Predictions for 2012 – The Year of the Yang Water Dragon

 Chengdu, China                                                     ©Photograph by Sharon Smith
All rights reserved

The Yang Water Dragon arrives officially on February 4, 2012. The only legendary animal in the Chinese astrological pantheon, the Dragon is a mythical creature symbolizing power, creativity, and what the I Ching calls the “Superior Man”. Dragon initiates the big things that can happen only from taking the big risks. Ambitious, grand, and self-sufficient, mystical and untouchable, Dragons deliver the best fortune of all the animal signs with drama, beauty, and unpredictable flair and creativity.

Surviving on the ground, swimming in the water as well as flying in the air, Dragon is the Guardian of the Eastern Gate of Heaven and related to the power found in the springtime “Wood” energy  — the creative force of upward moving chi.

Known as Wind and Thunder, this is the energy that makes things happen.  In ancient times, Dragon energy brought much-needed spring rains. After a winter of hibernation, the Dragon leaves its lair in the swampy earth and ascends to Heaven, flying through the clouds and bringing on the spring rains. The mechanism and timing of this mysterious event was completely unpredictable.

A clear understanding of the nature of Dragon power can be found in Hexagram #1 of the I Ching.  Observe the powerful Purple Dragons who represent the supreme creative force of Heaven.

Hexagram #1

Line 1 – Hidden Dragon.  Do not act. Power is concealed in the deep; action is unwise. Wait for an auspicious time when your Dragon nature is ripe and ready to emerge. Your power is in hibernation.  This is like the Emperor-in-Waiting.  Martial artists are very familiar with this condition.  Remember the great film, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”?

Line 2 – Dragon appearing in the field. It furthers one to see the great man! The storm clouds are gathering. Time to start moving on your intention.

Line 3 – All day, all night, active. Start to pursue your goal.

Line 4 – The flight across the abyss is not sure.  He who is resolute suffers no reproach.  Dragon starts to fly but with no conviction. One needs to be sure. Either retreat or go forward but in all cases, be sure.

Line 5 – Flying Dragon in the heavens. It furthers one to see the great man! Ah! Now we’re cooking; nature is supporting the dragon’s flight and the place of power is clear. All is well.

Line 6 –The Dragon flies too high.  Arrogant Dragon will have cause to repent. If arrogant, you will certainly fall.  Don’t push!

The last 2 years were Metal sitting on Wood (Metal Tiger & Metal Rabbit), signifying great conflict and danger. This year, the energy changes and we have Yang Water (very strong water) sitting on Earth, sometimes known as “water dam” – storing water.  This is still a relationship of conflict as Earth controls Water (Dragon contains Earth, Water, & Wood elements), but with less hostility and indication of war.

The combination, however, does indicate the possibility of more natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.  Since the moving energy and vitality of the land is actually called “Dragon” in a metaphysical sense, this is nothing to sneeze at!  In addition, many Chinese people believe Dragons rule moving bodies of water.

Note that the most serious earthquakes on record happened in the years of Dragon – in 1952 (Water Dragon) in Kamchatka USSR (8.25 magnitude) and California (7.5 magnitude).  In 1964 (a Wood Dragon year), there was a magnitude 9.2 earthquake in Alaska and a 7.6 magnitude quake in Japan.  The Fire Dragon year of 1976 saw a 7.8 earthquake in Tangshan, China and 1988 saw smaller quakes in Nepal and Russia. The Metal Dragon year (2000) manifested a 7.0 quake in Azerbaijan & a 7.9 quake in Sumatra.

And since the Dragon (along with the Dog) is one of the guardians of Heaven, it is related to a kind of “no-man’s land” — a strange place, a twilight zone if you will, where a “Nobleman” (helpful deity) refuses to visit. Helpful deities act like rescue angels, saving people from tragedy and sudden death. But in Dragon and Dog years, this doesn’t happen.  There are some examples of serious disasters that occurred in hours of Dragon, such as the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami that occurred in the hour of Dragon at 8.30 AM on 12/26.  The 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001 also took place at 8.40 AM in Dragon hour.  The Dragon hour (7-9 AM) is a very powerful time in a Dragon year. Use it to meditate and focus your attention.

In general, water is associated with wisdom, communication, energy, and skill.  The Chinese character for Yang Water is the ocean.  Acting like a wave of powerful transformative energy, we will see great progress in social movements and passion around political change as people strive to act from their intuitive wisdom. This will not be without struggle since Water is sitting on Earth, the element that controls it.

It’s worth noting that the average adult human being is 50-65% water with men topping women at 60 -65%. Water represents the Kidney chi in Chinese medicine and has to do with the blood, urinary system, bones, bone marrow, ears, and sexual energy. Expect more information about these aspects of human and planetary health to be present in the news media.

But Water and Earth together are the definition of a swamp.  Watch out for viral outbreaks and don’t eat any food that is suspect.  Food poisoning, malaria, and more proof of toxicity related to environmental pollution could become common.  In addition, there is absence of Fire.  Take care of your heart and make sure to supplement with CO-Q10 or ubiquinol and extra anti-oxidants.  Add the color red to your wardrobe and use it as an accent in your home.  Use lights and candles to brighten up your living space and make sure your workspace is well lit.

Dragons are known for their sexual power but in this respect, they are similar to the western astrology sign of Scorpio.  Although sex is important, it’s deep, true love they’re really after.  Having said that, watch for the baby boom coming.  Many Asian people who are thinking of starting a family, bet on the Dragon to take care of them later in life.  After all, with all of that ambition, power, creativity, what kind of son would be better? Unfortunately, they still don’t see Dragon ladies as such a valuable asset.  You can be sure that obstetricians and fertility clinics will be busy in January, February, and March of 2012.

And although the Dragon year is a powerful one, the Earth/Water combination makes people a bit more cautious since Water is related to fear and is being contained by Earth (worry). With the absence of Fire, people will be looking for more stability and more likely to play it safe with their investments. With so much water, there will be expansion and prosperity in wood industries – publishing, forestry, textiles, fashion, paper, media, food, etc.  Earth will also do well – real estate, mining, environmental cleanup. Ironically, Water industries (shipping, alcohol, transportation, and communication) not so well, since Fire is “money” to Water and Fire is absent. Financial markets, energy, air travel, and entertainment are all Fire industries and also are not favored since Water tends to suppress optimism.  Metal industries (banking, machinery, engineering, computer, and high tech industries) will be active since Water is produced by Metal but they will not be so profitable.

Keep in mind that the Water Dragon is the mellowest of all Dragons. After the simple pleasures of the Rabbit year, it will provide you with the energy and drive you need to accomplish your goals and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. The Water Dragon is chock-full of powerful potential.  Courage and generosity are on the rise.  Bold progress can be made if fear and pessimism can be overcome. Hard work will yield genuine success. But this Dragon will not abide trickery or monkey business! Connect yourself with the good of all as you face your personal destiny.  If we can all do this for the sake of others as well as the health of the planet, you may find the entire world transformed for the better.


If you ignore the dragon, it will eat you.

If you try to confront the dragon, it will overpower you.

But if you ride the dragon, you will take advantage of its might and power.

                                    Chinese proverb

For predictions by animal year, click here.

Hexagram 63 -Already Crossing – Uranus in Aries

Hexagram 63 – Already Crossing, After Completion, Water over Fire


Already Crossing.  The Small Fox.

Make an offering and you will succeed. Advantageous Trial.  Harvesting.

Wise Words! Initiating things opens the Way. Completing them brings disorder.


All of us know that a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM.

But you might not be aware  that this event coincided with the very last degree of Uranus in Pisces, the mutable water sign. In this sign, Uranus has a symbolic affinity with earthquakes and tsunamis (it was also active in the chart of the 2004 Indian Ocean disaster). On this day, Uranus completed its 7-year stay in Pisces, waved good-bye and approximately 15 hours after the devastating quake and subsequent tsunami, entered Aries for the next 7 years starting a new 84-year cycle.The destruction and subsequent suffering in Japan is beyond our imagination, and the threat of a pervasive nuclear accident still (as of this writing) a dreadful possibility with implications for our entire planet. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.

Uranus’ movement from the medium of water, creativity, emotional reality, and spirituality to the medium of fire and idealism is a major shift.  The first degree of the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn is known as the “World Axis” and 0° Aries in particular is important as the spring equinox and beginning of the entire zodiac.

As you may have read elsewhere on this blog (see  Not Yet Crossing) Uranus is the planet of liberation that is often described as “The Awakener”.  Its job is to liberate us from our conventional ideas and behavior, shake us out of our complacency, and show us another reality. Out of the blue (a true Uranian color!), totally unpredictable in its manifestation, it teaches us through upheaval about freedom and humanitarianism. It rules technology and innovation and works through electrical impulses.

When Uranus arrives at the end of a sign,  there is a sense of urgency, a quickening.  In one seemingly fated moment, everything can change utterly. As we cross this boundary from Pisces into Aries, we move into a new cycle of personal liberation and action.  The consequences of the earthquake and tsunami are a clarion call for us to take the action needed to heal our planet’s fragile ecology.  If nothing else, this disaster reiterates one of the major lessons of Uranus in Pisces — that we’re all part of the ocean of humanity and every wave affects us.

Aries represents raw energy, youthful enthusiasm and taking action to achieve one’s goals. It’s about being a warrior, going off to fight for a righteous cause, and coming back a winner.  Ruled by Mars, Aries is about all things traditionally male  – testosterone, survival, war, metal, knives, iron, self-assertion, winning, physicality, the aggressive side of sexual energy, the color red, and in-your-face idealism among other yang qualities. With Uranus here, all of us (but especially men) will be challenged to find out what it means to be a warrior in the 21st century and evolve the male archetype.  What is worth fighting for and what is the best way to fight for it?

Be aware that you might notice more energy, a restlessness, an uncontrollable impulsiveness, or perhaps a new connection to your sexuality.  If you were born at the beginning of the cardinals (March 21 – 25, June 21-25, September 21-25, December 21-25) or have early cardinal degrees rising or planets in those degrees, this will affect you strongly.

March –  Important Dates (EST) :

3/1 –Venus enters Aquarius

3/4 –   New Moon at 13 Pisces

3/9  –   Mercury enters Aries

3/11 – Red Alert! Uranus enters Aries – 7:52 PM EST

3/19 – Full Moon 28 Virgo – 2:10 PM EST

3/20 – Spring Equinox- Sun enters Aries – 7:21 PM EST

3/21 – Sun conjunct Uranus in Aries

3/26 – Venus conjunct Neptune in Aquarius

3/27 – Venus enters Pisces

3/28 – Jupiter opposes Saturn

3/30 – Mercury retrogrades at 24 Aries

Not Yet Crossing – Uranus & Jupiter at the end of Pisces

Hexagram 64 – Not Yet Crossing, Before Completion, Fire over Water

Make an offering and you will succeed.

The Small Fox on the muddy bank.

If she soaks her tail,   There is no advantageous direction.

For the next few weeks, Uranus and Jupiter will move through the last degrees of Pisces before hitting 0° Aries on May 28 and June 7, respectively.  Dancing first to the beat of a slow dirge,  after June 7,  the music becomes way more exuberant. Will it be an avant garde modern dance? An acrobatic Brazilian capoiera? A sexy samba?.  It’s hard to predict exactly what.  Just know that the music will have an intense beat and the dance will be hot, fast,  crazy, and ultimately liberating.  This crossing into Aries will catapult us into a new reality. But we’re not there yet.

Uranus has been hanging out in Pisces for the past 7 years, it’s usual time in any sign.  It’s a planet of dynamic change, liberation, brilliance, the avant garde, and the flash of lightning that changes consciousness and everything else in one fateful moment. As a mountain man in Virginia once told me as he was discussing a favorite pig he had raised, “Lightning struck him.  Never did do right after that”.

An unpredictable and exciting planet, it’s all about doing your thing and having the experience of being accepted for your unique individuality. The downside is that it can also be incredibly exhausting. When we’re under the influence of Uranus,  we’re plugged into a wall socket with the voltage meter at the highest setting.  Sleep is difficult and we’re edgy as we attempt to channel so much electrical energy without blowing out our fuses. The kind of excitement is sort of fun, but it’s not really comfortable. Aquarians are familiar with this as are others who have Uranus prominent.

Pisces is THE END, the 12th sign. Old souls, Pisces types have been around the block (or galaxy as it were).  Most of the “normal” things that excite other people don’t do a thing for these folks.  For those born in the sign of  Pisces and those who have planets prominent in the sign , the material world is nothing by “maya” – illusion in the biggest sense. This is not the way most of us look at reality.   Ruled by Neptune, Pisces is all about dissolution and transcendence, the feeling of being part of the ocean — not just one particular wave but the feeling of the whole shebang. Not just the Pacific or the Atlantic, but all the water on the planet. Not just this planet but all the planets, and on out into the universe. They’re process-oriented. Interested in riding the wave, flowing or drifting down the river, sailing on the sea.  They’re always looking for that indescribable, ineffable,  transient something, something like……They can’t tell you exactly what.

On the best days, these yearnings are most easily satisfied by artistic, healing, and spiritual experiences. But if those aren’t available or possible, a stiff drink, a mind-dulling video game, some bad TV,  or any other drug of choice will do. Anything to leave this mundane world behind and get a glimpse of a rosier, more beautiful universe.  Escapism, denial, blind belief, addiction.  They’re all part of the trip. As are fear and worry.  The other side of the coin is faith and the courage to act on one’s spiritual understanding.

So right now, there’s a meeting going on. A negotiation of sorts.  Uranus in Pisces at the end of “The End”,  lobbying for liberation; Saturn, the Building Inspector, in Virgo trying to bring some discipline and a work ethic into what appears to be a complete disintegration into chaos; and then there’s our friend, Jupiter,  the Great Benefic.  Whatever the big planet touches, expands.  It’s easy to find yourself alternating between work and escape. Discipline and disorganization.  Trying to live a healthy lifestyle and being pulled into your bad habits.  Trying to get control of a million small details and throwing up your hands to surrender to whatever power is orchestrating your life’s journey.

So, what is the bigger meaning here?

In the past 5 months, these aspects have coincided with 3 earthquakes, the biggest oil spill in history, a volcanic eruption that disrupted travel and commerce all over the planet, tornadoes, and floods among other events of the natural world that have brought our attention to the obvious conclusion  —  we are all floating together on our precious blue planet in the ocean of space.  All passengers on the same bus.

If you were born on the last day of the mutable signs or the beginning of the cardinals (March 20 – 25, June 20-25, September 20-25, December 20-25) or have a late mutable degrees or early cardinal degrees rising or planets in those degrees, take a look.

Or take a look anyway….

December’s 2009 – The Astrological Weather

It’s windy and cold here on the East Coast of the U.S. and the astrological weather will prove to be the same no matter where you live.

Changing winds bring energetic reversals as three planets stop and shift direction – Mars goes retrograde in Leo on 12/20, Uranus went direct in Pisces in early December (strongly affecting Aquarians; those born in late Pisces, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Gemini; as well as anyone with strong Uranus), and that old trickster, Mercury retrogrades in Capricorn on the North Node of the Moon on the 27th.

The Mars retrograde period means the warrior planet is in Leo from October 17, 2009 to June 7, 2010 — almost 8 months!  Seven of those months either in retrograde or in the shadow of the retrograde. Mars, a normally externally oriented planet, goes internal. The glorious lion with the beautiful roar has a bad case of bronchitis until mid-March and doesn’t experience a full recovery until early June.

Such a difficult task for Mars in Leo who desperately wants to be the one who comes in to save the day! You’ll find that pushing ahead creates opposition and frustration but on the other hand, internalizing your aggression might be worse — harming your health or sabotaging your relationships or work life. It’s a tough place to be in. If you have planets in Leo, be aware of these tendencies and find ways to channel the aggressive energy. Being sneaky or indirect will not do the trick! Martial arts, boxing, and vigorous exercise can all help channel your energy. And if you are considering any kind of surgery, see if you can postpone it until after Mars turns direct (at least after March 12, 2010) or better yet, the end of the retrograde shadow (June 7, 2010).  Watch the world stage to see how this plays out in Afghanistan and other hot spots.

While Jupiter rules the first part of the month, bringing festivities, celebrations, and a devil-may-care attitude, first fast-moving Mercury, then the Sun and Venus activate Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra, bringing our attention to the inevitable – the reality principle.  Which is what these days?   There’s not much we can count on right now.  The ground is shifting beneath our feet as we all struggle to find our way in what seems to be a new, but indefinable paradigm.

The period between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve brings this home, with the culmination at a partial lunar eclipse on New Year’s Eve. It’s a chilly time. Economic conditions and pressures in personal relationships will be felt more intensely by all, but especially those born from the 20th to the end of December, March, June, and September and those with planets in early cardinal signs — particularly those with Saturn in Libra, Capricorn, Aries, or Cancer as well as the generation born with Pluto in early Libra (late 1971 – 1974).  See the November weather below for more details on this.

In a recent consultation with the I Ching about my personal financial life, I found the reading I received relevant to the current planetary situation.  Hexagram #47, known as Oppression or Exhaustion (Lake over Water) changing to Hexagram #1 (Heaven over Heaven) – The Creative or Initiating.  A very fortunate reading actually, but not at first glance.   The picture is of difficulty and hardship, a situation where one is tired and exhausted. It is difficult to move forward or to go back. All the yin lines describe the gloom of exhaustion and its antidote – the gaining of enlightenment.  The only choice is to return home to one’s true nature by sincere self-examination.  All the lake’s water has drained leaving it bone dry.

Hexagram #1

Fortunately, all these yin lines change to yang and if one truly is sincere in self-inquiry,  the bankrupt situation by necessity, transforms itself into the creativity necessary to handle current conditions. Heaven is over Heaven.  Often translated as “The Creative”, the first hexagram of the I Ching expresses  perfect yang energy — pure, healthy, firm. The Chinese ideogram is of the rising sun radiating and nourishing chi to the entire world. An expression of health and vitality. Whew! What a relief….

On the 16th, the challenging square of Uranus to the New Moon in Sagittarius is fortunately mitigated by a benefic relationship to the triple conjunction of Jupiter (optimistic expansion), Chiron (healing), and Neptune (spirituality) in Aquarius (friends and community) that’s been blessing us off and on since last May.  This is the hope, healing, and sense of belonging that we all crave at this season when the movement of the sun descends to its nadir in the northern hemisphere and peaks in the southern half of the globe.

Taoists believe that the days before, during, and after every solstice and equinox are portals through which one can walk through the gates of heaven.  They are like the earth’s sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight — important moments in the movement of chi through its perpetual dance of yin and yang.  Take some time to meditate and contemplate your place in this amazing universe, feeling gratitude for all there is.

Wishing you, your loved ones, and your community,  all the best in this holiday season.

Hexagrams for a Recession- Hexagram 15 changes to 39

Hexagram 15 changes to Hexagram 39
Recession Advice?

A few weeks ago, our I Ching group asked the Sage how to respond to what’s going on “right now”.  We received Hexagram #15 – Modesty (also known as Humility, Moderation, Integrity, Authenticity, Humbleness, and Humbling) with the 5th line changing, creating Hexagram #39 – Obstruction (other names for it include Limping, Difficulties, Impasses, Obstacles, and Hindrance).


Sometimes we link the 2 hexagrams in a kind of haiku. You can play around with these but here are some possibilities.

If  Modesty, then Obstruction.
If you are not Humble, then Hardship.
Modesty then Hindrance.
Integrity but Obstacles.
Humility while Limping. (I like this one…)
Humbleness becomes Obstruction.

Digging deeper….

Hexagram 15 – “Modesty creates success.  The superior man carries things through. “ – Wilhelm.

Al Huang’s translation says, “The superior person decreases what is excessive and increases what is scarce.

He weighs things and makes them balance”

In Hexagram 15, Earth sits above the Mountain.  The receptive, soft, and quiet power of Earth (maximum yin) is on top of the mountain. Or you could say that the strength of the Mountain is inside the Earth, the ultimate yin, yielding force. Modesty is considered one of the highest and most valued virtues in Chinese culture.

According to Stephen Karcher’s Total I Ching, Myths for Change, “Humbling” has a connection to a mythical dream animal, ”the grey one – a rat-headed hamster”. Our grey friend is a real animal – a solitary creature, untamable, living in a system of burrows and tunnels where he protects his storehouse of food.  Prone to sudden attacks, he can appear without warning.  Our group always has a good laugh as we imagine encountering an unattractive 2-foot tall rodent standing on its hind legs, the contradiction between his animal nature and his human stance puzzling. What a strange being! According to Karcher, The Grey One is an immediate mythological link to the moment when a need is filled through some unconscious power moving in an underworld way. This is the moment of “Humbling”.

Other texts advise us that being humble brings out a great harvest.

The translations and interpretations of the changing line # 5 can be confusing. Here are a few possibilities.

From Al Huang:  “Not being wealthy
Together with his neighbors
Favorable to engage in subjugation
Nothing is unfavorable.”

The Sage seems to be asking us to humble ourselves and work with others to attack our problems aggressively in order to solve them.

From Wilhelm:  “No boasting of wealth before one’s neighbor.
It is favorable to attack with force.
Nothing that would not further.”

Don’t confuse weak good nature with modesty.  If necessary, act boldly but without inflation.

Sounds like sane advice. Now here comes the tricky part. The changing 5th line gives us #39 – Obstruction (aka Hardship, Limping, Hindrance) as the relating figure.  Modesty changes to Obstruction????  Doesn’t sound so wonderful.


“The southwest furthers.  The northeast does not further.  It furthers one to see the great man.  Perseverance brings good fortune.” – Wilhelm

Hexagram #39 is The Pit (Water) over Mountain.  Danger over Limitation. A time of difficulty and slow, painstaking movement.  The Sage advises us to hook up with others.  Find friends and helpers in this difficult time. The northeast is said to relate to the past and lonely striving (the enemy attacks from this direction); the southwest means common effort and future good.

Mythologically this hexagram is connected to the hero, Yu, the Great, the limping god. He was known to confront all difficulties with unceasing toil and great adaptability. His movement is a dance, a shuffling step, backwards and forwards.

Karcher says,
“Bad influence going, exorcise it! Seeds of good are coming”.

Does this apply to you? What do you think?

Hexagram- #55-“Abundance”

Our I Ching group has been meeting for several years.  Often we come up with a “group” question to pose to the Sage.  Tonight we hemmed and hawed about how to stay positive in a world where most of us are swimming in the negative soup served up the media.  We decided that we all knew the answer to this dilemma and  that it wasn’t quite the right question for the Sage. So the question we finally came up with was, “What is the best way to live with changes?”  We received hexagram #55-“Abundance”-Thunder over Fire with no moving lines.


Thunder (Chen or Zhen) i-ching-thunderis an aspect of the Wood element- the introduction of a new principle springtime energy, upward moving chi.  Its function is to shake things up and find the motivation (the yang line at the bottom) that makes things happen.

Fire is radiant and illuminating.  It creates clarity and is the spirit of warmth.  Mythologically, it is manifested in a shape-i-ching-fire1changing bird with brilliant plumage that comes to rest on things. Its action is to cling to whatever it touches.   It is the single yin line in the middle that holds two strong lines together

Wood produces Fire and Fire exhausts Wood (Thunder).  The I Ching seems to be saying that on an elemental level, change can be either exhausting (fire exhausts wood) or nourishing (wood produces fire).

In the various different texts we use as source material (Wilhelm of course, Deng Ming Dao, Stephen Karcher, Al Huang, Carol Anthony, and Brian Walker among others), the Sage then goes on to talk about independent watchfulness, moving with clarity and grace, and action that creates the expert timing that is derived from the clear understanding of cycles.  In effect, the best way to live with change is to let brightness and awareness stir everything up so that creativity flourishes.

Carol Anthony reminds us that if one receives this hexagram, it is important to delete the negative images that block abundance.  These come in the form of poison arrows and spells that are projected by media, our childhood experiences and even the time before birth. All of these can block our abilities to respond creatively to what life brings to us.

She leaves us with this reminder, “BE NOT SAD.  BE LIKE THE SUN AT MID-DAY!”