Posts Tagged ‘New Year’

Fire Rooster Day, a look at 2017 – Early Bird Ending Soon

October 25, 2016

Early Bird Price of £85.00 expires on the 1st November!

The Fire Rooster
Distracted by Shiny Things”, 2017 : the Year of the Turkey.
A Day with Richard Ashworth Dec 3rd 10am Godalming Pepperpot

“Meet the New Boss, same as the old boss” – Pete Townsend, “Won’t get fooled again.”

The Fire Rooster of the coming year is a capricious bird. Blessed with the charm to inspire life-long devotion, he often chooses instead to hold back, satisfied with simply dazzling. So 2017 is likely to be a year when show, publicity and packaging disguise content. It’s a year to ask difficult questions. In any case the Rooster’s yin Metal nature makes it the year of research as well as subterfuge.

This quality of making an empty impression indicates the year’s underlying nature. The least balanced Dragons (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988) will tend to have something of a free ticket (good news for Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Vladimir Putin btw). They could use it to burst bubbles and highlight what’s worth highlighting. Snakes (1953, 1965, 1977, 1989) like Tony Blair and Basharat Assad prosper beyond all reasonable expectation as do Oxen – among them Barack Obama. And yes, it’s the year of the overstayed welcome as well as of the empty posture.

Meanwhile the annual lo shu or “magic square” has at its centre the Watery 1 of communication. So it’s also a year of talk, negotiation and spin. The trick will be to not allow this jaw-jaw to be empty. The Rabbit has a big role here – to challenge, bad faith and half-truth. You’ll win through as long as you stick to what matters. Angelina Jolie, this means you; your time is better spent calling governments on their arms-selling record than your ex on his spliff habit. In 2017 older Dogs will tend to bark less; Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Donald Trump – all born 1946 – will fade away. This is the last wag of the old guard; sleeping dogs, let them lie.

In our houses,the Eastern area will call for very careful treatment to forestall a plague of boils, as will the South. This makes it a year of careful manoeuvering for the 50% of us designated East Group by our birth details. The saving grace is that a South East door looks handy as does (unusually) Water in the tai chi or “heart” of the house. More I’m not going to give away before December.

Internationally the likely trouble spots are unsurprising: the Far East of course but also the East and South of anything. Flooding is likely for instance in East Anglia and hurricanes along the Carolina coast though they’ll tend to be more destructive in the Gulf of Mexico. Eastern Ukraine, the North West frontier (that’s Eastern Afghanistan) are trouble spots, as is Moscow and the Great Barrier Reef. In Europe the turmoil moves East – from for instance Austria to Hungary and Berlin to Warsaw. Not the greatest year in Canary Wharf either. Or the White House. And let’s not forget that it is not simply because worldwide turkeys are voting for Christmas that I’m calling this they year of the turkey. Or Turkey.

Richard will be talking a lot more about all of this at the Pepperpot, Godalming High Street between 10 and 5 on the 3rd December. Join us. The future starts here.

Be sure to bring with you details of any property, issue or individual with whom you are concerned.

Price: £125, Early Bird: by 1/11/16 – £85
Email: to book your place.
Pay by Paypal at:
or ask Sheila for bank details.

Last year, this weekend sold out very quickly. We have three Skype places (only) available for participants who are in the GMT time zone.
For US Time Zones: I may not have told you about the 2017 forecast day I’m holding for my overseas students. It’s essentially the Fire Rooster day I host here in the UK the previous week but geared to US time zones.It’s open to all those who find that timing more convenient.

It’ll be via Skype/Zoom and hopefully start at a convenient time for you (3pm GMT is pencilled) and end at a reasonable time for you. I’ll be reviewing the year, issue by issue, animal by animal, location by location with ideas for making the best use of it. It’s a pretty comprehensive day. Hope you can make it.

There’s more info on the News Page of my website:

Cost: £100. via Paypal from the link at:
Please contact before paying as limited places available.
Richard Ashworth©

2017 the Fire Rooster – A Day with Richard Ashworth

October 14, 2016

The Fire Rooster
2017 : the Year of the Turkey.

Meet the New Boss, same as the old boss”Pete Townsend, “Won’t get fooled again.”

The Fire Rooster is a capricious bird. Blessed with the charm to inspire life-long devotion, he often chooses instead to hold back, satisfied with simply dazzling. So 2017 is likely to be a year when show, publicity and packaging disguise content. It’s a year to ask difficult questions. In any case the Rooster’s yin Metal nature makes it the year both of research and subterfuge.

This quality of making an empty impression indicates the year’s underlying nature. The Dragons (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988) will tend to have something of a free ticket (good news for less balanced ones such as Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Vladimir Putin btw). It’s possible they will use it to burst bubbles and highlight what’s worth highlighting. Snakes (1953, 1965, 1977, 1989) however like Tony Blair and Basharat al-Assad prosper beyond all reasonable expectation as do Oxen – among them Barack Obama. It’s the year of the overstayed welcome as well as of the empty posture.

The annual lo shu or “magic square” of the year has at its centre the Watery 1 of communication. So set the controls for a year of talk, negotiation and spin. The trick will be to not allow this jaw-jaw to be empty. The Rabbit has a big role here – to challenge bad faith and half-truth. You’ll win through as long as you stick to what matters. Angelina Jolie, this means you; your time is better spent calling governments on their arms-selling record than your ex on his spliff habit. In 2017 older Dogs will tend to bark less; Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Donald Trump – all born 1946 – will fade away. This is the last wag of the old guard; they are sleeping dogs, let them lie.

In our houses,the Eastern area will call for very careful treatment to forestall a plague of boils, as will the South. This makes it a year of deft manoeuvering for the 50% of us designated East Group by our birth. A saving grace is that a South East door looks handy as does (unusually) Water in the tai chi or “heart” of the house. More I’m not going to give away before December.

Internationally the likely trouble spots are unsurprising: the Far East of course but also Eastern and Southern regions; flooding is likely for instance in East Anglia and hurricanes along the Carolina coast though they’ll tend to be more destructive in the Gulf of Mexico. Eastern Ukraine, the North West frontier (that’s Eastern Afghanistan) are trouble spots, as is Moscow and the Great Barrier Reef. In Europe the turmoil moves East – from for instance Austria to Hungary and Berlin to Warsaw. Not the greatest year in Canary Wharf either. Or the White House. And let’s not forget that it is not simply because turkeys are voting for Christmas worldwide that I’m calling this the year of the turkey. This may well be the year of Turkey.

I could go on. I won’t. I’ll be talking a lot more about all of this at the Pepperpot, Godalming High Street between 10 and 5 on the 3rd December. Join us. The future starts here.

Richard Ashworth.

We sold out very quickly last year so please book promptly.
Your place is secured by payment to:
HSBC, Sort: 40 22 12, A/C No: 33662950
via the Paypal button halfway down the Services page of Richard’s website.

Price:  £125. Early Bird £85 by 1/11/16.

Richard Ashworth©

Wool Gathering: 2015, The Year of the Wood Sheep

February 21, 2015

Wool Gathering

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.

Dragon Rules.

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.

Peaking Ducks

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.

Spirit Level.

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.

Animal Forecast 2015: 7. Neigh Sayer, outlook for the Horse in 2015

February 13, 2015

Who is a Horse?

Years:  1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014.
Month*:  June
Hour: 11:00 am – 01:00 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 Horse?
The horse is yang fire: the charmer, the extrovert, the seducer of the Zodiac, the Horse is rarely caught however high-risk his strategy. She has an ego of course but is better able to laugh at himself than for instance the Dragon. Like the Dragon, the Pig and the Rooster though, she is often not inclined to work with her own kind. The typical Horse is not a deep thinker and ego leads him to suppose that no one else is either.

There tends to be a belief in shortage, at work in the Horse. You may imagine that you must be first to the trough if you are to eat. In romance the Horse, like the Rooster, can be what Leonard Cohen calls “a thin gypsy thief”. This means his weakness can be a failure to respect boundaries and property. Of all the animals, the Horse and Rooster are typically the marriage breakers and the home wreckers. This is not inevitable of course. If we know this about ourselves we can make wiser choices. Just because today is a good day to die, it is not necessarily a good day to kill.

Predictably the Horse is often not great at commitment. The yin and yang of this by the way is that a self-aware Horse is the most constant partner there is.

Success matters a great deal to the Horse. He is not generally subtle. It is the winning not the taking part that tends to concern you.
Obviously enough the fiery Horse is not keen on water. He experiences this element, whether expressed as a Rat year or as excessive communication, as dampening his enthusiasm. Water slows him down but does not halt him. This tends to make the Water months – November to January – turbulent in all sorts of senses including the meteorological.

Interestingly the Horse’s charisma is best expressed either in a team with the other Plum Flowers, Rat, Rabbit and Rooster or with the Sheep. You will often find Sheep and Horse out and about together, the Horse radiating charm and the Sheep reflecting it. This actually is a good partnership; the Sheep is in awe of the sheer daring of the Horse and the reckless Horse may often need grounding, safety and a short term loan.

The Horse’s home team, all of whom have fire in common, is with the Tiger and the Dog. These are the hunters of the Zodiac: the Tiger kills, the Horse chases, the Dog guards. This support system is the most likely to bring the Horse rewards. On his own he is prone to burn brightly and extinguish early. You’ll have a good time though.

The Horse can find the Ox hard work also. There is metal hidden in the Ox which the Horse can turn to his advantage but the Ox’s preferences are so humdrum.

The Horse has visual, imaginative and intellectual gifts but is unlikely to value them enough to put them to good use. Many of the words we use about the virtue of work illustrate the unwillingness of the Horse to stick at things: harness, yoke, saddle, blinker etc. Again the yin and yang is that a conscious Horse never quits.

A Horse who works with a Snake may achieve greatness because the Snake understands the Horse just as she understands the Dragon, additionally the Snake will not need to compete. In many ways the Snake is the perfect partner but it is more likely the Snake will recognise this than the Horse. The Snake suffers in the short term and the Horse in the long.

Racing, partying, playing, the danger for the Horse is burnout. The challenge is to defer gratification long enough that there remains a future.

Horse in Wood Sheep Year

Stars include: sap gon luk, loy hong.

So your year is over. Except it may not have felt like your year at all. Because of the so-called self clash the typical Horse will have felt quite challenged. And your natural spontaneity may now seem, looking back, more gesture  than action.  The demanding year of 1954 Horse Angela Merkel could be typical;  Germany started 2014 looking like the defender of the European Union and ended it perhaps as one of the reasons that union is threatened with fracture. 1966 Fire Horse David Cameron started the year as an alternative to the knee-jerk xenophobia of UKIP and ends looking liking a reason to vote outside the Westminster establishment at all costs. It is the nature of a year of revelation like that just passed, that  illumination falls upon the Horse. And not necessarily in a good way. You have felt constantly exposed and you’ve had enough of that for the time being, I expect.

At home you may have felt lonely or abandoned and at work, out on a limb. Past mistakes may have been raked up. That’s embarrassing to anybody and it’s an especially brave Horse who looks upon error easily. You’re wise and decent and likely to be available 24-7 to dispense loving advice but receiving it? Not so much. You’ve shifted your schedule time after time to give help but often been too busy to let yourself be helped. So often, advice sounds like condemnation and assistance seems to mean you’re helpless. And for you “helpless” probably carries additional meanings of “useless” and “worthless”.  And to be fair, reflection reflects the reflecter; some of that advice may indeed have amounted to sabotage.

You are however the secret friend of the Sheep. This means you are favoured.  A rest may be in order; certainly some relief from pressure and the Sheep may offer it. Your ambitions are better served by delegation than solo  work but what you choose to concentrate upon this year will shine. That is sap gon luk, the star of success through good preparation. Chuck Spezzano used to say that “bonding is effortless success”;  not “implies” or “entails”, “is”.

On the other hand the loy hong star that rests over you this year threatens that you could over-reach yourself. The Horse is not generally great at commitment. You’re more immediate than that – often to your loss. You’re better at easy-going, relatively shallow relationship. This year if you are spoken-for, be careful how easy-going you get and with whom. Not that you are in danger of discovery. Your partner may never know. But you will. Such small deceits are scars upon the soul.

Of your soul-mates, the Dog will be in need of assistance. A Sheep year for the Dog is a “break-up”; some sort of parting of the ways is on the cards. And the Dog more than likely turns to you.  The Sheep whose loyalty characterises the year, may need a reminder as to why he bothers.  These entreaties will tend to fall in the middle of the year. Later on there is serious discouragement for the Horse who claims they never really cared. You have to care. And of course you do; underneath the top two layers of that neapolitan of sensitivities is a huge, empathetic heart.

If you followed that heart last year, opportunities will be opening up about now. February holds a boost to your energy and June. But you’ll have to commit to whatever it is that beckons. Think about it; if you don’t it’s bound to fail. Only if you do throw yourself into it – work, relationship, that huge new opportunity that you have almost talked yourself out of – will you ever know what could be.

So the key to this year is opening up. There are many – family, friends, those you’ve never met – who are desperate to know you better. These people recognise your nerve and your originality and your heart but feel they hardly know you. If you are known, you’ll be found out, won’t you? They will have some sort of power over you, won’t they? Oops. They’ll know you’re fallible and they’ll be able to exploit your weaknesses. We can’t have that canwe?

This year, the South where the Horse lives, is visited by the tricky Red 7 Star. The 7 is the star of intervention. Not such a bad idea but it’s also the Star of interruption and interference. Who’s to say which is which? This year you have to risk interference, and interruption and open up to intervention if you yearn for intimacy. And from then on you’re neither lonely nor put-upon. If you rise to the call, you enter 2016 equipped for the worldwide dramas that threaten. Otherwise you get a rest.

Health: possible weight gain. Care of eyes, skin, lungs still advised.

Money: activate, occupy, face, favour NE3 the Tiger for reputation, E2 the Rabbit for abundance.

Relationship: the toe far due East at the Rabbit ensures plenty of variety if that’s your choice.

Feng Shui: activate the Dog at NW1 (WNW) for the Moon; that is proportion. You may need it.

Readers’ Digest Version: at least restful, recuperative. At best refuelling.

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


Tiger Diary: what to expect in February 2015

February 6, 2015

Tiger Diary: overview of February 2015.

Feat. Tiger

Tiger Month opens: February 4th 12:09pm.

Feat. Tiger

The Tiger never forgets; an error, a slight a misjudgement or indeed a favour. And above all an injustice. Its all locked away in the long term thinking of this predator. Not that theres anything wrong with predators. Take the Yellowstone Wolves whose reintroduction revitalized the Wyoming landscape for miles around. Or the colony of beavers who recently set up shop in Devon. By the River Otter interestingly. And of course were all predators in the sense that we eat stuff and we wear stuff. All of which require more vulnerable species to give their lives for us.

What threatens the Tiger though is blame. Typically the Tiger is quick to anger. He or she may express it with outward aggression or with self-sacrifice but it often lingers: a smouldering resentment at the unfairness of life. Which is why the balanced Tiger stands for justice.

This balanced Tiger, the one who has explored alternatives beyond dumping or falling on her sword, and sought grace instead, is a genuine leader and expresses that innate aggression usefully. New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is looking like a good example; former Trotskyites dont have a great track record but theres every chance that Tsipras has taken a hunger for justice and turned it into service. And it may be that as this Tiger month and this Sheep year open, one important domino has fallen in a sequence in which the last falls at the feet of the powerful.

Well see.

The Tiger in the Tiger Month.

As you know by now, the Tiger (1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010) is the fiercest. You don’t cross them. Victoria Beckham may be the best-known Tiger there is, brilliant in her own right and married to a man who is by some consensus the most desirable in the world. Judging by her deft handling of supermodels and the press, David is not the only one who knows you dont mess with Victoria.

The Tiger month is the beginning, the dawn of the year just as the Tiger hour (3-5am) is the Spring of the day. The Tiger has vision and patience along with long memory; in the wild a Tiger is prepared to wait for days before pouncing. But eventually it must move and when it does, it is eye-blurringly fast. This expansive quality of assertion and aspiration is called Wood. The rapid movement of the Tiger like the sudden rise of a tropical Sun is called yang Wood. The Tiger gets on with it.

The Tiger however can sometimes forget that blame brings its own disempowerment. If someone else caused a situation in my life, then ultimately I have no power. The smart Tiger learns to move on; the dim one can hang on forever.

The trap of the Tiger is a total lack of self-knowledge. Those that rise to this are the very smartest of the Animals. Ask David.

Appropriately the Tiger is the striker of the group of Animals known as the Hunters of the Chinese Zodiac, along with the Horse and the Dog. Wisely, in whatever context, the Tiger is always concerned with why he or she is engaged in whatever he or she is engaged in. Oddly perhaps then, the Tigers secret friend is the Pig. This is largely because the Pig is home-loving and adaptable; you can imagine that sometimes a Tiger needs these things in her life.

Often the Tiger doesnt think the witty Monkey is funny; humour can be lost on them. In a Horse year, spoiled for opportunity, she may have risked burnout; working too hard or hardly working as Chuck Spezzano puts it. In 2015 the Year of Gathering, the Tiger is best advised to honour the team to which he or she belongs. In a Tiger (Horse or Dog) month that will be hard to avoid.

Tiger Month, Animal by Animal.

During this Earth Tiger month:

The Rat is surprisingly quiet.

The Ox rests.

The Tiger hunts alone.

The Rabbit is protected.

The Dragon remains essential.

The Snake keeps his head down.

The Horse punches above her weight.

The Sheep could be fragile.

The Monkeys jokes may fall flat.

The Rooster may be defensive.

The Dog is especially keen to please.


The Pig rises to the occasion.

Tiger Pillars; know your Tiger rating.

Birth in the Tiger hour (03:00pm-05:00am): you fight to the last ditch.

Birth in the Tiger month (February*): fearless at work and at home.

Birth on the Tiger day#: prone to the pre-emptive strike.

Birth in the Tiger year: big lessons to learn.

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

# Just ask.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month the North East, home of the Tiger, holds what is known as Dragon Virtue, the Star of good reputation. Although part of the North East (technically NE1 or NNE) where the Ox resides, is very delicate, the Tiger holds the 8 Starwhich implies wealth pretty much where and whenever it appears. Enhancing these two qualities might be worth a Water fountain here for the month. Make it “sentimental” ie gently pumped as well as proportionate. Best placed on the 11th or 23rd.

Remember the Alamo

I surveyed the Alamo for Lee White in 2011. Her book about it, with foreword by notable Alamo nut Phil Collins is now out “Joe the Slave who became an Alamo Legend”. She received interest in movie rights almost right away. Oh and she lives in a self-build we worked on together.

Sunday Times

I was quoted by Emma Wells in the Home Section of last weeks Sunday Times Magazine. Its an interesting piece if you care to look it out. Basically when we move into a house, we inherit its tendencies, good or bad. Remember this when you next move, I should.

Also last week I spoke about the prospects for the Wood Sheep, the Year of Gathering at summit; well have a link to this shortly. Im distributing more on this subject including forecasts Animal by Animal already and an overview as well as suggestions as to what to do with the new energy in your home will follow, but this is a reasonable introduction. Theyre a great crowd. And Rachel Elnagh is a good and powerful woman. Do investigate.

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

Big Fire, Big Ice: Big Water.

February 10, 2014

Tiger, Tiger.

Fire Tiger month, Wood Horse year.

February 5th 06:21am.

Big Fire, Big Ice: Big Water.

The Tiger opens the year with a burst of Fire. To some extent this is always true because the Tiger is part Fire. In some years this blast of spontaneity, of visibility, of passion is more marked than in others. This year it is quite extreme. Heres my take on the year btw.

Here is film of Richard talking prophetically about flood meadows, exterior feng shui, real wind and especially real water. Bear in mind this was before the recent ‘biblical’ floods. Who knows? There might be something in this stuff.

The Tiger in the Tiger Month.

The Tiger itself is generally confident, neither flattered nor challenged by a Tiger month. Such confidence is not always justified. They might like to know that the fresh power Tigers may be feeling now is likely to last the whole of the Horse year and may or may not be 100% valid. Tread carefully. The Book of Changes (Hexagram Ten Lu, Treading) says: “…one’s purpose will be achieved if one behaves with decorum.”

Tiger Month Animal by Animal.

The Tiger:

Demands expression of the Rabbit.

Supports the Horse even in ill-conceived endeavours.

Directs the Dog.

Instructs the Monkey, sometimes with surmountable barriers.

Assists the Pig, one-to-one.

Frustrates the over-ambitious Rooster – but satisfies the contained one.

Talks across the Ox but that’s not just the Tiger.

Focuses the Dragon.

Flatters some Snakes, wakes others up.

Draws deeply on the Rats powers of expression.

Backs the Sheeps team.

The Tiger Pillars:

Birth in the Tiger hour (1-3am): implies great vision and children with the same ability.

Birth in the Tiger month (February): work that requires constant vigilance.

Birth on the Tiger day: a tendency to put parenthood ahead of relationship.

Birth in the Tiger year: Vision, patience, clear memory especially of favours and slights. Ambitious, can appear aggressive.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is the 8, to do with rapid positive achievement. This ambitious objective is probably best supported by locating yourself or facing West which is likely to work better for West than East Group but it all evens out. If this is Greek to you (or even Chinese) you’re hardly alone. You can take it on trust or study enough to question it  or of course anything in between.

Forthcoming Events: Click below

Feng Shui Course 2014: Early Bird Offers now available

Big Fire, Big Ice; Big Water: Richard talking in October 2013 about real wind, real water 

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Fire Tiger, Oct 2014.

2014: The Year of the Horse in the Clouds.

January 31, 2014

“When you can tell Fire from Water, you are a Master.”

Grand Master Chan Kun Wah.

Merry Christmas Li Ka Shing.

For more than a thousand years, the town of Godalming, deep in the Surrey woods, has been saved from flood by its Lammas Land. Although it is at the base of the Wey valley, the town generally stays dry however much rain falls. From April to August, this meadow is pasture and it pretty much becomes a lake between November and March.

ImageIt’s been that way since the time of King Alfred. That’s around twelve hundred years. Sometimes on summer afternoons we leave the office, take our meal-deal from Boots down to a park bench and watch the cattle and horses fattening up on the rich grass between the Town Bridge and the Titanic Memorial. Don’t tell me I don’t have a life.

This is feng shui in action; the balance between Heaven, Earth and Human needs, what in Chinese is called tian-ti-ren, the Earth, the Wood and the Water in mutual dependence. Because the land is grazed, saplings never become bushes nor do bushes become trees. The meadow serves as a drain that keeps the buildings dry.

This year for the first time in my lifetime however, some houses were evacuated as the water rose. Half-a-dozen threatened homes is not Bangla Desh or even Tewksbury (which became a mini-Venice with buildings growing out of the flood and roads turning to water courses) but it’s a bench mark. Nor is it the Somerset levels which you’ll know maybe from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon are the lowlands surrounding Glastonbury. They used to be lake throughout the wet season. And are again this year. Something is happening.

We used to know about this stuff. Godalming’s parish church was built on higher ground around the year 811. No building of any age sits as low in the valley as the Lammas Lands. The homes in danger were not ancient but none had been vulnerable before.*

What’s this got to do with the fiery Year of the Wood Horse? Here’s one thing: a respectable method of assessing the coming year is to look at the last one that had the same pillar, the last Wood Horse. That was 1954 which set new records for flooding and coastal erosion. If you seek confirmation that this is sound methodology, 1954 also featured shenanigans in Korea as well as East-West arm-wrestling over nuclear proliferation.

Here’s another thing: when Great Heat encounters Great Cold, Great Water follows. When icebergs and glaciers melt in the heat, sea-level rises. In some ways this year of Fire promises to be a year of Water. Already there’s too much. This year that fact may become impossible to ignore. I surely hope so.

One person who has clearly been able to ignore it is the above Hong Kong mogul who now owns the local utilities. Due to the extraordinary weather, Godalming became a black spot on the National Grid over Christmas. In our house the power was cut four times. Here in the affluent South East of England – spit and you hit a banker – we’re extraordinarily fortunate. Our privileged lives are rarely interrupted by the elements. For the time being it’s the rest of the world I worry about.

It’s pretty easy to peel sprouts in shadow, and in the half-light we got to talk to each other and play board games. In the brief intervals of power supply, my daughters Jess and Hen cooked and then we overate at our leisure. Outside the winds keened and blew the garden chairs around while rain poured and poured and poured. More fell more rapidly than I can remember, sometimes sounding like power drills, sometimes like small animals rushing around on the roof.

Water will not be resisted. It cannot be compressed. This Water is coming from somewhere and it has to go somewhere. We have forgotten how to respect the Water and we have forgotten its power. My suspicion is that 1200 years of flood prevention is about to fail and power cuts will be among the least of our worries. Merry Christmas, Mr Li.

* perhaps read George Monbiot’s Guardian article on this.

The Horse’s Mouth.

“Mouth open, story jump out.” Guyanese proverb.

By the most popular calculation, February 4th 2014 opens the Year of the Wood Horse, known as the Horse in the Clouds. This suggests an image of charging into the air with vision impaired; full steam ahead with the windscreen fogged up. So a year of spontaneity and reaction rather than strategy. Horses can sometimes talk before (and often instead of) thinking. So this Horse Year may be a year of revelation when the deceitful are wrong-footed.


Horses are said to be spontaneous, passionate and outgoing. These qualities can be expected both of people born in Horse years and of the Horse year itself. One theme of the Snake year of 2013 was deception; what you saw was not what you got. In contrast the Horse can be expected to shed light. Whether the issues are global surveillance, the Lockerbie bombing, drones over Pakistan, climate change or show biz scandals, the outcome may be illumination rather than whitewash. The enquiry into the cover-up-of-the-enquiry-into-the-cover-up-of-the-enquiry into the Hillsborough tragedy may name names. Similarly, where so far only one banker has been jailed for treating the interests of client and public as subsidiary to his own, 2014 promises to reveal this as the standard procedure it may be. And it may be that the impending ecological catastrophe is finally addressed.

We are currently walking over an ecological precipice wearing headphones and Google glasses. What happens to the Earth happens on some level to each of us individually. To the extent that I am disheartened, so is the world. It may take a shock to wake us up. The Fire of the Horse year may hold that shock. The Horse is the animal of the blurted-out truth. It just can’t help itself.

Hors d’oeuvres.

Also the Horse is competitive; it likes to dance on tables. And on the average table there’s only room for one dancer. For this and other reasons it is said to suffer the so-called self clash. This means Horses don’t play nicely together.

So even relatively contained Horses like David Cameron and Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs) may find their authority challenged before year’s end. Cameron however need not beware Sheep like Ed Balls or Nick Clegg, both of whom whatever they present, are meek team players. Angela Merkel of course is another Horse and several Masters have seen her recent accident as evidence of the self-clash in action. Also evidence that dancing on tables is safer than skiing.

Horse Trading.

Markets tend to sink in Water-heavy years (like pretty much all of those since 2007) and pick up with Fire. Fire returned in 2013 and peaks with the Horse. Some see this process as literally manic-depressive. Sunshine brings optimism and bull markets, rain the reverse. This enthusiasm may peak like the power of the Sun at mid-summer. Many recommend being out of markets by July. At the extreme of Fire is burn-out but if markets are the measure, this is a boom year.

The price of commodities however continues to be distorted by market manipulation. Such deceit is a Snake type phenomenon. Expect the Horse to bring into light abuses in coffee and cocoa markets and latterly metals. Technically this is to do with a Rooster-Horse clash. Rooster is yin Metal, glamour, the superficial; the Horse represents the light of noon. So expect revelations between June and September. Precisely how that will play out is hard to assess but if you thought bankers only distorted stock and money markets, you don’t know the half of it. And whether that’s good or bad news is simply a question of view point.

Horse Box.

Another method of prognosis consists of assessing the lo shu  or so-called magic square of the year. I won’t digress into why, but take it from me that this year’s key number is 4 which represents academe, discovery, invention and sex scandals. It’s also the number of the eldest daughter. Take these implications together with the nature of the Horse and you have an interesting soup. A year to practise discretion. And forgiveness.

I don’t speculate about celebrities any more because it so easily encourages mean-spiritedness and the press does that so expertly already. However….the Rabbit’s resources are fully drawn upon this year, so Fire Rabbit Andy Murray might just win that second title. It won’t be straightforward though. And English football is always flattered by the Horse, as it was in 2002 and doubly in 1966. Remember that? So we can anticipate a respectable World Cup performance.

The lo shu:



3      8      1

2      4      6

7      9      5

Squire Horse.

Because of the 4 lo shu it’s likely to be a year of career progress for women. Men are typically suspicious of the woman in power because they expect female bosses to be like male bosses, only in skirts. We expect fruitless cleverness and no-winner competition because business seems always to have been like that. Actually there’s another way. Empowerment could replace rivalry for instance. This is a yin (that is female) quality.

Even now, although they account for fewer than 5% of CEO’s of FTSE 500 companies, women hold the reins both of the European Central Bank  and the IMF and now with the appointment of Fire Dog Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Bank. Ms Yellen looks like a very different kind of banker but as you’ll read in my Animal Fortunes the Dog has a job holding onto money this year. Low interest rates are past their sell-by date (although no one has told Wood Snake Mark Carney) but they won’t be coming down significantly any time soon. Nonetheless in a Wood Snake/Fire Dog conflict, don’t put money on the Snake.

Other rising women include Gloria da Piero MP who is a year or so short of prominence. This is a year of learning and of building support for Pigs like her. Wood Horse Angela Merkel’s career is a little further down the road but some sort of challenge looks likely whether within or without Germany.

And finally the London Stock Exchange now boasts two female directors. That’s serious progress. A trend going back several thousand years is changing along with the climate. As the regularity of the cycle of days and seasons became clear, a woman who could feel when an eclipse was coming became less valuable than a man who could calculate and record the next thousand. It’s this type of control that has taken us to the precipice.

Number Five is alive.

The number to watch out for in the Lo shu is always the tricky 5. In 2014 this star falls in the North West, the place of authority. It landed in the centre last year, so many masters predicted upset in “central” places like the Central African Republic and capital cities generally. Riots in Istanbul and Rio among many others, may have proved them right. This year it’s authority that’s at risk. This is a year in which tradition is seriously questioned. If we look at what’s North West of the UK and North West of land masses in general, civil disobedience in North America and South Western Europe look on the cards. Also the Arabian Gulf. And let’s not neglect the North West of the US where a legion of multinationals such as Irish-registered tax dodger Apple and the not-for-profit Starbucks operation make their homes.

Bull in a China shop; a note about the Ox.

The Ox has a distinctive pattern of demanding power and not knowing how to use that power, when to let go of it or when it is starting to fail. Margaret Thatcher and Napoleon come to mind. And Metal Ox Barack Obama. In the Rat year of 2008, Obama could do no wrong. By 2010 he couldn’t get the simplest legislation through congress. This year the Ox is especially favoured by a shower of auxiliary stars. But only this year. If Obama is to leave any sort of legacy, now is the time. This applies to all Oxen. Carpe diem doesn’t mean fish of the day.

Four Horses.

Another traditional method of forecasting is to examine the Hexagrams of the Book of Changes indicated by the year. There are traditionally four. And by my (not 100% orthodox) reckoning this year’s are: Hexagram Numbers 1, 2, 45 and 36. These are Father (ie authority) Mother (the Receptive), Gathering and Brightness Obscured.   

Image1  Father  2 Mother   45 Gathering   36 Brightness Obscured

Each covers a quarter of the year. The way I read it, the year opens with strong leadership, followed by co-operation but in many spheres appears to stall in the 3rd quarter taking us into September. Gathering suggests many possibilities late in the year of which extraordinary convocations are one. Contracts will need renegotiating and predictions adjusted. This may concern Water supply and take place in the Arabian peninsula.

Gathering may well mean literal flooding too although no Chinese authority sees anything other than great heat before the end of er…..Great Heat (chu shu, the 2nd fortnight in August.) The extreme South where the Horse sits, may be hottest. Australia and Brazil and Northern Africa may illustrate the drying power of the year Horse in the South. And unless we wake up, this is only the beginning.

As I said, We are currently walking over an ecological precipice wearing headphones and Google glasses. How to wake up? During 2014 I studied with Andrew Harvey whom I have known since I was a small boy. His idea of Spiritual Activism starts with awareness of a world in which corporate greed, mass hunger and ecological apathy can not coexist. Having attended the various climate change summits, he observed that the powers-that-be are used to overpowering both activists and idealists, the one group susceptible to rough policing and the other ineffectual. Chant “Om” and hug trees with our blessing; it makes no difference anyway. The image of the year for me remains Green Euro MP Caroline Lucas reaching hopelessly for her son’s hand as he is wrenched away by police at the Balcombe fracking protest. Given this failure to change things we simply have to withdraw from blame and take responsibility. Most of the eco-destruction has taken place in my lifetime and the tipping point during the lives of my children – 2006 when oil production peaked. We did this.So if the flood defences of comfortable, affluent Surrey are tested, what about the Netherlands, the Maldives, Bangla Desh? Call me bonkers but I am used to buildings talking to me. Following Andrew’s procedures sometimes I hear the whole planet. And it’s depending on me. That’s you. There is no “we”. Only “I” and “all”.

This may be the last time

So now you know: Wood Horses occur every 60 years. So 1954 and before that 1894, foreshadow 2014. In 1894 interestingly the Harmsworth family which owns the Mail, bought their first newspaper and the city of Shanghai was substantially damaged by fire. It was also the year China and America signed a treaty limiting the numbers of foreign labourers. Notice the echoes.

The year that I see most clearly echoed in 2014 however is 1714. That year saw the accession of the Hanoverian George I – effectively withdrawing independence from Scotland forever. In the following year was the first of the great Highland Uprisings, the violent reaction of the Scots to the end of the Stuart dynasty. The hexagram Gathering may be precisely about this.

So what? We may well yet see a “yes” vote in the Scottish Referendum is what.

A little earlier in 1711, the South Sea Trading Company was incorporated, a further echo from the 18th century. Many believe the junk bonds now pinning interest rates to the floor after bankrolling two generations of investment bankers, were invented by Drexel Burnham in the 1970’s. Not so. It was the creation of the South Sea Company who spent the first decade of the 18th century, buying up the National Debt and selling it back to rich punters. Who could resist? It was guaranteed by government. It couldn’t fail. But it did. In 1720. The corresponding year is 2020. It’s gonna blow.

Richard Ashworth © 2014. Image

Ox Diary January 2014, Wood Horse Year

January 9, 2014

Ox Bow

Wood Ox month, Wood Horse year.

January 6th 20:07pm. 


Now, in the Ox month, human beings having stuffed ourselves either side of the solstice, are designed to lurk in our caves awaiting the spring. For many Masters the Year of the Wood Horse is already here and some are on the watch for the so-called self-clash for Horses. Many would take the recent misfortune of Wood Horse Angela Merkel as evidence. Grand Master Raymond Lo has been facebooking on the subject only this week. His analysis is typically nuanced; Ms Merkel’s mishap is as much to do with her month and day as her year animal, he suggests. I’d say it has much to do with a certain pre-occupation also. Not much time on her hands, I wouldn’t have thought.

Two points to consider perhaps:

1. We’re all so much more than any astrological definition.

2. Information about avoidable events like self-clashes is best used to stay conscious rather than fatalistic. It’s a big year, challenging and essentially positive for Horses and indeed other animals. But stay awake, huh? (Read your Animal Fortune for 2014)

The Ox month Animal by Animal.

The Ox brings power to the elbow of Ox, Snake and Rooster.

And to the Rat. Although Rat’s good fortune depends on following instruction; the Ox month has this kind of effect, especially in a Horse year.

It’s a great month for Dragons; the Ox holds the Noble Helper Star (helpful to all, all year and especially to the Dragon right now) and what is called Dragon Virtue, that is to say prestige.

Monkey’s agility of mind is sharpest this month.

The Pig is in preparation mode while the Horse – need I say? – can be accident-prone.

The Rooster too but the Rooster has a pretty clear road ahead if (s)he will simply keep his/her eyes on the road.

As for the various Oxen: birth in the Ox hour (1-3am) implies an ability to see the paths that lead into the various possible futures; in the Ox month a tendency to dominate at work; on the Ox day the deepest sensitivity.

Tigers generally known for patience and vision, may feel a little weary for now. The Rabbit wants to be home while many Sheep toy with not belonging – not a lasting worry – and the Dog may be recovering from an emotional shock.

Where to do what, when and why.

This month’s lo shu is a 9, to do with planning and the future. Which is handy in this down time between the achievement of last year and the promise of this, the Year of the Horse in the Clouds. Bring your head back down to Earth gently, maybe. If you can, locate yourself North East especially at the beginning of the day.

Forthcoming Events: 

Embracing Change: my new video can be seen at: Source TV

Tune-ups: If you would like your home or your office or both calibrated with the energy for 2014 you can book me or one of my Padowans (that is senior students). But book soon as time is short before the energy kicks in.

Ba zi Course 2014: If you are inspired to study with me, my Ba Zi Training starts the weekend of the 18/19th Jan 2014. Ba Zi (or Four Pillars) that is Chinese Astrology is the indispensible building block of authentic Feng Shui.

Freestanding hands-on drill: If you feel confident to tune-up your own space for 2014 we are releasing DIY notes as of now. These cost £50.

Subscription to Auspicious Dates and Hot Spots: You can also subscribe to Richard’s Monthly Auspicious Dates & weekly Hotspots.

If you are interested in any of the above or are otherwise curious please email:

Richard Ashworth©, early in the month of the Wood Ox, Jan 2014.

2012: The Water Dragon, the Year of Sudden Change.

January 13, 2012





2012: The Water Dragon, the Year of Sudden Change. 

This is a long piece; for short simple predictions scroll to the end.

For predictions for individual Animals click here

Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much…the wheel, New York, wars and so on…while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time…….the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man…for precisely the same reason.”

Douglas Adams.


5 1 3

4 6 8

9 2 7


 Legless in Basra.

My earliest upbringing was in the village of Mullion, Cornwall in the remote South West of England, as far away from London as you can travel without getting wet; next stop Newfoundland. By the time I was four my mother had five children under seven, my father was often away at sea, there were no trains and a bus once a week, she didn’t drive and we were wild. I was climbing cliffs before I went to school and indeed before I could swim. So it was that as soon as I was literate I was reading pretty much anything I felt like without censorship or supervision. I knew Howard Carter, Leonard Woolley, HP Lovecraft, Lobsang Rampa and the Book of Changes before my voice broke. And Edgar Cayce.

Cayce (1877-1945) was a visionary and light worker who made a welter of predictions, many of which turned out to be false. One, as I recall was that the UK would be submerged by now, so that’s probably just as well. Global warming will lead to many changes but not that one. I intend to be able to be more specific by this time next year. I am myself a Water Dragon and working out what the 21st century may hold is a great deal of what 2012 is about for me.

When a particularly cataclysmic prophecy proved wrong, Cayce would express relief that good will had pre-empted the visions becoming facts. Which is the quandary I find myself in every year at this time. I have to incorporate the clouds while holding out for the silver lining. We are each responsible for our reality and mine seems to include some nastiness. You know the type of thing: Darfur, Gaza, Tibet, The Human Centipede, News International, Tescos.

Every Dragon Year ushers in a phenomenon known as the Four Earths. This is perhaps the most powerful combination known to Chinese Metaphysics and it is the conjunction of Dragon, Dog, Ox and Sheep, the Earth Branches, sometimes called the Four Vaults or Tombs. Some very powerful (and conflicted) people find these in their ba zis. The Earth Animals are the connections to the Ancestors, to our heritage and they offer both opportunity and challenge. In a Dragon year of course such a conjunction is present in the Earth months of January (the Ox), July (the Sheep) and October (the Dog) especially on the days ruled by these Animals when the heavy duty opportunities emerge. Many Masters simply think of the Four Earths as misfortune but I have found them to signify moments that can make a life but which neglected, can lead to despair. They often coincide with a project that requires getting ducks into a row over a long period of time. Sometimes this takes a huge protracted effort and one duck can fall out of place. At that moment we may find illness or injury preferable.

Cayce’s view was that responsibility commits us to creating better if we know better. One of my most powerful influences, Dr. Chuck Spezzano whose model the Psychology of Vision pervades everything I do, appears to be wrestling with a vision of epidemics in just this way right now.

Among the better prospects for the future is the continued presence of the campsite in St Pauls Churchyard. I expect those kids are pretty cold at the moment, bless them. Those confronting the shameless tax dodgers of the dark canyons of the City and of Wall Street are as I have said before, predominantly drawn from the yang (that is the energetic) side of the compass: Rabbits, Dragons, Snakes, Horses, Sheep and Monkeys born between 1987 and 1992. Too young to vote on either side of the Atlantic in 2004 and 2005, they voted in 2008 and 2010 only to be deeply disappointed with the outcome. They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it. No generation since the 60’s has been as prepared to take on injustice whether it’s the Inland Revenue for exempting bankers in return for a good lunch or shameless champion tax dodger Philip Green advising the Cameron government on waste. Whatever faecal heap my generation has bequeathed, there is hope while the next is holding Vodafone, Stagecoach and Arcadia to account.

Meanwhile across the North Atlantic in the direction of Newfoundland, my friend Rory Mackenzie is as I write, around a thousand miles short of the US coast. I met Rory in 2007 shortly after his leg had been blown off in Basra. Rory’s a medic. That’s a karma-free mission. He was not there to kill anybody. Now he and his multi-plegic comrades are rowing to the USA. Today they tell us their desalinator is malfunctioning which means they risk dying of thirst but it doesn’t seem to inhibit the banter. Rory reports that he has had to do imaginative things with (or without) underwear and lubricants. Ladies: look away now.

Imagine rowing four thousand miles. Now imagine doing it with one leg. Now imagine the pressure on the upper part of the missing limb. As his ba zi showed, Rory is impossibly brave. A sports-playing Action Man, when I met him he was so disconsolate he could hardly hold his head up. I told him however hard it gets, to trust. This too shall pass. It did and now with bottomless support from his family and especially his Mum Shealagh a heroine in her own right, he’s as fit as a man gets, limbed or limbless. There are few enough men who are prepared to feel and not to despair. Follow Rory on Twitter: @Row2Recovery .

I remain ambivalent about the whole Help for Heroes thing. I don’t want to encourage any more young men to be heroic for me. I don’t even buy a poppy for fear of being as Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance wrote, “another cog in the murder machine.” Somewhere in there I would end up endorsing the carve up in Iraq that Water Snake Tony Blair wished on Rory and his contemporaries. And more wars.

Rory was in Basra because the powers that be ignored a million-plus strong protest in 2003. We don’t er…need another hero. Someone described invading Iraq as like attacking Mexico in return for Pearl Harbour. What is to suggest they will take seriously a gaggle of kids shivering in the shadow of Goldman Sachs?

Nothing at all. But we must. I choose this despite what I know.

To pile on the agony the World Wide Fund for Nature says that as things are proceeding, there will be no trees or fish by 2050. They didn’t mention dolphins. What I know is that when investors can make more money solving global warming than by selling junk bonds short, the environmental crisis will be over. Since you asked, this will not be before 2016 but not later than 2043 which of course is a bit tight.

Climate is cyclical and the Earth has been this warm before. As a feng shui man, I work from the traditional Taoist axiom that history itself runs in cycles of sixty: there are twelve Chinese Year Animals (Rat, Dragon and so on) and five Elements (Wood, Water, Fire, Earth, Metal). Twelve Animals, five Elements, that makes sixty discreet years: Metal Tiger, Water Dragon, Wood Snake and fifty seven more. The central principle is that Dragons which appear every twelve years are alike, Water Dragons which come up once in sixty are very alike. They are, as you might expect wet; the Lynmouth flood for instance was sixty years ago in August 1952. Dragons are years of mud and landslides. That year also, the last Water Dragon, saw the opening of the Korean War and it would not take supernatural powers to foresee trouble in that pocket of the World in 2012. The fact that the prevailing energy of the year travels South East-North West making both of these sectors trouble spots, just underlines it. There’s a decent chance though that the outcome in the South East of South East Asia will be good news for the one of the most deprived populations in the world.

There are other informative ways of tagging the year: the magic square or lo shu (above) for 2012 holds the 6 at its centre, the Xuang Kong kua is 6/4 which suggests the annual concerns are Father-Daughter issues and the lap yum, Long Flowing Water usually describes protracted discussions.

These, Rory and his mates in their boat, the shivering kids in EC2 and snatches of dialogue from the Lord of the Rings are what inform these views of 2012. Hold on tight.

 “Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.”

Sam: “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

Frodo: “What are we holding on to, Sam?”

Sam: “That there’s still some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”


Better to be for things rather than against them. Exchanging Muslims for Russians or even Global Warming for Muslims doesn’t strike me as progress. The sooner none of us is against anyone else the better.

However, 2012 is a 6 year. Six is the number of Heaven and the Father, hence authority and getting things done and hence opposition. This is a year in which authority is challenged wherever it asserts itself. Also as the Rhyme of the Magpie goes, six is indeed the number of gold. A complex year but each of us – in so far as us means anything – is responsible for it. There may be a multiverse of possible realities but I’m right here.

I will be bringing the feng shui of each of my retainer clients into 2012 over the next few weeks but I can tell you now that when 6 is at the centre of the lo shu, there’s a buck to be made. And lost. My drill for 2012 outlines how to gain immediate benefit from the changed energy of the new year and will be available generally from early February but for now you might note that to profit from the Metal 6 you need to add Earth and Water. Ask me how.

Meanwhile it’s 2012 and we have a world to save. In a year when world leaders provided such an unhelpful example, what price the future? Cameron and Obama gain cheap approval points as 2011 ends with lazy postures of respectively knee-jerk opposition to the garlic eating, cheese making French peace monkeys and compliance with the insane family values of the Tea Party. But there is hope here. Obama’s one of the 1961 Metal Oxen who reassert their authority to a great extent in 2012. A re-elected Obama, free of the need to seduce voters may act as boldly as he talked in 2008. And pleasing the xenophobic wing of the Tory party is not going to gain Cameron’s uneasy coalition shelf life. I give it eighteen months, about as long as the Euro.

Because a Water Dragon is essentially Earth with added Water, wealth will be attaching to activities such as publishing, health and horticulture which can be labelled Wood and that thrive on Earth. Also favoured are Earth activities like building, property and spiritual endeavour that profit from Water, particularly towards the end of the year.

But don’t expect property values to recover. There is a whole new paradigm coming. I doubt that the notion of home as investment will survive the decade; 2012 is not the end of the world but it may be the year Marx gets proven right: when those who make the money do not pay the taxes, the majority tire of the rule of markets. If for “dolphins” we read Greece, Italy, Portugal and even France and for “humans” read Germany, it becomes clear why the Euro has such a short life expectancy. The b’ak’tun of the Mayan calendar is probably not about 2012 but 2013, focusing as it does on December 21st 2012, dung gee, the midwinter solstice which for many of us is the moment that indicates the character of the following year.

In any Dragon year change is rapid; not so great for Dragons like Philip Green who suffer the so-called self clash which means they tend not to play nicely among themselves. Nor on the face of it, is it promising for Dogs who often react poorly to the Dragon. In pole position are Pigs, Monkeys, Roosters and Rats who can expect to be at the top of their game.

But to use this information slavishly is to miss its point. Monkeys can easily fail to take advantage of the ball on the penalty spot in 2012 by simply not kicking it. Similarly the smarter Dragons will treat the probable turbulence and competition of the Year of the Water Dragon as a cue to learn, grow and change. A Water Dragon myself, I plan a very differently shaped year: I will be travelling and researching for two books and a tv series scheduled for 2013 and be very discriminating as to the surveys and new clients I take on.

Above all we need to remember that each of us is much more precious and more individual than any astrological definition. We were in any case, each born under Four Animals one for each of the month, day and hour as well as the year of our birth. As the introduction to the Animal Fortunes* page on my website clarifies each of these applies to a different sphere of our life. So if we find our year Animal (relating to heritage, family and our public persona) poorly augured we may instead like to focus on our month Animal (work, resources, immediate family, friends, peers, colleagues) or day (our truest self, relationship, spirit, psyche) or even hour (future, children, creativity, expression). Being born on an Ox day, I can anticipate an interesting and satisfying year relationship wise, something that is pretty essential if I am to push the boat out professionally. This is a rational way to employ essentially irrational material.

*If your immediate personal future is your main concern, click now and move on, I should.

Arab Sprung.

Chinese numerology is living algebra; like the other eight integers, there are literally millions of levels of meaning to the year number six. The 6 belongs in the North West and to the Dog and Pig. In classical feng shui nothing gets started if the North West is missing. Many times I have had to place something in that area of a house (generally outside of course) to compensate before I can make lasting changes. Every home needs a Father.

So by extension, we can expect a watershed year in which the trends of the 21st Century may start to become solid. If we take these trends to be towards the liberations of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt we may perhaps take comfort, if towards the score-settling in Libya or the human ducks-in-a-barrel of Syria, not so much. As more dolphin nations are bailed out and more bankers paid bigger bonuses while more libraries and public toilets close (all of which is likely) the pressure for positive change will build. In the UK, expect further riots, probably in August and probably met with disproportionate force. In 2012 peaceful demonstration will tend to be wilfully confused with insurrection. Smaller banks may fail around the same time. Like several others (April and December most probably) August will be a wet month also.

In the USA, as the Presidential Election progresses, the fault lines between the Northern and Western states and the Southern and Eastern will become more and more clear. Intellectually, morally, politically and spiritually the US is two if not three or four nations. In 2012, this becomes stark. By 2030 it will be physical.

Authority and efficiency are interesting themes for a year in which elections are to be held in so many major nations. It should for instance come as good news to Vladimir Putin in Russia where election means “election.” In the USA the way forward is simple for Barack Obama whose best approval ratings followed the assassination of a suspected but unconvicted terrorist and his family. Expect Obama to achieve re-election simply because his opponent will be selected from a short list of the deluded, intellectually challenged and criminal, a line-up so obviously lacking a statesman that even the American electorate might notice.

The Water Dragon is, as I said, the year of the landslide: literal landslides in the North West and South East as well as metaphorical ones at the ballot box. Expect trouble leading to eventual reunification in Korea in the South East of South East Asia. But it will be a rocky and potentially explosive road. Some nations like some people, are so damaged that they see a lifeline as an opportunity to pull their rescuer into the water. What can men do against such reckless hate? Iran is on that troubled NW-SE vector also and is going to be asked to blink this year. In Mexico, the 14th largest economy in the world and the largest Spanish speaking nation, one of the focus nations of the 21st century, elections will be at best troubled.

A light that never goes out.

The Chinese character for the Dragon depicts a rain cloud about to burst. Dragon energy is pent up, uncontainable, even violent. It is the moment that the nagging high pressure before the storm becomes the storm itself.  This pressure – financial, social, political – has been building in a hundred locations during the Metal Rabbit of 2011. In Lhasa as on Wall Street, it feels like something has to give. There is if you like, a war going on between love and control. You could see the positive side of this in the protest camps in Boston and Oregon as well as St Paul’s Churchyard and in the scenes of joy in Tahrir Square in Cairo. But it’s a knife edge. The South holds the tricky 2 Star and the three curses of Place, Calamity and Robbery under the Water Dragon. Arab Spring II, This time it’s Personal looks like a very inferior sequel. The prognosis in Libya is delicate: replacing one murdering tyrant with several isn’t going to change much of anything. In Tibet, to the North West of China, so many monks have set fire to themselves that the (Chinese) police now carry fire extinguishers. This Fire is spreading. It brings enlightenment along with heat but we don’t need any more human candles.

While the principle is that the events of previous Water Dragons will be reflected, those who know only Western history will be expecting parallels that can be found in the predominantly Eurocentric sources of reference. As Grand Master Raymond Lo (whose own subtly perceptive predictions can be found at bemoaned to me in Singapore earlier this year, Wikipedia is a relatively shallow source.

It does not for instance highlight the Water Dragon year 208 BCE when China was finally reunited by Qin Shi Huang Di after two decades of impossibly brutal civil war. Nor that Qin and his dynasty were gone within two years of this reunification. Nor does it point out that many Chinese did not consider the infant PRC complete until Tibet, lost since the mid-19th century, had been regained in the Water Dragon year of 1952. All of these facts suggest some sort of Chinese comeuppance over the next three to four years and this likelihood is echoed in a dozen other portents. Revolutions are started by the hungry and while the Chinese middleclass are driving Mercedes, they will continue to toe the line. Sometime between now and 2016 however, the legacy of poor domestic lending and the illiquidity of the rest of the world will burst the Chinese bubble. The following may suggest the shape of this.

Forever blowing bubbles.

“H needed to provide a mechanism for funding government debt (but) he could not (by law) establish a bank. He therefore established what, on its face, was a trading company, though its main activity was in fact the funding of government debt.

The government and the company convinced the holders of millions of pounds of short-term government debt to exchange it with a new issue of stock in the company. In exchange, the government granted the company a perpetual annuity or a perpetual loan paying 6 percent. This guaranteed the new equity owners a steady stream of earnings to this new venture. The government thought it was in a win-win situation because it would fund the interest payment by placing a tariff.

Next the company proposed a scheme by which it would buy more than half the national debt again with new shares, and a promise to the government that the debt would be converted to a lower interest rate, 5% for ten years and 4% per year thereafter. The purpose of this conversion was similar to the old one: it would allow a conversion of high-interest but difficult-to-trade debt into low-interest, readily marketable debt. The price peaked in early August and the level of selling was such that the price started to fall drastically, triggering widespread bankruptcies amongst those who had bought on credit, and increasing selling, even short selling—selling borrowed shares in the hope of buying them back at a profit if the price falls.”

This is not (though it might be) an account of how Goldman Sachs suckered the EU into admitting Greece into the Eurozone. Nor does it concern the fall of Lehman Brothers or even that of Enron in the last Dragon year of 2000 though it describes the mechanism of both. You’d think, these bucket shops of manufactured fraud being ten years apart, something might have been learned. But no and the whirlwind is still to be reaped.

The year in focus is the Metal Rabbit of 1711 when the South Sea Trading Company was founded and the events illustrates perfectly the cyclical nature of time. During the Water Dragon year of 1712 and the subsequent decade, the company issued and traded a series of financial instruments, each more preposterous than the last until in 1720 it went down along with huge numbers of investors. This may well give us a clearer view of the meaning of the b’ak’tun as it suggests the likely pattern of the years 2011 to 2020. As we move into the next Chinese Fate Period -9- which relates to Fire and is likely to be dominated by global warming, we can expect six to seven years of financial crisis, paralleling those of 300 years ago.

Ronery no more.

The East is the place of hope in 2012 but India, the world’s largest democracy is a more likely industrial giant in the 21st Century than China, the World’s biggest command economy. The South East holds the baleful 5 wu huang Star which implies avalanches and mudslides in the Spring and Autumn along the NW-SE path of the year energy: Oregon, China, Korea, Ulster. Good news for Norwich City and Moscow Dynamo but suggesting a meltdown at FIFA. Good for Poland, poor for Italy, good for Mexico not so great for Argentina. There may be East-West wrangles over intellectual property.

Richard Ashworth © 2012


Short & Simple:

Oscars: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Viola Davis.

Euro 2012: England has a real chance.

Olympics: Disrupted and disappointing for England. Over policed.

Kate & William: happy announcement later in the year.

London Election: Livingstone despite surprise big guns behind Boris

Paul McCartney: dispute over intellectual property.

Iran: all down to Netanyahu.

Weather: prodigiously wet.

CERN: unexpected evidence of multiverse.

Cricket: England to beat South Africa despite intrusive political issues.

Facebook: extends reach, capital value increases massively.