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,
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.
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.
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
The (8th) month of the Wood Rooster 2015.
(Sept 8th 8:10 to Oct 9th 00:09 inclusive)
The Rooster Month, Animal by Animal.
During this Wood Rooster month:
The Rat may feel overshadowed.
The Ox may feel surprisingly supported.
The Tiger may recover from defeat.
The Rabbit may want to stay home.
The Dragon may feel special.
The Snake may take several steps forward.
The Horse may rise to competition.
The Sheep may seek solitude.
The Monkey may rest.
The Rooster may seek grace.
The Dog awaits.
The Pig is the protector.
Today the blackberries are leaning towards me as if they want to be picked. Two or three days a week at this time of year I pluck them fresh for our morning smoothie. This ticks several boxes: that is to say a boost of Vitamin C with all the benefits of fresh fruit which is in this case (extremely) locally grown. Which was good feng shui long before it became the stuff of discussion on Radio 4. “Eat local food, drink local Water,” Master Chan Kun Wah used to say. Yesterday I had to stretch for the berries, today they come easily to hand.
Blackberries need to be plump but not mushy and they must be caught before – God forbid – they grow those whiskers that even the finest liquidiser blade struggles to dissolve. It’s September, the pure qi of the Monkey month; there are plenty to choose from.
Although it’s a fine day, the Autumn warmth is turning to the chillier bak low, that is the time of White Dew. It’s a distinctive back-to-school, end of holiday feeling. My hibiscus is hibiscing but the sunflowers have peaked; they stand like Eddard Stark waiting to be decapitated. Despite the sun, I can feel the damp in the air.
Where to do what, when and why.
The 8 Star lands North West this month and of course the North West is favoured all year. Like the (related) symbol for infinity, 8 speaks of limitless possibility. This is where to locate to catch the breaks. Facing NW or employing a North Western door will tend to have the same sort of effect this month also.
Women on the verge.
I’ve been working a great deal with women in the midst of divorce recently. “How did I misunderstand him so badly?” one asks me. “He seemed such a nice guy.” I offer something gnomic like “Most men can leave a lover but few can leave their Mum.” Which is true. But mostly I listen and compensate for neglected South West areas and ferocious North West ones. One house features a single external wall which pushes into the building between North and North West like a siege engine, effectively making land over to the neighbours. There are few more intrusive feng shui flaws than this. The aggressive North West is the realm of the Father, the North represents the Mother being squeezed out. Pick the bones out of that. Within this house we place protective Water with great precision on the 3rd September, the best day for some time for such a cure and we start to choose strategies. I have to be careful not to exceed my brief; I’m a feng shui man not a lawyer. So I prescribe Chapter One of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”. He’s the guvnor on winning.
The Rooster Month in the Sheep Year.
The Rooster may not have had a great shake of it this year. Or at least that may be the way she tells it. But often the Rooster simply hasn’t looked up from their self-punishment long enough to notice that they’re doing okay. How many openings did you miss or fail to acknowledge?
So in your own month you’d expect a boost wouldn’t you? Well the Rooster suffers from the so-called “self-clash” which means this month is an even bigger challenge. It will tend to empower Oxen and Snakes and Dragons but some Roosters may be too busy bemoaning their luck to appreciate good fortune. Your own month demands you step up. If you do, you may experience September as a peak. One proviso: every gain at the expense of another leaves you in debt. Generosity this month pays big dividends.
As for everyone else; the Rooster can inhibit the Rabbit. So Rabbits – like Hungarian demagogue Viktor Orban – ought perhaps to lower their sights this month. There is no fence high enough to solve the refugee problem, Viktor. Forget it.
This is a month of attention-seeking behavior which may be most visible in the Horses such as David Cameron and Angela Merkel. The need for approval of course is a function of insecurity. Which means those most uncertain breeds, politicians and celebrities will be especially intrusive. And the Dog can get very impatient around about now. You want to get on with it while everyone else appears to be painting their nails. Take Fire Dog Donald Trump for instance, safe in the certainty that even Americans are not daft enough to elect him, continuing to let his mouth write cheques no administration could ever cash. Pigs may be more modest but nothing can keep the limelight off Earth Pig Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner.
That’s September, step up or be generous or both.
A very Chinese puzzle.
The traditional Chinese finger puzzle tightens over the hand with every struggle. China has been in the grip of the benign puzzle of Confucian thinking since the fourth century BCE. This means that family and a stable society have been the priorities all that time. These are sound values of course but they come with an assumption which is this: Daddy knows best. Whether he is the ruthless Ming usurper Yongle whose victims included most of the males of his family or Qin Shi Huang Di a huge chunk of whose retinue, horses, stewards, servants and wives were buried alive with him, Mao Tse Tung or Deng Xiao Ping, Daddy’s decisions are final and infallible. And down twenty-odd centuries, a dozen dynasties, countless tyrants, even more countless massacres and no discussion, these values have persisted. And now right on time, just as Sheep turns to Monkey, China has its very own financial crisis; a very Confucian one. The powers-that-be imprison a few journalists for expressing an opinion and legislate against the trickery that makes up a market place: insider trading, short selling and the dead hand of stop-loss algorithms, these things have been the life blood of the Hang Seng for decades.
But you can’t run over a stock market with tanks any more than you can a blackberry. Nor is it practical to line either market or fresh fruit up against a wall and shoot them. Stock markets are free expression personified. No legislation in China will stay the hand of some pleonetic trader on Wall Street or the City of London any more that it will change the fact that no company loses 8% of its value over night. It’s all about confidence, a manic depressive pattern if you like; depression followed by over-confidence, Water followed by Fire. For these and other reasons many of us long since read June 2014 as the peak of all markets, the apogee of capitalism perhaps and we seem to have been right. And Xi Jinping* may, for better or for worse be a very different man from Deng but what’s for sure is that however many times the PRC responds to opposition with violence whether it be Tibet, Google, FaceBook, the Umbrella Revolution or that kid with the shopping bag crossing Tiananmen Square, dissidence will rise again. You cannot imprison the human mind. And as long as free expression, of which a stock market crash is the essence, is suppressed, as long as Ai Wei Wei can’t get proper travel documents, China may continue to manufacture the world’s trainers but she won’t design them and stock markets will remain volatile however much Daddy might wish it different.
*Which is not to contrast him with our own largely spine- and compassion-free representatives btw. Nor for the avoidance of doubt, that markets should be unregulated. George Soros is the guvnor on this. Read his “Open Society” perhaps.
Rooster Pillars; know your Rooster rating.
Birth in the Rooster hour (17:00pm-19:00pm): beautiful children.
Birth in the Rooster month (September*): accountancy may suit you.
Birth on the Rooster day#: marriage may not be for you.
Birth in the Rooster year: particularly sociable parents.
* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.
# Just ask.
Traditional Chinese Feng Shui: a journey through time and space..
Evening Talk and Day Workshop.
In September at the College of Psychic Studies I’ll be teaching the place of intuition in classical feng shui; the evening talk (Tues 8th September) will be followed by a one-day crash course (Sat 19th September).
For details on Richard’s next ba zi course go to: http://www.imperialfengshui.info/courses
Richard Ashworth©, on the last day of the Monkey, 2015.
June 2015: Horse Diary, the month of the Water Horse.
Horse Month opens: June 6th 08:20 am.
Coming to Meet.
Mid Summer Murmers.
Generally Horses seek the light; it is the nature of the Horse to crave attention. This quality of yang Fire, first identified thousands of years ago by the observers whose conclusions gave rise to Taoism, coincides cyclically with the high noon Sun, mid-Summer and the South. Naturally at this time of year we spend more time outside, we are more physical, more prominent, more mobile. The quest of the leaf for the sunlight, the stretching of the trees of the forest for its canopy, this is the Horse. And all of these qualities attach to the Horse month.
It’s a time of clear vision also. Following the what-you-see-is not-what-you-get of the Metal Snake month, we can now see what we actually have got: a world somewhat in chaos, precarious peace in half-a-dozen flash points and the environment upon which everything depends, possibly itself under sentence of death. Incidentally we have a parliament that is hung, drawn and quartered.
What to do with this? The time of the Horse is the time of spontaneity of action and of passion; doesn’t sound very British but then that union is itself under threat. If your inclination is to action, now is the time. This may mean risking confrontation. If you’re drawn on the other hand to contemplation, this may not be the moment. That time will come.
Where to do what, when and why.
In terms of the classical feng shui model, action, activism and general bringing-it-on-ness is identified with the number 3 whose home is in the East. It’s at the heart of this year’s lo shu (or magic square) which means it’s ever-present. This month the volatile East receives the blessing of the 8. Which means it has a following wind. East is yang Wood which is ever-expanding, always bursting new bounds, youthful and contentious.
If this is what you want, seek the East. That is to say, sleep in the East of your building, face East as you go about your business, place your pillow Eastwards* and place Water and/or plants in this location. Even better if you are of the East Group; if you’re not sure what that is, just ask.
Either way, let’s be responsible for what we oppose.
*er…and put your head on it.
The Horse in the Horse Month.
The outgoing nature of the Horse can show up as reckless or attention-seeking behavior in a young, inexperienced or dim Horse. By contrast, the wiser Horse may not show his hand. You may have learned to hold back. So next time you spy someone dancing on tables, there’s a decent chance it’s a young Horse (born 2002, 1990 or possibly 1978). And as for you, if you are drawn to clubbing but hold back from display, you may well be one of the sager Horses of 1966, 1954 or even 1942. This is yin and yang.
And as you might expect, the Horse has ego, This may be more true of someone born on a Horse day*. Which may highlight the difference between yin and yang Fire. Yang is on the face of it stronger and more certain. Yin can be less obviously secure but harder working. For this and other reasons, a person born on either Horse day or year suffers what is known as the “self-clash” ie Horses may not play well together. A Horse-Horse marriage is a spiky thing indeed.
Throughout 2015 the Horse will tend to be turbo-powered by your friend the Sheep. Sometimes you may even find yourself acknowledged for someone else’s good deeds. Ron Burgundy in “Anchor Man” is that kind of Horse; with what Will Ferrell calls “unearned confidence”. There are one or two in politics and banking. And show business. And feng shui.
The Horse is fond of the Sheep of course – as long as he knows his place – and can work with the Dog and Tiger. Each of these three is by nature a hunter but prepared to cooperate with the others at least until the deal is done. These animals have had to learn the business of win-win which doesn’t naturally make much sense to them; what is the point of competition without a winner? The answer of course is that there is competition for excellence and there is winning at all costs. In one the world is enriched, in the other winning may not raise standards but lower them.
To complete the picture, the Horse finds the average Rat depressing – she’s just too articulate – and the Rat’s sidekick the Ox even more so. If he notices them. They are reasonable in a way that the Horse has little patience with. And why not. Sometimes, he figures, life is too short for caution.
* you’ll need a Chinese Calendar to ascertain this.
Horse Month, Animal by Animal.
During this Water Horse month:
The Rat may feel ignored.
The Ox may be overlooked.
The Tiger may be unusually cooperative.
The Rabbit may be stretched even further.
The Dragon may lie low.
The Snake may take a back seat.
The Horse may attract both attention and competition.
The Sheep may serve.
The Monkey could roll over.
The Rooster holds back.
The Dog insists upon a fair share.
The Pig may take a step back.
Horse Pillars: know your Horse rating.
Birth in the Horse hour (11:00am-13:00pm): extroverted kids.
Birth in the Horse month (June*): suited to work in promotion.
Birth on the Horse day#: spontaneous to the point of haste.
Birth in the Horse year: outgoing family background.
* Caution, the Chinese month generally starts and finishes a few days after ours.
# Just ask.
Traditional Chinese Feng Shui: a journey through time and space.
Evening Talk and Day Workshop.
We can calculate and learn but sometimes we just know. The Chinese characters used in feng shui – principally the Animals – somehow contain such knowledge and can in a sense, talk to us if we will pay careful attention. In September at the College of Psychic Studies I’ll be teaching the place of intuition in classical feng shui; how we can know what’s right and what’s wrong about a person or place and what to do about it. This last is harder btw.
The evening talk (Tuesday 8th September) will be followed by a one-day crash course (Saturday 19th September). You may find these events especially useful if you know little about the subject and would like a rapid introduction in depth.
We’re telegraphing them now because the opening module of my next Feng Shui Starter Course The Wind that Stops at the Water, falls on the weekend in-between (12th/13th September) and you might use these events as an introduction.
Open to experts, aficionados and civilians. Do join us.
Tuesday 8th September (evening) & Saturday 19th September (all day)
at the College of Psychic Studies: (www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk)
Richard Ashworth©, late in the month of the Snake 2015.
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.
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.
Who is a Pig?
Years: 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007.
Hour: 09:00 pm – 11:00 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 Pig?
The weakness and the strength of the yin water Pig is to think they know what is good for them. Generally they do, and the maddening thing is that they are actually right often enough to make advice close to impossible. By extension this means you may believe you know what is right for everybody else.
Versatile and wilful, gifted at whatever they do, the Pig is the sign of the inventor. Edison was a Pig, as is Hillary Clinton and Wikileaker Julian Assange. Perfectly-balanced Pigs can literally almost do anything but they don’t always handle the truth well. They don’t much like reflective advice from others and they often hate not to know for sure. Vagueness is very uncomfortable for the Pig, this trio of the multi-gifted being no exception: Edison was of course an obsessive patenter, Hillary determined to get Wall Street onside in the teeth of her liberal credentials and Assange, confident that he knows better than anyone else what the world needs to know. This does not make any of them mistaken but the truth can be a moveable feast.
The Pig is communicative because it is a water sign. A balanced Pig (perhaps March birth around mid-afternoon) is a great audience and typically gets the listening/talking ratio just right. An unbalanced Pig can shoot off at the mouth and give (or take) away the farm before she knows it. Does any of this sound like – to pluck a name from nowhere – Earth Pig Simon Cowell?
More likely, you are prone to withdrawing into silence. The Pig can sulk but can also withdraw simply out of disinterest and be perfectly cheerful when challenged on the withdrawal. The Pig child needs just the right mixture of carrot and stick. Too much stick and he is suppressed or resentful. Too much carrot and he can be smug. The balanced Pig is the most sensitive of the animals. The unbalanced Pig suffers an empathy bypass. As the parent of a Pig, just remember you are instrumental in this process. Your Piglet does not need to become a boor.
The Pig embodies the wood of creativity so they can be as adept with the written as the spoken word as well as the yang earth that makes them able to concentrate deeply. Many Pigs prefer to study in noisy rooms and many are effortless A-students as teachers of first year undergraduates of 2015 may notice.
The Pig does not tend to like the Snake; one way or another they immobilise each other. The Snake’s intimate, the Monkey, can be a source of annoyance also.
The Pig’s most natural team is with the Rabbit and the Sheep. This is a domestic alliance. Together these three naturally make anywhere home. A perfect family might be Pig father, Rabbit mother and Sheep first-born. Once home, the Rabbit entertains while the Sheep ensures compatibility and the Pig does skilfully the tasks that are beyond her partners.
Traditionally the Pig also enjoys the company of the Tiger. You might think she’d be more cautious but she knows that the Tiger is uninterested in conquering anyone he considers easy meat. Of course he’s missing something here but the Pig’s fearless approach often disarms the Tiger before he realises. And by the bye, Pig’s literary ambition may burgeon in a Tiger year and flourish in a Rabbit one.
Although she may herself be more adventurous, the Pig also understands the loyal and consistent Dog. She respects the fact that every home needs its guardian. These two will tend to develop a camaraderie with its own distinctive banter. The Pig respects the Dog’s diligence and the Dog knows the Pig will compensate for his weakness.
The Pig also operates well as factotum for a group consisting of the Snake (whom she can’t otherwise stand for any length of time) the Monkey (see above) and the Tiger. For these she is, interestingly, the peacemaker and setter of standards. Without the Pig this grouping whose common interest is travel and mobility, can’t get off the ground.
One final note: the Pig suffers what is called the self curse. That is to say that she has limited patience with other Pigs. The Chinese character for a house is one Pig under a roof. Just the one.
Pig in Wood Sheep Year.
Stars include: secondary tin yute, pin choi
The Pig is puzzled this year. New and unexpected challenges have emerged; mostly pretty exciting. The Wood of the Wood Sheep ensures you have power and support. The danger is that you could be veering off track or withdrawing. You move so fast. You’re empowered but you’ve bitten off a lot. And you are so prone to believing the discouraging nonsense that sometimes sits between your ears; a mash-up of many unhelpful voices filtered through your own. Don’t treat it as an authority. The theme of the year is knowing your excuses and exploding them.
Traditionally the Pig is empowered by the Sheep. With the Rabbit, a partnership is formed whose principal strength is in the home. So in a year in which this team dominates, expect to be home a great deal. You’ll like that; cooking for yourself and whoever cares to join you. Define home a bit more widely also, perhaps; call your Mum occasionally and remake those other bonds you may have taken for granted. You can take them for granted btw, but I shouldn’t.
Last year was very much a year of learning. This is more a time of teaching. You know things – perceptions as well as straightforward facts – that others need to know. You never talk down. You never under-estimate. You will be heard. Rely on that. If you’re not heard, is because you’re not speaking up. That’s yin Water.
On the world stage Hillary Clinton is a Pig and this is a big year for her, possibly the biggest of her life. Like Ms C, this year you define yourself. Step up to the plate. Take that risk. You will be supported; you do have a considerable team to call on. They’ve always known they can call on you and they are themselves in turn ready for your call. This year don’t let those excuses your fertile mind gives birth to so easily, convince you anything you truly want is not possible. It is. You may have multiple ambitions; entertain them all.
This year is the first of a two-part offensive. In 2016 you rise to some sort of prominence. It may be that you have to wait till then or even the year after for the full reward you are due. Meanwhile seek diplomatic Rabbits to network for you but be prepared to do it for yourself. Find team-playing Sheep to build connections for you and the occasional Tiger to bust through barriers. If you can’t find such individuals, locate these qualities in yourself. The Pig is nothing if not versatile; you are Wood, Water and Earth, you can fit in and shine anywhere.
Blatant self-promotion may be distasteful to you. Examine whether this judgement is useful but anyway be clear of the difference between yang marketing – you need me, buy now – and yin – I’m available if you’re up to it. Best times for advancement may be March and July. Be imaginative, be flexible, be brazen but above all, get on with it.
Elementally seek Wood, which is creativity. It’s what the Pig is said to give birth to. Generally this can be interpreted as the written word. Locate the East and be there. Get up early in the morning and wring every gram of brightness out of the spring time.
You are so bright, show the world.
Health: some possible blockages. Eat wisely.
Money: no noticeable change. Yet.
Feng Shui: The Rabbit in the East offers you breakthrough. Activate the Rat (due North) for relationship – whatever you mean by that. The Tiger (NE3) holds Dragon Virtue (for enhanced reputation) which may be the key this year.
Readers’ Digest Version: breakthrough if you want it.
Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Tiger, 2015.
Who is a Dog?
Years: 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006.
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.
Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Tiger, 2015.