2008: Chinese Year of the Earth Rat
The Year of A Time to Make Your Mark
Welcome to the Chinese year of the Rat. Chinese New Year is the main holiday of the year for more than one quarter of the world's population and the Chinese New Year commences each year in February, according to our Western, Gregorian calendar. Chinese tradition employs both a Solar and Lunar calendar. Using the Solar calendar, the year starts on February 5th, beginning the new Zodiac animal cycle. The New Moon day of Thursday 7th February 2008, however, is the official Lunar New Year celebration day when the dragons and fireworks come out onto the streets!
2007 was the Year of the Fire Pig and it's been a challenging and dramatic year of changes. Now, in the cycle of twelve animals, comes the ambitious Rat. He's the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and thus we begin a new 12 year cycle. Looking back on what I wrote previously (see 2007), I find that the predictions of dramatic changes in attitudes to the environment and mother earth have all been borne out.
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The Chinese mythology of the Rat is a great tool for finding insight into the year ahead. The Rat lives underground and burrows, and thus he is the master of the underworld. He is a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and is generous to those whom he enjoys. He is brother to the serpent and the mole – and he comes from the time of the night. Interestingly, in India, the Rat is the servant of Ganesha, the spiritual guide for mankind and the Hindu god of great strength for overcoming obstacles, fear and worry. The Rat bears and assists Ganesha. In other cultures, he appears as the image of the plague: our history is full of images of rats as something mankind feared. As an animal, the rat is one of the most intelligent, rated alongside the dolphin and the whale as a creature of high native intelligence.
The Rat is charming, imaginative, very clever and opportunistic in money. His best role is as a confidential agent to you. He loves things off the beaten track. Hates alarm clocks, agendas and family photos and enjoys voyages, especially to places no-one has been yet. His favourite haunts are catacombs, caves and underground passages. He's skilled at sales, financial and legal matters, writing, political work, doctoring, pathology, detective work, spying and criminology.
He was the first of all animals to answer the call from the Buddha to take care of the years in the Chinese calendar. In our culture, the rat does not have a great reputation and indeed is detested and reviled as a creature of the plague and of disease - harbingers of ruin, as they were regarded in the middle ages. He is solitary, individualistic and self-willed. He's alert and watchful and it's very difficult to influence the Rat. He's intelligent. You cannot trick him.
The Rat is a Go-Getter
The Rat is a go-getter. He's active and highly strung and hard mental effort attracts him and also relieves him. When he does nothing, he has problems and can wander in circles becoming over critical and obnoxious. The way of struggle is vital for him and he finds he cannot endure life if it's full of rules and mundane obligations. He's original; the mysterious attracts him as does Baroque fashion. He can forget your wedding anniversary, but he has a knack of inventing new things to celebrate to make up for it. The Rat respects laws but usually only his own laws, and can be the type that breaks taboos and defies the establishment.
He is also very detached, purposeful and adapts to all the changing circumstances around him. He is full of courage, industrious and hardworking and his brain is keen and alert. Rat people see the goal they want and go for it. He is unafraid of the unforeseen, so can move with whatever changes happen to him in a project or a profession.
Rats Who Love
Rats are anxious and sometimes aggressive; they would never win a prize for being the easiest to get on with. On the other hand, they are romantic creatures and never boring, so will be passionately involved in an affair. In fact the Rat's romantic life is not simple, as it can be a mad infatuation all the way to an inflamed passion! Sometimes those excessive emotions will frighten less outgoing zodiac creatures away. In love, he is capable of fantastic generosity and has the reputation of getting himself involved in some extremely complicated situations, being sometimes a victor and sometimes a victim, not knowing why someone turned on him. At times, you could even say he is slightly sadomasochistic.
The happy Rat is faithful and committed and will always appear to be the great advocate of sincerity. Sexually, he is a passionate person and a great lover. The Rat in Chinese Four Pillars astrology is known as the "Flower of Romance". So a year of the Rat will stimulate much romance, with big marriages in the news – and also its share of dramatic sex scandals.
Famous RatsFamous people born in the Year of the Rat:
- scientists Werner von Braun and Galileo
- film maker Luis Bunuel
- US president Jimmy Carter
- composers Hayden, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Johann Strauss
- painters Monet and Toulouse Lautrec
- sculptor Rodin
- writers Jack London, Emile Zola, Charlotte Bronte, Shakespeare, Shelley, and Leo Tolstoy
- adventurer Lawrence of Arabia
- Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, was born in 1948.
What is this Rat Year all about?
This February we have moved from the 2007 Fire Pig (Fire and Water) to the Earth Rat, who is made up of Earth and Water. In the Five Element system it's pictured as Earth over the Water, which is, as you may note, a very precariously balanced system. Earth sitting above Water does not bode well for stability and for balance. There are, therefore, strong indicators of change with this year and they will go on into 2009 as we have an Earth Ox year following (which is Earth over Earth).
The year of the Earth Rat – this is of 'afternoon' earth, which is of the hot and humid time of summer. It's a different element from the Rat who is of the Water element. This is the Earth of slow transformation, subterranean passages, inundations and decay, where mouldiness can set in if projects are not advanced or taken care of. The Chinese use a Five Element system that consists of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, and each has its own characteristics.
A most obvious outcome from this year is focused around environment issues. People will be far more fiercely concerned than ever about changing weather patterns, environmental pollution and carbon dioxide levels, as well as the environmental practices of business and government. People will also look to themselves and their communities as to how they can change lifestyles. Earth rules the food and nurturance you put into yourself to keep yourself alive and thriving and Water rules the life force that goes into the soil to make it thrive. With Earth over Water, survival and food supplies become bigger and bigger issues in the world. Governments will be asked to put huge amounts of effort into future food supply planning. This will mean, in the realm of crops and assistance for farmers, both to grow new crops and to change agricultural practices, in order to help the planet.
It's likely that environmental issues will be become critical ones in all countries around the world, as earth changes become more and more obvious to everyone. Even at the time of writing this article (Jan. 2008) the Chinese government, driven by the obvious desecration and pollution of their waterways across the country have taken a stand to ban plastic bags from the entire country by July 2008. This is a major change for a country beset by environmental problems. Watch China for clues to world movement in 2008.
Pressure to Change
As the Rat is a determined animal, leadership issues will be key ones in 2008. Leaders in positions of government and administration will be under pressure to change and leaders of industry, especially the industries ruled by Earth and Water like mining, food, agriculture, housing and dams, water supply, transport, shipping, the soft drinks, fruit juice and bottled water industries, plus the media, TV and radio, will all be up for change. Expect to see big leadership shifts all through the world, as those who make decisions are put under pressure by consumers and populations of countries with very topical political, democratic or environmental issues.
In an Earth Water year, another feature will literally be earth and water movements such as floods, landslides, tsunamis, earthquakes – and the issue of clean drinkable water. Alng with increased environmental and earth changes disasters, we can expect the supply of clean water to become a greater issue even in western countries that already have everything they need. One industry that will benefit from 2008 is the clean water, water purification and water filter industry, as well as the area of sewerage treatment and new ways to purify wastes. These will be on the agenda for many countries. If you are in any of these industries, expect things to continue to expand and your services called for more and more this year.
Rat years are great years for inventions. New ideas will come to fruition with the invention of new technologies that are then adapted into our changing lifestyles. Business corporations will go through huge changes and the finance markets of the world will go through shifts, as the Rat likes to deal with money and does much hoarding.
Previous Rat Years
The last Earth Rat year was in 1948 and before that in 1888. These were both great years for inventions, political changes and the establishment of new directions for the future.In 1888,
- Nikola Tesla constructed the first electric motor, which was then put into manufacture by George Westinghouse.
- George Eastman developed the first Kodak box camera.
- J.B. Dunlop invented the pneumatic tyre
- and H. Hertz and O. Lodge independently identified radio waves as being the same family as light waves.
- The Financial Times was founded in London.
- In Africa, Lobengula, King of Matabele accepted the protection of the British crown and granted Cecil Rhodes full mining rights. In that year Rhodes then amalgamated all Kimberly diamond companies into one.
- the World Health Organisation was formed and the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Burma gained its independence from Britain.
- The first precursor to the NATO organisation under the Treaty of Brussels was formed when Britain, France and other European countries formed an alliance against Russia.
- Sri Lanka became an independent country.
- Singapore held its first ever elections.
- Israel, the Jewish state, first came into existence.
- The Long Playing (LP) record was invented.
- The first Porsche car was built by Ferdinand Porsche.
- The first port radar systems were installed in Britain
- and the Mt Palomar 200 inch telescope, the largest in the world, was completed and dedicated in the USA.
Economic Moves This Year
2008 is a Yang Earth year, with the Water element underneath. The dominating element is therefore Water. So it's going to be a time of cooling down after the active economic years of 2006 and 2007. Fire is the symbol of financial markets and strong Fire stimulates optimism and speculation. There is no Fire this year and without Fire the market turns conservative.
The strong Water element encourages some movement for the Earth industries which are property, insurance, mining, hotels, engineering, health and the chemical industry. With strong Water showing up, the property market can be active, but only in Earth-ruled countries. Investors this year will, however, be more cautious and more practical; there will be a cooling down, with more stability in stock markets.
With little or no Fire, the Fire industries – finance, the stock market, energy, electricity, entertainment, and airline businesses – will definitely not advance this year. Home and property values will have some support, but with Water underneath, it may be that natural water disasters strongly influence the property market. The solution would be not to buy or invest near seafronts, rivers, large water bodies, or on flood-prone land.
Year of the Earth Rat: part 1 | part 2 | FengShui Your House | Chinese Zodiac | Feng Shui | Your Year Ahead