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2 hours ago, JohnC said:

Here's some quotes from the article-


Xīn Chŏu 辛丑 – Year of the Yīn Metal Ox
Welcome back to Xīn Chŏu, 辛丑, Year of the Yīn Metal Ox, which begins officially on Friday, February 12, 2021!  After the events of 2020/Metal Rat Year, the task of prediction in the coming year seems daunting to say the least.  But of course, as Liu Ming always said, Astrology is not fortunetelling; we’re in the business of symbols here!  And the symbols have been spot-on! 
With 20/20 hindsight, the Year of the Yáng Metal Rat perfectly expressed the essence of its Chinese Astrological Symbolism, and before you read on, I suggest you re-read my blog from last year and reflect on your experience of the Metal Rat.  I think you will find it most revealing. 
In short, last Year was all about the bigness of small/hidden/unacknowledged things going to extremes.  The Heavenly Stem combination called Tōng Tiān Fú, 同天符, generated the atmosphere of excessive Yáng Metal Qì in the form of the Rat, which together created a razor-sharp dismantling force of titanic proportions. 
Unfortunately, the image of the Rat as a harbinger of disease came to pass, and the Metal Rat’s association with Confucian social harmony, justice, and order inversely played out on a global scale.  Here in the USA, the pandemic, the protests, the election, and so on, all initiated massive social change so profound that the consequences will take decades to unfold let alone understand.  I will emphasize that last year was a time to initiate change, but it was not a year to make change, and this is an important distinction.   
Here, we can understand all these events as nothing other than the natural unfolding of the cycles of time.  Many would like to propose the narrative that our global consciousness is evolving toward a higher vibration, but the spaciousness/openness of the Chinese View denies this with any certainty, for evolution is only temporary in cyclical time.  With open space/emptiness at the center of everything, the auspice of all movement is unfixed and without reference points to give us certainty.  We are left only with our perception, and we are driven by the mind and its concepts/conditioning.     
So, how do we proceed after such a year?  The same way we always do, lol.  No matter the situation, the practice of Path Astrology remains the same – we study the symbols of the Calendar; we study our own Character and Karma/Fate, and we engage in natural flow of our experience as it unfolds from moment to moment, reflecting on this multifaceted interconnected web of relationships that have no weaver.  When combined with a stable meditation practice and good spiritual hygiene, this engagement catalyzes a process of insight into Nature, Dào 道, and Self-Nature, Dé 德, that can free us from the misperceptions of an abiding self and world.
In such complex times, astrology becomes most valuable when we stop trying to predict and control what will happen and get back to the essence of symbols as a gateway into Nature.  I thought it fitting last year to begin my exposition of the Metal Rat with a discussion on Confucian teachings and social harmony, and although the Metal Ox in many ways continues and strengthens those themes, the destructive/dismantling force of last year prompted me to open this Year’s discussion with a return to the fundamental View Teachings on embracing the chaos and paradox at the heart of all experience.  Wisdom would suggest that we embrace chaos and uncertainty rather than spin a positive outlook to make ourselves feel better.   
Predict as you would like, as I will offer my take, but I think the previous Year surprised all of us.  The Ox symbol, though, appears surprisingly stable and boring by comparison.  But the last thing I want to inspire is hope, lol.  I would rather inspire wisdom.  And wisdom has no preferences, for it knows that everything is 自然 “self-resolving.”  Everything from here on out is a confident “maybe.”   
As I mentioned last year, Metal Rat is the first of the 4th 12-Animal sequence, so it was a renewal, a jumping off point, a catalyst for change somewhere in the middle of the 60-year cycle.  The Yáng Metal Rat was a new beginning, and although I said it would be a small one, it felt pretty damn big.   The Rat is an accountant that moves forward by evaluating the past , and we got quite a report.  The fruition of this change has not yet arrived, evidenced by the ongoing uncertainty, and in the sequence, it does not get a push forward until Water Tiger Year, which in a Fire Monkey Country (1776) is set to be explosive (60-60 diametric opposites). 
However, the first step of the Rat is always very important.  The Metal Rat was retrospective, an evaluation of the last 12-year cycle, and so is the Ox.  The Rat looked backward, analyzed, and took things apart to be rebuilt more efficiently.  We are now looking at the framework of our society lying in pieces on the ground.  The nuts and bolts of American culture have been laid bare, and we are all left with the question – what now
The Ox answers – to build anything enduring, we must first re-establish the foundation, and to do that, we must acknowledge our lack of control.  We do not control Nature, but we can learn to work with it; such was the experiment of Chinese agricultural society, and such is our task now.  If there is a positive outlook to take on the current situation, it is that we can re-build, re-shape, and re-establish our world.  But will we?  Maybe.  No guarantees.      
To fully understand the foundation available in the Metal Ox Year, we must look to its symbolism, Qì dynamics, manifestation, and applications.
 – Symbolism
In many ways, the Ox is a symbol of China, for if China is anything, it is perseverant, and its traditions are enduring.  Dynastic China was the longest continual civilization of the modern era.  China and the Ox represent the virtue of the heroic preserver, the continuity, stability, and convention of Tradition.  In the face of Chaos, it represents a return to the wisdom of the Ancestors, who survived countless generations.  
In the scheme of the 10 Heavenly Stems, this continuity of tradition is represented by the Ox and its Native Element Yīn Earth.  The Chinese character for Earth, 土, tŭ, contains two horizontal lines, representing a surface and a deep sense of stability.  There is no Earth season in Chinese Astrology, but rather Earth represents the continuity or ground beneath the changing seasons.  And while Earth suggests solidity, the Chinese Earth element is also like Space, the indestructible openness in which all things happen. 
The symbol of the Ox is related to the Yīn (rather than Yáng) aspect of Earth and expresses the malleability or spacious quality of Nature represented by the strength of the plow animal, shaping the Earth beneath us.  Medieval China was the old world’s greatest agricultural society, and the Ox was the main event which made this possible, breaking away from tens of thousands of years of nomadic culture. 
In the process of become agrarian, the Chinese attempted to domesticate the Mongolian Horse, but after hundreds of years, the wild nature of the Horse could not be made to plow.  After the unifying of tribes, the Ox Clans brought the Ox up from the swampy regions of southern China, and as soon as they attached reigns to it, they were amazed to find the Ox walked in straight lines, plowing even furrows with no goading. 
Farmers could let go of the reigns, and the Ox would plow forward, turn around, and come back on its own, making more even/straight furrows.  Because of the Ox, then, China’s agricultural productivity and population increased exponentially, and in a few centuries, China became the most successful and wealthy society on earth.  The Ox was always then associated with the rewards of consistent hard work and the Confucian value of perseverance in what is right.  It came to represent a new contract with Nature to shape the Earth and create a new human realm, free of the hardships and uncertainty of nomadic existence.   
The Ox is a gentle giant, embodying a natural/Yīn strength achieved through gentleness rather than aggression.  In Asia, it is not uncommon to see children running fearless side by side with these enormous animals.  Oxen are strong, made of confidence, but they are not aggressive, and this is a valuable symbol for interpreting Ox Qì. 

The Ox represents “the way things are done,” exemplified in farming, craft, religion, martial arts – systems of knowledge and custom passed on and preserved through the repetition of skill and experience.  To preserve these systems, tradition must maintain an integrity that is unchanged, lest they be altered and lose their strength, becoming something altogether different.   Animals like the Tiger, Monkey, and Goat represent innovation and revolution, but the Ox represents the integrity of conventions and customs that are unchanged by time.  
In Classical Chinese Medicine, the Ox is associated with the Liver and likened to a General.  It is associated with hard work ethics, physical/mental endurance, and with the strategizing and responsible decision making associated with the military.  As such, it is a stern, disciplined, and rather serious symbol, representing the stable foundation that cultures need to maintain integrity.
However serious, like the animal, this strength is peaceful and gentle in nature, and in Chinese Spirituality/Religion, the Ox is often associated with Guān Yīn, the goddess of compassion and wisdom.  Lăozi is depicted riding an Ox, representing the natural wisdom of Wúwéi.  In Chán Buddhism, as depicted in the 10 Ox-Herding Pictures, the taming of the wild Ox is an ancient simile for the discipline of meditation practice that leads to humility and service.  Likewise, in India, the Cow is revered and worshiped as a symbol of abundance, nourishment, non-violence/harm.
This Year represents a natural return to convention and stability; we fall back to whatever it is that supports our continuous presence here.  To move forward, we must look back and remember…but remember what?  For now, I pose this as an open-ended question, for many of the values and conventions of our culture are being challenged.  So where is the thread?  What stays valuable regardless of circumstances?  What is proven effective?  How can conventions change and still maintain their positive integrity?  
 – Qì Dynamic
To understand Metal Ox Qì, we must look to the Tōng Shū or Chinese Calendar.  The Ox rules the 12th Moon, the dead of Winter (roughly January) and the hour 1-3 am.  Ox exemplifies the still, silent, calm, and slow power of Winter.  In the cycle of the day, Ox represents the middle of the night, the time of deep sleep, rest, and rejuvenation.  So, what is it like to have this Qì dominate the entire year?  Rat Year was a kind of retrospective dream (11pm-1am), but Ox is dreamless sleep.   
Everyone knows they should be asleep at 1-3 am.  Qì wise, this is the time of day when we are most able to get deep sleep.  Ox hour draws us deep into the dark silence of “don’t know,” where the unconscious automated functions of the body are most efficient.  During Ox hour, you should be like a catfish, hidden in the murky depths of your unconscious. 
The Native Element of the Ox is Yīn Earth, which is described as sedated, solid, nourishing, grounded, sleepy, calm, and stable.  Ox is the wisdom of orthodoxy and establishment, of thoughtlessness, steadfastness, and automation.  Yīn Earth represents alliances, wealth, leadership, mothering, and balance.  It is the center, Yīn and Yáng unified, associated with borders and boundaries defined by the empty space at the hub. 
The Native Element of the Ox is Yīn Earth, but the Heavenly Stem for this Year is Yīn Metal.  Since Earth is the mother of Metal, the elemental balance of this Year is supportive and generative, which means the positive attributes of the Ox are more available, and we are less likely to struggle against them.  They are empowered and strengthened for better or worse.
Since Earth generates Metal, the direction is of the inward moving outward while the outward moves inward (which is the opposite of last year).  The Metal Ox is less outspoken, but more forward moving, and opinionated than the other Ox.  It represents a hardening of the Ox Characteristics, like ore smelted to gold. Metal, then, adds refinement, discretion, and fastidiousness to the Ox image. The Metal Ox is therefore more withdrawn, confident, and self-reflective than other Oxen.  The Metal Ox is both outspoken and opinionated but has great thoughtfulness, maturity, and restraint (Obama, for example is a Metal Ox), contrasted with an image like the Fire Ox, who struggles with being too brash, blunt, and belligerent (comedian George Carlin is a great example of a Fire Ox).
Yīn Metal is associated with the downwardness of falling leaves and the dryness/decay of Autumn, and its representative emotion is grief/sadness/loss.  The burden of grief is heavy this year, and the great loss we have all endured will continue to bereave us all.  We have lost lives, relationships, institutions, businesses, communities, personal freedoms, and so on; our culture has changed irrevocably.  This is no small event.  We are deeply encouraged to continue to contemplate the death and mortality initiated by the Metal Rat.   
In the Wŭ Yùn Liù Qì, the Elemental configuration of this Year is called Tōng Suì Huì, 同歲會, or “Total Annual Agreement.”  This means the Heavenly Stem of the Year aligns with the unfolding phases of Qì throughout the seasons, creating a stable alignment of Qì that is milder and more temperate than the Tōng Tiān Fú from last Year, which generated chaotic extremes.
Beneath the atmosphere of Yīn Metal, this is a Year of Tàiyīn Damp Earth, which governs the first half of the year, with deficient Taìyáng Cold Water governing the second half.  Since Earth controls Water, the weakness of Water will create an overall increase in Cold/Dampness.  The whole year has an atmosphere of heavy wet snow, and the dynamic is slow and sleepy with an element of drowning.    
For all you Chinese Medical folk, this may lead to an increase in symptoms like diarrhea, stomach aches, low appetite, fullness of the abdomen/chest, chest pain, heaviness of the body, lower back and leg pain, stiffness in the knees and hips, cold in the lower body/feet, swelling and edema in the lower body, swelling in the jaw, and difficulty with urination.  Kidney and Heart disease may increase along with sexual dysfunction, and any weakness in the Lower/Middle burner will be bogged down by damp earth and poor water circulation/metabolism.
The Qì dynamic of this year is overall very different from the last, and we should keep our eyes open to both the positive and negative potentials given the current situation.. "
The article goes on.  A worthwhile read.  I found my of it hopeful and look forward to Yin animal's influence.
It's a minor thing but when the author writes 'Everyone knows they should be asleep at 1-3 am.  Qì wise, this is the time of day when we are most able to get deep sleep', I find they're correct.  Tracking sleep with the Oura ring, shows consistently, my longest sequence of Deep Sleep happens between 1 and 3.  Deep Sleep being the most body healing part.   
<<I was reading his article (  2nd from top)from last year on the Yang Rat.  His outlook included warning about flu due to the Pigs damp nature.  The paradoxes between the Pigs caring maternity and the Boar's potentially destructive ferocity.  A good read.  >> 
Edited by thelerner
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1 hour ago, JohnC said:


Thanks for posting.  Allow me to get a bit critical though if you will...


Not much by way of wuxing/Nine Flying stars analysis, unfortunately.  The "animal" analysis is very peripheral to the traditional authentic bazi -- some of the serious masters don't acknowledge this relatively new system as worth their while at all -- others use it as a minor footnote, more of a tool for psychological assessment of limited depth.  Whereas the bulk of analysis focuses on what really has the bulk of impact and therefore the greatest stochastically predictive power.  (The bolded disclaimer -- "Astrology is not fortunetelling; we’re in the business of symbols here!" is particularly amateurish.  No, we are not "in the business of symbols" here.  We are in the domain of the energies of the world, tangible and real, not symbolic and "psychological."  We are in the domain of the fabric of reality itself.  We are inside the science designed to empower us to both discern and extrapolate the behavior of cosmic qi as it interacts with earthly qi.  We are not mumblers of platitudes sprinkled with "proprietary" terminology and symbology toward  creating an illusion of authenticity.)


So what we do analyze is the great power of the wuxing interactions of the Heavenly Stems and the Earthly branches of the year and of its Flying Stars.  That's what forms the real nature of the Four Pillars of Destiny of the year (or of a life, or of an epoch, or of the month, or of the hour, depending on what temporal interval we're analyzing).  


This, alas, is dabbling.  Being trained in acupuncture doesn't make one a bazi reader...  anymore than being trained in bazi readings makes one an acupuncturist.  The only thing that makes them fully compatible -- the foundational basic conceptual frame and cognitive notions that are the same -- doesn't make them the same thing, anymore than knowing the Latin names of diseases makes one a doctor, or being a doctor makes one Cicero or Catullus.


Pardon the rant.  So sick of those "cold readings" all over the Internet.  Of folks discrediting one of my favorite taoist sciences with their dabbling.           




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