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Jia Chen - Wood Dragon Year :: Reflections and insights for the year of 2024 from the perspective of symbolic time



AI-generated art of a green and red dragon emerging from the seas and bursting, courageou into the cosmic skies. Iluustrative style and mixed art styling of background.

Every day brings us something new. That feeling of potential, great potential that emerges as the atmosphere warms up and the sun really starts to open the day, is the quality of Jia Chen - Yang Wood Dragon - 甲辰.


With the transition from Yin Water to Yang Wood, we can really stop and notice this magical moment on a grander scale. We can pull ourselves out of our crying, tired hearts and look up to realize that a new day has appeared, like magic, like it always does.


We humans think we are somehow outside of the endless rhythm of cyclic time because we can point at it and name it, and draw pictures and formulas to apply to it. This is a fun game we play to take power and use it for our will, but it is also a hilarious joke. We are truly powerless, in a deep sense, to the convention of perpetual time, transformation, and the cycles of life and death. We are an expression of nature, its power, its creativity, and its destruction. 


Jia Chen - Wood Dragon offers a taste of the power - an opening to take an inhaled breath - to taste a hint of the power that exists in the universe. It clears our vision for a moment, clears away everything to make simpler, brighter, and more obvious the way to go - or the way things are going.


This year is the window, the entrance, the portal for transformation on grand scales.


We come out of a cycle of deep dreaming, hiding, wandering, and immersion to see what new worlds can take shape. The dreaming becomes a creating, a shaping, a building of our visions, inviting us along the evolutionary path.


Traditionally, ‘Dragon’ or the Earthly Branch of Chen - 辰 represents the raw, untamable power of nature - of existence. As Nick Kapur, Historian of Japan and East Asia reminds us, “[Dragon is] Strongly associated with water, rain, wind, and storms, dragons would unleash torrential downpours that would wash away entire villages, create waterspouts that would hurl boats into the air, and whip through canyons causing flash floods.” It is Yang Earth, of course. When earth, with all its forces move, we humans are often powerless, surviving, adapting, and rebuilding with it.


Earth is so massive and mysterious that we have created mythological stories like dragons or the giant forest toad that eats humans and lures them with rainbows. Like the mythical magic forest toad that can swallow humans whole - how many human delusions can you inhale, transmute, and pour out as rainbow mists?


How are you learning from your mistakes and misperceptions?



AI-generated illustration of a forest toad exhaling rainbow wisps.

Yang Wood is this year’s Heavenly Stem - associated with the beginning of Spring, the Yin - 寅 Earthly branch - Tiger. It is dawning, morning light - the power of hope, inspiration, rebirth, reclaiming of power. It is the deeply human experience of feeling optimistic as Winter releases is frozen grip on our survival and allows Yang to be birthed so food and light can take hold again.


A combination of Yang Earth in Chen - 辰 with Yang Wood in Jia - 甲 presents us with an awesome re-establishment of opportunity. It is an initiation into magic.


What will you do with this perfect moment of new opportunity?


Can you let go of preconditions? Preconceptions? 


What foundations do you want to renew?


How much can you let go of? How far do you think we can go?


Are you laughing enough?


How much power can you swallow and how far can we spread it around?


Do you even lift bro?



 



Regardless of your personal place in the grand fractal wheel of Stems and Branches, the big picture of the year is about fundamental change, transformational opening, and going with the flow of power.


In the last year, I have been coming to terms with my own destiny as a diviner - as a communicator of spirit. I am taking this opportunity to look at the mysteries and offer my vision and voice to help us remember our connection to this perfection.


I have been studying other astrological traditions and making sense of how cultures all over the world have tried to organize the cyclic, symbolic nature of Heaven and Earth’s rhythms. I am mystified by how all these systems share the same intention - mapping patterns and making sense of the overwhelming power of nature from a uniquely human, symbolic perspective. At their core, all of these traditions are rooted in the human experience of standing on the earth, looking into the sky, and forming maps, symbols, calculations of patterns, ultimately generating meaning and revealing the greatness that makes us so small.


I think this year, in 2024, with the world where it is, with humanity where we are, is inviting us to drop pretense, drop illusion, drop lies and distortions. We are being pulled forward into a world where we are powerless as individuals and there is wisdom in cooperation, in drawing forth power from our connectedness. This is why I have been inspired to ask these questions in preparation for Jia Chen - Wood Dragon year:


What if we center ourselves in connection and collaboration with others?



AI-generated Tibetan-inspired Buddhist thangka - a green buddha with open hands to the sky is radiating peace and wisdom with a sutra of non-descript information around it.

How can this emergent, cyclical turning towards the Sun inspire us to dream bigger, more confidently, and on a larger scale - how is your success & healing connected to & dependent on the success & healing of all others on this planet?


In the deep awesomeness of ceremony, on the precipice of the year, I received these simple words for this year: big joyous ease - grace and strength.


I hope you take moments (indicated by the days that are indicated for such activities) to let the big and joyous ease of life move through you and that you are filled with a sense of grace and strength, in spite of and beyond your personal story of pain, struggle, disappointment, and suffering.


To help in this, I offer my reading of the daily rhythms of Heaven and Earth and I will also look at the lunar movements of this year, giving a sense of how this year may unfold for us all.


If you want to follow my daily readings and art, you can join me on AstroStar.live - https://astrostar.live/share/rwhFNj - where I will also be offering a live review of the year on Wednesday February 14 at 5PM PST.


I want us all to check in with the larger patterns as we move into a new world together, so that we can remember how we are collectively shaped by movements beyond ourselves. The big weather outside of ourselves is changing and calls us up and out to meet and grow together. We are all being invited to take responsibility for the world we are creating, individually, and collectively - may we rise together in a big and joyful way. There is grace in power if we come from a rooted and humble place.


 


AI-generated illustration of a robed rabbit with a spear, riding a green dragon-beast out of the clouds into the moon-filled sky


A review of the months of Jia Chen - Wood Dragon Year:

Bing Yin (Fire Tiger) |  February 10th - March 9th

Qualities: Fire over Wood indicates inspired creativity, exploratory innovation, and a careful need to focus this energy to avoid burnout or injury. Beware of impulsiveness and aggressive starts that miscalculate the underlying potential. Fearlessness is fine and good but don’t be surprised if you break something.


Dynamics: Bing Yin offers potential for emergent leadership and swift upward movement, but delusion and  tempers may flare easily.


Friends/Enemies:  Favorable for those born with Dragon, Horse, Dog pillars. Clashes with Monkey - paranoia is a sign you are aware of the danger of such power.


Weather: Early hints of warming, but possible instability (unseasonable hot/cold spells). The Solar Term Lichun (Beginning of Spring) falls within this month, shifting weather towards dramatic storms and a welcome shift to warmer weather.


Highlights: Engage in dynamic cultural events, focus on new ideas, new dramas, and technology. Get inspired - share what inspires you.



Ding Mao (Fire Rabbit)  | March 10th – April 8th

Qualities: A gentler combination that turns us back inward; Yin Fire sitting on Yin Wood offers potential for emotional warmth and creative collaborations. Focus on diplomacy, rather than force.


Dynamics: Ding Mao is a time for nurturing relationships, both personal and professional. Negotiation, listening, and intuition are favored over overt conflict.


Friends/Enemies: Good for Tiger, Dragon, Sheep. Potential opposition from those born in the Rooster year - overconfidence and certainty may be traps. Allowing for the aesthetics of mixed opinions allows you to avoid fights and misunderstandings.


Weather: Insect Stir and Spring Equinox Solar Terms occur in this month. There is the natural, continued warming trend, achieving the balance of light and dark. Feel where the natural environment opens your body/senses/emotions.


Highlights: Potential for flourishing romance, arts and social-cultural events. Cultivate sensitivity and compassion. Move gently, but move and warm yourself internally and externally.



Wu Chen (Earth Dragon) | April 9th – May 7th

Qualities: Doubled Yang Earth provides grounded focus on structure, what can and will be established, and practicality. Look for where there is slow and steady progress and let it carry you.


Dynamics: Dragon Moon during a Dragon Year offers moments for planning, investment, and consolidating existing resources. Avoid getting tricked into new, quick decisions or major overhauls.


Friends/Enemies: Harmonious for Dragon, Monkey, Rat signs - resourcefulness is easy. Awkwardness is felt by Dog aspects; an uncertainty in a central leadership position feels off.


Weather: Potential for heavy rain and dampness.  The Qing Ming (Clear and Bright) Solar Term starts just before this month, bringing us into Grain Rains, midway through. The Sun is confident and displaying its unlimited power and Spring as known modern understanding is fully on display.


Highlights: Increased stability. A suitable time for real estate or endeavors relating to home and security. Repair what is good and remove what is dragging you down.



Ji Si (Earth Snake) | May 8th - June 5th

Qualities: Yin Fire Element fuels the grounding of Yin Earth - spiritual spaciousness allows for consolidation. This month reorients us towards intellectual activity, planning, and strategy. Proceed with awareness.


Dynamics: Patience and stillness are useful as the Summer unfolds. Awareness is key. This is a good period for standing still among the ever-advancing march of the year and Yang push forth. Ji Si teaches us of the good that comes from behind-the-scenes strategizing and n seeing through the noise. Avoid overtly risky business.


Friends/Enemies: Favors Snake, Rooster, Ox placements. The naive joyfulness and eagerness of Pig steps right over the wisdom and into a pit.


Weather: Transition towards full heat, but mixed; wind and rain remain possible. Li Xia (Start of Summer) Solar Term starts just before this moon and marches us into Grain Sprouts, which reminds us of the fruits that are brought to fullness by the danger of Heat.


Highlights: Time for research, study, and gathering information. The fruits of our inner cultivation are born out, encouraging us forward.



Geng Wu (Metal Horse) | June 6th - July 5th

Qualities: Dynamic energy between Fire, Metal and Wood: Yang Metal tempers the Wood of the Year - holding off reckless innovation, ambition, and formation.


Dynamics: Breakthroughs are possible through sheer action. Careful planning minimizes potential chaos caused by rushing blindly into something that has a shiny veneer. Contain your exuberance. Find the ground.


Friends/Enemies: Compatible with Horse, Tiger, Dog - focus on doing the basics and confront lies. Difficult for Rat’s deconstructive and narrow-mindedness.


Weather: Increasingly hot - surely another record year. Mang Zhong (Grain Ripens) Solar Term starts the same day as the new Moon. Xiazhi (Summer Solstice) Solar Term marks the peak of Yang, midway through. Protect yourself - your heart - both physical and emotional/mental from burnout. Cool yourself with rest and play.


Highlights: Take each step carefully. A well-trained horse can make it look easy and graceful, while a wild horse can kill you. Expect technological breakthroughs, arrival of travel/movement, and plan adventurous outings.



AI-generated art of a mountain goat in the Alps, lookng into a mountain well.

Xin Wei (Metal Sheep) | July 6th - August 3rd

Qualities: Xin Wei - Metal Goat/Sheep offers a sweeter, softer combination than the previous Metal month.  Yin Metal in contrast to the year’s Yang Wood hints at refinement, attention to detail, and potential distillation of pain/effort born out of sensual and artistic experiences.


Dynamics: This moon offers a favorable period for symmetry, harmonious negotiations, and solidifying contracts/social connections. Collaborative ventures tend to be successful as Fire transitions and integrates through this Earth phase. Check in on yourself, your closest relationships during a time when there is less social obligation.


Friends/Enemies: Easier for people with pillars in Sheep, Rabbit, Pig, and Rooster. The Ox qualities of thoughtless persistence will be unwelcomed. Goat will make a fool of such dedication to convention. 


Weather: Continued heat and the emergency of bigger humidity appears as Yang surrenders its total power. Xiao Shu (Minor Heat) and Da Shu (Major Heat) Solar Terms mark this lunar period. A summer wave of pathogenic illness is always more likely during this time - the weather brings sickness, stickiness, and reminders to care more.


Highlights: Let yourself slow down and notice how the year has unfolded - it has peaked and is turning already towards the coming year. Integrate with kindness, artfulness, and attention to the details you may have forgotten.



Ren Shen (Water Monkey)  | August 4th – September 2nd  

Qualities: Water, fed by Yang Metal, opens insights, solutions, and humorous realizations. This lunar cycles can be a productive period, a blending of intellect, responsiveness, and intuition.


Dynamics: Ren Shen - Water Monkey month is a good time for problem-solving, admitting mistakes, creative work, and strategizing. Beware of distractions that may cause you to veer off-course.


Friends/Enemies: Beneficial for Monkey, Rat, Dragon. Challenging for those born in Tiger year.  


Weather: Heat is peaking, fighting on but the cooling trends start to ease the overwhelming heat. Autumn Equinox marks a great turning and equalization of Yin and Yang in the environment. Chu Shu (End of Heat) Solar Term moves us into the Dryness of Autumn more fully. Darkness is more palpable. Cool air comes at night, relieving us of heavy and thick Summer Damp.


Highlights: Allow for humility and begin to plan. Autumn is here, which means the year is fully opening and revealing its secrets. There is the potential for positive news in education, technology, and communication. Short trips may be productive and a relief from burnout and provide reflective insight.



Gui You (Water Rooster) | September 3rd - October 2nd

Qualities: The downward grip of Metal pulls everything into clear focus. The emphasis is on clear thinking, precision, and avoiding unchecked emotional involvement in decisions.  


Dynamics: If you have been cultivating a consistent routine, you may enjoy productivity into the Autumn months. Focus on improving your habits, routines, and assumptions. Expansive and profound things may fall into our laps.


Friends/Enemies: Easy and obvious for those with Rooster, Ox, Snake pillars. Your emotional instincts will be tested (Mao - Rabbit placements).


Weather: We are fully immersed in Autumn with all it’s coolness and dryness. Bai Lu (White Dew Descends) Solar Term arrives with the shift of coldness that makes moisture accumulate, settle, and congeal into visible dew and a heaviness. Storms and changing seasons are obvious reminders that Winter is soon to arrive. Autumn Equinox begins near the end of this moon.


Highlights:  Good time for streamlining your routine, especially in your businesses and finances.  Focus on improving efficiency by letting go of disappointment, expectations, and distraction. Drop a habit, at least for a little while during this moon.



Jia Xu (Wood Dog)  | October 3rd - October 31st

Qualities: Yang Wood reappears, echoing the overall theme of innovation, magic, and hopefulness of the year. Wood Dog draws these themes into personal realms of loyalty, teamwork, and the shared sense of purpose that humans are innately bound by and success through.


Dynamics: Potential for solidifying alliances. Pay attention to fair agreements and compromises, so no single party bears undue burdens.


Friends/Enemies: Harmonious qualities for Dog, Tiger, Horse but modesty is most useful. Grounded authority is well-received. The innovative and arrogant inspiration of Dragon becomes worn out at this point.


Weather: Autumn Equinox brings continued relief and cooling. Wind, with cold and dryness draws out the Damp but hardens the soft tissues of our body. Han Lu (Cold Dew) Solar Term falls within this month, and marks the turn into Winter. Signs of Autumn should be overwhelming and bitter frostiness tightens the world around us.


Highlights: Potential for positive developments in law, justice, and community matters. Election year tensions simmer into a crystal hardening of clear choices. Let the hopefulness you felt at this beginning of the year inspire you to vote for a future that remains open and hopeful for everyone.



Yi Hai (Wood Pig) | November 1st - November 30th

Qualities: Yin Wood with Water creates a potent settling point for the year. The arrangement of Yang Wood and Yin Wood in Water generates an emotional, dramatic opening that I suspect will show us the way Jia Chen - Wood Dragon has forever changed the future. Compassion and joyous connection are favored over rigidity, hardness, and nostalgia.


Dynamics: It's a good time for building trust, and focusing on interpersonal connectivity. Good for resolving lingering conflicts, letting go of the past (even more), and laughing at the weirdness.


Friends/Enemies:  Good for Pig, Rabbit, Sheep. Difficulties with those born in the Snake year.


Weather: Everything is pulling inward. Shuang Jiang (Frost's Descent) and Li Dong (Winter Begins) mark this moon. Let the coldness inspire the wisdom of pulling back and down. 


Highlights: A vision of the future can manifest from genuine healing. Be guided by emotional connection, humor, and the arts. Taking care and enjoying existence is a humbling but nourishing part of being human.



Bing Zi (Fire Rat) | December 1st - December 30th

Qualities: Yang Water of Zi - Rat holds the anxiety in check. There is energy late in the year that helps take everything in and turn it into something for the coming year. This moon focuses intellectual activity,  and tempers ambition.


Dynamics: A season that is ideal for focusing attention, igniting ideas for new projects, and networking/gathering towards collective goals.  Maintain control of projects to avoid chaos or mismanagement.


Friends/Enemies:  The energies of Rat, Monkey, Dragon all collaborate easily - finalizing and closure open new doors for action and utility. Nothing can be built in this season - only navigating hidden or well-worn paths - Horse pillars are unable to navigate.


Weather: Cold, increasing dryness. Heavy Snows Solar Term begins during this moon, and ends with the peak of Winter with Winter Solstice. The world dies and we all sleep so we can truly be born anew.  Darkness is comforting in its totality, highlighting the lingering light and warmth. Although and unsettling change should be obvious this year with unseasonably warm winters becoming more common in our new era. 


Highlights: Let your resourcefulness reveal future possibilities. Be bold, but with proper preparation. Overcome your own limiting ideas of yourself by seeing passion burn in others that inspire you.



AI-generated surrealist painting of a golden dragon emerging from a pool in a red and orange minimalist brutalist room.


Ding Chou (Fire Ox) | December 31st, 2024 - January 28th, 2025

Qualities: Fire helps Earth grow and the Wood Earth - Jia Chen - Wood Dragon year ends with a strong finish. Fire Ox finishes off the final month of the Wood Dragon year offering grounded inspiration after all of the big transformations we witnessed.


Dynamics: Tangible and real passion can be born and grow. Settle and anxiety or scattered energy that rises up - stick to a routine that anchors these premature rises.


Friends/Enemies: This moon is ideal for those with Ox, Snake, Rooster pillars. Finding completion, assurance, and clarity of passion will come naturally and support goals. There is contradiction from Sheep Earthly Branch - being overly sensitive or nostalgic is cringe. Do what you intend to do - don’t stare too long at the pretty picture.


Weather: The persistence of wintery cold is steady but turns near the end of the month. Xiao Han (Minor Cold) and Da Han (Major Cold) Solar Terms occur. Spring Begins comes in the new lunar year, the year of the Yin Wood Snake - Yi Si. This final moon is likely warmer than some and is a consolidation of all that 2024 gave birth to. Cold and Damp spread, causing pain and injury. Stay warm, move regularly, and sit in the radiant heat of the Sun when you can. 


Highlights: Emphasizes work ethic, dedication, seeing tasks through to completion. The dreariness of this last moon typically threaten to drown us in hopelessness or a lack of vision, but this year, with Fire Ox, there is some extra fuel for the full reconciling of Jia Chen - Wood Dragon. What new structures, systems, and guideposts have you seen erected this past year? Where are you plowing forth with a full heart? If you haven’t figured that out yet, I suggest you use this moon to do so.


 

If you have personal questions and want a more detailed look at your coming year, or your life, in general, please reach out to me to discuss getting a Ziwei Doushu - Purple Star fate assessment/reading, or book with me through https://astrostar.live/share/rwhFNj . In 2024, I am opening my books to a broader range of options and we can look very narrowly or do deep dives. Let me know how I can help you.


Happy New Year to you and all your connections. May your year deliver you to a state of perfection. I leave you with an excerpt and a reminder from a conversation with a wise teacher:


“Querent: Is there not a state of absolute perfection which does not decay?
Maharaj: Whatever has a beginning must have an end. In the timeless all is perfect, here and now.
Q: But shall we reach the timeless in due course?
M:  In due course we shall come back to the starting point. Time cannot take us out of time, as space cannot take us out of space. All you get by waiting is more waiting. Absolute perfection is here and now, not in some future, near or far. The secret is in action - here and now. It is your behavior that blinds you to yourself. Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect - whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage.
Q: Where do I find such courage?
M: In yourself, of course. Look within.
Q: Your grace will help.
M: My grace is telling you now: look within. All you need you have. Use it. Behave as best you know, do what you think you should. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; you can always correct them, only intentions matter. The shape things take is not within your power; the motives of your actions are.”
Excerpt from I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (Durham, North Carolina, Acorn Press, 1973) p. 419

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