Archive for the ‘Study Ba Zi’ Category

Fire Monkey Month Diary

August 5, 2016
Still no Wise Monkeys
My diary for the month of the Fire Monkey
(August 7th 10:39am to Sept7th 13:48pm inclusive)
in the Year of the Fire Monkey.Pi
———-
———-
———-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
Standstill
Hexagram 12“If we wish to compress, we must first allow full expansion.”
Lao Tse.The Monkey Month
Animal by Animal
During this Fire Monkey Month,
The Rat gets the breaks,
The Ox follows – for once,
The Tiger crouches,
The Rabbit’s agenda may appear dictated,
The Dragon cruises,
The Snake has help controlling the damage,
The Horse should not wager,
The Sheep rests – in company,
The smart Monkey embraces chaos,
The Rooster beckons,
The Dog is consistent,
while
The Pig takes it easy.
 
Know your inner beast. How Monkey are you?
Birth in the Monkey Hour (1-3pm)~: ingenious and impious kids.
Birth on the Monkey Day#: resistance to early commitment.
Birth during the Monkey Month (August)*: sales ability.
Birth in the Monkey Year: mechanically minded.
~ An hour earlier than the clock during British Summertime ie 8-10.
# You’ll need a Chinese calendar. * Caution: Chinese months start later.

Where to do what, when and why
Summary: There is one stand-out location this month but you have to be gentle with it.
South, Bright Future: Year Star: 6 Month Star: 9.
The future wealth star 9 brings improved communication. As in every sector, this month’s star brings a cameo of the underlying energies. Which are double-edged because the South also holds both the monthly and annual san sha (otherwise melodramatically known as Three Killings). What does this mean? This: if you occupy the Southern area of your space or face South, prospects and especially vision should improve. If you hold loud parties there or in a South-facing house you may invite a plague of boils. So occupy but don’t over-activate, especially do not dig or drill. South door much the same effect.

Still no Wise Monkeys:
My diary for the month of the Fire Monkey. 
I’m looking over Karen’s smart Victoria flat for the second time. On the last brief visit her ba zi (or personal feng shui that travels with us, sometimes misleadingly called a Chinese Horoscope) took us into her heartbreak over her Father’s premature death. Gentle soul work and the few li xi pai tricks I put in place clearly made enough difference for her to want me back.
It’s a nasty 21st century apartment block constructed without much apparent concern for people. So much of my work is compensating for thoughtless architecture. Is every bathroom in these premises without natural light?

Because her back hurts she has to stop and lie down every now and then. She has had several operations and dreads another. I explain that this may relate to the “spine” of the building which is undermined by a shopping precinct (pretty much at the sacro-iliac) that is in eternal shadow and beneath that an underground car park.  I suggest a virtual cure: a large rose quartz boulder as close as she can get it to the centre of the car park which will also approximate to the tai chi or heart of the building. Attention to the depths has effects that are profound but slow. The higher we go the more rapidly a difference will tend to show. Which is great given that she’s on the 8th floor. If you subscribe to this mumbo jumbo.

We look in every room. The main problem is that the office from which she runs a small business is not only in the North East but holds the “Flying Star” or fei sin 5 long term. This means that it will always need feng shui assistance in order to be usable but that this year anyone who has been in there much risks chronic sickness. I give her the three dates in August when it’s safe to occupy. There’s some inevitable organisation to do.
“But don’t linger,” I warn.

Karen’s sister is here to do heavy lifting. We look in the bedroom where Karen’s head is totally wrongly oriented in keeping with the ancient ba zhai theories. Positioning her correctly looks awkward, it’ll put her under a window. Which is not ideal but it’s better. There’s often a trade-off between the various strictures. Better however to risk insomnia than further injury. Her sister argues fiercely for the change, bless her. I stand back, the last thing I’m going to do is bully her in her fragile state.

Nonetheless I’ve banned Karen from her office, and she has nowhere to work, so I locate the most helpful spot. We correct a shelf that protrudes at spine level and orient her to her sheng qi or “wealth” position, making sure she has literal and metaphorical back support.

Everything is changing all the time. We’re warmer in summer than in winter and more cheerful when we’re warm. It seems to me straightforward that certain orientations will suit certain people in certain ways better than others. That’s not metaphysics, it’s common sense. Isn’t it?

Finally I ask both of them to sit comfortably and close their eyes. Karen’s ba zi tells me that there was a major shift in her life around age seven. This is the beginning of what’s called her “Big Fate” or “Luck Pillars”. Someone’s Big Fate occurs at a moment that is sometimes traumatic, always significant. We build a picture of a Mother with mental health issues and a Father who retreats into his work. Karen is effectively orphan and Mother at seven. Back-breaking. We notice that all four are cracking up and we put them back together again.

My work here is done.

Then I sit in a corner – South, the external realm of the Father – take out my ipad and try to write up my notes. The Pages app won’t do what it’s told. The cursor leaps about. The font keeps changing. It’s been a long day, I get annoyed with it and turn it off. I’ll write this up on my laptop tomorrow. A lifetime in the world of woo-woo™ and it doesn’t occur to me that there might be something else going on with my ipad. What a turkey!
Richard Ashworth © 2016

Special (almost) free bonus:
Some years ago a guy rang me and asked if I’d like to record a cd about classical feng shui. He arrived with his headphones and plugs, I ran very simply through the meaning of the Zodiac animals and where in my daughter Jessica’s words “to put stuff to get stuff.” It was clear, authentic and simple, he caught me on a very good day. He scarpered and I heard no more. Last month a new student told me she’d found me through a wonderful “podcast” which turned out to be this recording. I was never paid but you can get it from Audible for around £4.
Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/2aGaDT8

Footnote: my next ba zi Starter Course starts in September, Early Bird offers are open until 8th August. Details here:
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses

And finally: a limited number of places are still available to study with me one to one via Skype. Email: sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Ba Zi: why the greatest generals never go to war.

June 17, 2016
IMG_1182
To hear Richard talking Ba Zi click the pic.
Ba Zi: why the greatest generals never go to war.

“Therefore measure in terms of five things: the way, the weather, the terrain, the leadership and discipline.”.  Sun Tzu. The Art of War.

The story is told of three brothers all of whom were doctors. These three were reckoned to be the greatest healers in all China. So skilled was the youngest that his patients mostly recovered while those of the middle brother invariably returned to health. But the patients of the eldest simply never got ill. Prevention, as they say, is greater than cure. And as Sun Tzu wrote, the greatest generals never go to war.

Probably the elder brother concerned himself with breathing, diet, hydration lifestyle and destiny. Holistic treatment has always been the underlying principle of traditional Chinese medicine. He would have known acupuncture and above all ba zi, which is reckoned to track destiny. Joey Yap, probably the most successful Master in the world, actually uses the term Destiny Code. The ba zi being expressed in terms of the balance of the wu xing or Five Elements, can assess whether we have too much Earth say – leading to sluggishness and a variety of other symptoms – and therefore that we need say Metal (ie focused activity) to remedy the imbalance.

Whether we define healing as solving emotional blockage, enhancing performance or actual physical change, the ba zi is a healing tool. Not I hastily add, that ba zi of itself heals physically. It is diagnosis where feng shui or acupuncture (or tai chi or tcm) are remedy. But as a method of identifying tendencies, physical and other, it has no equal. All three brothers would have thought of it as a map of destiny. The doctor’s job like the general’s, was to see what was coming and the ba zi was how they managed to see it.

In those days remember, the mediaeval times of Song and Ming, a doctor was paid by his patients only as long as they were healthy. Which may have been a motivating factor. When my Father returned from one of the first trade missions to modern China in the early 70’s, I remember him telling me that the Chinese were “the least likely Communists” he’d ever met. Nye Bevan would have approved.

Be that as it may, I have always been wary of Sun Tzu because he assumes enmity and opposition; understandably perhaps given the cruel times in which he lived, but applying those assumptions to feng shui, ba zi or even Qi Men Dun Jia (the current hot divinatory method in feng shui circles) denies any progress during the ensuing millennia.

The fact is that Sun Tzu is the guvnor on winning business in the teeth of opposition and when I first started studying The Art of War in the early 80’s, that was the context. Sun Tzu’s strategies – when your enemy expects you to be slow, move rapidly; when he expects advance, withdraw and so on – are brilliantly applicable if you think of your client as the opposition. Not so great if you want to be of service. Such a philosophy may be everything that is wrong with both politics and business and it runs through finance like the words in a stick of rock. But it doesn’t work and it works even less as a basis for feng shui or ba zi practice.

Which is why it’s important to be aware that the ba zi depends upon benevolence. In 30-odd years in the world of woo-woo™ ba zi is the most powerful healing tool that I have come across. Being a snapshot of the prevailing Elements at the moment of birth it shows potentials, preferences, abilities and above all moments of choice. From where I’m sitting – a position you don’t have to share by the way – everything is choice and if we can identify moments where decisions were made we can un-make them. Consider how a life might be changed that way.

Ba zi lays open the soul to the sensitive practitioner. There is calculation involved and deep learning but at heart it’s an empathetic, instinctive thing. The trick is to know the building blocks so well you can apply them without thinking. And to trust the fact that to think and feel simultaneously is an art but quite possible. Above all to care; as I tell my students, it is unprofessional not to love your client. And perhaps surprisingly easy.

Of course ba zi teaching sooner or later turns transformational. Learning the twenty-two Chinese characters necessary (only twenty two!) requires application but it’s not rocket science. There are rules to be followed, the Animals have traditional relationships, for instance: Horses such as Angela Merkel and David Cameron are deeply challenged in a Monkey Year like 2016; Pigs like David Bowie and Alan Rickman are at risk and Dogs like Prince and George Osborne may miscalculate drastically.

But the teaching always goes transformational. Because the student’s curiosity and crucible is their own ba zi. I’ll use example ba zis to make points – if you looked closely at Gary Glitter’s for instance, you’d tend to feel a great deal less contempt – but everyone wants to know about themselves. Once a Monkey (born 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980 or 1992) learns that Wood and Metal are in eternal opposition and that Tiger and Monkey are respectively yang Wood and yang Metal, they’ll tend to understand more about conflict with a Tiger parent or boss. A Dragon fixated on glamour may recognise the expression of a “secret friendship” with the Rooster. And so on.

The point of this is not to be run by ba zi but to master it. I am myself a Water Dragon and traditionally therefore particularly irked by Earth Dogs of 1958. As it happens, some of my best lady friends are Earth Dogs, some of them very successful business-people. I think they can be a bit dense, they think I go on a bit. We know this about each other. We contain it and rub along. Where’s the problem?

One source of trouble can be being too literal; some trainees and indeed some experts fail to factor in humanity. This tends to put the ba zi rather than the practitioner in charge. The main pitfall however is seeing the world as Sun Tsu does, as a jungle of threats and competition. Some New Age teachers would call this a belief in shortage, others a lapse of faith.

We all possess free will. We are all complex individuals and no woo-woo™ analysis can adequately define us. The ba zi is a guide not a dictator and put simply, the practitioner’s job is to give.

Master Sun, the great teacher of strategy whose wisdom as James Clavell once suggested, might have prevented war in Vietnam and Afghanistan, would not have known the truism that those who can do and those who can’t, teach. Sun himself was prematurely retired from active service by the amputation of both feet (a punishment for telling the hard truth to a minor king probably rather than a mishap). He would have known of Qi Men Dun Jia which dates from his era (the so-called Age of the Warring States 475-221BCE). He might well have approved of the use of his words as part of this very powerful tool of divination (which I don’t yet teach) in a world defined by greed and violence, that is to say shortage and competition. There are things in the world that I would sooner weren’t in it but Sun’s is not the world I choose to live in.

And so I try to practise and teach both feng shui and ba zi as gifts of love rather than as ways to steal a march. Abundance is about much more than wealth and healing is more than band-aids. I’m not teaching dogma and above all I’m not teaching how to win the game of life against stiff competition. What I offer is a method of touching and perhaps understanding the soul.

And that’s why the greatest generals never go to war. In the teeth of Orlando, Iraq, Syria, Burundi, Afghanistan, I try to remember that although Sun Tzu is still in print after all this time and the younger brothers of the story probably got the most approval, it was the eldest that made the most positive difference.

Richard’s next starter Ba Zi Course opens in September 2016 in Godalming but he has a (Friday) slot now vacant to learn via Skype pretty much right away.
For more details go to:
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
Some Early Bird Discounts still apply.
Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Hoarse With No Name: My Diary for the Horse Month 2016

June 1, 2016
Hoarse with no name
My diary for the month of the Wood Horse
(June 5th 14:09 to July 7th 00:33 inclusive)
in the Year of the Fire Monkey.
 Kou
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
—-  —-
Meeting
Hexagram 44“Too much Monkey business for me to get involved in.”
Chuck Berry (1956)

The Horse Month
Animal by Animal
During this Wood Horse Month,
The Rat may simply wait,
The Ox may be (way) behind the Rat,
The Tiger sees the breaks,
The smart Rabbit rises to the occasion,
The Dragon reins in,
The Snake could be overawed,
The Horse might pace herself,
The unwary Sheep is under a shadow,
The Monkey demands to be noticed,
The Rooster takes time out,
The Dog obtains a boost,
while
The Pig strikes back.

Know your inner beast. How Horse are you?
Birth in the Horse Hour (11am-1pm)~:      performing children.
Birth on the Horse Day#:                           a tendency to the reckless.
Birth during the Horse Month (June)*:      an extroverted vocation.
Birth in the Horse Year:                            spontaneity in the bloodline.
~ An hour earlier than the clock during British Summertime ie 8-10.
# You’ll need a Chinese calendar. * Caution: Chinese months start later.

Follow Twitter (@FengShuiDiaries) LinkedIn or
like my FaceBook page for further news.

Where to do what, when and why
Summary: The peak of Fire ignites the hunters of the Zodiac: Dog and Tiger (for whom it may be the best month of the year, so fill your boots) as well as the faithful Sheep. It is generally less helpful to Rat and Ox. A 7 month tends to harass some more than others of course and those with 3, 2, 6, 7 and 8 kuas are least vulnerable.

West, Intervention: Year Star: 4 Year Sun, Month Star: 9.
The visiting 9 makes for a magical 9:4 he tu combination in the West right now while the romantic power of the toe far or “plum flower” Star is still there, along with the restorative Sun.

Locate to the West of your home, face West or occupy a West-facing building; these are transformative stars.

Along with superior examination results, 9 brings future plans closer. 4 bamboo stems in 4 glasses of Water can help.

Note: If this is all er…Chinese to you, email me your birth details or more drastically, come and study with me.

Hoarse with no name.
Wood Horse month, Monkey year, the turbulence continues while the Solstice approaches. Notice the creeping yin to the foot of the Hexagram at the top of this page; the qi is already descending. As indeed it was at this time of year, three thousand and seventy four years ago.

At that time, May of 1058 BCE, as it happens a Horse year, the Zhou family rose up against the ruling Shang and wrested from them the “Mandate of Heaven,” that is to say the right to rule China. The Zhou were to hold onto the mandate for the following seven hundred years or so. What inspired rebellion against the tyrants at that exact time was the conjunction of the five visible planets in the night sky. This conjunction happens only once every five hundred and sixteen years. Michael Wood illustrates this with a computer simulation in the first episode of his excellent BBC series “The Story of China.”

As above, so below. So much of feng shui is rooted in astrology. You can for instance, find the group of Stars that are reckoned to have inspired the ideograph of the Monkey to the South West of the night sky. They’re part of the constellation shen, that is Orion. The star formation (whose name I’ve not mastered) making up the character for Horse lies to the South.

Bloodless kou
As does this month’s Hexagram, Kou. As you know, these six-line figures are themselves composed of three-line figures called Trigrams. And each Trigram apart from signifying a member of the Confucian family, a state of being, a location and a million other things, describes a phase of the Moon. Identifying the homes of the Trigrams in the night sky is known as na jia or “assigning the Wood.” Qian (Heaven) for instance with its three unbroken yang lines, stands for the Full Moon and Kun, Earth (three yin lines) for the New Moon. Sometimes these things are hard to observe because of street lights, late-night parties, cats’ eyes and headlamps.

When I was in Menorca writing and researching a couple of years ago, the night sky was almost free of light pollution. And so with feet in the pool and beers in hand, my daughters Jess and Hen and I confirmed that the Moon rose and fell precisely where the na jia indicated. It was, if you will, a sobering moment; there above us was physical evidence of the connectedness of Heaven and Earth. It was as if a huge finger had drawn lines across the Moon.

Just behind the full Moon, the 2016 Solstice falls on June 21st at 06:57, shortly after sunrise. Full Sun and full Moon, full yin and full yang, on a Dog day in a Horse month, it’s almost alight with Fire. And yet the qi is falling. In the Year of the Monkey (who generally stands cautiously clear of the Horse) this makes for quite a chaotic pattern. The Monkey is of course talkative, but this is no month for discussion. Rather it is one of action; some impetuous, some not so well thought-through. Hold tight.

In the desert you can’t remember your name
And this year as I predicted, is definitely shaping up like a Monkey; Paris barricaded, US Presidential nominations haywire, we pretty much already have the Earth Monkey of 1968. All we need is Russian tanks rolling West and British boots on the ground in the Middle East and it’s the Fire Monkey, 1956. Oh and peaking markets. “Déjà vu all over again,” in the words of John Fogerty. As above, so below. My own father’s boots were among those on the ground in the Sinai Desert in 1956.

This Horse month favours Dogs and Sheep and Tigers as ever, although they may present just a little hot-headed. Along with the Horse, they are the hunters of the Zodiac and often the life lesson of the hunter is that life is not as simple as a hunt. The Horse doesn’t much like her own company or talking things out and may fall victim to unforced errors. Let things come to you as they will. The Ox is best lying low but his intimate the Rat, may find that originality is at a rare premium; the smart Rat sticks to their guns. Caution is counselled to Dragons, Snakes will find certain days offer a boost but Rabbits are probably stretched.

As a Dragon, I’ll be tapping the ongoing but quirky support of the Monkey and remaining wary of the rampant Horse.
Richard Ashworth © 2016

www.imperialfengshui.info

My Diary for the Month of the Water Snake 2016: Many a Slip

May 5, 2016
Many a slip
My diary for the month of the Water Snake
(May 5th 09:54 to June 5th 14:09 inclusive)
in the Year of the Fire Monkey.
 
Qian
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
Heaven
Hexagram 1

When a man holds a high position and is nevertheless modest, he shines with the light of wisdom; if he is in a lowly position and is modest, he cannot be passed by.
The Book of Changes.

The Snake Month

Animal by Animal.
During this Water Snake Month,
The Rats energy may be muted,
The Ox finds fresh support,
The Tiger counts her blessings,
The smart Rabbit makes no big demands,
The Dragon gains followers,
The Snake may find a fresh interest,
The Horse champs at the bit,
The Sheep can be especially deferent,
The incautious Monkey might over-reach,
Most Roosters are pretty pleased with themselves,
The smarter Dog listens to advice,
while
The Pig steps out.

Where to do what, when and why
Summary: This first month of Fire, begins the season of natural light. Light brings revelation because it shines everywhere and this particular illumination alights upon Rooster, Ox, Snake and some Monkeys. It is generally less helpful to Pig and Tiger. An 8 month (like every month) tends to support some more than others of course and those with 3, 2, 6, 7 and 8 kuas are also likely winners this time.

West, Intervention: Year Star: 4 Year Sun, Month Star: 1.
The visiting 1 makes for a studious and inventive 1:4 combination in the West right now while the romantic power of the toe far or “plum flower” Star is still there, along with the restorative Sun.

Readers Digest version: pretty good outlook for health, wealth and wisdom if you locate to the West of your home, face West or occupy a West-facing building.

Along with superior examination results, 1 brings dialogue and fresh thinking. 4 bamboo stems in 4 glasses of Water can help.

Note: If this is all mumbo-jumbo to you, email me your birth details or more drastically, come and study with me.

Know your inner Snake. How Snake are you?
Birth in the Snake Hour (9-11am)~: truth-seeking at maturity.
Birth on the Snake Day#: mysterious, not always helpfully.
Birth during the Snake Month (May)*: work that involves “spinning”.
Birth in the Snake Year: truth-seeking parents, successful or not.

~ An hour earlier than the clock during British Summertime ie 8-10.
# You’ll need a Chinese calendar for this.
* Caution: Chinese months start later than Western ones.
Many a slip
It can’t be stated too often that this is the Year of the Woman as well as that of the Monkey. The World may depend upon it. The ingenuity of the hands-on Monkey may help but nothing happens without the compassion of the female; if we loved the Earth as we love our children, we’d be home free. No climate change, no refugees, no inequality.

These two descriptions of the year come to us down two different ancient Chinese traditions, complementary but differently derived. And there is tension between them.

The way either shows up may be dark or light, yin as well as yang. Beyonce’s fierce statement on behalf of the wronged woman in her newest release Lemonade, is as much an expression of it as the likelihood of the 1st Female President. And as the year approaches its peak the tension between the assertion of woman and the mischief of the Monkey becomes more and more marked.

Any Snake month is a little elusive, in a Monkey year even more so. You may with me, have felt a jolt as Dragon turned to Snake mid-morning the 5th of May; a subtle shift as if the air itself trembled a tad. And you may not. With the Snake, often what you see is not what you get. The Water Snake can be especially slippery; 1953 Snake Tony Blair speaks for himself. And often for nobody else.
You know nothing, Jon Snow
Technically the Snake is in alliance with the Ox and the Rooster. So these two animals may appear to possess free tickets. We’ve already seen 1961 Ox Barack Obama dissipating well-earned good will by boosting TTIP as well as 1981 Rooster Beyonce roasting Jay-Z.

The Snake has both connection and history with the Monkey. So neither can expect an easy ride in May. 1941 Snake Bernie Sanders would be wise to beware the wrath of the female of the species. If she can handle Bill, she can handle anything. And wherever our sympathies lie, it’s clear Hillary is as qualified a candidate as there’s ever been. Also as a Pig she can expect breakthrough in 2016 – though not this month. Delayed breakthroughs also btw await 1971 Pig Elon Musk, the man behind high-performance electric Tesla cars and other ecological marvels, 1947 Pig journalist Jon Snow, 1971 Pig Derren Brown, illusionist and performance artist andAnchor 1959 Pig Kelly Hoppen. But for now Pigs, exercise caution especially in relation to your public profile.

The Snake respects the Dragon. So Dragons can expect wider influence than usual this month. Dragon teachers and healers could find themselves in great demand. The Dragon is magical which the Snake respects and to some extent fears. I’m too modest to tell you which Dragon’s fate I know best but other Dragon opinion leaders this month include charismatic entrepreneuse ex-Dragon’s Den Rachel Elnaugh, and Vladimir Putin. Say no more.

At home these trends may be less obvious. It’s already a warm summer; great for the outdoors-inclined but another step towards JG Ballard’s drowned world. I believe there’s still time to re-pack the ice floes. As there may be for those men who have not yet learned that marriage is essentially a tutorial in the wisdom of Woman. 1973 Ox Ryan Giggs, note.

And who is that A-lister that everyone except me knows about? Oh, I’ve just been told. Yes, Pig. You have been warned!
Richard Ashworth © 2016 

Richard’s next starter Ba Zi Course opens in September in Godalming but he has a (Friday) slot now vacant to teach via Skype pretty much right away. For more details go to: http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
The first two people to respond will be offered a rather good discount!

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Feng Shui and Tomatoes part one

April 25, 2016
What is feng shui?
Sometimes I’m asked for a scientific explanation of traditional Chinese feng shui. Which is a reasonable request. I tend to reply something like: if you plant tomatoes on a North-facing wall, don’t expect great salads. Worse if you do it in January.

Because everything is changing all the time; all things are growing or shrinking, flourishing or decaying.  And so to each thing there is a time and place. Once long ago, I think, we were in touch with this. But diaries, mass communication busyness, technology, Google and Wikipedia seem to have got in the way.

When you woke this morning, I doubt you thought: “Aha, it’s (say) the 25th of the month.” Because I don’t’ think the  25th feels like anything. You may have thought “It’s late. I usually wake at 7 and it’s 7:30.” You may have done this without looking at a tablet, mobile phone or even a clock. You may also have noticed the warmth and humidity that betrays a late spring or early summer day. And before you rushed into it, you may have noticed that today was (say) Tuesday. Because these things perhaps feel like something.

Long ago Taoist observers remarked that certain activities are appropriate to certain locations and to certain times. They saw that the hours of the day followed a sequence; from the activity or Wood of dawn via the acceleration and visibility of the Fire of noon and the Metal reckoning of late afternoon to the cold and dark Water of the evening. They also realised that if we substitute the words Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter for dawn, noon, afternoon and night, it’s clear that the same Elemental cycle applies to the months of the year and indeed the years themselves.

And in time this same cycle was seen to apply equally to location. The dawn happens in the East, the Sun reaches its zenith in the South and sets in the West and disappears to the North before once more emerging in the East next morning. Every moment is different as is every micro-measurement of the compass.

We know these things; they mark our journey from sleep to waking and back. We know a safe location from a dangerous one. Whenever I walk between the South Bank and Waterloo, I notice how much better the open air feels than the pedestrian underpass and I notice that the crowds seem to agree with me.

We know buildings that just sing to us and we know which parts of our own houses support, which hurry us and which leave us befuddled. Furthermore we are able to notice when that contemplative spot at the front of the house is too hot or otherwise disturbed and when that quiet armchair is not so quiet.

Over millennia, a series of Chinese geniuses codified this knowledge. The overall cycle which consists of a vocabulary of sixty different “tastes” or “feels” known as pillars, is called the gan zi or Stem and Branch cycle. The Branches are the Chinese Animals that most of us have come across – the Rat, Dragon, Rabbit and so on. The Stems are what makes for a Metal Rat or a Wood Dragon. There’s much more but broadly when this cycle is applied to space, it’s called feng shui. Essentially when it’s applied to time it’s called ba zi. I practise both and generally teach feng shui in the Autumn and ba zi in the Spring. Sometimes the other way round.

So the East where the Sun rises in the early morning, represents light and stirring and by extension, movement, healing and aspiration. This is called Wood. If we want more of these qualities we rise early, we become determined and we concentrate activities to the East. These are the sorts of things I am encouraging in my daily task of going in and out of people’s houses being enigmatic. People hire me to get them in sync. Who knows what may follow?

Equally, South where the Sun heads next, stands for the acceleration, friction and heat of the middle of the day and of the year and by extension, visibility, celebration, celebrity and so on. The Chinese have been deriving complex formulae from these and related principles for upwards of three thousand years, so there’s a little more to it of course but essentially that’s feng shui. And indeed ba zi.
Richard Ashworth © 2016

The purpose of these activities including rambles like the above is to leave the occupants healthier, wealthier and wiser than I found them. Meanwhile if you are so moved, you can follow my daily forecasts on Twitter at @FengShuiDiaries, on FaceBook and on Linked In.
You can also read my book The Feng Shui Diaries (available, including as a download, from the usual places but I’d prefer you used a book shop) and you can get my free online monthly diaries from www.imperialfengshui.info where you’ll also find more information on much of the above but very little about tomatoes.
I am teaching this stuff later this year and I’m available for hire of course; details also on my website.
Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

My Diary for the Month of the Earth Ox – Too Much Monkey Business.

January 7, 2016
 The Earth Ox
My diary for the 12th month, 2015/16
(Jan 6th 2016 06:47 to Feb 4th 18:14 inclusive)
Lin
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
—-  —-
———-
———-
Approaching
Hexagram 19

Just as the lake is inexhaustible in depth, so the sage is inexhaustible in readiness to teach. The Book of Changes.

The Ox Month, Animal by Animal.
During this Earth Ox month:
The Rat is not in charge.
The Ox is outspoken.
The Tiger is in two minds.
The Rabbit feels order is restored.
The Dragon is muted.
The Snake rises to the challenge.
The Horse remains quiet.
The Sheep is in two places at once.
The Monkey may jump the gun.
The smart Rooster bides her time.
The Dog may intervene.
and
The Pig regroups.

Where to do what, when and why.
The most fortuitous times for most action that is constructive and positive are the 18th and 28th. The first favours certain Snakes (born 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989 and 2001) and Tigers (1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998) and the second Oxen (1949, 1961, 1973 1985, 1997) Snakes and Dragons (1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000) but everyone gets a shake. Remember also that you are to a greater or lesser extent ruled by the Animals of your day, month and hour of birth as well as the year.

The Monkey ape-ears.
Here comes the Monkey year, just weeks away now. In the Chinese folk tale, the Monkey climbs to the Moon and steals the Akashic Record of deeds good and bad so as not to be judged for his own. Now that’s sneaky. The Monkey is a mischievous beast, the Fire variety especially so and that mischief runs through the coming Year.
Although the Monkey does not suffer the so-called self-clash – meaning that an Animal does not flourish in its own year – that puckish stuff can be overwhelming. It’s a year when it’s hard to respond proportionately. “Too much monkey business for me to get involved in,” as Chuck Berry wrote.
However the year is ruled also by the lo shu number 2, that is to say kun, the Mother; an interesting and complex tension, personally and internationally as well as domestically. In some senses – ecological and political, for instance – it’s as pivotal a year as there’s been. Do we succumb to the myopic naughtiness of the Monkey at his worst or open to the wisdom of the Mother? This applies as much to the bedroom and the office as to the outside world.
The downside of a Monkey Year is invasion and violence, risks both at home and away. But the Monkey is ingenious and the upside is the use of reason to benefit our families, acquaintance and the world. The worst of a 2 Year is the pursuit of right at all costs, the end sanctifying the method. The best is an opening to miracle and to lasting peace.

The Handy Monkey.
And there are things we can do. Chinese thinking separates the realm of tian (Heaven) from ti (Earth), a bridge being made by ren, that is Humanity. So we can recognise the sway of Heaven by being truthful about our own actions, deserts and responsibilities; mechanically we can ensure that we employ the best locations (which are broadly West, East and South East) and don’t overuse the worst (this year North East). This is ti – Earth ch’i. And we can choose intelligently and most of all benevolently.
As I’ve written before, nature doesn’t work in straight lines, so the Sheep year doesn’t close with a slap in an instant as the Monkey begins. There are between November and February, at least five possible dates (based on different traditional calculations) for the New Chinese Year. And right now we’re in the thick of that suspended time; a cusp, if you will, the worst energy spots of 2015 now relatively innocuous and the helpful ones for 2016 not yet much use.
Which makes the moment ripe for feng shui changes; around now we re-do the He Tu Journeys we have been making between locations in the house all year, we re-orient desks and bed, we quieten the Monkey’s tricky areas and we reclaim those places where the energy will once again assist. All of this information – as well as the one small spot to activate all year – is in my Tune-Up Drill which will be available soon. You can buy it do-it-yourself as a file, or alongside an hour of me by Skype or as part of a scheduled Tune-Up visit. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
As it happens the Chinese ideograph for the Monkey – shen – is actually a hand. And the Monkey is typically hands-on, practical and humorous as well as non-committal and capable of significant aggression. Kun, on the other hand represents Mother Earth, Gaia herself. She wields a power both subtler and less placable; her purpose is positive but her means may not be obviously so. Humankind may be likened to an unruly toddler who must be restrained by kun for his own good, lest (s)he hurt himself or worse. In the long run, his interests will be served but some privileges may have to be restricted.

Ox Pillars; know your Ox rating.
Birth in the Ox hour (01:00pm-03:00am): late fertility.
Birth in the Ox month (January*): consistent career path, monogamy.
Birth on the Ox day#: a kind of random stubbornness.
Birth in the Ox year: a spiritual or religious tradition.
* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.
# Just ask.

Richard Ashworth ©2016 

More Monkey Business.
I’ll be writing about the Fire Monkey in instalments over the next few weeks, expanding on how the year is likely to shape up for you, the world, your family, your business and your livelihood and what can be done about it in your own space. Perhaps watch out for those – they’ll be approx. weekly.
Along with these bulletins we’ll be publishing your individual Animal Fortunes for the year, Animal by Animal which will then go onto the website as usual.
You can btw keep up with all of the above as they appear by following me on Twitter (@FengShuiDiaries), see the link to the right and clicking on the cog icon on my profile (next to the “Follow” button) and then selecting “Turn on notifications”.
Similar result if you “like” my FaceBook page (again the link is on the right); don’t try to “friend” me btw or your inbox may fill up with pictures of my family, pot-bellied pigs being tickled and/or political rants. You can get too much of a good thing.

Richard Ashworth©
www.imperialfengshui.info

Courses Offer July 2015

July 31, 2015

“Bless you. You’ve saved my life, Richard, literally and figuratively. I’m getting so much more than feng shui from studying with you.”
Nancy, Tennessee.

Learning feng shui and Chinese Astrology one-to-one via Skype.
Nancy’s in Tennessee. When we first offered Skype, I had no idea how much teaching that way was actually going to teach me. Of course it meant we can fit in with the individual’s own schedule; we can link up whether you’re in Singapore, Berlin or London. Or Tennessee. And within limits we can make sessions longer or shorter and more or less frequent.

What I hadn’t realised was how this would open us up to students of greater or lesser accomplishment: this year I have taught beginners straight off the street as well as professionals and enthusiasts. Some people need more visual material, some more examples; some flourish one-to-one while some wither in classes and so on. It’s been a whole education

Which has led us to offer starter feng shui and ba zi courses both live and one-to-one by Skype on schedules (within reason) to suit you.

Offer Announcement: These courses are mutually complementary (ie if you attend one, you may want to attend both). So if you book and pay for both by the 7th August 2015, instead of £3000, you pay only £2000.
If this sounds like your sort of thing, now’s the time to let us know.
To discuss your suitability or indeed mine, please email me at richardashworthfengshui@gmail.com or call the office on 01483 428998.

1. Discover the Secrets of ba zi, the Four Pillars of Destiny.

“Great to see you and very annoying at the same time: it’s almost unbearable to be seen for what I really am.”
Alice, Surbiton.

One reason I teach ba zi, the feng shui of the person (often misleadingly known as the Chinese Horoscope) before teaching houses and spaces, is that knowledge of the person’s likely choices, opportunities, destiny and nature, is integral to dealing with their environment.

We are all making decisions all the time; some trivial, some vital, some conscious, some so fast we are hard-pressed to identify them. Some lead to triumph and some to heartbreak. What if we were to locate these moments of decision and re-examine them? How life-changing might that be?

Ba zi is of course a lifetime study but upon successful completion of Discover the Secrets, you will know how to pinpoint these moments as well as the meaning, implications and relationships of the Stems and Branches (or Animals) be able to draft ba zi in Chinese characters (it’s not actually that hard) and have everything you need to start to interpret. You may want then to apply for our mentoring programme.

Discover the Secrets of the Four Pillars
Standard course: 16 Sessions of one hour                     £1500
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
Additional catch-up, mentoring and group sessions are available.

2. The Wind that Stops at the Water.

“All is well here and C. has moved back in. My prayers were answered! The NW bit worked!  She has been lovely ever since and I think the episode has made her appreciate her home. Thanks so much for all your help.”
Karen. Surrey.

Authentic Chinese feng shui consists broadly of two strands. Sam yuen (or “Mystery of the Void”) involves the Trigrams from the Book of Changes (or Yi). Under this heading come the commonly used Flying Star and Eight House methods and much more. Mastery of these models allows us to adapt and optimise the energy (or qi) within buildings.

The other strand is called sam he (that is “Three Harmony”) and essentially concerns the relationships between the Chinese Zodiac Animals. This mirrors the principles of ba zi and leads to the life-enhancing methods of yang gong, which is used in the design of the Water Dragons employed in South East Asia to attract health, wealth and wisdom.

On this course we will study the origins of feng shui in the Book of Changes followed by the theory and practice of Flying Star, Eight House and other authentic Chinese methods as well as a brief introduction to Xuan Kong Da Gua, Imperial Heaven Stars and Yang Gong methods and also exploring the use and validity of non-traditional approaches.

Learn the real thing this year.

The Wind that Stops at the Water
Standard course: 16 Sessions of one hour             £1500
http://www.imperialfengshui.info/the-wind-that-stops-at-the-water
Additional catch-up, mentoring and group sessions are available

Offer Announcement: These courses are mutually complementary (ie if you attend one, you may want to attend both). So if you book and pay for both by the 7th August 2015, instead of £3000, you pay only £2000.
If this sounds like your sort of thing, now’s the time to let us know.
To discuss your suitability or indeed mine, please email me at richardashworthfengshui@gmail.com or call the office on 01483 428998.

Also coming up:

A rapid introduction to Chinese Astrology.
On the evening of Tuesday the 8th September, I’m talking to the College of Psychic Studies in London (www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk) about the place of intuition in classical feng shui: This will be followed by a one-day workshop on the Saturday 19th September: The ba zi: a map of our most likely mistakes, which will be something of a crash course. You may find this especially useful if you know very little about the subject and would like to know more. We’re telegraphing it now because the opening module of my next Feng Shui Starter Course The Wind that Stops at the Water, is the weekend in-between (12th/13th September) and you might use the talk as an introduction.

Richard Ashworth©, the day of the four Sheep, 2015.
www.imperialfengshui.com

Animal Forecast 2015: 11. Barking Restricted, outlook for the Dog in 2015

February 19, 2015

Who is a Dog?

Years:  1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006.
Month*:  October
Hour: 07:00 pm – 09:00 pm
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 Dog?
The Dog is yang earth and a byword for good faith and consistency. Terriers and Rotweilers are both fierce and loyal. In mediaeval heraldry and Renaissance painting, the Dog in the form of the greyhound,  symbolises constancy.

So a Dog can be expected to revere tradition and have a strong family background. If a Dog commits to something they can generally be relied upon to see it to completion. The difference between male and female Dogs can be that the female gets the message quicker. Interesting to note that Kate Middleton and Prince William are twin Water Dogs of 1982; a very solid match because as a yang earth sign, the Dog is pretty immovable, an ideal best friend or protector. These two are, first and foremost, good friends.

The Dog’s thinking may not always be flexible but when he gets an idea, he really gets it. His natural grouping is with the hunters, the Horse and Tiger. The apportionment of tasks here is obvious: the Horse provides pace and the Tiger ferocity while the Dog watches the rear. If HR people studied Chinese metaphysics, more workplaces would zing: in business the Horse will tend to be the sales person, the Tiger the closer or credit controller and the Dog the provider of after-sales service or er…HR department.

The Dog excels at service because he never gives up. He will return your phone calls and keep that appointment. You’re the friend who sends a card every birthday and the spouse who remembers every anniversary. You care.

The Dog also, perhaps surprisingly, mixes well with the gentle diplomatic Rabbit. The Rabbit schmoozes while the Dog ensures that his colleague’s openness is not abused. The Dog makes a wonderful bodyguard and middle manager. A Dog employer will have achieved that position by sheer hard work and will demand the same from all around.

The Dog doesn’t like the Dragon because he’s such a smarty pants. Also the Dog can feel insecure around success without effort* and the Dragon creates with such apparent ease. You’re suspicious of magic. So you’re often not so keen on the mini-Dragon, the Snake either; you’d even resent the Horse (too damn flighty) except that you are scrupulously loyal to your own team#.

An unbalanced Dog is a bit of a shop steward. He knows his rights and the way things should be – often that’s the way they always have been btw. An unbalanced Dog (such as one with an October or mid-evening birth) is just too respectful. The smart Dog learns to ask questions.

The Dog will often have a strong spiritual agenda and if he has a blind spot it may be an inability to respect the difference between religion and spirituality or spirituality and therapy. Because this means he sticks to his guns, the Dog is suited both to new age therapy and religious persecution. He will not be thrown off by the opinions of others once he has committed to a line of action. In fact the unbalanced Dog can be thick skinned in matters of belief. Some Dogs would be ideally suited to being a Grand Inquisitor. The problem is that his motto ought to be “Do as you would be done by,” and he thinks it already is.

The Dog can work well with other Dogs and with the Pig. With the Pig he shares a love of home and team and they are so different they don’t crowd each other. Sometimes the Dog and Pig can be telepathically close; this is because they are adjacent signs in the calendar linked by the yang earth that is a feature of both. Sometimes this earth is expressed by banter or earthy humour. They can have a lot of fun together while getting the job done.

But the most powerful and most demanding role the Dog can play is in a creative team including the irritating Dragon, the autocratic Ox and the soft Sheep. If the Dog acts as conscience and bookkeeper, the Ox will relax, the Sheep toughen up and the Dragon acknowledge someone else for a change. If you are a Dog recruiting for non-executive directors, take note. What is great about the Dog is that if you find advice that works you will adopt it as if it were religion. Bless.

*Consider 1970 Dog George Osborne and his “hard-working families” trope.

# David Cameron: 1966 Horse

Dog in Wood Sheep Year

Stars include: Moon.

Classically the meeting of Dog and Sheep is a break-up. This year has that about it; it’s possible that certain key assumptions in your life are false. If so by the way, they only reflect your inner truth. If the premises you act on are in error, you’re only deceiving yourself.

Such break-ups can be literal or figurative. And they’re all both healthy (in the great scheme of things) and preventable. The Dog’s big weakness is not questioning enough. You may believe your constancy is reflected in the outside world. And it’s not that good is not reflected everywhere but that what’s good and bad is a question of viewpoint. Some people find tickling painful and some enjoy being tied up and whipped. Apparently. There are, dare I say it, more than fifty grades of chi.

But the Dog is also a key player in the central dynamic of 2015, the Year of Gathering: the so-called “Bullying Punishment.” This fracas occurs when Ox and Sheep meet Dog. It’s a misunderstanding but often it looks like the most hideous confrontation. And obviously in a Sheep year it’s going to happen a great deal if only because the Sheep in the calendar is going to collide with real Dog and Ox people in Ox and Dog hours, days and months. When the punishment is sustained it speaks of damage; a ba zi with these characters early in life will need a great deal of love later on to straighten it out. It’s quite likely – but not certain – that you’re one of them.

So this year you deal with break-up of some sort. It could be relationship – especially if you were born on a Dog day – but it doesn’t have to be. That depends on the way you conduct the relationship. It is at least as likely a bust-up with a long-established client, customer or colleague, especially if your birth was in October, the Dog Month. And watch for the hardest one: birth hour between 7&9pm implies possible estrangement from your kids, your future dreams or both. The solution: trust yourself, be gentle and question everything.

And meanwhile the Bullying Punishment rages around you. The Sheep brings gathering, a drawing-up of lines. Teams form, families close ranks, marriages are re-committed to. And armies grow. You are likely to be personally involved; hardest-hit in July and October of course but you’ll already know from the events of January 2015 that January 2016 will test you as much. The inflexibility of the Ox will clash with the slavishness of the Sheep wherever you go. Arguments will break out about nothing – because they are about nothing; nothing that’s here and now and present at least. And both Sheep and Ox will tend to be in your face. These may be the actually astrologically cloven-hooved or people and situations that embody this tension. the Ox often stands for religion – with whose rigidity you may have little truck – and the Sheep for spirituality – which may be too airy-fairy for you to be comfortable with. Both will tend to demand your agreement this year.

What’s the solution? The Dragon. When the Ox, Sheep and Dog come together, they may hatch grand plans but they often lack the magic to bring them into reality. The Dragon is that magic. You may find it in yourself although you are very likely temperamentally unsuited to allowing an answer to emerge without fully understanding how it was arrived at. That Dragon quality can be tapped at SE1 (ESE) and during April of course and between 7 and 9 am every morning. It’s a kind of forgiveness. A letting go that allows magic through. Trust yourself, question everything and be alert for the presence of the Dragon.

All of the above sounds pretty testing but 2015 need not be. The Bullying Punishment arises most commonly as a great and positive breakthrough looms. This year your big project may call you and it may require tremendous preparation. Three of the four ducks required may be in a row and then one may fall. The Dragon is the fourth duck. The reason that the punishment is so common and so notorious is that so often, given the choice between big and challenging success and distractions like sickness and accidents, we falter and fall. The choice to rise, however it shows up, is the Dragon.

So a year of drama and tension but also of big opportunity. The question is whether you believe in magic, isn’t it?

Health: breathe more deeply to stay present in moments of pressure.

Money: you might acquire assets this year.

Relationship: better for female heterosexuals and gay males. More friendship than lust.

Feng Shui: South not much use. Seek NE3 (ENE); occupy, activate face.

Readers’ Digest Version: seek the magic embodied in the Dragon.

www.imperialfengshui.info

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Tiger, 2015.

 

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

 www.imperialfengshui.info

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

www.imperialfengshui.info