On February 7th 2008 we enter the Chinese Year of the Rat.
The Rat is the most opportunistic of all animals in the Chinese philosophical tradition. It is the first sign of the 12 animal cycle and signifies a time of new beginnings. It is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. It is an opportunity for new ideas, directions and ways of doing things. However, things that are begun during this year are likely to have long term consequences, so it is advisable for us to choose our actions wisely and focus on things that enrich the world instead of destroying it.
This Rat year is modified by the Earth element. The past two years have been Fire years (Boar & Dog) which have stirred things up a bit. The Earth element tends to bring a calming stability to things this year, just at a point when we need it. Unfortunately, the Rat has an affinity for the Water element which maintains a destructive relationship with the Earth element. All of this means that some dangers may lie ahead.
The problem with the Rat is that there is a selfish tendency to its nature that can undermine good intentions. The Rat can symbolize an aggressive, yet calculating, motivation towards money and status. In addition, this year will be a time of nervous energy and stress and we need to take responsibility to be aware of this. It will be easy to blame others for our own problems.
Another factor is that Earth is a sedentary element. We need to realize that inactivity can lead to problems. Be sure to get enough exercise and be on the alert for unwanted weight gains. Remember to Breathe!
The good news is that, being the beginning of a new cycle, this year offers a chance to begin walking a different path. Performing work that is spiritual in nature can have far reaching effect. We are getting close to a time when self-awareness is imperative for the evolution of our species. If you have been waiting for the moment to make some fundamental changes in your life, now is the time.
I wish you blessings of happiness and health along your journey…
Happy New Year!
Aaron Hoopes – February 2008
Author of Zen Yoga: A Path to Enlightenment through Breathing, Movement and Meditation
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