Put away those bunny ears and crank up the heat, it’s time to say goodbye to the Rabbit and enter the Year of the Dragon – the only mythical creature among the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.
In addition to eating auspicious food and giving/receiving blessings, Lunar New Year – which falls on February 10 this year – is also a time for many to consult the stars and find out what’s in store for the months to come.
Most people know the basics: The 12-year Chinese zodiac calendar cycle is represented by 12 different animals, in this order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
Your zodiac animal is determined by your year of birth, meaning those born in 2024 will fall under the Dragon sign. Those born in 2025 will be Snakes, and so on.
But that’s only the start. For faithful followers of the system, a year isn’t just categorized by its animal. There’s also a complex sexagenary cycle made up of 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches.
2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon
Every year, a heavenly stem (one of five elements, which fall into the yin or yang category) is paired with an earthly branch (one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals).
This year combines the heavenly stem “Jia” – which represents yang wood – and the earthly branch “Chen” which represents the Dragon. That makes 2024 the Year of the Wood Dragon.
Depending on what the elements represent and how they interact with each other, followers believe one can gain insights into what the coming months may hold.
“Jia symbolizes wood and the Dragon is a very earthy creature,” says Thierry Chow, a Hong Kong-based consultant who blends traditional Chinese geomancy with modern design elements.
“The relationship between the two elements tells us a lot about the year. In the five elements, we say wood restricts earth. That means, in 2024, industries in the wood category would likely suppress those in the earth category.”
Chow says industries with a strong wood presence – including culture, publishing and floristry – will be more likely to thrive than earth industries such as property development and mining.
Regardless of which heavenly stem the Dragon is paired with, the sacred creature is a very popular zodiac sign, especially in Asia.
“It’s believed that the Dragon represents strong and great leadership. A lot of people are looking to have Dragon babies this year,” says Chow.
“This year will also be significant because it’s the year when the world enters a new chapter from the eighth period to the ninth period of Xuan Kong flying star.”
She explains that there are nine Xuan Kong flying stars that affect the feng shui of the world. Each of them lords over us for two decades before passing the torch to the next star.
The year 2024 marks the beginning of the next 20-year reign under the ninth flying star.
“The number nine star represents feminine energy – so ladies are going to take over in a lot of the areas. It also represents technology, art and design as well as spirituality,” says Chow.
The nine stars could also help you decide which direction you should travel in the months to come.
Chow encourages travelers to explore places in the southwest, northwest and east – doesn’t matter if these southern destinations are within their city or outside their country.
The ‘Grand Duke of Jupiter’ lords over your luck
As for individual luck, followers believe that their zodiac animal’s fortune depends on the positions of the Tai Shui – the stellar deities thought to rotate parallel to and in the opposite direction of Jupiter.
To calculate how each person will be affected in a particular year, a Chinese geomancy consultant will look at one’s birth chart, which is composed of a wide range of elements based on different stars’ positions on the day and time of their birth, and see how their elements interact with the year.
These combinations play an important role for those who follow them, helping them make huge life decisions for the year ahead, such as whether they should get married or start a business.
While each individual will of course interact differently with the stars, most agree that analyzing Tai Sui’s position over each zodiac sign offers a general snapshot of the year to come.
If your zodiac sign is out of favor with Tai Sui – aka the Grand Duke of Jupiter – that year, the experts say you might find yourself facing more disruptions and changes than usual.
Chow says those impacted should remember the calendar is a rotating cycle.
“I believe for every yang, there is always the yin, too. So don’t worry too much and just be mindful of how the world may shift, and it’ll help you with what you’re doing anyway,” says Chow.
To resolve clashes, one could go to a Chinese temple and make offerings to representations of Tai Sui.
While Chow recommends everyone visit a temple to bring positive thoughts, she especially encourages people born in the Year of the Dragon, Ox, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Horse to get some extra blessings this year.
Every 12 years, we all have to face our “Ben Ming Nian” – the year when our own zodiac sign matches up with that of the current year. On February 10, we enter the Year of the Dragon.
Unfortunately, that means more disruptions and changes could happen to those who were born in Dragon years.
“For those who are born in the Dragon year, you would experience more rocky luck and a bit more limitations with work, relationships, etc, in general,” says Chow. “It’s a good year to stay low-profile and humble. The higher profile you try to be, the harder it’ll hit you.”
At work, you may feel more competition than in previous years and money may not come as easily as before.
“Stay grounded and try to save money as it’s going to be a tough year,” she says.
“Let’s just do more window shopping and less actual shopping.”
Not everything is negative, though. She lists switching jobs, getting married and giving birth as changes that could offset the Ben Ming Nian impact.
Dragons could also try to attend more happy events to lure positive energy, with Chow pointing to an old Chinese proverb as a source of hope: “One fortunate event would cancel out three disasters.”
All of you Snakes will face several changes within the family area this year, says Chow, but luck will be in your favor at some point.
“You will generally enjoy good relationships this year. You will potentially get some admirers and meet some good new friends,” she says.
When faced with difficulties, Snakes should remember that challenges can lead to growth and wisdom.
But Chow warns that doesn’t mean you can be lazy and wait for luck to come. She encourages people born under the Snake years to put in the work if they want to harvest the rewards.
“You’ll have the opportunities – don’t waste the potential,” says geomancy consultant.
Hard work will also translate into more income this year.
As for romance, Chow says things will be stable but Snakes are encouraged to participate in social events.
This year, a special star called Yi Ma Xing will shine over people born in the Year of the Horse.
It’s the star of movement, meaning Horses will likely have more chances to hit the road than they did last year.
“Whether you’re working or studying, you should travel – near or afar – as much as you can. Travel would bring luck and opportunities for you,” says Chow.
If you’re feeling a bit lonely, Chow says all that travel could even lead to romance.
Even though Horses don’t clash with Tai Sui this year, the geomancy consultant recommends people born under this zodiac sign visit the temple for some extra blessings as well.
People born in the Year of the Goat will need to plan their schedules wisely, otherwise stress and busy schedules will take a toll on their mental and physical health, says Chow.
“If you have been doing things the same way the past years, it is time to change and build a new plan,” she says.
Though they are in a negative position with Tai Sui, Goats will generally find joy in pleasant relationships with friends and colleagues.
It may be the year Goats will have a breakthrough or a promotion at work – money and fame could follow when that happens.
If you are looking for love, you may find someone very compatible through your friends this year.
Monkeys are going to have a relatively stable year.
“Maybe you won’t feel like having the opportunity to shine too much but that’s OK,” says Chow.
“You just embrace what you have for now and know that better things will come later during the year.”
Monkeys will find it easy to make money – and spend it. Hence, Chow advises those under this sign to be diligent about money management this year.
As for all your Monkeys in search of love, she says it’s a good year to get serious or find someone who is compatible.
People born in the Year of the Rooster will enjoy a harmonious relationship with Tai Sui this year (He Tai Sui).
That generally symbolizes a fortunate year for Roosters in terms of meeting new friends and finding suitable life partners if they don’t already have one, says Chow.
Generally, Roosters will enjoy a pleasant, stable year.
“It’s better to stay put in the first half of the year, like if you want to change jobs. It’s good to wait till the second half of the year to find good opportunities,” says Chow.
It’s a good year to rake in some money as well.
People born in the Year of the Dog will be clashing with Tai Sui this year, which means more changes and barriers in life.
“It’s a big year for Dogs. You may feel tired both physically and mentally, for you will be going through quite a lot of changes,” says Chow.
“It’s better to move instead of staying put, such as changing jobs, moving homes or going traveling. These will help alleviate the negative impact (from the clash with Tai Sui),” says Chow.
It’s also a year to practice prudence in life, she adds. That means it’s better to stay low profile and observe things from a distance before making any big decisions.
People born in the Year of the Dog may face more arguments in their relationships this year, she notes, but it’s not all bad.
“When there’s a negative side, there’s always a positive, too. Challenges will bring growth,” Chow says, reminding Dogs to take a deep breath and remember this as they face any challenges in the coming months
A visit to the temple will also help Dogs catch some positive energy.
“This year, you may have to work a bit harder and work longer hours than usual. But remember, when there are bigger challenges, your wisdom and growth will come in way faster,” says Chow of people born in the Year of the Pig.
But hard work also means more income – Pigs just have to be mindful of not losing their hard-earned money carelessly.
Meanwhile, Pigs’ personal relationships will likely be more stable.
“It’s a good year to slow down and embrace the person they are with,” says Chow.
Looking for a new love interest? Chow urges Pigs to attend more social events organized by friends.
“It isn’t the worst year but there are going to be some challenges. The good news is, they are also going to find a lot of guardians who will assist them at their lowest,” says Chow of those born in the Year of the Rat.
As a result, Rats should keep their eyes open for people offering support and advice.
At work, relationships with bosses and co-workers are generally stable. Rats may even get an opportunity to shine and gain some much-deserved admiration.
Rats may have an opportunity to save quite a bit of money this year. Because of this, Chow says it could be a good time to think about opening a new business if that’s one of their goals.
“Again, just don’t rush into doing too much at the same time too soon,” says Chow.
In terms of romance, she says Rats looking for love should socialize with friends and travel more.
People born in the Year of the Ox will face “Xing Tai Sui” this year. This means their sign is in a punishing or torturous relationship with Tai Sui.
“Although it sounds very scary, it actually means that Oxen should be more mindful of their health and safety,” says Chow.
Avoiding high-risk sports and activities is advised, according to the expert.
“You’ll be working a lot more but don’t be afraid of changes that may come. It’s going to help you get out of your comfort zone and you’ll grow really fast this year,” says Chow.
It’s also a year to be cautious with your investments and stay humble.
Whether single or in a relationship, Oxes should be mindful of how they communicate with others as they are more prone to conflicts from misunderstandings.
Like Dragons, Oxen could alleviate the impact by attending happy events and wearing warmer colors instead of all black and white.
“According to ancient Chinese philosophy, Tigers and Dragons have a complicated relationship. Tigers and Dragons fight. A lot of times, this is a metaphor to tell Tigers that there will be more conflicts in life,” says Chow.
That it’s essential to make an effort to maintain cordial relationships with friends and family and be more aware of your own emotions this year, she advises.
Work-wise, Tigers have the opportunity to stand out but may attract jealousy at the same time.
Money-wise, Tigers should be more conservative as they’re susceptible to overspending if they aren’t careful, says Chow.
For Tigers who are born in the first half of the year, it is more likely they will find love in the second half of the year. Those born in the latter half of the year may have a good shot with romance earlier in the year.
“It’s because the Tiger is a sign very heavy in wood and fire elements – and even more so if you’re born in the first half of the year. When it’s too much, you have to wait until this (surplus of wood and fire) subsides a bit before more good luck will come in the second half of the year,” Chow explains.
All you Rabbits can give yourself a pat on the back. You made it through the year, your ‘Ben Ming Nian’ is about to be over.
Those who had a trying year should remember their luck will change slowly at first – but they’ll see a noticeable change in the second half of the year, says Chow.
It’s a good year for self-improvement and to learn some new skills, which could prove helpful for your career in the future.
“Try not to gamble too much but make money in a very grounded way. Work hard and you will get the rewards,” Chow reminds Rabbits.
As for those who are romantically attached, it may be the perfect year to think about marriage and babies if that’s part of their life plan, says Chow.
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