2021 Year of the Metal Ox

February 12, 2021 – January 31, 2022 

We are soon to enter the Year of the Ox, the second year in the 12 Year Chinese Zodiac cycle. This time around we have a Metal Ox, according to five-element theory. (The theory which describes the creative, destructive, and counter-active relationships between the elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal, believed to be the fundamental elements of just about everything in the universe.)

The Ox is closely tied to the livelihood and wellbeing of humans. Think about it. From earliest domestication Oxen toiled in the fields, putting their heads down, working for the benefit of, and in fact devoting their lives to the service of, humans. This sacrifice continued even beyond the life of the Ox. In early days, our forbearers used everything that the gentle creature’s body had to offer, from bone to hide. Humankind owes a huge debt of gratitude to this hard-working animal.

The Ox never asks for recognition for its toil or for giving the gifts of its body. We can all take a lesson from this – considering the virtues of humility – as we ourselves plow through this next year.

The Ox’s best friend is the Rat. This pairing is a great example of opposites attracting. While the Rat can be aggressive, the Ox favors a more steady approach. The Rat is charming, the Ox loyal.  A very important place where the two intersect is that they are both extremely hard working and very family oriented. They do quite well together. The Rat is one of the most auspicious Chinese symbols for success and wealth.  Ask yourself – where would famous Ox, Walt Disney, be without his pal, Mickey Mouse? It is said, “When the Ox and Rat come together, the joy is enough to offset any evil the moment may encounter.”

On the flip side, the Ox has an opposing relationship with Horse, Goat, and Dragon. This will be a Tai Sway year for those born under those signs. They will receive either too much or too little energy. Fear not, there are ways to mitigate the effects of Tai Sway. The most effective action one can take is to do selfless good deeds. Another recommendation is for those affected to wear or carry a lucky charm throughout the year.

Something on everyone’s mind as we head in to this next year is the question of health. It appears that things will continue to be challenging on the virus front. There may be another wave, one that may spread to livestock and even domestic animals. Using the common sense precautions passed on to us by medical experts and scientists (maintaining social distance, washing hands often, and wearing a mask) can help go a long way toward staying safe. The last year of the Ox was 2009; most of us remember that as a year when the effects of a huge financial event in 2008 continued to be felt in 2009. It is likely things may get worse before they get better. Still, looking ahead, this old expression comes to mind. “The silkworm is rejoicing and the people are gradually resurrecting.”

An antidote to illness is to nurture, to show kindness, and to have reverence for nature. Pay loving attention to humanity and to the world around us. If you can find a safe way to do so, bring a meal to the ill, work in a soup kitchen, or simply donate to the SPCA. Do good deeds. In collective karmic terms, the more people to act out loving kindness, the more success we’ll have in terms of paying off the karmic debt incurred by our species.

On the plus side, there will be some real breakthroughs in science. We’ve been out of sorts with nature; this is a time for us to adapt. (It does seem that nature will cooperate with agriculture this year, so that’s some good news as well.) However we’ll be feeling the full weight of our responsibilities, and may have to try twice as hard to get things accomplished. Hard work will be rewarded as we endeavor to create a stable beginning for the next 11-year cycle. Picture the Oxen, heads down, plowing through the muck. You rarely see one tripping lightly about in a happy-go-lucky way, but you do see them heading home to the barn at night in satisfaction, knowing that through sustained effort they’ve accomplished a great deal.

Compensation and perseverance are two key words to hold close in our own efforts this year. You’ve heard the phrase that the reward for hard work is a job well done?  This is true, but it can be a little trickier than that. The Ox doesn’t seek accolades for the work he performs, and as was pointed out earlier we should take the lesson of humility to heart, but this is a good time to talk about compensation and receiving. Showboating and accolades aside, hard work must be compensated for somehow. When we truly align ourselves with the energy of giving, our compensation is in the goodness of the act itself. Perseverance pays off and our reward may be something greater than we ever imagined. There are two things to look out for though, and some honest self-examination will go a long way to helping us avoid certain pitfalls. One thing to keep an eye on is whether we tend to give as a means to control situations. Practice giving fully of yourself. In the moment you are with someone, devote your attention to them in the here and now. Be completely present in all areas of your life. When you can accomplish this, you will receive so much more than you were trying to get through attempts to control. Another thing to be careful of is a tendency to give too much away without allowing yourself to be compensated. Make sure during this year especially, that if you’re giving all that you can, you allow yourself to receive some compensation in some way. Giving too much and then refusing to receive when it is earned or deserved can mire you in victim mode, causing you to always see things as unfair. Allow yourself to be rewarded for your labors.

Our hopes for the year are expressed beautifully in the features of this year’s lucky postcard.  The main image is of a family of Oxen. Baby Ox is white, symbolizing the metal element. He is surrounded by treasure, indicating happiness and joy. Mother Ox is strong, caring, and compassionate, while Father Ox is strong, stable, and present. The mountain behind them is the symbol of the trigram for northeast, or knowledge area, which the Ox represents in the Feng Shui bagua map. The cranes above symbolize good health and longevity. This postcard will be included in every order from the Feng Shui Shopper Store on Etsy while supplies last. Be sure to place one in your home or office for good fortune for the year. Let us know if you wish to have a couple extra for family and friends.

Wan Shi Ru Yi – May everything go as you wish!