Young and Minority Leaders

The Year of the Earth Rat 2008

Suzanne White asked:




From the Year of the Rat through the Year of the Pig, there are twelve animal signs romping through the Asian or “Chinese” astrological system. To find your own sign, all you need to know is the year of your birth. Though there are no complicated rising signs nor intricate charts to reckon with, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year. It can occur as early as mid-January or as late as mid-February. So if you were born in either of these two months, please enter your birth date on my web site for accuracy. A person born in late January of a Snake year might not be a Snake subject, but rather will be given the sign of the preceding Dragon year.

The cycle of the Chinese zodiac renews itself every dozen years. As luck would have it, 1900 was a Rat year. Since Rat is the first in the series of twelve signs and its year opened our century, we can often calculate the signs of our contemporaries with ease. The year 2000 was not so convenient. Instead of rounding out nicely to start the new century with a Rat year, 2000 was a Dragon year. The Dragon, unlike the Rat, is not the first sign of the Chinese Zodiac but the fifth. So in this new century we have to work a bit harder to calculate our Chinese sign.

Every Asian person about to make a major decision: mar¬riage, family, profession, burial, or relocation will first check to see if his sign and those of the people involved indicate that any benefit will result from the anticipated act. In many Asian countries parents still arrange marriages. If the family considers that a Horse son is not well matched to a Rat woman, the wedding will be called off.

Astrology – like various other “ologies” – is yet another way of finding out who we are and how we can be happier. Astrologers do not claim to have all the answers. As a soothsayer, I do not presume to know if you must or must not buy a pickup truck on Thursday, the twenty-ninth of July, 2021. But what I do know is that the animal symbol that rules the year of your birth has endowed you with certain basic characteristics and helped to define your funda¬mental nature.

Once you are made aware of your qualities and have accepted certain aspects of your faults, it is conceivable that you will have a better chance of making life cooperate with you. Given definite attributes to work with, you will then possess the wherewithal to fashion your own life to fit your desires and ambitions. Moreover, as you examine the qualities and faults pertaining to your friends or acquaintances, you may learn why you (and they) behave in ways hitherto incomprehensible.



According to a Chinese legend, one day during some dynasty or other, Buddha called all 12 major animals together for a race. The Rat not only won the race, he was probably canny enough to ride on the Ox’s back to do so. Oxen tend to be slow, but they are steady and plodding. We all know from our own legend about the Tortoise and the Hare that steady plodding wins the race.

You won’t find many steady plodders

among the Rat population.


1900, 1912, 1924. 1936, 1948, 1960,

1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2052,

2044, 2056, 2068, 2080, 2092

NB- Born in January or early Feb.? Check my Chinese Sign page ( to be sure you are not among those who fall into the sign of the previous year.

Rat is the first sign of the Chinese Zodiac.









“What? You tell me I’m a Rat. Yucko! Gross. No way!” I hear these protests all the time. Nobody wants to be a Rat. Apparently, they’d rather be something less revolting. Rats don’t benefit from an elegant reputation in our occidental, urbanized society.

But think for a moment of the clever farm rat. It is this rat: the collector, the hoarder, the deft and admirable country rat, whom Buddha honored. This rural rat is, to this day, a scrounger for food, finder of warm places to nest and a procreator par excellence. Let us then put aside our base image of the repellent city rat and concentrate on the characters of his artful country cousin.

The key adjectives I like to use to describe Rat people are: “charming, assertive, protective and relentless.” Rats go whole hog for what they are after and they never give up. You’ll never meet an unattractive Rat. They may not be classically handsome. But they ooze allure. Neither will you find a Rat person who doesn’t seek to achieve and succeed, stand out from the crowd and even assume power over others. Rats are go-getters. They are born with leadership qualities and a hefty measure of guile. For the Rat, the ends frequently justify the means.

Rat people usually appear calm and at ease in company. They’re talkative (to a fault sometimes) and make pleasant conversationalists. But take a closer look. That Rat has a rubber band in his hand which he incessantly snaps back and forth between two fingers. The Rat woman keeps wiggling the fastener on her bracelet. Rats only seem tranquil. Inside, they are like nuclear reactors: churning, bubbling, twisting and steaming. Rats seethe and sizzle. But they never—or rarely—explode.

Rats are not only stashers of food, they have a well-developed sense of economy. They know where their money goes and for which frivolities they are willing to spend lavishly. Parties and gatherings of all sorts please the Rat. In fact, any chance to communicate is seen as a joyful occasion. Rats love—no, need—to talk. If Rats have problems, they talk them through. If they are depressed, they blab it out. If they lose a lover, they can only cure themselves of heartbreak by exposing the whole gory story until the listener’s ears are red with compassion and the Rat has emptied his despondent soul. If you have a gabby Rat crony, keep your IPOD handy and pump up the volume.

If you are loved by a Rat, consider yourself lucky. Rats will fiercely defend and cheerfully spoil the people they care about. But outsiders don’t count. The Rat wants to be surrounded with those who like and admire him. He will lavish presents on them and feed them all till they burst from admiration. Loyal companionship is the Rat’s idea of contentment.

Rats are not necessarily high-minded. Nor are they artistic dreamers. But they are wily and intelligent. And they are often gifted – too clever by half. They make excellent lawyers and executives. Too, Rats dabble more than a little in politics. They crave power. Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr. and John McCain – Rats to a man. And they know how to use their brains with words. In the world’s Rat Pack, you will find all manner of highly talented writers, composers, singers, actors and actresses. Here’s a famous Rat sampling:

1912 (Water Rat Mary McCarthy, Loretta Young, Roy Rogers, Gene Kelly, John Cage, Eugene Ionesco, Laurence Durrell, Werner Von Braun, John Cheever, Perry Como, Studs Terkel, Woody Guthrie, Julia Child, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Danny Kaye. 1924 (Wood Rat) Marlon Brando, Lauren Bacall, Sarah Vaughan, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Charles Aznavour, Doris Day, Lee Marvin, Zizi Jeanmaire, Sidney Poitier. 1936 (Fire Rat) Glenda Jackson, Dennis Hopper, Keir Dullea, Yves St Laurent, Dick Cavett, Vanessa Redgrave, Albert Finney, El Cordobes, Alan Alda, Kris Kristifferson, Marion Barry, F.W. DeKlerk, , Dean Stockwell, Glenn Campbell, Roy Orbison, Bobby Darin, Dennis Hop
per, Englebert Humperdinck, Tom Snyder, Bruce Dern, Chad Everett, Geena Rowlands, Oscar de la Renta, Wilt Chamberlain, Buddy Holly,
David Carradine, Ismael Merchant, Lou Rawls, Shirley Bassey, Dyan Cannon, Boris Spassky. 1948 (Earth Rat) James Taylor, Olivia Newton-John, Mikhail Barishnykov, Donna Summer, Gerard Depardieu, Billy Crystal, Al Gore, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jimmy Cliff, Kathy Bates, Cat Stevens, Jeremy Irons, Mary Beth Hurt, Olivia Newton-John, Jackson Browne, Donna Karan, Kenny Loggins. 1960 (Metal Rat) Kenneth Branagh, Yannick Noah, Daryl Hannah, Sean Penn, Greta Scacchi, Meg Tilly, Ayrton Sienna, Kristin Scott Thomas, Antonio Banderas, Branford Marsalis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Nastassja Kinski, Valerie Bertinelli, Hugh Grant 1972 (Water Rat) Shaquille O’Neal, Carmen Electra, Busta Rhymes, Julie Gayet, Elizabeth Berkley, Marlon Wayans, Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz, Geri Halliwell, Liam Gallagher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eminem, Toni Collette, Jenny McCarthy, Alyssa Milano, Vanessa Paradis.

Rats are not infrequently found meddling in other peoples’ business. They are intensely curious and can become overly involved in the lives of friends and neighbors. They cannot be termed “busybodies” – but almost. Rats also delight in the running of committees and will gladly take over the administration of a board of directors. Rats will not usually volunteer to be on the cleanup committee. Nor are they apt to beg to decorate the church crypt for the charity bazaar. They may tell you how they want it done. But they are not about to actually DO the decorating. No. It’s power that Rats are after—power and influence and lots of praise and kudos.

Rats too are marriers. They crave security and need to be attached. They hoard money and foodstuffs in secret places so they will never be caught short of either. Show up unannounced at her place, the Rat will feed you well. But don’t try to borrow any money or expect to be treated to lavish meals at the Four Seasons or the Ritz. Rats are much more conservative than their splendid surroundings would have us believe.


FEBRUARY 7, 2008 TO JANUARY 25, 2009

Hang on to your hat, here comes the Rat!

2008 promises to be a whole new Rat Race. This year jump starts the Chinese twelve year cycle all over again. Prepare for twelve months of Monday mornings.

We just oinked our way through and oozed out of the prosperous Pig year. If you recall, I forecasted a year of too much plenty. I warned that the rich would get richer and the poor would do far less well. Of course I could not have predicted that women’s handbags would increase in value to the point where some ladies are carrying around ten bucks and a lipstick in a hot pink crocodile clutch bag that cost their husband’s credit card $4000. Seriously, I just consulted the Neiman Marcus online shopping catalogue and in such top stores women’s’ purses cost upwards of $1000. Some (and not just a few) cost six thousand smackers! That’s a concrete example of what I said would happen under the influence of the Fire Pig. Glut for glut’s sake. End of cycle excess. Quantity over quality. For some, it was a great year. In 2007, “Them that has” had themselves a hugely piggy Pig year.

Here’s a quote from my last year’s forecast: “People are going to have more “stuff” in the Pig year. Extravagant real estate and luxury items, jewelry and antiques, authentic old masters – everything having to do with wealth and affluence will be favored. But… this abject profusion of material possession means that anyone who is not rich or prosperous or rolling in gold bullion cubes will – by virtue of the scales being tipped too far – fare worse.”

And are not a slew more wealthy humans cluttering up golf courses and crowding shopping mall parking lots with their splendiferous gas guzzling cars? And, by contrast, are not a lot more people out of work, out of luck and nowadays even out of their homes?

Well folks, the party (and the twelve year cycle) is most decidedly over.

2008 will be an Earth Rat year. Rat years are always choppy and appeal mostly to those with a finely-developed sense of economy. But the Earth Rat year (The last one was 1948) is also chockablock with market upsets and other unspeakable bolts from the blue. NO. I can’t tell you what color, size or shape the bolts will be. Just think surprise events which jolt your synapses and give your heart goose bumps. I am not threatening earthquakes or typhoons, although we will surely see our share of those. The bolts from the blue will be more personal than that. They will take the form of accidents or mishaps due to inattention, clumsiness or pure bad luck. In an Earth Rat year, we learn (usually the hard way) that we cannot possibly anticipate what might happen next. Some might say, “Then let’s just have fun. Why worry?” Others of you will shudder and shake, fearing insecurity and mourning free lunches.

Relax! Worry is a waste of your precious time. What you worry about today will certainly not happen. And what will happen is something you might have been worrying about but didn’t even know existed. Just be more cautious than usual about wasting – both time and money.

In this coming year, the fragile quality of the world’s financial condition will become glaringly obvious. People and governments in the western world will wake up to the fact that they cannot go on spending more money than they have and get away with it. In fact, many very rich people will barely have time to preserve existing finances. Get ready to swap those $4000.00 purses for some spanking new food stamps. Flog your $50,000.00 golf cart and learn how to walk again. Give up caviar and luxury cruises in favor of hot dogs, macaroni salad and a romantic rowboat ride on the local park lake. Forego smoked salmon and learn how to fish. This coming year will be about the prudent managing of finances, cost-cutting measures and trendy cheap backpacks made in China. It will also be about power.

Something intriguing about Rat years is that at first they appear to bode only wealth and bounty. But such glittering harvests are merely the calm before the storm and hunger pangs of future shortages. Nobody will be spared. Already in February, inflation will be on the rise. People all over the world will see their buying power diminish. My advice? Open a savings account. Plant a vegetable garden. Stash gold jewelry under your mattress. Junk the gas guzzler and buy a book of train tickets. Take the kids out of private school. Teach them at home. Learn to cook cheaper cuts of meat or eat no meat at all. Take pride in wearing handsomely patched jeans and be the first on your block to remember how to darn socks. In general, in the coming Rat year, do as the British were advised after WWII, “Make do and mend”. We did it before and we can do it again. Might as well face it. Scantier days are ahead.

This year is not all bleak, drab and gray however. It’s a splendid year for power grubbers who gain dominion over others. Dictators will thrive in this Rat year. Hoarders of foodstuffs get a leg up. It’s also a banner year for owners of savings (and even piggy) banks. And it’s a fabulous year for people devoted to living the simple life, playing music or party games at home with their children, going on picnics, taking advantage of free museum entries and walking everywhere instead of taking the car. The inherently parsimonious Rat year is here to help us clean up our act. Join forces with Brother Rat. Dismount your cherished Hummer. Slog a bit and drudge a bit. Cut back and save. Take one paper towel instead of two at a time. If one doesn’t do the job, you can always go back for more. Wash your own car and polish it too. Quit the expensive gym and ride your bike to work. If you co-operate with the spirit of the Rat year, you can expect to enjoy a carefree twelve months. But buck the system and continue to troll the thousand dollar handbag department at Nordstrom or Harrods’s or Galeries Lafayette and your golden goose will flap its wings a few times and fall right over dead (next to the overdue credit card bills) on your sn
azzy $10,000 dining room table.

dren born in Rat years are luckier if their birthdays come in sum¬mer. They will not have to dig through the snow for provisions and can benefit from sultry sunshine to make the hay that they will so need to have stored away for the long, cold winter ahead.




Your year at last! 2008 begins a whole new cycle of Chinese animal signs and, as usual, you are leading the pack. Directly following the New Year, life will seem suddenly more fluid. Bumps in the road will even out for you and people you thought you could never get along with are all of a happy sudden on your side. Profit from every possible angle you can wangle. But come April watch out for a tendency to let down your guard and go slack when you should be quicker on the draw. Toward June, romance will increase in intensity and want to become engagement. Commitment beckons. Then marriage is nigh. Don’t hold off. If you feel you have found “The One”, then go ahead and tie the knot. Real estate will doubtless become a preoccupation this year. You current property/ies is/are too costly, meaning that the real estate that you own or rent and inhabit either doesn’t suit your lifestyle or work well with your commute or else it simply clashes with your taste. Find a new place to live that is appropriate not only to your needs – but to your pocketbook. Before winter sets in, lay in stores. You will be needing them around Christmas time when shortages loom. Keep in mind that, overall, your main objective this year is to carefully plot out the next dozen years of your life. Where do you want to be in twelve years? With whom will you be living? How much do you want to be earning and will you prefer the city or the country? You have twelve long years to get where you want to go with whom and for how much. Think ahead and be extra calculating. Make major long term decisions in 2008. And don’t look back. Life is too short to regret missed opportunities that are probably out of fashion anyway. Stay alert. Leap into new projects with your usual enthusiasm, but hold the reckless abandon.


Rats covet power and they often get it. Whether in relationships, in government positions or in business dealings, Rats seek dominion and go after it tooth and claw. This coming year fairly reeks of the Rat’s powerful influence. But that pungent smell doesn’t bother you Oxen too much. You were born with a keen sense of your own strength and haven’t had to struggle, as the Rat perpetually does, to gain and maintain control. In your case, control comes with the territory. Because the Rat’s drive for supremacy doesn’t threaten Ox people, you usually cruise right through Rat years without missing a beat. Beware, early this year, of developing symptoms of emotional stress. Your private life lacks satisfaction and this dearth of sexual or romantic excitement may cause you to doubt your ability to maintain relationships. My advice? Stop listening to detractors. Clamp your front hooves over your ears and refuse to hear anything negative in your regard. Remember (when you can’t sleep at night) that you are the one pulling this plow under your own steam. Listen to the force of your inner voice. That’s where your self-confidence is lurking. Way deep inside. Snatch it. Gobble it up. And go back to sleep.

Rats move quickly. You tend to advance more slowly. But for you, it’s constructive to march to the pokey cadence of your own inner drummer. This year, from the outset, you will be encouraged to accumulate wealth, nurture your crops and tend to your family’s harmony. In the Autumn, tension may threaten your professional life. It will no doubt come from a person born in a Dragon or Rabbit year. Keep your ears pricked up for signs of nasty backbiting and subterfuge in the wings at the workplace. Someone would like to see you fail. By November, if there is no improvement in the situation, take pains to actively discourage that person’s desire to do you in. Even if you must use force, this is one battle you do not want to lose. But be wise. And subtle. Strategize. Prepare. You are not one to enjoy playing games. But this time, the prize will be worth the departure from your usual bulldozer style.


As you no doubt already know, whether in relationships, in business or government or even in stupid traffic! – the Rat seeks to dominate. For you Tigers, this peculiar Rat character trait is both un-nerving and irritating. You find Rat years tedious. You really hate it when someone who isn’t you feels like pushing his or her weight around. But do not allow tedium to get in the way of your survival instinct. Prepare to scrimp a bit and tighten your stripes. You will in any case be on the move. Wherever you go it seems you are being given options: new ways to make a living or chances to join a prestigious group or opportunities to be creative or to enhance your public image. Basic trusts can be broken in these years. You are not usually avid to be the one in control. Being the titular boss, who answers yammering phone calls and e-mails in an office all day long and waits for employees to show up at yawn-filled meetings would send you straight into a coma. But the Rat does not necessarily know this about you. You appear so strong and so sure of yourself that the terminally insecure Rat feels threatened. Hence your life in this coming year may prove to be less than delightful. The Rat could try to thwart even your most innocent of desires for self-governance, belittle your cleverest notions and may even sabotage your plans. There is also the possibility of chronic illness developing in a close friend, associate or member of your family. You will be called upon to deal with it. And you will. Another hint? Don’t be tempted to ally yourself with any Rats. The Rat not only wants power. He or she wants to be the sole owner of that power. Rats are hoarders and savers. You are the spendier, devil-may-care guy or woman who believes that money grows on trees and that so long as you keep changing forests, there will always be more ready cash hanging from the branches. Conflict between your splurging spirit and the Rat’s desire to stash will arise. Advice? Plan to travel and make changes this year. Don’t bother to try to save money. You don’t know how.

CAT/RABBIT Not the most encouraging of years for you Cat/Rabbit people. Why? Because the Rat tends to envy your settled, secure lifestyle and would not in the least mind turning it on its head. Rats love drama and excitement. Like you, they are budget-conscious. But they don’t settle down the way you do. They crave (and often create) havoc and excitement. You favor safety over histrionics and will opt for simple jaunts in the countryside instead of choosing excitement for its own sake. Of course, you are the more sagacious of the two signs. You prefer not to have to enter any fray or conflict to get what you want and always seek to avoid belligerence. Rats are forever stalking dominance and are unafraid of confrontation. I advise Cat/Rabbits not to perform any public stunts which will attract attention to them during this sharp-edged year. It’s not the moment to run for mayor of your town or even to seek the presidency of your Bridge club. Nor is the Rat year a time for you to splurge on antiques, classic vehicles or mansions in high end neighborhoods. Anxiety may prevail as well because of on and off tensions present in this coming year which will evolve mostly from dissension in some part of your private life. Either you are married and experiencing a classic “rocky” period. Or you are not married and long to be, but can’t get along with the intended for more than a week without quarreling. As you despise conflict, you flee. In your absence, she or he meets someone else. Now you are thoroughly upset, so you return on pitty pat paws to reclaim your territory. And what do you discover? A love triangle. More discord. Further controversy. A
nd perhaps even a fight! Hang in there. Rat years are never wonderful for the Cat/Rab
bit’s love life. To change the subject radically, your finances could come under some scrutiny from the tax authorities. Better to lie low and while away weekends listening to classical music, reading history books or polishing your antique clocks. Around November, you very well might enjoy a fling or two with someone charming and frankly, openly sexy. Take pains to protect your reputation for refinement and good taste. Money, this year, should not be scarce. Most Cat/Rabbits are known for their ability to see around corners in dodgy markets.


Here comes a bonanza year for you personally. Nobody admires your dashing self more than the canny Rat. And the feeling is often mutual. You will be awash in propositions for new projects and called upon to direct (the job you love best) everything from the village orchestra to the Neighborhood Watch. You are a rising Star in this Rat year, and what’s more, you can feel it. A rush of approval and freewheeling comes over you about mid-March and won’t leave until the end of next January. Take wise advantage of the opportunities presented to you because they are almost all excellent chances for the betterment of both your financial and personal life.

An enticing love interest appears about halfway through the year. If you are otherwise attached, beware of temptation. The person in question is most seductive and what’s more is magnetized by your charisma. If you are not hitched, go for it – give him or her the full Dragon treatment: gifts, rings, trips to exotic venues and cozy nights by the fireside. So much for the positive aspects of the Rat year. On the other side, toward the summer holidays, family members’ needs may impinge on your time. Lavish some of that precious Dragon time on those in need of your moral support. But don’t be tempted to shower them with funds. Don’t let the syrupy sentimental side of your nature take over and drive you to begin any useless squandering. Don’t make meaningless sacrifices. You have better things to do with your money in Rat years than bail people out of gambling debt or lend your new BMW to your shiftless brother-in-law who lost his license for drunk driving. You may however have to take charge of everything to do with a flailing member of your clan this year. Somebody in your immediate home life has lost his or her bearings and needs a few Dragon coaching sessions. Encourage and boost. But resist the urge to preach. It’s likely the person in question is depressed. If the condition persists, make them seek professional help.


Your health and well-being are in better fettle this year. All the physical ills you were suffering last year will dissipate in the salutary ambiance of the protective Rat. Nevertheless, trouble will be afoot in your financial sector. Hide that checkbook, scissor your credit cards and politely refuse the over draught privilege at the bank. Although you will start the year with a sense of plenty and even continue it in ample sufficiency, you will stumble on some unexpected cracks in the sidewalk toward the end of the year. You should begin putting money away for the future and stop the buying frenzies. Shopping may be tranquilizing for you while it’s happening. But when those hair-raising credit card bills and excessive mortgage payments start avalanching into your mailbox, it will be bye bye to serenity and hello to all night nail-biting sessions. In the professional sector, there will be no more obstacles to prevent you from making sudden huge strides. Your talents and abilities will be more in demand than you ever dreamed was possible. You could even become an overnight star or experience a giant breakthrough in an area of expertise that you hitherto imagined was closed to you. As the Pig year was less than clement for most Snake people, the Rat year will come as a grand relief. Little by little you will feel renewed and energetic. With this new dynamic, you will be able to shed many of the preconceived notions you harbored about your entourage. Too much emphasis has been put on your family situation for the past 12 months. Now it’s time to attack career goals and make them happen for you and your loved ones’ benefit. The Rat is a nervy sort and that sizzling edginess which emanates from inside the very vector of this year, can cause you to occasionally doubt the loyalty of your partner. Not to worry. You are sufficiently loved and admired. This year, make no major purchases. Invest only in what you can actually afford. Otherwise, when next year rolls around, you will be paddling against the current for twelve long, frazzled months


Don’t expect any jolly miracles to come waddling down the trail to greet you this year. Rats and Horses are notorious enemies. Between you, there is usually an initial attraction, a brief honeymoon period and then a swift slide into bickering and eventual schism. Rats like power. You refuse to be told what to do. Get the picture? Rats need to surround themselves with people they can feel protective of, look after and give direction to. In short, Rats need to dominate their friends and family in some way or other: financially, intellectually or with pure authority for its own sake. There is nothing worse for you Horses than to feel smothered by some meddling outsider who sticks his or her nose into everything you get up to. Horses crave freedom and thrive on independence. Should you hanker to buy a new home, build an extension on the one you have or invest in a second residence on a Caribbean island, put it off till next year. Everything to do with visas and passports, building permissions and zoning permits will be fraught with delay. You execrate paperwork. Filling out forms is torture for you. You do not fancy rendering accounts to anyone whatsoever. So in this Rat year, you had better remain in the wings. Don’t attempt any great stunts or public displays of your talents. Of course you probably won’t follow my advice anymore than you would follow the Rat’s instructions. You Horses can be led to water but we cannot make you take even one tiny sip if you don’t want to. No amount of coaxing or blackmail or guilt trips will make you ingest a drop. So Horses mine, this coming Rat year will be a bit of a trudge. Low profile time. Take off to the countryside with your main squeeze and spend the time thinking about the heft deals you will pull off when the Goat year rolls around. But as you will not heed my counsel . . . as they say for good luck in the theater “Break a leg.”


You inventive Goats are hard put to make much a of (of a) personal statement in this year. Being dictated to by a Rat doesn’t have a positive effect on you devil-may-care creatures. You are always willing to oblige when asked politely to perform. But when someone literally kicks you in the rump and orders you to get a move on, you either buck or back away in fear and loathing. You may feel misunderstood and sulky this coming year. You definitely don’t feel like painting the Mona Lisa or re-inventing pizza. Expect to have to deal with some productive pain. The beginning of the year (until mid July) will be freighted with petty miseries of an emotional nature. Fallout or remnants from a past romance or spent passion want to haunt your aura. Unfinished business. The feelings may manifest in the form of insomnia or nightmares. Or they may simply present as free-floating anxiety. My advice? 1) Build yourself an armor of spiritual awareness thought meditation, yoga or even martial arts. Your soul (not your mind) needs a boost. 2) Actively seek new romantic interests. Mix with people in groups or find them online. Attend parties and functions where you stand a chance of meeting someone new and “possible”. Do not sit on your hands and worry or lose sleep over past blunders. What is gone is gone. Better prospects are on the way come September. By that time you should have begun to emerge from all angst. Make an effort to look your b
est at work. You can expect to be promoted this year. All supplementary professional effort
s will be rewarded. You may quietly pursue your pet creative projects at home in a protected environment where you feel safe and cared for. But stay out of the spotlight. Rat years are no time for building a reputation as the genius you often are. Hang in there and love will come trotting along in the Autumn of this year. Someone sweet and strong (a Pig if you’re lucky) will be overcome with a stunning admiration for you. This love interest will appear out of nowhere . . . a restaurant, a public beach or even on an escalator going the other direction. Don’t miss out. Say “yes” to the urge to take up with this sterling character.


For Monkeys in this year, it’s all systems go. After wading through a couple of challenging years, you are finally entering a gentler period. All year, you will feel understood and admired. Rats and Monkeys get on like a pair of matched socks. The Rat is an emotional sort who often has problems making decisions. Should I buy a red car or a blue one? Marry a Dragon or a Tiger? Take that new job offer or stay in my current position? How should I configure my life now that my parents are no longer around? What should I wear to the ball? By now, we all know that any time one is in the throes of a dilemma big or small, the solution is to dial-a-Monkey for assistance. Monkeys cannot solve their own problems all that readily, but they are masters at helping others to make quick, workable choices. So in a Rat year, you Monkey people will find yourselves being called upon to give advice, to sort out thorny issues or to untwist the knickers of someone whose temper has him or her in a state of advanced frenzy. You can always figure out how most gracefully to exit a dilemma. Should you have in mind to begin a huge project, build a new home, start a business, write a novel or take a trip around the world, this is the year to undertake that endeavor. Don’t keep destiny waiting. Put yourself in gear directly when the year begins in February. Make every day count toward producing something that expresses who you are. You have been waiting long enough. Take advantage of the propitious aspects surrounding you. Strike while the iron is hot. If you need to borrow money or stay with relatives in Beijing or Paris or use someone’s garage workshop to invent a better mouse trap, do not hesitate to ask. You will be given a leg up at every turn. Power grabbing is a big part of this year’s agenda. As you are the opposite of power hungry and don’t even want to risk being in the forefront, you are not in competition with the authority-hungry Rat. You might want to consider taking out a better insurance policy against theft and accidents. There is a chance that while you are building a new flying machine or sailing single-handedly around the world, a robbery, a flood or a fire might take place. Not to worry unduly. Just be sure your insurance premiums are paid up.


Protect the savings you have worked so hard to store up. The Rat does not dislike you, but has little time this year to while away in your company. Cut back on extravagances. Stop thinking you can just blithely fly off any old where, spend a few days enjoying yourself in Paris or Marrakech or Bali and still be able to make those car payments. You Roosters are not very flexible and tend to crowd yourselves into a corner. If you’re working, then the job becomes the only thing you can think about or do. You obsess, overwork and can burn out very quickly. Then, of course, you feel sorry for yourself and decide that you are owed a break. But once again, instead of just lying down and reading a fat novel for a couple of days at home, you must move about. So you jet off to just the place you fancy with just the right climate and the tastiest food and the best people. Then, as soon as you are there, you start shopping up all the money you earned whilst overworking and burning out. Is this beginning to sound like a pattern?

Well, the Rat year is a good year for you Rooster people . . . but only if you break this madcap pattern of yours and espouse rest and relaxation in your own surroundings. Sit still for heaven’s sake. Welcome the opportunities that waft your way. Of course, if you are never at home, you won’t be there to receive them, will you? There are movements afoot in your career which can set certain things to rights that may have gone awry in the past. You want out of something. You have finished a portion of your existence in a job or a business or even in a relationship and you want to see that engagement come to an end. The currents in the work place are flowing in the direction you need right now. But if you keep fleeing the work place and ignoring those subtle changes, you may miss the boat. The changes may take a few months to hatch. So to distract yourself from the tedium you so fear, take breaks during the day. Go for a big walk. Get three (thee?) to the gym or to tai chi or yoga classes. Meditate. Take Pilates classes. And instead of squandering your hard-earned burnout cash on air travel and wine, put a bunch away in the bank and let it earn you some interest. The message? Slow down, kick back and thrive. Keep on racing breakneck willy nilly and you will live to rue the day.


The Rat year will be absent the idealism necessary to spur Dogs into action. You Dogs find these years superficial and tritely material. This Rat year will not be your most productive. Why? Because you are basically unlike the Rat. Dog people are more high-minded than mercenary. It’s just the opposite with Rats. Rats seek power and stash cash. Dogs like to have some power too but for entirely different reasons. And money? Not really a priority for Pooches, except as a means to an end. Dogs only go after authority and loot if it gives them the necessary clout to effect social change. The Dog presidents or leaders of the pack in any organization want

to see justice done. They rule to improve the world their way – not

just to order people about. Rats rule to rule. So in this Rat year, you

Dogs may bark as stridently as you wish, but no matter how fiercely

you yap, you won’t get much further than the bottom of your garden.

The Rat simply doesn’t give a damn for what you care about. So be extra careful not to make mistakes or cause them to be made by others. You are borderline paranoid anyway and are normally an overly cautious person. But this year circumstances may crop up that make you feel you have slipped up or blundered. This feeling certainly doesn’t help you regain lost self-confidence. But take heart. Next year will turn all of this around. Meanwhile, keep your eye on the doughnut and not on the hole. We learn from our mistakes. Make sure you have taken stock of those lessons. Your personal life should be carefully monitored in August. Betrayal by a family member lies in wait. As it’s a family matter, this fundamental issue is probably either about money or property (or both). It might also concern a young adult child who is threatening to leave school or home. Nip this in the bud by taking the time to talk it through and offering just alternatives. Do not despair. The Rat year is not all bad for Dogs. You may not feel that you are making much progress. But at least you are learning and maintaining the status quo. In Rat years, that’s about as much as any Dog can ask for.


Rat years can be mostly fun for Pig people. Best of all, you are free of last year’s responsibilities and have begun your own new 12 year period of self-realization. This year is yours to enjoy. Let the Rat run the show. The Rat is a protector of those he loves. And he really digs Pigs. You Pigs possess a brand of personal power that the power-hungry Rat respects. You are your own person. You depend on nobody and you know what you like and go after it in life. Rats are quite similar in that way. They are go-getters and are unafraid to take the reins and drive their own existence – their
way. But Rats do not own the rustic peacefulness of Pigs. Rats are more like
urban dwellers than country folk. They live at a frenzied pace, are nervous and chatty and needful of admiration from others. Pigs don’t much hurry. Nor do they care who admires them. They just carry on tra la la with their conviviality and their taste for the authentic and comfortable in life. Rats also work at a frenzied speed and if things are not moving quickly enough, they can tantrum out in the twitch of a whisker. Pigs, on the other hand, handle inter personal affairs with great diplomacy, take their time about things and rarely freak out. Aside from minor health issues which tend to crop up in summer, you Pigs can be comfortable this year in the knowledge that you are protected and admired and respected. It is however incumbent upon you to perform economically (which implies putting the brakes on squanderous abandon). The Rat demands you make wise investments or none at all. Control excessive gourmandise and don’t forget to invite Rat people to all your country dinner parties. Let your Rat friends chat up the guests and take home the leftovers. That way, you Pigs can lose some weight and gain extra points with King Rat. Do much thinking about your 12 year program. After last year’s planning sessions, you ought to have some idea where the next dozen years want to take you. Be certain not to fritter away precious time hunting for treasure in posh antique shops and art galleries. Don’t take up with lazy people who want your assistance more than your affection. Don’t be distracted by idle flattery. Stay ruthlessly on your own path.


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