By Karen Abler-Carrasco
Finally! Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. The galloping horse comes home to rest and transform into a quiet sheep, grazing within the comfortable bounds of her beloved flock. Is anyone a little saddle sore? Longing for a warm, scented bath, a home-cooked meal and some quiet time in a soft bed? Good news, everyone, the gentle, generous Sheep Year is here to provide that!
The speeding Yang Wood Horse Year of 2014 brought both invigorating new growth and disturbing upheaval to the terrain of our lives. Many outdated structures and beliefs got trampled, while fresh alternatives and daring choices beckoned on the horizon. Most of us endured some uprooting of old routines or even radical shifts in the direction we thought we were headed prior to riding that wild horse. Some of us spontaneously jumped into new work and play, some of us coped with unexpected or uncomfortable lifestyle shifts, and some of us just sat by the continuous stream of change to wait for calmer waters.
That slower pace is with us this year. On February 18th, 2015, we begin the Yin Wood Sheep Year. This year, the exuberant upward and outward propulsion of Yang Wood will reverse itself and turn downward and inward in its Yin form, allowing us to catch our breath, find our footing and take the time we need to adjust to the budding new life being offered. This year, Yin Wood will offer deep roots into our innermost selves, where the essential nourishment of personal comfort and security reside.
The qualities of Yin Wood perfectly complement the characteristics of the sheep. The sheep is a generous, patient, peaceful creature, who seeks to live in continuous harmony among family, friends and beauty. In the wheel of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, the sheep is considered to be the most feminine sign. The sheep seeks her own quiet pastures and flock, where all are safe, familiar and settled in mutual support. The sheep year is the time for healing and mending, nurturing and tending. Whatever has been disturbed, wounded, left unfinished or out of place can be more easily brought back into harmony this year, and the very process of doing so will bring fulfillment and grace.
The sheep’s power lies in knowing herself clearly and deeply, and accepting and forgiving all perceived flaws in self and others. With her open-hearted dedication to the goodness of life, the sheep character, with kind and patient persuasion rather than strident demands, always gets what she desires. For us, this means the year’s power lies in nurturing our ties within our friendship circles, our local economies, and our inner psyches. This year, the I Ching would counsel us to practice “Modesty,” and get our tender egos out of the way. When we do so, without becoming subservient, we become the ultimate Yin, or “Receptive,” and the entire universe can align for everyone’s highest good. Trust that it will… and it will.
This year’s most vibrant chi is accessed by calmly focusing on the finer details of one’s immediate environment. It is a perfect year for feng shui! Raise your energy by eliminating those things that are less than excellent, be it a chipped mug, faded artwork or uncomfortable furniture. Practice the art of graceful living. Find the most economical and efficient ways to accomplish your daily tasks and give them your full attention. There is a refined elegance, and more leisure, in living simply. This year, the little things in life are really going to support the big things.
The sheep is more of a follower than a leader. She relies on her friends to protect her interests. As such, the sheep year’s financial energies are rather fluid, with a tendency to be overly charitable for philanthropic causes. Set some wise, but not miserly, boundaries on expenditures, then trust that you will be provided all that is needed for you. Be gracious and compassionate with both money and energy this year.
It is also an important year to transform and refine your language, which is one of the main constructors of reality. Keep it kind, sincere, tolerant, and positive. The sheep is all about constant, precise and insightful communication with those around her, as everyone’s best survival depends upon it. Raise your lifestyle’s tonality as well, to vibrate in a more refined and elegant way, perhaps through giving music, art and Nature more opportunity to influence your inner and outer environments.
Above all, relax. When we match the year’s energies with our actions — taking time for the small pleasures of life, turning within, becoming soft, paying attention to the people around us and offering them simple kindness — we will be supplied with the energy we need. By aligning our behaviors with the year’s chi, we create space to welcome it in and amplify it, to make it real.
This is a year of gentle persuasions, frivolous delights (within the budget) and the subtle sensuality of all things feminine. Open your heart to the delight of receiving more love from everywhere and everyone. Let the glow of this love, for self and others gently grow and radiate outward, supported on all sides with the safety of a loving community, the comfort of a healthy home, and the lush beauty that springs from being grounded in Mother Nature and the great feminine principles. The Yin Wood Sheep year humbly offers us this guidance: create blissful peace in your home and your Self and you will light the way for others to follow.