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2018 - Year of the Yellow Dog

Before the advent of the Gregorian Calendar, many ancient cultures followed a solar calendar. As the earth moved around the sun, the visible environment changed. These ancient cultures celebrated the dawning of a new year sometime between Midwinter and the Spring Equinox, when the earth was waking up from its winter slumber and signs of rebirth were abundant.

In ancient China, the calendar and traditional festivities were also aligned with the lunar cycle. The start of the new year was determined by the new moon, with months lasting 28 days, and "leap months" being added to keep the lunar year aligned with the solar seasons. The new year began with the Aquarius new moon (the second new moon after the Winter Solstice), which happens this week.

The Chinese calendar follows a 12 year cycle, where each year is associated with an animal. In Chinese and Taoist astrology, these years are also associated with colors, elements and either yin or yang energy, creating a 60-year cycle. This year (beginning on February 16th) is the Year of the Yellow Dog, a Yang year associated with the element of Earth.

What to Expect from a Dog Year

Dog years are considered beneficial in Chinese astrology, infused with the positive qualities of loyalty, protection and integrity. Dogs exhibit a balanced energy, possessing the yin quality of loyalty to family and the yang quality of aggressiveness toward strangers. In Chinese myth, dogs are considered especially well-suited to chasing away evil spirits. Many breeds were developed for this purpose, including the chow chow which were kept by Taoist monks to keep evil spirits away from their temples.

People who are born in a Dog year, possess the positive qualities of loyalty, trustworthiness and integrity, and have a sense of fair play. They honor their commitments and are champions of fairness and compassion. They work well in team situations and make great soldiers. In the negative, they may tend toward black and white thinking, viewing everything through a "friend/foe" lens. Dogs can appear loud or thoughtless when they instinctively react or make snap judgments.

Overall, Dog years tend to be a time when fairness and equality are championed or fought for. Controversial issues can be resolved in Dog years. Revolutions can succeed and political oppression is resisted. They tend to be years suited to liberal politics and fair-handedness.

Year of Yellow Yang Earth Dog

This Dog Year is associated with the color Yellow and the element of Earth. Both Yellow and Earth help temper the negative qualities of Dog and strengthen the positive ones. Yellow lends the energy of common sense, thinking before acting, and nobility of character. Earth adds stability, honesty, practicality, prudence, kindness and loyalty. Yellow Earth Dog has strong opinions and remains loyal to his values, but is also eager to help others. He can be a true champion of the underdog. He's deeply bothered by unfair treatment, has a strong sense of justice and has a clear sense of right and wrong within relationship. Yellow Earth Dog is a realistic fighter and is willing to work hard with others toward a goal.

This year is also a Yang year, meaning masculine qualities will be emphasized. In a Yellow Yang Earth Dog Year, I expect to see the rise of healed, masculine energy. Last year, in the Yin Fire Rooster Year, we got a wake-up call. The problems with how women (yin energy) were being treated were "crowed from every rooftop." Many got burned in last year's Fire year. This year, we can expect Yellow Yang Earth Dog to work hard with integrity and honesty to find real solutions. In a Yellow Dog year, men and women everywhere are called to step up, get clear about what's right within relationships, meet others in integrity, with compassion and kindness, and work hard to make things better.

Remember, however, that the higher energies of love, loyalty, faithfulness and integrity can flourish only where there are healthy boundaries. Dog isn't afraid to snap and snarl to protect himself and his pack. If someone is crossing a line, don't hesitate to let them know. Just remember that Dog is equally quick to forgive once the balance has been restored. He holds no grudges.

Although tribalism in politics and social circles could continue to be a problem because of the tendency of Dog to view things through that friend/foe lens, healed Yang energy wants nothing more than to protect, serve and provide. It wants to be part of a pack. Healed masculine energy is infused with integrity and fairness, and is capable of bringing out the best in others. If we all reclaim and purify just a little of our Yang energy this year, we'll be entirely capable of the hard-work necessary to bring about realistic and fair solutions to the challenges and problems we face.

Astral Work and Heart Clearing

With Dog's ability to chase demons away, this year should be good for clearing astral stuff. The astral plane is energetically connected through the heart chakra, or the relational level of your energetic body. The back of the heart chakra is related to your personal ego. The front is where we connect at a heart level with others. In this Yellow Dog Year, we'll likely see significant ego softening and heart clearing taking place, resulting in an increased ability to relate to others. We'll also likely see increased astral activity as this clearing takes place.

Because the astral plane works differently than the physical plane, don't be surprised if things seem a little weird this year. The astral plane has a unique way of bringing things to your attention. If you feel ambushed, try to stay centered in your feelings and in your heart. The more love, compassion and kindness you can bring to any situation, the more you'll be able to clear and integrate that healed masculine energy.

If you're willing to do the hard work, you can expect significant and meaningful improvement in your relationships this year. Your success will come from staying in integrity and compassion, even if it means relinquishing a little bit of your ego or pride. If you find yourself in the midst of relational drama this year, try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. From there, you can feel compassion for their plight, share your feelings in a heart-centered way, find what's fair to both of you, renegotiate healthy boundaries, and work as a team to craft a solution.

*Please check back throughout the year for more information on the astral plane and doing astral work, which I'll be posting as I have time to put it together. This seems like the perfect year for clearing any astral residue that prevents you from being fully centered in your heart. If at any point, you'd like some one-on-one support, please contact me regarding a healing session or consultation.

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