Chinese New Year was celebrated in the middle of February, so I'm a little late to the keyboard for this analysis.
If you're new to astrology, please note this is Chinese Astrology--a bit different than the conventional style. If you're new to Chinese Astrology, please note this is not Chinese Restaurant Placemat Astrology. I will not be discussing how dogs are loyal and wag their tails. If you're new to me or my writing, please note I'm a little cheeky and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
The Year of the Earth Dog is abundantly earthy. The Dog is inherently an Earth element sign already, so we're really feeling a distinct feel this year. This is in great contrast to the previous two years of Fire. Trying to summarize the feel of an entire year is not easy, but when I speak with most people, looking back at the last two years can certainly be described as "Fiery", particularly regarding politics, but also environmentally, and in many people's home environments as well.
So what does it mean for a year to be extra "Earthy"? Let's examine a few characteristics and how they apply to us as humanity and us as individuals.
Stagnation and Stubbornness
In the world:
Don't hold hope for a radical amount of political evolution or change over the next year (or two). Earth is heavy, dense, deep, unmoving and unchanging. Earth tends to avoid change, to avoid the new and unknown. On a sociopolitical level, people are going to be digging their heels in and avoiding openness to new opinions. You will see folks closing their minds to difference of opinion and sticking to their closely protected truths more than ever before. I will not be surprised to (sadly) see more radicalization and extremism over the next couple of years.
In your self:
On a personal level, keep an eye out for your own tendencies to be stubborn or to operate on an old system of automatic ways of thinking. It may take more effort than usual to keep an open mind when dealing with other perspectives or new ideas. We may feel a sense of stagnation in our lives, like nothing is changing or developing the way we want it to. Instead, we can turn this around and make it work for us. Understand that the feel of this time period is one of gathering and storing, not of putting-out. Work hard with an understanding that rewards may be delayed. Or simply work hard for the sake of working hard--it's good practice! We may also feel stagnated on a physical level. Our bodies will be well-served by lots of gentle movement, particularly out-of-doors. Enjoy things like hiking and walking, stretching, yoga, and muscle-building activities. This is a great year to do work around the house, gardening, and home-improvement projects. Find the key to avoiding stagnancy in grounded activities outdoors and around the home. (And in therapies like acupuncture and massage, of course!)
Stability and dependability
In the world:
As mentioned above, people will be defaulting to old patterns of behavior and avoiding new and evolving ways of thinking. People will seek stability from leaders in places of power, for good or ill. Folks will be seeking out the people who will tell them what they want to hear, to give them that sense of stability they are desiring (and would be better found within than without). People who were already facing hard times financially may have a harder time coping, even without a change in finances. This period is not one to naturally foster a feeling of abundance, but may instead perpetuate a fear of lack. This will be no problem for anyone previously comfortable in their PERCEPTION of their financial situation. But for people and places (like the United Stated of Debt) that place a lot of emphasis on making the numerical ends meet, fear and stress in the financial world may be heightened.
In your self:
We may find ourselves seeking comfort and dependability in general, and especially in times of change or unpredictability. This will take a different flavor depending on where each of us seeks comfort. This will be especially hard on emotional eaters, look out for seeking comfort from food! There will be more of a tendency for that this year (and next) than in the past. Instead, seek comfort in routine: regular and healthy sleeping habits, regular healthy meals, regular exercise. Let your body find its needed comfort and dependability from knowing you are taking good care of it in a regular, scheduled and consistent manner. Don't consider routines boring or predictable. Develop a healthy self-care routine and stick to it, and this year (and next) will pass so much more smoothly because you did.
The Central Pivot
There are different ways of looking at the cycle of the five elements in Chinese theory as it applies to health, astrology and Feng Shui. The elements are merely ways of describing different patterns of feeling and substance in the environment, or "energy" if you prefer. The elements are all changing into another element, affected by each other, and interacting with each other in different, patterned ways. The element of Earth is unique in that it is seen, in some schools of thought, to be a central pivot, around which the other four elements interact.
In the World:
For people who are prone to fear, overthinking, and analyzing global political situations, this may be a challenging time. We are coming out of two Fire years in which there was much polarization, big changes and upheaval. Now we are going to be stuck in a bit of muck, seeming to go nowhere at all with the events that have taken place before. We were all geared up, and are now seeming to spin our wheels and accomplish nothing more than flinging muck around. But this pivot point is just that: a point. A place of pause before we veer off in another direction entirely. Consider this time an essential step in the neverending flow of progress, because that is exactly what it is. We're not stuck, we're merely in transition seen from a narrow point of view. In the grander scale of time passage, we're making just the right amount of progress.
In your self:
Here is where I get to the good stuff! I've focused a lot on negative points of this year, which is essential. To avoid the pitfalls, it's important to know where they're located. But there is a great potential for each of us this year on a personal, individual level. The Fire years we have come out of have been more about the world around us, society, the globe. This year is more about house, home and family. Our small community within arm's reach. And within our individual selves. This can be a dynamic time of personal development and transition. A great time for self-inquiry, to look into who and what we are, and to develop that. A perfect time to deepen ourselves spiritually, to fortify ourselves physically, to craft exactly the person we want to become. This time is the chrysalis dark to shape our being, ready to reemerge into the light when our wings are ready.
Harvest and Harmony
In the World:
Being an Earth year (as is next year, too), topics related to the actual Earth will be prominent. Prepare to hear about food, feast, and famine. Prepare to hear about earthquakes. Societies that have been enjoying stability and security will likely continue doing so. War-torn corners of the Earth and countries previously struggling with environmental disaster will be wrenching our heart-strings. It's not easy for the open-hearted, but the best we can do to help the suffering of others on this scale, at this time, is to continue to develop ourselves. In living our highest potential, we can lift the world, and help limit the damage to innocent bystanders globally in the great economic game.
In your self:
This is a time where we can reap the harvest of past years of self-improvement. For people who have already been on the path of self-care, self-inquiry, and spiritual development, this may be an easy period. All we have to do is stay on the path. There is GREAT potential for self-development if we dive into it this year. Meditate, read, learn, take classes and workshops, journal, pray, spend time in nature--payoff for this kind of work on ourselves will be great. For those new to self-improvement, little will be seen in the way of profit from labor. We are likely to be less patient with the process of healing, weight loss, addiction recovery, etc. It will be harder to begin new ventures, and payoff will not be fast-coming. This period of time, even more than others, is best served carrying out healthy habits merely for the sake of being healthy, rather than for any attachment to outcome. Slow and steady wins this race. Harmony will be found with patience and perseverance.
Stop watching the news.
Wake, eat, sleep and exercise in a consistent manner.
Focus inside yourself and not on others.
Meditate and go for a hike.
Change what you can, disregard what you can't.
Consider the power of self-development, take a class, learn something new, exercise, go camping.
Shed the worries when they arrive, and if it feels uncomfortable, get some outside help to do so.
Focus on family, home, garden, nature.
Enjoy the meditative and calming potential of this year; if you capitalize on the opportunities it presents, this can be a great time of personal growth.