Humboldt Acupuncture


Yes, the Chinese Lunar New Year began with the new moon on February 1, 2022! An auspicious new beginning, and what does this mean for us? The Tiger is confident, creative, charismatic and spontaneous. Water is the nourishing source of all life. Yang is the vibrant energy that enables us to do things. Let’s look at what this year may have in store for us, as we gain some perspective into the ancient and contemporary dynamics of this time we share.

Firstly, pat yourself on the back, as we have survived the previous challenging year of the Metal Ox. As we recall, in the Chinese system, there are 12 astrological animals (the 12 Earthly Branches) and 5 elements, yin and yang, (the 10 Heavenly Stems.) This gives us the 60-year cycle. The last Water Tiger year was 60 years ago. Each astrological animal is associated with an element, and the Tiger is Wood, It is the vibrant new growth of young wood in springtime: Yang Wood. In the Five Element production cycle, Water produces, or nourishes Wood. So, this year we have a harmonious and productive energetic relationship- favorable and optimistic!

We all shared the challenging experience of the last 2 years of global pandemic. As we recall, last year was a Metal Ox year. In the agrarian culture from which this system evolved, the Ox plans the farm, plants the fields, laboring confidently with strength, back and forth in rows, sticking with the plan, and then harvesting the sustenance so that the community can survive. The plan for Ox year 2021, as we know, was marked by implementation of vaccines and masking, in order to decrease the severity of Covid19 symptoms, to keep people out of hospitals, alive. The Ox is a Confucian figure, a somewhat stern taskmaster toiling responsibly for the common good, expecting others to do the same, in order to maintain stability. We study astrology in order to help us determine appropriate times for action, and we recognize a time to acquiesce, to comply, to get with the program. Most of us did.

And now, we find that indoor mask mandates are being lifted. Travel and social events are scheduled. The effort of the Ox, sticking with the program for the good of the majority, has readied the fertile fields. Let the minority who cried loudly that their personal freedom was being constrained, those fueled by fear, lies and innuendo, who could not see that in the Year of the Ox it is wise to sacrifice somewhat for the health of the community, let the echoes of their cries be like composted Ox manure in our verdant field at springtime. Now it is year of the Tiger. The Yang Wood of the Tiger breaks up the Yin Earth of the Ox.

There are 12 astrological animals, and the 12-year cycle begins with the Rat, in this case, the Metal Rat 2020 followed by the Metal Ox 2021. Metal as the Heavenly Stem, can refer to rigidity, imposed boundaries, Confucian social structure, and regulations. We have been in a cautious and patient holding pattern, and patience wears thin. This year, as the Water nourishes the Wood of Tiger, and the latest pandemic surge appears to diminish, it is time to shake off some excess trepidation and anxiety. In the Five Element cycle, the Yang Wood of the Tiger breaks up the Yin Earth of the Ox. And now (where I live), daffodils burst forth, so let us embrace the optimism of spring and the confidence of the Tiger.

What do we know of this mysterious and enigmatic Tiger? The Chinese refer to the Tiger as the ruler of Earth, and the Dragon as the ruler of Heaven. The Tiger is highly respected, and in China today, some people will still place a Tiger talisman on their door to ward off ghosts, fire, thieves or possession. Tigers are noble, beautiful, confident and brave. The roar of a Tiger is like the sound of thunder, yet they can be very quiet. They have stripes, which characterize their embodiment of duality. They move very quickly, and also can be very still. We’ve observed our housecats playfully chasing a toy on a string, and also cruelly decapitating a mouse. Tigers are unpredictable, perfectly still, and then spontaneously pouncing.

In Chinese astrology, we take into account the year, month, day and hour- the Four Pillars. (For instance, as I write this, it is the hour of the Metal Rat, day of the Fire Monkey, month of the Water Tiger and year of the Water Tiger.) The Tiger month is always the first month of the year. The Tiger springs into action. And this year, the Yang Wood aspect is well nourished by Water, so we shall expect creativity, impulsive movement and opportunities for growth and travel. After the previous stagnant period, this is generally a good year to begin new projects. Though your comfortable level of caution may be based on your individual astrological relationship to the Tiger, the ancient maxim: “Fortune favors the Brave” applies this year.

The Hour of the Tiger is 3-5AM, when the nocturnal creature is one with the wild night. For us, it is the time of our deepest and wildest dreaming. The spontaneity and unpredictability of dreams is a Tiger quality. The Water element of the year, the realm of undefined mysterious depths, contributes to the richness of our dream experience. Certainly during pandemic isolation, our dreams took on a strange socialization function, as many people reported visiting with old friends, family and familiar haunts. Now is a good time to receive inspiration from your dreams to put into action. Follow your dreams.

Water, is also associated with emotional depth, changeability, the deep unknown, dark mystery, terrifying floods. In Chinese medicine, Water is correlated to the emotion of fear. We all have an awareness of fear, having just experienced the anxiety of 2 years of a global pandemic and isolation. The rigid Metal inhibited movement. The Wood element now engenders movement. Yang Water is moving water. Metal is cool, and now it is time to warm our Kidneys and exert our Will. Water is associated with the Kidneys and the Will. Tigers don’t get scared, though housecats do. Some appropriate caution has indeed enabled us to survive thus far. The extreme boundaries put into place during the global emergency seem to be diminishing, but we still can maintain healthy boundaries. The Tiger experiences, and enjoys isolation, but on their own terms. Tigers need very large areas in which to roam. Get out in the vastness of the natural wilderness to isolate this year! Then you can get away from the near-constant barrage of opinions and fearful information with which we are assaulted. Cultivate the stillness. Tigers enjoy stillness. The cat sits peacefully. As Water is still, the turbidity in our mind settles, in cultivating the clarity, we encounter wisdom.

Tiger’s element is Wood, Yang Wood, alive. The Wood element relates to the Liver, muscles and sinews. Drink plenty of water to stay well-hydrated as our muscles are made of water. An emotion corresponding with Liver is anger. When obstacles come in our path, and our plans are suddenly altered, we need our Wood, our muscles, to be supple, to bend, like a well-hydrated vine moving around an impediment. We “go with the flow”, changing our direction spontaneously. If we get stuck when an obstruction appears, that stagnation can cause anger to arise, often quickly. Acting in anger causes more problems we need to solve. The element Wood is related to wind, like a tall tree blowing in the breeze.
The Tiger also is like the wind, arriving quickly and then disappearing.
Cultivate the stillness, nourish Liver and Kidney, and rest well to balance energetic exertion.

What to expect this year? The wind will blow. Hurricanes, tornadoes are likely and as our weather gets less predictable and more imbalanced, flooding and drought. The wind spreads seeds and smoke far and wide, and could further spread the virus, which already appears to be almost everywhere. My non-expert opinion is that the more ubiquitous, the less deadly Covid19 it will be, and in time will be similar to the four other corona viruses, which we now refer to as “the common cold.”

The Tiger is brave and vicious, and, as humans have created war, Tiger years are often associated with conflict, potentially deadly. 60 years ago in 1962, the last Water Tiger year, tragedy was narrowly averted during the Cuban missile crisis. Water is the softest element, least associated with war. Moving water can encourage social discourse, so we are hopeful that a solution to the situation regarding Ukraine and Putin can be found. Tigers tend to be secretive, so it is not always obvious what a person’s agenda might be.

Things are moving quickly this year. Expect unpredictable, bold, dramatic action, as we move from the dormant years of 2020 and 2021. Tigers move through a large area, and travel is appropriate.
Tiger spends a good time grooming, and appearance is important as we emerge and appear to each other again. Creativity flourishes and the arts should thrive. The Water supports the Wood of the Tiger- optimism abounds. The economy likes optimism. Businesses prosper and opportunities arise. Water moves without uncertainty. Tiger moves brashly, quickly, spontaneously, though it does not always benefit all animals to move thusly, some need to be somewhat more measured. Monkey should think twice before quickly pulling Tiger’s tail.

Will we continue to be bombarded with fear-inducing material including lies and innuendo? Yes, although not if we are isolating in the wild vastness of nature, or nurturing stillness. The Tiger, King of the Jungle, with strong constitution, is not so affected by the myriad of political information and bullshit. And Tiger is not a victim. Have confidence in your innate nature as we have harmony of the elements this year, Wood nourished by Water. Listen to your heart and move on your path of enthusiasm. It may seem like things are moving very quickly this year- find time to cultivate the stillness. Eat well. Rest. Take catnaps. Perhaps get some acupuncture. Enjoy! Our home is a beautiful planet!

Gong Hay Fa Cai!
(May you be very happy to receive prosperity, good health and joy in the new year)
Jeffrey Haloff LAc.
Humboldt Acupuncture
(707) 268-8007