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.
Okay, you’ve had your holiday fun, but now’s the time to eliminate or modulate unhealthy habits. Yes, Wood is a tough, forceful element, but it happens to be very sensitive to toxins so investigate air filters, get a filtered water bottle; buy organic if you can, switch to natural cleaners, and to be very careful about the use of alcohol or recreational drugs.
Changes can be difficult to make and often result in what practitioners of Chinese medicine define as a “heated” state that we can better understand as anxiety. It is only natural that we don’t like feeling uncomfortable, but the anxiety caused by change is temporary and will eventually fade away, while the rewards of healthy habits will last a lifetime!
Woodies are driven to success, and sometimes they get so busy that they deny themselves the pleasure of close relationships. Keep in touch; call or text when you have an extra moment and share your affection for friends and family. Emotional connections are good for you, and they are good for your loved ones… it’s never too late to start.
Healthy finances give us the freedom to enjoy the kind of life we want to lead and the ability to share our good fortune with others. Get ahead by figuring out how to save, and then start socking money away for future reward. Take steps now toward reducing debt so that one day you will be able to indulge in the lifestyle that you are dreaming of.
Cultivate an interest in others. You don’t have to inquire into people’s personal lives or get involved in drama, but you could ask your colleagues about the challenges they are facing at work. Healthy Wood energy enhances creativity that will help you figure out how to learn more about the people you are in close daily contact with. Relationships matter!
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