Archive for January, 2019

Smooth Boar Musk-etry

January 31, 2019

With the arrival of a double yin Ox Month, the year of the Double Yang Earth Dog is straggling toward its inevitable finale.  This particular January’s Celestial Stem –stubby yin wood– rises (just barely) above the ox’s perennial yin earth Branch.  Wood depletes Earth, the ancient adage says: it’s a degenerative/entropic aspect of the Dao’s perpetual cycle.  The double Yang Earth energy of the Dog Year is dwindling away.

Yes, but … yin wood is grassy, brushy plant growth (Yang Wood is the mighty oak, majestic sequoia and so forth). And yin earth is meadow, cropland, fruited plains (Yang Earth manifests as vertiginous mountain ranges or towering volcanoes, etc.). So January’s yin wood/yin earth combination can also be seen in the two-inch-tall shoots of winter wheat bristling above the frozen soil: July’s harvest is already in the making. If we look far enough ahead, the news ain’t all bad.

In the meantime, we earthbound peasants will have some tough rows to hoe. The Year of the Boar will arrive in less than a week, so it’s time for Lunghu’s (long overdue) annual feng-shui forecast. As usual, and as is traditional, we begin with the cosmic ‘big picture’ –the alignment of the year’s Celestial Stem with the Earthly Branch.  Longstoryshort, yin earth [jǐ 己] over yin water [hài 亥].  Not particularly auspicious, because Earth obstructs Water, as the saying goes.  At the same time, from a 21st-century geophysical perspective, water erodes earth.  Thus, obstruction and undermining are simultaneously occurring.  If you catch my drift.  What better image of the Dao could you possibly want?

Yin earth above yin water. A grassy riverbank beside a sluggish stream. A levee or earthen dam.  A fen, marsh, swamp, brackish bayou or wetteland.  These are landscapes that inspire mosquitoes, blues lyrics and the brushstrokes of Aelbert Cuyp, but perhaps not much else.  We should therefore not expect 2019 to excite or enthrall us by providing external stimulation:  instead, the Year of the Boar is a time to release the inner yin water that is stored within each of us, washing away weak earth obstacles that vainly attempt to impose constraint on ever-changing flow.  The yin earth [己] Celestial Stem is an emblem of the center and of the self, so its attributes are most relevant to changes within our inner being –particularly the ways we perceive the “external” world and the illusory obstructions that seem to block our path.

But ice must melt before Water can begin to move. In the Northern Hemisphere, that means another month or two of stasis and confinement.  This is appropriate, because hài and the Boar [] are traditionally associated with the winter season and the north-northwest direction from which cold winter winds descend.  And, of course, because ice is just about the yin-est yin water available anywhere.

The Year of the Boar begins (as does every lunar year) with the Tiger month.  Many feng-shui soothsayers claim that the Tiger is on neutral terms with the Boar (unlike the Snake and Monkey), but I think it’s possible that this is more of a “frenemy” relationship.  After all, the Tiger is located 90° clockwise around the zodiac from the Boar (often an orthogonal angle of conflict), and the two animals are not very chummy in the natural world.  Furthermore, although February’s Celestial Stem is Yang Fire, the element that creates earth (the year’s Stem), Tiger is a Yang Wood animal –nourished by the Boar’s (Earthly Branch) yin water, but simultaneously sapping the energy of Earth.  So it seems likely that the first month of the Boar Year may be one of struggle and contention.  Be ready for something bad in the one or two days around Valentine’s Day.

Things look better for the month of March, because the yin wood Rabbit (at 120° counterclockwise relative bearing around the zodiac) is a friend of the Boar.  The Boar’s other ally this (and every) year is the yin earth Sheep/Goat (120° clockwise), whose month is July.  The yin earth Sheep/Goat is in harmony with the year’s yin earth Celestial Stem, and should enjoy doubly good fortune as a friend of the Boar.

Two other animals are in constant conflict with the Boar: the yin fire Snake (May) directly across the zodiac, and the Yang Metal Monkey (August) at 90° counterclockwise.  Since yin water quenches yin fire, we should perhaps anticipate price weakness in financial markets during May (“sell in May and go away,” as the old Wall Street saying goes).  We almost certainly won’t have to wait until the Snake Month to see it, but England’s not-so-PM Teresa May is in big trouble too.

And the Monkey?  August this year aligns the Yang Water Celestial Stem above the Yang Metal monkey.  In the feng-shui creative cycle, metal produces water (via vapor condensation on metal objects).  Yang Metal producing Yang Water implies the possibility of heavy flooding.  This year Tai Sui (the Grand Duke of Heaven) is presiding over terrestrial affairs from his seat in the Boar’s north-northwest home.  That means he’s looking directly at the south-southeast … Miami.  Buenos Aires/Montevideo.  Lourenço Marques.  Athens.  Stockholm.  Irkutsk.  Madras. Fuzhou.  New South Wales.  It all depends on your line-of-sight perspective.

Then again, Yang Water is associated with the north direction, and the year’s weak yin earth is at the center. So southward-flowing August flood waters may instead erode terrain in the central region of your favorite landmass:  Saint Louis/Memphis.  Stalin/Volgograd.  Bangui.  Qongqing.  Jabalpur.  Cuiabá. We’ll have to wait to see which way the Monkey swings.

From General to Specific

As in previous years, individuals and collective entities identified with the annual animal [Boar] and its opposite [Snake] will be in particular jeopardy during the current year.  That’s because the Snake is in clash with the year (the Boar), and the Boar is said to be “in self-penalty.”  Basically, the Boar will be trying to attack the Snake all year long, and Tai Sui will be all over the Boar’s case (for making trouble) at the same time.  As usual, there will be considerable collateral damage among lowly earthlings affiliated –however tenuously– with these two animals. Although no nation on earth is foolish enough to have an actual pig for its national emblem, a handful have chosen a pig-like creature as their national animal.  Here are some countries that can expect Boar self-penalty trouble in 2019:

Canada:   beaver
Belize:   Baird’s tapir
Costa Rica:   West Indian manatee
Papua New Guinea:   Dugong

These last two countries may be able avoid disaster by claiming that the manatee and dugong were traditionally called the “seacow” (or mermaids) by European mariners, but Tai Sui may believe that they look much more porcine than bovine. It’s a toss-up.

The Snake is another animal whose qualities are such that national legislatures almost never select it as a patriotic emblem.  But there’s always an exception to prove the rule:

India:   King cobra (national reptile)

Two neighboring nations in the Western Hemisphere have included images of the snake on their flags, but both have wisely chosen the eagle as their national animal. In both cases, the Snake is part of the national founding myth.

Aztec wayfarers at Lake Texcoco

the banner of right-wing “patriot” zealots


But enough of such trivial matters!  Let us now return to omens of true peril. Here are some commercial enterprises that have rashly chosen the Boar as their business emblem:

Next time:  serpentine stress and feng-shui flying star omens for the Year of the Boar.