2016 marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. Nowadays we have fun with these quirky astrological signs and Chinese New Year celebrations will show banners and costumes with monkey themes. As with western culture, these traditions are rooted in powerful ancient beliefs and rituals that may be dismissed as superstition yet actually hold important wisdom and teachings that we can utilize as healing and empowering archetypes.
Traditional Chinese philosophy emphasizes our relationship with the natural world and with the other species that co-inhabit with us. Because of their ancient understanding of numerology based on the numbers 5, 10, 12 (compared to our emphasis on 24, 7, 365). Chinese thinkers of the 5th century BC ascribed many attributes to the passage of time and created an intricate astrology based on the alignment of the stars, birth times, fluctuations of energy flow throughout day and night, and the curious assignment of powerful animals for each year of the 12 year cycle. Similar to our northwest aboriginal people and their animal totems of bears, eagles, etc., the Chinese created the following cycle. You can find your Chinese animal, the corresponding year (usually beginning February), and the major positive archetypes or attributes of each animal with the following table:
You can figure out your animal by going backward in 12 year increments until you find your birth year. These animals also embody relationships with all aspects of our lives: romance, health, career, finances, etc. Astrologers and fortune-tellers often claim they can predict our future but their real value is to study the fascinating and complex relationships and transitions that occur when a knowledgeable Daoist scholar translates the classic I Ching (Book of Changes) to help you get a deeper understanding of your experience, purpose and destiny.