2015: The Year of the Wood Sheep
The Year of Gathering.
“Only when there is an invisible bond between government and people so that the people are sheltered by their government as ground Water is sheltered by the Earth, is it possible to wage a victorious war.”The Book of Changes, Wilhelm edition.
It’s all about tomatoes.
Sometimes when I’m asked for a scientific explanation of feng shui I say something like: “If you plant tomatoes in January, don’t expect great salads. Worse if you put them against a North-facing wall.”
We all know this really. Each of us is subject to the integrity of time and space; everything is growing or shrinking, accreting or eroding. In the words of Bob Dylan: everyone is “busy being born or busy dying.” This applies equally to people, rocks, tower blocks, penguins and pangolins. As well as tomatoes.
The cycles that a series of Chinese geniuses drew from such observations over millennia imply that Sheep years – every twelve – are quite alike and Wood Sheep years – every sixty – very much alike. That to keep it very simple, is the basis of this forecast; think of it as something to do with tomatoes.
As it happens, last year I predicted – wrongly – a “yes” vote in the Scottish Referendum. This forecast was derived from the nature of previous Wood Horse years, going back – in steps of 60 years – centuries, principally to the formative years 1708-20 to which I have referred before and to which I shall return in this piece.
I was wrong but I had read the energy right and following that result, a wave of resentment swept around the world: to the umbrella kids in Hong Kong, to separatist Catalonia and Quebec, even Ukraine and back again to Britain where the right-wing UK Independence Party has fed ravenously upon it. More recently it has shown up in Greece, the cradle of democracy. Spain is probably next; that wave is still cresting and it very much characterises the year. This is after all, the Year of Gathering.
Note: this is not a which-Animal-am-I-will-I-have-a-good-year kind of forecast. Those are covered by my Animal by Animal forecasts.
And to see me say pretty much this please have a look at the talk I gave for Rachel Elnaugh’s Source TV New Year event.
2014 was a Wood Horse like 1714 just as 2015 is a Wood Sheep like 1955, 1895, 1835, 1775 and 1715. 1714 saw the accession of George 1st, the first Hanoverian, a German prince parachuted in to make sure that the Scottish Stuart Kings were gone forever, turning the United Kingdom the Scots had joined less than decade before as partners into serfdom. What followed in 1715 was the First Highland Uprising. The highlanders got as far as Lancashire.
I’m not suggesting street-fighting in Preston this year, but these are parallels. As I say energy, process, is easy to read. How it manifests not so much. I suspect however that we are far from having heard the last of Scottish Independence. Or of the Umbrella Revolution. That wave of energy, that demand to be properly represented and address the issues that matter – among them the environment, inequality, and the way we treat women – is still running wild. In 2015 it focuses.
It’s not essentially racist or nationalistic – whatever right wing enthusiasts may hope. But it’s restless. Let’s remember that the Sheep is the year of the idealist. Currently this wave is supporting the rise of the Greens in the UK as well as poleaxing the three major parties. I’m not yet ready to predict how the votes will fall in the General Election. All I will say is this: the smaller parties will achieve results no one is yet dreaming of. Parliament will not be so much hung as drawn and quartered.
To go a bit further, the balance of power in the UK will be held by 1964 Wood Dragon Nigel Farage just as globally, it will be wielded by 1952 Water Dragon Vladimir Putin. That’s how the year shapes up; the Dragon rules. Look forward to many more photo-opportunities of the Russian President in homo-erotic poses. Expect some Chinese faces in these pictures as that particular team gathers.
Meanwhile the Pig is supported by the Sheep so it’s probable 1947 Fire Pig Hillary Clinton will run for President and that ISIL firebrand 1971 Pig Abu Bakhar al-Baghdadi will be rampant for a while yet. Both will tend to be supported by this need to gather, to define sides.
What we can do ourselves is to commit, to join, to stand up and be counted, hug trees if we must but as Ram Dass said “learn our zipcodes.” Being informed is not negative. Being negative is being negative. But we must oppose what needs opposing.
A Copper’s Slips Now.
This Sheep year follows the frenetic revelations of the Horse of 2014, which saw public exposure of a series of abuses of power. Exposure is the nature of the fiery Horse. August bodies such as the CIA, FIFA and South Yorkshire Police were embarrassed by their own corruption, incompetence and reluctance to own up. As indeed they should have been. The Yorkshire force even bodged the cover-up of the cover-up of their own disgraceful handling of both the Hillsborough disaster and the Rotherham abuses. And let’s not even raise the Miners’ Strike; same force, same violent idiocy. Peter Sellers would have done it better.
It doesn’t take psychic powers to conclude that such powers-that-be are as likely to be more discreet as to be more considerate next time; the Sheep’s yin Earth nature, standing for tolerance, forgiveness, cooperation, family, joining and groups, will tend to slow up revelations. The Sheep does not embarrass her associates as the Horse can. So it will probably not be a year in which public irresponsibility is seen to have consequences. This won’t however be because it’s not going on but because it will be obscured. There will for instance be much to prevent courageous whistle-blowers such as Ed Snowden or 1967 Fire Sheep Tom Watson MP adding to their existing public testimony. The influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News International including the ludicrous Fox News will continue to grow. Legislation to check that is unlikely.
All You Need Is Love.
1967 the Summer of Love, was a Sheep year. Among the many very positive Sheep qualities is commitment. So this is a year of marriage, partnership and embarking upon long term undertakings. Renewal of vows is on the cards. It’s a time to return to family. If you have neglected children, siblings or partners, now’s the time to get on the case. Yin Earth is about home and its protection. We need to be there.
This extends to the Earth herself. A Wood Sheep year includes an aspect of self-harm. Wood clashes or attacks the yin Earth. In this Year of Gathering, sides are drawn. This may not prove to be the year of fracking and shale retrieval. If it isn’t, it’ll be because the artificially low oil price has made random-acupuncture-of the-Earth-with-poisons less profitable for the time being and therefore a lower priority. It’s likely to be a year when statutes and equipment line up quietly to await opportunity. Don’t expect to see much of Caroline Lucas fronting protest groups. The thing to oppose will have been hidden. At least until the autumn.
And there are three Earth Climate Summits during this year. It is just possible that we’ll learn something and change our ways in time to forestall what’s already being called the 6th Great Extinction. In my office building people still put milk bottles in for landfill despite there being a re-cycling skip and just a few hundred miles South of feng shui central in Singapore, the last few habitats of the orang utan are under imminent threat right now. You want to change this? Suggest Santander Bank stops financing it. But remember perhaps that if you wear stuff or eat stuff, you’re part of the problem too. Let’s oppose what needs opposing but not waste time pointing fingers.
Feng shui is doing the right thing in the right place at the right time and in a Sheep year, projects that require many ducks falling neatly into a row will work out as long as they’re stuck to. The only difference between success and failure is completion, isn’t it? There is the danger that many – Dogs, Sheep and Oxen in particular – will give up just as they break through. Any of the above Animals who prove sick or accident-prone this year may simply be running from opportunity. By the way the Dragon, in the form of actual Dragons born in 1952, 64, 76, 88, 2000 and 2014, is the answer. The Dragon brings magic. The Dragon’s location is the South East of the compass, his time April and the hours between 7 and 9am. This year these may be the right times and places.
The Sheep is reckoned the most spiritual of Animals, so perversely the (largely unimportant) disputes between science and faith, religion and spirituality, Sunni and Shia will tend to be fanned on her watch. The Middle East may polarise. In the last Sheep year the West blundered into Iraq despite sixteen million protesters.
The Sheep hour is the post-prandial siesta time between 1 and 3pm. And so it’s often a time to consider progress half-way through a process. Perhaps this is why she also has a reputation for being able to re-consider a position and climb down. One outcome of the embarrassments of 2014 could be a reassessment of attitudes. There are likely to be major unexpected treaties towards the end of the year.
Because the Sheep is inherently yin Earth, it can be co-operative, self-reliant, disciplined and influential. An out-of-balance Wood Sheep though is internally conflicted, unstable, liable to self-harm. So although this Sheep year, like other Sheep years has the biddable, friendly, family-loving qualities of the Sheep, it’s kind of split. The image of the Wood digging into the Earth of the Sheep is one of self-attack. Psychologically then it’s a year of self-doubt as we juggle our many roles: consumer, polluter activist, denier. We’re all all of these, of course. And the Earth itself probably has little attachment to the hairless monkeys on her surface. As Sacred Activist and visionary Andrew Harvey has it, in time Earth will shrug the disturbance off, one way or another. And yes this very important thinker is a Dragon: Water 1952.
The Sheep is a joiner, a disciple, a follower. But this year is one in which we may determine which side we’re on. The trick is perhaps to know this and be responsible while opposing what needs to be opposed. And continuing to love.
There are no Blue Meanies; it’s us. But the Beatles were right, all you need is love. On the other hand if we were doing it right the Earth would be a safer place by now.
3’s a Crowd.
Technically this year is also for other reasons a 3 lo shu year which means it’s a year of dispute. Simmering disagreement may spill into frank opposition and be solved by communication. These kinds of events will be the keynote of the last quarter of the year; this will tend to be true in commerce, diplomacy and warfare. “Plateau” situations resolve for better or worse in a 3 year. 3 represents the raw contentious yang Wood energy of ambition, assertiveness, getting things done, the qualities of youth, especially of the young man. Contention is not of itself of course negative and if you want more of it, for whatever reason, occupy and activate the East. If you’re feeling really stroppy go South.
The lap yum or “note” of the year Metal in the Sand means it’s a year of conservation; that means care with resources. Or carelessness. This is the year of parties lining up: polluters & the ecologically aware, business and spirit, money and quality of life. The Sheep has even the most reluctant of us playing well with others. But extremely selectively. And at this point in history we seem unable to be at our best other than in competition. So it’s by extension a year of competition.
The Year Hexagram 48 Jing the Well, from the Book of Changes, underlines this; it is about the conservation of resources. As Mississippi Fred McDowell had it: “You don’t miss your Water till your well run dry”. Jing is about the quality of Water and about the bucket we send down into the Well to draw the Water
Not that this is much of a surprise. As the next Chinese Fate Period (9) opens sometime between 2017 and 2024, these issues become central. 9 means Fire, so global warming and its implications such as the custodianship of Water. The disputes of the 21st century will be mostly about land and Water.
The Great Year.
So we’re in the middle of a 60 year Cycle, precisely the 8th stop in one that began in 2008. Previous Sheep years, multiples of twelve years ago will be somewhat like this one. And previous Wood Sheep years will be extremey like this one.
Let’s go back in multiples of 60: in 1955 the courageous Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Mississippi bus thus bringing to the attention of the world the two great truths highlighted by the life of Martin Luther King – as played by the remarkable David Oyelowo in Selma – that you can’t shoot someone without a gun and that black citizens have the same rights as white ones. In 2015, the events in Ferguson Mississippi are mirrored and re-doubled.
Another event that took place in 1955 was the resignation of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister to be replaced by Sir Anthony Eden who is best remembered for the last flourish of British gun boat diplomacy: the Suez adventure in 1956 – that is to say the next year in the cycle, a Fire Monkey just like 2016. Watch this space. And the Middle East.
An interesting astrological fact about 2014/5 is that it’s the first time since 1938 that the Moon has been new on the day of the Winter Solstice. You may remember that the following year featured some excitement.
Forever Blowing Bubbles.
Finally, if you think junk bonds were invented by Drexel Burnham in the 1980’s think again. Blame the South Sea Trading Company, established 1708. This corporation bought up the British national debt and then re-sold it as investment bonds. The bonds offered decent interest and were reckoned 100% secure; it was guaranteed by the British Empire wasn’t it? So the bonds changed hands over the next few year at thousands of percent of their face value. Until 1720 when the Bubble burst, spreading ruin across the developed world; not at that time such a big expanse, pretty much the British Empire (including the USA) and Europe. 1708 sits in the same point in the cycle as 2008 and 1720 as 2020. That is to say that since the Banking Collapse of 2008 we have been reliving the same cycle. Without apparently learning much. I know I bang on about this, but as George Santayana wrote: “Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
If we go back far enough in point of fact, we find that 1797 – which saw William Wallace’s response to early English expansionism at Sterling Bridge – reflects 2017, the year after next. Not such a great prognosis.
Mel Gibson: note. Time for Braveheart II – This time it’s Colonial?
If you follow the maths further, 2015 drops into the same spot in the cycle as 1775 which fell between the Boston Tea Party and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. 2016 is like 1776, a Fire Monkey. There is a time of turbulence coming. That year is also the same as 1836, the year of the Alamo. That connection of itself stands examination.
Going further back, fans of “Wolf Hall” are probably unlikely to have noticed that 1535 was an even earlier echo. What happened then? Henry VIII confiscated the Church property which had been funded by the poor in order to give it to newly-created Barons who frankly had enough already; a pretty literal activity of taking from the poor and giving to the rich. As I write, the ceo of Citigroup has been paid around $13m for presiding over a further year of failure and corruption.
That’s the Wood Sheep. A year of joining, a year of gathering. It’s possible at year’s end that we will share a coherent strategy for adapting to climate change and that some of the two billion currently going to bed hungry will have been relieved. Or that the orang utan, the tiger or the snow-leopard will have some sort of future to look forward to.
We’re all consumers and polluters but we can wake up to that. We’re all voters and we can make sure we use our votes and encourage others – especially – our children to do so too. That wave of energy is still cresting. We can take it anywhere we want. Can’t we? Let’s be very careful where we plant our tomatoes.
Richard Ashworth ©2015.