The year of the Earth Pig arrives on February 5, 2019. If you’re feeling a bit, well, dog-eared, after last year, I’m happy to tell you that the Pig Year will usher in a return to civility. Enough of this junk yard brawling and posturing with everyone’s hackles up. The Pig is all about conviviality, grace, and harmony. So let’s break this down.
First, there are always one or more elements to consider in every year. Last year (Earth Dog) was double Earth. The earth element can provide nourishment and stability. But too much, without any balancing influences, can cause stagnation and obstruction. That, combined with the Dog’s uncompromising defensive attitude (read stubbornness) can create an environment of intractable hostility and anxiety. Witness the January stand off between Congress and the White House, the culmination of a year of this sort of thing.
With the upcoming Earth Pig Year, we have an Earth/Water combination. Water brings in the possibility of flow, movement, ease. In Chinese culture, water is a symbol of prosperity. It also signals the end of a cycle, a time when things dissolve and return to a state of incubation so that a new cycle can begin. Water can flow gently, or it can sweep you off your feet like a tidal wave. Much depends on other elemental influences. In this case, we have Earth combining with Water. Think of this like the banks of a river, or the land forms around a sparkling lake. Earth contains the water, gently guiding it along, so we benefit from flow and circulation, but are protected from torrential rain and floods.
Now, about that Pig. Pigs, like the water element, are at the end of a cycle. In this case, the 12 branch zodiac cycle. So the Pig is related to that auspicious moment when an old cycle is going to ground while a new cycle is being seeded. Now, don’t expect the sudden appearance of a progressive and enlightened new age. This process takes time, and careful management of the qi. I’m going to take a risk here and predict that the dissolution of this current cycle of corruption and divisiveness will unfold over a period of 2-3 years. Yes, we’ll see some welcome endings in 2019. But then in 2020 we’ll need to show patience and attention to detail so the Rat can continue to incubate the seeds of change with careful data collection and analysis. Then we’ve got the Ox year in 2021 to put noses to the grindstone and do the required work to stabilize new foundations, before a courageous leap into a progressive new era can be launched with the Tiger qi in 2022. All I can say is, we better do things with scrupulous integrity over the next couple of years. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s the good news for 2019. The Pig is associated with intelligence, wisdom, completion, fellowship, home, harmony, optimism, peace, sensitivity, and pleasure. Pigs are connoisseurs of fine dining and entertainment. Spending some time in the company of the Pig tends to remind us all of the refined intelligence and enlightened behavior humans are capable of. Once we’ve enjoyed the Pig’s hospitality, we are likely to look back with embarrassed disbelief at the savagery, rudeness, and generally uncivilized behavior that has characterized the past year. We will all ruefully commit ourselves to a more civilized approach and, at the very least, a greater portion of hospitality towards all.
Since all of us will experience the year according to our own natures, it’s important to reflect on how each of the animals might show up, as if coming to the Pig’s home for a party. Tolerant, affable Pig always invites everyone; no one is excluded. So in keeping with this attitude of kindness and generosity, we should each arrive with a hostess gift in hand. See below for some tips on what each of the animals could, in the best case scenario, bring to the party.
Rat: This is your year for research, analysis, preparation. Gather your data now, because in 2020 (Rat Year), you will be called upon to present all the facts. Leave nothing unexamined, no path unexplored. Follow every thread. In 2020, your vast trove of information will save the day and make you a hero. Your special gift—research
Ox: You could use some time to recuperate from the Dog Year, during which you had to solve one problem after another. But you have much to contribute this year. Your steady, methodical approach will keep us on course, and turn the pleasures of human connection and compassion into real social progress. Your gift—remind us to keep a disciplined work ethic and a firm grip on our goals. Be the emblem of good order so we can rise to a higher level of social discourse.
Tiger: Yes, I know you’re a frazzled wreck from having been on the field, going full tilt, during the entirety of the Dog Year. And though you would prefer to pad noiselessly into your cave and sleep for months, you can’t in good conscience just disappear now. The Pig Year is actually a lucky time for you. You just need to moderate your activity to take full advantage of the rewards of your past efforts. This is a time to celebrate your accomplishments, raise a glass, bask in the sun, ease up and glow a little. Allow your muscles to relax, and please, cease that restless pacing. Your gift—you embody awesome deportment; show up and be yourself. Work less, play more. Lie around on the river bank. You will bring good luck to everyone at the party.
Rabbit: Finally, you can exhale. Being run ragged by the Dog has left you quivering with anxiety, and the Rooster Year that preceded that (2017) was even worse. But you made it, and now everything goes your way. The Pig is your great friend and can be relied upon to treat you with congenial good manners, and respect for your sensitivity. You will be put in charge of the seating arrangement at the Pig’s gathering, an obvious perfect job for someone with your sense of diplomacy. Your gift—bring little origami cranes for each person at the party. You are an emblem of peace and contentment. With the friendly qi of the Pig Year acting like wind in your sails, you can come out of your burrow and spread peace and contentment everywhere you go.
Dragon: You are all about power, prosperity, passion, wisdom, and ambition. Your magic fell flat in the quarrelsome Dog Year, but now you can take flight again. In the Pig Year, everyone is delighted by your mythic visions. Your gift—enchant us with tales of the miraculous. Inspire us with bold visions of a beautiful future. We’ll mostly be eating, playing board games, and studying philosophy this year, but when it’s time (perhaps when you team up with Rat and Monkey in 2020), we’ll be ready to follow you into that brilliant and promising future.
Snake: You’re not a party goer, but try to understand the community need for conviviality and orderly social discourse this year. Sometimes people need a break from your relentless pursuit of profundity. One just cannot read Nietzsche all day every day. You are in opposition to Pig in the zodiac, and tend to see Pig’s tolerance as gullibility. Then you can’t help but get in there and disclose the dark underbelly of everyone and everything, just to see Pig go all gloomy. But Pig is inclusive and invites everyone, including you, to the party. Your gift—restraint. Smile appreciatively and use the time to deepen your own spiritual practice.
Horse: You share a sense of fun and sport with Pig. But like Tiger, you’ve been on the field all year and could use a rest. The Rat Year (2020), will be utterly confounding for you, so now would be a good time to return to the stable, munch on a well deserved bucket of oats, and enjoy a good rubdown. (Note: this means get regular body work or acupuncture to restore your physical prowess. Horses sometimes think of themselves as indestructible—a serious mistake). Your gift—though you’re taking a year off, you can still show up to the party and bring your sense of adventure. Remind everyone to take a walk after dinner. Inspire them to take moderate exercise on a daily basis lest the good food and wine make them fat and sluggish.
Sheep: If anyone deserves a better year, it’s certainly you. You’ve suffered through an entire year of being nagged, herded, and criticized. Your sensitivity, normally channeled into an uncanny knack for knowing what everyone around you needs, has devolved into frantic anxiety bordering on depression. But the Pig Year is one of your best years. You will be asked to organize and manage the party. Everyone listens to your expert advice. Your fine sense of management is called upon and succeeds brilliantly. That Dog that was snapping at your heals all year, goes loping off after a frisbee, completely forgetting about you. Your gift—polite but effective management, and an uncanny skill at arranging things so everyone gets to play and no one gets hurt. Bravo!
Monkey: So maybe you’re a little bored and restless now. This is a normal state for Monkey, whenever you have to go along with conventional ways of solving problems. In the Dog Year, everyone just dug in and worked harder. And when things didn’t go their way, they snarled, barked, and lunged. You found that witless and unimaginative. In the upcoming Pig Year, you will find a more receptive audience for your magical genius. At this point, all you can do is set the stage, engage them, perhaps give a preview of the magic to come. If you can keep the lid on for a little longer, playing your cards close to the chest this year, you will emerge onto the stage along with Rat and Dragon in 2020, in a dazzling display of pure genius. Your gift—resilience, brilliant imagination, and an uncanny ability to turn what looks like certain disaster, into victory. (Hint: Robert Mueller is a Monkey.)
Rooster: There’s not much that can distract you from your strict focus on long term goals. Not even the upcoming Pig Year party. However, remember this year’s theme—a return to civility. You have, in the past, been accused of, ahem….a lack of sensitivity in your dealings with others. Well, ok, some people call it rudeness. Now, we know that you are actually a compassionate soul with deep feelings. This so-called rudeness is, in actuality, a clarity of focus that is not even graspable by most people. You can employ this skill in the Pig Year in an immensely helpful way. Your gift—keep us focused on long range planning. You can team up with your friend Ox in this endeavor. Remind people that the whole purpose of the party is to remember a time when people were kind to one another and respected differences. Our goal is not just to have some fun now, but to re-imagine, and bring into being, a just and enlightened society.
Dog: Actually 2018 wasn’t the best of years for you. Being the sole guardian and protector of everyone and everything has left you exhausted. You won’t need to be on guard duty again until 2022, the Year of the Tiger. So, curl up in front of the fire and get some much needed rest. Good boy. Oh right….you still have to show up to the party. Your gift—teach everyone how to nap.
Pig: Well, it’s about time. Finally people are coming to their senses and realizing that nothing important happens in life until everyone has been properly fed. Social graces count. Friendship is necessary to health and happiness. As the 12th sign of the zodiac, and therefor the most sophisticated and wise, it is on you to teach everyone the fine art of being human again. Perhaps you could send us all the reading list in advance, so we’ll be up to speed. The usual topics—philosophy, history, theology, mathematics, music appreciation—you know, the basic stuff that every human being should be able to discuss knowledgeably. Your gift—be the icon of civil discourse, friendship, tolerance, and good taste.
Narrye Caldwell, L.Ac. is a pole star astrologer, feng shui consultant, shamanic practitioner and martial artist. She teaches at Five Branches University, The Academy of Martial Arts, and through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Her new book, The Spirit of the Stars, Navigating your Fate with Pole Star Astrology, is available this spring through Plum Publications (www.plumpub.com) and at Amazon. For information about classes, workshops, and consultations go to www.narryecaldwell.com.