Thursday, Feb 19th . at 7:11 am, began the year of the Yin Wood Sheep, the 8th animal in the Chinese zodiac. The new year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Each year is governed by an earthly branch and heavenly stem, that is associated with one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) and symbolizes a quality of energy. The heavenly stems rotate in a ten year cycle, while the earthly branches rotate in a twelve year cycle. Most people are familiar with the 12 animals; but to gain a deeper understanding of the energy of a year or individual, you have to look at the yin or yang influence and the relationship of the stem and branch element for that year. So, let’s explore the symbolic meaning of yin wood and yin earth for this year.
Last year was a yang year (yang wood horse). Yang years are typically more intense, aggressive and concerned with outer achievement; whereas yin years are typically more receptive, peaceful and concerned with advancement of the group, the whole or inner development. The horse and sheep make up the house of gender, and the horse is considered the most yang displaying male forms of behavior, while the sheep is the most yin displaying female forms of behavior.
Earth is the fixed element (branch) of the sheep and is associated with late summer, the digestive system, over thinking or worrying, balance & harmony, earth colors like yellow-orange, earth vegetables such as winter squash, carrots, yams, dampness or humidity, foundations, stability, moving slowly but surely.
Wood is the heavenly stem for this year and is associated with spring, the liver-gallbladder, anger, the color green, wood foods such as leafy greens, some nuts & oils, wind, the upward direction, the emotion anger and exploration and pioneering.
Sheep are docile gentle creatures, quiet, passive and meek. Female sheep are dainty and love frills and all things feminine. Sheep people are romantics that love good food, family and formality. Some of the positive characteristics that the sheep symbolizes are: gentleness, compassion, calmness, sensitivity, affection, caring, trust, selflessness and politeness. Some of the negative characteristics include: pessimism, indecisiveness, timidity, complacency, being too fastidious, weak willed and excessive worry.
Sheep do not directly express their feelings and they navigate their life path with the heart. Because of this they can easily be taken advantage of; however, a friend or ally usually comes along to protect or take care of them. They try to be economical, but they have little aptitude for handling finances and because they also love luxury, they will seldom deny themselves the object of their desire. The sheep is a hard worker, but too passive to act in a leadership role, and he will go out of his way to avoid conflict. He excels in the arts, (music, flower arranging, painting, acting, cooking etc.) and works best in an environment that is unrestricted and creative.
So, what can we expect for this year? The following paragraph is from http://www.gotohoroscope.com/2015-horoscope/.
“Based on the forecasted astrological events of the period, the 2015 horoscope and the Year of the Wood Goat promises much more favorable times as compared to the previous year. Many astrologists conclude from the conditions of 2015 that the processes that have been unfolding and spreading chaos for the past few years are finally wrapping up; both political and economic situations in the world are starting to stabilize. Many people’s quality of life is getting higher and the crisis that has been tormenting many countries for the past several years is finally promising to be over. In other words, the year of 2015 is a crucial one! In 2015, which is according to the Oriental calendar is a year of the Ram, one epoch is coming to replace another and the whole of mankind has once again high hopes for the future. Even though we have always been hopeful and will continue to be such this time the whole of humanity has a feasible chance to change the world for the better! It goes without saying, one would hope we would truly be deserving of the positive changes and we would be allowed to create the small paradise on earth that we dream of. It must be said once again that there has never been this many signs and favorable planetary aspects confirming the positive nature of the upcoming changes – we simply can’t ignore these signs!”
This will be a good year for the humanities, the arts, holistic medicine, precious stones and all things creative. Also, family and group gatherings are well favored this year since sheep like to flock together, so, if possible, spend some quality time with loved ones or in nature. Will we achieve some level of peace and if so, will it be a lasting peace? Hmmm! Maybe, but don’t ask me, I’m the skeptical Ox. I am looking forward though to a more stable and prosperous year; and perhaps the opportunity to plant seeds that will influence our future course in a positive way.
Health Guidance – Since energy is concentrated in the liver and spleen this year, it’s important to address imbalances in those organs or to supplement and enhance energy to keep things in balance. Poor health of the spleen can manifest as: IBS, colitis, constipation, poor digestion and assimilation, allergies, chronic fatigue. Energy imbalances of the liver can manifest as: gallstones, poor circulation, toxic internal environment, menstrual problems, nervous disorders, anxiety.
Furthermore, it’s believed in Taoist Chinese medicine that each organ has a soul or spiritual counterpart. Imbalances on a physical level can affect the spiritual and spiritual imbalances can affect the physical. The soul that resides in the liver is called the “hun”. and is said to enter the body 3 days after birth; and to return to the heavenly realm after the body’s death. The hun provides movement to the psyche in the form of dreams, ideas, vision and inspiration. Excessive movement of the hun can cause manic behavior, while a hun that no longer resides in the organ can cause mental illness, in the form of feeling lost or aimless wandering
Practical advice – develop consistency in your cultivation. Cooking a meal or doing the laundry can be just as sacred and healing as doing tai chi or yoga if you remain mindful and present. Find your balance by doing something you love in nature, like planting a garden, riding a bike, swimming, etc., some combination of aerobic & qigong (internal) movement, quiet time or meditation. When eating, only eat till 70-80% full, so as not to stagnate liver & spleen Qi. Eat a good variety of healthy foods, and avoid extremes like all raw, no carbs, or just cooked. Do allow an occasional indulgence without guilt. The right balance is different for everyone, and it changes with the seasons and thru the years. It’s all about developing your own unique rhythm, and this comes from education, trial and error.
Understanding and integrating energy patterns in ones life and in the universe is one way to emerge out of the fog of human confusion. These patterns inform us in practical matters and assist us in the desire to evolve ourselves and humanity. The information in this article barely touches the complexity of Taoist understanding of how we function. Each of our unique energy patterns connect to other humans, earth, stars and planets. This knowledge can assist you in healing, developing intuition, being more content and more connected.
You can read about your animal sign for free at; http://www.gotohoroscope.com/2015-horoscope/
New Year Observations:
You can welcome the earthly and heavenly energies by Lighting a candle as a symbol to welcome the spiritual light, burn incense to symbolize the fragrant essence of earthly life and silently or speak out loud the invocation below (or one you make up yourself), to vibrate with heavenly realm deep inside.
Wear RED as a symbol of good luck and an expression of Joy!
GONG HEY FAT CHOY – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
New Year Invocation
Most Refined Divine Energy of the Universe, We ask for continued guidance and blessings in the year ahead. Help us to clearly see obstacles to our physical, mental and spiritual growth, So that we can work to dissolve them. May we cultivate a reverence of Nature, A respect for each other, And a universal consciousness. May our hearts be filled with possibilities And may that positive expression be nurtured as a seed that flourishes On the planet to create harmony and balance Within and Without. It is with deepest humility and gratitude that we honor The light and wisdom in each other and the world.