by Robert Wilkinson
Following up on the recent article on how Chinese Astrology works and the qualities of recent years, today we continue with what the coming Year of the Earth Rat will hold for us all by examining the qualities of this sign and the qualities of these years, past and present. It's going to be a much more grounded and practical time than the wild ride of the past two years, so get ready to enjoy yourself as new beginnings and sudden events show us change accelerating by the month.
The Year of the Earth Rat occurs once every 60 years. The last time we had an Earth Rat year was Feb 10, 1948 to January 29, 1949, and the one in front of us lasts from Feb 6, 2008 to Jan 26, 2009. There is also an alternative theory of computing the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and I've included it at the end of this article for those who may be interested.
Remember that we're still in the Year of the Fire Boar until the Aquarius Solar Eclipse on February 6-7, 2008, so please revisit the articles in the December 2006 archives on this year that is rapidly fading into the coming Year of the Earth Rat. And now, without further adieu, here's this year's composition on the Rat!
In China, the Rat is associated with energy, intellect, charm, honesty, persistence, humor and a peculiar form of generosity, sharing all with their loved ones, while taking all they can from those they have little or no regard for. They love company and parties, and being extremists, usually do not deny themselves anything. . They can be extravagant, as well as classy, but sometimes there’s no telling what they’re about to come up with!
They enter into things wholeheartedly, and this can mean that occasionally they persist in following through on their plans even to the point of self-destruction. Worried about having what they need in the future, they stock things up to assure themselves of security down the road, and thus can be exploitive of others when feeling insecure. They save and plan for the future with an eye to their future well being, as well as those they love.
For all of their vast imagination, they can be critical to a ridiculous degree due to a peculiar narrow mindedness. They have high standards, can be overly perfectionistic, and have no problem telling others what they expect. Rat people need to master their discontent and channel it into productive efforts without the need to explain things in such detail that they put people off.
They know how to impress people, and usually others are not wishy-washy about Rats; you either love them or you don’t! Very sentimental, they can do for others for memory’s sake, setting aside their calculating tendencies. They want to love and be loved intensely, and will go to extremes for those they care for.
They’ll always persist in getting what they want, if only to share it with others for whatever reasons they have in the moment. They can see through people and situations, and if they care to, can turn losing situations into positive opportunities amazingly fast due to seeing what must be done quickly and efficiently.
Rats have an amazing mind, which is why so many literary giants have been born under this sign. Never take this sign lightly, as they won’t be trifled with and can be intense in the extreme when they feel they’re being disrespected, and the less evolved are capable of retribution if betrayed.
Rats are exciting people to be around, and born leaders. They are in perpetual motion, and are capable of pulling things off that would overwhelm others of lesser energy and focused intention. Their motto could be “Just Do It!” They live for the excitement of grand schemes, big projects, adventures, all done with a flair for detail, excellence and drama.
The Good: Outgoing, active, ambitious, entrepreneurial, generous, quick, energetic, willing to do whatever it takes, charming, dramatic, creative, persistent, organized, skillful, perceptive, intelligent, outgoing, hospitable, adaptable, clever.
The Bad: Ruthless, insecure, possessive, nervous, willful, discontented, excessive, critical, overbearing, picky, manipulative, boring, and self-absorbed.
THE EARTH RAT
Very practical and matter-of-fact, this one knows where they’re going and how to get there efficiently. Persuasive, congenial, hard working, and opinionated, this Rat could successfully sell ice cubes in the Arctic. A great negotiator, this indefatigable Rat can apply their enormous will in skilled ways that they eventually achieve their aims, step by step.
They are disciplined, intelligent, have good common sense and a deep calm that helps them navigate life’s storms with great inner stability. Having little tolerance for laziness, they can be judgmental of those they feel are of lesser mettle.
They are great hosts and really like people around. Very protective, affectionate, and romantic, this is a creature of the heart. Though at times they can seem very formidable and uncaring, they really do feel very deeply, want a home where others feel welcome, as well as taken care of and happy.
THE YEAR OF THE EARTH RAT
Given the capacity for hard work as well as enjoying good company, this should be a good year for combining business with pleasure, as well as calmly and perseveringly acquiring wealth and great experiences with others. A time to invest as well as acquire assets, which will be a good thing given the years to come.
There can be major unexpected surprises in Earth Rat years, including sudden reversals, abrupt departures and arrivals in the political world, and lots of accusations and counter accusations. Expect some people to be publicly embarrassed this year, whether their opponents or themselves!
Beware of narrow political arguments, those who are overly dogmatic or opinionated, and those who think well of themselves just because they work harder than others, whether they are of greater merit or not. Critics will have a field day this year, whether their imaginations hold fantasies or realities.
This year many who are afraid of failure will push themselves beyond previous limits, so take note of bold opportunists who may be inspiring or parasites! Just try not to blow money on extravangances that are over-the-top and unnecessary.
It should be a good year for entertaining, as well as all things connected to writing, literature, and lively discussions. There should be many opportunities for favorable investment, as long as a tendency to gamble on long shots is avoided (even if some of them probably will work out!) As you can surmise, this year can bring BIG gains if you have the will and endurance to calculate the gamble before you bet the farm!
1948, the last time we experienced the Year of the Earth Rat, was filled with promise and turmoil. We saw the creation of the first transistor, the key component to early computer technology. We had the completion of the largest telescope in the world, as well as the creation of North and South Korea, the People’s Republic of China, West Germany, and Israel. The Soviet Union grabbed power in Czechoslovakia and Hungary, but lost Yugoslavia, and the first Arab-Israeli War was fought.
The WHO was founded, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights making genocide an international crime, Truman authorized the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, and the Berlin airlift was the response to the Soviet attempt to isolate West Berlin from the rest of the world.
In a curious paradox, apartheid was established in South Africa even as the US Army became racially integrated and an Air Force pilot was killed chasing a UFO while others saw other UFOs. On a lighter note, inventions included the LP record, the Frisbee, Velcro, Scrabble, the first McDonalds, and the first Nikon and Polaroid cameras.
Other noteworthy firsts were that it was the year of the first airplane hijacking, the “Hell’s Angels” were formed, and “universal suffrage” came to Italy.
Major literary pieces included “1984,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “Death of A Salesman,” “The Naked and the Dead,” “Waiting for Godot” by Beckett, and “Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose” by Dr. Seuss while classic movies made that year were “The Treasure of Sierra Madre,” “Key Largo,” “The Lady from Shanghai,” and Olivier’s “Hamlet.”
Television jumpstarted American pop consumerism with the first televised presidential conventions, along with other debuts. Toscanini made his first appearance on television, as did Milton Berle, “Mister Television” himself, Ed Sullivan, the Man who brought the Beatles to America, and the legendary Saint of Free Speech, Lenny Bruce.
Quick, clever, active, calculating, and determined, this year should bring good rewards for our efforts. This year we should be able to nail down the payoff for our perseverance in the year of the Fire Dog and bold risk taking in the year of the Fire Boar, so follow through, entertain, plan, save, and do what must be done with an eye to the long term future.
Literary giants William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Daniel Defoe, Jules Verne, Katherine Mansfield, Charlotte Bronte, George Sand, T.E. Lawrence, Truman Capote, T. S. Eliot, Emile Zola, Eugene Ionesco, James Baldwin, and Antoine de St. Exupery
Historical political figures: William Pitt, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli, Joseph Kennedy, Konrad Adenauer, Adlai Stevenson Jr., Lady Bird Johnson, and Earth Rats Prince Charles and Howard Dean.
Presidents George Washington, Franklin Pierce, Richard Nixon, George Bush Sr., and Earth Rat Nobel Laureate Al Gore (elected but not inaugurated).
Timeless silver screen stars Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Lauren Bacall, Dennis Hopper, Sidney Poitier, Vanessa Redgrave, Eva Marie Saint, Doris Day, Roy Rogers, Gene Kelly, Ursula Andress, Lee Marvin, Gwen Verdon, Bert Reynolds, Albert Finney, Kenneth Branagh, Daryl Hannah, and Sean Penn.
Musical legends Mozart, Strauss, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Louis Armstrong, Maurice Chevalier, Kurt Weil, Irving Berlin, Woodie Guthrie, Hank Williams, Pablo Casals, Henry Mancini, Sarah Vaughn, Aaron Copland, John Cage, Zubin Mehta, and Kris Kristofferson.
Artists for the ages Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet
Complex historical figures Lucrezia Borgia, Mata Hari, and Charlotte Corday
Television stars Dick Cavett, Alan Alda, Bea Arthur, Carroll O’Connor, and Suzanne Pleshette
FAMOUS EARTH RATS
Major musical talents include James Taylor, Stevie Winwood, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Robert Plant, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Steve Goodman, Pinchas Zukerman, Kathleen Battle, Cat Stevens, Brian Eno, Rory Gallagher, Jah Eyrie Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, and Grace Jones, Stevie Nicks, Leo Sayer, John Bonham, Lulu, Nick Drake, Steven Tyler, Donna Summer, Todd Rundgren, Ian Paice, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bill Nelson, John Ford Coley, Ozzy Osbourne, and Olivia Newton-John.
Film and other performing talents feature Billy Crystal, Bernadette Peters, Lewis Black, John Ritter, Samuel L. Jackson, Mercedes Ruehl, Jeremy Irons, Dianne Weist, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Phylicia Rashad, Sally Struthers, JoBeth Williams, Phil Hartman, Gerard Depardieu, and Jerry Mathers.
Other amazing Earth Rat talents include Garry Trudeau, creator of “Doonesberry,” Mikhail Zadornov, Richard Simmons, and legendary music writer Lester Bangs.
About the Chinese New Year, and when it actually begins:
The Chinese New Year day is on February 7th, 2008. This day is a new moon day and the first day of the first Chinese lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The New Moon occurs February 6 at 7:44 pm PST and 10:44 pm EST. This means 3:44 am GMT on February 7, and an hour later for Europe between Madrid and Warsaw, including Amsterdam, Stockholm, Munich, Rome, and Prague. For the next time zone east, including Helsinki, Tallinn, Kyiv, Istanbul, Athens, Beirut, and Johannesburg, it falls at 5:44 am, while in India it occurs at 9:14 am February 7, 2008.
However, it also seems that there is a different way of measuring our signs that starts from the beginning of Spring in the Chinese lunar calendar. From one source:
The First Day of the Brown Rat Astrology Year in China's time zone is February 4th, 2008 because that day is the first day of Tiger month and the Tiger month is the first month of the year in Chinese Fortune-Telling Calendar system.
In the Chinese Fortune-Telling calendar, the first day of the first month, Tiger month, is called "Start of Spring", which is when the Sun enters the 315th degree on the tropical zodiac. In China the time of Start of Spring is at Feb 4 at 7 pm, so the first day of the Brown Rat year is Feb 4 2008. This is 6 am EST Feb 4, and 3 am PST.
Many people born in late January or early February confuse their birth year Chinese astrology animal signs because they think the astrology animal signs are from Chinese New Year day when they should be based on the Start of Spring, the first day of astrology year. For example, If a baby is born on Feb 5 2008 before the Chinese New Year day, then its animal sign is Rat because the birthday is after the Start of Spring.
(If any of my readers is particularly adept at explaining why one system is superior to another, please feel free to weigh in at the comment stream. I'm sure many would be interested in why one system should or should not be favored over the other.)
© Copyright 2008 Robert Wilkinson