There are two New Year celebrations that take place each year marking an auspicious new beginning. The western solar-based New Year celebration on January 1st and the Chinese moon–based New Year (4712) scheduled to begin on January 31st. It was the Romans in approximately 42BC who dedicated our western New Year’s Day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. Whereas the Chinese New Year is celebrated during the second new moon after the winter solstice, usually between Jan. 21 and Feb. 19 on our Gregorian calendar. Both mark a new beginning on the cycle of life.
Chinese New Year festivities begin on the 1st day of the month and continue until the 15th, when the moon is full. It is a Chinese legend that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on New Year’s Day and named a year after each of the twelve animals that came. The animals in the Chinese calendar are the dog, pig/boar, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, and rooster.
This 2014 begins the year of the Wood Horse. As Feng Shui consultant Madhu Brodkey explains, “The Chinese New Year is filled with ritual, excitement and festivals. Traditionally approximately three weeks before the Chinese New Year families start their spring-cleaning to welcome in the New Year. This is a period when new furniture or minor renovations are undertaken and unused items like clothing are given away. New Year decorations are used to create a festive atmosphere. The orange tree known as kumquat is a favorite among many home decorations. It represents abundance and is placed near the front entrance. Gathering with family and friends and sharing great feasts bring joy to the year’s start.”
This New Year, marked and embodied by Wood Horse, sets the tone for a fast paced year! Astrologer Susan Heinz illuminates “2014 moves from the Chinese year of the Serpent to the year of the fast moving Horse. 2014 is going to be the turning point year! It will be a fast moving year poised on an edge of transformation or chaos depending on our clarity of vision and intention. It begins dramatically with a New Moon in Capricorn, aligning with the planets, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto on January 1st. Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter [are planets associated with] hastening, and intensifying the breaking down of old worldviews and paradigms, governmental structures, and economies. This is a profound historical time, the turning point year for humanity in its decision making process.” Wow with that kind of prediction it behooves each of us to consider how best to start our year out ready for the task at hand.
As we celebrate and prepare for the coming year we can profit from the ancient wisdom and tools of Feng Shui and Astrology. Doing so helps to heighten our awareness, decrease our fear and stress response, and encourage each of us to consciously make choices that support health, prosperity, and harmony for our selves, our families, and the wider global community.