Happy Chinese New Year!

The official new year started Friday, February 16th on the tail of a partial solar eclipse the evening of the 15th adding it’s flavor to the auspicious occasion.
Unlike the Gregorian New Year that we celebrate through the Western world, the lunar new year takes in account the celestial cycles of the universe in the marking of time. The second new moon past the winter solstice is the official first day of the year. This is the time of year to take stock, to remove the old and get ready for the new. New moons are traditionally time to release the past. It is a time for going into the dark, yin part of the cycle of growth.
I don’t like to make too many gross assumptions about the nature of the zodiac. There are no “good” signs or “bad” signs, it is a complex interaction of many forces rather akin to a large family gathering. While Aunt Sue and cousin Joe may not act harmoniously, the outcome depend on many factors. Those factors determine whether they silently condemn each other or they end up in an all out brawl on the Thanksgiving table.

This year this cycle marks the end of the chaotic and dramatic year of the Fire Rooster.

We see that the year has been full of quick and ever-changing action. The rooster is tasked with protecting the flock, by any means necessary. It is not known for it’s levelheaded approach, but rather a tendency to react instead of acting in accordance to the higher good. The fiery element of the year added to a rather chaotic and inflamed feeling. One that has left many weary of drama and numbed to the constant calls of alarm.

Enter the Earth Dog

This year is in fact a double Earth element year, Earth being the element of the year but also the natural element of the Dog. The symbol of earth is mountain. It can be a stabilizing force, but also a hard one to move. The dog is loyal by nature. A dog that is well supported can radiate calm and stability.
But dogs are pack animals. While taking up with a pack that is not fully aligned with purpose can cause behaviors that any single dog would never think of engaging in. Aligned with purpose the pack can act efficiently and calmly, achieving things effortlessly. Out of alignment it takes out the neighbors flock of sheep and causes mistrust with the neighbors and in fighting within the pack. Given the extra influence of Earth makes it clear that the dog in charge will also believe that they have the only right answers. Earth in abundance creates stubbornness and immovability.

This year it will be important to find yourself in the right pack.

If you cannot have total trust in the alpha then you must create your own pack. Build trust with those around you. This is a year where integrity will be essential to keeping your sense of self. Is the mountain creating stability under your foundations or being the mud that keeps you from moving forward?
The Earth element also emphasizes the physical aspect of our being. Take care of your physical body this year with extra diligence. Earth years tend to wear harder on our physical selves, and usually we see epidemics of contagious disease in these years. Get rest and care for your immune system.
The Year of the Earth Dog gives you the opportunity to work on integrity and feeling deep alignment with your path. Go slow and be diligent in your efforts. Watch where your loyalty comes from. Are you acting for the greater good, or in the way your pack expects you to act? You may need to question the status quo. You may need to reassess the company you keep and the influence they have on you. Just because it has worked for you in the past may not mean it is working for you now. A well trained dog watches carefully, it is aware of the subtle changes in tone and mood. It can calm the pack away from rash action based on momentary reaction. A dog without a solid foundation can entice the pack to destroy it’s very means of survival, for the fleeting taste of victory.

In summary, being in alignment with your purpose with a keen awareness of your integrity will ensure a more harmonious Year of the Earth Dog.

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