Consider the next year an end of long cycle that has included some tough years, let’s be honest. With Lunar New Year on February 5, say goodbye to the us-vs.-them pack mentality that was the hallmark of the Year of Dog—which followed the fiery rooster in 2017 and the frenetic Year of the Monkey in 2016.
In the Chinese zodiac, the pig is the last of a 12-year rotation. So, all the lessons you’ve learned since 2006 (you remember, the age of pointless scarves and jazzy hats)? It’s time to integrate those experiences and plant some new seeds. Luckily, the Year of the Pig—associated with earth and water—is perfect for growing things.
“You can’t really plant things in a desert. Mud, the moist wet earth, is what things grow in. The earth is where things transform, where they grow lush and green out of,” says doctor of Chinese medicine Noah Rubinstein, DACM, LAc, of The YinOva Center.
“Pigs are generous and kind. They’re not standoffish like a dog, going, ‘Are you okay? Do I like you?’” —Dr. Noah Rubinstein
So are there deep thoughts ahead? Definitely. But actually, thanks to the pig’s love of good times, it’s probably going to be a lot more fun than 2018 was.
“We’re coming out of the Year of the Dog…It’s been about identifying yourself within a group. Pigs are generous and kind. They’re not standoffish like a dog, going, ‘Are you okay? Do I like you?’” Rubenstein says. “In the year to come, the joys of cooking, crafts, art, and sex will be where the pig takes us.”
Yes, pigs are all about pleasure (yay)—but that’s not all. Here, Rubenstein breaks down the 5 things to remember as we enter the Year of the Pig.
1. Create your world
Pigs may not be known for their intellect, reason, or elevated spirituality. However, if an indulgent space of material pleasure is what you’re about, then the pig is your guide. We associate the pig with the earth, creativity, and transformation. This goes for the space around us too, pigs like to nest. They create homes full of comfort and earthly indulgence. So this year, as you continue to cultivate your spiritual growth, don’t forget to slow down for the delicious stuff that you enjoy. There is no right way to do this. But as you make your own path, be sure to not be thoughtless about it or it may become a sty you have to clean up later.
2. Dig deeper
Both Asian astrology and medicine is understood as a dance between characteristics and the relationships of the 12 animals and the 5 elements. This year, the pig’s earth nature is accentuated by the water element and when you put them together, you get…mud. This combination of earth and water holds two valuable insights for the year ahead: our work this year will be to appreciate the mud for its stillness, but also see the beauty and clarity that can grow from it.
3. Find your yin
A time of consolidation and drawing resources together, this will be a good year to find your yin strength by embracing rather than expanding. Personally, this means choosing kindness when given the choice, as opposed to confrontation. Pigs can definitely be riled and even ferocious when pushed, but their nature is more that of stability and reliability, honesty and loyalty. The extra-yin, water pig has a fortitude that serves them well in business too, being practical and industrious and brings them respect. The pig is trusting, but don’t let the mud get the best of you: cultivate these qualities without being naïve to what is going on around you.
The coming year will be a good time to bring together the people in your life. Take the time to connect with family, rekindle old relationships and reconcile the ones that may have gone sour.
On the theme of productive and healthy relationships, the coming year will be a good time to bring together the people in your life. Take the time to connect with family, rekindle old relationships and reconcile the ones that may have gone sour. The pig is an enthusiastic and social creature. The pig is also a peacemaker who knows the value of relationships. The benefits of (re)building bridges may take one-sided action at first, and not always be free—but they will be totally worth the effort. Renewing unity can lay the groundwork for future connection. Forgiveness will be easier this year; however, with the same caveat as in business, be open-hearted and available to creating new things, but clear enough in your intention to not be taken advantage of.
4. Prepare to grow
The perseverance and the diligence of the Water Pig can flower like the lotus that emerges from the muddy depths of a pond: awake and beautiful on the surface, with a strong connection to its roots; material and personal. Looking forward, this is a year to lay the groundwork for what we are going to build next year when the entire zodiac cycle starts anew. With a wellspring of creativity, we are preparing for the year of the Rat next year—when big, expansive ideas and projects take off. Of course, projects in motion will continue to grow, but as the last station of the zodiac this may not be the time to launch.
With a wellspring of creativity, we are preparing for the year of the Rat next year—when big, expansive ideas and projects take off.
Speaking of growing, in Chinese medicine the Earth Pig is associated with digestion and the indulgences of this sign notoriously add a few inches to our waistline. It’s okay. It’s in the stars—just make sure to at least keep movement-based activities in your routine like tai chi and yoga. These will also help with some of the health conditions that get worse in earthy, damp or humid conditions like achy joints, digestive discomfort and respiratory conditions that can turn phlegmy.
Emotionally, the Earth Pig is an over thinker. If projects or goals aren’t coming to the fore in the way you planned this year, don’t worry. This is like late December, just on a larger scale. A new cycle and the heightened energy that it brings is right around the corner.
5. Create the change
While we are busy building meaningful connection, don’t forget to be generous. This is a time when the stars will shine on those who help others who can’t create a voice for themselves. This is especially in the care of children where we have an opportunity to help them build a world that supports their future. After the Year of the Dog, a period of making distinctions based on pack identities, the time has come to get behind the people and policies that are creating a more inclusive landscape and that bring us together more than separate us.
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