Chinese New Year, the year of “The Rat on the Crossbeam”

Every year at the start of the lunar New Year (Chinese New Year), I send out a letter with a forecast for the year. Those letters are the main geopolitical letters for the year, and they look back at historical precedents in a cycle of 60 years to gain a sense of what lies ahead for the current year. So, the last Metal Rat year was in 1960, and before that, 1900. What follows is a bit of fun, going through each of the twelve animal signs. I do this every year, too, but normally as a promo for a Chinese astrology program I helped develop 16 years ago (at the moment unavailable). The future of that program is now up in the air, so I am posting the promo here. Most people know their yearly animal sign. So, for a more lighthearted look at the year ahead for each of the signs, read on…(To access the Chinese New Year letter, go HERE.)


From 26 Jan 2020

The Year: You have been restive, Rat. The time for decisions has come. As you sit on your crossbeam, take the time to contemplate the council of your ancestors. The world has changed and will no longer be the same from this point onwards. Eclipses have signalled a change in the epoch. What a wonderful opportunity for you! You are quite the adventurous soul, after all. The Planet of Tombs, which guards the place of the Ancestors, and the Earth Planet show the way toward a bright future. You have many possibilities of choice, but there is one which you must avoid at all cost – the course that looks backwards. The past is done. The future beckons. You can go left or right, up or down, and forward. But to go backwards leads to ruin. Consider well the path before you and lay the ground to the extent that you can easily pass on your vision and direction to the children and generations to come. Possible futures might loom large and seem seductive, but adequate precautions will prevent future calamities. A balanced mind is the best assurance of a good outcome. You must pursue your objectives, though. Clever as you are – Resourceful, Rational Rat – the future will soon be an open book to you. The race is on to secure your place in history, and there will be many with whom you will vie. But rest assured, if you follow the advice of those who came before, and keep your secrets and council close, you can mould the emerging world to your liking. Carpe diem! And congratulations!

  The Rat: Ready, Resourceful Rat? Your year has come around again. The previous Rat year (2008), ruled by your Golden Sibling, presided over the last financial crash. But that was not his fault. There were forces out to sabotage his legacy and he was caught by the times. Not to worry. Yours is an outstanding talent and times have changed. With your formidable financial acumen, you can reach your goals easily this year, even in the hard times. You are an executive type, after all and are quite comfortable at the top of the heap. But take care, and watch your resolve, Rat. There are still dangers afoot, people out to knock you off your pedestal. Beware the yes-man, the sycophant, but most of all, your own mind. Frustration can lead to depression, obstacles to self-harm through impatience, especially with yourself. And put away your addictions, whatever those might be. This is no year to lose your focus in gadgets, recreational substances or ‘recreational people’. Distraction is your greatest enemy this year. Seek counsel with Dragons and Monkeys, solace with Sheep and parlays with Pigs. They have a lot on offer over the coming months. For Red Rats, the top! For Wood Rats, discipline brings rewards. For Black Rats, a year to nurture you gifts. For Yellow Rats, a time to take stock and re-examine directions. Careful about drains on your time and psyche. For White Rats, it is your year, but take care to keep perspective. Too much of a good thing is worse than not having any. For all Rats, guard your finances well!

The Ox: You were never known to be ostentatious, Ox. But underneath the surface there is a wealth of hidden talents. What is not to like!? The year will bring encounters with helpful and sympathetic people. Snakes and Roosters are your natural companions, and you will find much in the way of solace in their company. It’s a good year to get a check-up, and to guard your thoughts well. With the world changing as it is, at times it can all seem a little overwhelming, Ox. Finances will be unstable this year, but you know how to make a crust, especially in the hardest of times. You are one of the few who can. Beware of clashes with people this year, though, for you can be quite the Belligerent Bovine when matters do not go your way. Seek out kindred souls. Your Earth siblings – Dragons and Dogs, even the Sheep – will lend an especially attentive ear. Black Rats are also a good bet for that fortunate conversation. All of those will be helpful in the achievement of your goals this year. The key this year?: careful, low and slow. But at that, you excel anyway. Be the Observant Ox this year, and the road ahead will be paved in gold as the decade unfolds!

The Tiger: You may have reached the top, Tiger, with the gains made from last year, but this year will be for consolidating those and learning how to make them self-sustaining. This year, being ruled by the Metal element, brings a note of discipline with it for you. If you accept that this will be a year for learning instead of conquest, you won’t wind up being such a Frustrated Feline. It will be a good time to immerse yourself in study instead of activity. Be careful around fire and water, or you could find yourself in a real pickle. Make sure your passwords are up-to-date, that your accounts are secure, and be wary (for which you are known anyway) of people who say they have selected you as a candidate for the deal of the century. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We know you are one Tough Tiger, but you are not indestructible. Take care with sharp objects and sharp words this year, for both can bring you injury if you allow yourself the luxury of chutzpah. Take a lesson from the Ox, loathe as you may be to do so, and work from a position of stealth rather than force. Your natural brother, the Horse and the Dog, are also under stress this year. With them you can trade notes, but it would be better for you to seek the company Rats and Dragons and nurse ideas for the future rather than ambition. This will be a better period to hone your skills at Mah-jong than it would be for climbing Everest. There is nothing to prove this year. Sit, observe, learn, plan – these are the orders of the day. The time for action will come again soon enough.

The Rabbit: Heavenly Hare, holed up in your hideout, what promise this year brings! Your relationships are all blessed, there will be aids in financial benefits, help in attracting auspicious events, and a rain of blessings to befall you. This year should be called the Rabbit’s Rosy Reign! If only…For alas, all is not that rosy down the rabbit hole. Although luck abounds and good times with loved ones are ever-present, the warning is not to let all that grand good fortune go to your head. Be careful driving, and watch both ways before you go through intersections, literally and figuratively, because not everyone is vigilant and there is a danger of distraction for you. Make certain your contracts are in order, that everything is on the up-and-up and that honesty is your guiding mantra. We know you are as honest as Abe, Rock-Solid Rabbit. But, not everyone shares your scruples. Learn a lesson from your natural neighbor, the Tiger, and practice a little skepticism. Your psychic skills are sharp. However, they are easily clouded by appeals to your sentiments. Like the Tiger, this is a year of taking stock and of study for you. Parse the situation with Pigs. Suss out the streams of sentiments with Sheep. But be wary like the Tiger. Other than that, enjoy the year. We await your tales of love and travels with expectancy!

The Dragon:   Oh, Doer of Daring Deeds, Dauntless Dragon, do dazzle us with your decisive divinations of destiny. Your managerial skills are to the fore in the months ahead. And with your outstanding talents and financial acumen, the economic fortunes of the year ahead are assured. But, dare we discuss the more dubious downside to the year? Indeed, we must. Yes, the future belongs to those who dare. This we know. But extravagant plans, which we know you love, can have a way of backfiring this time around. The main takeaway?: Keep things on the straight and narrow. People may get swept away with your considerable gifts, but they can also leave you open to being taken advantage of. Don’t get cocky, like your friend the Rooster. The months ahead can be a drain on your resources. Watch spending, as there is danger in the world of bankruptcies, a warning not to get caught out for you. And like your neighbor, the Rascal Rabbit, be careful driving, in deed and in thought. Trade tabs with a Simian. Scour the news with a Rat. Build a plan for the future. Take a lesson from a Tiger. You may be a little accident-prone this year if you let your attention wander. And while you are at it, get a check-up. It couldn’t hurt. If you are careful, though, your financial gains will be assured. And please, do share a tip with us from time to time. We could all use the extra dime!

The Snake: Sly Serpent, you will have many opportunities to think outside the box this year. It is a brilliant year for furthering your interests, Studious Snake.  In that area you will surely excel this year. It is also a good period to teach as well. Keep a journal. Practise stream-of-consciousness writing. Type out a tome. All those activities beckon for you in the months ahead. It is a year that favors all literary and intellectual pursuits for you, Sagacious Snake. You have the ability now to turn even the most difficult circumstances to your advantage. Writing and journaling will help you collect your thoughts. And it is especially those difficult periods that often present the most brilliant opportunities for advancement into the future. If you immerse yourself along the lines just mentioned, the way ahead will bring you ease and comfort. Brainstorm with a Bovine. Parse pecuniary plans with a Pig. This is a ‘money year’ for you. Make the most of it. We look forward to attending your book signings and readings!

The Horse: Feeling housebound, Horse? That partner of yours giving you marching orders? Or are they just being obstinate, like an Ox? Oy vey! We see you chomping at the bit, Stroppy Stallion! We know you and our friend the Rat do not ordinarily get along. However, this White Rat gives you your indirect wealth year, i.e., it allows you to see value in things that others do not see. It gives you a window into the future, especially if you are a Red Horse. You can transform your destiny and vision greener pastures if you can get past your funk. So, this is no time to be the Doting Donkey, Pygmy Pony or Mal-tempered Mule. Be the usual Heroic Horse you usually are, but take care not to be ostentatious. If you are a Marvelous Mare, you are the best organizer in the Chinese zodiac. Waste no time in frivolity this year, but instead get down to business. Keep a calm and steady outlook. Other people will be full of anxiety and fearful of the future. But not you, Methodical Mustang. This will be a year toward ranging far and wide – in the mind. If you try to do so physically, it is better to go to the gym than to climb mountains and ford rivers, fun as you would probably find that. There are hidden dangers in water and with fire this year. The motto for the next twelve months is to keep a calm and steady outlook. Acting on whims will cost you. Be careful, but forge ahead! There will be many twists and turns now. And especially, remember: A closed mouth gathers no hooves! You need your significant others. Be nice, and the world is an open book.

The Sheep: (a.k.a. the Goat) Have you and the Heavenly Hare been conspiring, Successful Sheep? We know you two are naturally simpatico, but this is beyond funny! If you haven’t, you should read the Rabbit’s roster and maybe even copy a page or twenty. With your considerable charm and calm demeanour, Sympathetic Sheep, this year will bring you copious blessings in relationships, and you will encounter many helpful people. You will have a knack over the next months to find just the right guidance for when matters are at their worst, both for yourself and others in your flock. And at year’s end, you will be able to look back and say to yourself that the year was instrumental in helping toward the achievement of your goals. As for the others, they will need your help, except of course for our Happy Hare. Enjoy the times. You deserve it! Rabbits and Pigs are always good value to wile away the hours. Snakes and Roosters can add spice, too, as well as good advice. On the whole, all the signs this year will look to you. Lucky you, basking in the warmth of loving companionship, Serendipitous Sheep!

The Monkey: This year you are in your home element Marvelous Monkey. Take care that you do not give yourself over the sense of déjà vu. Going back over the past and reminiscing on good times might seem a solace in the changing world, but then, you are an agent of change. And we all envy your skill set! You are set for attainment of management positions and financial gain. There will be potholes in the road ahead, some of them more like chasms, it would seem. But with your abilities, those are just little passing moments of upset. You have the opportunity this year to turn strife into beauty, junk into valuable machines or art, clashes into harmony. You, like the Rabbit and the Sheep, are one of the lucky ones in 2020. But guard your resources well. There are thieves about, and they watch you, waiting for you to slip up. Speak the truth always, be honest in every dealing and stick closely to your word this year if you want to stay out of trouble. People envy you, and tall poppies are an open invitation to be cut down. Be mindful of your manners, Monkey. You can go far now if you are respectful and a little skeptical of those who seek to flatter you. The Dragon and the Rat are your natural companions, and they, too, have a lot on offer. Spending time with them will benefit you, but be careful of the Tigers and Snakes in the grass. Better to seek perspectives in the trees. Dogs and Horses are also helpful.

The Rooster: Why so raucous, Rooster? Has a scheming Rat invaded your pecking ground? Like your Sibling Simian, give up musing on the past and turn your gaze forward. You will get many reminders of your past glories this year and vague feelings that you have been there, done that. But really, this could be your lucky year if you allow yourself to relax. If you are always complaining about frustrated aims or crowing about past achievements, there would be many who would take great sport in trying to knock you off your perch. Bravery is a virtue, but be careful it does not turn to rashness. You are not known for your patience, Restive Rooster. You sense the change in the air, and no doubt you want to broadcast the new rising sun. This you need to do, because there is a powerful star guiding you this year. As with your other fellow travellers, keep a balanced attitude and perspective, and resist emotional entanglements, especially when they pull at your sympathies or hook you with the evil eye. But you are no fool, Rational Rooster. You have seen a lot from your high place. Avoid intense reactions and actions, and the world will bend an ear to hear what you have to report. Anchor the obvious with an Ox. Survey the scene with a Snake. Peruse properties with a Pig. Sound the song of salvation with a Sheep. There is much to get on with, to report, and many decisions to document. We look forward to hearing all about your observations!

The Dog: You certainly are a Lucky Dog this year! And your spouse brings you great benefit. Again, lucky you! But beware the flash reaction, the prickly sensitivity and the black dog of depression if things do not go your way. Snapping at those close will land you in the dog house, quick smart. And about that wonderful significant other, keep your eye on what you have instead of letting it wander around the storefronts, if you get our drift. You are oh, so romantic, especially this year, Desirous Dog. Don’t let it go to your head. It could cost you plenty. Here’s a thought: Spend more time around the house with your family instead of out running around. Besides, there are signs you should be cautious outside, especially if you are distracted. Accidents are possible. Be careful especially around water, and make sure all fire hazards are removed from your premises. It’s a good idea anyway. But aside from that, you will find that you are quite the Desirable Dog. Your friends and partner will be proud to be seen with you. Enjoy your new-found popularity, and nurture those relations for the future! You never know when you may need to call in a favour. And besides, it is always good to have true friends. You are the loyal sort anyway, so we don’t see any great worries. We are happy for you, and a little envious. Enjoy the year!

The Pig: You will find details to be very important this year, so be particularly punctilious, Pig! But wait, it seems you have been listening in on the conversations with the Rabbit and the Snake. OK, let us in on the secrets to your great successes in relationships, with which you also will be blessed this year. But you are so very intelligent anyway, you probably already knew what they were saying without having to listen in. This will be a good year for writing memoirs, or perhaps self-help manuals, or even – need we say – books on how to have a happy relationship. OK, OK. We know it has to start from within. We get it. But you have such a good way of putting across your thoughts. We just enjoy reading your works or hearing what you have to say. A kind word, justly placed, can heal monstrous wounds, turning bad into good. You are such a versatile sort anyway, and a natural pair with our friend the White Rat. This year feeds your wide vision and common-sense approach. Keep us posted on what the Rat really means when he sends out his reports or when the Rooster crows. There are big decisions being made and changes afoot, and we really need to know. Keep us plugged-in, Pig, and explain the world to us as it changes!

Rat years;

1900 (white/metal), 1912 (black/water), 1924 (green/wood), 1936 (red/fire), 1948 (yellow/earth), 1960 (white/metal), 1972 (black/water), 1984 (green/wood), 1996 (red/fire), 2008 (yellow/earth), 2020 (white/metal), 2032 (black/water)

Featured pic from Pinterest

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