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Happy Chinese New Year!

2021: The Year of The Yin Metal Ox in the Chinese Zodiac Calendar 2/12/2021-1/31/2022



Following the Chinese calendar, which rotates in 60-year cycles based on 12 earthly branches, each represented by an animal year, and five element years — wood, fire, earth, metal and water — 2021 is the Year of the Yin Metal Ox. On a deeper level, each earthly branch is characterized by a yin or yang force and an element. Because Metal this year is the Heavenly Stem, and Ox is the Earth Element, we should anticipate greater harmony than in 2021 as Earth gives birth to Metal (we won’t be totally out of the woods, though, as Metal has a sharp side too, like a knife!).


By any measure, 2020 The Year of the Yang Metal Rat, was incredibly challenging: global pandemic, political turmoil, social unrest, and economic decline. Rats are extremely resourceful, which is the only reason we probably survived 2020 at all! What will the Year of the Yin Metal Ox (Buffalo) mean for us? In agricultural societies it is often the Ox that is directly responsible for that village’s survival. Think of words such as:


  • Hardworking

  • Determined

  • Reliable

  • Grounded

  • Stable

  • Stubbornness

  • Generally easygoing but occasional bad temper flare


These are the traits that will be at play and serve us. Health-wise, the element is Metal just like in 2020, so we need to continue to address conditions that will attack our Lungs, such as the virus driving the pandemic. We need to pay attention to our Fire element that rules the Heart, Blood Circulation, and Vitality. The Water Element is in excess this year so we need to be gentle on our kidneys, urinary and reproductive systems. Being stubborn like the Ox (such as disregarding public health mandates), will get us into trouble in 2021. Because the Ox can just keep going and going and going, be mindful of taking rest and not mimicking the Ox’s behavior in this regard.


Because this year relates to both Metal and Earth the lucky colors are white, silver, gold (metal) and brown, yellow, and warm neutrals (earth). Be steady, build things from “the ground up,” and avoid risk are the recommendations by Chinese Astrologers. As a general rule, deep cleaning your home and repairing anything that is broken brings good luck into the next Chinese New Year. Opening the windows and allowing fresh air to enter your space on 2/12/2021 will also be a good way of releasing “Stagnant Qi,” as we say in Chinese Medicine. For quite some time I have done this rather than a “Spring Clean,” because after all--once we survive a long cold hard Chicago Winter--who wants to be inside when the earth is greening & budding yet again?



All the best to you & yours,

Maureen McLaughlin, LAc




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