马年大吉 Mǎ nián dàjí
In Chinese, Best wishes for the Year of the Horse!
On January 31, had we been in China, the greeting heard everywhere would have been “Gung hei fat choi!” The Year of the Wooden Horse loped in on that day, arriving with an abundance of energy to usher in this year’s two dominant elements of Wood and a sizable dose of Fire. A visual for this new force could be a crackling, bright fire to show us the way during the sojourn of this high-spirited, yang Horse! Vibrancy and spontaneity might be key words for the year, with possibilities to create a new reality in one or more areas of our life.
Astrologically, the Chinese New Year—also known as the Lunar New Year—commences at sunset, following the first New Moon after the Sun leaves its visitation in the Earth sign of Capricorn, to take up residence in Water-bearing Aquarius. This is the portal of the first day for the Chinese calendar, a luni-solar calendar (now in its 4712th year), which includes both the lunar phase and the time of the solar year. It marks the end of the winter season in China and the beginning of the longest, most important holiday and celebration of the Chinese calendar—the “Spring Festival.”
In the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, horse is the seventh animal in the order of the sequence, with 2014 also being a “7” year. Thus, being an odd number, horse is considered a Yang (male) animal. Among the traditional Five Elements of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal, this year horse is underpinned by the extroverted passion of Fire, so the combination of wood and fire suggests the commencement of both small and larger cycles, neatly seeded within one another.
Wood initiates not only the sequence of the Five Elements but also the 60-year circle of the Chinese zodiac. Wood is associated with springtime and the expansion of budding new life. A lush, fecund growth will soon cover the earth as deciduous trees green once again. This fortunate Year of the “Green Horse”—the first one since 1954—is considered a fruitful one of promise and the attainment of heart-centered goals. Favorable happenings are afoot! The independent spirit of this horse is able, energetic, hardworking, bright, friendly, and warm-hearted.
Some of the astrological signatures for the year corroborate this upsurge of optimistic energy for quick-paced, forward movement, such as the Uranus-in-Aries’ impulse to break free into fresh territory. Plus, we are beyond the midpoint of the momentous Uranus/Pluto squares (7 in total through March 2015), so we are more than halfway up the horse trail on the Mountain of Change—to the point of no looking back but rather upward into greater Light and a leaner body, soul, and spirit. No wonder Lorna Bevan declares 2014 as “an especially pivotal and fast-paced year.” She goes on to say that we are in the midst of “the biggest planetary crossroads in generations,” with the culmination of the exact Cardinal Grand Cross on April 23, involving Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter, and Mars in a “standoff” (all at 13 degrees)—what she terms “the Great Fracturing.”
The Cosmic Beat of Time suggests that, amidst the crests of intensity, outworn cycles are indeed ending in preparation for more profound shifts and transformative rebirth as we enter new, unfamiliar territory and conditions. Allow rightful, interior rearrangements to create the solid foundation for acceleration of personal power and spiritual growth. About this momentous opportunity, Crystal Pomeroy says, “Change, major change, is undeniably in the air. Will it happen to you, or through you? The choice is yours.”
However, not yet, not quite yet. My experience of the past few weeks has been like being on the pawing Horse—enthusiastic, ready for speed, and adventure—but the gate of the corral remains closed! The freedom of the open range looms. The timing, at least for me, has not yet arrived for the gate to be flung wide in anticipation of the Horse’s outward power, stride, strength, courage, grace, and beauty—all qualities attributed to this esteemed and highly-prized animal that gave humans the ability to travel long distances with the swiftness of the wind.
Astrologer Tony Howard describes the first half of 2014 as “a season of retrogrades.” During these early months, the conglomerate of Venus, Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune all spend varying time in “retro” weeks (and months), giving us a large measure of “opportunity” for inward “re”-orientation and “re”-adjustment. Preparation, endurance, and patience are crucial. By mid-July, however, Jupiter, the planet associated with the Horse, will stride into fiery, confident Leo. At the end of the year, Saturn moves into the freedom-loving Fire domain of Sagittarius, a visionary sign linked with the Horse, underscoring the current themes. Plan to ride fast and take a few intentional risks, even though there is likely to be a continuation of surprising moments of disruption, upheaval, and turbulence similar to the past few, changeable years.
We can use the upcoming weeks well, as a Number 7 year—ruled by the spiritual vibration of Neptune—indicates it is wise to first make a careful assessment of the past (the “retro” review) and then craft any necessary refinements during this time of reflection, planning, and breathing deeply. Now may not be the best time to strain, actively expand, or “push the boulder,” as Gail Minogue puts it, but rather to consciously flow, release, and pace yourself. The inward and solitary orientation of Neptune helps us to access the beauty of our own truth, power, and needs. When we do cantor forward on the Horse, we do so as our authentic self.
Horse is physical power and unearthly power.
In shamanic practices throughout the world,
Horse enables shamans to fly through
the air and reach heaven.
Jamie Sams, Native American medicine teacher
As a legendary, noble creature, the lore and symbolism of the horse (or steed) is both diverse and complicated. It has been imbued with numerous cross-cultural qualities, some of which include great intelligence, heightened intuition, clairvoyant abilities, and specific powers of divination. Horses were even given the task to warn their masters of impending events, as described in a Grimm’s fable, and were also regarded as an omen of death in some folklore. Ancient legends allude to its significant part in numerous rites associated with birth and burial, wherein the entering or parting soul rides a horse. Odin, the sun god in the chariot of Surya, and the chariot of Apollo are examples of such a journey of the soul. Noted as an animal of “transition to the other world,” a hero being carried to heaven is a common motif of the horse, while in India dying Hindu gods often assumed the shape of a horse. Moreover, the horse itself has frequently been known as a Solar symbol, acting as a powerful mediator between Earth and Heaven.1
The white horse was an important Indo-European symbol
of the Second Coming of the universal god or savior-hero,
born of the sea (maria). Hindus name him the Lalki Avatara,
or final incarnation of Buddha, who was in turn one of the
avatars of Vishnu. On his last appearance at the end of the
world, he would either ride or become a white horse.
~~~Barbara G. Walker, The Woman’s Dictionary2
The compassionate teachings of horse whisperer Buck Brannaman shed light on how we might best engage this strong Horse energy for the coming 12 months. Above all, Buck tells us “horses are a mirror to our soul,” and as an extension of us, they easily sense whether we believe in and trust them, whether we approach them kindly from a place of humanity and gentleness of spirit. Our energy of softness and connection with the horse will move it, like the perfect rhythm of a dance, each giving to one another in respectful rapport. We have to operate from a place of authentic “feeling” in order to give them the crucial ingredient of confidence, as well as encouragement and proper discipline. When we build on the horse’s pride, being careful not to take energy from this graceful creature, we open the door to being one in mind and body with the horse—the seamless relationship built on loving regard and a shared heartbeat.3
Finally, as a year ushering in the potential of great fortune for those who act wisely, 2014 has been described by astrologer Elizabeth Jones as “the beginning of a new journey in a new part of the cycle.” She speaks with assurance when she says we have shifted into the Age of Light, meaning we can move and release “five lifetimes worth of stuff this time.” Jo Dunning affirms “we have moved into not only a new year but also into a New Era as well. There has been a tremendous shift inside of each of us that will help make great and wonderful changes in our life.”
Collectively, we are on a New Path of a heightened, creative vibration. The world around us may change rapidly. Expect a vigorous ride on the Wooden Horse! Respond in clear, elegant ways. Priorities are essential; focus on what truly matters. Trust in the bigger picture, the wider landscape. Live without inner resistance, thus judiciously shepherding your precious energy. Go with the dynamic flow of this year—being as fully aware in the moment as possible. Underneath the outer swirling energies is an Unchanging Harmony, a Loving Consciousness that pervades all Creation and bestows Grace. Hold fast to this Truth. Eschew all illusory appearances, because the invisible part of our being and life is the true Source of the visible. Remember Carolyn Myss’ wise guidance: “Thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes are messengers and magnets.”
• For the Love of Animals
• Frequency Aligners
• Cycles Upon Cycles
• Greater Light
• Aquarian Gateway
• When Two Gods Meet (discussion of the epoch-making square of
• Getting My Bearings (explanation of retrograde motion and the cycles
of Mercury and Mars)
• Trust and Step Up
• Giving Way in The Natural Order
1. Barbara G. Walker. 1983. The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths and Secrets. Harper & Row Publishers.
2. Barbara G. Walker. 1988. The Woman’s Dictionary. Harper & Row Publishers. Page 270.
3. In the Year of the Horse, there is no greater gift you can give yourself than to watch the powerful documentary film, “Buck.” Watching Buck Brannaman transform horses and people will transform your life.
Text © by Zane Maser, 2014. Photos gratefully used from Wikimedia Commons. The portrait of the white horse is attributed to “Fir0002/Flagstaffotos”. All rights reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.