SHOT, FIGHT, 黔台酒与茅台酒的区别 (qiantai999.com) and they’re also ARROW, SWORD, SHIELD.

To me, that cards of fire should be very powerful

even harmful. Aggressive. Yes, aggressive

So I don’t actually get why SHIELD is here

Cuz usually shield belongs to the element of earth in the Chinese theory of five elements (Wu Xing)

because in ancient time, the common way to protect yourself in a battle would be hiding behind a hill or a rock, given their hardness.

How about thinking this way

because you need fire to forge arrows, swords and shields

I think you have a point. They are weapons. Yes

Now I can see why SHIELD is…

right. Cuz if in the western theoretical system

these cold weapons evoke the image of metals

And metals lead to the image of a blacksmith. So it’s more related to the fire

But to us, we might first think of a shield as a protector

I think you are right. And this precisely reflects the difference in western and eastern mindsets of substances or even natural observations or say the nature’s products

Also, I don’t know if…

You know the Chinese talk about the ‘reinforce and restrain’ between the five elements

But I’m not sure if they also follow this rule in the West.

No, the biggest difference between the West and the Oriental five elements

is that our five elements describe properties

and because it’s about properties, it can be changed

or we are trying to describe a process of change.

But for the West, they use the four elements to simply express the material of substance

Take the mist for example

western people tend to see it as ominous

I think the reason they don’t like mist/fog is possibly linked to their mythology

Wars that happened in ancient Rome… the mist/fog will blur your sight and therefore make you weaker in front of your enemy

That’s one assumption

plus the mist/fog has no form and can change into any form, which makes it unpredictable in a formidable way

A feeling of insecurity. Right

they will imagine some unfriendly things in the mist/fog

But in Chinese context, we usually have a saying ‘to clear away the cloud and fog so the sun will shine’

so to us we connect the mist/fog to the exposure of a myriad once it is cleared away

Yes, so to the contrary, it gives us hope that something is about to appear

And also, we use a lot of descriptions of mist and fog in our painting and our poems

cuz the people thought that where the mist/fog is might live the immortals

Exactly, yes. Because of our traditional culture which beliefs in Taoism

the more misty or foggy, the more auspicious.

Ok, so these are all the earth cards, basically relevant to the concept of ‘growth’ or ‘space’.

And, like SAND actually combines the property of water and earth

FLOWER the property of water and wind

So here what I’m having a problem with is the LIBRA, I have studied the reason why it’s categorized as an earth card

I’m thinking, the condition for a balance to work precisely or judge accurately, is that it has to be placed on a flat ground or a flat horizon

I’m guessing that, maybe the card is trying to describe, or to measure the cosmic transformation of… Energy?

Yeah, energy

You’re saying that, it does measure the weight

but it doesn’t necessarily represent the mass we usually talk about

I just feel that the design of the card reminds me of all different kinds of planets, big or small, in the universe

And if it’s like what you said, to have a weight means to be under the influence of gravity

and gravity comes from a planet

The gravity is decided by the mass of the planet we stand on

the greater the mass, the greater the gravity, right?

Right, so the invention of balance is because of the existence of mass

and mass is intrinsically linked to the gravity of planets

maybe that’s why it’s categorized as an earth card

Let’s look at this one….

yeah, I really gave it a lot of thought.

So the SWEET card, obviously is linked to sugar

and human beings first tasted sweetness in fruits, right?

So fruits is linked to earth, that makes full sense

The Lock… it’s pronounced ‘ding (in Chinese)’ right?

Is it a Chinese character (or Japanese Kanji)?

I don’t know. I don’t know how to pronounce it either

Maybe it’s a relatively outdated character

I don’t often see people using it

It does pronounce ‘ding’

Then maybe it’s the traditional name of the lock

It means blocks of metal or herb

and also those parts found on a textile spinner used to wind up the yarn, the cylinder that keeps spinning

In addition, when we describe golden ingot, we use ‘ding’ as the unit, like ‘a few dings of gold’, that ‘ding’.

So it actually can be used as the unit of those dumpling shaped golden ingots in the ancient China.

So it’s a…..ok I see.

So why is the LOCK an earth card?

Is it because it seals the space

I think you might be right

cuz a lock, it symbolizes you are reserving or sealing up a certain area of land

Which means it imposes a limitation to space, right?

You can’t enter or exit

Yes, a symbol of a restriction to a land.

So apart from air, water, fire and earth

some of the cards belong to light or dark

I find the DREAM and the SLEEP curious, the others are alright

You think the dark cards are easier to analyze than the light cards?

No I think the light cards are easier to understand

but the dark cards might require some effort to explain to ourselves

Ok, tell me why you think the light cards are easier

Cuz they basically all give the state of ‘developing from nothing’.

We have an identical idea

Or the state of ‘developing from one to two’.

Exactly, I have the same feeling

Like the ILLUSION card, it’s entirely about ‘to create by your own’, turning something that’s in your head into reality

And also the VOICE and the SONG, you have to vocalize it as you will

And the BIG and the SMALL, also the TWIN. I actually have another theory,

don’t you think the light cards work similar as the fundamental particle?

And fundamental particle can either re-arrange or change the physical form of the substance

or, like you just said, make something out of nothing

Maybe Clamp, when they were working on this story

didn’t think this much

We are just respectfully messing around here.

So the light cards not only just give out light by its name

In the manga and the anime, the LIGHT card is just a card hidden in Sakura’s heart

It doesn’t have any description

But according to what science gives on the cosmology, it is the fundamental particle

I might not be thinking through a scientific approach as you do

but when you think of light

you remember the sentence ‘And God said, let there be light.’ The light came first at the moment of his creation

so the light gives an impression of the beginning of everything

A state of inception, and the ILLUSION somehow resembles the state

Including the VOICE you have to make it, the BIG and SMALL describes a process of change

the TWIN is even easier to picture.

So if the light cards are related to the sun, the dark cards are definitely related to the moon.

That’s the thought according to the settings in Clow’s world

So if you look at these names of card, I would say they describe a process of a higher entropy going to lower entropy

Like the DARK is about dimming the light

And the TIME is turning it backwards. Yes or you can stop it

And I think the SLEEP and the DREAM are probably because…they only happen in dark.

Yes, I think if the light card is about ‘letting out’, then the dark cards is about ‘drawing back’.

Exactly, that’s right.

Are you aware that, besides air, fire, water and earth, there is a fifth element?

You may have heard this phrase. Yes I have.

The earliest theory on the four elements can be dated back to the pre-Socrates period

In ancient Greek time a man called Empedocles proposed it, he was probably in 500 to 400 B.C.

And then after him, Aristotle came up with the fifth element

So what did Aristotle think of it? He argued that everything can be analyzed as a matter

and all the matters on earth is made up of four elements: air, fire, earth and water

And beyond the earth, when we look up in the stars, when we see the blue sky

those stars are made up of the fifth element.

Let me tell you what the fifth element is named? You must have heard of it

the name of the fifth element. Well, I’m looking at it

I’m going to turn the screen off, you’ve seen my syllabus

OK, the aether.

Aristotle, after he came up with this thing

people like Descartes, Copler, Copernicus were all very much influenced by the concept and kept updating the definition of aether

What did they think the aether was?

Our science is to assume that everything needs to have a medium

and they thought light is spread through the aether

but then later found that maybe it’s not.

Although since then etheric research by the scientific community gradually got quiet

but the word ‘aether’ got popular

As if there is a kind of rule that is to say, as long as we don’t know what it is, just name it ‘aether’


Yeah, so when we saw the birth of the Internet, we called it ‘ethernet’, the LAN. Right

And then after Bitcoin came out

now there’s a new type of cryptocurrency

and then we called it Ethereum

Okay, so the question is, again

from a scientific point of view

light cards versus dark cards

while the light cards not just give out light

the dark cards don’t darken the space, either.

Now what do you associate with darkness in the universe?

What has to do with darkness, kike black holes?

Black holes are one of them

And then there are two other things that might be less familiar

one is called dark matter

the other is called dark energy

Is that the same thing as antimatter?

No, if antimatter and matter collide they both disappear

but dark matter and dark energy are the dark places that we find when looking at the whole universe

About 95 percent of the whole universe is made up with dark energy and dark matter.

I don’t picture the DARK card with a lot of scientific or physical approach

but more philosophical or symbolic meaning in it

. For example

it may represent the state of nil. I think quite the opposite.

I think the NOTHING card is more like antimatter

and Sakura later collects all the cards and assembles all their power, and eventually created the NOTHING card

In other words, one NOTHING card is equal to the energy of all 52 Clow cards

once it’s touched anything, the thing disappears.

Are you saying under the influence of the DARK card, Sakura is actually in a state of being absorbed?

I feel like Sakura is likely to be in another space

right, dimension, when affected by the DARK card.

And is it appropriate to say, that all the Clow cards there is no way to capture, but can only be contained/prisoned in a card

It’s like using a bottle, and then house them as if they are water

And if so, is it because the LIGHT and DARK card are in a physically different state from the rest

so that the LIGHT can enter Sakura’s heart

and the DARK can bring Sakura to another dimension.

So maybe the DARK and LIGHT override every rule and theory that we currently acknowledge that can explain any materialistic phenomenon

Reminds me the cyber slang, If you are not sure about anything…Blame it on quantum mechanics.

So up till now, no evidence can prove the existence of the aether, so the etheric theory is kind of abandoned by the scientific community

But I have faith that something will be discovered in the future that resembles aether.

Yes absolutely.

And who knows, maybe it’s the medium that transmits gravity, right?

Now Sir Newton will have words with you.

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