Chinese Zodiac - Year of the Ox

While the astrology and horoscopes of the west look at the time of a person's birth in any given year, Chinese astrology places significance on the year itself. The Chinese zodiac is a 60 year cycle, containing five sub-cycles of twelve years, in which each consecutive year has its own animal symbol and horoscope.

Year of the Ox

February 12, 2021 - January 31, 2022

Chinese Zodiac
It is always the case that to fully understand where you are going we need to know where we have been and that is especially so for the Chinese lunar years. It is never a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’, as one year flows into or sets the scene for the next. That is especially so when we leave the Year of the Rat and enter the Year of the Ox.

Regardless of where you are in your personal 12 year lunar cycle, the Chinese calendar itself begins on the Year of the Rat. That means that when the Year of the Rat began last year, it was the start of a new 12 year cycle and that is always a major reset and a year that can create a huge amount of change. We saw that in the last Year of the Rat in 2008 and the global financial crisis that year and then 12 years on and another Year of the Rat and it was a global pandemic. During the next Year of the Rat, in 2032 we will be due for another major reset.

However you faired in the Year of the Rat this got everything out in the open, creating the building blocks for a new 12 year cycle and regardless of how many chairs he knocked over as he rushed through, the methodical Ox has returned to right them and restore order. In fact, this is the main job of the Year of the Ox, when it follows on from the Year of the Rat, once every 12 years.

The Year of the Rat can be likened to a raging party, while the Year of the Ox is the mess you wake up to in the morning and the cleaning required. It often takes years before we get to look back at the Year of the Rat and recognize the major reset it has been, but just like 2009 was a year to begin the healing and recovery, so too is 2021 and this next Year of the Ox.

This is the Year of the Metal Ox, so we will see the metal element from last year continue and this promises prosperity. The Ox is patient, slow, methodical and because this is a Yin year, more empathetic and caring.

In the West, we tend to think that it is the year that influences the events but in the East, it is the year that influences the events. As the Ox influence takes over from the Rat’s need for action and for making things happen dials back and the Ox’s steady and responsible approach takes hold, this will see the temperature dial back, especially where there has been division or a constant sense that we were all somehow competing with each other.

This could see the rhetoric in politics dial back and as the Ox favours those that are steady, responsible, reliable and diligently do the right thing, those who operate under that umbrella will prosper and thrive. Even those that were to remain under the Rat’s manic energy will find that it is running out of steam. The Ox is a different year from the Rat and it is said that this is the year that cleans up the messes made the previous year but they were messes that needed to be made.

Another way to think of the energy of the Ox compared to the Rat is the motivation to clear out the junk cupboard that we all have somewhere in the house. That place where all those things that don’t have a home go to die. If we close the door we can’t see it but then it comes to a point where there is so much stuff that we can barely close the door, let alone find a place for anything new and we know we should get around to clearing it out. We also know what a big job that will be so we put it off. Then along came the Rat – the busy, industrious and ‘let’s just jump in and do it’ Rat. The next thing, on a whim you drag everything out of the closet and into the room, intending to sort things out.

Except the Rat’s job is to start things so he just turns to you and says ‘well you made that mess, you had better clean it up’ before his attention is drawn to something new to get excited about. The Ox would never have pulled everything out to start with because he knows the hard work this would require but now that the Rat has everything out on the floor and in the open, he quietly and diligently sets about sorting out what needs throwing away and to organize the rest.

In 2020 the Rat spent the year opening all the closets that have been accumulating clutter over the previous 12 years, allowing for a fresh start. Whatever was disrupted during the Year of the Rat, either globally or in our personal lives has been exposed and is now out in the open.

The Ox is number two in the Chinese cycle and following on from the riotous Rat his job is not to put right what the Rat may have broken or the mess he may have created but to settle things down, get things grounded and things operating smoothly and efficiently. Not despite the disruption and massive changes during the Year of the Rat but because of the opportunity this has created for a fresh start. A Metal Ox favours stability and prosperity and as it is a case of the year influencing the events, over time this is what will start to become the norm.

We are sailing into calmer waters, with the steady and reliable Ox at the helm but this is no cruise ship and he will expect all members of the crew to play their part, to work hard, perform their duties, act responsibly and to be well rewarded as a result.

 About Chinese Astrology

People are often referred to by their zodiac animals, so babies born this year will be Ox and expected to have personalities to match.

Legend has it that it was originally Buddha who gave the sequence of years to the dozen animals who attended the farewell meeting he called before he left the earth.

In each of its years, the animals of the Chinese zodiac have an association with one of the five elements of metal, water, wood, fire or earth. Once they have all gone through these five elements, the 60 year cycle is complete, and starts again. The elements also affect the individuals born in their years. But their basic personality traits of the animals remain the same. Here is a run down of the twelve zodiac animals and their characteristics.

From all this, you can see that Chinese Zodiac is not a predictive art as it is for western practitioners. Instead it is an art that is interpretive and philosophical. It is perhaps a way to help us understand ourselves, our partners, and all the other people in both our work and social lives.

Western Astrology is very different from Chinese astrology. Chinese Zodiac is arguably the most developed and the most followed branch of astrology in the world. The portion of Chinese astrology that the Western world is most familiar with is the Chinese Horoscopes.

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