September 3, 2008

Astrology and I Ching: Year of the Fire Dog, via Susan Edwards.

“Lots of people talk to animals,” said Pooh.
“Maybe, but…”
“Not very many listen, though,” he said.
“That’s the problem,” he added.

~ From Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh


We entered the year of the Fire Dog, according to the Tibetan calendar, on February 29th. To celebrate a New Year and its attendant nouveau energy, yours truly thought it time to expound a bit on Eastern astrology.

From one point of view, there are too many metaphysical systems to keep up with. From another, we never stop our penchant for Self-Knowledge (or Self-Obsession, if you prefer). But take note, Eastern astrology likes to remind us of what we need to do to repair our karma. That could be irritating.

There are connections between our system and ‘theirs’ so I’ll mention a few salient ones. Like our zodiac, Eastern astrology has 12 ‘signs,’ but they are all animals: mostly barnyard, but some wild ones including the mysterious Dragon. One story has all these animals in a rush to see the Emperor. The rat finished first and the pig was last (no mention of the tortoise and the hare). What better way to describe the apples and oranges problem when East meets West?

Like our zodiac, they consider the hour and month of birth, the planets, but even more they consider what has been gleaned over centuries by the interdependence of Indian, Chinese, Bön, Buddhist and Kalachakra teachings.

Some of us are familiar with Saturn returns and Mercury retrogrades (sometimes we know our ascendant and moon signs). But Eastern astrology emphasizes elements over planets in a more fundamental fashion than we do. We have four elements in our zodiac: air, earth, fire, and water. They seem somewhat static and simplistic compared to the Eastern Zodiac. First, in the Eastern view, they have five elements: metal, water, wood, fire, earth and they operate on each other for better or worse depending on such curiosities as fate, weather and self-determination.

The interesting difference between our two zodiacs is time. While we have a Saturn return every 27-28 years, their big cycle is 60 years. You are finally mature because the element of your birth has taken 60 years to return to its natal position. So everyone born in 1946, get ready to discover your maturity and wisdom in 2006! That includes our President.

For Fire Dogs who will turn 60 years old this year, there is good cheer. You are warm and charismatic, even passionate! You always care about others—but here’s a tip, you could worry less in private. Not like there isn’t a lot to be concerned about. Family and friends, work and community all mean so much to you—we hope you know how much you mean to us. You can be inflexible from time to time, but hey, who’s perfect? Last year’s Wood Rooster certainly made injustice a topic of awareness. Because you, Fire Dog, are so serious, maybe we’ll find some justice this year! We look forward to the new Fire Dogs born this year who will be extremely busy in their 60-year cycle working hard to reestablish decency on every level of society.

So here’s wishing Hot Dogs a good year and the rest of us some order and balance in our lives. BTW , if you are a Libra in the Eastern system, you are the year of the Dog. Thought you were the Scales, didn’t you?

SUSAN EDWARDS has been a metaphysical counselor for—alas—40 years. She was a foremother at Naropa University back in the day.


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