For two billion people, the new year begins Friday with the Aquarius New Moon.
Dear Friend and Reader:
The Year of the Green Dragon commences Friday, Feb. 9. Lunar New Year, celebrated by about a quarter of the world’s population (mostly in Asia), the last in the sequence of popular reckoning of a year turning over.
The earliest is Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew new year), in September or October (it too is based on a lunar calculation, so it slides around).
Then comes Celtic new year, when the Sun is in mid-Scorpio (Samhain, pronounced sah-wen). Not so many people follow this one as the start of the year — though most of those who do are various shades of neo-Pagans and Wiccans. The rest of us think of trick-or-treating, or communing with the ancestors (all time-honored traditions).
Then there is the civil New Year holiday under the Gregorian calendar — good old Janus, the doorway, on Jan. 1.
The last and forthcoming year-turnover event is based on a formula of the second New Moon after winter solstice, which I’ve read can in some years can stretch as late as Feb. 20. This is celebrated in many (though not all) Asian cultures.
OK, there is one other event where the year begins — the vernal equinox. That is the astrological and astronomical turnover of the year, when this odd thing called sidereal time resets to midnight and the Sun’s position returns to the first degree of Aries, at the beginning of the zodiac.
Asian lunar years run in 12, 60 and 120-year cycles. There are 12 animals (not counting the skunk and the mouse, which don’t get years) and five elements. Because most people don’t live to 120, in practical terms, the 60-year cycle gets the emphasis. We have returned to the Year of the Dragon (which occurred most recently in 2012) and the year of the Wood Dragon or Green Dragon (which occurred most recently in 1964).
Go back through history and you’ll see that dragon years are all a bit extraordinary (though it’s getting hard to tell lately). At least they come with fanfare and high expectations, for example, 2000 and 2012.
Different Approaches to the Dragon
In world culture, there are a few different kinds of ways to perceive dragons. The important thing about them is that unlike dogs, pigs and bunny rabbits, dragons exist only in mythology and the imagination.
Here in the West, we talk about slaying them, as they are considered frightening and evil thought forms (this never worked for me intuitively; but then I am born in a dragon year). Recall the killing of the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit. This was supposedly a good thing; in Middle Earth, dragons were considered evil.
In Celtic mythology, dragons are held as guardians of wisdom and knowledge, as well as symbols of leadership, and a kind of totem that grants the gift of prophesy.
In Chinese mythology, there are nine “sons of the dragon.” While we are here, let’s identify them: Bixi, Qiuniu, Yazi, Chaofeng, Pulao, Chiwen, Bi’an, Suanni, and Fuxi. I’m not sure which of these is associated with a dragon year, but those are fun names, and they all have stories. I would like to have them over for dinner and a house concert. They would probably eat a lot, and it would be loud.
Chinese lore says that dragons are associated with strength, good health, good luck and the male element Yang. Dragon has a resonance with the Western sign Aries, with high initiative and the willingness to take bold chances.
However, the forthcoming year is influenced by the element wood, and such dragons are a little mellower in temperament than those of other elements (such as fire or metal).
Most dragon-people like to stand up and apart; the wood dragon is OK with leaning back a little, but does not mind the occasional limelight.
The Chart for the Wood Dragon Year
Unlike in Western astrology, you actually get a chart of a celestial event for the lunar new year — and it’s always a New Moon chart. No matter what time zone someone is in, there is one pre-defined event, which is handy from an astrology standpoint.
The New Moon that begins the lunar year can be in Capricorn, Aquarius or Pisces, but is usually in Aquarius.
The overall gestalt of this chart is that all the major planets and many lesser-known ones are concentrated from Capricorn through Taurus. While there is stability implied in the 60-degree contact from Jupiter to Saturn, from the rest of the sky, there’s also the feeling of everything being about to fall over.
The Aquarius New Moon is set in the midst of this, and takes place with the Sun at 20 degrees of Aquarius. Also in Aquarius are Mercury, and of course Pluto (as we embark on the Pluto in Aquarius era).
That is all very lively; plus, the Moon and Sun are square Uranus (considered a modern ‘ruler’ of Aquarius). So we have a high-energy picture, full of surprises, inventions, turning points and tests of integrity.
The Moon-Sun conjunction is also aligned with a meaningful asteroid called Icarus. He’s the guy who flew too close to the Sun, and his wings melted. (Pro Tip: Don’t make your wings out of wax.) It would be interesting to check Icarus in various Boeing charts. Clearly, they were going for a peak experience on Wall St. with the 737 Max.
The peak experience quality of Icarus is very dragon-like. Dragons fly high, and like their sugar sweet. The are also famous for collecting things.
The New Moon is also in a dialog (meaning, a sextile aspect) with the Aries group (Chiron, Eris, the North Node and the forthcoming total solar eclipse in two months.)
Venus, Mars and Ceres are in Capricorn
We get some strong earth energy in this Wood Dragon chart coming from Capricorn. This reflects the combination of reserve and daring for which Capricorn is famous. Venus and Mars talk about an earthy approach to sex. We don’t hear much of that these days, when 95% of sex involves pixels and electricity.
Earth-mother Ceres is also in Capricorn, quite close to a group of points mostly associated with family and ancestry (Pholus, Quaoar and Cupido).
Standing on the Aries Point via Capricorn, Ceres is rather salient in this chart. Ceres describes the relationship between emotions and food: how food makes you feel. It also describes the complex bonds and entanglements between mothers and daughters. However, here in the age of mandatory emasculation of boys, we might include them in this general description.
A reader recently wrote to me, “My daughter-in-law has trackers on the phones of her two sons of 15 and 13 years of age. I think that’s pathetic and damaging. My son recently said to me that he was lucky to have the childhood he did and appreciates the freedom he had.”
I replied with a map of all the territory I covered on my bicycle, under my own power, before the age of 18 — about 638 miles if you take freeways. I took back roads, so figure more like 800 miles, over three summers. No cell phone. No credit card. No GPS. Just me, my friends, my tool bag and roadmaps.
In this Year of the Dragon, please, allow your kids to be free. Encourage lovers and partners to be free. Take some freedom for yourself, too.