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2020: Year of the White Rat Forecast & Predictions

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour

On January 25th, 2020, the lunar new year began, and with it the year of the white metal rat. This is a significant year, marking not only the beginning of a new 12-year cycle, but also a brand new 60-year cycle. Combine that with the start of a new decade and we are presented with ample opportunity for re-boots, fresh starts, and new beginnings.

Winter is the season for deep inner work and reflection – a time to put to rest ideologies that we have outgrown and connect with our deepest and most intimate purpose. All of this change in the air provides us a significant opportunity for profound awakening, guiding us singularly toward a more correct path and collectively toward great upheaval and change. Because history has a way of repeating itself, we can look toward the 1960’s as a guide for the type of great social change we might expect in the year(s) to come.

Rats are characteristically sociable, clever, and intuitive bringing a fresh energy to this new cycle. They are passionate, ingenious problem-solvers who value their freedom and adore recognition. Their position in the animal succession, and their focus on their young, bring a playfulness to the coming year with an increase in flirtation, sex, pregnancy and birth. There will also be an abundance of peach blossom luck/flower-of-romance energy, bringing forth joviality, lightheartedness, and the hope of a new day.

The elements of this year are yang metal (heavenly/above) on top of yang water (earthly/below). In the 5-element cycle, metal supports water, so the harmonious relationship between the two elements indicates the possibility for a more peaceful year. However the dominant yang energy of both can be difficult – particularly if metal’s tendency toward rigidity or water’s capability for destruction go unchecked or become extreme.

The metal element is a representation of honor, integrity, resiliency and strength. The more it can be distilled down to its purist form, the more valuable it becomes. Civility, ethics, order and beauty are results of the discipline and refinement inherent in metal’s nature. In a year dominated by this element, those who can speak and act from a place of clarity and personal truth will have a wide audience for their message and be rewarded for efforts and hardships of the past that translate into the strong character they have built today.

The water element represents fluidity and flexibility and has the unique ability to change its physical form, adapting to any circumstance it is presented with and possessing an unstoppable energy or momentum as its force begins to gather and grow. New ideas and major social change is possible as people gather and movements swell. Water, like metal, seeks clarity so as hidden truths are upended profound personal revelation can result in powerful healing and transformation.

Big shifts are on the horizon. Can you go with the flow like water while staying true to your self like metal? I believe you can!

Information for this post was compiled from the following sources. For a deeper understanding click on:

A Stirring Transition 

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”   – William S. Burroughs

The Spring season comes with much anticipation. After what can feel like a long period of stark cold darkness and slumber, when the energy of the earth starts to shift, we might feel ourselves anxious for something new. This precipice of change is not often as distinct or defined as we’d like. It can feel stalled, with lots of fits and starts. We’re teased with mild and temperate days, followed erratically by storms and cold. The flowers begin tentatively to bloom just to be blown away by sharp winds and frigid rain. The buds, that just barely start to form on the trees seem to be held so tightly, you can almost sense the magnitude with which they will explode into color and form once finally ready to escape their tight internal embrace and become the expression of beauty that is their destiny.

What we observe around us exists strongly within us. We are the products of and participants in our surroundings, reacting and responding without will to the forces that guide and drive us. We feel on the inside what is felt on the outside and our emotional and physical response is sometimes just a byproduct of the natural cycles that occur in nature. As much of Chinese Medicine theory is guided by the season, the reactions in our bodies are guided by the elements that are most dominant in that season.

In Chinese medicine theory, Spring is the season of wind, described in many ancient texts as a ‘pernicious’ force that can carry with it many ‘evils’ which we become susceptible to when our immunity is weak. Wood is the dominant element, responsible for a wide emotional spectrum from depression when suppressed, to blind rage when unchecked, and everything in between. While it might seem irrational to feel sad or irritable during a time where we are being drawn out of the solitude our winter retreat, this turbulence is natural as we vacillate between the softness of our yin selves and the fiery strength of our yang selves. The key, as always, is in the balance.

If you are feeling burdened by the chaos of the transition, take heart – this period of shake-up is temporary. Like the earth we occupy, we too are on the cusp of a long and exciting period of action, transformation and creativity. Do not get stuck in the feeling of being stalled. Use these last precious days to ruminate on your winter meditations and make sure that your vision is clear so that when that metamorphosis finally occurs, you are ready to pursue your ambitions with fearlessness and vigor. 

This is the time of year for creation. Commit to your passion without limitation and enter the season of self-expression with the gusto of the strongest of winds. Great change is possible so harness the energy of new life and let your dreams blossom like wildflowers. 

Year of the Pig

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot

On February 5th we usher in the Chinese new year and with it the year of the brown earth pig. Nurturing and agreeable, pigs are one of the most likable signs of the zodiac, possessing charisma, grace and the ability to compromise. They represent friendship and family values and are more comfortable close to home, enjoying good food, joyful gatherings, and creature comforts. There is an optimism and enthusiasm inherent in pigs that enhances their social energy and fosters relationships with less conflict and more warmth. They are robust, energetic animals, able to work hard and accomplish great things while still taking time to rest and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Under the pig’s energy, this will be a year for incremental gains, and rewards will come from well-considered, thoughtful action rather than bold impulse. We are advised against financial risk, but rather to work at a steady pace while keeping a low profile. Success can be gained through perseverance, open dialogue, hard work and positivity. The spirit of harmony, tolerance, and understanding will help us in overcoming old wounds, strengthening family ties, and fostering peace and humanitarianism.

There will be fewer, less angry confrontations in the year to come and more affection, patience and healing. Communication will be harmonious and compromise and reconciliation more attainable. The pig is the last sign in the animal zodiac system, bringing an end to the twelve-year cycle, and with it an opportunity to finish long-term projects and address outstanding goals. The energy of this year lends itself to tying up loose ends, working through unresolved issues and letting things come to their natural conclusions. In this period of closure, we are given the space to analyze the effects of past choices and take the necessary time to absorb the lessons learned. I wish for all of us in the lunar new year to take pause, look back on our past with compassion and pride, and clear the decks for the good to come!


Information for this post was gathered from the following sources. Click on the links for more detailed information about the year to come:


To read back to last year’s forecast and see how it lined up for you, click HERE.

Navigating Transition in the Season of Change

“…I don’t just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms…” – John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

Spring is a season of such promise and hope, representing rebirth, revision, renewal and action. The channels associated with spring – the Liver and Gallbladder – are responsible for the smooth flow of energy, furnishing us with the decisiveness to choose our path and the stamina to move forward with confidence, clarity and strength. The element of Wood is symbolic of transformation and expansion, coaxing us to stretch beyond our limits and bring form to the notions pondered in the quiet space of winter. The spirit of the season, the Hun, gives us the internal guidance and intuition to convert our visions into creation.

With all this pent up potential just begging to be unleashed, the transition from winter to spring can be one of the most challenging, and we only need to peek out the window for some insight into why.

Just as the buds sit tightly on the trees, eager to bloom at the sun’s command, we’ve been waiting patiently for the weather to turn and the energy of our environment to shift and propel us forward. The cruel tease of warmer days, full of false starts and dramatic swings, creates a palpable tension all around us. The more we are stalled, the more stagnant we feel, and this stagnation slows the system down, causing irritability, anger, depression and inaction. To better handle the upheaval and enter your personal spring with grace, try these seasonal tips:

Keep the energy flowing: Inertia is a hard thing to overcome. Finding the initial motivation to transition from winter contemplation into spring action can feel monumental when the weather is not yet cooperating. The channels associated with spring are both responsible for and in need of smooth movement. When we feel stuck, it mucks up the system and the repercussions affect our whole being, causing a range of emotions from debilitating depression to inexplicable rage and everything in between. The sooner we start moving – be it forward with a project or physically with our bodies – the healthier and more fulfilled we will feel.

Protect yourself from pernicious winds: It always makes me chuckle to read ancient Chinese medicine texts and their description of wind as a nefarious entity, carrying disease into the body. But we are all familiar with that feeling of a quick chill or stiffness to the back of the neck, right before we catch a cold. Or the way the spine seems to stiffen up, right before we throw out our back. Or an uncontrollable body spasm that seems to come out of nowhere. We also know that heavy winds are a hallmark of the start of spring. The easiest way to protect ourselves from whatever the wind may carry, or even just from the instinct to pull up and tighten our shoulders is simple: cover your neck.

Adjust your diet to the season: Eating seasonally and locally is a great way to help our bodies stay synchronized with our environment. In spring, with everything in bloom, our bodies can be reactive – itchy eyes, runny nose, brain fog. While nature is the culprit, it also provides the solution. The flavor associated with spring is sour. Things like citrus, berries, vinegar, tamarind, and greens (all types) can provide us some temporary relief by moving irritants out of our bodies and allowing the liver channel to perform its function. In fact, these foods share the properties of many of the herbal medicines used to help treat spring allergies. Speaking of…

Get ahead of your allergies: Do spring allergies take you out? Don’t wait until you are suffering to try and manage the symptoms. Come in early for your treatments and formulas to reduce the severity of your body’s reaction when the season peaks. As with everything, early intervention will give you the best results.

Exercise: The wood element governs the sinews and tendons. The more we nourish ourselves, the less vulnerable we are to injury. Keep your body warm and flexible by staying active and working up a sweat. Feed your body with water, healthy food, and interesting ideas. Get up every hour and stretch your limbs. Check your posture. Do lateral movements and twists that keep the sides of the body open. This is not the time of year for complacency so stretch yourself physically and see if it translates mentally.

Be flexible: A dry branch will snap under pressure while a healthy one bends with the wind. Attempting to exert too much control of anything will often create more obstacles than taking a step back and rolling with the inevitable ups and downs. In this season in particular, we are asked to be open emotionally, welcoming of new ideas, and willing to go with the flow.

Change is a shake-up, and the transition period can be unnerving. This season let’s sit with the discomfort, knowing that a shift is coming. Let’s take the first step, allowing that initial action to inspire us to continue forward. Creating the life we want requires bravery, but we choose the limits to our own potential. Why not make like a tree and reach for the sky?

Spring is coming. Are you ready?


Year of the Yang Earth Dog

 “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa

On February 16th we usher in the Chinese New Year and with it the year of the Yang Earth Dog. The vibe of this coming cycle will be more peaceful, calm and stable than the past two years, which for many felt contentious or downright chaotic. This is a good time to take a breath and regroup as tensions begin to soften and an easier, more relaxed energy dominates.

Dogs are practical, honorable and even-tempered. They value logic and truth, and tend to weigh their decisions and make careful choices. While sometimes perceived as stubborn, their diligence, patience, and adherence to rules, helps them to achieve their goals with diplomacy, honesty, and fairness. Dogs are pack animals, putting a spotlight on friendships, relationships, and community. Their reputation for loyalty and faithfulness bodes well for couples and marriage during this time.

This year signals a return to higher principles and seasoned ideals. Reason and justice will dominate, making it a good year for negotiation, arbitration, and compromise. Collaborations and partnerships will flourish and careers have the potential to advance, particularly for those who exhibit altruism and benevolence toward others. Is a good time to pursue new endeavors and plan for the future. Success, however, will be gradual and take resolve due to the more idle energy of this cycle.

Kindness, generosity, and empathy rule in a dog year. People will soften to and be more embracing of others and more willing to open up their social networks. Close friends and family members will spend more time gathering in intimate, comfortable settings. Cooperative movements will rally behind humane pursuits, charities will enjoy more attention, and the “underdog” will have his/her day. A global, cultural or societal shake-up is possible, with a focus on better living standards and more social or economic equality.

The earth dog’s protective, affable energy will give us the space to advance gently in our pursuits with integrity, commitment, and kindness. I wish for all of us to have a prosperous, loving, and peaceful year under the careful watch of our faithful, furry friends!


Information for this post was gathered from the predictions of my insightful teacher, Lillian Pearl Bridges. To read her complete forecast, click HERE

Other sources for this post include:


To read back about last year’s Yin Fire Rooster and see how it lined up with your experience, click HERE


The Body Clock: Channel Theory and our Daily Energetic Cycle

“Everything turns in circles and spirals with the cosmic heart until infinity. ” – Suzy Kassem

Do you always wake at the same time of night or notice energy peaks and dips at certain times of day? In Chinese Medicine theory our body has a daily cycle, dominated in time blocks by each organ system. By observing our energy at these times, we can identify aspects of ourselves that are out of balance and calling for our attention. In the same respect, by aligning our activities with our body’s natural energy cycle, we can optimize our strengths and perform at our peak. The body clock is broken down as follows:

3-5am – Lung – recipient of vital force; master of order and reduction; controls the rhythm of our existence through the breath. The lung is our connection between the self and outside world and between the body and mind. It helps us discriminate, purify, clear internal clutter, and create space for inspiration. Pathology: grief.

5-7am – Large Intestine – eliminator of waste and turbidity. The large intestine helps us to discern what to keep and what we can discard. By letting go of the unnecessary, it aids the lung by making space for what we truly want and need.

7-9am – Stomach – converter of food to fuel; source of sustenance and care. The stomach receives and ripens our food and fluids and aids the spleen in transforming raw material into nourishment.

9-11am – Spleen – processor, transformer, transporter; digestion of food and information; houses intellect, thought, and concentration. The spleen converts and distributes vital energy to our body, provides our mental focus, and allows us to interpret, evaluate and retain information. Pathology: worry, over-thinking.

11am-1pm – Heart – house of our spirit; seat of our consciousness; origin of our capacity for understanding one another. The heart does not force connections or will what it feels – it acknowledges what is and shines a light on personal truth. All mental distress is mediated through the heart. Pathology: over-excitability, mania.

1pm-3pm – Small Intestine – separator of pure from impure; provider of transparency and lucidity. The small intestine aids the heart by clearing agitation so we may differentiate right from wrong, distinguish relevant from irrelevant, and act with unclouded judgment.

3pm-5pm – Urinary Bladder – filtration and elimination of waste. The urinary bladder aids the kidney in our spiritual evolution by helping us to release harassing thoughts, let go of past traumas, and go with the flow.

5pm-7pm – Kidney – wellspring of life; source of reproduction and growth; foundation of all the body’s energy from birth to old age. The kidney houses our ability to perceive our personal destiny and our willpower to see it through. It is about what came before us and what we’ll leave behind. Pathology: fear.

7pm-9pm – Pericardium – protector of the heart; regulator of all the other forces of the body; first line of defense against external aggression. The pericardium receives and buffers disruption to our system, shielding us from emotional turbulence and spiritual unrest.

9pm-11pm – San Jiao – metabolic regulator; responsible for homeostasis, equilibrium and system integration. The san jiao connects all the organ systems of the body, making sure our energy is evenly distributed and we remain oriented and balanced.

11pm-1am – Gall Bladder – promotes good judgment and foresight; responsible for our grit, decisiveness and initiative. The gall bladder allows us to make confident, measured decisions so that we may act with poise, conviction and courage.

1am-3pm – Liver – reservoir of stamina; commander of action, movement, and steady disposition; The liver provides us with a clear vision for the future and the motivation, energy and even temperament to see it through. Pathology: depression, anger.

Pratipaksa Bhavana: Turning Negative Thoughts Around

yin yang rocks sand“If you can sit quietly after difficult news; if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm; if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy; if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate; if you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill; if you can always find contentment just where you are: you are probably a dog.” – Jack Kornfield

In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Book 2 Pada 33 states: “Vitarka Badhane Pratipaksa Bhavnam: When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite [positive] ones should be thought of. This is pratipaksha bhavana.” In his discussion of this pada, Sri Swami Satchidananda gives the example of replacing the thought of hate with love. This allows negative thoughts to come to the surface but helps to train us not to ruminate too heavily upon them. He expands on this idea, saying if this is not possible, we can surround ourselves with those we love, in effect helping us to forget the negativity that is burdening the mind. He says we can also attempt to to thwart the negative thought by stopping to think what the ultimate outcome would be if we let it take control.

I’ve been thinking about this principle a lot lately as the quiet of winter sets in and my internal dialogue is amplified. “Vitarka Badhane Pratipaksa Bhavnam: When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite [positive] ones should be thought of. This is pratipaksha bhavana.” It’s not as easy as it seems. While we can’t always invoke the inverse thought to settle the mind, we can at least change our focus to something better. What makes you smile no matter what? I personally can not think about the silly antics of my niece and nephew without grinning ear to ear and chuckling a little to myself. This is not an act of disconnecting from the harder realities, but rather a prioritization of a more valued connection to take me out of a destructive negative spiral. When we invoke feelings of love, others feel our love, causing a cascade of positivity. This not only helps us, but creates a bigger, more global opportunity to uplift those around us. Replacing a negative with a positive – even if it’s just in our minds – is a small step, but one we can strive for every day.

Autumn, Alchemy, and the Element of Metal

mortar-pestle“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

In Chinese Medicine theory, every season has a corresponding element, whose qualities epitomize both the characteristics of that season and the aspect of our personality that allows us to thrive as we cycle through the earth’s energetic shifts. As Debra Kaatz so eloquently states in, Characters of Wisdom: Taoist Tales of the Acupuncture Points, “The element of autumn is metal, the richness that lies within the earth. This is created by what remains of the harvest composting down and enriching the soil with mineral wealth. It also represents the rich gold we have inside that is enriched with the great inspirations of the heavens. Here both taking in and letting go is transformed into earthly gold and inner golden wisdom.”

The metal element is aptly represented by the fall season, the time of year where things return to the earth to be repurposed or recreated. There is a shedding of old ideals, beliefs and baggage, and the powerful transformation that comes with the willingness to reduce something down to its purist form. Metal is often equated with alchemy, defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as 1. a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life; 2. a power or process of transforming something common into something special; 3. an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting. Some of the many powers of metal are its ability to create boundaries, cut away the irrelevant, change shape, and be re-cast into something more purposeful while still retaining its essence. Both the elegance and the magic of metal is its ability to become more valuable and refined through the process of reduction and simplification.

People with a metal constitution tend to be honorable, virtuous, disciplined, and hold themselves to (sometimes impossibly) high standards and values. They appreciate beauty, simplicity, cleanliness, and serenity. A metal person requires minimal sensory input and seeks to clarify truth in its most pure and upright form. They are serious, dignified, and decisive in their actions. While they can often appear as aloof or cold, in fact they are extremely sensitive to nuance and small energetic shifts, particularly to the grief or sorrow of others. Because of their intuitive or empathic nature, they learn to set strong boundaries, and require and enjoy spending time alone in order to rebalance their energy. While their perfectionist nature can sometimes manifest as self-judgment, at their best, metal people will use their idealism and leadership skills to defend virtue and inspire the pursuit of higher standards and truth.

In this powerful season of transformation, it is encouraged that we all take stock of where we are in our journey and separate out what we no longer need to hold, accept, or endure. As we learn from the element of metal, great evolution and mastery can be achieved through reduction. It reminds me of one of my favorite exercises – for which I can’t find the original source – where before we speak we should ask ourselves: “is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?”. By revisiting our core values, we can reevaluate and repurpose our pursuits, realigning our actions with our heart’s own truth and living our lives to their fullest potential.

Nurturing Spirit in the Season of the Heart

summer sunset

“Coming, going, the waterbirds
don’t leave a trace,
don’t follow a path.”
– Dogen, On Non-Dependence of Mind

In Chinese Medicine Theory, Summer is the season of the Heart, of Fire, and of the Spirit. It is a time of illumination and great potential. I love this season because it is tied so deeply to hope and faith, to answering our calling and to reaching our fullest potential. One of my teachers says, “You only have so many heartbeats. How do you want to use them?” When we follow a path that aligns with our nature, the answer begins to materialize.

The Heart, in Chinese medicine, is referred to as the Emperor. It is said to house our Shen, or governing spirit, which allows us to understand our true nature and connect deeply with our personal purpose. This is the part of ourselves that is guided by our intuition and revealed by our whims. The heart does not command what it feels or pre-meditate its actions. It keeps us connected to the rhythm of life, able to relate to and communicate with those around us and experience each situation within it’s own context. When the heart channel is in balance, we feel a peacefulness of spirit, a tranquility of mind, and a clarity to the senses.

When the channel is out of balance we experience anxiety, insomnia, confusion and difficulty concentrating. Any sudden powerful emotional experience will overwhelm the heart, resulting in fright, shock, or emotional instability. We heal our mental suffering through the heart channel by balancing the emotions, calming the Shen and returning to a state of clarity. Allowing our hearts to heal is the only way to heal the spirit, and in doing so, we are better able to heal the whole.

Eat For the Season: A Spring Recipe to Soothe the Liver and Keep the Qi Flowing

asparagus“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

There is a symbiotic relationship between man and nature, both of which can thrive when we choose to live in harmony with the space that we occupy. Eating seasonally and locally is about much more than just being socially and environmentally conscious. The health implications can be quite profound.

In every season the foods that grow in our region have the added bonus of providing us with the taste and temperature properties that help our bodies adjust to the season. The cycle in which plants flower, and fruits and vegetables grow and ripen, corresponds with the changing needs of our bodies from season to season.

In Chinese Medicine theory, Spring is the season of the Liver meridan, who’s function is strongly associated with nourishment, movement, and the smooth flow of qi. When the channel is out of balance, symptoms such as anger, irritability, muscle aches and pain, stiff joints, spasms, headaches, red itchy eyes, constipation, and feelings of heat or agitation appear.

Foods that help to keep this channel system functioning well tend to be sour in flavor and green in color. Examples include citrus, berries, leeks, leafy greens, and vinegar. Conversely, greasy or spicy foods, alcohol, and amphetamines can have a negative impact on this channel system.

If you’re feeling irritable or stuck, or allergies are stalling your momentum, try this simple but delicious spring recipe to help get your body back on track!


Serves: 4-6, Prep Time: 5 min, Cook Time: 30 min, Total Time: 35 minutes


For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar snap peas, remove stem and string and cut in halves or thirds (original recipe calls for frozen peas)
2 cups fresh arugula (original recipe calls for 1 avocado, chopped)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped basil


1. In a small bowl or medium jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake with the jar lid on tight. Set aside.
2. Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, cook the asparagus and sugar snap peas. In a large
skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus, peas, and fresh
lemon juice. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, sugar snap peas, and arugula. Pour
the dressing over the salad and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the fresh basil and serve.

I found this recipe on:

Modifications to the original recipe are indicated in parentheses. Enjoy!