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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome to 2009 - The Year of the Ox!

The Chinese New Year that corresponds with our year 2009 (this gets complicated; bear with me) begins sometime in February. This is the Year of the Ox, according to Chinese astrology.
The Chinese zodiac is based on this story: 12 animals were in a race across the river to meet the Jade Emperor. The cat and the rat were terrible swimmers, but smart and wily enough to know they could jump on the back of the ox in order to cross safely. Halfway across, the rat decided he had better push the cat off. That is why the cat hates both the water and rats to this day. Upon reaching the far shore, the rat jumped off the ox’s head and claimed first place in the race. The ox came in second. The strong tiger was third.
The rabbit had jumped from stone to stone to cross the river, coming in fourth. The dragon came in fifth, the snake came in sixth (by riding on the horse’s hoof) and the horse came in seventh. The ram, monkey and rooster combined their efforts to take eighth, ninth and tenth place. The dog came in eleventh, because he was busy playing in the water. The pig came in last, as he had stopped to eat and nap.
This is just one condensed version of many.
Every twelve years, the cycle repeats itself. Each of the Chinese zodiac animals is associated with various personality traits and characteristics that are said to be passed on to those born under their sign. People born under the sign of the Ox are said to be dependable, strong and determined. Oxen are tolerant individuals who believe in hard work without shortcuts. They have a hard time respecting lazy individuals. The Ox is very trusting, with an open mind. He prefers to do his own research before he makes a serious decision, and he favours a few lifelong friendships to many casual acquaintances.
The Ox seeks comfort at home, watching television or reading. He prefers the great outdoors when he is feeling energetic, spending time doing yardwork and gardening.
The Ox is strong and healthy, but this can lead to a tendency to overwork. Must remember to incorporate fun and relaxation into the daily schedule.
The methodical Ox excels in a specialized role that is routine. Oxen possess a keen eye for detail and an admirable work ethic. They work best on their own. People born under the sign of the Ox make good political leaders, surgeons, military generals and…hairdressers! Napoleon Bonaparte, Walt Disney, Clark Gable, Richard Nixon, Rosa Parks, Princess Diana, Richard Burton and Vincent Van Gogh were all famous Oxen.
Change makes the Ox uncomfortable, so he will look long and hard for the right partner before settling down. He isn’t very sociable, doesn’t like large crowds and never wastes time with flirting.
If you were born in 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985 or 1997, you were born under the sign of the Ox. Your birthday has to fall between February of the listed year and February of the following year, however, to correspond with the Chinese calendar.
And then we get into the Yin and Yang characteristics and the 5 elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Metal. Those factors will all temper the personality of the Ox.
2009 is to be the year of the Yin/Yang Earth Ox, meaning balance, nourishment, stability and harvest. Perhaps this current time of recession will force many of us to focus on the things that are the most important to us: the relationships that ground us and make us who we are.
According to Chinese astrology, the Farmer is a Fire Monkey and I am an Earth Monkey. Although we are direct opposites to each other in many ways (Earth and Fire), we do have many of the same characteristics that draw us together. We both love to laugh, and we are both extremely optimistic. Thankfully, my mate displays the mathematical and scientific traits that are listed under the sign of the Monkey: I seem to have been shortchanged there somehow.
To find out more about your own Chinese astrological sign, visit http://www.tuvy.com/entertainment/chinese_horoscope.htm.
And a Happy Year of the Ox to one and all!

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