A year of good fortune and charm?
What do you want to let go of from last year of the Tiger? Any fears? Frustrations?
What characteristics of the Rabbit can you take with you into this new year? What qualities attract you most?
Rabbit’s intuition, charm, sensitivity, fertility, creativity, good fortune?
Which qualities of rabbit support us in playing our role in the challenges of the world? What creative capacities and skills can we offer?
What are your dreams for this year? What would you like to happen?
I wish you a creative, fertile new year of the Yin Water Rabbit which begins January 22nd.
It is called the Black Rabbit, because black is one of the colours associated with the water element and Yin is the Yin aspect of water which is also often associated with Black.
Why is black seen as a negative colour often? Hmm.. That is a whole other discussion!
Being reminded of our connection to the animal kingdom and our own animal nature
Each year I like to reflect on what the different qualities of the new year may be without trying to be too predictive, since so much is possible. Like the seasons, each year brings something different. It may seem unscientific to ponder the ancient Chinese view of the world, but I find it useful to remember that we are part of a wider whole.
Sometimes in my work with my shiatsu or massage clients, I get a strong sense of how a person may be expressing animal characteristics, in their movements or ways of being, and it can sometimes to helpful to play with those. These may not be the year of the animal in which they are born. I then suggest that they play around with wiggling along the ground like a snake, or crawling around a soft surface like a rabbit. We can pretend we are hiding from a prey, or being stroked or cuddled by a child. Each year and animal expresses qualities of the seasons which relate to specific meridians and I may decide to work with those qualities.
What could the Yin Water Rabbit year bring ?
The Chinese new year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice – January 22nd (January 21st at 20.53 GMT to be precise) and varies from January 21st to February 20th. Next the new moon will fall on February 9th, 2024 and we will move into the year of the Yang Wood Dragon.
I’ll be doing a zoom on February 3rd to welcome in the Rabbit. Email me to get details.
How might this year be different from the last year of the Yang Water Tiger? Well, for a start, the rabbit is a lot smaller than a tiger, and much more docile. Rabbits are domesticated and kept as pets, whereas it’s not recommended to keep a tiger as a pet. The Tiger was in a Yang Water year, whereas the Rabbit is in a Yin water year. Yin is a more inward, reflective quality (night) and Yang is a more outward and active quality (day). Could this year be calmer? Yin is often depicted with the colour black and so this is the year of the Black Rabbit. Where will s/he lead us? Down a rabbit hole into Wonderland? Or does only the White Rabbit do that?
The last Yin Water Rabbit year was in 1963, so it can be interesting to ponder what was happening in the world then. It was a year of Beetlemania, (I want to hold your hand ), a partial nuclear test ban treaty was approved by the UN senate, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech, JF Kennedy was assassinated, there was war in Vietnam, the USSR launched the first woman in space and Betty Friedan published the ground-breaking book Feminine Mystique, which had an important impact on the feminist movement of the 1960s .
The 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac
The legend is that the Chinese allocated an animal to each year in a cycle of 12 based on the order they arrived at the mythical Yellow Emperor’s table. Rabbit was the 4th. The first was the rat followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal is ruled by one of the four elements of Chinese medicine which are linked to the seasons of winter (water), spring (wood), summer (fire) or autumn (metal). Rabbit’s ruling element is Wood. Each year is ruled by one of the 4 elements of the seasons, plus the element of earth, which holds all the seasons together. The elements both for the year and the animal can either be in their Yin or Yang aspect which alternates from year to year.
If the year ends in 0 it is Yang Metal.
If the year ends in 1 it is Yin Metal.
If the year ends in 2 it is Yang Water.
If the year ends in 3 it is Yin Water.
If the year ends in 4 it is Yang Wood.
If the year ends in 5 it is Yin Wood.
If the year ends in 6 it is Yang Fire.
If the year ends in 7 it is Yin Fire.
If the year ends in 8 it is Yang Earth.
If the year ends in 9 it is Yin Earth.
This means for the animals to pass through the five elements of each year it takes 60 years – 5 repetitions of the 12 year cycle. Hence the last Water Rabbit was 1963.
My previous blogs on the animals
If you want to read about the different elements and animals I started blogs in 2013, with the Yin Water Snake, who was the sixth animal to come to the table. I have nearly gone through a cycle of the 12 animals, with only the dragon to go! This will begin with the new moon on February 9th, 2024 when we will move into the year of the Yang Wood Dragon. Although I missed out the year of the rooster, when my dog was dying, and the rat of 2020 which was a challenging time for us all. I look forward to doing a second 12 year cycle with the animals in different Year elements – but I won’t be here to see them go through each of the five elements as that will be in another 50 years! 2074! I wonder how the world will look then?
What does Rabbit mean to you and what did it mean to the ancient Chinese?
In many parts of the world, including China, Rabbit is a symbol of good luck. A rabbit’s foot is carried as an amulet to bring protection and good fortune. The Chinese saw them as representing patience.
Fertility and rebirth – charm
Rabbits are associated with fertility and rebirth, and used to symbolise spring and Easter – our chocolate Easter bunnies. Unlike the tiger, the rabbit is an animal of prey and seen as representing innocence and vulnerability . Many young children have soft toy rabbits to cuddle, or as a pet, and rabbits in stories are often portrayed as sympathetic characters, like the rabbit family in “The tale of Peter Rabbit” ( Beatrix Potter) or Bugs Bunny.
Rabbits charm people with their warmth and attractiveness.
Endurance, speed, agility, trickster, sexuality
But there are other sides to rabbits. As a prey animal it is known for its speed, endurance and agility. The marketing Bunny of Duracell batteries plays on this side. There is also the trickster side of rabbit, popularised in American culture, by Br’er Rabbit. Since rabbits breed prolifically the Playboy Bunny juxtaposes sexuality with innocence.
Sensitivity, patience and gentleness.
Chinese astrology sees the Rabbit as embodying practical qualities, being both timid and ruthless, virtuous and cunning, shy and sensitive and easily influenced by their emotions. They enjoy security and comfort, and are happy at home where they pay attention to detail in their surroundings. They don’t like confrontation and would rather be alone than in unsatisfactory relationships.
Rabbit and the moon
In ancient China the rabbit is associated with the moon, because the dark markings on the near side of the moon seem to look like a rabbit or hare. According to legend, the Emperor disguised himself as an old beggar so he could find someone he could trust in. Rabbit jumped into the fire to offer himself up as a meal. The Emperor revealed who he was and took Rabbit to the moon, where together they created the Elixir of Life.
Yin Water and Wood
Rabbit’s natural element is Yin wood. Wood is spring and energy of fertility and Yin is the early part of spring as we emerge from Winter. Wood, like a tree, can be flexible but the Yin part could indicate a reluctance to move into the Yang and indecision. Or it could be that the Rabbit is balanced between Yin and Yang and, like a tree, can both move and be rooted.
2023 is a year of Yin Water, after the Yang Water of last year. This means that we are moving into a quieter more reflective time. Water is the most Yin element and the double Yin of Yin and Water and the Yin nature of rabbit, would emphasise the more Yin qualities of the Rabbit – patience, gentleness and intuition.
What do you want for this Rabbit year?
Rabbit years are thought to bring lucky breaks, especially if you have been working towards a goal and are on your path. All your hard work may start to pay off.
It can be a good year to have a baby, or to enter into new personal or business partnerships, or express other aspects of our creativity.
The Water element enhances our intuitive and psychic qualities and capacity to see others’ point of views. How can we step up to play our role in the challenges of the world? What creative capacities and skills can we offer.
Let’s foster patience, gentleness and love.
Novak Djokovic, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Einstein, Stalin, George Orwell Queen Victoria, Orson Welles, Fidel Castro