On the 25th January we will start a new Chinese Astrological cycle and the first of the 12 animals is the Rat. According to myth, the Jade Emperor sent a party invitation to the animals stating that the order in which they arrived would determine the Astrological sequence. The Rat persuaded the Ox to give him a ride across the river and as they got close to the river bank the Rat jumped off the Ox and raced ahead, arriving at the party first.
Unlike Western culture, where rats are seen as dirty and scurrilous, in China they were considered a sign of wealth and surplus. Married couples wanting children also prayed to them due to their prodigious reproduction. So, in future, let’s look at rats through different eyes.
The other thing to remember is that Metal, one of the 5 elements (the others being Wood, Earth, Water and Fire), symbolizes Autumn and harvest.
Therefore, anyone who has invested time, money and effort in preceeding years will definitely reap bountiful rewards in a Metal Rat Year.
It’s a year of renewed ambitions and dreams where you put the past to bed without regret. However, new initiatives and decisions taken during a Rat Year must be carefully considered as they will influence the next 12 years. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take risks, but you should consider the long term ramifications of what you are planning.
Metal is both flexible and rigid, so it’s important to know how to handle it to extract its full potential. Therefore, this year you should avoid direct confrontation as there may be misunderstandings. Wisdom and diplomacy will remain your best allies, which for Chinese Martial Arts Practitioners, is the only way we know how to behave.
Apart from the times when we work too hard to achieve our goals and need some rest, this year should be one of good health. In the second half of the year, we should see an increased level of energy and sense of wellbeing, so for anyone suffering from mental health issues, you can look forward to better times ahead. However, the overarching theme of 2020 is that practising healthy activities is still the best medicine if we want to improve our health, maintain a long life and feel good, so for all of us, it’s a time to make a commitment to regular Taiji and Qigong practice this year. Maybe this year is the year to ask a classmate whether they would like to practice with you.
In summary, we all have a lot to look forward to. So from all of us at JinLi, Gōng xǐ fā cái (恭喜发财) - May you have a prosperous New Year!