The Year of the Yang Water Tiger
More than 20% of the world’s population celebrates Chinese New Year – also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. Though this celebration falls in the winter months of January or February, it’s meant to mark the end of the coldest days, and to celebrate the new beginnings and fresh starts of spring.
The Lunar New Year also signifies transition in Chinese cosmology. Each year consists of three aspects: one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, one of the five-elements, and either yin or yang. These three aspects provide information about the energy of the upcoming year and help inform a person in making choices. Beginning February 1st 2022 is the year of the Yang Water Tiger. Let’s break down what that means:
The forces of Yin and Yang are opposites, while Yin is passive, calm and represents the shade or dark, Yang is aggressive, active, sun and motivates us to move forward. When Yang energy combines with the Tiger, an animal already revered for its confidence and bravery, this year will be about moving on, new ventures and emerging back into the world. All of this movement also aligns with change, which can be scary and unlock feelings of resistance, so this is a year to pay extra attention to your inner voice and work to embrace the shifts in life.
There are five earthly elements in Chinese cosmology, water, wood, fire, earth and metal. It’s the relationship between these different elements in nature that defines the life force, or “qi,” that flows through them. Not surprisingly, the nature of water is to flow and accept changes. It’s thought to encourage endurance and will complement the pioneering energy of 2022. Also, water, due to its ability to absorb and resonate, is associated with holding emotion, so 2022 will be a year to take extra steps to manage emotion and connect to the earth to leverage the grounding qi that can counter the emotional energy of water.
The Chinese zodiac is a 12-year cycle of animal signs and their ascribed attributes, based on the lunar calendar, and each animal sign interacts with the current year in different ways. Those born under the Tiger can be characterized as being brave, competitive and confident, but also unpredictable, irritable, and overindulgent. The Tiger brings many changes, initiates activity, and builds momentum, as well as signals a need to accomplish and work, so this year is the time to act on the goals and ideas from the previous years of the Ox 2021 and Rat 2020.
Generally, the sign of the year you were born can been seen as a challenging year, or hurdle to cross. With both positive and negative traits, navigating a year that matches the sign of your birth is thought to promote self-growth and insight, thought it may not always be easy. So those born in 1950, 1962, 1974 or 1986, are all Tigers, and should pay special attention to self-care and exercise caution this year.
With a history dating back around 3,500 years, Chinese New Year encompasses many other traditions from dancing dragons, to thoroughly cleaning the house, to sharing traditional feasts. But over the many years, the core intent of the Lunar New Year remains the same – to celebrate renewal, honor family and prepare for what the New Year will bring.
Because this year comes with strong emotional and forward moving energies, it’s a time to be especially cautious of over-activity or stress. Managing your diet and self-care will be critical to supporting overall health and addressing chronic conditions. Setting expectations, creating a plan and scheduling in regular wellbeing tune-ups will put you in a place to make the most of this energetic and hopeful year.
Sharon Sherman has been licensed to practice acupuncture and East Asian Medicine since 2001 and holds the highest credential available from both the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She has deep knowledge and understanding of how acupuncture and herbs can provide relief and numerous benefits for the unique range of symptoms experienced by her patients, and her expertise allows her to select and employ the best therapy for her patients’ unique presentation.