For thousands of years, the I Ching has provided guidance for decisions about our health, relationships, financial matters, work, and play. Predictions from the I Ching follow the lunar year and are based on multiple, overlapping cycles that govern the heavens and earth. A variety of stems, branches, directions, and phases also have their say, each creating a trail of portents, probabilities and possibilities, so let us begin…
In the Chinese horoscope, December is the eleventh lunar month, in a heavenly stem phase called Tze. It is a time of very strong yang Water Element energy. In Chinese tradition, yang Water epitomizes spirituality, transformation, and self-awakening. Water energy is a large, moving force like the ocean or a mighty river; it is deep and powerful, and cannot be ignored.
December’s Water energy will bring us a flood of activities and festivities that can either stimulate and elevate our mood or completely overwhelm our senses. Water also represents nature and nurture, so if we do our best to go with the flow, and remain alert to possibilities, we will see that Water also channels its powerful energy into seeds, new ideas, and new opportunities.
In the west, Advent begins on the 1st, and Hanukkah begins on the 22nd. In the northern hemisphere winter officially begins on the 21st, and Christmas and Kwanzaa follow soon after. New Year’s Eve closes out the month and the year in the western calendar, but the seven-day Chinese New festival will begin on January 25th and the beginning of a year of the rat!
December’s energy is all about Jing―our essence―our very being. In Chinese medicine theory, we are born with a fixed quantity of Jing that is consumed by the simple act of living. Stress, illness, substance abuse, or bad relationships rapidly deplete our supply of Jing; but we can replenish it with nourishing food, meditation, exercise, recreation, giving, and serving others
The holidays are the perfect time to consider that our energy is precious and that our lifetime allotment of it is limited. Be mindful of your Jing when you are tempted by overladen buffet tables and be careful with intoxicants. Modulate stress and manage inflammation because even a small hangnail can drain Jing, but by becoming a source of light and joy, your reward will be a long happy life.
Want to know more about what the I Ching reveals about your health, relationships, emotions, finances, and career this month? Check it out!
Earth people like to eat, but it is possible to indulge without the bulge. There’s no need to avoid your favorite mouthwatering dishes in order to keep your waistline in check, the trick is to start with small portions and to stop eating when you are full. Save calories for the foods you adore, and remember that the first bite tastes exactly the same as the fifteenth bite, so limit yourself to just a few.
Reconsider your preconceived or habitual ways of giving. If you fail to give to yourself, you will deplete your store of Jing. The best gift you can give your loved ones is the gift of your healthiest and most nurtured self, so take time out for personal health and wellness, plan to cook most meals at home, ground yourself with daily spiritual practices, and take time out for a walk.
The joy of giving is all about the energy that we are offering another person while the actual gift itself is just a symbol of the energy you are offering them. The true gift of giving is how you make someone feel, so if your family goes overboard on gifts, hand over your homemade goodies without guilt. Let others gift as they wish―being a grateful recipient is all that is required of you.
Mother Teresa said, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” Think through your choices and consider the meaning behind your giving. It might be more helpful to offer grocery shopping, lawn mowing or babysitting than it would be to buy extravagant gifts. Offering service rather than things will protect your resources while allowing you to participate in the holiday spirit.
Giving someone your time and expertise can be a truly thoughtful gift that will also deepen the connection between the two of you. Material gifts often break or become outdated, but the memories of sharing an experience or teaching them something new can last a lifetime. The true gift of giving is how you make someone feel when you offer your heartfelt time and energy.