Saturday, February 1, 2014

Year of the Horse

I'm not sure why, but I seem to have an affinity for Chinese culture.  I have no Asian lineage, and I've never actually been to China, however I still am really attracted to it.  As mentioned in a previous blog post I decided this year to use the Chinese New Year as my 'turn of seasons' marker instead of January 1st (because I love China, not because I'm a procrastinator... really!).
Year of the Horse (6x6" Whiteboard/Ink) - (c) Pam boutilier
We have entered the lunar new year!  2014 is the Year of the Horse, and further it is a Wood Horse year.  The Horse is the most Yang member of the Chinese Zodiac - they are Fire, all about energy and movement.  The Horse has traits of being gregarious, action-oriented, independent, industrious, and sometimes flamboyant, impulsive, stubborn or unpredictable.  Wood (denoted by the colour green) represents growth, progress, industriousness, energy, and a pioneering spirit in the Chinese five-element paradigm.  The imagery that appeals to me of the Year of the Wood Horse is that of a running stallion.  Powerful, motivated, confident and in motion.
The solar new year (li chun) starts on February 4th this year (apparently some consider that the actual start of the Year of the Horse).  Since I don't know enough about Chinese Zodiac to choose sides, I'll consider this period between the lunar and solar new years (Jan 31st through Feb 4th) as my period of transition from Water Snake to Wood Horse. 
The year of the Snake is passing.  According to this article "Snake years tend to bring unexpected changes into our lives".  For me 2013 brought a complete change of career and moving to a different country with a drastically different climate (from Canada to the Caribbean) and all the other changes attendant with that... and it was most certainly completely unexpected.  However the Snake is leaving now and the Horse arriving. 
Out with the Old (Digital painting) - (c) Pam Boutilier
The next few days are my time to contemplate what the Wood Horse means to me.  I am a Wood Rabbit, which has the typical aspects of Rabbit (clear-sighted, affectionate, quiet, spiritual) but compared to the mean has been described as 'less ambitious, peace and naturalist lover, gentle'.  I can be very nonconfrontational, noncompetitive and quite empathic (sometimes too much).  Being an extremely Yin type of person perhaps I need to embrace and harness the Yang of this coming year and not let myself be trampled or intimidated by it.  I need to work with the Horse and use his power, read his quick responsiveness to the environment around him, observe and learn from the ways in which he is so different from my little Rabbit.  At the same time I must remember not try to fence him in which would cripple his strengths, not try to impose my will on him, and not expect from him the quiet and deep 'contemplation for contemplation's sake' that I might gravitate toward naturally.  
A more Yang type of person may need to be cautious about letting the Horse gallop away, or the Fire burn too brightly (I think my natural tendencies will automatically keep those things in check - but it's not a bad idea to be on watch for them).  Compared to the 'typical' Horse type, the Wood Horse is supposed to be more stable, better at finishing what it starts, and better at making decisions.  These seem like great traits for starting or growing an enterprise this year.
So as I continue working on My Plan for this year (which I actually am working on, amazingly enough) I will keep the idea of the Wood Horse in my mind.  I will push myself to involve other people more, to be more active and less contemplative, to be more assertive and confident, and to take risks.
Wood Horse (Graphite sketch) - (c) Pam Boutilier
So what is your Chinese Zodiac type?  How does the prospect of a Wood Horse year affect you?  What if you took a moment to think about how you are different from the Wood Horse, what could you learn from the Horse?  If you are a Horse type, think about how this year can accentuate your strong points but what you may need to be cautious about and 'reign in'.  Share your thoughts in the Comments!

If you want to know how the Year of the Horse affects your type look here:

And if you're just interested in reading more about the Year of the Horse here are a few interesting articles I stumbled across:

If you want a super detailed breakdown of your Chinese Zodiak sign look here:
(I confess, I don't understand much of this - except my lucky element is Fire so this Horse year could be lucky for me! 

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