Sunday 22 January 2012

The Year of the Dragon Brings Ups and Downs

What Does the Year of the Yang Dragon, 2012, Have in Store for Your Animal Sign?

There are a number of legendary accounts of the source of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. One version mentions that the Jade Emperor invited all the animals to come to see him in Heaven. Of all the animals invited, only the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep/Ram, Monkey, Rooster and Dog complied. In honour of their arrival, the Emperor named a year after each of these animals whose characteristics are thought to be shared by anyone born in that year. Another popular version states that it was Buddha who bade the animals to enter his presence. Each of the animals that obeyed were given a year to be named after them. Their characteristics, and the elements they were connected with, would henceforth determine the outcome of events for the people of the corresponding year.

The following predictions for the 2012 Dragon Year (based on your birth year as determined by the Chinese zodiac signs*):

The fast paced year of the Dragon 2012 will be a very sociable year for the Rat. The Rat will have the ability to easily impress and get along well with new people throughout 2012. Single Rats, particularly those born in 1924 and 1984 (the wood Rat) can expect exciting romances and there may even be a wedding in store for them. If married or in a permanent relationship, these Rats must be careful not to neglect their mate and they should reserve time to spoil their partner.

Overall 2012 will be a superb year for the Rat although they need to be careful with their health. Rats born in 1924 should get plenty of rest whenever possible and those Rats born in 1960 need to be careful with their diets and be sure to get plenty of exercise. If you are a water Rat born in 1972 make sure your diet is particularly good and you drink plenty of water as problems with the stomach may arise. Leave time for yourself and do try to relax more, as stress can be an issue and you may feel depressed at times. Take heart, for whatever is on your mind right now, it will soon pass and you will be on the right path. Even younger Rats, those born in 1996, should be energetic when studying as the effort expended now affects them later in life.

Personal Qualities:

Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, intellectual, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, and shrewd

In the Year of the Dragon 2012 events happen quickly, and the luck it brings is mixed. The Ox can advance their career, wealth and general good fortune in this turbulent time if they work hard, be careful and make the right decisions. There will be lots of opportunities for the Ox to prosper and many chances to begin new friendships or reanimate present relationships. It is a good year for a single Ox to find a good partner. This means a flood of social events but you should keep a close eye on expenditures for them. Money news is favourable, though, and a promotion at work may be in store as long as the Ox can demonstrate their value to those in control. The Ox should reserve time for recreational exercise and rest during this busy year in order to avoid a burn out.

If you were born in 1949 be careful with paperwork, especially at work and be ready for some good news in the Dragon year. Health problems may loom for the 1973 Ox and they should look towards improving their diet and general health and pay special attention to their spending, especially on holidays. Drink plenty of water. 1973 Oxen, as well as those born in 1961, may find their busy schedule takes them away from their relationships and should set aside some quality time to spend with those close to them.

Whatever the Ox has left undone in the previous years will resurface in 2012 but the outcome bodes well.

Personal Qualities:

Dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious

The dragon year 2012 can be a very fulfilling year for the Tiger so long as they can curb the impulsive nature that keeps getting them into trouble. For Tigers seeking employment it may appear that it’s hard finding work during this year, but be persevering as there are a lot of good opportunities arising for the Tiger in 2012. Employed Tigers will have a lot more say and opportunities for contribution in their work place this year where their bright and promising ideas gain notice. The ideas and the extra effort will work in their favour and may even lead to a promotion.

Tigers born 1938 must exercise caution when signing contracts; always read the fine print as there is a real possibility of money loss. Tigers born in 1950 should reserve some time for recreation with friends and family to deter these working Metal Tigers from being overtaxed in 2012.

Earth Tigers born in 1962 celebrate their 50th Birthday in the Year of the Dragons and should take the helm in marking the event, perhaps with a trip in the company of your loved ones. In any case this promises to be a memorable event but, a word of caution: spend only the amount you can afford.

Romance features prominently in the Tigers life in 2012 with many unattached and single Tigers discovering new love in the most unexpected of places this year. Just be sure to take things slow and do not rush into any precarious relationships in 2012.

Personal Qualities:

Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous


For the Rabbit the fast paced Dragon year will prove to be a mixed year with quite a few ups and downs. The Rabbit will need to be well prepared otherwise they will face problems in their business, relationships and career. Rabbits should keep a close eye on their finances in 2012 and must be careful of taking risks or gambling especially with stocks. Exercise due caution and make certain that you know exactly what you are doing before committing yourself to contracts or relationships. In business and career the Rabbit should focus on what they have already instead of looking for greener grass elsewhere. It is not the time for the Rabbit to start any new big projects or leave their current job for another seemingly more promising new job or career. That being said; this is also a good year for discovering new hobbies, for studying, taking exams or simply learning new skills as it may pave the way for a promising future job or career path.

Rabbits should try to take better care of their health and diet this year.  Health problems may arise that relate to the heart and joints, so be careful and remember to maintain a good sensible diet, be active, get plenty of exercise, and if you are a smoker try your best to give it up. Work hard without affecting your health and, if you are in a position to do so, try and spend some time travelling for business or pleasure. At the moment you are fatigued but things will get better very soon as ample good times are in store for you in 2012. Last but not least, Rabbits born in 1951 will be in for a good year when it comes to home life. This year can be a great time for renovating or refurbishing your home. If you were born in 1975 a great year is in store for you; just be careful when making any big decisions in 2012.

Personal Qualities:

Gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, flexible


This is the Yang water Dragon’s year and Dragons will have a good start to 2012 buoyed by their innately positive attitude.

Commence your plans fairly early on in the year so as to get even more accomplished. Events will transpire fast and furious in 2012 and it is best to be at the ready, able to seize those great opportunities when they appear. These may came in the form of learning new skills or expanding your existing ones, even training through a hands-on approach. If you commit to something it may come back to reward you with a monetary gift or bonus at work.  Dragons have a real good chance of accruing abundant wealth this year as long as they do not sit back and let things slide.  There will be many opportunities for serious advancement in the Dragon’s chosen profession this year and a number of doors opening that they had thought closed a long time ago. The most important thing to remember is to spot a good opportunity when it comes and not overlook the small print of any offer. Dragons must be mindful of their finances in 2012, for in this fast paced year the lure of overspending is a real possibility.

Dragons born in 1940 should consider all conceivable outcomes when signing contracts in 2012 and discuss it with professionals and loved ones before signing anything. Those Dragons born in 1952 may feel that their talents are overlooked and not of much use to them but they have serious recognition waiting for them this year. Utilize your skills in 2012 and be prepared to reap the ample rewards. 

Dragons born in 1964 should try to relax during the year and, when possible, take a vacation and unwind from this busy but rewarding year.

You can anticipate a pleasant and gratifying year with many new friends coming into your life in 2012. Loyalty is an innate characteristic of the Dragon and a small effort will go a long way in bolstering those existing friendships that have been neglected and effectively expanding their reach into a wider social circle. For single Dragons, this expanded social life should provide you with many opportunities to attain new love. For Dragons already in a committed relationship 2012 can be a most gratifying year. 

Health-wise; Dragons should be mindful of their diet in 2012 as the fast paced year could lead them into some bad habits. Be sure to eat sensible, healthy foods and exercise as much as possible.

Personal Qualities:

Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal


The Snake should slide through this year with only a few bumps. With a little hard work and discipline they should be able to make the most of the many opportunities that will present themselves. The Snake’s natural foresight and intelligence will lead them if they do not let success steer them off the correct path and distractions will force the Snake to focus on the task at hand. The Dragon year will still demand hard work but if the Snake works it will take its toll unless they take some time to relax and exercise (like Tai Chi). Mind and body will need looking after in 2012.

The Snake may even feel like shedding the old skin of their present employment and set off on a new career, they should expect to confront these kinds of feelings this year. Advancement may come to those settled in a career through an opportunity to work closely with mentors or people in higher positions. Take this chance if it will make you happy.

2012 is a good year for finances and investments for the Snake but make sure you read the small print as the annual stars suggest legal issues and back stabbing. Be careful. Take extra care with investments this year and, while money luck is strong, you should be careful with shares or any other form of risky investment. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose and make sure all documents are checked over many times before signing, you have risk of having a fraud attempted on you.

With all this activity in their business and finances, the Year of the Dragon will prove to be a busy year for Snakes, but they must also take some time to spend with those they love. Whether it is your wife, boyfriend, Mother, Sister or BFF, do something to make them feel special. Also, leave time for yourself and try to relax more as stress can be an issue, bringing on the blues at times. Rest assured, whatever it is that troubles your mind right now will pass.

Be sure to keep an eye on your diet in 2012 and get plenty of exercise as Snakes can become lazy this year if they do not pay attention to their personal health.

Personal Qualities:

Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful


2012 could be a great year for the Horse but this is tempered with less favourable news that requires the Horse to be careful in their endeavours. If the competitive Horse follows his instinct to run ahead of the herd they could lose money in a new business venture. A calm, unrushed approach added to concentration on the task at hand and hard work will reward the Horse with success. Despite the ups and downs the Horse will be just fine.

There is a danger of over-doing it in 2012, whether it is indulgence in unhealthy foods, or overspending. Keep to a healthy diet and a prudent budget and you will receive the best this year has to offer. Be sure to exercise regularly to bolster your health this year. This is a year for the Horse to save the wealth they have rather than going out to seek more.

Both your work life and your home life will experience rough patches this year. Do not make hasty judgements about your coworkers and be patient, especially with those you live with at home. Opportunities for advancement and professional development will present themselves at work but, if you cannot remain calm in the face of deadlines and the stress of producing good work, you may engender arguments with your coworkers and cripple your attempts to gallop on ahead. Approach your work with caution and care and an avoidance of physical and financial risks is definitely called for.

The spring months of April and May could bring some good news and you should make the most of the good opportunities that appear, there will be other times when you will need the strength and resources you have built up. Be mindful of your actions and the results they could have and you will get along fine.

If you were born in the Horse year of 1942 you can expect a windfall in 2012, but risks to your health are higher than normal. The 1990 horse should take extra care of their health as well. Lung problems are a danger to the Horse born in 1954, especially if you smoke, live in a bad environment or follow an unhealthy diet. This year is a good year to give up smoking.

Personal Qualities:

Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded


The Sheep will gain both financially and career-wise in 2012 and by working hard and smart you will attract money and, by accumulating as much as you can in your savings, you could build up a respectably large sum. Your work life will be busy and those long hours and hard work you put into a stressful project will pay off by attracting the attention of others to your positive qualities. This may lead to the assumption of greater responsibility for which you will need training. You will have to learn quickly and well, and will benefit greatly by attending a training course. New skills, be it reading a new book or honing a new talent will rebound to your benefit and 2012 is the year to embrace new opportunities.

The Year of the Dragon will bring you in contact with a lot of new people and give you a chance to impress them with you ability to relate to others. Strong friendships will develop and possibly a romantic relationship that could lead to a serious commitment.

Impulsive purchases should be avoided but, if you spend your money wisely and don’t rush in to a deal, your acquisitions will be a point of pride for you. Do your research before you buy otherwise you may go overboard in your expenditures. Seek the financial advice of others if you have any doubts about your finances in 2012, it could end up saving you a lot of money and effort.

Your home life will progress rapidly in the Dragon year with a lot of last-minute changes to your plans. Remain flexible and escape your hectic home on holidays with a loved one. The change of scenery, even if it is in the same country, will do you a lot of good and may even lead to stronger romance. The Sheep will do well in their romances in 2012, love is strong. An unmarried Sheep has a good chance of finding that special someone and even the married Sheep might find a whirlwind romance this year.

The Sheep born in 1991 will be plunged into a social melee later in the year and should take time in the winter and spring to prepare. The 1943 Sheep will benefit from sharing their wisdom and advice with friends and loved ones and those born in 1979 should also spend more time with those closest to them and grab the opportunities that appear. There will be a wealth of opportunities for those born in 1955 and they should be alert for them. The Sheep born in the Love Summer of 1967 may want to hold on to the past but they should not linger as moving on to greener pastures will bode well for them.

Sheep should keep an eye out for good news coming from a lost friend or neglected family member; it is a good year for reconciliation and mending those burnt bridges.

Personal Qualities:

Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, mothering, peaceful, generous, seeks security


The success the Monkey will achieve in the Year of the Dragon all depends on how hard they will work for it. The opportunities are there for the taking in the realms of romance, career, wealth and other opportunities.

Keep up with the recent developments in your profession and apply them with the skills you have learned in the ups and downs of the past few years as there will be many rewards available to you at work this year. Unemployed Monkeys, or those looking for promotion, stand a very good chance of winning a good position in a new workplace if they maintain a positive attitude in the interviews and proceed with determination.

Monkey romance promises good things for this year and this should carry over into your work and business.

There will be a few drawbacks that you need to be aware of; there is a risk of monetary loss for the Monkey in 2012. You should take extra care with your finances this year and save your money instead of making unnecessary purchases. Your health may decline as well as you rush through all the opportunities the Dragon Year has to offer you. Exercise regularly and pay close attention to what you eat.

Personal Qualities:

Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual


The Rooster has an affinity for the Dragon and in this year this will turn out to their advantage. Those plans you set in motion during your year in 2011 bear fruit and opportunities and success will lay themselves out in front of you this year. Your natural passion and drive will take you to great heights because luck is with you. Make a sincere effort in what you do and keep your positive outlook. You will meet difficult times and face obstacles; but if you face each one head-on you will be surprised at how easily they fall before your confidence. As you reap the rewards of your endeavours, do not forget to be charitable to those less fortunate.

Promotions and achievements will come to the Rooster this year and you may find it a bit overwhelming and confusing. Consider your moves carefully and include your partner or friend in your decisions, they will give you good advice.

There may be a temptation to overwork in order to grab more of the rewards that are coming in, but this should be tempered with common sense. Get plenty of rest and exercise and maintain a healthy, nutritious diet. This is a good year to learn to meditate, do yoga or just relax and take a bit of time to pamper your-self and recover from those occasional blahs that will come between the recurring successes.

Roosters born in 1945 should be more risk-averse than normal this year. It is time to make some changes and watch out for your health. A big part of a happy and successful life is a mind that can deal with stress and worry. Walk more, exercise more often, do something different and get out of those old, unhealthy, habits.

Personal Qualities:

Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible


Maintaining the same lifestyle year after year, persisting in bad habits and not paying attention to the warning signs will eventually catch up to you. The Year of the Dragon is nothing if it is not a rapid succession of ups and downs, but being aware of the pitfalls and doing something about them will lead to success.

Risky investments are to be avoided this year as well as loans to others. Charity, on the other hand, will rebound to your favour and reward you for your goodwill.

Dogs may find themselves beset by worries this year, but sharing their concerns with a friend or loved one will reveal that the trouble is not as severe as it seems and problems will be easier to solve. Communicating with others will work to your advantage.

The stress of work and career may just be one of those things that worry you but healthy eating and good exercise will take the edge off. When you burn the midnight oil wrapping up a work assignment don’t go for the processed food or TV dinners, have some vegetables and fruit for snacks to keep you energized. Be careful of what you eat this year, and watch for food that has been spoiled by being left out for too long. This is especially important if you find yourself in a hot country where refrigeration is not always used as much as it should be.

When arguments spring up stay calm and collected, rash responses will bring regret. Look before you leap.

Dogs stand a good chance of finding a new love in the Dragon year so you should keep your eyes open.

The measures you took in your business, career and finances over the last few years will mature this year. Make the most of the wind at your back as it pushes your ship ahead of it. Don’t just sit back for the ride, though, get your hand on the rudder, trim the sails and steer your own way to success.

Personal Qualities:

Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going


For those in the sign of the Pig the Year of the Dragon will require more attention from you than other years. Those seeds that you sowed in the past years are now sprouting, so get ready to gather up your rewards. Business and career show promise as long as you remain positive and willing to put in the extra work needed to get things done. The money will come in to you but you have to be sure to tuck it away safely in the piggy bank. A positive note will be struck when you may be offered a partnership or managerial role. The contracts involved may prove tricky and you would be well advised to have them double checked by a trusted professional or a loved one before signing them.

Relationships with your loved ones will be enhanced by the Dragon year, especially if you take time out from your busy schedule to spend time alone with them. A vacation away from home is just the thing to rekindle a romance but be careful of your expenditures. Single Pigs have a good chance of finding a new relationship this year as well.

The challenges the Year of the Dragon brings you will be overcome. The problems of 2011 will be resolved and be replaced by less worrisome concerns. If you were born in 1971 you should be especially wary of big equipment, whether using it or driving beside it on the highway. Try to avoid it as much as you can.

Make a resolution this year to be more thankful for what you have and for the things other people do for you. Don’t be afraid to tell people how much you appreciate them and say “Thank you” to someone at least every day.

Personal Qualities:

Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent

*If you are not sure what animal sign you are, please consult the list below:

Between This Date  and   This Date

February 05 1924  and  January 23 1925          Rat

January 24 1925  and  February 12 1926           Ox

February 13 1926  and  February 01 1927           Tiger

February 02 1927  and  January 22 1928           Rabbit

January 23 1928  and  February 09 1929           Dragon

February 10 1929  and  January 29 1930           Snake

January 30 1930  and  February 16 1931           Horse

February 17 1931  and  February 05 1932           Ram

February 06 1932  and  January 25 1933           Monkey

January 26 1933  and  February 13 1934           Rooster

February 14 1934  and  February 03 1935           Dog

February 04 1935  and  January 23 1936           Boar

January 24 1936  and  February 10 1937           Rat

February 11 1937  and  January 30 1938           Ox

January 31 1938  and  February 18 1939           Tiger

February 19 1939  and  February 07 1940           Rabbit

February 08 1940  and  January 26 1941           Dragon

January 27 1941  and  February 14 1942           Snake

February 15 1942  and  February 04 1943           Horse

February 05 1943  and  January 24 1944           Ram

January 25 1944  and  February 12 1945           Monkey

February 13 1945  and  February 01 1946           Rooster

February 02 1946  and  January 21 1947           Dog

January 22 1947  and  February 09 1948           Boar

February 10 1948  and  January 28 1949           Rat

January 29 1949  and  February 16 1950           Ox

February 17 1950  and  February 05 1951           Tiger

February 06 1951  and  January 26 1952           Rabbit

January 27 1952  and  February 13 1953           Dragon

February 14 1953  and  February 02 1954           Snake

February 03 1954  and  January 23 1955           Horse

January 24 1955  and  February 11 1956           Ram

February 12 1956  and  January 30 1957           Monkey

January 31 1957  and  February 17 1958           Rooster

February 18 1958  and  February 07 1959           Dog

February 08 1959  and  January 27 1960           Boar

January 28 1960  and  February 14 1961           Rat

February 15 1961  and  February 04 1962           Ox

February 05 1962  and  January 24 1963           Tiger

January 25 1963  and  February 12 1964           Rabbit

February 13 1964  and  February 01 1965           Dragon

February 02 1965  and  January 20 1966           Snake

January 21 1966  and  February 08 1967           Horse

February 09 1967  and  January 29 1968           Ram

January 30 1968  and  February 16 1969           Monkey

February 17 1969  and  February 05 1970           Rooster

February 15 1972  and  February 02 1973           Rat

February 03 1973  and  January 22 1974           Ox

January 23 1974  and  February 10 1975           Tiger

February 11 1975  and  January 30 1976           Rabbit

January 31 1976  and  February 17 1977           Dragon

February 18 1977  and  February 06 1978           Snake

February 07 1978  and  January 27 1979           Horse

January 28 1979  and  February 15 1980           Ram

February 16 1980  and  February 04 1981           Monkey

February 05 1981  and  January 24 1982           Rooster

January 25 1982  and  February 12 1983           Dog

February 13 1983  and  February 01 1984           Boar 

February 02 1984  and  February 19 1985           Rat

February 20 1985  and  February 08 1986           Ox

February 09 1986  and  January 28 1987           Tiger

January 29 1987  and  February 16 1988           Rabbit

February 17 1988  and  February 05 1989           Dragon

February 06 1989  and  January 26 1990           Snake

January 27 1990  and  February 14 1991           Horse

February 15 1991  and  February 03 1992           Ram

February 04 1992  and  January 22 1993           Monkey

January 23 1993  and  February 09 1994           Rooster

February 10 1994  and  January 30 1995           Dog

January 31 1995  and  February 18 1996           Boar 

February 19 1996  and  February 06 1997           Rat

February 07 1997  and  January 27 1998           Ox

January 28 1998  and  February 15 1999           Tiger

February 16 1999  and  February 04 2000           Rabbit

February 05 2000  and  January 23 2001           Dragon

January 24 2001  and  February 11 2002           Snake

February 12 2002  and  January 31 2003           Horse

February 01 2003  and  January 21 2004           Ram

January 22 2004  and  February 08 2005           Monkey

February 09 2005  and  January 28 2006           Rooster

January 29 2006  and  February 17 2007           Dog

February 18 2007  and  February 06 2008           Boar 

February 07 2008  and  January 25 2009           Rat

January 26 2009  and  February 13 2010           Ox

February 14 2010  and  February 02 2011           Tiger

February 03 2011  and  January 22 2012           Rabbit

January 23 2012  and  February 09 2013           Dragon

February 10 2013  and  January 30 2014           Snake

January 31 2014  and  February 18 2015           Horse

February 19 2015  and  February 07 2016           Ram

February 08 2016  and  January 27 2017           Monkey

January 28 2017  and  February 18 2018           Rooster

February 19 2018  and  February 04 2019           Dog

February 05 2019  and  January 24 2020           Boar

Friday 20 January 2012

The Year of the Yang Water Dragon


The Year of the Water Dragon
January 23rd 2012 to February 9th 2013
The Yang Water Dragon Year starts on January 23, 2012 and ends on February 9, 2013. The energetic high point of the year is the month of the dragon moon from May 20 to June 18. This month starts with the new moon on May 20; the full Dragon Moon is June 4; and the month is over on June 18. June 19 begins the month of the snake moon, which will set up the energy for the following Year of the yin Water Snake that will start in February of 2013.
A Brief History: 
The Chinese calendar traditionally numbers the years from the reign of the Yellow Emperor; therefore our 2012 AD is approximately the year 4710. The seeds for Chinese astrology were planted during the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) and burgeoned during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD). During the Han period the familiar elements of traditional Chinese culture: Yin-Yang philosophy, the theory of the 5 elements and of Heaven and Earth as well as Confucian morality were built upon the foundation of the calendar to formalize the philosophical principles of Chinese medicine and divination, astrology and alchemy.
At present the Chinese lunisolar calendar (the moon and sun calendar) determines the date of Chinese New Year. In the Chinese calendar the winter solstice must occur in the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In traditional Chinese Culture lichun is a solar term marking the start of spring which occurs on or about February 4.

A 60-year Cycle:
A 60-year cycle consists of two separate cycles interacting with each other. The first is the cycle of ten heavenly stems. Each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The elements are rotated every two years while the yin and yang association alternates every year. The elements are thus distinguished as, Yang Wood, Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc.
Incidentally, Water Dragons occur every 60 years, so we have had Yang Water Dragons in 1592, 1652, 1712, 1772, 1832, 1892, 1952, 2012, and it will fall again in 2072, 2132, 2192 and 2252.
When in navigating the lunisolar calendar, a simple rule to remember is that years that end in an even number are yang, those that end with an odd number are yin. The cycle works like this:
-When the year ends in 0 it is Yang Metal; when the year ends in 1 it is Yin Metal.
-When the year ends in 2 it is Yang Water; when the year ends in 3 it is Yin Water.
- When the year ends in 4 it is Yang Wood; when the year ends in 5 it is Yin Wood.
-When the year ends in 6 it is Yang Fire; when the year ends in 7 it is Yin Fire.
- When the year ends in 8 it is Yang Earth; when the year ends in 9 it is Yin Earth.
Twelve-year cycle of animals:
The second cycle system is comprised of the twelve-year cycle of the animal zodiac (shēngxiào) or Earthly Branches. It was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter, which is called the Year Star. Following the orbit of Jupiter around the sun, Chinese astronomers divided the celestial sphere into 12 sections, and rounded each one up to one year from 0.86 of a year.  These are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. (In Vietnam the rabbit is supplanted by the cat.)
 All these accounts produce a combined cycle that repeats every 60 years. For example, the year of the Yang Fire Rat occurred in 1936 and in 1996, 60 years apart.
Special Note: There are a number of legendary accounts as to the source of 12 animals of the zodiac. One version mentions that the Jade Emperor invited all the animals to come to see him in Heaven. Of all the animals invited, only the Rabbit, Snake, Horse, Dragon, Ox, Boar, Tiger, Rat, Ram, Monkey, Dog, and Rooster complied. In honour of their arrival, the Emperor named a year after each of these animals whose characteristics are thought to be shared by anyone born in that year. Another popular version states that it was Buddha who bid the animals to his presence. Each of the animals that obeyed were given a year to be named after them. Their characteristics (also connected to the elements) would hence, determine the outcome of events and people of the corresponding year.
In Chinese Five Element theory, Dragon is in the Earth group but it also contains Wood and Water. When it meets a Rabbit, the Dragon adopts Wood's characteristic. When it meets a Rat, then the Dragon shares the Water characteristic. When it meets a Rooster, Dragon assumes the characteristic of Metal. Since a Dragon might be treated as Earth, Water, Wood or Metal, the Dragon is deemed unpredictable and intangible. Year of Dragon then usually has something unexpected in store. Another thing to remember is that 2012 is the Water Dragon, or Black Dragon, year, so water is a predominant factor in determining people's fortune in 2012.

General predictions for the Year of the Dragon
What kind of year will 2012 be?   Many expect 2012 to bring about the end of the world, perhaps because they mistakenly think of Mayan or Hindu cosmologies as linear rather than cyclical. Those people who predicted the Doomsday scenario on December 21, 2012 after interpreting the ending of the Great Cycle of the
Mayan Calendar would no doubt jump at the chance to remind us that the Mayans predicted that this whole cycle of civilization which has lasted 5,125 years comes to an end on the Winter Solstice, 2012.
It’s interesting to note that in China there is no such prediction about the world ending in 2012. On the contrary hundreds of years ago diviners in China predicted that the Nation will in fact become prosperous and peaceful in 2012.
Chinese Dragons in particular are considered to be Divine, mythical creatures. In ancient times Emperor’s power was represented by the emblems of celestial Dragon. In the present day the Dragon is still considered a mystical being, therefore a karmic sign. It means that in 2012 we can anticipate great things. Dragon years are action driven and are times for major initiatives. Dragon years favour progress, but opportunities do need to be taken when they arise. In this fast moving year there is no time to waste. For astronomers, this can be a highly significant year- as exciting new finds will be made. There will also be a major development in the area of transport. Usually the Year of Dragon portends a fortunate, happy and joyful period, especially for Dragon people. The Dragon constellation, in fact, is accorded the honour of being the guardian of the Eastern sky and traditionally it’s supposed to bring in the Four Blessings of the East: wealth, virtue, harmony and longevity. People and business around the world that had difficult times over the last few years look forward to dragon year, as the good luck it brings is both a timely and much needed reprieve.
On the cautionary note, however, there will be spectacular successes as well as notable crash and burn failures. Regardless of your sign, there will be significant upheavals in 2012. Soaring stock markets, natural disasters, and noteworthy, cultural and political developments will be more the norm than the exception.
We all know that water covers 2/3 of our planet & comprises 85% of our bodies; we simply cannot function without it. In Chinese element theory, water produces wood, which signifies growth and is the natural element of the dragon. The dragon governs east/southeast, wealth accumulation and the hours of 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. Associated with thunder, lightning and arousal, the Water Dragon personifies creativity at its best.
This is the Water Dragon year and the Dragon mainly contains the Earth; yet Earth and Water are opposite elements. From this we can deduce that some bad news might happen. This year will be marked by a natural catastrophe very early on. Not only could there be earthquakes and volcanoes erupting in various parts of the World but the whims of the weather system may also play havoc in certain regions.
As the Water Dragon year is a strong sign of Water the bulk of natural disasters will be related to water, flood, hurricane, rain, ocean, rivers or mud. It is interesting to note that the nickname of Dragon in Chinese astrology is Water Dam. That implies Dragon can hold Water and make it quiet.

To grasp the enormity, the scale of events that might occur in 2012, here are few accounts of things that had transpired on the previous Water Dragon year, 1952:
 -In February young Elizabeth II was enthroned Queen of the United Kingdom, beginning her long reign lasting to this date.
- In 1952 the United States introduced two of the most destructive weapons in history, the hydrogen bomb and the B-52 bomber.
- Dragon Year Children are always prized. Here’s an example of the last water dragon births: World leaders include Vladimir Putin and Lee Hsien Loong.
Craig Newmark, founder of Craig’s List, who has revolutionized the world of advertising, was born in the Year of the Dragon.
In sports, Jimmy Connors dominated the world of tennis; football coach Bill Belichick was instrumental in winning four Superbowls.
The dragon year favours creativity, originality and plain old expressionism. Penicillin was just one of the major discoveries made in a dragon year (1952). In the world of fashion new styles are likely to emerge that will catch the imagination, whereas in music musicians will be keen to experiment and promote new sounds with some new bands attracting a worldwide following. Interestingly enough it was in the dragon year of 1964 that Beatle mania became such a worldwide phenomenon, with the Beatles being the first band to see a million copies of a record sold before its release.
Everyone has dreams, and that the time to pursue them is now, for The Dragon Year gives you the best chance to make them come true. Timing is of the essence but keep in mind that Dragon is associated with spring therefore you need to get off to a fast start as things are going to start happening early in the year.  Opportunities to accrue a fortune could come right after lunar New Year. You don’t want to miss that boat now, do you?
Meanwhile expect fireworks in your love and romance sector. New love can blossom or an old one will be rekindled on the spur of the moment. It is important to note the Dragon is associated with festivals and celebrations which makes 2012 the perfect year for baptisms, engagements, and weddings. A note of caution: These happenings may be of transitory nature By all means enjoy that new love but be mindful that it is more than likely just a fleeting romance.

Because Water nourishes the Dragon’s fixed element, Wood, this Dragon receives a big advantage over the rest of the animals when it comes to bringing good luck and personal accomplishment. The Dragon person is actually going to realize some of those big dreams!

There is as well another reason to rejoice; since 1996 the year element had been in a destructive relationship with the fixed element of the animal sign. That made for a long unfavourable period in the 60 year cycle of Chinese Astrology, and therefore a scarcity of good luck. The year 2012 is thus twice blessed; not only with the lucky Dragon but also by the end of this destructive cycle. There will be celebrations of all kinds and good luck will be coming your way.

Want to hear more good news? Read on.
Under the influence of the Dragon it is a yang year and yang Water is like a flowing river rather than a stagnant lake. Things will therefore move, with creativity abounding ideas will flow, economies will boom, and relationships will blossom in this environment. By all accounts it promises to be a most memorable year ahead.
Dragon years are lucky for anyone thinking of starting a business or initiating a new project of any sort because money is easier to come by for everyone, whether it’s earned, borrowed or received as a gift. Consequently we can expect the economic downturn to ease up a bit in the coming year. Fortunes can be made but they can also be lost if you are not careful or unreasonably extravagant with your spending.
Last but not least, water is connected to Wisdom. This furnishes us with the hope that the people will act wiser in 2012, which may in turn bring the biggest blessing of all in the Year of the Water Dragon.

Best of luck in 2012!

Wednesday 11 January 2012

The Legend of Wen Shi (Long Mu)

The Legend of Wen Shi (Long Mu)
My Version of the Story: Wen Shi -The Mother of the Dragons

During the Qin Dynasty, in the Teng District of Guangdong Province a second girl child, named Wen Shi, was born to Wen Tianrui and Liang Shi. Wen Shi often frequented the banks of the nearby Xi River to catch fish or do the laundry.  On one such errand she chanced upon a large, smooth, white stone along the banks of the river, partially hidden by a cluster of rushes. Drawn to it at once, she picked it up and admired it for a long while before placing it in her apron’s pocket.

When she concluded her chores she returned home for supper.  As she was getting ready for bed, her hand chanced upon the stone in her pocket. Elatedly she showed this beautiful new find to her siblings but her sisters weren’t at all interested and, as in the past, they laughed and teased her endlessly for liking such odd things.  She didn’t care, for the more she handled it, the more things she found to like about it. For one, it possessed a nacreous depth and a unique hint of luminosity, it grew warmer with prolonged touch and it offered her unending comfort. You can imagine her thrill when she discovered weeks later that it was actually an egg; an egg from which hatched five baby snakes. Her sisters wanted nothing to do with these slithering creatures and again teased her incessantly for her odd attraction to them.  She pleaded with her parents to be allowed to keep them, promising to bear the sole responsibility of feeding them, caring for them and keeping them out of trouble. Although they were a poor family Wen Shi saved the best portions of her own food and diligently fed these morsels by hand to the baby snakes. She carried them with her always, even when doing her chores. Soon the snakes grew up under her good care, and loving her in return, they assisted her whenever they could with her chores.  These unusually intelligent snakes were quite adept in the water and excellent swimmers; therefore, they used their ability to help Wen Shi catch bountiful loads of fish in the Xi River.
Then a time came when another wonder manifested; the snakes matured into five magnificent and most powerful dragons. By then her parents had departed this world and her sisters had been happily married off and lived elsewhere. She therefore dwelled in her parent’s home alone. In Chinese culture, dragons are deemed spirits of water and have the power to control the weather. When a bad drought plagued her village and caused untold hardships for many families living within that region, Wen Shi gathered her dragon children to her and asked for their help.  The dragons instinctively knew what to do and they set to work in summoning the rain.  Soon the downpours drenched the parched land, renewing life of vegetation and crops. The grateful villagers from that time on overcame their innate fear of the dragons and named Wen Shi “Mother of Dragons” or “Divine Human”.
 Visitors spread the word far and wide of this miracle and the benevolent dragons that had saved the villagers from certain ruin. Before long it reached the ear of the Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shihuang.  Immediately Wen Shi was summoned to Court for a private audience with the Empreor in the Imperial City, Xianyang, far to the north near the Yellow River.  Wen was declared a Benevolent Being and was also endowed with gifts of gold and jade.

By the time of this summons she was an elderly woman in rather frail health and her dragons feared for her well being and safety. They tried to deter her from the gruelling trip but she was a loyal subject and would not hear of it. Soon she boarded the boat to begin her journey to the Imperial City.  Unbeknownst to her, however, her concerned dragons had hidden themselves under the boat and pulled it backward; no matter how hard the rowers struggled, the boat failed to pass Guilin. Eventually the frustrated Imperial officials aborted their mission with great reluctance and allowed Wen Shi to return to the safety of her home.
Finally after many years, Wen Shi passed away and the grief-stricken dragons buried her with due reverence on the northern side of Zhu Mountain.  Then they forsook their dragon forms and permanently assumed human shapes. In time they became known as the Five Scholars.
The End

Sunday 8 January 2012

The Centipede and the Dragon Princess

 The Centipede and the Dragon Princess
(An Alternate Version of Rice-bag Toda (Tawara Toda) 

Once upon a time a warrior called Fujiwara no Hidesato was crossing the Seta Bridge at Lake Biwa. Suddenly a monstrous serpent appeared and lay across the roadway just ahead of him.  The hero was not least bit perturbed and, shrugging his shoulders, calmly stepped over the giant snake and continued on his way. No sooner had Fujiwara passed than the serpent slid into the lake only to reappear again a few feet in front of him in the form of a beautiful woman, blocking his way.


Sporting an enchanting smile, she bowed to him in formal greeting and said, “For two thousand years sir, it’s been my unfortunate fate to be kept away from my home, held prisoner under this bridge. In all that time, I have never before seen such a courageous man as you. It is for that reason that I dare ask this favour.”  In a sorrowful voice she related her tragic story to the hero. She told him how once she’d been a Dragon Princess from a far away sea. Wanting to see more of the world, she had forsaken her safe home, snuck away and travelled far and wide. After many years, as she grew older and matured, she relented and wished to go back home but could no longer find her way no matter how hard she tried. Alone and forlorn, constrained to remain in human form, she had been fortunate enough to meet a brilliant scholar and married him.
For a time they lived happily with their three children, but then one unfortunate day a monstrous centipede emerged from a valley beyond the ridge of hills and, having spotted her, abducted her and hid her in a cave where no one could find her. While she was captive, the centipede had gone back and murdered her loving husband and children. Claiming the region around their old home and the river as his own, he’d brought her back to that precise spot and, from that time on, condemned her to the life of a captive slave. He used his power to endlessly torment her. She had made her home in the depths of the river, forsaking solid land as it had reminded her too much of what she had lost. Still she could not attain any solace. She was forced to give him whenever he wanted each time he came to call on her. She had been most miserable since then, powerless to escape the clutches of the trickster centipede. The few times she’d sought help from wandering warriors, or anyone courageous enough to be willing to help, it had ended disastrously. The monster, delighting in torture, had eaten each champion slowly and painfully in front of her.
“I have been most frank and now you know just what is at stake. Dare I hope for your help, for salvation from my nightmare?” She cupped her face in her hands and sobbed tragically. As he had not taken to his heels in fright and still hung about, she came to believe that he might be the one to save her and again implored the hero to do all he can to destroy the centipede and rescue her from this dire predicament.
Fujiwara was as compassionate as he was brave and he consented after only a very brief consideration. “Rest assured dear lady, I’ll do all I can within my power to help you.” he promised her. “Please go home to your place in the lake and await the results.”
That evening armed with a bow and arrow he planted his feet solidly in the centre of the bridge and waited patiently for the arrival of the centipede. It was a particularly cold night, cumulous clouds rode the sky, driven by strong winds that buffeted his sleeves and thrashed at his face. Often they hid the moon’s rays, leaving him in pitch darkness. Adding an ominous choir to this dramatic scene were the continuous cries of the wild beasts. 
Suddenly from the top of Mt. Mikami, following in the wake of a flash of lightning, two enormous lights burst into the black sky. The vast blinding light, resembling two hundred lit torches, had suddenly turned night into day. It took Hidesato only an instant to recognise the two beams of light as the centipede’s eyes.

Unafraid, Hidesato sightlessly launched three consecutive arrows directly at the blinding lights. Being a great marksman, he hit his mark and the blinding lights were instantly snuffed out; the monster was no more.
The Dragon princess was overjoyed at the news of his decisive victory. Filled with gratitude, she invited Hidesato to be her guest for a time at her own Dragon abode. With her powers now at full capacity after the death of the centipede she was able to transform the simple dwelling into a palace more befitting a Dragon Princess. There she regaled him with music, tasty, delectable dishes and rewarded him with fine gifts: a roll of fine silk, a temple bell, a sword and armour, as well as a tawara bag of rice. She told him in no uncertain terms that these were magical items; that the silk roll, no matter how much he cut from it, would not diminish in size, nor would the bag of rice ever empty no matter how many scoops he took from it, and that the magic would last as long as he lived.
Hidesato returned home and lived comfortably till a ripe old age.  At one point, he did come to know how the Dragon Princess, with her continually growing powers, had eventually attained her ultimate goal of returning home. She was eventually reunited with her parents, who forgave her after learning of all that she’d gone through, had married another dragon and they both lived happily ever after.
 Before the end of his life Hidesato saw fit to donate the bell to Mii-dera temple at Mount Hiei. Unfortunately it was stolen by a priest from rival Enryaku-ji temple. When the bell spoke to the culprit priest he took fright and threw the bell over a cliff and into a valley. The long drop and the landing on hard rock made a long crack appear in the side of the bell. Eventually when the cracked bell was returned to Mii-dera a small snake, perhaps an offspring of the Dragon Princess, used his tail to repair the damage. She was known to visit the lake from time to time, to pay homage to her late human husband and deceased children, whom she’d never forgotten.

Note: In another version of the story, set during the Genpei War, when Hidesato encounters the Dragon Snake on the bridge it is transformed, instead of a beautiful woman, into a “strange small man” instead, who was none other than the Dragon King himself. There is a Shinto shrine near the Seta Bridge at Lake Biwa where, even to date, people worship Tawara Toda, “Rice-bag Toda”.