February 7th, 2008 in the Chinese calendar is the first day of the Year of the Rat. The Chinese calendar is an amazingly accurate system, which not only records the time, but is also a tool for forecasting. The energetic relationship between the Five Elements, an ancient symbolic system that expresses the energy transformation in nature, and the calendar system helps one foretell what is to come so that one can be better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities and guard against potential pitfalls and health problems.
The Rat is the first in the 12-animal signs in the Chinese zodiac and represents the start of a new 12 years cycle. As such, the Rat year can usher in a shift or new beginnings in political, economic and social cycles like new governments, international policies and social trends. So this is a good year to start global initiatives, personal health regiment, or change in leadership. This is a great time to initiate a 12-month as well as a 12-year plan for personal and professional development with a focus on personal health, well-being and longevity. It is also a good time to start new relationships or renew old commitments.
The year 2008 corresponds to Earth and Water elements. These elements are symbolized as a mountain atop the ocean, which gives the appearance of stability but is actually fragile underneath as the earth is floating above water. The Rat year contains abundant Water energy and therefore may bring heavy rain or flooding. The fiery Earth energy signifies an unsteady earth energy, which may portend disasters such as landslide, bridge or building collapse or earthquakes.
The effects of global warming may step up in 2008 with the imagery of floating earth or ice on the ocean as the melting of glaciers will be certain to accelerate. Encouraging efforts are under way globally to reduce greenhouse gases and sustain the environment, but we all need to do more to slow and reverse this precarious decline of our planet. We can do our part by buying “green” and preferring organic in our diet and lifestyle. The Year of the Rat shall bring more acute awareness and urgency to this issue.
On the health front, the Earth and Water elemental energies of 2008 correspond to one’s digestive and hormonal/kidney systems. One needs to be on the lookout for health problems relating to the stomach, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, adrenal and reproductive organs. Preventive steps include eating more mindfully, smaller more frequent meals, and organic locally grown foods. Avoid foods that are hard on your digestive
system such as rich, fatty, greasy, deep-fried and highly processed foods with preservatives, artificial coloring, flavoring and chemical additives. Additionally, sweets, sugars and sugar substitutes should be minimized as these directly assault the digestive organ network, leading to obesity, diabetes, unstable energy and moods.
Since the digestive organ network is also associated with the muscles, one may encounter a higher tendency to more muscular injuries, so warm up and stretch before exercising and cool down with ice pack or cool shower afterwards to prevent muscle injuries. Moreover, tai chi, qigong and yoga, along with adequate rest have been found in studies to stimulate and promote healthy functions in the kidney/adrenal, hormonal and reproductive systems, which correlate to the Water element. Black beans, walnut and blueberry are supportive foods for the above organ network.
Regarding the economy, the dominating element is Water so 2008 is a year of cooling down from the heated economic environment of the last couple of years. Industries related to the earth element such as commercial real estate, hotels, mining, natural resources, high tech and healthcare should do better than other sectors. Industries that are associated with the Fire elemental energies such as finance, banking, entertainment, energy and stock markets may not do as well in 2008 since the Water energy dominates over the Fire energy.
Having an understanding of the energetic dynamics of a new year can help you increase awareness and preparation to take advantage of the natural cyclical trends in every aspects of your life. In summary, 2008 may bring you new relationship opportunities and renewal of previous associations, fresh endeavors and a whole new life direction. So go forth with an open mind, earnest heart and a firm life purpose that will help you profit from opportunities and weather any and all challenges!
Happy New Year!