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Year of the Yang Wood Horse

Cyclic Energy Calendar’s Influence In the Yang Wood Horse Year – 4712

Our Chinese New Year celebration was Sunday, Feb. 2nd.  Many expressed interest but were unable to attend due to other obligations such as the super bowl etc., so I wanted to share some of the information we discussed in class. For me, the observation and understanding of energy cycles has broadened the spectrum of how I view myself and others. This understanding has enriched my world, and allowed me to be more open and tolerant of the human race, in general, and more loving in personal relationships. The ancient wise ones believed that to live in accordance with Nature brought harmony and peace, but to live life without knowing how to align oneself with universal energy, was to invite catastrophe.  I have to agree!

So here’s what we discussed……….

The Chinese new year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice.  Initially, the cyclic energy calendar was used by emperors and their imperial courts and considered sacred and privileged information.  Those outside the court were forbidden to study the movement of the heavenly bodies, and if this edict was ignored, it was considered treason punishable by death.  Fortunately, as empires expanded, ritual and ceremony became more important in sustaining order in society.  Eventually the calendar was allowed to be used for practical needs by all and was consulted for births, deaths, marriages, wars, contracts, festivals and other events.  Today, in China, the Gregorian calendar is used for civil purposes, but the energy calendar is still used for festivals and events.

The five elements or 5 energy transformations, known as wood, fire, earth, metal & water are integral to understanding the cycles of the energy calendar.  These elements are intricately connected in cycles and relationships that are complementary, creative, opposing or controlling.  Each element has a symbolic meaning and describes objects or structures as well as events or processes. 

The energy calendar is based on two primary cycles known as the earthly branches and heavenly stems.  Each of the 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches resonates with one of the five elemental energies and is either yin or yang.  The earthly branches are also given the name of an animal and each animal has a fixed element.  Last year was yin, this year is yang and next year will be yin etc.  The animal (branch) this year is horse (fixed fire energy) and the stem is wood, so we have a Yang Wood Horse year.

The interaction of the branch (yang fire) and stem (yang wood) gives insight and meaning to expectations for the year.  How your personal energy interacts with the year”s energy relates information and advice on how to best express oneself during this time.  For example, is it more beneficial to remain passive or active this year. Should I pursue that new job, new relationship or perhaps wait till the energy changes.   I’m not going to go into each individual’s energy, but for anyone interested, there is a lot of info on-line about the Chinese zodiac and each animal’s qualities etc. 

The Yang Wood Horse made its entrance on Jan. 30th at 11:20 PM.  The new moon also began in a fire tiger month which increases yang fire energy, making it very strong.  Let’s explore the meaning. 

The Yang Wood Horse is barely out of the starting gate, but its energy is already being felt on multiple levels. This is a year to open our hearts and minds to the messages being transmitted from the heavens and earth.  The previous two years of the dragon and snake, which are considered to have the most karmic influence, were mostly about letting go.  This year is about creative expression (wood) and stimulation or illumination (fire).  Also, since wood creates fire, any expression of fire this year will be magnified, which is why a lot of the readings for this year say  “Hold on tight to the reins”.  If you’re an ox, rat or rabbit, this year will prove especially challenging, so it’s probably best to remain passive,  observant and quietly cultivate. 

Words that describe the Spirit & symbolism of the Horse are energetic, bright warm hearted, sunny disposition, intelligent, able, predominately masculine.

The horse represents desires and characteristics considered male or yang.  The horse’s month is June, in which the Summer solstice (height of yang) occurs.  The hours of the horse are 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, when the sun is at maximum brightness.  Most compatible energies are dog and tiger.

Horse People

Strengths – ingenious communicating techniques, refined instincts, clever, kind to others, love the limelight, independent, flamboyant, possess an innocence, fun loving, talkative, cheerful, perceptive, talented, charming, non-pretentious, honest.   Horses love entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends & co-workers and active at work and they refuse to be reconciled to failure.  Horses are usually avid sports fans.

Weaknesses – can’t bear too much constraint, superficial interest, lacking substance, willful, Impatient, hot blooded.  They rarely take advice and failure can result in pessimism.  Strong endurance, but with a bad temper, they can be wasteful since they’re not good with matters of finance. Horse people frequently fail to finish projects on their own.  They need ample room for self expression – if constained they rebel

The Year

Horse years are considered fortunate for most.  Fast victories, unexpected adventure, could be a wild ride, surprising romance, excellent year to travel off the beaten path. Sudden gain is possible, especially for dog, tiger & sheep.

You have to act fast in a horse year since events move quickly – Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory, however, if not compatible with horse energy, let others be the risk takers, and if you’re not 100 percent secure about a decision, don’t do it, or you may gallop off into the wrong direction.

World Economy – Some will get stronger while others will experience chaos & collapse.  No middle ground in a horse year – that was last year.  Expect extremes in the stock market – fluctuation of prices and general chaos in all things financial.

Wealth – finances are unstable and there will be unexpected costs. You need to be open to others suggestions and cautious about any investments,  Overspending is easy in horse years, the impulse to buy is strong, so avoid impulse buying, remember, horses rarely plan for the future

Business – An increase in business and commercial activity is expected in world markets.  Favored are the men’s clothing industry, athletic equipment, breweries, and sports car manufacturers.  Horse years end in triumph or tragedy, therefore, it’s possible that more businesses may fail than succeed.

Health – The heart is the organ that corresponds to fire energy. Shen is the spiritual aspect of the heart.  Imbalances in the heart organ system can manifest as rapid heartbeat, inflammation, red rashes, eczema, red face, tongue, shen disturbances such as difficulty sleeping or lacking joy.  A fire person can exhibit excessive traits such as being loud, boisterous, unrestrained, scorching or anxious.  An individual deficient in fire may exhibit dehydration, swollen extremities, hives, become easily confused, dizzy, a lack of warmth and indecisiveness, panic, anemia, low blood pressure.

Foods that enhance or balance the heart and fire energy are bitter.  Bitter foods are cooling (purge heat) and move energy downward in the body.  Bitter foods in excess, however will dry the bones.

Some Bitter Foods – quinoa, amaranth, rye, most greens, dandelion, bitter melon, turnip (also pungent), alfalfa, asparagus, celery (also sweet), burdock root, cilantro (also pungent), chives, watercress, lettuce (also sweet), coffee

The liver corresponds to wood energy.  Po is the spiritual aspect of the liver.  Imbalances in the liver organ system can manifest as nervous tension (especially tense shoulders and neck), migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, achy muscles, gallstones (gall bladder is the livers paired organ), eye infections, addictions, fat metabolism disorders, congested blood and/or chi, nervous system disorders, etc.  A wood person exhibiting excessive traits could be irritable, stubborn, aggressive, confrontational and driven.  This person could have high blood pressure, tinnitus, tvertigo, ,heartburn, be accident prone.  A person deficient in wood might be depressed, frustrated, indecisive, erratic, have hearing loss, dry itchy eyes, blurry vision, hypoglycemia, tendonitis, other joint or tendon issues, weak or tense muschels, dry, brittle nails.

Foods that balance or enhance liver organ energy are sour.  The sour foods are astringent and move energy into the body.  They assist the livers function of moving and eliminating toxins from the body.  An excess of sour foods can cause liver Qi stagnation.

Some Sour Foods – Lemons and all citrus, tomatoes, some apples like granny smith (also sweet), apricots, plums, Chinese prunes, grapes, hawthorn berries, lychees, loquat, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, star fruit or carambola, (most sour fruits are also sweet), vinegar (sour & bitter), cultured vegetables, olives, saffron

Please don’t try to diagnose yourself from the above info.  The information I’ve given is hardly comprehensive, and my purpose was to to give a simple understanding and feel for the Chinese (Taoist) way of viewing the Zodiac and how things are connected according to the Five Transformations.  If I’ve sparked your curiosity, there are numerous books and websites that go into greater detail.  The practical utility of this system can dramatically increase the quality of your life.  It has for me.

Coming Soon – Explorations in TAO Study Group


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