The Chinese New-year is coming February 16th.
There are 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches. Every year, there is a different meeting of a stem and a branch for a cycle of 60 years at a time. The meetings are determined based on the planetary movement which has a relatively repetitive pattern.
This year is influenced by the energy of the 5th Stem (Wu) & the 11th Branch (Xu) which makes it an Earth – Dog year.
The 5TH Stem is a Yang stem (odd numbers are Yang) in which the Earth element is hosted by great movement Fire. (Stomach in Fire)
In the Chinese nourishment (Sheng) cycle, fire nourishes/ generates earth, therefore in this case the relationship is reversed and the movement is “backwards”. In this kind of relationships brings a tendency for things to move a little slower and it is expected to have delays, especially when it comes to being able to enjoy the fruits of ones’ labor.
A Yang stem in the house of fire also has a controlling/ balancing (Ke) act on the Yin of the metal, and in this case the energy of the Lungs (Fei). Fei is gathering and distributing Qi as which supports distribution of fluids. The metal aspect of the lung is related to their contraction, gathering of air and the ability to control the pores – creating a “protection” from outside invasion of external pathogens, the first line of defense in our body, the outmost external layer of the skin, Fei is also related to the emotion Sadness.
In Wu years, the Fei may suffer and there is a higher chance for people to contract upper respiratory infection, or having harder time recovering from them (in my practice I already see the impact), people with asthma and allergies may have harder time this coming spring and others with weak Fei Qi may fall into slight depression, hence it is important to support the transition to spring by working on the Qi of the Fei and the supporting the movement from Gan (Liver) in to Fei with a treatment like Liv1 +14 as an example.
Since the 5th stem Wu is a Yang Stem under influence of great movement Fire – it has Unlike (Vs’ like) relationship, or opposing relationship with the 10TH Stem Gui (or Kidney in Fire). This relationship is posing pressure on the Kidneys’ energy (Shen Qi). Shen Qi is the responsible of maintenance of life and endurance and receives it’s nourishment from Fei in the Sheng cycle, the combination of Fei being jeopardized and Shen Qi under pressure by the influence of the 5th Stem, this is making Shen Qi vulnerable. It is important not to over exert in the attempt of making things happen faster. It will be a good idea to bring down the Qi from the upper Jiao into the Dan Tian especially with patients who already have a tendency for excess or “empty” fire. Points of the Zu Shao Yin can be appropriate ;Kid 25/24/23 along with points like Kid 12, 13 or 10, would serve this purpose and also support of the upper Jiao.
The 11th branch – Xu, is related to the energy of the Pericardia (Xin Bao) – The Heart governor or the protective layer surrounding the Heart.
Because Xin Bao is considered to be the communicator between the Heart (Xin) – between the master of the kingdom to the rest of the body, it is protective by nature just like the Dog, loyal, caring, honest and social. To some extent Xin Bao is responsible of our emotional immune system. Furthermore, The 11th branch is at a time of which energy transition and gathers inwards – the “end” of a cycle (11th branch out of 12). This fact is contributing to the tendency of people born in the year of the Dog to keep things “close to their heart” but are also good at expressing themselves to whom they trust. In general terms, in a year influenced by this energy there might be more tendency for issues regarding communication, especially by people who are reserved. Together with the influence of the 5th stem, this might add even more to the tendency of things to get stagnant in the upper Jiao and cause Damp and phlegm to accumulate, St 40 or Pc 5 come to mind in that regard.
Metal element in Chinese medicine is about refinement, accuracy and separation of the pure from the murky, and all those concepts are strongly related to boundaries. The Dog is a territorial creature by nature, and with the influence of the 5th stem (which puts “pressure” on the metal as mentioned earlier) there might be some conflict regarding boundaries and borders this year, or a need to define and resolve issues regarding them. The influence of the stem Wu “shaking” and “blurring” defined borders on some levels, while the impact of the branch Xu requires to guard and be very clear about them.
Over all this year is strongly impacted by both energies of Earth and Fire. Creativity, playfulness, expansion and communication are all strongly highlighted, all of which can be productive, or destructive.
Important key words to remember while moving onward with this year are Communication, Patience and Honesty, and Flexibility.
Happy year of the Dog to all, may the kind heart and the playfulness of the dog be apparent.