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.
One of the reasons that whole grains, fruit, veggies, beans, fermented foods, and healthy fats are good for us is that they help reduce chronic, low-grade inflammation. Choosing healthful foods is an easy concept, but we’ll bet that you didn’t know that prayer, meditation, or practicing the movement arts like tai chi or chi gong can also help. Interesting!
Metal energy adds rigidity and strength of will to a person’s character but it also reinforces a tendency to close off and hide emotions Use Earth’s nourishing energy to help you pull down the barriers and throw open the gates; it might make you feel exposed and vulnerable, but at the same time it creates a possibility for finding great joy.
You are naturally a bit reserved but that can make you feel a little sad and lonely. Laughter is the antidote to sadness so mood-lifting fun like music, dance, and singing would be good for you. Create connections by cultivating friendships, both old and new, and consider adopting a shelter pet who will lift your spirits and love you unconditionally. Woof!
Metal people tend to be risk aversive and although it can pay to be conservative, it can also mean that you miss out on opportunities to increase your worth. You do a lot of critical self-talk which is why you dislike making mistakes, but perhaps you could investigate a few ideas that are a bit outside your level of comfort but still might work well for you.
When your energy is in balance, you are organized, accomplished, and at peace but you are so good at what you do that you can get spread too thin, which can leave you feeling scattered and confused. When that happens… and it probably will… pull back and take a break until you regain perspective and can figure out an orderly way to proceed.
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