The Chinese new year which begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice will be on Monday, February 8th at 9: am. The rising moon will usher in the year of the Yang Fire Monkey and If I had to describe the year in one word it would be dynamic. I’ll explain why, but first, a brief description of how the Chinese astrological system works for those not acquainted with it.
Every year is either Yin or Yang. This cycle repeats itself continuously each hour, day, week, month and year. Last year was yin, therefore, this year is yang and next year will be yin, etc. Another cycle, known as the 5 elements, which is a system of corresponding energies, is used in Chinese astrology in two different cycles, known as the Earthly Branches and the Heavenly Stems. A branch and stem is ascribed to each year and if you understand their symbolic meaning, you can gain insight about yearly expectations and how to interpret what that year’s potential influence will be. Earthly branches rotate in a 12 year cycle. One of the twelve animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, boar) is used to describe each year in the cycle and this animal represents a certain quality of energy. Each animal is either Yin or Yang and has a fixed element. For example, every monkey is yang and has a fixed element of metal. So all monkeys, regardless of what year they’re born in will have some attributes of metal (negative & positive) such as being composed or scattered, devoted, candid, trustworthy, combative, withdrawn, etc. Each year is also influenced by the Heavenly stems cycle. This is a cycle of the five elements in their yin and yang stages which creates a cycle of ten years. This cycle rotates like this: yang earth – yin earth, yang metal – yin metal, yang water- yin water, yang wood – yin wood, yang fire – yin fire and then it starts again. The different combinations of the 12 earthly branches and the 10 heavenly stems create a different dynamic for each year and also the combination of these cycles for each individual on the day of your birth can give insight into one’s nature and how one will navigate through life. The cycles combine in such a way that the yang branches are always paired with the yang stems, and the yin branches are always paired with the yin stems. One more note: Anyone born 60 years ago, or this year will be called a fire monkey or red monkey. Even though the monkey has fixed metal, the year element is used to distinguish between the different types of monkeys. So let’s talk about the RED Monkey (yang fire) year, the monkey personality and how other signs may be affected by this energy. Monkey People Intelligent, strong, mischievous, aggressive, curious, sociable and playful all describe the monkey. Fire is warm, expansive and illuminating, or it could be scorching, volatile and concealing. Metal is transforming, efficient and pure; or stagnant, disorganized and inefficient. Yang Fire Monkeys can also be described as being impulsive, easily angered, extremely creative and unconventional. Fire monkeys are the most active and bossiest of all Monkeys. They are excellent communicators and adept at finding solutions (unconventional ones) to solve problems especially related to economics, business and relationships. Monkey people are shrewd with money and like challenges; therefore they do well in careers as lawyers, bankers, stock brokers and journalists. The Monkeys penchant for mischief and trickery makes him a strategic tactician, opportunistic and sometimes untrustworthy. They are achievers working within a group or independently, but keep in mind that they regard their interests as being more important than work, which can sometimes compromise their work or make them undependable and unsteady. In relationships Monkey people can easily become bored and can also be promiscuous; however, if they find a partner with a similar nature that share the monkeys active lifestyle, the monkey is able to change and settle down; and while it might take the monkey longer than most to settle down, he or she will be loyal, kind and thoughtful in a family situation, once he does. Each animal has two compatible signs and one sign that is completely opposite. The Rat and Dragon are the most compatible animals for the monkey and these three make up the circle of affinity known as the DOERS. They are ambitious, full of energy and all about performance and progress. As the original and creative thinkers of the zodiac, they will be the ones to invent, innovate and introduce new ideas. The monkeys opposite and least compatible sign is the tiger. The monkeys fixed element of metal will be detrimental and controlling to the tiger, which has the fixed element of wood. (Metal controls wood) The tigers passion and power could be compromised by the monkeys cunning. These two will have little in common and a difficult time understanding each other.Keep in mind that in an individual’s astrological chart, there are many factors which come into play. The time of birth (ascending energy), the birth month, the planets and 6 houses of destiny all have influence in creating the unique individual you are. Year of the Monkey Monkey years are unpredictable because anything can happen and usually does, but what seems certain is that we’re in for more of the same dysfunctional politics, international conflicts and major upheavals. On the bright side, look for innovative ideas and new inventions, especially in technology, communications and in general new solutions to old problems. This year is auspicious for taking risks in business and the stock market; but base your decisions on fact, not emotions. Do your homework! Expect weather patterns to continue to be in flux and shifting quickly. This pattern will include wind, heat and dryness, and while this will hold true for the entire year, you need to be especially mindful in the summer (heat, fire) and autumn (dryness and wind, metal), when these energies are most concentrated. The organ system associated with fire is the heart. This system includes the small intestine, the mind, the tongue, blood circulation and shen (heart spirit), summer, joy and the planet Mars. The flavor that corresponds to the heart is bitter. Bitter foods like leafy greens, asparagus, quinoa & amaranth are cooling and move energy down in the body. Bitter foods help to balance heart energy, but in excess they are also drying. Drink plenty of fluids and balance the bitter with a little salty and some naturally sweet foods like fruit and whole grains. The Lung is the organ system associated with metal and includes the large intestines, the nose, skin, Qi flow and the Po or physical soul, autumn, sadness and the planet Venus . The corresponding flavor to the lung is pungent. Pungent foods include garlic, onions, radishes, turmeric, ginger and many other culinary herbs that move Qi out of the body. This process assists the lung in its function of protecting the body against pathogens. In excess the pungent flavor purges Qi. Mindful movement is always beneficial but doing mind body practices like Qigong, Tai Qi or Yoga is especially healing this year to balance the intense energy raining down from the heavens. Add in some aerobic exercise such as swimming, biking and walking to strengthen the heart and also breathing practices to strengthen the breath and lung. Include meditation or just some quiet time on a daily basis to quiet the mind and calm the spirit. If you have health issues, this is the time to address them. Seek guidance, make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle and firmly commit to being healthier. Self cultivation is a 24/7 endeavor. Practices serve as reminders to keep focused, but applying what we learn in practice to daily living is the most serviceable and valuable thing you can do for your life.
Overall, Monkey years are great for breaking out of old patterns, changing unhealthy habits and transforming negative thoughts, but please don’t take my word for it. Learning and integrating the foundational knowledge of the Taoist Arts is a clear path to greater awareness. You can have fun with astrology (eastern or western) and use it as a way to foretell the future, but if you would like to go into its depths, it requires a lifetime of joyful learning and application. Gong Hey Fat Choy – Happy New Year Pass the New Year Well!