Here Thar Be Monsters!

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Get Your Yang Red Fire Monkey On!

Mandarin characters
Gong Xi Fat Cai!

Come with us now to the year 4712, the year of the Red Fire Monkey!  At some point on the 4th of February, the Moon reached its synodic point on the sky and the month of the Tiger began, as it has for the past 4,712 years.  By rotation, this is the year of the Monkey, in the 12-year cycle of animal signs, and the Monkey is red and burning...or something like that.  I haven't been able to find whether this is a yin or yang year, but if memory serves, its the latter.

So, for all you fung shui fans out there, what does all this mean (besides a two-week long party and some holiday time in parts of the world where this is important)?

Well, since its a monkey year, playfulness, mischievousness and chaos are favored.  Throw in some red fire, and you have a rather volatile mix.  According to the prognosticators who follow this sort of, that means wild rides in the stock markets, economic upheaval, forest and range fires, and diseases will mark the news this year.  Sounds dire, but as the old Chinese saying goes, "In crisis, there is opportunity."

If you live in California, and you believe that fung shui means moving your furniture around and paying top dollar for consultants, this is not for you.  If you know that fung ahui is about balancing the forces in your life in order to take advantage of things like crises, then read on.

According to fung shui reasoning, this is a fire year, therefore one must balance the other four elements against it in order to maintain harmony in one's life and see clearly when opportunities come.  If you are not familiar with the five elements, we are not talking about Luc Besson's film, but rather Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal.

This also applies to colors.  In Chinese astrology, colors have modifying effects on the elements, as well as their own powers.  This being a red year, the color enhances fire, which is red.  However, red has the power to resist evil spirits, so it is possible to use the color's powers to ameliorate the forces of the monkey.  It's one of those wonderful circular arguments that Chinese astrology and philosophy are so good at presenting.

Thus, for those who are not able to harmonize the forces in their lives in accordance with the rules of fung shui, you will see your personal finances leaking out, employment and health become major issues, and fire-related disasters become prominent occurrences in your life.

For those who are able to harmonize, you will be able to at least ward off the negative effects, and at best take advantage of the positive ones.  Your success in this regard depends a lot on your own sign, mineral balance and color based on your birth particulars.

I put little stock in all this, whether East or West, though I subscribe to the idea that astrology is a degraded form of a much more complex ancient science that has been lost over the ages.  There is probably a kernel of truth buried in a bunch of gobbldy-gook that we can take away from this.

A word of caution, though.  If you do a search on red fire monkeys, you'll see a lot of predictions of market crashes and virus problems.  One should note that a search in December of last year had none of this kind of talk.  It is only since January and the rise of Zika virus and the fall of the financial markets that mention has been made of these things.  In other words, it is a matter of "post-dictions" rather than predictions.  I would have been a lot more impressed had those market and virus references shown up a priori.

In any event, let's assume some predilection in world events that follow yang (light), red, fire, and monkeys.

Yang represents the lit side of a mountain or the peak of a wave.  It is the positive of the pair, in the sense that magnets or electricity have positive and negative poles.  It is neither good nor bad, and it needs the opposite to exist.  The only real effect of this is to remind us to balance it in order to avoid being swept away.

Along with yang, red and fire imply heat.  Heat implies rapid action, boiling, stirring.  It also means life and growth.  Red is the color of luck or good fortune.  Fire can be either destructive or life-giving, and also symbolizes knowledge.  The monkey is intelligent, watchful, chaotic and mischievous - known for stealing things (especially food) but usually in a playful way.

So, we put all this together:
Yang is light and warmth;
Red is luck and good things (as well as warding off evil spirits);
Fire can destroy or give life and renewal;
Monkey brings chaos and playfulness.

Thus, the year of the yang red fire monkey could indicate renewal, light and good fortune, but it will come in the guise of chaos and destruction.  Things will look pretty glum in the midst of it, but something good is coming out of it.  If we take the old Chinese saying noted above, then we should look for the silver lining (to mix East and West) within any crisis.  Since fire is fed by wood and quenched by water, those elements will have a lot to do with the direction events take.  Therefore, crises that have wood somewhere in the mix will tend to get bigger, while those with water will tend to fade away.  The sharp and prepared observer will look for these elements surrounding the various problems that will spring up this year, and so know how to react and find the opportunity within them.  Luck and good fortune are favored, so the observer is likely to get something good out of the crises if he or she reacts correctly.

One word of caution: astrology and horoscopes have traditionally been used to interpret large-scale events involving aggregates of people (nations, markets, etc.).  They don't really work on an individual level.  They also don't foretell events.  What they do is provide tools for interpreting events as they unfold and possibly seeing likely trends and outcomes that one can use for advantage.

It's a fun pass-time and not really something to take too seriously.  I like to dabble in it out of curiosity.  In the coming year, I will likely test the foregoing by doing exactly what I mentioned here, and trying to predict outcomes based on interpretation.  From time to time, I will update this to see how it's doing.

Here's something to look at.

The Zika virus comes from the tropics.  The tropics are characterized by light and heat (fire).  We can expect this story to grow.  This compounded by the fact that Zika was first discovered in monkeys (!) in the Zika forest (!) of Uganda and is spread by day-active mosquitoes (!).  So, we have monkeys, heat/fire, wood and light (yang) all mixed into this one, along with the strong possibility of chaos, which could also be interpreted as mischievousness on the part of some group.  Keep in mind that this only refers to the STORY of Zika, not necessarily the virus or illness itself.

If this scenario holds true over time, then we can expect the solution to involve tiger (opposite of monkey), water (quenches fire) and yin (darkness).  Maybe Eli Lily and Company (tiger, water) comes up with a vaccine?  Curfews issued for day-time hours?  Cure involves lots of water?  I might just throw a bet on Lily/Roche.  Just a game to play in this year of the monkey.

In any event, Happy New Year and let us know if you strike it rich balancing the fung shui of the year 4712.  Couldn't hurt to have a little red around you, except at funerals or when writing your name.