Archive for the ‘January 2015’ Category

Animal Forecast 2015: 3.Tiger Feet, outlook for the Tiger in 2015

January 23, 2015

Who is a Tiger?

Years:  1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010.
Month*:  February
Hour: 03:00 am – 05:00 am
Day: ask us
* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too.

What is a Tiger?
Because the yang wood Tiger is composed of three different elements, he is an especially versatile predator. There is nothing wrong with being a predator  – the world needs predators- except that it can imply a very rigid view of the world. Tigers often don’t play well with others, not because their egos are in the way (unlike the Dragon, the Pig, the Rooster or the Horse) but because for them, work and play are very distinct activities. They can up to a point frolic with other Tigers but broadly every alliance is focused on an outcome.

The Tiger never forgets. For the unbalanced Tiger no slight, insult or rejection can be allowed to go unredressed. He may wait a lifetime but he will get his revenge. On the other hand the balanced Tiger will always repay a debt and go out of his way to acknowledge assistance.

The typical qualities of yang wood are sharp eyes, a strong will and swift movement. The Tiger stalks his prey silently and pounces when he is ready. He can wait days as long as he is not hungry. A needy Tiger is very dangerous. Never scorn the Tiger.

The Tiger will often have a fresh view of things which makes him the eyes of the team he makes up with the Horse and the Dog. The Horse is front of house, the Dog the keeper of records and the Tiger the hit man.

In terms of human relations the Tiger may be the most yang of the animals; that is swift, sharp and unsubtle. The earth he inherits from his predecessor in the Zodiac the Ox, is turned miraculously from yin to yang when he receives it. The unbalanced Tiger knows no mercy and expects none. And in this he has altered the dogma he receives from the Ox – do as you would be done by – into a personal code. This alteration can amount to perversion and make for serious misunderstandings; the unconscious Tiger probably knows himself less well than any other animal.  Which means that since our gifts are generally concealed within our lessons (which are themselves concealed within the heartbreaks and triumphs of the dramas we weave for ourselves)  a balanced, awakened Tiger is as open, alert and self-aware as  a human being can become without disappearing in a puff of smoke.

That ruthlessness however, which is sometimes worn as a badge of honour, is often simply a failure to open up to interdependence with others. Of all insults “dependent” is the worst for the Tiger. He will not depend. This makes relationship an act of will. With a true act of will, the Tiger forms the most enduring relationships. If it is not truly a choice but a resigned agreement to bend himself out of shape, all around him will distort also. Sometimes the truly unconscious Tiger thinks this reflects a merciless world in which he has been clever in getting his revenge in first. This logic doesn’t work and the smarter Tiger knows this.

But even this one is not in the clear because the corollary of foregoing revenge appears to be falling on his sword. This is a mistake too. Most of us prefer not to live by the law of the jungle but then most of us are not as well-equipped for it.

Metal is generally considered to represent logical thought, authority and competition. The wooden Tiger likes to think of himself as logical but instinctive (or even automatic) is a better description. He can only make use of metal early on in life or at the inception of a process. After that he can deceive himself that he knows what to do and that he is beyond advice. The really unbalanced Tiger (yang wood day stem born in February for instance) considers himself bold and resolute but truly is hanging onto past (mother) stuff that ought to have been completed. The admission of this would affront his pride and he is unlikely to do it.

Richard Bandler used to say that the person with the most flexible behaviour has control. The Tiger is the yangest and woodenest of the animals. He is so flexible that he can be completely immovable. This can be his role in the alliance with the Monkey, Pig and Snake sometimes called the Four Terminals.

The Monkey sells the traveller a ticket, the Pig may offer to accompany him and the Snake can enchant with tales of exotic locations but the Tiger may simply snarl and send the traveller on his way. Without the Pig in the ba zi this combination can like the Four Earths (see elsewhere for explanation), be a seriously unhelpful combination, implying restricted movement. It was very common in 2013 and will be again in the Year of the Fire Monkey in 2016. Watch out! Meanwhile the Four Earths that run through 2015 like the letters within a stick of seaside rock, don’t appear to directly involve you. But if you think for that reason, that it leaves you largely untouched, you’re not paying attention.

A tender father and an implacable father in law, a good leader but an erratic motivator, at his worst, the keynote of the Tiger is an uneasy combination between a long memory and a short fuse. At his best he is the sort of leader any man would gladly die for.

Tiger in Wood Sheep Year.

Stars include: yum san, mong san.

In the Horse year the Tiger was in poll position. In fact you were a bit overpowering. The danger was that you could be over-egged and over-eager. In point of fact some Tigers’ grip on sanity  appeared to loosen a little. You may have been unusually rash which can have made it a harder year than it might have been. The Tiger’s like that; at your worst, hard on everyone but most particularly hard on yourself. But that ruthlessness  is often is not that much use to you; you need to pull out of the spin and harness that tremendous self-awareness that you know you possess, For you the Wood Sheep is the year of self-awareness; this year there’s a chance you’ll cease to accept your own excuses.  This is your life ie not somebody else’s.

Technically you combine with Horse and Dog in a team that is fuelled by Fire. Being Wood by nature, this calls on your deepest resources; an exhausting exercise.  Which is why 2014 has been all too much for many Tigers. This year’s Sheep however brings you both support and expression. You are empowered but no longer flattered. There is a feeling about you of having woken up.

But even the awakened Tiger is easily misunderstood. You believe yourself to be practical and sensible but so often your dreams pass you by because you are being what you think of as realistic. Others might call this “realism” insensitive or even brutal. The Tiger is often what William James called “tough-minded!. As a rule you have little time for the airy-fairy. But guess what? On one level there isn’t anything else. What’s for sure is that there are limits to what you can control and the limit is lower than you think. Too often your “realistic” thinking has actually been a lot less practical than that of those you’d like to call dreamers.  In 2015 you have a chance to make your mark. Your dreams may yet be accomplished but not by following a safe path that is going somewhere else. They say you only live once. Who knows? This year you can choose the path that gets your juices going. But you have to choose and to take responsibility for your choice.

Your friend the Horse may be on sabbatical; certainly (s)he will be under a different kind of pressure. So there’s reason to suppose you’ll find company and assistance. Dogs will be making rapid strides and they’ll include you if you let them. Don’t make any more excuses for your dissatisfaction with your life. Take it on. That’s not necessarily easy but it’s the same for everybody.

The Tiger is extraordinarily resilient but sometimes your judgement will fail you; that’s human. You tend to quit with a plausible rationale just when you’re close to the finishing post rather than to soldier on when the going gets tough. In July you’re especially empowered, so when you’re challenged in August as usual, don’t let the setbacks and delays breed self-pity.  It’s too easy; you’ve been here before.  Above all don’t believe your own stories as to why pulling out just as you break  through is the most sensible idea in the world. Hear but don’t heed inner thoughts of defeat

Your closest associate the Pig has his or her own fair share of Wood too. That’s how you understand each other. But the Pig is more versatile, more adaptable . Seek Pigs and emulate them; the likelihood is that you know (and like) a few.  They tend also to defend the indefensible but generally don’t believe their own cover stories.

This year many Tigers will make leaps professionally; money is no particular issue. It’s a question of not fooling yourself. Relationship is more likely to be casual than constant and happier for the male than the female Tiger. Health may be  mixed; small blockages possibly and a risk of some weight gain. But there is real breakthrough by November if you choose and stick to direction and method.

Finally, the Tiger is a predator and the Sheep is a meat animal. You have been given so much support  and it looks like you’ve failed to acknowledge or even notice it. The worst mistake you can make this year is categorising those who help you as saps or that it’s alright for them and so hard for you. Even worse would be to consider your clients as your enemy. This is the reflection of the yum san Star; notice “reflection” rather than “effect. It would be as petulant to attribute your dissatisfaction to untimely stars as to attribute  the relative good fortune of others to timely ones. This your life.

”Seek out Sun Tzu’s classic The Art of War; not to follow its precepts but to recognise its deep foolishness which at your worst reflects your own. For foolishness read “cowardice” by the way.

Health: care of bones, ligaments, eyesight.

Money: plentiful but hard-earned.

Relationship: male Tigers get lucky.

Feng Shui: for advance seek  the Moon in the North West.

Readers’ Digest Version: all to play for.

Richard Ashworth © 2015

The Bolting Horse

January 21, 2015

The Bolting Horse

Human beings are designed to feast in December and then lie around bloated till February. The Chinese Year kind of respects this. And here I am early Monday morning walking past the line of cars queuing to get into town. The newspapers judge success by “growth” alone; don’t they know that growth must be finite on a finite planet?

This is the noman’s time between the Solstice and the Spring Festival, astride between the new and old Chinese years. Anyone who wants a feng shui man, wants him now, so even I am walking relatively fast. A smart Volkswagen Beetle creeps by at three mph. The driver’s texting; a youngish guy in an inexpensive suit. I overtake again, he creeps past again, balancing his phone between his knees. He looks tired. Bless him.

As usual at this time of year, I’m re-visiting buildings that were fine-tuned for the Year of the Wood Horse, in order to set them up for 2015. Everything needs re-assessing; the West, for instance which has been the most helpful area for twelve months is becoming tricky. Nature doesn’t work in straight lines and this change of overall energy can creep up. Already I’ve had an s.o.s. from Heather whose pregnant daughter is in an otherwise perfectly serviceable West-facing house which has suddenly turned nasty. And another via my website from a lady I don’t know whose domestics are becoming physical. An ornery West can be like that.

Change is constant; how and when it’ll show up, on the other hand, can be very hard to predict. What I can tell you now without getting fiddly, is to stay out of the West and avoid facing South West for long. You can always hire me of course.

What I do feel confident to predict is that 2015, the Year of the Wood Sheep is likely to be very different from the brazen, publicity-seeking Wood Horse; unearthed scandals, misbehaviour, misappropriation wherever we focused, whether Rotherham, Westminster or Capitol Hill.  It will however reflect previous Sheep years to some extent (2003 was the last) and to a much greater extent, previous Wood Sheep years in the 60 year cycle (1955, 1895, 1835, 1775 and so on). I’m talking about this the Year of Gathering, at Rachel Elnaugh’s Source tv event on February 3rd in London. You can also get the gist in this article for Take A Breath magazine. I’m also Tweeting,* FaceBooking and Linking-In what each of us can expect this year, Animal by Animal; forecasts for Rat and Ox are already up

Brand New

And as it happens, on St Martins Lane I bump into Russell Brand; pretty much literally. He has a wild gleam in his eye but the sweet romantic 1975 Wood Rabbit that he is, is actually kind of blessed by the Sheep. We have a short argument.

“Revolution is all very well, I say, “but there’s a general election in a few months.”

“Revolution Now!” he says with that wild gleam.

“The important thing,” I tell him, “is that younger people vote.” Because otherwise the powers-that-be will simply continue to flatter and favour voters – mostly older, mostly settled, and mostly not likely to live to deal with the ecological, financial and military-industrial crunch that is coming.”

“Revolution Now!” he repeats.

Ram Dass once said words to the effect that some of us need to meditate while some of us need to learn our post codes and I’d like to say that I set Russell straight on the point that Revolution Now! is not just politically but also spiritually poor timing but the truth is that I don’t. Advanced thinkers like Andrew Harvey, Karen Armstrong, Caroline Myss and Marianne Williamson are becoming more engaged not less. Instead I apologise for forcing myself upon him, remind him what an admirer I am of his work, shake his hand and withdraw.

He makes good points of course. Just as he remarked on his Trews, on YouTube, David Cameron almost drools as each new threat offers him the chance to impersonate a statesman. Each of the leaders of the big parties subscribes to “austerity” and the fantasy of industrial nations driven by growth living within their means. The Earth is finite, for God’s sake. And they all chop the air meaninglessly with their hands as they talk, in exactly the same way.

And Brand is right as academics Jeffrey Sachs and Naomi Klein will endorse, that the mad “growth” motive of oil giants, banks, IT providers and others is suicidal. There are three Climate Change Summits this year. Some experts like Guy Mcpherson reckon that the stable door is locked and the horse long since bolted; the Sixth Great Extinction is under way. Some like Andrew Harvey , refuse to despair. These gatherings may be a late opportunity to charm the horse back into the stable.

Tuesday morning, the cars are in line once again. My friend Martha in Tennessee whom I teach ba zi and feng shui by Skype, is terrified she is losing her memory so I reassure her that we may lose faculties as we age, but we gain them too. And I talk Marilyn in Vancouver whose son is in rehab, through the process of seeing herself in him so as to pull them both back from the brink. Another day, another Tune-Up, another traffic build-up. Russell Brand says it’s time for Revolution Now! but I think most of these guys would settle for 20 minutes longer in bed.

Richard Ashworth © 2015

*as @FengShuiDiaries


Animal Forecasts 2015: 2. Ox Stalls – Or Not, outlook for the Ox in 2015

January 20, 2015

Who is an Ox?

Years:  1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009.
Month*:  January
Hour: 01:00 am -03:00 am
Day: ask us

* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too.

What is an Ox?
The Ox is insistent rather than persistent;  the Ox’s yin Earth makes for a certain fragility, more of a curtain than a rampart. The Ox is in many ways, the most sensitive year animal. This is often expressed in what looks like obstinacy but is better understood as puzzlement at being disagreed with. In discourse you may find that an Ox has firm principles that on examination are not principles at all but more like prejudices or assumptions. They are often nonetheless firm as well as correct for all that. Jane Austen’s Mrs Bennett reads like an Ox.

As a rule, don’t expect flexibility of mind from an Ox; they know what they know and are often not keen to venture beyond. The detail that really distinguishes the Ox however, is that (s)he often craves power and often doesn’t notice either that the power has waned or that it is time to relinquish it. Famous Oxen include Margaret Thatcher, Napoleon Bonaparte and Barack Obama. You get the picture? Power tends to peak in the Rat year btw – 1984, 1804 and 2008 respectively.

The Ox is frequently practical rather than intellectual although the intellectually gifted Ox is extraordinarily powerful. Because of your position between the Rat and the Tiger, you can sometimes vacillate between a fierceness that does not suit you and a Rat-like charm that may not be sustainable. Neither of these are strengths in academe.

With her allies the Snake and the Rooster, the Ox forms a team which is of the metal element. That is to say that the alliance is linear, judgemental and competitive. Where the ground rules are clear, this is an unstoppable combination. These three make a great legal team with the Rooster charming the jury, the Snake unearthing information that no one else could find and the Ox sticking to the point. When the rules are unclear however, the metal alliance can falter. Then the Ox can become judgemental in a more covert sort of way, being less liable to argue than to judge silently. Without the Snake and the Rooster, the Ox becomes  more barrack room lawyer than barrister.

To the metal of such a team which stands for logic, reason and competition, the Ox brings the earth which stands  for consistency. Which is vital but in dealing with the Ox, it is important to encourage linear thought and to unmask the unreasonable (and consistent) for what it is. Often your position is just habit; you may still quibble though.

The hour of the Ox (1am-3am) is the time that the worlds of spirit and flesh are closest.  She has a deep spiritual agenda. The gifts of mediumship and divination are essentially Ox and Sheep gifts.

The Ox may be attached to ancestral dogma. Fundamentalism of all sorts – political and social as well as religious – stick to you. She is not always good at questioning tradition or second-hand wisdom that has come down on good authority. She will often quote great men and prophets, not because their words are wise but because they are great. Maggie Thatcher probably made both Maynard Keynes and John Wesley rotate in their graves.

With the Dragon, Dog and Sheep, the Ox forms the Literary Alliance. Some call this confluence the Four Earths and think of it as negative. The fact is that it is a demanding combination and when only three of these meet, the weakness of the grouping  is defined by which one  is missing. When all four are present, great achievement follows.  If the Dog is absent for instance, the association may be short-lived. On the other hand, the combination of Dog, Ox and Sheep is a challenge to a strong ba zi and can be the ruin of a weak one. Obviously the magic Dragon is missing from this last conjunction, sometimes called a “bullying punishment.” In 2015 this volatile meeting of Ox, Sheep and Dog is central. When the three appear together, expect suppressed communication and rigid rules. Which the Dragon simply wiggles his nose and dissolves.

Barack Obama may currently be the world’s most famous Ox and a good example of this. He actually has a Sheep in his month pillar but no Dogs and no Dragons; this makes for a home-loving and secure man. Which is heightened by a day stem (the yin earth character that rules the day he was born) having a special affinity both with the Ox and the Sheep. This like so many Oxen, is a man who loves his babies. But what about those of the rest of the world?

As if to answer this question, in the year just past, Obama  has used the special executive powers of the presidency  for a number of enlightened purposes including letting the world know about waterboarding and the various abuses of the CIA. His power is on the wane but he’s going down fighting. As Napoleon did and Mrs Thatcher as well of course as 1889 Earth Ox Adolf Hitler*.  None of these knew when it was all over, did they? Traditionally the chaos of “bullying punishment” is brought to a head by the Dragon, who as we shall discover is accordingly the hub of the coming Sheep year.

The Ox is not that keen on the Rabbit who can help herself to the Ox’s fresh vegetables or the Tiger who somehow often manages to exploit her. And you have a love-hate relationship with the irritatingly spontaneous and extrovert Horse to whom you can not help nonetheless being drawn. For the Ox, the Horse represents the perhaps unwelcome daylight upon your true intentions and ultimately your true values. But to really know the mettle of the Ox, observe her with Sheep and Dog.

*His peak Rat year was 1936

Ox in Wood Sheep Year.

Stars include: bay gin helper, pin choi wealth, year breaker.

Caution! The Sheep is not fond of the Ox. They are diametrically opposed on the compass and the clock and despite (or perhaps because of) their similar natures, they rarely see eye-to-eye without compromise. This antipathy in a year dominated by the Sheep can imply vulnerability, defensiveness, defeat and illness for the Ox. Since the Ox is associated with the middle of the body, possible stomach, digestive and gastric  issues are possible. Not certain though; the Chinese term kun which expresses the relationship between these two yin Earth Animals means challenge, power, discipline and influence as well as confrontation; not such an easy year but not necessarily one of loss, ill-health or defeat. We all know that moment when we decide to succumb to a minor ailment. Often the alternative is major but demanding progress. Those moments when the alternatives hang in balance will come again and again for the Ox in the Wood Sheep year.

Which relates the pivotal animal of the Year is the Dragon; pivotal because the magic Dragon solves what is known as the “bullying punishment”. This combination is what it sounds like; a ganging up or victimisation and it occurs when Sheep meets Ox and Dog. In a Sheep year this is going to happen a lot. It threatens for instance on a Dog day (such as the 22nd) during the Ox month of January. Each of these animals risks feeling aggrieved on such a day and of course again at some time during every Dog or Ox day that follows – in particular during the Sheep  month of July and so on.  But more to the point, since each of our ba zis is likely to feature one of these animals somewhere, most of us will experience this at some point in the year, some of us constantly.

One such will be the Ox who is, as we established,  in direct opposition to the tai sui or “Great Year.” You will tend to be challenged constantly but especially in July (the Sheep month) and October (Dog). However the Dragon gets you out of jail free, so no such issues in April; this is the month to put the boat out. Kun, as I said, means influence. Use opposition as fuel; it helps clarify what you stand for. Get flexible, open, susceptible; you know it makes sense. And kun means discipline; ever since 2008 probably, you have been kind of off track. If that’s correct, reassess and employ 2015’s buffets to put you back on course just as a skilled mariner uses wind and tide. 2015 is an eye- and a mind-opener.

The Dragon is your greatest asset this year. If you have despite your mutual  discomfort, an important Dragon (born 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 or even 2014) in your life, lean on them a little. They’ re up to it. Also each pillar in your ba zi  has a different nuance, so if you were born in the Dragon month of April, make work your focus. If your birth hour was between 7 and 9am, attention to your kids is your salvation; I sometimes say that if you want to know your life purpose, it may be that it has your name on it.

It’ll take openness and flexibility to thrive this year; the Ox is a loyal but not always wholehearted partner. If you were born on a Dragon day (for which you’ll need a Chinese calendar) overwhelm your beloved with love this year. Think about it: if you’re committed you might as well stop resisting and if you haven’t been, that’ll be why you’re dissatisfied, wont it?  Make sense? If you can get out of your own way enough just to do this, you enter the Monkey year redeemed. There’s every chance you’ll have more and better friends too; that’s what the bay gin Star above refers too.

So this is likely to be a white-water job but there’s plenty to ensure that next year  you emerge stronger and wiser.  Could have a good time too if you’ll just reassess. Constantly.

Health: possible stomach, digestive, gastric  issues.

Money: enough.

Relationship: deepening friendship.

Feng Shui:       1961 Metal, 1997 Fire:                                  activate, occupy, face South East1.

1949 Earth, 1973 Water, 1985 Wood:    occupy, activate (do not face) SW3.

Activate this area which holds this year’s Fortune Virtue (which speaks for itself, doesn’t it?) with gently-pumped or “sentimental” Water.

Readers’ Digest Version: rise to the challenge.

Richard Ashworth © 2015

Animal Forecasts 2015: 1. The Rodent Less Travelled, outlook for Rats in 2015

January 14, 2015

Who is a Rat?

Years:  1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.
Month*:  November
Hour: 11:00 pm – 01:00 am
Day: ask us

* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too.

What is a Rat?
The Rat is yang water but with a hidden stem of yin water, the major water animal of Chinese metaphysics. All water on this planet, unless interfered with by outside forces, is connected with and on the same level as all other water. This powerful idea may clarify the connection between water and communication.

Someone said that we have two ears and one mouth for a good reason: that we should listen twice as much as we speak. The issues relating to water are listening and speaking while keeping the ratios right. Often observation of this balance is not the calling of the Rat. Some of us are elected primarily to talk and the yang water of the Rat signifies a high level of communication. The Rat is the talker of the Chinese Zodiac. As you know, an unbalanced or distressed Rat tends to clam up or run off at the mouth.

The Rat is supreme in the realm of ideas. It is said that when you can tell water from fire, you are a master. The blue of the sky at mid-summer, for instance is not water but fire. Who can identify this consistently? The Rat who is a planner and a plotter and a deep thinker, is the most likely candidate. He thinks ahead, sometimes to the detriment of his awareness of the present. This makes him a good chess player but not so great at poker. He is apt to be too controlling for games that require being open to good fortune. That sort of uncertainty is painful to your average Rat. He wants the credit and to get that he has to be in control.

In conversation you may find that the Rat second guesses in a very distinctive way: typically he gets his correspondent to commit to a position before he states his; a very useful quality in a teacher but not everyone’s cup of tea in a collaborator. The Dragon and the Monkey, even the Ox, may find this reassuring but it drives the Horse and the Tiger wild and to some extent the Dog.

Being big talkers and travellers, Rats are traditionally suited to work involving communication: sales, oratory and persuasion. In the collaboration with the Rabbit, Rooster and Horse that Derek Walters (himself a Rat) calls the Flowers of Love, the Rat is the talker, the chatter-up  if you will, where the Rooster provides the glamour, the Horse the passion and the Rabbit the stamina. A Rat with these additional animals present is effortlessly successful and charismatic. The missing animals indicate his weaknesses. None of them of course is at ease alone in the company of the Rat.

An unbalanced Rat talks too much and listens selectively. A balanced one gets this exactly right; he is fascinating talker and a skilled listener. But the very deafness of the less gifted Rat can be a point of pride. Blessed nonetheless with an orderly mind and excellent retention, this Rat often considers his ignorance of a subject a reflection upon the subject rather than upon himself. This sort of Rat needs to learn to value the convictions of others, especially if they are derived from premises he does not accept.

The Rat is a guardian, a watcher. Sometimes he is self-appointed and the unbalanced Rat has a particular blindness that leads him to believe that his opinion is an absolute. This is more accentuated and less well-informed in his partner the Ox in what some call the House of Creativity and Cleverness. The relationship between the Ox and the Rat is less that of partners than of pupil and tutor but the Ox can be a particularly obdurate learner, sometimes drawing conclusions to which he is not entitled and sticking like a limpet to any conclusion he can justify. In these circumstances the Ox is not so much partner or indeed student of the Rat as tormentor.

A very conscious Rat can make good use of this blindness to the value of other people’s positions. He is likely to be able to explain things that baffle others and to derive laws from this gift. To have no explanation however is to open himself up to chaos. If he knows this about himself he can master even the most abstract discipline.

The Rat is versatile and multi-talented though not as notably so as the Pig of whom he is often jealous or the Dragon who can baffle him despite their mutual affinity. Yang water can speak of profligacy with money. The Rat is a brilliant small businessman but often a poor tycoon. In the power triad with the Dragon and Monkey, the Rat may appear to overvalue the hands-on deftness of the Monkey because he finds the Monkey easier to control and may envy the Dragon his magic.

And it is this potential for envy that is the other big weakness of the Rat and laid him open once more to the Horse last year. The full-on spontaneity of Fire draws resentment from many a Rat. He can’t admire what he can’t himself master. This can lead to him not getting credit for originality of mind. Consider Water Rat Alan Turing of Enigma fame. And finally  the Rat can be a fickle partner but an attentive parent albeit one who may have favourites. The awakened Rat is absolutely even-handed; which is quite a gift.

Rat in Wood Sheep Year.

Stars include: toe far,  tin yute gwai yan.

In a Horse year, the Rat is challenged directly. There will have been no ambiguity about this. The bar was set higher and the opposition more determined than ever before. The only redeeming factor will have been that ultimately, strong Water conquers strong Fire. Extroversion makes the Horse in the last analysis vulnerable where the Rat can play safe. This can be a tad stultifying; you may have rejected rivals, suitors and original ideas in equal measure  in the year passed. Think back perhaps; did you forestall disappointment by not entering the competition? This can have been a professional decision , one about relationship or something else. Did you turn your back on big opportunity out of fear? That is the likely pattern of the common-or-garden Rat in a Horse year.

The Sheep year however is a bit different.  You are the duty  tin yute gwai yan or “noble helper” This year you are liable to baulk on others’ behalf. If you are a manager or a parent you may be tempted to keep your charges out of danger and thereby out of the challenge of learning. As a parent this is a bridge too far. Read Kalil Ghibran on this subject. We don’t own our children. We have a simple brief: to bring them to maturity self-sufficient and in one piece . Something very similar applies to people management; the job of the manager is also to make themselves redundant and then move on. You suffer – for the best possible reasons – from being over-protective.  Probably; the Rat is smart though and there exists a species of Rat who follows Gurdjeff in believing that that which does not kill us makes us stronger. This is a harsh credo. Some call it tough love. But there is no meaning to this oxymoron. Love is not tough. Such an approach derives from fear. Fear of engagement, fear of becoming irrevocably emotionally committed.  This year you can’t run from it.

Sounds like quite a year.

Our gifts lie under our curses and the thing is that the Rat has a gift for dealing with this stuff. You are able to communicate deep vulnerable emotion better than almost anyone. It’s just that it’s frightening. That’s why we over-protect. Because if we lay ourselves open, owning our mistakes, rather than trying to be cardboard cut-out perfect parents, who knows what weakness we might own up to? As a people manager, if we admitted our incompetence, what advantage might be taken of us? And what might we learn in the process?

This year the Wood of the Wood Sheep draws us inexorably out. If we will not speak them, our lapses will turn up in writing. If we will not share our failings, our various charges can only learn the hard way. You have been taken on for a reason. Your hard-won experience is not only of value to you but to everyone who follows or attempts to follow your example. You are called to help, to get involved.

Youthful political pundit Owen Jones is a good example; he was born in 1984, making him a Wood Rat, the originator of ideas.  If he becomes an actual practising politician this year, rather than an outspoken voice on the margins, he may make a huge positive difference. And his apparent quandary has a very parental tone to it; there is no one else to do it. There is not a queue down the hall of people prepared to take risks on behalf of  what you care about. So you, Mr or Ms Rat, are, so to speak, elected. Speak your truth.

The Rat by the way has pretty good relationship luck this year. As a keeper of the toe far or Plum Blossom Star, the Rat is both match and matchmaker. Wealth probably not so much. So get on with it; there’s not much to lose. You are a focal point in 2015.

Like last year , the Rat can himself ask for help although the sources are different this year. Seek Monkeys (1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004) who can’t help but involve themselves with you. Keep them house-trained though. And the Dragon (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000) who is at the heart of everything this year, is sworn to contain you also. This team is double effective because the Monkey is also duty  tin yute gwai yan this year.

Expect to be defending others a lot. Plan for it. You are likely to be involved in vicarious dispute on and off the whole time. You can be the champion – with all the approbation and empowerment likely to follow in the Monkey Year of 2016. Or you can play safe, That’ll hurt. Step up; you know it makes sense..

Health: food-poisoning, some blocking of the pipes possible. Don’t over-do starch.

Money: undramatic for now.

Relationship: Better for Ratte than Rat. This is a year of largely deferred gratification.

Feng Shui: occupy SE1, the Dragon (East Group) and/or SW3, the Monkey (West Group)

Readers’ Digest Version: a challenge to be risen to for the benefit of all.

Richard Ashworth © 2015


Ox Diary: what to expect in January 2015

January 6, 2015

Ox Diary: what to expect in January 2015.

The Ox takes a Bow.

Ox Month opens: January 6th 00:57am.

Ox takes a bow.

Now, in the sluggish Ox-time we prepare for the New Year. The Ox of January is a symbol of fortitude and stamina, occupying this slow period between the year’s end and its regeneration. December is slow and dark, February is fresh. Inbetween is neither one thing nor the other, short days, long lights, new purpose taking time to form. “Blue Monday,” supposedly the most depressing day of the year, falls on the 26th January when holidays, paydays and clement weather are furthest away in either direction.

But this is a time literally of re-creation. An ancient Chinese proverb says that ”the new-born Ox-calf does not fear the Tiger.” This may simply be an oriental way of warning fools not to rush in but the terminology is astrological: the Ox Boy and his lost partner nu the Maiden, are separated in the night sky by the vastness of the Milky Way. Year succeeds year and the less we resist change, separation and novelty, the easier it may be to adapt appropriately.

The years as I have written many times, do not change like the opening and closing of a door. Nature does not work in straight lines and there are good reasons for putting the beginning of the year as early as December 19th – when the esoteric kua numbers of the days start to be counted upwards rather than downwards – or as late as February 19th and the Chinese (Lunar) New Year Festival. There are those who are pedantic about each of these calculations and indeed about several more. All of which simply emphasizes the sleepy chaos of the Ox month.

So this is the time to start the he tu journeys prescribed for the year and to-rethink sleeping and working positions while the qi remains weak. It’s hard to stumble into an inauspicious location and trigger a plague of boils right now but equally, few dramatic reversals are likely to be conjured up. All of this information was included in our 13th December workshop btw and will shortly appear in writing. There’ll be more.

The Ox in the Ox Month.

Ox (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) are by common consent the tyrants of the Chinese Zodiac. If that seems sweeping, consider again that Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte and Margaret Thatcher were all born in Ox Years. And Barack Obama.

In the Ox month we reluctantly uncurl and pick up where we left off. As you’d expect, the typical Ox has no problem with consistency. In fact sticking to a position beyond its sell-by date may be the Ox’s downfall. Consider the Oxen above. They also share somewhat the Ox’s other failing, that of not knowing when their influence is fading.

The Ox’s cohorts are Snake and Rooster who can be inventive and seductive respectively, while the Ox keeps them to the agenda. The Rat may feel that his or her arms are tied for the time being while that agenda continues to vary from his own.

The Ox spats with the incoming Sheep and indeed this year focuses around the four Earth Animals – Ox, Sheep, Dragon, Dog – and the so-called Bullying Punishment which is relieved by the Four Earths. This year features team-building revolving around the Dragon who brings magical release to a stuck situation. If I remind you of two prominent Dragons, Farage and Putin, this may start to make sense, especially if we factor in the Obama Ox, Sheep Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond along with Dog George Osborne.

This is the Year of Gathering, not one of uncovering like 2014 and most of what matters will be out of the public gaze. Do not expect the CIA, Goldman Sachs, GCHQ or those in charge of investigating the various abuses that came to light in the bright year of the Horse to report rapidly or fully.

Early in the Cameron administration, a ship ran aground on the South Coast. Sheila and myself, both brought up by the sea in traditional wrecking country, looked up from our armchairs and smiled at each other ruefully at the BBC announcer’s admonition to the curious that the cargo was “hazardous”.

“It’s valuable,” we said simultaneously. And indeed the hold was full of shiny new motorbikes. Now, the Ox month, is the time to pay close attention to what is not being said.

Ox Month, Animal by Animal.

During this Ox month:

The Rat reluctantly takes orders.

The Ox sticks to the point.

The Tiger flirts with impatience.

The Rabbit finds gratitude.

The Dragon becomes essential.

The Snake dictates what is dealt with.

The Horse defends the indefensible.

The Sheep may withdraw before joining.

The Monkey may feel left out.

The Rooster is flattered.

The Dog narrowly avoids break-up.


The Pig gets a second chance.

Ox Pillars; know your Ox rating.

Birth in the Ox hour (01:00pm-03:00am): children of faith.

Birth in the Ox month (January*): leadership.

Birth on the Ox day#: ignoring shelf-life.

Birth in the Ox year: born to a spiritual or religious tradition.

* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.

# Just ask.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the authoritative year 6. In a 3 year like 2015, authority is unlikely to be respected consistently;this trend is magnified in the Eastern part of any space right now. This makes the East however along with the North, literally a plum location in the coming Sheep Year. Because both of these hold toe far or “Plum Flower” stars. This means they can be activated to attract or strengthen one-to-one (generally romantic) relationship for those born in the years of the Horse, Dog and Tiger (East) and Rabbit, Sheep and Pig (North). Such “activation” is best customised, but simply placing “sentimental” (that is flowing) Water North now and in the East from February may bear interesting fruit. Let me know.

Coming Shortly: Richard will be posting both his Animal Fortunes for 2015 & his general forecast for 2015, the Year of the Wood Sheep on his website & via Twitter (@fengshuidiaries). Watch this space.

Your home/office space aligned for 2015: to get the best of the new energies, Richard is booking in Tune-Ups NOW. Email:

Ba Zi Starter Course: Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars opens the weekend of 17/18th January 2015.

Auspicious Dates and Places: Every month Richard compiles for his retainer clients at vast expense, a detailed bulletin of the current auspicious dates, places and procedures for health, wealth and wisdom. Now you can subscribe at a little less than vast expanse. If you’re interested in receiving that bulletin along with his daily Hot Spots, contact

 Richard Ashworth©, towards the end of the month of the Rat, 2015.

Richard Ashworth©, towards the end of the month of the Rat, 2015.