Every year we provide a brief look at the traditional Chinese astrological predictions for the coming year. On February 12, 2021 we will move out of the Year of the Metal Rat, and into the Year of the Metal Ox.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar: Western astrology foretells the present and future via the reading of the stars, whereas Chinese astrology focuses on patterns of “Chi” (or Energy), based on the belief in a cyclic sixty-year life force that permeates all animate and inanimate objects. The ancient Chinese calendar, also known as the Farmers’ or “Hsia” Calendar, is a fascinatingly complex and eerily accurate system which not only records the passage of time through historical cycles, but can be used as a tool for fortune-telling. The Chinese horoscope rests on a sixty year cycle, broken up into twelve year cycles of predominant energies that are based on animal characteristics and the five natural elements of Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. When a person is born, they take on the particular characteristics present in the Chi of that year, month, week, day, and even hour of their birth.
Based on lunar rather than solar cycles, the Chinese calendar can be used to determine what the general “weather” will be like during a given year, and how each of the animal/element signs will fare in that weather. You can use this “weather forecast” to help guide your choices and avoid pitfalls in the coming year!
So what will this 2021 year of the Metal Ox bring on global scale?
The year 2021 is symbolized by two Chinese characters: the element Metal on top and the animal Ox on the bottom. The Ox is also an Earth Element. In the Five Elements cycle, Earth births Metal. Because the element of Earth is said to support the element of Metal (think of soil holding important trace metals that fuel the growth of the plants that nourish animals and humans, such as chromium, selenium, zinc and copper), you can say that this combination represents a more harmonious relationship. Therefore, at first glance you might expect 2021 to be a more peaceful year.
However, the Ox sign is also said to contain the elements of Metal and Water. Since the middle of 2016, the Chinese calendar entered a long cycle of what we term the “Yin” elements of Metal, Earth and Water, without the “Yang” elements of Wood and Fire. The Yin element in Chinese ancient philosophy reflects that in life which is cold, dark, contracting, and yielding. The Yang element reflects that in life which is warming, light, and expansive. The next Wood year will arrive in 2022; the next Fire year in 2025. With Fire essentially once again devoid this year, we can expect a general lack of happiness, optimism, exuberance and confidence.
Because of this strong predominance of Earth, Metal, and Water, you can think of Ox as the weakest Earth element, belonging to the winter season (with its cold, hard surface, and lack of plant nourishment and growth). Here, the Earth element this year is very weak and out of balance, which could even trigger earth-related disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and volcanic eruptions.
This year includes a high predominance of Metal, which correlates with the emotion of sadness and grief, and Water, which correlates with the emotion of fear. Metal has two sides: it can be made into beautiful and graceful jewelry, but the opposite is also true. It can be cold and brutal, like a sword or dagger. People who have a predominance of Metal can be deceiving: they can appear sophisticated, gentle and calm on the outside, but can possess a very strong and rather harsh character on the inside. They can exhibit unrelenting and sometimes drastic behaviors with a tendency to extreme actions to achieve goals.
In general, the Metal Ox Year (with Yin Metal on the top and weak or “winter” Earth on the bottom), is a symbol of an unforgiving and cold atmosphere that incites disharmony and conflict. As the world economy continues to decline, the atmosphere of distrust could likely lead to more social unrest, political struggles, international tensions, terrorism, assassinations, subversions, and coups. Thus, the overall outlook for 2021 is quite cold, bleak, scary and even potentially dangerous.
As a historical example we should all be able to recall, remember the last recession of 2008? This year was also a Rat year like 2020, with strong elements of Metal and Water. The collapse of the mortgage business that year generated fear and catapulted the financial tsunami that lasted from 2008 until 2013 when the Fire Year returned. Similarly in 2020, another powerful Metal and Water year, we saw the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, generating insurmountable fear, forcing the world to come to a standstill, and shutting down most of the international trade and travel, resulting in grave worldwide economic impact.
Going into 2021, we can expect the strong influence of Water and Metal to continue to cast a dark shadow of fear and depression all over the world. The atmosphere will feel dull, cold, and gray. The continuous decline in economic growth will force investors to be more conservative and the public to spend less.
Personality Qualities of the Ox
If you were born in the year of the Ox (1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021), you generally possess an honest, and dependable nature. Ox are known for their diligence, strength and determination, their hard work and realism. Those born in the year of the Ox tend to be attracted to more conservative values, such as material security and family traditions. Just about the opposite of the vain and attention-seeking Rat, they tend to be more content in the background, intelligent and reliable, but never seeking or demanding praise.
On the downside, the Ox personality can be quite stubborn (almost arrogant) and overconfident, not allowing others to go against their rules. This can present some challenges as a parent or when in a leadership role.
We can expect some of these qualities to also permeate the world on a larger scale this year.
Note: To find out more about your personal animal sign, this is a decent resource.
Health in the Year of the Metal Ox
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Metal Element represents the breathing or respiratory organs, including the lung, nose, and skin. As Metal needs Fire to melt it into useful tools, when the Fire Element is missing, the Metal Element becomes imbalanced and unhealthy. Therefore, in 2020 we saw the COVID-19 pandemic, with its weakness affecting the lungs. In 2021, we will continue to see this health trend, including more prevalent cases of the flu and viral infections affecting people’s breathing organs (lungs, nose, skin). (By the way, this author admits she got this wrong in last year’s predictions, assuming the strong Metal would support the Lung. This didn’t take into account the complete lack of Fire.)
The Earth element represents the digestive organs, specifically the stomach and small intestine. The Yang energy of Fire is very important to the digestive organs, so without this element we will see continued digestive problems. The Water element represents the bladder, kidney, endocrine and reproductive organs. The continued Water imbalance this year could stress these systems.
Once again, the biggest underlying culprit here is the strong weakness of Fire and Wood (and the Yang principle in general) which then causes imbalances in the Water, Metal and Earth elements. When in balance, these organs will not be negatively impacted. In addition, the strong weakness of Fire means Fire organs are also impacted. They include the heart, blood circulation, and overall vitality of the body.
To bring more balance, one can consider taking certain health supplements and dietary approaches that “fire up” and strengthen the respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. This might include adding more warming ginger and gentle kitchen spices to food, eating warmer foods (such as soups and stews), and supplementing with digestive enzymes if necessary. It might mean eating more foods that support the lung, such as white radishes and pear, and avoiding foods that “gum things up” such as dairy, sugar, and alcohol.
Consider extra Tibetan foot soak baths at home to fire up blood circulation once a week, taking Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or periodically using gentle formulas that contain circulation- and heart-enhancing herbs like hawthorn and Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza). You might want to support your thyroid and adrenal functions more mindfully, by adding in some extra iodine, zinc, and selenium for the thyroid, and taking some adaptogenic herbs regularly like Siberian Ginseng, Rhodiola, or Ashwaganda.
With the Wood element also not strong this year, we need to take care with our Liver health, avoiding foods that stress the liver such as sugar and alcohol, or the excessive taking of medications that compromise liver health, such as NSAIDS. A spring and fall basic liver detox is also a great idea. As Liver is said to support the Lung, this becomes even more important this year.
Getting out into the sun and exercising is also vital during these years.
Warning for those born in the year of the Goat especially, but also Horse, Dog, and Tiger. Favorable year for the Rat, Rooster, and Snake.
If you were born in the Year of the Goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015), you are in direct clash with the year. Clashes will bring turbulence, movements, accidents, or big changes. On the plus side, you can anticipate more traveling opportunities, and it is a good year to change jobs or move offices or houses. You must carry the Rat pendant for protection (see more on Feng Shui Solutions below).
The animal years that combine well with the Ox are the Rat, Rooster, and Snake. These animals are in a year of harmony. However, don’t rely on this kind of simplistic astrology; for a more reliable assessment of one’s fortune, it is best to consult an astrologer trained in looking at all aspects of the year, month, week, and day of your birth.
Finally, on an interesting note: if you are born on the day or year of Yang Wood, Yang Earth, or Yang Metal, or if you were born in years ending in 4, 8, and 0, such as 1954, 1968, or 1980, you are said to be born under the “Nobleman star” this year. The Nobleman star is said to bring a solution to obstacles and dangers, making the year feel more comfortable and smooth. If 2021 is your Nobleman year, go ahead and take the chance to develop new projects and stick your neck out a bit more!
To find out more about your personal animal sign, this is a decent resource.
Feng Shui Solutions
If the Chinese horoscope this year is correct, it certainly sounds like it might be a challenging year for many, both individually and on a planetary scale. You might consider adding in some of the following traditional Chinese feng shui corrections below. While perhaps feeling a bit silly about some of the unusual recommendations, what can it hurt?
Bring Fire and Wood energy into your life by adopting some simple Feng Shui solutions that magnify these energies in your home or office. Here are some suggestions:
People born in the year of the Goat (or Sheep), Horse, Dog or Tiger this year are recommended to wear a jade rat pendant. You can actually purchase these on Amazon!
Bad energy symbolizing obstacles and misfortune will reside in the Southeast sector this year. It’s best to hang a six-metal rod wind chime in the southeast corner of your residence or office to dissolve this energy. The worst months will be in April, October, and January 2021. Once again, Amazon delivers!
Sickness and worry are thought to reside most strongly in the North this year. The traditional method is to hang a string of six metal coins here. Again, Amazon rocks:
Try to not sit with your back facing East this year, as it will bring bad luck!
Avoid conflict and robbery by placing a piece of red paper in the Southwest of your residence and/or office.
Place three bamboo stems in a clear glass vase in the Center and Northwest positions to avoid legal problems and scandals.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Raymond Lo, from whom I borrowed much of the information for this article. Raymond is a renowned Hong Kong geomancer and Chinese horoscope consultant, and one of only five people to earn the title of "Grand Master" from the International Feng Shui Association. For more information, click here.