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Happy new year of the Earth Pig which starts today 5th February. It will last until 24th January 2020.

The pig sign is the last of the 12 Chinese animal signs which each last for a year and so marks the end of a 12-year cycle. Why is the pig at the end? It is said that when all the animals were invited to the Emperor’s party the pig was the last. The end of the cycle represents completion and so it is a time of celebration. However, it is important not to spend all your money celebrating (the pig can be known as someone who is so easy going, he can lose all his money!) because you need to have some money for the beginning of the next cycle. As the rat was the first animal to arrive at the party the beginning of the cycle is the rat’s year, which will start on January 25,2020, till February 11, 2021

I started writing these blog posts in the year of the snake February 2013 and so I haven’t yet written about all the animals. I have written one for every year since, excluding the rooster because that was in the year my dog died (January 17) which I wrote about in the year of the dog. This means I still have to write about Rat, Ox (my sign), Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon as well as the Rooster. I am half way through.

pig chinese paper cutting

The Pig has a special place in my heart as my son was born in the year of the Pig in 1995. He will be 24 this year and so he has now lived through two cycles. He was born in the Wood Year of the Pig, then 12 years later was the Fire and this year is the Earth pig. I have written about the different elements in my Blog “How nature’s elements work in our body”. My son does seem to represent many of the qualities of the Pig as described in Chinese medicine. He is, and always has been, a very happy being who seems blessed with his share of good luck and ease. I always remember how when he was born, everything felt so calm (partly due also to him being my second child, so I had made the huge transition into being a mother) and he found his place in the family easily. As he got older, I loved cycling along with him in the seat at the back of the bike, because he was always singing happy songs. I could never feel sad for long with him around. He always used to think of his sister if I gave him a treat and would get me to buy something for her! He has kept this quality of generosity and thoughtfulness to others. He can drift along at ease but when he makes his mind up to do something, he works hard and is focused and what he decides to do, often happens. Money also seems to flow relatively easily to him. He also rarely loses his temper and likes to live in harmony with people around him.

I feel we have to be careful not to generalise and categorise people by their birth sign, as we can often find the very elements we are looking for. However, I do feel it is useful to reflect on the energy of the animal of the year. It helps gives us more awareness of how we relate to the different beings which share this earth with us and also how over the years our relationship to them may or may not have changed!

How do we relate to pigs in our culture? And how does that differ from the ancient Chinese and other cultures?

swimming pig

Sadly, in our culture we don’t treat most pigs very well. Large numbers of pigs are bred simply for their meat and spend their whole life in a pen, not seeing the outside world at all. Many people have disconnected from seeing pigs as living beings sharing the earth with us. In our language we have expressions like “to eat like a pig”, whereas in fact pigs are very clean animals.

In traditional cultures, the pig tended to be more respected and cared for, often sharing the family house and being considered a member of the family. The qualities that the Chinese ascribe to the pig, like bringing good fortune, show how they saw the pig in a very different way to us.

Perhaps we can reflect on a pig roaming free, or a baby piglet, and see how we might see them in a different way. For the Chinese the pig is considered to be a Yin animal, connected to earth. They had more respect for what the pig could bring to them.

pig and piglets
flying pigs

One quality of the pig that I wish for you this year is the quality of loving life and all that is beautiful.

So, I wish you a happy and fulfilling year and see what qualities the pig energy brings to you. Good fortune for yourself and for the world…

I look forward to hearing your stories about pigs and what they mean to you.


  1. Carol Falaki (Eames) on 06/02/2019 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks Suzanne
    I really enjoyed reading your blog. It is good for us to think on how precious life is for all creatures. I just read that pigs are actually considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—even more intelligent than dogs—and are capable of playing video games with more focus and success than chimps! They also have excellent object-location memory.
    My hope is that one day all animals will be treated with the kindness and respect they deserve.

    • suzanneyates on 21/02/2020 at 9:24 am

      For some reason I missed this and it was a long time ago.. Sorry. That is a lovely observation and I agree with you entirely

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