- By Jeffrey Haloff LAc.
Happy Chinese Year of Yang Earth Dog - 2018 (4715)!!!
We have effectively navigated the year of the Fire Rooster, (surviving the early morning tweets of the mad Rooster), we are still here, and now we joyfully welcome the New Year of the Earth Dog! (Begins February 16, 2018.) Dogs are revered in China, and worldwide, as “the Human’s Best Friend”. In China, since at least the Shang Period (1766-1121 B.C.), numerous breeds are represented in pictographs, sculpture, paintings, etc. The mutually supportive relationship between dogs and people is ancient and strong, and this Dog year arrives at the perfect time. The qualities of the Dog, justice, fairness, loyalty, love, protection and unselfishness, are sorely needed. It is the Dog’s year, so let’s learn of its characteristics that we may harmoniously thrive this year and beyond.
It is a Yang Earth Dog. The Dog’s natural element is Earth, so we have a double Earth year. The key element is in harmony with the ruler of the year. The last two years we had the element of Fire clashing with the Metal of the Monkey, then Rooster. Those conflicting relationships contributed to unsettled times. Last year‘s Fire produces Earth, as the ash after a fire produces fertile ground. Things should slow down a bit, theoretically, settling and relaxing after the fast-burning pace of the Fire years. The projects that we have begun can continue to progress, nurtured by the Earth.
We refer to Earth as Mother Earth, for, indeed, she provides sustenance, nurturing all life on our planet. Earth (Yin) receives the Yang energy from the Sun (Heaven), and life here flourishes. When we, the people, live in harmony with the cycles of Nature, cycles measured by the Heavenly Orbs (Sun, Moon, Earth, Stars), we can perceive and create Heaven on Earth. This Chinese astrological cycle is 60 years, combining the 12 Animals and the 5 Elements. We gain wisdom through experience, living the energetics of life during each of these 60 combinations. And we value the Chinese tradition of respect and honor for the older, more experienced ones amongst us who have completed this 60 year cycle.
What can we learn, in order to functionally enhance our life, from this ancient wisdom? As the Earth Dog Year is Double-Earth, we have the image of Mountain. We can look to the venerable I Ching, the Book of Changes, Hexagram 52, “Gen – Mountain, Keeping Still”: double Gen (Mountain) Trigrams, each with two descending Yin lines below one rising Yang line. A healthy energetic to emulate: grounding into supportive Earth, with a mountain view, relaxed mind and peaceful heart.
Mountains standing close together:
The image of KEEPING STILL.
Thus the superior person
Does not permit their thoughts
To go beyond their situation.”
Brilliant, ancient advice for our modern, mad world, with the news-cycle craziness always a quick click away. Sit, back straight, grounded and present, to incur calm mind and heart. Dogs do tend to worry, so this is an important practice.
Dogs worry because they are protecting their family. They are loved because of their loyalty, trustworthiness, integrity and fairness. A theme of the Dog Year is one of justice. Working for the “underdog”, we should see more effort, more court cases that uphold a sense of fair-mindedness and egalitarianism. Dogs are born to serve, unselfishly, and are said to be the most “humanitarian” of the astrological signs. This year we shall see many people motivated by a sense of social justice,putting effort into pointing out and fixing inequalities, helping those less fortunate. We shall likely become more idealistic, questioning our values and motivation, acting with honesty and integrity.
The faithful Dog works with concern to guard their family, enhancing the quality of family life. This task, while gratifying, causes some worry. Watch your mind, and do not worry too much this year. Dogs are forgiving. Use forgiveness to free yourself of worry. And remember, Dogs like to, and need to, play. And run! Get some exercise this year, as it helps reduce anxiety and balance overthinking. The Earth Dog can have strong opinions, fiercely defending justice. We likely shall see a lot of barking this year, each side protecting their point of view, protecting their family, tribe, party, what have you.
Since the idealistic Dog is concerned with justice, just what can we expect politically this year??? Well, as a matter of fact, Donald Trump was born in the year of the Fire Dog. More impulsive than the Earth Dog, President Fire Dog doesn’t seem to think before he barks/speaks. He does seem to have a strong sense of loyalty, demanding it of associates and family. (The mafia has such loyalty.) He and his ilk seem to think that business is unfairly encumbered by restrictions, and he works to improve the lot of his underdog billionaire class. Dogs are protectors, so expect his Great Wall, defense, and immigration to remain hot topics. As the Department of Justice investigation continues, Fire Dog Trump’s worries and paranoia will grow. The Fire element makes it difficult for him to control his emotions, and Dogs can attack when cornered. As his worry and anxiety increase, he will need to play more golf, as he can find peace only on the golf course. (Just like Nero found peace in his fiddle.) Will justice prevail? The Dog says: always, eventually.
How about the economy? Dogs are generally optimistic, though protective and conservative, and prone to worry, so expect the stock market to contract.
We’ve just had two Fire years of happy, speculative optimism. With Fire illuminating the flashy appearance of value, the market surged. It must come down, but hopefully not crashing (although there are some people who bet that it will.) The Dog month, however, is October, and we have experienced 2 crashes in October: 1929 and 1987- though not Dog years. Personally, if your work follows your heart’s enthusiasm, your finances will slowly improve. And charitable generosity improves karma.
Earth Dog weather? According to Five Element Theory, Earth can inhibit Water, like a dam or levee, so this year may be dry, and maybe with periods of deluge. Also it may be warm. Double Earth, slow moving, like tectonic plates, can we expect earthquakes this year? Very likely, yes. Volcanoes also are very likely. An endearing quality of the protective Dog is worry, so have your emergency plan: food, water, etc., and worry a little less.
What health advice does the Earth Dog give? Just as our planet Earth nurtures and nourishes us all, the Earth element governs digestion. We eat food grown in Earth, and our digestive system integrates and distributes the nourishment, Qi, energy to all our organ systems. We get the energy and vitality to function effectively from the food we eat. Our digestive systems must operate in a healthy way. If you need help to maintain digestive function, ask your acupuncturist/herbalist. The ancient Chinese have determined that the Earth element also governs our mental process. Thoughts are like food, and when we are functioning in a healthy way, we select and use the thoughts that can benefit us, the ones that give us confidence and inspiration, and we let go of the ones that don’t. This year, careful planning, with efficient and cautious action, produces accomplishment. Follow your instinct, listen to your heart for direction, plan and act accordingly.
The Chinese Medicine perspective is all about balance. And the Dog, which equates to the western sign of Libra, is also about balance. Work like a Dog….and play like a Dog! Plan thoughtfully….and frolic spontaneously. Exert energy……and rest. Worry….and find Joy. (The Dog finds Joy in being of service.) Be pessimistic…..and optimistic. Dogs are pack animals, so gather a team for mutually supportive work…...and play. Enjoy social get-togethers and enjoy food, as a Dog does. Dogs are motivated by love and can get sentimental. Use nostalgia to motivate connection to gather with faithful, loyal friends and family.
Let us be optimistic, like the Dog, that this year our world will adopt the view of fairness, social justice and compassion, and leave the blighted way of greed and fear behind. Unbridled greed causes suffering, but the Dog acts with generosity, in faithful service. A Dog’s service is what makes them happy. Act with integrity, following your Heart’s instinct, and there is no need for worry. Be charitable. Be forgiving, like the Lucky Dog.
Keep wagging that tail! MAY ALL BE AS YOU WISH!
HAPPY NEW YEAR of the EARTH DOG 2018/4715!
Jeffrey Haloff LAc. operates Humboldt Acupuncture with his wife, Chelsea Colby LAc., in the beautiful Carson Block Building at 517 3rd St., Suite 18, Eureka CA 95501. They can be reached at (707) 268-8007 and humboldtacupuncture.com.