Polaris, the northern pole star on Earth, is the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation. Polaris is at the end of the or “handle” of the “Little Dipper” very close to the north celestial pole and can be found using the seven brightest stars of the constellation of the Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) known in ancient China as Beidou (北斗).
The Chinese character used to describe the North (Bei) represents the position of no communication and separation: 北 two backs opposing to each other – the ritual position of Man in Nature is facing the South hence his back is towards north and obscurity.
However, during the Han-dynasty the constellation BeiDou 北斗 was revered as the dwelling place of the deity TaiYi (great unity). The Han considered Polaris as immobile with all the other constellations revolving around it: it represented the unification of all the movements of the stars under the vault of Heaven.
The far north/Polaris was not only a place of separation and absence of communication but also a place for returning to the origin and unity.
In the classic novel “Journey to the West” Xuan Wu was a king of the north who had two generals serving under him, a “Tortoise General” (symbol of water) and a “Snake General” (symbol of fire) – Xuan Wu, the turtle-snake constellation which contains the BeiDou stars is the only constellation represented by a double symbol – the archetypes of Yin and Yang.