by Boots Hart, CAP

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Aquarius New Moon / The Year of the Rabbit

 A young rabbit - photo credit Marcus Sumnick (2008)

One of our world’s great international festivals, the Chinese New Year has come to be celebrated far and wide. It’s fun, its happy, it’s a time to share and give gifts – often of money, which is interesting from the western astrological point of view since this New Moon/New Year festival falls in the sign of Aquarius, sign of society, the marketplace, acceptance corporations and income.

It also starts with prayers and the lighting of candles - and yes, sometimes fireworks - which are not so much about the celebration as about the desire to 'chase away' whatever ill feelings and bad spirits may be left lingering at the end of the previous year.

 A firecracker caught in the moment of exploding
photo credit: Sebastian Ritter (2006)

While I’m not anything close to an accomplished eastern (Chinese) astrologer, some things about the Sheng Xiao (Chinese astrology) system make perfect sense. For one, the animal totems associated with each year in turn are expressive of Jupiter and Jupiter’s 11.86 year orbital cycle. That 11.86 years is pretty close to twelve years and there are twelve Chinese animal symbols.

That the years are called by their animal names very much reflects the fact that since time immemorial, eastern philosophies have all placed their emphasis on knowing. It is the wise who flourish, it is what one knows and comes to understand (i.e., wisdom) in the world and about themselves which allows a person to flourish in this world, provide for their loved ones and earn the respect so essential in eastern cultures.

Astrologically speaking, it’s also interesting to note that the ‘classical’ Chinese planets are Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Notice anything different? There’s no Sun, no Moon – and certainly no Earth in this equation!

What that speaks to is the eastern philosophy of acceptance. Chinese astrology starts out with accepting that we are – the Sun and Moon part, giving us a totem animal ‘attribute’ which is more about our general tendencies of habit, not our conscious (Sun) or instinctive (Moon) orientation.

And thus we come to the idea that each Chinese New Year is about a new cycle of learning.

But the Chinese system doesn’t just mark out its years by animal! Oh no, grasshopper! The next thing the Chinese (and their astrologers) take into account is the yin and yang of each year. You remember yin and yang, right? Often rather badly referred to as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’ the ‘yin’ of life is the receptive/responsive ability to contain and learn from, as opposed to the ‘yang’ quality which is all about going out to explore and breaking new ground. Both ’yin’ and ‘yang’ are in us, each and every one.  And in our world.

But wait – there’s more! After all this, each Chinese year is described by element. Western astrology uses four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Each of the twelve zodiac signs is associated with one of these elements. Chinese astrology uses five elements - wood, fire, earth, mental and water – with each element having a correspondence to one of the classical Chinese planets, not to signs.

When you put it all together, this gives the Chinese system two ‘set’s of calendric cycles – a ‘wheels within wheels’ effect not unlike that developed by the ancient Maya, if less complicated than the Mayan calendar.

(LINK to a blog on the Mayan calendar)

The first Chinese cycle is most of us have heard of – the 12 year cycle…the one named by animals. This is associated with Jupiter and thus describes how we learn, what we reach for and how we are going about trying to grow, build and expand our life, our world, our understandings.

The second is the sixty-year (“sexagenary”) cycle which combines the animal, and yin or yang elemental quality….12 (animal signs, each of which is yin or yang) times 5 (elements) equaling sixty.

So with all that said, Happy New Year! Yes, come February 3rd at 2:30am (UT/+0) we enter the Year of the Rabbit. What is the basic Year of the Rabbit theory? Well, here’s a list of Rabbit qualities copied from Wikipedia’s article – just to give us a baseline:

Rabbit: gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn. 

Those born in a year of the Rabbit would assume they’re endowed with these qualities, right? Well, yes. But... even the barest scratching of the Chinese astrological surface we are also given the hint that these attributes are also all about what we have to learn to use, and use well. 

You know – that Jupiter thing. And no, this is really no different than western astrology. The Sun sign we are born with does equip us with a certain perspective and set of tools, but our life is all about learning how to use that perspective and those tools - first to our advantage (in youth) and ultimately, as the masterful experience (maturity). 

Associated with the spring and the blue/green forms of aquamarine, the Year of the Rabbit year is also tied to an ancient Chinese constellation called the ‘White Tiger.’ If you look at a sky map trying to find this constellation, you won’t find it. But look it up and you’ll find it’s associated with Andromeda, Aries, Taurus, the Pleiades and Orion – all of which seems logical as these would be the zodiac and astronomical references to spring in the northern hemisphere (fall, obviously, in the southern hemisphere).

 Aquamarine in crystal form
photo credit: Vassil (2008)

That there is such a reference to the Pleiades and Orion suggests it’s also worthwhile to think of this White Tiger – as a Rabbit year ‘reference’ in terms of the meteor shower associated with same.

(LINK to blog post on Orion and the Orionid meteor shower)

Given that astrologically, the first three signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus and Gemini) are specifically about the journey we undertake in learning about  ourselves, we can expect this Chinese year of February 3, 2011 to January 22, 2012 (or at least this February 3rd to March 3rd lunation) to be greatly about exactly that. We’ll learn about ourselves, and in the greater sense, get lessons in what it takes in the general sense to be a person. With this Year of the Rabbit being marked by a yin/wood factor, this is a year about the tangibles of earthly life (wood) and all the yin implications which go with that: what we have, what resources we can get, what we may have to do without (or what it means to go without), containment of affects, learning to hold onto the necessary (and thus what is necessary)…and in the greater sense, learning from experience.

Sounds like a pretty tall order and a pretty provocative year, doesn’t it? Looking ahead at astrological doings yet to come, I’d say so.

Yin influences often tend to make us want to be self-protective. But that’s not really the answer. ‘Judicious use of resources’ is probably closer to the mark – and that probably isn’t entirely about the me, myself and I of it all!

Enter the chart…

February 3, 2011 - 2:30am (UT/+0)
Aries Wheel - Location Not Specific

First of all, this New Moon takes place at 13 Aquarius – the fourth New Moon in a row to take place at this degree of various signs. Aquarius being a worldly, societal, public air sign about ‘the idea of the thing,’ that this New Moon is a 2nd decanate (between 10 and 19) degree tells us that there is going to be a lot of fervency in the air, whatever else goes down. It may be constructive, destructive, objective, benighted, compassionate, uplifting, insulting or simply true, false, inspiring, repulsive or anything else.

What it isn’t likely to be is un-opinionated!

The lore for this degree giving us notions of courage and assertiveness in the face of difficulties, there is always the fact that this means there are very likely to be difficulties one must be courageous and assertive in the face of!

There is also at this degree a need to learn respect – oh, shades of ‘what else is new?,’ right?

With Ceres at 12 Aquarius just behind this 13 degree New Moon and Mars at 14 Aquarius just ahead of it, the implication is that those who have thought things through and who are willing to deal with the effort it takes to get to their goals will in fact, be able to bring things to fruition – bring in the (Ceres) harvest, if you will.

This argues against purely emotional arguments, though it’s not likely to eliminate them.

The Venus connected with this Chinese New year is here pictured at 28 Sagittarius conjunct Scylla with the North Node arriving at this Venusian position in mid-March. Ideally, Scylla/Venus here will be the continuing to find out what will or won’t work. But realistically? Especially with Venus pictured here in a pretty darn exact square to Uranus at 28 Pisces and Juno at 28 Virgo, there’s likely to be a lot of ‘blowing off’ off efforts. Or efforts which get ‘blown off.

Uranus here being conjunct Scheat (bad reception by others/rejection) and Phaethon (headstrong stubbornness of the immature type) there’s a lot of ill feeling going to be displayed this year. Add that to Juno and Venus in the middle (the t-square position) warns us that it is our desire to make nice as opposed to making things works so that everybody will be happy enough to BE nice is probably the issue.

And this is what we will learn, learn from – which would be the whole Rabbit year concept. It doesn’t take a degree in Chinese astrology to understand that the willingness to deal with how we feel (Uranus in Pisces) and the emotions which are, or are likely to be raised by others, external events, situations and various kinds of provocations…that this is going to be a big challenge going forward.

The Rabbit’s charm and elegance is the optimal way to deal with things. The fixed yin wood quality of this year promotes a hope that we will all learn to hold ourselves to standards of behavior and ask (insist?) that others hold themselves to the same.

Uranus conjunct Scheat is really the big clue: we need to be willing to either work through the displeasure of others or learn from them what doesn’t work. Either way, the real issue is pictured by this t-square as only being ‘part one’ about the issue itself. Mostly it’s ego.

Oh yeah…ego. And since when was ego a problem?


A few last notes…according to Chinese astrology, this year has associations with matters having to do with lung/respiratory issues and the intestinal system. As one not particularly studied in this way of looking at life energies, I would guess that would not be global – for this to be an issue in your life your natal chart would have to be marked with an indication that this might be an issue.

On the other hand, who knows…maybe we will hear of great medical discoveries on this front!

Finally…being that the Chinese don't do anything half way when it comes to having a great holiday the whole evolution of their New Years lasts a full fifteen days. Those into western astrology numerics will recognize fifteen as an astrological ‘cross-over’ number indicating the leaving of one phase and the moving on to the next. With the Chinese New Year, this apparently suggests that the new year is now 'securely' under way - and to celebrate same (plus perhaps to 'give us light by which to travel') they end the New Year celebration with the Lantern Festival – a time to light lanterns (usually orange or red) and for celebrating moving on with one’s life.

Red lanterns hung for a Chinese New
Year's celebration in Nagasaki
photo credit: Ken Funakoshi (2008)

Nice, huh? Something to look forward to!

No comments:

Post a Comment