Year of the Metal Ox–February 12, 2021
Let me start with a true story. Twenty years ago we had a presidential election that was too close to call. Everything hinged on a razor thin margin in Florida that showed George Bush leading Al Gore by a mere 537 votes. State law required a recount. A month of legal battles ensued, and finally a Supreme Court decision stopped the recount in Florida. This resulted in Bush winning the presidency with 271 electoral votes, one more than required, in spite of losing the popular vote by a significant number.
That winter I attended a Chinese New Year’s talk by one of my teachers, Lu Ming. Ming’s talks were always sprinkled with stories and clever insights. And this is what he said, with a sardonic
chuckle, about the election I just described: “If it had been a Rat year, every vote would have been counted.”
Well, here we are. The election we just had is the one Ming foretold. It happened in a Rat year, and yes, every vote got counted. This past Rat year brought much hardship, which there is no need to review here. But the one silver lining is, “in a Rat year, every vote gets counted.”
Overview of the year
First let’s talk about the Metal Ox. Ox qi is associated with the long view. The Ox is a yin Earth sign, so patience, endurance, constancy, and persistence are its superpowers. Remember that, because though there is much to be done and the world is in a frightful state right now, the new qi coming in with the Ox year brings the strength required to shoulder burdens, take on the necessary work, and keep our eyes on long term solutions.
Each year’s astrological signature is made up of the combination of heaven qi—which is Metal this year—and the Earth qi associated with the animal sign—in this case, Earth. From the traditional Five Phase view, Earth nourishes Metal so we have a harmonious energetic quality to the year. Think of it this way—the stability and constancy of Earth, when unobstructed, can transform base metal into gold. We have an opportunity now. Through hard work and sound judgment, we can recover what is precious and lies buried deep within us. So, noses to the grindstone, all.
Now for the fun part. Here’s a quick look at how each animal sign can best utilize this year’s qi.
Don’t let them give you a bad rap just because this last year was a train wreck. Remember, it was entirely due to your relentless pursuit of all the data and factual evidence, that we managed to survive. (Thank you for making sure that every vote was counted.) The upcoming Ox year will be supremely lucky for you. Ox is your good friend, providing the physical ballast you need (and don’t always have in your own constitution), to move ahead with plans for expanding home and finances. Just hop on the Ox train and enjoy having the wind at your back.
Traditionally, when a zodiac sign encounters its own year, it is not always lucky. In fact, this can be a particularly fraught time. However, one of Ox’s superpowers is a thick skin and a conservative nature. So, Ox actually experiences its own year as positive and productive. Being suddenly thrust front and center in the arena of the year’s action, doesn’t bother Ox at all. Now is the time to just keep doing what you do best—work methodically, persevere with your goals, be consistent and fair, stay fixed on the long view, and tend your family and friends. We all need your rock-solid steadiness and reliability now.
Tigers are easily frustrated by Ox’s conservative nature and methodical approach to getting things done. To the impulsive Tiger, the Ox approach just seems, well, plodding. Nowhere near enough panache for the Tiger. So, this is an important year for you to lie low, gather your strength (your nerves are a jangled mess from the chaotic Rat year), and nourish your muscles. Fatten up a bit. Avoid getting frustrated with the seemingly slow pace of recovery this year. Ox is on it, but not in the dramatic way you prefer. Wait this one out, or at least stay in the background. Next year is your year and you can leap out of your cave in a dazzling display of power.
You have some problems with the relentless hard work that will characterize the Ox year. Your nature requires a bit of luxury and a peaceful home for retreat and comfort. The violence and conflict that flared up in the Rat year was profoundly disturbing to you, and though you usually avoid conflict like the plague, you are entirely capable of a surprising level of combativeness when cornered. Now would be a good time to take a page from the Tiger’s book (see above) and use the stability offered this year to nourish your own frayed nerves. Take some time to recuperate.
You are one of the few who managed to come out of the Rat year in pretty good shape. Your flexibility and panache stood you in good stead, and your charisma and imagination were well supported by Rat’s fevered attention to detail and analysis. Now, you can use Ox’s stability and work ethic to move steadily forward with your plans. Oh, right—did I mention you actually have to work now, not just dream?
If ever there was a year for you, this is it. You’ve been working behind the scenes for so long, laying the groundwork for change with very little reward. But you are nothing if not persistent. Now, your very good friend Ox volunteers to hitch himself to your cart and actually pull you along toward the future you’ve been planning for years. Finally, everyone listens to your sage advice. You have an almost mystical power. Hint: Bernie Sanders was born in the year of the Snake. So, put on those mittens and watch what happens.
Let me put it this way. Anything is better than the Rat year for you. If you were able to make it through without a nervous breakdown, you can look forward to stretching your legs a little now. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be totally smooth sailing. Ox and Horse have somewhat different agendas. Just because they are both big and strong and know how to pull a cart, does not mean they have similar styles. For Ox, it’s all about work; endless plowing is very satisfying. Horse is a sporting type and needs to also play and gamble about in the meadow. So, make sure you take plenty of breaks, take time for your daily exercise and, like Joe Biden who is also a Horse (and a wise one), bring along a Dog to keep you company.
Ox and Sheep are opposites in the Chinese zodiac. Sorry to tell you this, but the upcoming year could be a struggle for you. Here’s the thing—you, Sheep, are endlessly creative and artistic, as well as being a splendid team player. Ox is the exact opposite; a stern and independent task master who insists that the only way to get anything done is through what seem to you to be mundane, boring, and repetitive tasks. You will feel criticized and unappreciated for your efforts. So, what to do this year? I find myself giving this same advice to Sheep every time they face a rocky year—find solace in your art, whatever that is for you—cook, paint, craft, choreograph, write, dive into your photography. Just don’t let yourself get caught up in the fantasy that you can actually use this relentless Ox qi to your own advantage. Hang in there until the Rabbit year in 2023.
Like Dragon, you came out of the Rat year in pretty good shape. After all, your special talent is turning chaos into a superpower. The danger for you this year, is boredom. You are clever, imaginative, irrepressible, with a quixotic flare for magic. Ox is methodical, conventional, predictable, and hard working. You prefer short cuts to Ox’s thoroughness and patience. You can see how easy it might be to become frustrated this year. The solution—how about acting as a lively and quick-witted messenger or liaison? Let Ox pull the cart while you flit back and forth keeping everyone informed of the progress.
This should be a splendid year for you. The Ox work ethic is right up your alley. You are an expert at long term planning, and no one surpasses you in the ability to delay gratification until the goal is reached. The Ox qi that is dominant this year, is the perfect platform for you to move ahead with your plans without obstruction. Make the most of it. Financial and career plans are especially blessed. You’ve got the equivalent of a “get out of jail free card” this year. Smooth sailing all the way.
This year requires some finesse on your part. You and Ox share a devotion to hard work, but you need a reward at the end of the day while for Ox, the work itself is the reward. This can lead to misunderstandings, stress, and disappointment. You didn’t sign up for an endless grind with no comfy bed at the end of the day. While Ox just keeps going, you are likely to get snappish and ill-tempered. So, make sure you build in plenty of treats for yourself in the form of good meals, long walks, and fun toys. Surround yourself with a supportive pack—Dogs need praise and appreciation.
Pig, being the last animal in the Chinese zodiac, is the talisman of completion. If one could correlate the zodiac with Maslow’s triangle, Pig would be at the apex. At their best, Pigs are cultivated, kind, generous, philosophical, and fun loving. They have exquisite taste and value good manners and civil conversation. Therein lies the problem. Last year was the year that Pigs should have been resting and recuperating, enjoying the afterglow of having hosted a fine party. We all know how that turned out. But this year looks good. Pigs get along just fine with Ox because all the work will get done and Pig can relax. The house will get cleaned, the gazebo will get built, that leaky faucet will get fixed and, above all, there will now be a return to civility. What a relief. You can go back to planning the next dinner party, sorting through the guest list, and anticipating some lively (and intelligent) conversation.
Narrye Caldwell is a retired acupuncturist with a consulting practice in Pole Star Astrology. She can be found at https://www.narryecaldwell.com/, and is available for chart readings by appointment.