Tag Archives: chinese new year

Say Hello to the Ox

Yin Metal Ox

Say hello to the Ox. The second sign of the Chinese zodiac, this Yin Metal Ox makes his entrance February 12, 2021 and remains through January 31, 2022

Animal years, according to the ancient lunar Chinese calendar, are grouped, not into decades as in the Western world, but into cycles of 12, beginning with the Year of the Rat and ending with the Year of the Pig. Each year is governed by one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, and each has its own particular character.

Those born in the year of the Ox are considered strong, reliable, fair and conscientious. Their calm, patient, manner inspires confidence in others. Although they tend to say little, they can be very opinionated and stubborn.

How was it determined that animals would make up the lunar Chinese calendar and in what order?

According to ancient Chinese zodiac legend, the Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) ordered that animals would be designated as calendar signs and the twelve that arrived first would be selected. On the day of the race, the rat got up very early and rushed to the gathering site. The steadfast Ox led the way, happily thinking he would be the first sign, but at the last minute, the opportunistic Rat scampered over the Ox’s back to arrive first, becoming the first animal of the Chinese zodiac, making the Ox second.

chinese zodial wheel

In Chinese culture, the Ox is seen as a sign of integrity and responsibility. Honest and loyal, they form strong bonds with their partners and families and make good, lifelong friends.

In addition to the 12-year rotation of the animals, the classical Chinese Five Element Theory also plays a part in the energy of the year. This theory holds that the Elements of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal, significantly modify the quality or nature of whomever or whatever they represent. The Element Water encourages qualities of sensitivity and persuasiveness, Wood enhances creativity and imagination, Fire produces dynamism and passion, Earth instills stability and practicality and Metal adds strength of will. The Metal influence of 2020 continues in 2021.

Ancient Chinese philosophers and scientists understood that while the world is in a constant state of change, it is moving through a distinct framework of cycles, each having an opposite and equal value, such as night and day, cold and hot and birth and death. This concept of duality forming a whole is referred to as Yin and Yang, explaining how seemingly opposite, or contrary, forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world. Yin contains the seed of Yang and vise versa and they constantly transform into each other. Just as a state of total Yin is reached, Yang begins to grow. Depicted by the Yin/Yang symbol, Yin is considered more passive while Yang is considered more active. The quieter, more grounded and passive Yin energy of 2021 will come as a welcome relief from the fast, active, hard-driving Yang energy of 2020.

The Ox denotes the hard work, positivity and honesty that will be manifested in all of us in the coming 12 months. This Yin Metal Ox year invites us to remain prudent and calm. Rather than making big changes this year, consider remaining in more of a holding pattern. Always remember to strive for a balance of Yin and Yang. The year of the Metal Ox will be a time for emotional, spiritual and economic innovation.

May this New Year bring balance in your life,
inner strength that never weakens,
joys that never fade, and hopes that never diminish.
Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year and an auspicious 2021.

Welcoming the Rat

Today we are welcoming the Rat! The first sign of the Chinese zodiac, this Yang Metal Rat makes his entrance January 25, 2020 and remains through February 11, 2021.

Animal years, according to the ancient lunar Chinese calendar, are grouped, not into decades as in the Western world, but into cycles of 12, beginning with the Year of the Rat and ending with the Year of the Pig. Each year is governed by one of the twelve Animals and each has its own particular character. The sign of the Rat, being the first sign in the cycle, imbues Rat people with leadership qualities.

How did the Rat become first in the cycle? The most widespread Chinese zodiac legend tells of a great race.  The Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) ordered that animals would be designated as calendar signs and the twelve that arrived first would be selected. On that day, the rat got up very early and rushed to the gathering site. The steadfast Ox led the way, happily thinking he would be the first sign of the years, but at the last minute, the opportunistic Rat scampered over the Ox’s back to arrive first, becoming the first animal of the Chinese zodiac. The Ox came second, followed by the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

In Chinese culture, the Rat is seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Clever and quick thinkers, Rats are successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.The Rat is the Chinese zodiac sign known for being inquisitive, shrewd, and resourceful. Because the Rat is the first in the rotation of the 12 zodiac signs, meaning that a Rat year is a year of renewal. So when a Rat year comes, it generally delivers new experiences with favorable outcomes for all of the signs.

36746077 - five elements, creation and destructive circlesIn addition to the 12-year rotation of the Animals, the classical Chinese Five Element Theory also
plays a part in the energy of the year. This theory holds that the Elements Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal, significantly modify the quality or nature of whomever or whatever they represent. The Element Water encourages qualities of sensitivity and persuasiveness, Wood enhances creativity and imagination, Fire produces dynamism and passion, Earth instills stability and practicality and Metal adds strength of will. The Metal influence of 2020, suggests a strong and purposeful year.

Ancient Chinese philosophers and scientists understood that the world is in a constant state of YinYangchange, yet moves through a distinct framework of cycles, each having an opposite and equal value, such as night and day, cold and hot and birth and death. This concept of duality forming a
whole is referred to as Yin and Yang; it explains how seemingly opposite, or contrary, forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world. Yin contains the seed of Yang and vise versa and they constantly transform into each other. Just as a state of total Yin is reached, Yang begins to grow. Depicted by the Yin/Yang symbol, Yin is considered more passive while Yang is considered more active. Yang is the energetic influence in 2020.

 This Yang Metal Rat bodes a strong, prosperous, and lucky year. Rat years are the perfect time to save, but not a time to go without. The Metal Element supports all the signs in demonstrating  determination and persistence regarding goals and aspirations. And while it is always important to strive for a balance of Yin and Yang, it is especially important this year as we enter a new 12-year cycle.

May this New Year bring balance in your life, strength that never weakens,
joys that never fade, and hopes that never diminish.
Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year and an auspicious 2020.

Twenty Seven Notebooks

I counted them and was amazed to discover the number was 27!  Twenty-seven notebooks. In Feng Shui practice, the number 27 is an auspicious number, which adds up to nine, representing accomplishment and completion.This month, during my annual New Year ritual of cleaning, sorting and organizing, I gathered notebooks from a variety of places in my home. I had decided to locate them in one spot with the intention of going through them to determine which to keep and which to discard. Wait! Not so fast!

HNY2When I was a child, my initial awareness of New Year’s rituals was receiving the fun noisemakers and hats our parents brought my sister and me from their New Year’s Eve parties each year. When I was old enough to start school however, I came to know August, not January, as my New Year’s Eve ritual. It was the day my parents took me to get supplies for the new school year. And the first day of school became the first day of my New Year.

I don’t recall setting specific intentions or even particularly thinking about how High angle view of spiral formula in digital tablet by noptebook and school supplies on wooden tablemy school year would go. I simply felt exhilaration at holding those new 50-cent spiral notebooks, with their promise of a clean slate and a fresh start!

New notebooks remained symbolic for me all through school and into college and graduate school. But, after I got my first job, the notebooks of my youth were replaced with different ways to re-evaluate my goals and ambitions for a new beginning. I added New Year’s Eve celebrations and resolutions. When I became a Feng Shui Practitioner, Chinese New Year rituals and intention setting became part of my traditions, as well.

bagua3Keep in mind, any time of year is a good time to hit a restart button – clean out the garage, clean off your desk, clean out a closet, re-organize a drawer. Any of these activities represent a shift in energy and reinforce the Feng Shui Principle: Your Space Reflects Your Life. We all have moments, for example, when we open that junk drawer, closet, or cabinet and suddenly think: Enough! I have to clean this out! In this moment, your home is communicating to you! Are you listening? Note where that junk drawer, closet or cabinet is located in your home’s Bagua. Then take a moment to consider what is happening in that area of your life! It’s a message to take notice of something that needs your attention! You may not understand it immediately, but by focusing your awareness, it will reveal itself over time.

Now, back to those 27 notebooks. What’s the message here? They were scattered over several rooms and, of course, filled with information – notes from classes, webinars and workshops. Perhaps it’s suggesting my mind is scattered with bits of information that need to congeal into something more tangible for the coming year. Right now, however, it seems daunting and exhausting to go through them. And then there is that auspicious number 27, a number of completion. Perhaps the message is to just toss them and start the year with a clean slate. I’m uncertain at this writing which direction to go. I’m waiting for a clearer message. Stay tuned!

A Wake-Up Year

Rooster01blogJanuary 28 ushers in the Year of the Rooster, a wake-up year! The only bird included in the Chinese zodiac, the Rooster is number ten of the twelve animals. Roosters wake up early in the morning to rouse everyone into action with their enthusiasm – not just for one person but everyone – so the call to action is for a group effort. Collaboration, Precision and Clarity are fundamental characteristics of a Rooster year.

Those born in the Year of the Rooster have many exemplary characteristics, including honesty, ambition, and intelligence. Rooster people make loyal and devoted friends. They are communicative and independent and don’t like to rely on others. While enthusiastic about new things, Rooster people can soon become indifferent. This means they need to practice faith, perseverance and patience to follow through with their plans. People born in the Year of the Rooster are deep thinkers and very observant. They tend to see things in black and white – which can make them perfectionists and, thus, appear arrogant.

In this Rooster Year – no matter which Chinese animal you are – you can benefit by tapping into these Rooster traits: precision, clarity, independence, capability, warm-heartedness, self-respect, and quick mindedness. However, you must also avoid its weaknesses: impatience, criticism, eccentricity, narrow-mindedness and selfishness.

2017 is the year to create yourself! It has never been more critical to follow the perennial wisdom that life is not about discovering yourself, it’s really about creating yourself! To that end, it is important to use this wake-up year energy to clarify what it is you want to manifest in 2017.

We usually begin by creating specific intentions/resolutions. For example: “I will go to the gym three times a week!” The pitfall, unfortunately, is that the resolution typically becomes a command to which our inner voice tends to resist: “How I’m going to work THAT into my schedule!” Or the intention begins with enthusiasm but loses momentum in the third month and the excuses and self-sabotaging begin! I recently read an interesting article presenting research proposing it’s better to ask yourself a question instead of telling yourself to change your behavior to achieve a goal.  “Will I exercise in 2017? If the answer is “Yes” then ask, “How can I make that happen?” “Well, maybe I can start by signing up for a yoga class, or an aerobics class once a week.” “Will I sign up this week?” “Yes!” And so on. You now have begun a respectful dialogue with yourself that can lead to reasonable and realistic outcomes.

bagua3Using the Feng Shui Bagua map as a guide to create your vision board for 2017 brings greater focus. Write your intentions or find images that represent them and then find their locations on the Bagua. If your intent is to have a loving relationship, for example, then that written intention or symbolic image can be placed in the upper right hand corner of the vision board, which represents love and relationships. If it’s about traveling more, than an image of a dream destination can be placed in the lower right hand corner, the area representing helpful people and travel; going to the gym is symbolized by the Health area, and so on. Because the Bagua embodies all areas of our lives, it is a powerful and intentional tool for setting intentions!

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar, rich in traditions, folklore and rituals. It is not exaggerating to say that its importance is equivalent to our Western Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year holidays combined. Preparations begin a month before when people start cleaning, buying presents, decorations, specific foods and new clothing.

Special foods represent happiness, good luck, prosperity, and long life: fish to increase prosperity,66086531 - tasty chinese spring rolls with yellow noodles. selective focus. dumplings and/or spring rolls for wealth, sweet rice balls for family togetherness, and long noodles for happiness and longevity. It is an auspicious time!

And there is much meaning and preparation associated with the energy of each Chinese New Year in the practice of Feng Shui, as well. In Feng Shui philosophy, cleaning one’s home is considered a ritual that honors our sacred space and its inhabitants. Cleaning metaphorically clears out any negative energy or bad luck that found its way in during the year and makes way for incoming good luck. This is cleaning with intention!

My wish for you is that this wake-up year brings new reasons to celebrate, exciting adventures to explore and the ability to embrace any challenges! It is a year to crow with clarity, conviction and creativity!

44848936 - 2017 new year with chinese symbol of  rooster.year of rooster

Overlapping Energies

HNYEvery January first, I find myself caught between overlapping energies. This is because I also
celebrate the Chinese New Year, which arrives later. So, while January first provides the
opportunity for setting new intentions/goals for 2015, the influence of the energy of the Chinese Animal from the previous year is still hanging around. Currently, that would be the 2014 Horse. The animal for 2015 is the Sheep/Ram, however, the Sheep doesn’t technically take over from the Horse until February 4. And the actual Chinese New Year isn’t until February 20!Lanterns

Each year brings it’s own special energetic influence as we continuously seek to grow, change, realign, adapt and generally improve our lives and ourselves. Many of us seek assistance as we navigate this journey. There are lots of ways to do this ­– psychic readings, tarot cards, or having our horoscopes read, to name a very few. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words hõra ‘time’ and scopos ‘observer.’ What a lovely expression – “time observer.”

I usually have my Western horoscope read around my birthday. I’m a Pisces so the influence of each year’s forecast based on the relative positions of the stars and planets at the time of my birth month. In Chinese astrology, I am a Dragon, based on my birth year, and my Chinese horoscope changes annually based on the influence of whatever Chinese animal is represented by that particular year.

According to the Chinese calendar, we are still under the influence of the Horse and I amhorse definitely feeling that Horse presence! For the record, the Horse year was not my favorite. I experienced more personal challenges in the Horse year than in past years! Of course, we try to take the high road with the challenges in our lives, knowing these challenges are life’s lessons, which help us grow and move forward. It is never fun, of course, but, indeed, there were lessons learned for which I am grateful.

Ram01While I’ve definitely formulated my intentions/goals for 2015, I don’t sense they can fully “kick in” until the residual energy of the Horse is gone. I eagerly look forward to welcoming the new, gentler energy of the Sheep on February 4! And, I look forward to celebrating the Chinese New Year, February 20. Then I will embrace the combined energies of a completely new year that will support me, and all I plan to accomplish in 2015!

May the coming year be a good time for you – A time of inspiration and renewal, of discovery and learning, of good health and joy.

 

 

The Year of the Free Spirited Horse

This is the year of the free spirited Horse. The Horse came galloping in on the lunar Chinese New Year at midnight, January 30, 2014. The seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Horse, a Fire Element, loves life and adventure, is charming, smart and popular. Quick in all he does, he is wise and talented with a cheerful disposition and a gregarious nature. He can also be very headstrong, stubborn and quick to anger.

HorsesThe Chinese Element in this Horse year is Wood. Wood fuels Fire so we can expect the energy to be more intense, willful and independent. What does this mean for each of us? While characteristics of our Chinese animal have their own specific interactions with the horse, no one is exempt from this fast paced and active year. Will this energetic year serve to increase our already perceived busyness or might it support a greater sense of free spiritedness?  Since I’m voting for free spirited, I decided to explore what that actually means. With horses, we might think wild and independent. When attributed to people, definitions are many and include: unconventional, independent or uninhibited; those with highly individual or unique attitudes, lifestyles or imaginations; nonconformists. Perhaps, in all of that, free spirited is being true to yourself.

What do you consider free spirited? I immediately think of the playful, uninhibited energy  of Kidschildren. Does being a free spirit exempt you from the burden and cares of everyday life? I think of a friend who quit her job to follow her passion. Are free spirits risk takers? If so, they are certainly not exempt from responsibilities and worries. Maybe its an attitude!

Attitude decides the size of our dreams and influences our determination when we are faced with new challenges. Jim Rohn

While continuing to explore the concept of what it is to be or become a free spirit, I found several articles that shared a variety of perspectives on the subject. The following is a compilation of some of those thoughts; a few may be surprise you. They may also raise awareness of any stereotypical thinking that stands in the way of our stepping out of the comfortable, predefined roles in which we tend to live. Additionally, these viewpoints might reinforce how difficult it is for most of us to live the life of a free spirit, even for occasional moments, in a culture that rewards conformity.

  1. Free Spirits dream and dream big. They have the courage to follow those dreams. FreeSpirit
  2. They identify barriers that may be standing in their way and then find solutions for moving past them.
  3. Free Spirits live in the moment. In our day-to-day lives, with our schedules and deadlines, living in the moment can seem almost impossible. However, noticing the moments in which we live seems attainable.
  4. Free Spirits keep their self-importance in check. It has been said that ego is the death of authenticity.
  5. Free Spirits honor other people’s freedom. As we seek our own personal freedom, it is critical to remember to be generous with others who are also seeking theirs.
  6. Free Spirits get to know not only themselves but the world around them.
  7. Free Spirits laugh, especially at themselves.
  8. They put a high value on free choice. Everyone else seems to have an opinion of how we should live our lives. A free spirited person does what he or she thinks is right, not what others tell them is right. 
  9. Free Spirits develop their own unique vision of life and the world, while remaining open to discussion and compromise.
  10. They have the courage to try things that other people think are impossible, unimportant, or impractical.
  11. Free Spirits trust themselves and trust in the natural flow of life; they trust in the unknown.

DancerUse the energy of this year of the Horse to get in touch with your own free spirit. I hope above list is helpful. You can also begin by applying the Feng Shui Bagua to assess the Children and Creativity area of your home. While this area represents your own children and any other children in your life you are close to, it also represents your inner child. How often do we visit the creative playfulness of our inner child? Locate that area in your home. How is it used? Any clutter or stagnant energy there? Once you’ve evaluated and made the necessary adjustments, set an intention about how you will embrace your free spirit this year. Let your inner child be your guide. A free spirit is easily recognized by his or her vitality, warmth, and openness. Do whatever allows you to get in touch with your aliveness. I plan to join you in that endeavor. Welcome to 2014!