28 February 2013

Year of the Snake

2013 is the Year of the Snake, Chinese Lunar Year 4711.  The most powerful yang year of the Dragon is over and the calendar turns to balance it with a yin one. Make no mistake. The Snake has strength - fire energy. If past Snake years are any indication, 2013 is going to be full of venomous days!

Yin and Yang are not opposing forces they’re complementary.   For example, grapes are grown and, when ripe, plucked from their branches.  They are aged and bottled as wine. Branches need to be bare so new grapes can grow to refill empty bottles.  Since the 2012 yang fruits have been picked dry, 2013 will be a yin year of cultivation.  Adding the Snake to the balance makes it all the more challenging.  It is one of the most enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined, and collected of the 12 animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.  We’re going to need a full belly to stomach what may be in store for us this year.

According to my thoroughly unpracticed Feng Shui study, 2013 is said to be a yin water Snake year.  Water is the element of transport and communication, so it’ll bring intelligence and innovation to the fire of uprising or hidden conflict. 1953 was a yin water Snake year.   The Korean War ended, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, and Josef Stalin died of a heart attack.  Peace and pageantry during the super powers’ cold war arms buildup.

Not all past Snake years were water Snakes.   In general, though, all appeared equally unsettling.   1929 was the year of Al Capone’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Pearl Harbor was on December 7, 1941 and Hitler declared war on the U.S. days later.  In 1965 the Vietnam War escalated.  The killings at Tiananmen Square happened in 1989, and the World Trade Center terrorist attack was in 2001. Yet peace was found in the Snake year of 1977 when newly sworn-in President Jimmy Carter signed The Panama Canal Treaty.

It’s not all doom and gloom during Snake years.  1977 was a stellar one. My brother, Jimmy, graduated from Bexley High School and the 1st U.S. space shuttle was launched.   Disco came alive with the release of the movie and soundtrack Saturday Night Fever.  Cinemas also debuted Anne Hall, Star Wars, and Close Encounters of a Third Kind.  Fleetwood Mac released the album Rumors. Atari was born, the Neutron Bomb was developed, and Nickelodeon was introduced on QUBE in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It was also that same Snake year when Steve Jobs created Apple requesting: “don’t make the logo cute.”

History and timelines offer us an opportunity to examine past events so we may have a better understanding of the present.  They also let us see if history is repeating itself.  It’s the beginning of 2013 and past Snake years are already shedding their skin.  The winter weather is a record-breaking ditto.  The Blizzard of 1941 was said to be the worst of its time and the one in 1977 brought snow from New England to Miami and claimed 100 lives.  The winter of our discontent doesn’t end with the weather.  King Richard’s bones were unearthed while North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un rattled Seouls.  He conducted an underground nuclear weapon test in defiance of the U.S. and China.  His neighbors in the south believe the fall out is war.  Another echo from Asia’s past is the escalation of tension between China and Japan.  Both nations claim ownership of a chain of islands in the East China Sea  (Diaoyu Islands in China and Senkaku Islands in Japan).  Oddly enough, Mr. Xi Jin Ping, China’s new leader of the Communist Party, was born in the yin water Snake year 1953.

Wasn’t the world supposed to have ended last December?  I surrender!  Mark Twain said, “The world doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”  So I'll wait for the white smoke of a new Pope to clear and hold for hope that we’ll cope in the celestial globe this year.

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