Who is a Monkey?
Years: 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004.
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What is a Monkey?
The image of the Three Wise Monkeys, see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil is a mediaeval Japanese summary of the qualities of the metal Monkey who is yang metal and a particularly unbalanced primate. The image is of someone of course who shrinks from involvement. In elemental terms, this is about too much yang metal. What is meant by yang metal essentially is competition. Often the Monkey is so competitive he dare not enter the race. For many Monkeys, a man is an island. He is, like Hugh Grant’s character in About a Boy, “bloody Ibiza”.
As well as competitive, the Monkey is typically charming, loveable, dextrous, logical and quick witted and has a gift for precision. The balanced Monkey uses these qualities constructively and in the service of his fellow man. The unbalanced Monkey (born say, late afternoon in August ) does not clean up behind himself. He is in short a monkey.
The Monkey is often the most acquisitive as well as the gentlest beast but he is above all, competitive. In the extreme this means warfare. In its milder forms it is the ruthless competition that involves the belief that another’s gain is our loss. This is a mistake. It’s what leads to steroid abuse in athletics and in football, ballet dancing in the penalty box. The metal Monkey may learn this lesson early; it’s what makes him particularly gentle and all Monkeys subscribe to this delusion to a greater or lesser extent.
Just as you’d expect, the pitfall of the Monkey is frivolity. If he can’t win he takes the Mickey.
The Monkey’s natural allies are the Rat and the Dragon. This is a pretty heavy-duty grouping, perhaps the most powerful in the Chinese Zodiac. The naturally dominant Rat and the egotistical Dragon are not, as a rule, a bundle of laughs. But they get stuff done; most of the big revolutions of ideas involve this team. The influence of this trio spreads everywhere: Sigmund Freud perhaps the most influential thinker of the 20th Century, Michele Obama possibly the most influential woman in the world, Dragons. Even Jesus if you take AD32 as his birth year.* And somewhere in there if we delve deeply enough, we find unsung Monkeys and Rats making it happen. The Rat plots, the Monkey gets out there and competes. Probably St Paul was a Monkey, the man who sold Christianity to the world. Someone who is a Monkey for sure is Karen Armstrong author of a History of God, founder of the Charter for Compassion and arguably the most important thinker of the 21st Century. This is a Monkey who has learned to speak no evil while seeing much.
The Monkey tends to understand engines; he is the grease Monkey. He also tends to understand maths, science and argument. He is suited very often to a career in engineering or the law, also accountancy. Unbalanced, he neglects all of the above. The Monkey month of August spans Leo and Virgo and to see him as a hybrid of Virgo control and Leo passion is not far from the truth.
When the Tiger and the Snake meet the Monkey, there is trouble. The Monkey both co-operates with and fights the Snake. The presence of the Tiger pushes this competition over the edge. Keep them apart. So the Monkey should mind his p’s and q’s every February, the month of the Tiger and every May, the month of the Snake.
So that’s the Monkey: argumentative, practical, mischievous, so competitive he can withdraw altogether. But you knew that already didn’t you?
* That’s up for debate of course but presumably he was a Capricorn anyway.
Monkey in the Wood Sheep
Stars include: gip sat, goo san
Impatient, sulky; these are not the usual descriptions of the Monkey. They are your dark side, the character you’d really rather not be. Generally of course you’re not this way; you like a joke. But sometimes you can’t take one. A delusion that can blindside the naturally humorous Monkey is that every jest needs a victim. It’s simply not true. It may be important you absorb this truth soon because this year you may find yourself on a pedestal. And pedestals can be magnets for slings and arrows.
You are above all competitive and consequently have learned to see all the angles. You can see where your current path is leading. You are aware of the opportunities as well as the pitfalls. You know the routine and the patterns. That’s why you can be rebellious; because you understand rules. This may have led to great success in the last couple of years. But you’re going to have to get flexible if you are to maintain that success. As a former of habits – the Monkey is one of the addicts of the Zodiac – you are wrong footed by irregularity. A bus that won’t keep to its timetable is no use to you. And the year of the Sheep demands that you are patient. It is a year of family and of gathering and these groupings don’t follow straight lines.
You’ve got it figured. Not.
Equally, as the next sign along in the cycle , the Monkey is Metal to the Sheep’s essential Earth. Earth gives birth to Metal; naturally. We can bank on it, like clockwork. But if you are expecting smooth transitions this year, it may be time to re-calibrate; the Sheep is yin Earth, you’re yang Metal. That is to say the Sheep is smaller, weaker, slower and more subtle than its yang counterparts and may not empower you sufficiently. This may mean that reliable colleagues start to disappoint and that reliable structures – other than family – seem to dissolve around you. Actually they’re not dissolving so much as defining themselves. Sales and other teams may reduce to hard core. This is part of the nature of the Year of Gathering. Lines are forming. Where do you stand?
As a rule you don’t like to say; you prefer to present a moving target. You’re a competitor. But this year your well-being depends upon belonging and now before it gets sticky, is the time to work out where you stand. And stand there. This may be an ethical or political standpoint, it may be more about professional practice but it is especially about recognition. You are already outstanding; you need to become obvious, unmistakeable. This involves the kinds of risk you’re not historically keen on. Perhaps you need to be ready for key conversations. Perhaps you need to be sure you know which these are and with whom. Perhaps you need to blow your own trumpet or prime others to do your trumpet-blowing for you. Perhaps you need to exploit your relative visibility. You probably have to stick your neck out. You never seek to undermine opposition but to up your game. That’s the sign of the true competitor. But it needs witnessing.
Your solution to hurdles has generally been to simply work harder. In the bright light of the Year of the Horse this came to notice. The Sheep Year however has a tendency to obscure things. The Sheep’s hour is the siesta time between 1 and 3 pm, after lunch. In 2015 things get forgotten, records get lost. Some people in authority develop shorter memories. You can detach from the upset but not from the process. Prepare now. Prepare for invisibility.
And after that? Emphasise your Metal nature. You are capable of great precision. You understand the discipline of a repeated method. That ability comes from a flair for analysis. But where you have concluded, re-think; re-measure, re-calculate. Possibly several times this year in major ways. Re-think the hierarchy. Re-think the reward structure so that you know where your future lies and how to grasp it. Re-think what you think you know. You’ll have to throw away some prejudices and some conclusions to which you’ve become attached. There may be fresh starts on the cards. Rely on those you can rely upon. For the most part this means family. This is after all the Year of Family.
This is a year of great challenge. But it’s likely to prove worth it. Remember that when you feel underestimated, under-rewarded and close to collapse. This year you fill in the bits of education you have missed. This year you learn how to negotiate life and Life.
Health: Odd illnesses.. Earth Monkey (1992) most vulnerable.
Money: some but not a year of bounty.
Relationship: all about output; mostly that means kids and expense.
Feng Shui: seek the Dragon at SE1 (ESE) ie be there, face that way, activate the area with Water.
Readers’ Digest Version: very testing but worth the trouble
Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Tiger, 2015.
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