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Michael Winn

Creative Explosion: Year of Green Male Wood Horse

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Creative Explosion: Year of Green Male Wood Horse 2014 is for folks who want practical tools to get deeper into their Natural Self.


Dear Lovers of China's Earthly 12 Animals Wisdom,


Happy Lunar New Year! I hope every one is able to ride the Celestial Cloud Horse of their choice with an Open Heart to swiftly enjoy their highest creative worldly and spiritual destiny in this Year of the Green Male Wood Horse.

I normally wait a week into the Chinese New Year before writing about it, so I can sample it energetically. But I grew up riding horses. Ionce horse-packed for two weeks in Wyoming's Wind River Range. I was also married to a Water Horse woman for 25 years - Joyce Gayheart, who leaped (a horse-like trait) from her body into higher dimensions of soul-life on Feb. 29, the 2008 "leap day".


Joyce had the quintessential horse personality - stubborn and independent, smart, creative, loved to travel, a gifted teacher, an ambitious explorer galloping in all directions, and socially skillful. Horse-types have big hearts as horse epitomizes the fire element, and she was widely loved. She even had the big bones of a horse body. So I know the horse energy well.

I was not surprised to recently have a spontaneous "visitation" by Joyce shortly before her January 2014 birthday and the start of this Wood Horse Year. I'd kept open the portal to her soul since she passed, and we've done a lot of powerful spiritual work together since our "heart transplant" operation three days after her death (see link below to read more about Taoist "shijie" liberation from the corpse). On this visit she was radiant, smiling and beaming love on the rapid changes galloping through my life. It was an auspicious encounter, so strong that I could not only feel her but in my third eye actually see her etheric presence in the room.

Joyce said she came to bless my life with Jem (my current wife) and our process of conscious conception. She hinted the child, spiritual name Emerald, has been waiting for the right astrology to support its destiny. Then Joyce departed like a Celestial Horse flying back to heaven. As an alchemist, I love these fluid shifts between realities, and our potential for having multi-dimensional relationships. Why limit ourselves to a narrow 3-D reality?


Different Schools of Astrology - Which is Right?


Joyce Gayheart is coincidentally the subject of one of the best astrology books ever written - it compares 12 different systems of astrology for their accuracy against Joyce's real life "Horse story". The book is Under One Sky, by Rafi Nasser, who is also a Taoist adept. Under One Sky has 12 blind readings of Joyce's chart from 12 different astrology schools. You can read Joyce's amazing life story and decide for yourself if the chart readings match her life (we have a few copies in stock, you can also order the book). Joyce herself felt four of the 12 readings were accurate, four were so-so, and four were completely worthless. You can still get Joyce's Divine Love Elixir she alchemized from 72 flower essences, as well as her fantastic CD set "My Body Moves Easily - I Feel Graceful and Light", designed for Primordial Tai Chi adepts but useful to anyone).

One lesson I got from Joyce's book is that astrology's usefulness depends on 1) the SKILL of the astrologer; there is little objectively predictive in it. Two people born in the same place at the same time will have totally different destinies. 2) once you have a skillful reading, use of it depends on your WILL to interact consciously with the cosmic forces flowing into one's personal chart/Energy Body map.


So it's risky to predict the stock market using astrology, because markets involve the free will decisions of millions of investors. They could use the Horse Year energy to drive it higher or suddenly gallop lower. The best we can do is energetically merge our personal Energy Body (the layers of our soul and body-mind) into the larger Qi field and absorb the information we most need moment-to-moment.

This essay explores in depth the Chinese horse mythos, which is central to the roots of Chinese culture. This includes Dragon-horses and the I Ching, blood-sweating "Thousand Mile" horses and the Magical Flying horses of Fergana that I first encountered while following the Silk Road across China in 1985. Plus a Taoist parable on horses, and loads of lovely horse paintings and sculpture.


Horses are a favorite topic of classical Chinese painters.


Taoist Living Astrology vs. Abstract Mental Astrology


My top focus is on HOW TO CONNECT TO HORSE ENERGY this year. Most modern astrology has devolved into an abstract mental exercise. I myself didn't take it seriously until I re-read a Chinese astrology reading done before Joyce and I got married, and realized, 20 years later, how incredibly accurate it was. Until then, astrology for me was "interesting mental garbage in/ interesting mental garbage out". Readings for most people are like New Year resolutions: we think about it for a day or two, and then forget it as life's real demands overwhelm our abstract ideas or wishes about Life.

I now take very seriously the Taoist art and science of Living Astrology, which preserves the lost initiatic roots of inner alchemy. It gives a PRACTICAL way to interact with the planetary cycles that link our personal Energy Body to the Cosmic Energy Body of the stars. What is beyond the Zodiac is what underpins all astrology and karmic patterns - the great Central Sun of Oneness and pure love (called Tai Yi by Taoists).


The Planetary & Soul Alchemy Formula (aka. Greatest Kan & Li, or Water & Fire) deals exclusively with Living Astrology (taught in March in Holland, see below). See my Taoist Cosmology Diagram to clarify this energetic map. It's an excerpt from my forthcoming Primordial Tai Chi book.

Let me emphasize the Independent nature of horse types. In China, Fire Horse female babies were often killed because they were considered too independent and so unmanageable (by men) as to be un-marriageable. I valued Joyce's high level of independence, so I have a different cultural perspective than the Chinese. My current wife is equally independent. When astrology systems cross borders, they must adapt to new cultural values.


Transition from Water Snake to Wood Horse Year is BIG!


The Lunar calendar Chinese New Year (2nd new moon after Winter Solstice) starts Jan. 31 in China, and runs through Feb. 18, 2015. The Solar calendar New Year starts on Feb. 4, 2014 and runs to Feb. 4, 2015. There is a 4-day cusp between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4 where newborns may have qualities from both the departing Black Female Water Snake and the arriving Green Male Wood Horse. I recommend doing your own "welcome in Horse qigong ceremony" during the first week of the New Year to capture the billions of Asians charging it up emotionally with their festivities.

Horses are skittish about Snakes, so this cusp period could be a delicate transition period for some - and possibly for the planet. My wife Jem and I got a very strong omen about this just before we did our first set of "Welcome Horse Energy" qigong ceremonies last night. Within two minutes we each broke a favorite water vessel - an antique ceramic tea cup and a glass tea decanter with a lovely yin-yang symbol on it.


Were these two rare household accidents happening at random, or an omen of how the Male Yang Wood Horse Year is literally busting out of the Yin Water Snake Year container? By Tao theory of synchrnicity, there are NO ACCIDENTS. As an omen, it may portend that people will be shocked by how powerful and rapid changes coming this year will "break" the comfortable patterns of their old life.


(AP Report): Another bizarre omen: on the very last day of the Year of Water Snake, a California schoolteacher was arrested after at least 300 living and dead pythons were found in plastic bins inside his stench-filled home in suburban Orange County.....


L: Animal zodiac in China is indigenous. It bears absolutely no historical resemblance to early Babylonian zodiacs. R: Every animal or element (fire, water, wood, etc.) is also governed by laws of yin-yang harmony and balance. These forces keep Nature in harmony with itself.



This essay is not just for those born in a Horse year. Everyone's Chinese 4 Pillars Astrology chart has four Animals, so even if you are not born in a Horse Year, you might have a Horse Moon, Horse Day, or Horse Hour.


To see your chart, go to my website, click on FREE READING, enter your data, and copy it for future study:

If you want a professional Chinese astrologer to help you understand your chart, just email me (hit reply) and I will refer someone to you.


David Twicken, a Senior Healing Tao instructor, is also offering a ten week webinar on Chinese astrology, suitable for those wanting to offer consultations. Sundays starting Feb. 23. See below.

Even if you have NO horse energy in your 4 Pillars chart, everyone on planet earth will be experiencing this year's Male Wood Horse energy, so it pays to understand what is going on. Chinese astrology is earth-centered and body-centered; Western, Hindu and Middle Eastern astrology systems are sky-centered. All astrology systems that have withstood the test of time are valid, they are just isolating different information. But I find it curious that the sky systems ignore the planet that is closest to us, Earth, while they focus on the other far-away planets.

The last wood horse year was 60 years ago, in 1954, and we'll review the explosive creativity that happened then.

The Big Picture Astrologically

The Female Water Snake Year 2013 was about digging up deep unconscious personal patterns and bringing them into the Light so they can be shed, like an old skin, by our wise inner Snake. We've been in a re-boot and cleanup pattern for the first six Animals of the Chinese zodiac. The Yang Water Dragon 2012 year was about re-shaping our personal and collective Mythic Self. The Wood Horse of 2014, number 7 Animal in this 12-year cycle, is about kick-starting the second half of the cycle into action.


I used the Water Snake Year to explore the roots of the Healing Tao lineage on Mt. Changbai, a lake-filled active volcano in China. If you missed that story, I feel its one of the most important I wrote this year:

I plan to use the more expansive Wood Horse Qi to launch my new website and my new book, Primordial Tai Chi: Way of Enlightened Love. The nano-motor funded in 2008 by Taoist investors from this newsletter is now taking off, and it promises a radically disruptive technology that will change the globe. That in turn will fund my vision of Taoist Temple of Heaven & Earth in North Carolina, so western Taoists will have a place for deep retreats and training.


Mobilize your Will to Ride Your Inner Horse

This Yang Wood Horse Year promises to give us a yang boost in manifesting our newly cleansed selves - BUT ONLY IF WE CHOOSE TO ALIGN WITH THAT POTENTIAL. Nothing is automatic within these large cycles of Nature. People struggle against the flow of nature all the time, and suffer for it. The ultimate result is often disease, unhappiness, poverty, divorce, etc. All personal evolution requires exercising our free will, love, and imagination. That's called "embracing life and responding to it creatively, in the Present Moment".

The essence of Taoist self-cultivation is to harmonize with the broader cycles of change and put its Qi (chi) to work within our body and our personal destiny. We can ground the macro-cosmic Qi cycles with qigong and dynamic Taoist meditation like the Micro-cosmic Orbit. You don't have to be born in the Year of the Horse to benefit from it - you can tune in and CAPTURE the creative horse qualities through your intent and energetic practice. Horse Qi is "in the air" this year - just start breathing it in.


The best qigong ceremonies for capturing these large planetary energies involve facing all four cardinal horizontal directions and connecting that Qi into our body's core channel. This in turn aligns our worldly outer life with the vertical Heaven-Earth spiritual axis. I rely on three qigong forms that best meet this criteria: Primordial Tai Chi (aka Wu Ji Gong), Deep Healing Qigong, and Shamanic Big Dipper 7-Star Stepping Qigong. The first two are available on DVD, the last one is currently only taught to those who come on my China Dream Trip. Each works a little differently. There is an acquired skill to focus the Qi they gather to accelerate your evolution.

12 Animals = Chi Clock in Mother Earth's Body

Chinese medicine has a 12 -hour "Chi Clock" that describes the progression of Qi flow through the 12 major vital organ and bowel meridians of the body. (I'm interchanging Chi and Qi to get readers used to the fact they are identical in meaning and pronunciation). The Chi Clock works like a snake swallowing and digesting a meal - there is a large "lump" of expanded energy that moves every two hours from organ to organ. Think of the 12 Animals of the Chinese zodiac as the 12 organs of Mother Earth's planetary body. This makes the animal zodiac - the 12 Earthly Branches - into the meridians of the planetary "chi clock". Earth is just beginning to puts its inner mouth around the Horse lump.

Every 12 years Mother Earth cycles through 12 animal-organ energies, one per year. Now we have Horse energy for an entire year. To make sure the energies are well digested, and keep our "energetic diet" varied and interesting, the Tao rotates the Five Element/5 Phase Qi from Heaven through the 12 Animal cycle FIVE times. 12 Animal Years x 5 elements = 60 year cycle. This gives each of the 12 animals a chance to experience all five elements (five, earth, gold, water, wood). This is THE operating system of Nature, just like your computer has an operating system. This natural system ensures that change (= evolution) is balanced and harmonious.

If you can sense the Horse energy as the vital organ Qi from Mother Earth, it makes it more tangible. When I called in the Horse Qi during my "welcoming the New Year qigong ceremony", I knew exactly where it is coming from and its function in the planetary psyche. In 2014, the "yang" or male Qi and the Wood element are like flavors from Heaven that color the Horse-earthly Qi. This is a big energetic "meal" to eat, and we'll be digesting it all year long. But the key is to start inviting the Horse Qi into your qigong practice. Your yang wood qi will gradually increase.

I'm feeling this Yang Male Wood Horse Qi in 2014 is that it's essentially a Fire Horse on Steroids.

Horse is naturally excitable, due to its dominant Fire element. Horse hour is high noon in the human body daily chi clock, the time of greatest fire. The Horse month is June in the planetary chi clock - a time of high heat and the longest day. When you feed a fire-horse Wood-element fuel, it is like pouring gasoline on a flame. Then you add Yang/male Qi into the mix, and it becomes even more volatile due to its extreme expansiveness.

So that's why I theme this Yang Male Green Wood Horse as the Year of Explosive Creativity. Horse is considered the most yang of all 12 animals. It's a fire horse stoked up on steroids (Wood element) and Yang force as "speed" (the street drug). That makes for huge potential - both positive and destructive. In 1954, during the last Wood Horse Year, they exploded the first atomic bomb above ground on the Bikini Atoll. In 2014, it could be the global economy or some major government that blows up.


The 2014 horse energy is amplified by the galactic cycle that we are in, just two years shy of finishing our 36 year journey across the dark rift of the Milky Way's Galactic Center that began in 1980. (Read that Mayan Solstice 2012 letter: That empowers this Creative Horse energy with super-charged potential on a collective scale. Will that happen? Let's find out!


This explosive potential for creativity is softened by the fact that horse-Fire is very heart-centered and loving at its core. The Wood Horse also has very spiritual qualities; it's known as a Celestial or Cloud Horse. Wood Qi is expansive, it rises up to heaven. Within our body, wood is expressed by our Hun Soul, aka "our Cloud Soul", whose physical palace is our liver. It's spiritual nature is Celestial - it can see and hear things far away, and travel there instantly.


A Cloud Horse Year offers us a high view of our life. But if we don't mount the saddle of our Wood Horse (= mobilize our creative body-mind) and ride hard towards our Highest Destiny, then we may end up feeling trampled upon by the hooves of change pounding all around us. It's time to Ride Your Own Horse Or Be Ridden by Others. Change actively or sit by passively and watch yourself Be Changed.




2014 is a good year to Travel, either physically or spiritually. A Wood Horse year is perhaps the best of the 60 Animal-element years to physically travel in. Wood Horse makes it an extremely auspicious year to join the China Dream Trip in May 2014 (see below). The next trip is not until 2016.

This 2014 Wood Horse China Dream Trip takes you deep into China's Earth element (its sacred mountains). So it is pefect for folks who want to ground their heart energy and deepen their earth. You will get a Cloud or Celestial view of your life, doing qigong and sitting atop magnificent sacred peaks. Travel takes you away from your old life quickly, and puts you into a space where you are free to change yourself. The China trip will help harvest and ground the Wood Horse Qi being offered in this dramatic new cycle. This is the 31st year in a cycle of 60 years. This Yang Wood Horse Year offers fresh yang energy needed to kick start the second half of the 60 year cycle.

If you prefer spiritual travel, take a retreat. Naturally I recommend the 20 fantastic low cost retreats offered by Healing Tao University between June 21 and July 22 (see details below). But any retreat that attracts you will work fine.

Warning: an undisciplined horse can go galloping off a cliff. Please don't let yourself go flying off in ANY direction, make sure you have chosen it.


The Horse is a FIRE animal, which implies rapid and creative change, but a horse is also very well grounded with four strong legs. This is another way of saying: align your heart fire with your body-earth stay grounded. Harness the Fire and Earth power together to effect positive change. Qigong can help us capture that wood-fire yang movement and direct it to create New Earth (= anything real and solid) in our personal life.


L: Horse painting by Jesuit visiting China in 1715 of rider with arrow R: Horses are very independent, but they still love to run in herds. This expresses as "social skills" amongst human horse types.

Susan Levitt, a talented Chinese astrologer, author of Taoist Astrology and Taoist Feng Shui (both are excellent, sold in my summer retreats Tao book store) summarized the mandate of this Horse Year very succinctly:

The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don't do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don't want to gallop off in the wrong direction.

(Note: Get a cool Tao T-shirt with the I Ching bagua taken from Susan's book cover art at:

Horse is one of Chinese favorite animals. Horses like to compete with others. They pursuit for their freedom, passion and leadership. That implies that people will have busy schedule for their goals in the year of Horse. The characteristics of those born in Horse Years I also found applied accurately to my own Horse wife Joyce. This summary is from Fortune Angel:

The spirit of the horse makes unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters). People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.

They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers. They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own.


Celebrities Born in the Year of the Horse
Louisa May Alcott, Chopin, Davy Crockett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sandra Day O'Connor, Rembrandt, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Cynthia Nixon, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Jason Biggs, Jackie Chan, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Leonard Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Ashton Kutcher, Emma Watson, Josh Hartnett, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Genghis Khan, Emperor Kangxi and Yongzheng of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).

Show biz and politics is said to be filled with horse types because of their great communication skills and warm hearts.


For 60 modern Horse actors, see Huffington Post:


The most interesting name on the Horse Year list for me is that of Khengis Khan. He had a military strategy that used small sturdy horses and quickly conquered most of Asia and Europe. Each horseman had three to four horses, so one would always be fresh. Mongol cavalryman even knew how to sleep in the saddle. That's why they could travel long distances without stopping. We know horses can sleep while standing. Mongolian horses had even a better sleeping skill. When they ran in a group, the horse in the center slept while running. This speed of his cavalry allowed Ghenghis Khan to overrun his enemies before they had time to organize a defense.


Be sure to read the other horse sections below on the close relationshiop between horses and dragons in China, and how horses are at the root of Chinese culture and history,

Source: Healing Tao USA Newsletter

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