Humboldt Acupuncture

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year of the Black Rabbit!

AKA, the Yin Water Rabbit, a favorable and harmonious year, full of hopeful and attentive optimism and enthusiasm. New year began with the new moon of January 22, 2023. The New Year celebratory energy then builds to the full moon. And how appropriate, for in Chinese tradition, the Rabbit is associated with the moon. When looking at the moon, an American may see a man in the moon, but a Chinese person sees a Rabbit, or Hare, pounding the elixir of life with the Moon Goddess Queen. In Japanese tradition, the Rabbit pounds rice to make mochi. Other cultures connect the rabbit with the moon, such as Aztec, Cree and Hottentot. In Hindu tradition, the Moon Deva, Soma, known for an association with an elixir of immortality and rejuvenation, is holding a white hare. Certainly the moon, with its cyclical rhythm, is known for rejuvenation. Chinese astrology too has a cyclical and rejuvenating rhythm, so let us contemplate the symbology and energetics of this Year of the Water Rabbit so that we may live in harmony and thrive peacefully.

And indeed, the most peace-loving of all the 12 zodiacal animals is the Rabbit (along with the Sheep.) Rabbits, in the wild, are preyed upon by many animals, so they have become adept at avoiding deadly conflict with speed, agility and instinct. They burrow to create safe, secure and comfortable homes for large families. Persons born in the Year of the Rabbit typically become adept at avoiding conflict with agile diplomacy and kindness. They create a comfortable, beautiful and harmonious home, decorated with artistic awareness. Alert rabbits have keen vision and big ears, and Rabbit people have an appreciation of the visual arts, music, creative fashion, and fine dining. Those born under the sign of the Rabbit are generally peace-loving and sensitive lovers of beauty, embodying graciousness and gentleness, yet acting quickly and skillfully for their principles. We do well to emulate such qualities, as we respectfully welcome the Rabbit as ruler of the year.

Let’s take a quick look back in time to see how we got here, now. Last year was the year of the Water Tiger. The year prior to the Tiger, during full global pandemic mode, was the Metal Ox. We persevered and survived supported by the strong, patient and methodical effort of the Ox, with the endurance and focus to “stick with the program” and maintain the form (Metal), including precautions and the occasional lockdown. After the Metal Ox came the rebellious Water Tiger who doesn’t conform to any structure or program. Water is formless, and the impatient, unpredictable and brash Tiger has left us divided, conflicted and at war. Putin’s “Mad Tiger” attack created the turmoil and misery of a refugee crisis. The global economy was plunged into chaos. The slaughter in Ukraine continues and war grinds on. And now, along comes the peace-loving, diplomatic Rabbit, just in the nick of time!

Let’s continue down the Rabbit hole, shall we, and learn of the auspiciousness of this Rabbit. Each of the 12 Zodiacal animals is related to one of the 5 Elements, and the Rabbit is related to Wood. The Rabbit is associated with springtime, as the Spring Equinox falls during the Rabbit month. So the Rabbit symbolizes the coming of Spring, fresh growth, rejuvenation and optimism, as life begins anew for all creatures. The direction of the Rabbit is East, and the Hour of the Rabbit is 5-7 AM, crepuscular time as the extreme Yin darkness gradually gives way to the new light of a fresh day.

This is the Water Rabbit. Each year also has an element, and the Water of this year is in a harmonious relationship with the Wood of the Rabbit. In the 5 Element system, Water nourishes Wood. This year we have a dynamic that is nourishing, like watering seeds that sprout and grow in an unencumbered way. In Chinese medicine, the Wood element is related to our muscles and sinews, and with good hydration, we guide our muscles to go wherever we please.

Rabbit is Yin Wood, and this year is Yin Water. Yin is dark, receptive, nourishing, stillness, water. Yang is fire, warmth, expressive, action. Yin Water is gentle, like the morning dew, a light misty rain, or fog. Yin Wood is like small shrubs, grass or bamboo. Yin Wood is flexible, like bamboo, able to bend in a storm. Yin Water, however, is also deep, and dark. Water is the most Yin of the elements, and the most powerful. In the deepest, darkest ocean is the absence of light. Black is the color given to Water, (therefore the Black Rabbit.) The deep, dark ocean can instill fear, and the Water Rabbit can experience worry and anxiety. But, the Black Rabbit, alert and perceptive with keen night vision and heightened awareness, is home in the darkness. This year, this blackness of Yin Water represents experiencing mystery, like following a rabbit down a rabbit hole into extraordinary realms. It is moving in unknown Yin places of dreams. When Water is still, turbidity settles, and clarity is experienced. Yin Water is instinct and intuition, the alert awareness of the Rabbit, who then takes appropriate action.

And the action of the kind and gentle Rabbit is to safeguard the security and comfort of their family. When the home is safe and secure, we experience the sensitivity of a Rabbit, confident to trust our instinctive intuition. Rabbits can live in large families in elaborate burrows. (Hare and rabbits differ in this respect- a hare may live alone. Rabbits are born blind and helpless and need care and a secure home, like humans. Hares are born with fur, eyes open, and are more self-sufficient.) Rabbits need a compassionate family and a trusting tribe- they are social creatures. This year, enjoy social gatherings and cultivate a community of close and supportive friends and family. It is good year to apply principles of Feng Shui, and/or intuitively harmonize and beautify your home.

As Rabbit represents springtime and new beginnings, it is a good year to begin projects, though, as it is a Yin year, smaller projects are more appropriate, or in small steps. Rabbits attract luck, though Rabbits are cautious, so be wary of big investment schemes that could go awry. The economy should improve slightly, as Rabbit likes stability. Fear can cause a scarcity mentality, the antidote to which is generosity. Opportunities will be presented, and the cautious Rabbit must act at the proper time to benefit. Money will come, and it will go. Certainly, efforts to end war can help the economy.

This year has what is called “Peach Blossom Luck”. The phase at which the peach blossoms is considered like a state of grace, often for romantic endeavors. And with the Rabbit year, romance is in the air. We know what they like to do. And the Rabbit gestation cycle is roughly the same as the lunar cycle of 28 days. Rabbits are associated with longevity, through the endless amount of offspring a mother produces- as many as 15 babies at once. Also though, as we recall, it is the Rabbit on the Moon working to produce the rejuvenating Nectar of Life- may we each have a sip!

Will this year be all warm and furry gentle kindness? Unlikely. Beware the mad Rabbit’s kick. In this Yin Water year, a disgruntled Rabbit may act in a covert detrimental manner. Coup d’etat, assassination and terrorist activities are possible. We can look into history to learn patterns. This astrological tradition is structured on a 60 year cycle (12 animals and 5 elements combine for all combinations.) 60 years ago was the last Water Rabbit year in 1963. On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated and 2 days later, Oswald was assassinated. We are still studying this mysterious and tragic event with its ongoing repercussions. However, 1963 also gave us Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as the movement for civil rights gained momentum. Art and culture blossomed as The Beatles released “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the USA, and Bob Dylan released “Blowing in the Wind”.

This year, 2023:
-Observe the wisdom of the Rabbit- rabbits sit very still, alert and aware. Then spring quickly and precisely, playfully or cautiously. We do well to emulate this balance of attentive stillness, and accurate activity. Balance activity with rest.
-Put effort into your home, beautifying and harmonizing so that it is the secure and comfortable foundation to support all your activities.
-Nourish yourself and family. Rabbits eat carrots, which helps their vision, and leafy greens which help everything.
-Nourish with music and art.
-Follow your dreams. Possibly keep a dream journal, as this Great Yin year is a time to bring nuggets of wisdom and inspiration back from dreams and dreamlike states.
-Gaze at the Moon and look for the Rabbit.
Rabbits are sensitive and intuitive, and with that sensitivity, there may be potential for getting “feelings hurt” and descending into sadness. Much of Rabbit’s power comes from being alert and aware in the present moment. Know that you did the best you could in the past, and bring your awareness back to now.
-Use diplomacy, like the Rabbit. Understanding others’ points of view, and applying kindness and compassion to any situation, achieves success. Be the peacemaker.
-Enrich yourself with educational activities, as Rabbits excel at intellectual study.
-Share laughter.
-Practice self-care health maintenance cultivation of mind and body, with such methods as Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Nature walks, Bicycle, Qi Gong, Dancing, Meditative breathing, etc.
-Drink copious and liberal amounts of water.
-If experiencing anxiety, turn off the news cycle and social media and be present.
-Get acupuncture.

Go Forth and Thrive Joyfully!
May All Be Free of Suffering
Jeffrey Haloff LAc.

Chapter 8 Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin
Easy By Nature

True goodness
is like water.
Water’s good
for everything.
It doesn’t compete.

It goes right
to the low loathsome places,
and so finds the way.

For a house,
the good thing is level ground.
In thinking,
depth is good.
The good of giving is magnanimity;
of speaking, honesty;
of government, order.
The good of work is skill,
and of action, timing.

No competition,
so no blame.