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Happy Lunar New Year! Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Happy Lunar New Year! Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

February 12th marks the beginning of the lunar year of the Yin Metal Ox (Xin Chou 辛 丑). The lunar calendar follows a sexagenary cycle, with one of five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) combining with one of twelve animals. The Rat is the first animal of the cycle and the Ox is the second. After the chaos of last year’s Yang Metal Rat year, this year promises to bring a bit more stability.

The Ox is associated with tradition, hard work, and perseverance. It plows the fields in straight lines. While not innovative, it is known for its steadfast discipline and for being stable, grounded, and dependable - all qualities we could use more of after the rollercoaster ride of last year!

The metal element is associated with precision, discernment, and refinement. Last year’s Yang Metal was like a sword, chopping things apart, but this year’s Yin Metal will be more refined, like a scalpel. Last year, the pandemic abruptly shut down life as we knew it, but now that we understand more about the virus, we can take more precise and less drastic actions.

How to approach this year? This is a year to put structure and routines in place. It’s a time to learn from our past, take personal responsibility, and slowly and steadily get back to work and rebuild. Step by step, slow and steady wins the race. We need to practice honesty, sincerity, good judgment and discernment. This is not a time for immediate gratification nor is it a time to jump into something new. This is, however, a time to release what is no longer needed in a calm, collected way (so if you didn’t clean out your closets last year, now would be a good time!) Most importantly, it’s a time to implement practices which unify people and which promote kindness, compassion, and cohesion.

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