Following is a discussion of how the prevalent energies of this year interact, transform and influence all actions and interactions with events and people. Understanding the individual components, their energy and how they interact is a good way to begin to understand Chinese astrology.
Most people identify only with their animal year sign, but to truly understand your individual energy patterns, you need a complete birth chart (bai zi) which is an overlay or matrix of your life. The hour, day, month and year cycles figure prominently in your chart and each aspect has a correspondence of an earthly branch and heavenly stem. Mathematical calculations are then used to determine the dominant forces that appear throughout your life cycle from birth to burial. For example, destiny or vocation may appear during infancy or as an adult. This is useful information that can be put into the equation to give insight and that helps individuals act and make decisions with awareness, rather than blind faith.
The first day of the Yang Metal Rat was Saturday, Jan. 25th. The Rat is the first animal in the 12 year animal Chinese zodiac. Each time the Rat appears, a new lunar year and a new 12 year cycle begins. The dominate energies this year are Metal (one of the 10 heavenly stems) and Water (one of the 12 earthly branches) which is the fixed element for the Rat native. Let’s take each element individually first to more clearly understand the correspondences and energetic influence each one embodies.
Metal Correspondences Season – Autumn Color – White or light gray Organ System – Lung, large intestine, skin outer organ – nose fluid – Qi or Chi Emotion – grief, sadness Metal creates water (creative cycle) and controls wood & is controlled by fire (control or balancing cycle) Climate – Dry Archetype – Alchemist, weak metal becomes isolationist
Metal Metal symbolizes strength, hardness, organized thinking, weapons such as guns and knives, the cauldron or metal pots for transforming ingredients or elements into something edible, healing or useful. Also, musical instruments, metallic jewelry or any rounded metallic shape that’s not sharp like a weapon symbolizes yin metal. Metal is also the time of harvest which signifies a good time to gather, reap the benefits of a prior investment or project, or collect on a debt owed. When in a fluid state, metal can be flexible, ambitious and strategic. When negative, metal is unbending, calculating, rigid, inflexible and tense.
Those that have the Metal influence in their birth chart have strong feelings in pursuing their objective. They prefer to handle situations or problems on their own and rarely ask for help. They don’t appreciate interference or assistance not asked for. They are not easily influenced and like to set their own goals, paths or plans. They have trouble letting go of situations that are not feasible and cannot easily change course. When weak or vacuous, metal people become depressed, chaotic and unbending. They retreat into themselves and have trouble expressing their feelings and thoughts and become disorganized. When extreme, they become critical, unwavering, demanding and difficult to communicate with. They are stiff, coldly self-reliant and can be stingy. When yin and yang are balanced, they are constant, persevering and able to transform their failures into successful outcomes. They are not easily swayed by hardship.
Water correspondences Season – deep blue like the ocean Color – white Organ system – Kidney, urinary bladder, adrenals & hormonal functions Fluid – Jing (pre & post-natal essence) Outer organ – ears Emotion – Fear Water produces wood (creative cycle) Controls fire &is controlled by earth Climate – cold Archetype – Philosopher
Water is flowing and seeks its own level. In winter the Water element seeps into the earth to nourish the seeds and roots that have fallen or died back in Autumn; so that they can rise up again in spring. Water has an enduring and persevering quality that can carve through the hardest stone. It can also have a gentle quality like a gentle shower, mist or morning dew. On the negative side, water can be destructive, like a tidal wave or forceful current. In extreme cold, water can freeze into ice that is impenetrable.
People that have the water element in their birth chart are nurturing, tenacious and have an ability to articulate and communicate better than most. Their psychic ability and sympathetic vibration also make them naturally empathetic. Water individuals can be tenacious and use that tenacity to wear away their opponent in an argument. They plant seeds & ideas into the minds of others that have the ability to enact or manifest those ideas. They put things in order and set things in motion. When weak or vacuous, water people can become wishy washy, nebulous and lose focus. They can plunge to the deepest depths or become fearful of venturing out of their comfort zone. When extreme, they become stiff, unyielding, impenetrable and cold as ice. When yin and yang water is in balance, they are intuitive. Philosophical and flexible.
Yang Metal RAT Energy
In the Yang Metal Rat individual these two elements translate into a rat that is intelligent, inquisitive, adaptable and industrious. They are charming people with a dry sense of humor, fun loving and sociable. They are generally good at business and have active minds. Rats are generous when they have plenty and may give someone they love or admire valuable or thoughtful gifts; but when low on reserves, they are frugal and know how to budget to survive. Rats also have strong emotional ties to family and friends. They prefer to have a small circle of friends to interact and socialize with. Their natural psychic ability makes them passionate about everything they undertake. When upset, they rarely exhibit their feelings, but can become curt and edgy. They also enjoy debating and are excellent writers with an eye for detail
The Year – My interpretation
Metal is the mother of Water in the creative cycle; therefore, water influences will be enhanced this year. This is a good year for creative endeavors, devising a plan, and manifesting an idea. The energy is positive for writers, authors or anyone in communications and the arts. Politically, this is an excellent time for grass root organizations to organize, plant seeds of progressive action and grow their influence.
Fear (kidney) and Sadness (Lung) are the dominant emotions this year. While these two emotions are healthy expressions in the appropriate situation, we need to be mindful not to indulge or to allow them to become extreme. Qi (lung) and Jing or original Qi (kidney) are the corresponding energies. Use your Qi to contribute to good causes and to participate in events that are nurturing, fun and educational, but keep within your personal physical boundaries, so that Qi doesn’t become depleted. The kidneys are considered the root in the body. If jing is depleted in the kidneys, it can compromise immunity, cause bladder problems, infertility, abnormal sexual desires, or other physical and emotional problems.
How to support the Lung and Kidney organ systems
Becoming more knowledgeable about food, environment, movement practices, and energetic influences can go a long way towards feeling more nourished and balanced in body, mind and spirit Below, I’ve listed some foods that contribute to the health of the Lung and Kidney organ systems.
Lung – Pungent foods such as ginger, garlic, the onion family, radish, mints, cinnamon, most spices, etc. strengthen the lung and Qi by moving Qi (energy) to the surface of the body and excreting toxins through the pores. They also increase digestive function and reduce waste by stimulating the sweat glands and elimination. Pungent in excess can purge Qi, cause pathogenic heat or anxiety.
Kidney – Salty foods such as soy sauce, tamari, sea vegetation, celery, miso, crab, squid, olives, cultured and fermented foods, etc. are moistening and cleansing; so they are especially good for any type of dry condition (body fluids, hair, skin, mouth etc.)They also contribute to the body’s vitality and engender calm. Excess salty food dries blood (anemia etc.), constricts blood vessels, weakens immunity and decreases white blood cells.
The body needs to move, and having a regular routine of internal (qigong, tai chi, yoga etc.) and external (walking, jogging, swimming, biking etc.) movement helps to contribute to flexibility, strong bones, muscle and tissue. Movement keeps the body’s Qi, Blood and Fluids circulating. Quiet time, meditation, prayer and communing with nature contributes enormously to physical well-being, mental clarity and spiritual essence. All creative endeavors (artwork, volunteering, service, etc.) serve to inspire and create bonds in a year that engenders water (creativity & communication) and metal (transformation). This is a good year to express your inner angel, seek the wisdom within and subtly manifest a positive vibration into the world.