Winter Solstice –> subsequent full moon –> subsequent new moon = Lunar New Year. January 28 2017 marks the beginning of the Year of the Fowl (elsewhere known as the Year of the Rooster or Year of the Chicken). In the unceasing alternation of yin and yang, the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey will give way to the Year of the Yin Fire Fowl. Because Yin Fire has feminine characteristics, it is not appropriate to refer to this year’s particular poultry specimen as a rooster … perhaps not even as a capon. Thus my choice of the gender-neutral term Fowl.
I’ve decided not to use the word “Hen” because of the dismissively pejorative sense in which it is often used by a certain category of person. Furthermore, the word Fowl is more broadly inclusive, permitting us to evoke such related species as quail, pheasants, turkeys, ducks, cormorants, geese, cranes, storks, and swans. Thus we move our minds and imaginative vision beyond the familiar domestic barnyard into the great outdoors, with its woodlands, prairies, tundra, marshes, streams, ponds and lakes. Under the vast sweep of the endless sky, flocking fowl of all descriptions fly from place to place in search of forage and their ancestral nesting grounds. Most will never end their days in a bubbling bath of mushroom wine sauce.
But let’s take it from the top: first the Celestial Stem, then the Earthly Branch. This year’s stem is Ding [ 丁 ] (meaning “an individual”). Ding is governed by the yin Fire element and is therefore associated with the South direction. Yin Fire is the weaker form of fire, manifested in small light sources such as candlelight, starlight, torches, stoves and sparks. The association with fire gives Ding a visual affinity with colors such as red, orange, pink and purple. It is the fourth in the sequence of ten Celestial Stems, and is thus almost halfway through the celestial cycle. For feng-shui soothsayers it is the yin Fire element that constitutes Ding‘s most influential attribute. According to your neighborhood Daoist seer, interaction between the year’s Celestial Stem element and its Earthly Branch element is what causes the manifold terrestrial phenomena that we see unfold before our eyes as the year progresses.
Which brings us to this year’s Earthly Branch, You [ 酉 ] (meaning “ripe” or “complete”). In the animal zodiac it corresponds to the Fowl. The Fowl is a yin Metal element associated with the West direction. Yin Metal represents the lesser, weaker form of metal, so it is associated with small metal objects: small knives, scissors, garden implements, farming tools or pins and needles … or items made of soft metals like gold, silver, copper or lead (coins, jewelry, plumbing or bullets, for example).
The Fowl (yin Metal) is also one of four “Peach Blossom” animals in the Chinese zodiac associated with heightened sexuality. The other three are Rabbit (yin Wood), Horse (yang Fire), and Rat (yang Water). Two yin animals, two yang animals: understand? You may also have noticed that only four out of the five elements are represented among the “Peach Blossom” animals. That’s because you gotta have yin-yang balance for the heavenly cycle to continue its eternal rotation. An Earth element presence among the Peach Blossoms, whether yin (Cow or Sheep) or yang (Dragon or Dog), would be like a third wheel on the bicycle built for two.
What does all this mean for 2017? Well, the Celestial Stem above controls the Earthly Branch below, and thus we have yin Fire above the yin Metal Fowl. In the Five Elements destructive cycle of relationships, Fire has a controlling/ destructive influence on Metal (fire melts metal). This is definitely a negative portent for 2017: the strong of this world will continue to bully and exploit the weak. It’s scant consolation that the strong will be somewhat weaker this year than in 2016 now that yin Fire has succeeded yang Fire. That’s because the weak will also be weaker this year: yin Metal Fowl has replaced yang Metal Monkey, a stronger Metal element who was better able to resist yang Fire.
The combination of Fire and Metal in 2017 has prompted some feng shui soothsayers to warn of fire-related disasters initiated by sparks or flame –such as brush fires, lightning strikes, power failures, electrical accidents, explosions or perhaps a towering inferno in a very prominent steel-frame building. Because Ding yin Fire is associated with the South direction, these possible misfortunes are said to be more likely to occur in southern regions of the globe, southern portions of a nation, or southern areas of a large city. Houston, do we have a problem? SDNY? Perhaps we’ll see.
But wait, there’s more. The avian presence of a Metal Fowl in the Earthly Branch implies that airborne soft metal (aluminum?) objects are at risk of fire as well. In this context, rocket and missile launches may not go well. Some prognosticators go so far as advising travelers to avoid airlines with a red logo (the color of Ding Fire), a bird in their logo (Lufthansa?) or the word “East” in the airline name. This last proviso seems to rooted in the fact that East is the direction of the Rabbit, who is directly “in clash” with the Fowl this year. Thus East is “offending the year.”
Jan 25th update: this could really cut down on your travel options, since cursory research indicates that at least 50 air carriers have a bird of some kind in their logo. Several prominent airlines that don’t use a bird image instead have predominantly red logos:
- Air Canada (a maple leaf)
- Dragonair (a red dragon)
- Emirates (Arabic script in red)
- Iberia (a stylized Spanish flag of red & gold)
- Malaysian Airlines (’nuff said)
- Quantas (a kangaroo on a red background)
- Southwest Airlines
- Swissair (the Swiss flag)
- Virgin Atlantic
I’m going to briefly riff off this last point to make a prediction of my own. In Korean, as in Chinese, the word for East is ‘Dong‘ (pronounced ‘doong’). Daedong (Great East) Industrial Company, Ltd. is a manufacturer of farm machinery based in Daegu, South Korea. Their tractors are red (or maybe orange). Daegu is a political stronghold of Korea’s beleaguered Saenuri party, whose leader is recently-impeached President Park Geun-hye … born in the Year of the Rabbit … in Daegu. I’m thinking this combination won’t be good for soon-to-be-ex-President Park in 2017, and it won’t be good for Daedong Industrial Company, Ltd either. The Rabbit month (March) will be when Korea’s Constitutional Court is likely to rule on the validity of Park’s impeachment.
Of course, there’s another Daedong in Korea, too. It’s the Taedong River in North Korea, which runs right through the capital Pyongyang. Since I haven’t looked at the Four Pillars feng-shui birth chart of Kim Jong-un, that’s all I’m gonna say.
The interaction of Fire and Metal can also be expected to have an influence on human economic activity throughout the world. Since Fire element controls the Metal element, Metal industries like banking, engineering, computers, automobiles and precious metals might be expected to do poorly during 2017.
On the other hand, Fire industries should prosper: electrical power, entertainment, fashion, beauty, film, and broadcasting may do quite well. The influence of the Peach Blossom Fowl should also assist entrepreneurs in sex and pornography businesses, bars, nightclubs and matchmaking/dating services. The combination of yin Fire sparks and Peach Blossom should make things hot-hot-hot.
Less obviously, the unseen interaction of Water and Fire may provide an opportunity for investors in Water industries. This is because Water conquers (quenches) Fire, so Water will benefit from its dominant position during a (weak) Fire year. Water industries are all about flow: transport, communications, water purification/treatment, shipping, and logistics.
Can investing really be this easy? Perhaps not. The lunar calendar divides the twelve months of the year among the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, starting with the tiger in the first month (February, to you Gregorians). Each of the twelve animals has harmonious relations with some –but not all– of the others. Animals located 90⁰, 180⁰, and 270⁰ degrees away from each other are in conflict. The animal directly across the zodiac (180⁰ away) is most severely “in clash” but the two at right angles are also in disfavor. In the grand scheme of things, it’s the animals that clash with the Earthly Branch that matter most each year.
In the Year of the Fowl, these animals are the Rat (90⁰), Rabbit (180⁰), and Horse (270⁰). Each of these animals corresponds to a calendar month: March [Rabbit], June [Horse], December [Rat]. The Fowl itself corresponds to September, when it will be in “Self-Penalty.” These four months supposedly constitute investment “danger zones” when clashes between the Earthly Branch yearly animal and the monthly animals may cause disruption to Fire element price-support optimism.
In my opinion, June doesn’t look too bad, because it’s a yang Fire month with a yang Fire Horse: even if the Fowl and Horse don’t get along, double yang Fire month should support the yin Fire year. However, December is a completely different story, where you have a yang Water month with a yang Water Rat. This double yang Water month is quite likely to thoroughly quench the weak and waning yin Fire of 2017. Investors should probably try to cash out by Halloween in order to avoid a truly frightful holiday season. The Year of the Double Yang Earth Dog will right around the corner.