February 16, 2018, we celebrate Chinese New Year and begin the Year of the Yang Earth Dog. What does this mean for you?
January 1st is in the middle of winter, and is only about a week after the winter solstice. The solstice has the shortest amount of daylight and longest night, and it is the most yin day of the year. Everything is still frozen, and if it's not actually frozen, in winter, the energy goes down into the ground to rest and recharge for the active growing season that starts at the beginning of Spring. The start of Spring is the start of new growth.
Defining the Year
Every year is either Yin or Yang, alternating each year. 2017 was a Yin year, so 2018 is a Yang year. Every year, we also have both the Qi of Heaven and the Qi of Earth. They are often different elements. For example, in 2017 the Qi of Heaven was Fire, and the Qi of Earth was Metal. It happens that in 2108, both the Heaven and Earth Qi are the Earth element. The Heaven Qi is Earth, and the Earth Qi this year is the Earth Dog. Thus, we have 2018 as the Yang Earth Dog. It’s a double Earth year, so the energy of the Earth element is very strong and excess in 2018. All effects of Earth energy will be magnified, and since it’s a Yang year, they’ll be even stronger.
The good news is, that after finishing the last two years of sharp, cutting metal energy, we should get a bit more peace with the Earth energy.
Let’s first consider the nature of the animal this year, the Dog. Dogs are loyal, social pack animals that work together. They’re devoted to their pack, be it canine or human. This is a year that working together with others should bring good results. Dogs will also fight viciously to guard and protect their own when threatened, so this may be a year we see people band together for protection and the good of their “pack” - not necessarily violently, as Earth is more spiritual in nature than material. The violence and passion of the last two years was due to the Metal and Fire energies.
Now let’s think about the character of Earth, which is trust and harmony. We may see people band together to create more trust, care, welfare and harmony of the “pack”. We should also see more truth emerge, as truth and trust are the nature of Earth.
Next, we can get a sense of the weather for the year by considering the nature of the Earth element. First, the Heaven and Earth energy are in harmony, since they’re the same element and there’s no conflict between them. Weather temperatures should be a bit more normal, after coming off two hot Fire years.
Chapter 67 of the Su Wen tells us exactly what to expect: the nature of Earth is dampness, and the actual substance is the earth. It’s in charge of clouds and rain and causes movement. We know that Earth transforms and transports. That tells everything. It’s a Yang, double-Earth year, which means the effects will be magnified and strong since it’s a Yang year. Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach, and their emotions are worry and overthinking. I don’t want to damage anyone’s Spleen, but if you or loved ones live in an area that tends to have earthquakes, landslides, and/or flooding, 2018 has the potential for all of these to be big problems, so you’re forewarned and can take precautions and prepare.
How Will This Affect You
Speaking of the corresponding organs, Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach. Think dampness. Lots and lots of dampness. Anything that can get damp in 2018, will. This will be an important year to learn new eating habits and a great time to avoid eating damp foods. Digestive issues are very common with dampness - like nausea, bloating and stomach flu cases with lots of diarrhea, edema, fogging minds and unclear thinking. Colds that occur in 2018 will be of the damp type. There will be a lot of mucus - nasal and chest congestion.
Because the Earth and the Spleen correspond with muscles and flesh, you may see more muscle injuries as well as more lumps, bumps and tumors, as dampness likes to accumulate.
The emotions of the Spleen and Stomach are worry and overthinking, so people that have a tendency to fret are in for a more challenging year.
When we look at the other elements in the Five Element cycle, we see that Earth drains Fire. People with Heart and Small Intestine issues may worsen. Anyone with emotional issues due to any kind of Heart deficiency may be worse and worry about it more.
Fire also represents the stock market and electrical and computer industries, so they may not fare well in 2018. (Don’t let your computer or electronics get damp. That will be very bad in 2018!) But the real estate market and earth industries should be strong, as long as they’re not damaged by earthquakes, landslides and flooding.
The Metal element should be strong, since Earth gives birth to Metal. But we know that the Spleen likes to pass dampness on to the Lungs and Large Intestines, so watch for dampness in those organs as mentioned above.
Poor Wood. It’s had a weak few years. Once again, Wood will be the weakest element this year. Anyone suffering from Liver, Gallbladder, and/or blood deficiencies, etc., will need a bit more help from tonics this year, but be cautious with damp herbs.
Water is restrained by Earth, which will weaken the Water. Earth is going to pick up water and drop it on us as rain. Anyone with Kidney and Bladder deficiencies will also need more support this year.
When we analyze the energetics of the year and the interactions of the five elemental energies, we can get a good idea of what to expect in any given year. And as the Su Wen says, this can help us live long lives in harmony with Heaven and Earth.