Preparing for the Year of the Wood Dragon

The year of the Wood Dragon is almost upon us. The Chinese New Year begins the second new moon after the winter solstice. This year it lands on February 10th. Each year we mark the rotation to a different element and a different one of the 12 animals. What can we expect as we transition from water to wood and from Rabbit to Dragon?

When we are in the water years as the past 2 years, we can find stillness and take a deep dive into the things that we want and desire to create. Each of us needs time to germinate ideas and projects and realize what are the priorities in our lives. This quality associated with water is will and during these time periods it is best to learn and discover our will.

Now we move with the wood element. Wood is how we experience the energy that rises in the spring. The nature of wood is birth and expansion. Think of the way it must feel now in the cold with the bare trees and you are in anticipation of those first green leaves. When they arrive, it is like a sudden burst of energy. With this energy shift it is an excellent time to vision for the upcoming months. Whenever there is a shift in the animal cycles to wood one thinks of prosperity and future visions. I think of it as an outstanding creative period. We have an expansive time ahead. The spirit associated with this element is benevolence. May the visions be able to benefit all.

With the dragon you have the lucky sign of the 12 animal signs. Dragons in Chinese culture are found in water or in the clouds. For one thing the clouds depict how close to heaven they are and the water within the seas there are 4 dragons for the King of the sea. On an earthly level the dragons bring healing, rain, and dancing; and on the heavenly level they are thought to be benevolent creatures associated with kings and rulers. Within Taoism the dragon represents the centered way. In Chinese Medicine there are dragon treatments necessary to do major energetic resets. The dragon is important in all cultures but especially in Asian cultures.

Those born under the dragon sign are not only lucky but are bold, charismatic, ambitious, and are strong. A wood dragon will be expansive, lucky, and strong. The triad of the animals associated with the Dragon are dragon, monkey, and rat. It also has a special relationship with roosters. So, all those individuals born under these signs will likely be taking advantage of this shift. The rest of us will benefit from it as well, but maybe not as dramatically.

From now until the 10th there is much to do in order to celebrate the New Year. The first thing is to clean the house. This means every cabinet and take the time to release any things that no longer serve you to have a home that truly gets rid of the old making room for the coming blessings. If you need to take time for yourself and get a haircut. Do it now. It’s good to set off fireworks in celebration.

And then there are the making of red lanterns to welcome the new year. I had to attach this lovely photo.

It’s a time to gather with your family and visit the relatives. You want to share in the excitement for the upcoming change. And last but not least you make prayers to your ancestors or as I like to say the beings around you who protect you.

I just started the cleaning up this week and I have a long way to go, so I want to give you all the opportunity to have at it as well. The more that you do the more that you are in the spirals of time. Through ritual and practices t these moments is how astrology whether western or eastern becomes real.

Moving toward the Fall and letting go

On August 7th, according to the Chinese calendar, the movement to the Autumn season and the Metal Element begins.   It’s easy to lose track of it as there is really another element that forcefully makes an appearance before we feel the Metal element.  This is the Earth element which is the first sign of the slowdown from summer and tends to be realized as a kind of sinking into relaxation.  The fruits and vegetables are glorious at this time and the bounty often requires canning, making jam, pickling, or preparing dishes that you can freeze.   Often this late summer weather is humid.   And it is a time I find that I languish in the accompanying stillness.  I recall the hammock often used in the backyard when I was younger.

I got used to that slow moving pace in keeping with the hot and humid.  This week though I faced the change.  I woke earlier and found I was not accosted by the humidity and instead I was taking in deeper breaths. (Notice the photo from predawn.)   The dog wants to run around more.  I know that much of the Mid-Atlantic states are in an awful heat wave.  It’s hotter there than in Florida.  But the Chinese never anticipated the effects of global warming.  No matter the weather, in the fall brings the experience of looking forward to the events that come with this change of season.  There are the calendars for the upcoming seasons for performances and classes.

Additionally, the Jewish holidays begin this week. For me, it is really that holiday that allows a deep dive inward.  As the metal element is so much about letting go it is the kind of holiday that I associate with the fall and the metal element.  Its focus is releasing and renewal.   In my family of origin, we would ask each other for forgiveness for any pain that we caused, whether unintentional or intentional.   We would begin with one another to create a clean slate to make a spiritual clean slate with whatever needs to be addressed.  The most important relationship in life is truly with spirit, no matter what belief system you follow.  And the Metal element is also about the connection to the heavenly spirit.

I invite you to welcome in the metal element.  See it in the air, the leaves, the birds and mark this moment with your own practices which will create the connection that you want with spirit.  If that isn’t the place that you normally explore, just take a moment, and sit with it to discover what is important to you about your relationship with spirit.  I hope that when you do this you will find the spirit in yourself, and support from others that allows you to make some sweet connection of your longing.

In honor of the Metal shift all the offerings this week will be oriented toward purging, letting go, inspiration and finding your inner sense of worth.  These are all related to the clear functioning of the metal element on the body/mind/spirit levels in our lives.


Finding the Sacred Self

This past week in the Mid-Atlantic states people were warned not to go outside due to the terrible air quality.   I decided to attach this article because the photos are so shocking.

Finding balance in a world that is suffering huge environmental crises is becoming a daily reality that can’t be avoided.  I felt it driving throughout the country, whether it was damage due to extreme heat, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or fires.   I listened to the weather reports endlessly as I traveled around trying to avoid the various crises.

Other signs of problems are also here.   When I was growing up in Florida, there were acres upon acres of citrus groves throughout the state.  You could smell the orange blossoms from the late fall to the early spring.   And there were watches for bad weather which affected this huge part of the Florida economy.  But now all I hear about is how the dwindling number of acres there are each year and the diseases that are killing off the trees.

It’s important to focus on these problems as we need to address every level of disharmony in ourselves and in nature.

Every morning I try to take the mile and half walk to the beach, and when I get there, I say a few prayers.  It is beautiful, but it is more that I begin my day by acknowledging the sacredness of the beauty that I witness and then I can find my inner sacredness.  I invite everyone who is reading this to go to their own sacred place each day and find your prayers and find your relationship to the earth.  It can be looking out the window at a tree, or on a trail, or at some birds in the yard.  We can make a difference if there is an allowance for the sacredness of all things.   As we honor all things perhaps, we can heal the earth.

Flow of the Heart

We are traveling well into the Fire/Summertime. It is hot here in Tucson. Today the highs will be in the upper 90s. These desert temperatures can be difficult. Sometimes it feels like I’m melting when I walk outside in the afternoon. The heat manages to get deep inside. We reach for the cold drink. Hot drinks would most likely be better. But what else happens this season?

The organ associated with this time of year is the heart. In Chinese Medicine the heart works optimally when energy flows unobstructed through it. A healthy person manages to nurture the heart so that it doesn’t hold onto anything. That means that the heart is not gathering pains from interaction, communication, self-expression, or the pains of others. Heartbreak is real. We can stay there, or we can allow things to flow through and capture the winds of unconditional love that actually fills our hearts. If we rid ourselves of hurt, pain or bitterness we allow ourselves the possibility of living from an expanded heart of light and love. This is why I end every note with this greeting.

Many of us are working our way down this path. As we move toward a place of light, we get the opportunity to look deeply at what we stored away in our hearts. This season will be the time to heal that next layer.

One of my favorite quotes is of Liu Zhou, a 6th century philosopher wrote that if the spirit is at peace, the heart is in harmony; when the heart is in harmony, the body is whole; if the spirit becomes aggravated the heart wavers, and when the heart wavers the body becomes injured; if one seeks to heal the physical body, therefore one needs to regulate the spirit first.’

When are we most at peace? Is it when we release the endless worry, fear, and anger? You can see how the emotions set us far away from where our hearts need to be. I appreciate how all emotions show up for each person. But the issue is whether we plant them, whether we water them, and whether they grow out of control. Emotions are the human experience- they will not be denied. And the celebration and rituals of our lives need to come from clear hearts toward heaven and earth. Maybe it’s idealism, or maybe we can work and become empty and make it to this peaceful and harmonious place.

This week we will dedicate our Qigong and Meditation toward a free and flowing heart and inner harmony. We will see if we can manage to operate from a place of greater heart clarity and have more loving communication.

The Movement Toward Summer

When I arrived in Tucson last week on April 25th, the Palo Verde trees were all in bloom with yellow flowers. While it’s not a forest it is everywhere. This is the main flowering tree around here and the flowers remind me of being in DC and awaiting the magic of the Cherry Blossoms in late March where you can’t help but be hypnotized by the magnificent trees’ energy. Then later in April the azalea bushes are in full bloom, then as they wilt and fall the heat intensifies as Summer comes.

Back here in the Desert, when eyes look down from the yellow flowers of the Palo Verde the cacti are in bloom at the same time. The desert is alive in an unusual array of colors. I came here and witnessed the height of Spring and the movement to the next energetic. But the way to know this is always watching the blossoms wilt to the ground. Summer shows its strength and glory just as the Spring had.

But here we are on May 5th the first day of Summer according to the wisdom of the Chinese Calendar, and those flowers are increasingly a carpet on the ground. The trees now are full of green leaves and are beginning to provide a little more shade in the summer heat. The heat while unpredictable from day to day is full on and you can feel it in the dryness in your mouth, your nose, and on your skin. You feel shifts inside you in various ways. It appears that everyone here is well aware of the shift with hats and sunglasses and carrying water with them.

And there are the other things to be aware of. The snakes are out. I keep my eyes peeled as my dog has no snake training and I expect his curiosity might be his undoing. It is really the snake’s land and as long as you give them their due you can keep at peace. I saw a rattler run over by a car this morning. I don’t want to encounter one up close and personal.

Also, on May 5th there was a lunar eclipse.  It was at the full moon, this time in Scorpio. There is nothing to be afraid of here. It might be intense transformation, rebirth, or something more and unique for you. As with lunar eclipses, your perception might open and expand. You might have to confront something in your life that just doesn’t work. You might feel you are going faster than the usual. It is better to take a pause and slow down. You may need to change course. Always take the moment to look at the truth about yourself and feel a wave of compassion, and then incorporate that part and go forward. If you can’t sleep – no big deal. You’ll sleep tomorrow the next day.  Scorpio, Taurus, Aquarius, or Leo
might feel a little shake up that actually could be good for you. As with everything we go through there is an opportunity for growth and learning. Maybe it’s naïve but I think to myself – bring it on.