In the Chinese culture, New Years Day is celebrated on the first day of the Chinese calendar which begins with the birth of a new moon. The Chinese lunar calendar is derived from a combination of both lunar and solar movements. Since the lunar cycle is 29.5 days, every seven years a month is inserted into the system to ‘catch up’ and align with the solar cycle. Typically the new year occurs sometime between January 22th and February 27th.
The lunar new year offers an opportunity for new beginnings. It is an auspicious time to release impediments of the past so that we may create the life experience we desire. For the Chinese, the New Year is also a time of thanksgiving, when special tribute is paid to the spirit of one’s ancestors.
The Chinese calendar is based on the Stem-Branch system which is connected to the Five Element theory. There are 10 Stems and 12 Branches within this system.
The Stems represent the Five Elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. Each element has a Yang and Yin expression, and each aspect is honored for the duration of one year. The 10-year Stem cycle follows this sequence: Yang Wood/Yin Wood, Yang Fire/Yin Fire, Yang Earth/Yin Earth, Yang Metal/Yin Metal, and Yang Water/Yin Water.
The 12 Branches are associated with specific animals whose characteristics are highlighted for one year. The animals adhere to the following ordered sequence: Rat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, and Pig.
The Stems and Branches are combined to form a 60-year counting system which begins with Wood Rat and ends with Water Pig. The current cycle began in 1984, and 2014 represents the 31st of the 60 combinations that comprise the Stem-Branch system.
Chinese New Year in 2014
The Green Wood Horse of 2014 initiates a dramatic energetic shift towards optimism, productivity, and positive forward momentum. According to the 5 element system, we are transitioning from the degenerative portion of the 10-year cycle to the re-generative phase of new growth and expansion.
As we move out of a two-year period of deep introspection associated with Water Element, we welcome the budding, powerful, new-growth supporting energies of Wood Element. This positive shift is amplified by the fiery characteristics of the Horse.
The Horse is considered a favorite animal within the Chinese culture for many good reasons. Long before the invention of the automobile, horses provided the fastest and most enduring means of transportation. Metaphorically, horses are believed to help us reach our destinations or goals with speed and success.
In addition to being used to travel long distances, horses were utilized in warfare to provide their riders great advantage on the battlefield. The emperors of every Chinese dynasty searched for beautiful, sturdy stallions to support their military conquests. The stallions were required to be tall so that riders could see their opponents, and they had to be fast enough to outrun other horses. Over time, the Horse came to symbolize traveling, competition, and victory.
Horses are competitive by nature, in both natural and man-made settings. They are known for their unbridled pursuit of freedom and their fierce desire for leadership. Horses enjoy social activities and like to show off their strong physical presence.
In Chinese mythology, the horse is associated with heat, fire, and the color red. These rich ingredients combine to fuel the energy of passion. As a social animal who embodies the fiery essence of love, the horse is considered a Romantic Star in the Chinese Horoscope.
The Horse is an intelligent, wild, and spirited animal. In order to become useful to his human counterparts he requires training. For thousands of years, humans have harnessed the raw, untamed energy of the horse to direct it in positive, productive ways.
Horses and Dragons
The Dragon and the Horse are regarded as the two most auspicious symbols in Chinese mythology. The Dragon is the best flyer in the sky while the Horse is the best runner on the ground. Both animals are symbols of high-ranking position, outstanding achievement, nobility, and leadership.
Chinese history books describe the Horse as containing 30% of the Dragon’s personality. Even today, a horse that stands over 8ft tall is called a ‘Dragon-Horse’. The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse may be called upon to inspire us to push ourselves to transcend our highest potential.
This coming new moon will open the gate to a surge of fast-paced, refreshing energy and forward propulsion. We can expect an infusion of light, hope, and extroversion as Wood Horse comes galloping into our lives. The horse brings us a renewed clarity of vision. He lifts our spirits, lightens our load, and provides inspiration that effortlessly propels us into productive, meaningful action.
The Yang Horse is impulsive and passionate by nature. In alignment with his native element of fire, he ignites within us an indomitable surge towards freedom in every aspect of our lives.
The horse relies upon his intuition to preserve his freedom and increase his vitality. Wood Horse greatly amplifies our power of intuition and impels us to fearlessly follow the guidance of our inner voice as we expand in new directions. Our intuitive wisdom and Higher Guidance is particularly potent at this time, as it is infused with Universal energy or ch’i.
Yang Horse has the capacity to channel the upward thrust of Wood’s energy through his heart, infusing it with the essence of fire to fuel our grandest visions and dreams. He inspires us to branch out and reach for the stars. By engaging the energy of passion contained within our hearts, we set our plans into motion and nurture our dreams to fruition.
During this extroverted Green Horse year we are gifted with new, purified energy full of hope and opportunity. We can use this gift to extend ourselves socially and open our hearts to deeper and more intimate connections. With renewed faith, we can act on our impulses to embrace the pleasures of life with a revitalized sense of awe and appreciation.
Now is the time to release all vestiges of the past that no longer serve our highest good. As we let go of limited thinking patterns, out-dated memories, self-imposed ‘shoulds’, and all regrets, we clear our minds to focus on what we truly desire in this lifetime. By releasing physical and emotional clutter from our lives, we create space to move with the freedom and fluidity of the horse in new, exciting directions.
As we lighten our lives we can take full advantage of the uplifting, fast-moving, spirited energies of the Green Wood Horse. Our stallion is strong, brimming with vibrant health, and he has an abundance of stamina to carry us to our destinations. Even if we wanted to, we won’t be able to stop the momentum so we may as well strap ourselves into the saddle and make the most of this exhilarating ride!