Happy lunar new year from Abundant Heaven! We wish you a bountiful and healthful year. We also wanted to share some insight into the primary themes of this year, based on traditional Chinese symbolism and views of the world. As you may or may not know, Michael is a practitioner and student of classical Chinese astrology, particularly the branch known as Zi Wei Dou Shu through the lineage of his teacher Ming Liu.
Below is an excerpt from a recent reading for someone born the year of the Dog. We hope the reflections here provide something to reflect upon within yourself and the changing world around us. May these insights bring you a deeper sense of appreciation, peace, and inspiration as you continue to live your life and interact with the world. If you wish to learn more about Michael's fate assessment and classical astrology, please see our Fate Assessment page.
Dog - 戌 / xū
"The Dog represents the qualities of the eleventh phase in the cycle of the twelve Earthly branches (‘Xu’) and corresponds with the Yang Earth Heavenly stem. Its corresponding 2-hour period of the day is between 7 – 9 PM, and its corresponding month is the 9th lunar cycle, the time of year when autumn has fully progressed and the transition to winter begins.
Those born in the year of the Dog are deeply loyal and socially oriented, best suited to family or close-knit group dynamics. Chinese Astrologer Kwok Man-ho broadly describes people born in Dog years by saying, “You are alert, responsible and just. You are willing to sacrifice yourself for anyone you respect and you will never betray a friend. Once you have made a promise you will fulfill it regardless of the difficulties it involves. You are observant and sensitive and keep a cool head in times of distress. Others think you are too obstinate and too critical, but you cannot help noticing and commenting on others’ weaknesses.”
Let’s look at the broad symbolism of what “Dog” qi represents: the Dog Earthly Branch or 戌 / xū symbolically represents the 9th lunar month, which for most temperate climates like central China or much of the US is a time when our work activities, culture, and our inner biochemical responses to the world, our physiology, shift and turn inward for the darker and colder months of the year. It is time of year when energy and resources are paired down, and used more carefully. Due to the inherent limitations and changes in the temperature, weather and available day light, we are encouraged to spend more time in-doors, and in some sense, forced to focus ourselves on the people and projects that are most important to us due to restrictions on time and energy. It is this experience and the qualities of this experience that the Dog symbolizes in its qualities of loyalty, caring, directness, quietness, stubbornness, stinginess, and being excessively critical.
Chinese astrology is about interpreting innate and observable patterns from these natural phases and applying them to human behavior and personality models. Using the Chinese astrological system, we understand those born in the year of the Dog to have consistent tendencies towards being cooperative, supportive, loyal, protective, and just. Those with Dog - 戌 dominating their chart, as in your case, are people of natural integrity that remain faithful to their family and friends; they instinctively take protective care of their siblings, friends or parents. And yet, like all human beings, they are flawed and fallible, unable to always express impeccable images of perfection. Their personality faults tend to manifest in behaviors such as being hyper-critical, stubborn, moody, spiteful, and rigid in their habits and ideas. Strain on their character, either due to poor health, internal conflict, and/or challenging Fate, can lead to Dog-dominant-characters becoming more pessimistic, overly argumentative, frozen with anxiety, and unsettled. Regardless of their ups and downs, one thing is for certain: Dogs usually enrich their pack with their honesty, fidelity, and enjoyment of good company. Dog-dominant characters, when in a healthy and contented state, are appreciated by their communities as they are usually long-lasting friends, and focused workers. If out of balance or depleted, this focus and consistency can manifest as a brittle conservatism, both in viewpoints and behavior. Too much loyalty to a habit or a person can trap the Dog qualities into unhealthy patterns and relationships. In their faithfulness of focus, they may be unable to break free of hardship or suffering and they may be slow to let go, despite it being for the best in the long run. For this reason, it is important for Dogs to be discerning in their lifestyle choices, their partners and friends, and especially their superiors, as their loyalty can be turned against them.
Dogs are considered to be generally well-loved in all circles of their life, and while they may not be as bold and extravagant as other signs and characters, they are generally guaranteed success in most areas of life through more modest but consistent approach. They are considered part of the pair of the animal signs of ‘The House of Family’ (the other being the Pig), again pointing to their natural expression being best suited to intimate and close relationships. Many of these aspects can be attributed to another symbolic understanding of ‘Dog’ which is that their inner elemental nature is ‘Yang Earth’.
When we look at what this represents more closely, we uncover the power of Yin and Yang in balance. Earth represents such ideas and qualities as stability, support, establishment, manifestation, alliance, wealth, orthodoxy, legitimacy, righteousness, and the generosity of mothering. In terms of weather and seasons, Earth is manifest in thunder, the palpable vibrations of earthquakes, and the constancy of changing seasonal cycles. It represents the foundation, or the center, and the Chinese have considered it as central to their identity, calling themselves “Central Kingdom” 中国 (Zhong guo) for over 2,500 years. In the mind of the Chinese, this idea of unshakable stability is equated with more certain success. Dog’s inner nature is Earth, and thus generally considered a balanced and auspicious element to have in your chart.
The Dog -戌 is also the representation of communal richness and the constancy that comes from companionship so valued in the human experience. Anything associated with family and family harmony is considered positive and likely to achieve success in all matters of Fate. Of course no one is perfect in reality and Yin and Yang are constantly in interplay and balance. To understand where your strengths and potential pitfalls may be within your character, we must also look at the other factors and elements of your character."  Man-Ho, Kwok. Complete Chinese Horoscopes. Chelsea, London: Sunburst Books, 1995. 225.  https://www.quora.com/Why-does-China-call-itself-%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD-i-e-central-middle-kingdom