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 calendar, January is the twelfth and final month of the lunar year. It is in a phase called Chui (丑); a time of soft Earth energy that nourishes unseen growth. Think of a seed waiting quietly in the soil, absorbing nourishment for creating the sprout that will emerge in the spring. This month, we too are incubating concepts, inspiration, and perceptions that will become evident to us later, when the time is ripe.
A new Chinese Metal Year of the Rat will begin on the 25th. Rats are the first of twelve animals that cycle through the Chinese horoscope, and while they are despised in the west, rats are respected in the east for their intelligence, resourcefulness, and courage. People who are born in a Year of the Rat are said to be good leaders who handle responsibility well. Prince Harry is one famous example, and Rosa Parks is another.
People born in Metal Rat Years like 1948, 1960, or 2020, are said to be especially intense, with lively minds and fertile imaginations. Because rats are the first animal in the Chinese horoscope, it is said that being first instills rats with a pioneering spirit, but it also fuels their need to win. Rats are romantic, fall in love easily, and enjoy intimacy―they have a gift for seizing opportunities―as a famous Chinese proverb notes, “There are very few poor Rats!”
In the cycle of passing months, soft yin Earth energy characterizes January, while February ushers in the powerful, thrusting yang Wood Element. Yin is soft and gentle, while yang is active and formidable, but now it’s time to catch a peek at what’s in store for your element in this, the final month of the lunar year.
Weight can be an issue with Earth people, especially in a double-Earth month. New Year’s resolutions won’t help because we are surrounded by food and our brains are constantly prodded to eat. It’s hard to get in exercise enough to make a difference, but getting enough sleep balances our hunger/satiety hormones, which can certainly be a help!
How can you be kinder to yourself? Rather than beating yourself up for eating cookies, try getting curious instead. Ask, “How can I make a better choice the next time?” or, “What was I actually upset about?” By approaching your behavior with compassion, it will be easier for you to get to the root of what’s been derailing you, so you can take action.
You are a fixer. Have you noticed that it is far more agreeable to try to fix someone else’s problems than it is to fix your own? The interesting thing is that until someone is willing to commit to change and is motivated to implement the changes by themselves, there’s not much you can do to help, so look inward and do what you can to help yourself.
Finances are hard for nearly everyone to manage, but Earth people are generous to a fault, which can jeopardize their own financial well-being. Rather than giving to causes that tug at your heartstrings, it might be better to consider investing in firms that practice environmental stewardship and are committed to the fair treatment of their employees and customers.
You are someone who loves to snuggle in a warm bed, but if you were to go to bed earlier and get up a little earlier, you may find that adding some undistracted time at the front end of your schedule could help you prepare a decent breakfast, make a to-do list, and put together a good-looking outfit because dressing for success is a very good practice.