by Karen Abler Carrasco January 25th, 2020. A new cycle and a new decade begins, with a built-in metaphor for clear, sharp, 2020 vision. This particular decade also starts with the Chinese lunar astrology sign that most perfectly represents clear, sharp, focused intent and action–the Yang Metal Rat year. This synchronistic combination of vision, intent and bold action portends success for a social restructuring that is nearly unprecedented. The last Metal Rat year was 1960. The decade that followed has held an almost mythological place in history for the breadth and depth of the changes it brought to the modern world. In the West, societies tore apart at the generational seams as cultural expectations were questioned, governmental policies protested, moral hypocrisies exposed and “business as usual” rejected. Science and technology challenged religions, corporations began to control public resources and rampant consumerism became the recipe for world wide economic success. Altruism and hedonism both battled for ascendancy. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Drawing from the lessons of those turbulent times we see that one needs a rock solid inner guidance system to navigate the shifting terrain ahead. We are in the midst of a polar shift in every aspect of life as we attempt to reconcile the starkly interdependent realities of a global economy with the old structures of independent nations. Just as the 1960‘s examined social justice within human diversity, so the 2020‘s will inevitably focus on ecological justice within the diversity of all the other species on the planet. The ultimate “bottom line” of ecosystem fatigue is becoming too evident to ignore any longer. With 2020 vision we see that reweaving ourselves and our entire civilization back into the world-wide web of life is the critical priority now. Fortunately, the Yang Metal Rat energies support this exact and exacting task, as they bring precise focus, keen wit, and a remarkable talent for self-preservation and species survival. With razor sharp precision, the Metal Rat slices through any obstacle to realize its goals. It is a clever, opportunistic creature, with a compulsion to thrive regardless of the difficulties. Endless will power, tireless persistence and a reliance on bold action are the Rat’s tools for success. The Metal Rat year combines grounded practicality with inspired action to achieve a most formidable position of safety and comfort within any environment. Thinking on one’s feet, making lightning quick decisions, altering course whenever the advantages shift–the Metal Rat’s energy offers the perfect strengths to those who latch on to it’s tail, seeking the best possible placement to face the unpredictable years ahead. The Metal element highlights the ability to sniff out what is truly useful and valuable as well as to identify what must be jettisoned as useless and unworthy.
Photo by Rebecca Lai Use this quality to redefine your future, asking “What is my time here worth?” “Which are my highest values and most cherished relationships that I wish to nurture?” “What is my authentic response, based on my inner truth, to the clamoring choices facing me?” Evaluate every facet of your life again, and get crystal clear on where solid, life-sustaining value lies within it. This is THE year for this vital revisionist work. The energy of this year promises to move swiftly. Do not procrastinate in reviewing everything that currently sustains you and your family’s security. Food, housing, finances, health, support network–determine what is essential for you and your beloveds, locate the cleanest, best quality sources and procure them. Some peripheral interests or involvements may not make the cut, and this is good. Be pragmatic. Anchor your core choices with daily and weekly goals to meet your needs and carefully guide your steps along the new, precarious path towards global transformation. While 2020 is ruled by the Metal element, representing the mental body, the common sense of smell, and precise boundaries in time and space, the Rat’s native element is Water, representing the spiritual body, the sense of hearing, timelessness and fluid movement. Metal supports Water in the Nourishing Cycle of the 5 Elements. Such a unique harmony of qualities means that this year has a stronger influence than years which have elemental and animal energy conflicts. We can embody the Metal and Water elements ourselves this year in how we approach every moment. Picture the clever Rat, with its long nose to the air, whiskers twitching, ears wide, locating the faintest smells and sounds leading to food and safety. Metal–keep your nose alert to the winds of change, Water–listen for guidance and be fluid in your response. The final overriding quality to understand about this amazing year is it’s yang aspect–that quality of big, bright, loud, fast, up and out, social ACTION. Be quick about setting up your guideposts of values and goals for the year, and the decade, because yang years offer actionable opportunities in rapid succession. Here comes a great chance to do…oops, there it goes. No worries, another will come along soon, but not endlessly. Use the Metal Rat’s talent to define what’s truly useful to secure your future. You can trust that the clarity provided by the bold, noisy yang energy will light up the most excellent choices for you like a beacon. Venture out into the wider world and leap into the fray with confidence, once you have your internal housekeeping done. Armed with fresh clarity of purpose and redefined lifestyle priorities, you can face the coming decade of change and transformation with a secure, well stocked home base and the generous grace to help others do the same.