Around this time last year I wrote a post welcoming the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Fire Monkey, in which I considered what might lie ahead according to the Daoist Astrological traditions of ancient China.
It proved to be prescient in many ways – and also ended up being one of the most popular posts of the whole year! For a general introduction to Chinese astrology before reading on, it is worth looking back.
Many will feel relief that the Year of the Fire Monkey is coming to an end.
Noting the volatility that often seems to accompany Monkey years, I concluded last year’s post by saying:
“It’s a pretty compelling list of significant – and often unexpected – activity on the world stage. Could 2016 be another year of monumental global change and initiative?”
As it turned out, 2016 more than delivered in terms of unexpected activity on the world stage – most notably of course with the UK vote for Brexit, and the surprise election of new US President Donald Trump.
But it was also a year which saw terrorist attacks in Brussels, Nice, Istanbul, and Berlin. Mass shootings and racial unease in the US seemed rarely out of the news. We witnessed an attempted coup in Turkey, protests in Ethiopia, and a truly horrifying catastrophe in Syria as the civil war there intensified. Around the world, the trend was towards rejecting the status quo, and in many countries the rise of nationalism was tangible.
In some respects these events echoed the uprisings seen in the previous Fire Monkey year, 1956, in Hungary, Cuba, Poland, Algeria, and the Suez crisis. But in many ways we witnessed something unprecedented. The world has been left reeling from so many dramatic upheavals, with many now feeling less secure, less sure than ever before what the future holds.
Confounding climate change deniers, meanwhile, 2016 was the warmest ever recorded. The Fire Monkey year brought severe droughts to several African countries, and a devastating earthquake to Nepal.
Lastly, the year also proved to be one in which a succession of our musical and cultural heroes passed away, to the point where people were crying out on social media saying “enough already, 2016!”
As we welcome the Year of the Fire Rooster, it is perhaps inevitable that many will read on with views coloured by the traumas of 2016.
So moving forward, how might the character of the Rooster influence outcomes for 2017 – and while the Fire element continues to dominate, will events this year be any less explosive?
In his book Your Chinese Horoscope 2017 (Harper Collins, 2016) Neil Somerville introduces the Rooster with these words:
“With his shrill cock-a-doodle-doo, proud strutting and distinctive plumage, the Rooster is an impressive bird. He commands attention and, with his beady eyes, is always alert and summing up situations.”
Explaining how this might impact international events, he goes on:
“On the international stage there could be much posturing and flexing of military muscle. As a result there could be periods of tension in some areas, especially where there is a power vacuum or a strong surge of nationalism, but a lot of the posturing of the Rooster year is just for show and in many instances agreements will be brokered and tensions eased.”
So that, at least, just might be some good news!
Somerville suggests the Rooster year might offer a growing voice to minority groups, changes of policy direction, and prominent leaders being replaced. The flamboyant nature of the Rooster bodes well for the worlds of fashion, tourism, and for public spectacle. He points out that in previous Rooster years we witnessed Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, and the birth of YouTube.
Apparently Rooster years are also known for “splendid achievements”, such as mankind first stepping on the moon, and Concorde’s first supersonic flight.
However, Somerville suggests that the Rooster year is one in which all of us should work hard, not relying on luck to get us through:
“The Year of the Rooster promises much, but above all it calls for effort and hard work. Those who slack could feel the effects of the Rooster’s beak! Roosters have high standards and over the year important progress will be made.”
In their excellent book Taoist Astrology: A Handbook of the Authentic Chinese Tradition (Destiny Books, 1997), authors Susan Levitt and Jean Tang prefer to translate Rooster as Phoenix:
“We use the term Phoenix because we find it to be a more spiritual translation with the potential for personal transformation. When the spiritual journey of evolution and transformation is too great for Phoenix to bear, she may revert to the role of a rooster or chicken”.
Encouragingly for those of us working in creative and cultural endeavours, they write:
“Phoenix adores the spotlight where she shines beautifully. Uniquely attractive and striking, purple Phoenix is very artistic and appreciates beauty. She finds happiness in the arts and possesses very refined tastes…”
But Levitt and Tang draw similar conclusions to Somerville about what is most likely in store more globally the Rooster – sorry – the Phoenix Year:
“The year of the Phoenix is a time of practical endeavours, conscientiousness, hard work and discipline.:
And, rather more alarmingly for some:
“Politically, conservative police states gain power, and law and order are championed.”
Of course when they wrote these words back in 1997, Levitt and Tang could not have foreseen the current political changes in the UK and the USA. But as we look to the year ahead perhaps we should also be mindful of:
- The Netherlands General Election, March 17
- Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Election, March 26
- France’s Presidential Election, April 23 / May 7
- The World Health Organization’s Director-General Election, May
- Iran’s Presidential Election, May 19
- Rwanda’s General Election, August
- China’s Politburo Selection at the 19th National Congress, October/November
- Germany’s Federal Election, October 22
- South Korea’s Presidential Election, December 20
- Thailand’s General Election, late 2017
There are a variety of reasons why each of these could have hugely significant repercussions for the world as a whole, and you can read some fascinating analysis of these 10 Elections to Watch in 2017 here.
Make Things Happen!
In last year’s post I wrote:
“Astrology is one of the mankind’s enduring traditions, arousing responses as diverse as amusement and fear, scepticism and reverence. While I am not a particular believer, it is interesting to see how astrological ideas have influenced social and cultural development around the world, and they have perhaps done so more strongly in mainland China than anywhere.”
The events of the last 12 months have perhaps left me a little less sceptical, but moving forward I hope we can all agree on this: that applying the wisdom of working hard and keeping ourselves on track in the next 12 months is sensible!
I will leave the last words to Somerville:
“It may not always be an easy year, but it will be dynamic and eventful. It is a time for effort, hard work and making things happen.
Give this year your best and I hope your efforts reward you well.”