© Malvin Artley 2016

Chart Name: CHINESE NEW YEAR, FEB 8 2016; Date/Time: 8 Feb 2016, 10:38 pm (AWST -8:00) Li Ch'un (Start of the Chinese Solar Year): 4 Feb 2016 5:45 pm (CCT -8:00)

The General Theme of the Year: It is time to address more serious concerns. Play is good, but only in its proper context. Final acclaim comes only after renewed effort

Element Counts:

     Wood: 3 - Creative, literary, compassionate

     Fire: 3 - Active, stimulating

     Earth: 1 - Too flexible, yielding

     Metal: 4 - Business-like, aggressive, competitive

     Water: 1 - Secretive, cautious, tentative

Constellation of the Day: Animal: Crow. This is a good day for most things. Day Indicator: G – Ruin. This is a day for leisure. All else seems to go wrong.

9 Star Ki (CHINESE)

Year Number: 2 Yang Earth

Month Number: 2 Yang Earth

House Number: 5 Yin/Yang

Tetragram: 8 Feb (Nighttime): The once-blinded one staggers on the Way. The scars of experience mark the learning one.


Gong Hey Fat Choy Everyone!

Welcome to the year of the Mountain Monkey, otherwise known as the Fire or Red Monkey. ‘Mountain Monkey’ is the more poetic name for this Monkey, and each of the sixty animal-element combinations has such a name. As we say goodbye to the Year of the Serious Sheep and look back on the year that was, we might be tempted to give a sigh of relief and hope that this year will be kinder. Sheep are normally seen as gentle and yielding—a very loving and auspicious influence. But 2015 seemed more like an angry mountain goat than a ‘Dolly the Sheep’. The ‘Serious Sheep’ certainly lived up to its name, and we will have a look at last year in due course to see if it measured up to expectations. (It did, and more.)

The Mountain Monkey also means business, and it marks turning points in world history, as well as in the lives of anyone who has it in their four pillars. The type of turning point will be indicated by the influences of the pillar, which we will see directly. To sum up the qualities of this Monkey beforehand, though, we have the keynotes of this year to come given in the ‘general theme of the year’, seen above. In all, we see that this year will be about getting down to serious business, and that success will come from renewed effort along certain lines, those lines being determined by one’s own or national karma, initiatives, etc. The last Mountain Monkey year we had (1956) will perhaps illustrate the latter point. In 1956 America was becoming fed up with McCarthyism, even though McCarthy himself had already been censured by the Senate. The world was fearful of a nuclear holocaust. Khrushchev gave his famous ‘cult of personality’ speech in the Soviet Union, which was a key moment in the de-Stalinization of that country. Egypt stood up to the West and nationalized the Suez Canal after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended British occupation of that country. Hungary tried unsuccessfully to throw off Soviet rule, and Cuba was in the midst of its revolution, which eventually overthrew the US-backed authoritarian regime of Batista. Do we see any similarities with what is happening in the world today? As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around, meaning everything goes in cycles. Before we say much more about the Mountain Monkey, though, it will be helpful to see what happened last year, especially in terms of forecasts, in order that we might get a better idea of where we are headed. The forecasts I made last year are bolded and italicized:

We can expect some serious business to take place this Serious Sheep year, pun intended. Not much needs to be said here: Daesh, the Syrian migration crisis, the worsening situation in African states, the Iranian nuclear deal, worsening tensions with Turkey, Russia, NATO and the Middle East states, worsening relations with the US and China, the continuing belligerence of North Korea…need we go on? It is leading up to a larger crisis, but then the waters will break, as it were and we will see a changed world situation, probably for the better when things settle out, as we will see with the forecast for the coming year.

This will be a year where people will be inclined to stand their ground more. A marked stubbornness and determination will be in evidence, but decision making will be left wanting, unless those in leadership positions have abundant Earth and/or Metal in their four pillars As for the most prominent examples of people with strong Earth and Metal in their four pillars, we have Vladimir Putin (6 earth out twelve possibles) and Barrack Obama (4 earth, 4 metal). Putin’s efforts are well-documented, and Obama has decided in his last year as President to sidestep Congress with executive orders. People standing their ground more was certainly in evidence in 2015, especially in the Middle East. But, this was also true in many other areas too numerous to mention, such as with the presidential race in the US, for instance, as well as in the area of LGBT rights and the immigration crises going on worldwide (i.e., people taking a stand against bigotry and xenophobia, etc.). We won’t talk about the people who made their mark in a negative way, but most of them got the lion’s share[2] of their just desserts.

This year (Sheep Year) will be one in which people shape their own destiny in the outer world, for good or ill. This is a more subjective measure, but as a general trend and as I watched the year unfold, it was clear that people were standing up and taking charge in their spheres of influence. There was more social conscience in evidence, as well as more opposition to government policies that have increasingly disadvantaged the average person, as witnessed by events such as the deposing of Tony Abbott in Australia, for instance, the large turnouts for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the US presidential primaries, which has come as a big surprise on the one hand but was completely anticipated on the other. Whether we like the views on either side or not it is a good sign and a strong message that the US political system is in for some changes more in line with the will of the people, and this goes for other countries as well. This will take some years, but the trend is clear enough.

There will be worsening drought conditions as we move into the next few years, and hotter summers. This is a no-brainer in a way, given the current trends of weather extremes in the world. California and Brazil continue with their historic droughts. There was widespread drought in general throughout the southern hemisphere as of the end of 2015, with large fires and the potential for more fires, famines and the like. A couple of years ago I forecast that there would be a large weather event to take place most likely in 2017 (could be a year on either side), and it looks to be shaping up that way. So far there have not been large numbers of deaths from the present weather situation, but that will change if conditions persist as they are. The strong El Niño over the Pacific Ocean is driving the current unseasonably hot weather in the summer and winter extremes and it looks set to continue into the northern spring.

We may also see a further revolution or two. The preceding sentence can mean revolutions in many fields of human life, but in this case it refers to efforts to overthrow existing governments. In that vein, there were the Baurkinabé uprising (which continued through 2015), the PKK rebellion, the Burundian unrest and the Yemeni Civil War. Some events that would not be classed as revolutions per se, but were certainly revolutionary in the context of past international relations were those such as the normalization of US-Cuba relations, the international agreement reached on climate change at the Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Iranian nuclear deal and the military intervention by Russia in the Syrian Civil War. And then there was the landslide election of Aung san Suu Kyi in Myanmar after years of being a political prisoner—shades of Nelson Mandela, in a way.

The underdog receives attention in Wood Sheep years. I didn’t know about this one, but there was an animated film called Underdogs released in 2015. It was actually a remake in english of a 2013 Argentinian film of the same name. In the real world, the focus on the underdog was especially evident with the work of Pope Francis, who has emphasized the need for attention to and uplifting of the world’s poor.

Entertainment will get a boost this year, especially in the realm of sports. Well, the big thing in sports in 2015 was the FIFA scandal, which went public in a dramatic way in May with the arrests of seven FIFA officials on corruption charges. The news about it was certainly entertaining, as well as the resulting fodder for comedians. In all, though, 2015 was a memorable year in sports for other reasons, such as Great Britain winning the Davis Cup for the first time since 1976, Barcelona winning the treble for the second time, the US women’s soccer team being the FIFA world champions for the third time, Australia winning the cricket world championship for the fifth time (Oi!), New Zealand winning the Rugby World Cup, and the Golden State Warriors beating the Cavaliers in the NBA finals, among other events.[3] And then, to end the year, the Carolina Panthers made it to the Super Bowl. I’m not a big sports fan myself, but I am happy to see my home state team make it to the Super Bowl.

We can expect new games, unusual forms of entertainment,  a rise in public attendance of entertainment events. For new forms of entertainment, think: The Frequency[4], The Tenor of Illusions[5], Escape Rooms,[6] and Wild Safari Live[7], for instance. Of course, the big thing with games now are video games. There were hundreds of video games released in 2015. The movies were the big drawing cards this year in entertainment, though, with the release of several blockbuster films that grossed over one billion dollars at the box office in record time, the clear winner being the latest installment of the Star Wars series of films (It was good, too!). One thing that will be remembered from 2015 are the deaths of people that took place at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. We cannot go past comics for 2015, either, because it was a hard year for the comics field. Several beloved comic strip artists passed on this year—the creators of The Common Man, Dondi, Marmaduke, The Incredible Hulk, Archie and Real Stuff. And then there were the Charlie Hebdo shootings. We’ll remember all of them fondly.

Space exploration will receive a bigger focus this year. As if we didn’t know this already. There was the Pluto fly-by, finding water on Mars, the discoveries from Comet 67P (it’s still a little wild to think that there is one of our spacecraft sitting on a comet), the Dawn exploration of the dwarf planet Ceres, the launch of the LISA Pathfinder mission, the discovery of massive novae and extra-solar planets and growing rocket (arugula) in space (love the symbolism), to name a few of the highlights. It would be hard to beat the Pluto fly-by, but we’ll see what comes in 2016.

We can expect this one to have a more humanitarian focus than the last, with a wider world view and with a particular emphasis on solving the problems of the world’s children and women, the underprivileged and the abused. Again, Pope Francis was the main figure to emerge on this front in 2015, basically inciting for a revolution in the way the world’s poor are treated and against overt capitalism. The most visible crises brought to our attention were the Syrian refugee crisis that mainly hit Europe and which is now turning sour there, and then the Nepalese earthquakes and the Ebola outbreaks. Now we have the Zika virus. Lesser-reported but in many ways just as severe were the South Sudan conflict and hunger, the Iraq displacement, the Somali drought, the Central American drought and the fighting in the CAR, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Migration will continue to be a big issue and governments or factions thereof are poised to be shamed into action. (see the preceding) We can expect the same with worker’s rights and pay. The latter point is gradually coming more and more into the public eye, especially for overseas workers and most especially in Southeast and Far East Asia. This will only change in a large way when Western consumers demand change and a fair wage by the multinational firms that have set up the factories in Asia and basically hire workers as slave labor. The recently-passed TPP agreement[8] will only make the situation worse. If we have learned anything from history, we have only to look at agreements like the NAFTA[9] treaty to see what effect the TPP will have. Since the NAFTA treaty, the US has lost five million manufacturing jobs and has seen the closure of 57,000 factories—if we want to get real about the TPP. However, in a sign of the times, Chinese workers are now beginning to take to the streets and demand a living wage out of the factory owners.[10] So, although the passage of the TPP was a blow to worker’s rights down the road, it may not be the golden path in the long term the industrialists might envision. Then, there are still efforts in the US, for example, to raise the minimum wage, even to a paltry $10.10/hr, and efforts to ‘ban the box’ on job application forms—the box that requires a person to say if they have ever been convicted of a crime, which very frequently bars a person who has been convicted of even minor crimes from gaining employment. And what if the person has turned their life around? The latter is another story altogether, given the high rates of incarceration for the pettiest of offenses in the US. The judicial system in the US and the sort of ‘three strikes’/hard line mentality toward crime and punishment that prevails there at the moment is gradually coming under more intense scrutiny.

To add to the crime and punishment side of things, 2015 has seen increasing interest in the legalization of marijuana across the US. Currently there are four states that have fully legalized pot—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, as well as in Washington DC and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation. Many states are on the verge of legalization. Preliminary reports coming in are showing that pot legalization benefits the public on the whole rather than hurting, that crime drops, traffic deaths drop, tax revenue increases, the judicial system is relieved and that there are overall economic benefits[11]—which is a far cry from the anarchy and dire forecasts that came from nay-sayers who opposed legalization. However, there are conflicting reports, which are largely due to how the data are interpreted, so we will have to wait for long-term analysis before the larger community is convinced about legalized pot.

In addition to the above which were forecast, in the past year we have seen several major advancements that will take us far in the future. They are as follows: the internet and knowledge, doctors in our pockets, blockchain (Think Bitcoin, but the programming side of it instead of the currency), CRISPR (gene engineering), the drone age, and unlimited clean energy[12], as outlined in the referenced article. China now has twice as many internet users as the US, for example, and India has more than the US. With the price of smart phones set to go even lower and break the $50 mark, that number of users will increase dramatically, meaning that humanity will be interconnected increasingly on the order of three billion more people, which is quite astounding if we think about it. The ‘doctors in our pockets’ are currently expensive devices, but that will change quickly as developers in developing countries come up with cheaper versions, and these are commonly connected to smart phones. Blockchain has the potential to reach far beyond the confines of Bitcoin, with the capability to change the lives of billions of people in terms of finance, records-keeping and the like, as it is a system that has the promise of being virtually incorruptible in the long term once the bugs are worked out of it.

The cost of drones has dropped below $100, too, and Americans were forecast to have purchased upwards of 500,000 of them over the past holiday season. This is an especially important development for the developing world, which lack roads and infrastructure, because drones don’t rely on infrastructure. We’re talking about the small versions of these things, not the military versions. These small drones will rapidly increase in size through development and will be able to carry larger and larger loads over longer and longer distances. The possibilities are self-evident. Lastly, for unlimited clean energy, we are talking about solar and wind power, the costs of which are rapidly falling. This was greatly enhanced by the deal US lawmakers struck to extend tax credits for alternative energy for another five years. This, coupled with falling oil prices will drive an energy revolution of sorts, and coupled with advances in battery technology. These are fascinating developments that don’t make world news, but which change society in fundamental ways. With all of the preceding points in mind we can now progress to the year ahead.

Before we get to the forecast for the year, it might be helpful at this point if we examine certain factors present in the four pillars in order to get a further sense of where the year might take us. Chinese astrology is an unknown quantity to the great majority of people in the West. In general all that is usually known by Westerners—us in other words—about the four pillars is one’s year pillar, or animal sign. That is only a small part of Chinese astrology, the smallest part, actually. On top of this, I have seen some books that try to marry Chinese astrology with Western astrology, which is a good thing to try to do as an exercise, but as it turns out such an effort only works with certain particulars in Chinese astrology. The reason that is so is that Chinese astrology as it relates to the four pillars is not based upon planetary motions. It is actually a more complicated form of numerology, which is not based upon planetary motion at all. Nor is that numerology connected with numerology as we know it in the West, as the Chinese system is not a base-ten or four-element system. Thus, to say for example that the year Pillar corresponds to the sun sign (which I have read in a few cases) is simply untrue. That being the case, what are we actually looking at with the four pillars?

The four pillars, as seen at the start of this letter, are those of the year, month, day and hour. There are also two other pillars that are sometimes used, one being called the ‘conception pillar’, which is derived from the year pillar, and the minute pillar, which is derived from the hour. Most people know their year pillar, or ‘Chinese animal sign’. In fact, every pillar has an ‘animal’ associated with it, along with an element, the latter of which is seen on the top row of the pillars (see chart at the opening of this letter). Their influence can be listed as follows:

1)      The Year Pillar: ancestors, the collective, extended family, grandparents—one’s ‘outer face’. In a mundane chart such as this one, it marks international relations, hence its importance to the New Year. It marks the interface between oneself and the collective.

2)      The Month Pillar: one’s immediate family, cousins, aunts, uncles. One’s primary conditioning—a most important pillar in the unfolding of one’s destiny.

3)      The Day Pillar: the self, a particularly individual reference point and what one is seeking to develop in life. It particularly relates to health, especially as the element of that pillar (the ‘Day Master’) interacts with the other pillars and the changing times (progressed pillars).

4)      The Hour Pillar: the so-called ‘secret self’. One’s mind, children and creativity.

So, we immediately see from the above that to call the year pillar in Chinese astrology an equivalent of the sun-sign in Western astrology is probably not the best approach. The following is how I see the correspondences between East and West, and you can take from this what you will:

1)      The Year Pillar: The outer planets, meaning those from Jupiter outward in this case, especially since the year pillar has a twelve-year cycle, roughly corresponding to Jupiter’s cycle. It also has a sixty-year cycle when one combines the elements with the ‘animals’.

2)      The Month Pillar: It might be easy to call this the moon sign equivalent, but if we remember that the sun sign has a thirty-day duration (a month) and the moon instead changes sign every 2 ½ days, roughly, then the month pillar corresponds more closely with the sun-sign in Western astrology. Actually, I see this more as a combined soli-lunar influence.

3)      The Day Pillar: This more closely corresponds with the moon, as each of the twenty-eight lunar mansions has roughly a one-day sojourn by the moon, although that is widely variable in Chinese astronomy. This again, though, is a combined soli-lunar influence, because the day also represents the degree of the sun, since the sun ‘moves’ a degree a day.

4)      The Hour Pillar: This is the closest we come to the ascendant in Western astrology, although if we want to be really Virgoan (which is a very good thing in such cases) and particular, the Minute Pillar would represent the ascendant, or ascending degree. The hour pillar would then represent the rising sign in general, but not the degree, keeping in mind that the Chinese ‘hours’ are two Western hours in length.

Hence, from the preceding we see that to find direct correspondences between Chinese and Western astrology is not so cut and dried. It is better if one reads the Chinese chart more on its own merits, and then see how the Eastern and Western systems support and complement each other. It has been my experience that they rarely contradict each other. With these points in mind we can begin to unravel the year that is to come. If you want further information, you can find that here.[13]

Monkeys in Chinese astrology are known for their technical skill, agility and mental quickness. This is especially true if the Monkey is found in pillars other than the year pillar. Each of the animals in the Chinese system has its permutations according to the five elements, which color the primary expressions of each of the animal signs. In the geopolitical spectrum, Monkey years mark changes in that landscape and years of bold effort, as well as many machinations behind the scenes. We might list the way that landscape in Monkey years changes as follows:

Wood: major expansions of world influence, such as NATO and the EU. (l944, 2004)

Fire: decisive conflicts that change the status of the major world powers—a pivotal year (1716, 1776, 1836, 1896, 1956)

Earth: major revolutions or battle offensives, advances in transport (1908, 1968)

Metal: coups, assassinations and wars of independence, advances in computing (1920, 1980)

Water: advances in communications technologies, ending of old conflicts, start of new—another pivotal year (1932, 1992)

In fact, in all types of Monkey years one can find big technological advances, especially in communications and transport, aside from the main geopolitical events. But one thing stands out about Monkey years, taking the Monkey in all of its permutations, and that will be evident if we list certain Monkey years: 1776, 1812, 1848, 1860, 1896, 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004. For anyone who has studied international relations and technology, we immediately see that these years marked turning points in international relations. They also marked turning points in key technological advancements, such as radio, transport and atomic energy. They are too numerous to list here. With these points in mind, what do we see ahead of us, then?

To begin, this year will be a doubly-blind one, whereas last year was singly-blind. This means that we do not see the beginning or end of the year (the li chun, or 4 Feb) in this lunar New Year. This year starts on 8 Feb 16 and the next starts on 28 Jan 17. The auspices are thus not good going into this year, and we have already seen the ‘big correction’ taking place in the Chinese stock market, for example, with carry-on effects in countries like Australia which rely heavily on China’s economic health for their own. We also see this in the greatly increased violence seen worldwide since the end of 2015. The idea of double-blinding is reinforced in the nighttime tetragram for this year, which is what is in effect for China and Australasia—the “once-blinded one staggering on the way”. When we look at the element counts, we get a better picture of what is coming. There are two Monkey pillars for this year—the Day and the Year—and the strongest element is metal, which is the natural element of the Monkey and the Rooster, but this is a little misleading if taken at face value. The two weakest elements are water and earth. Thus, in a way, there is nowhere for metal to go, as it is fed by earth and produces water. The theory is too much to go into here, but the essence is that metal—representing oratory, blusterous leaders, bold action, competition and business—has no ready outlet, and that represents a frustrating situation. In a way, business interests and leaders who want to force through agendas will find their hands tied by circumstances, which is something to keep in mind with regard to the US elections, economic treaties and with current ongoing conflicts.

Wood and fire, on the other hand, are relatively strong, indicating a more compassionate outlook and stimulating ideas, the latter of which the Monkey loves anyway. What we are likely to see, no matter who is in charge, is a tempering of attitudes, because fire controls metal and wood feeds fire. The fire element is thus well-placed, whereas metal, even though it is the strongest by element count, is not as strong as might be immediately apparent. To put this in other terms, this will be a year of transformative effort. Fire rules the metal in this case and for this year especially, and it is thus a transformative effect. It will indicate the curtailing of business and moneyed interests, the tempering of leaders, a more professional outlook, the need for a more creative approach to international relations and decisive conflicts which will change the course of the world geopolitical balance over time. The last point might not be so easy to see from the elements, but there is another factor to consider.

Astrology, no matter what its place of origin, is based upon cycles, and these endlessly repeat themselves. In a way, the study of astrology is the study of history, and what we find of particular interest with regard to the lunar New Year each year is that it has a sixty-year cycle which will show the world geopolitical trends over time. So, in recent history, what have we seen with this particular sixty-year Mountain Monkey cycle?:

·         (1716) The Battle of Petrovaradan, a Hapsburg victory over the Turks—a decisive victory for the Hapsburgs, which weakened the hold of the Ottomans in Europe.

  • (1776) The American Revolutionary War and American independence from Britain. At the same time, it was a major blow to British and French influence. This fomented a world war in the years that followed due to colonialism (which is absent this time around), the Enlightenment and the financial drain on Britain and France due to continuous warfare. The founding of the Bavarian Illuminati also took place in this year.

·         (1836) Battle of the Alamo (the Texas Revolution). Charles Darwin landed in Sydney, key to his formulation of the evolution of species. Adelaide, South Australia and Houston were founded, and a Democrat won the US election (Van Buren)

·         (1896) the lead-up to the Spanish-American War (the result of American intervention in the Cuban War of Independence, with aid to Cuba), McKinley was elected president (Republican, expansionist, pro-business, maintained the gold standard, succeeded by Teddy Roosevelt) and later assassinated, and the Gold Standard Act was passed in the US

  • (1956) The Suez Canal crisis, wherein Egypt nationalized the Suez canal. The British, the French and Israel invaded and were forced to withdraw, again losing world standing and influence. Britain lost its standing as a major world power as a result. Eisenhower (Republican) was elected president in the US, racial segregation was outlawed in the US, the Hungarian Revolution took place (and was crushed by the Soviets), Elvis Presley made his breakout debut, Morocco and Tunisia declared independence from France, Grace Kelley married the Prince of Monaco, there were labor riots in Poland, the first commercial nuclear power plant opened and Fidel Castro and Che Guevara landed in Cuba (in the midst of the communist revolution in Cuba)

From the preceding, we see that independence is strongly marked in Mountain Monkey years. Mountain Monkey years in recent history have not gone well for Anglo or French interests, nor for Turkish interests. It is a mixed bag for American interests. We may again see another ‘war of independence’ for the US—this time as independence from America in terms of financial ties and independence once again for American citizens from big money in its influence on American government, along with a possible return to saner financial policies in the nation. What we have with American politics at the moment is another turn of the spiral of ‘taxation without representation’, since government as it is now is arguably no longer representative of the will of the American public. The US has also arguably reached the zenith of its influence in terms of expansionist policies and dominance of world financial affairs. So, 2016 is likely to mark a key year for the US, Britain, France, Israel and Turkey. This is not difficult to surmise, but it is indeed reflected and reinforced in the 60-year cycle of the year pillar in Chinese astrology.

Then, there are the very real concerns that face us that some people seem not to want to face or that they want to dismiss[14], and in the larger scheme of things these issues put geopolitics firmly on the back burner. I refer here to anthropogenic environmental change. This isn’t simply about global warming. It refers also to mass extinctions—biodiversity loss—and also to direct human impact on the environment, in ways about which we may not be aware. For example, well over half of all the plant species evaluated thus far are faced with extinction. And there are equally alarming figures for animals of all types. There are over 500 dead zones in the world’s seas and oceans that are increasing in size due to human intervention, with one almost as large as the state of South Carolina in the Baltic Sea. Yet, many people seem to want to deny these things are happening outright, even though the overwhelming scientific evidence says otherwise. The focus so far has been on global warming, but that is only part of the picture. The loss of biodiversity is directly attributable to human intervention. It isn’t caused by the sun, for instance, or natural cycles, or the earth itself, as any of a number of nay-sayers may want to say otherwise. There is no want of ‘information’ or opinions on these matters on the side of the deniers. Well, one can deny, for instance, that a bad diet and lack of exercise contribute to coronary arterial disease and diabetes, but I for one would not want to be that person later in life in terms of quality of life—if they even made it to later life. What we need is a good scare to wake up the nay-sayers to these things, as if conditions aren’t of great enough concern already. There’s nothing like a good health scare to wake a person up to the fragility of life and to change wayward behavior, for example.

I have also seen forecasts of pandemics for this year, but this is something that I do not see. Pandemics do not normally occur in Mountain Monkey years. However, it is one area which we have brought upon ourselves and possibly for an unforeseen cause—garbage. Right now the big scare is the Zika virus that is encroaching on the southern US states and is already prevalent in South and Central America. It is carried by mosquitos, but these are mosquitoes of a certain type—the Aedes aegypti, which is primarily found in tropical regions. This is a particularly troublesome beast, as it only needs a small amount of water in which to breed, meaning old tires, throw-away plastic bottles, small pools of water, etc. Tiger mosquitos, which are prevalent in Western nations, too, need only small amounts of water to breed. The basic message is, clean up the environment and we can drastically limit these vectors of epidemics.

So, with all the preceding, what can we likely expect for the coming year? Here’s my forecast:

Firstly, there is one thing I wish to dispel, and that is the dire prediction for 2016 related to Europe by a little-know psychic from the Balkans who in the West is known by the name of Vanga. At least, the prediction is purported to have come from her. I have had several people ask me about this one, so I will address it here. The story goes that in 2016 Europe is to be overrun by Muslims, that something akin to biological weapons will be used against Europeans and that Europe will become a wasteland, to be occupied in the years after by Muslims with Rome as the capitol. I’ll have to say that this is the worst type of fearmongering, since it supposedly comes from a supernatural source, is supposed to be very accurate and is supposed to come from someone who is an otherwise trusted source. Baba Vanga,[15] as she was called (she has passed on now) is much respected in the Balkans and in Russia, but as it turns out, the aforementioned prediction was not made by her. Further, it turns out that many of her ‘predictions’, such as the sinking of the Kursk, the Twin Towers, etc., only became known after her death—curious. And it was said that she didn’t like to make such predictions, anyway.[16] The long and short of this is that much of what we see on the internet regarding Vanga has probably been invented with the sole purpose of sensationalizing or perhaps discrediting her and scaring people or to give a spurious thrill. I would be very wary of such things. Common sense and the trends in the cycles and current events go firmly against such a prediction for Europe. Europe is not being overrun, nor is it likely to be given the present state of affairs. Most likely, I will be sending these letters to you from western Europe for many years to come, and from a predominantly Christian country. So, let’s lay that one to rest.

So, on to what should realistically be expected and on a happier note. What I see coming is:

·         A decisive battle in the Syrian-Iraqi theater or elsewhere in the Middle East, one that will probably not go so well for the West or Turkey, or even for Saudi Arabia if past Mountain Monkey years hold true. I see more independence in and for the Middle East.

·         Things probably won’t go so well for Israel this year, either. This is already on the books anyway, with France ready to recognize a Palestinian state, for example, if negotiations on the two-state solution remain in the doldrums as they are.[17]

·         A fundamental shakeup in the conservative movement in US politics, also a more progressive outlook in US politics in general. This relates especially to financial lobbying in US politics, which has a large carry-on effect in world politics. The American public on the whole is fed up with the system as it is anyway, as evidenced in the large crowds attracted to rallies by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who are not in the pockets of big business.

·         The start of a more energetic reorganization of the world financial structure. We already see this with the volatility of China, moves toward other financial centers such as the BRICS nations, the moves away from the dollar standard in oil, sluggish recoveries in Western economies, low oil prices, etc. It is likely to be a scary year financially, especially initially, but a fresher outlook will emerge, with the following year cementing finances on a sounder footing. The Rooster, which follows the Monkey, is one of the financial signs of the Chinese zodiac.

·         Major advances in transport brought to reality. We already see attempts at this with reusable rockets, high-speed trains (Hyperloop, for example), the Panama Canal expansion, autonomous vehicle technology, etc. We can also expect major advances in the architecture of computer chips and thus everything computational, as well as with communications systems.

·         I don’t like to say it, but we may likely see an event or events that wake the greater majority of people up to the environmental dangers that face us. I would expect this to be a weather-related event, or perhaps an earthquake. This would contribute to international cooperation and world financial restructuring, however, and countries like Russia could turn out to be highly significant pioneers in this regard, given the huge land mass that they oversee. Theirs is a massive and underexplored environmental potential, especially when it comes to preservation of species, food production, initiatives, etc.

So, these are the major things that I see on the horizon. As the cycles endlessly repeat themselves we see that there is great order amidst the apparent chaos around us, and that in the end all we need is to boldly contribute our little piece in order to bring the world to a better state of being. In all, the Mountain Monkey looks set to bring us to a saner realization of our state of affairs, to adjust international relations on a sounder footing and address some imbalances/injustices and to bring about needed changes in international financial relations. We will likely have many surprises and marvelous advances in technology. But the biggest message for all of us is to grasp the idea that this year is a chance for us to remake ourselves and renew our efforts toward a successful outcome in our lives, whatever that might mean for us individually. Expect the world to be changed for the better at the end of this year, even though it may not seem that way initially, and be very wary of any demonization and fearmongering, of which we will see copious amounts this year. The Year of the Mountain Monkey 2016 will come to be remembered as a year where we turned a corner on some of our more pressing problems, and technology will be a prime driver of this. There is much to look forward to this year, and much to do. In true Monkey fashion, let us busy ourselves with change for the better in dramatic fashion, true to our hearts—which fire rules—and we will probably look back at the end of the year and realize we have done a truly great piece of work!

Blessings for 2016,


1 Feb 2016

These letters are sent as a service. If you wish to be added to the mailing list, please let me know. If you feel inspired feel free to pass them along, but please do so without charge or alteration. 

Famous Fire Monkeys: Steve Ballmer (CEO Microsoft), Andy Garcia (actor), Koo Stark (actress), Jean Lapierre (actor and politician), Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (guru), Sugar Ray Leonard (boxer), Jerry Douglas (dobro player), Kenny G, Björn Borg, Joe Montana, Chris Isaak, Jerry Hall, Tom Hanks, Mel Harris, Kim Cattrall, Gary Cole, Linda Hamilton, Carrie Fisher, Dwight Yokum, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bo Derek, Shane Gould, Randy Rhoads, Nigel Kennedy, Everett Dirksen, Arthur Ford, George Burns, André Breton, Robert S, Mulliken, Wallis Simpson, Jean Piaget, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mamie Eisenhower, Ira Gershwin, Jimmie Doolittle, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Jay Gould (financier), Thomas Crapper (NOT the inventor of the modern flush toilet), the USA, Edmund Halley, René Descartes, Nicolò Amati

Other Fire Monkey Inventions: First modern water closet is installed in England by Sir John Harrington, the Colt revolver, the invention of the shaper, discovery of Bailey’s beads observed during an eclipse of the sun, ‘greenhouse law’ first formulated, principles of radioactive decay discovered, first working escalator, the first truck, free radical theory of aging, hard disc drive is invented, first videotape, first commercial nuclear power station, first supersonic jet bomber capable of Mach 2, ‘disconfirmed expectancy’ is first described, Elvis Presley made his first TV debut and had his first #1 hit, 1st Eurovision Song Contest, B&W portable TV sets are first marketed, Arc de Triomphe is completed and inaugurated, The Wealth of Nations, Common Sense, Declaration of Independence were written.


[1] Chart info and graphics from The Imperial Astrologer software,

[2] Re: Cecil, the lion.

[16] (It’s in Bulgarian, but you can cut and paste this into Google Translate for a translation.)