The Year of the Earth Dog

The Chinese New Year falls on Friday, February 16th this year. Also known as the Spring Festival in China and Taiwan, it is celebrated for the entire week and is a good time for spring cleaning and wearing bright red for good luck. On this special day it is wise to avoid accidents and focus on gentleness and appreciation to create a beneficial influence for the rest of the year.

It is the year of the Earth Dog, so anything related to the ground or the planet will be especially relevant: geologic activity, farming, mining, real estate and home will all be significant in the coming year.

The Earth is stable, grounded and fundamental making it a good year for meditation, practicing mindfulness and setting down roots. The Dog symbolizes Fidelity. This combination suggests that environmental protection and a focus of caring for oneself and family will be important in 2018.

The recycling of the year of one’s birth is said to offend the ‘God of Age’ who may then bring bad luck. If you were born in the year of the Dog, you can counteract this bad luck by:

  • Wearing red throughout the year. The trick of this is that it must have been a gift for you from a spouse, an elder relative or a friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for such a gift!
  • Wearing or carrying items made of jade.
  • Facing away from this dire influence, which in 2018 will be in the Northwest, so get a compass and turn your chair or workspace toward the southeast!

It has been sixty years since the year of the Dog combined with the elemental phase Earth. This is because there are 5 phases and 12 animals representing repetitive blocks of time in Chinese cosmology. The twelve animals were selected because of their familiarity, being either common domestic or admired wild creatures. The number five became significant in the culture during the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) with the development of Five Elements Theory.

The cycle begins with the rat, an intelligent and industrious animal with the unusual attribute of having four toes on the front feet and five toes on the hind feet. Yin and yang are dynamic and relative opposites that are fundamental to Chinese cosmology. Even numbers are yin and odd numbers are yang so the rat has a combination of both but also these add up to nine, ultimate yang, perfect for the beginning of such a vital pattern. The rest of the animals follow a pattern of alternating yin and yang resulting in 6 pairs that balance each other in temperament and abilities. The yang Dog’s fervent loyalty will be balanced the following year by the yin Pig’s “easy-going” nature.

The science of astrology is combined with feng shui, herbology, Qigong/Tai Chi, meditation, diet, massage, and acupuncture in the Eight Limbs of Chinese Medicine to promote and maintain health. All of these are based on acute observation of the natural world and each of us are seen as a microcosm of the macrocosm, a reflection of the whole. Balance in the patterns seen in nature are reflected in all Eight Limbs and is the basis of all of East Asian Medicine. Since we achieve balance only with the gravity of Earth it will be a good year to bring more Earth into our lives.