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Complementary Corner

2015 – The Year of the Goat

Renee Lehman

(2/2015) The Chinese New Year (also called the Lunar New Year or Chinese Spring Festival), one of the traditional Chinese festivals, is the grandest and the most important festival for Chinese people. It originated during the Shang Dynasty (about 17th - 11th century BCE), and it is an important time for families to get together, similar to Christmas Day for westerners. It is also a time to hope for the return of spring, to welcome prosperity, wealth, and longevity, and a time to remove any negative qi (pronounced "chee") from the past. There is even a tradition prior to the New Year for every family to thoroughly clean the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes of making way for good incoming luck.

Chinese calendar history

The Chinese calendar was originated by the Yellow Emperor Huang Ti, and has been in use for centuries. The Chinese calendar is called a lunar calendar, but is really a calendar based on the moon and the sun. The Gregorian calendar, which the world uses today (originated 430 years ago) is a solar calendar.

The twelve animals of the Chinese calendar

The Chinese calendar is made of five, twelve-year cycles. Each of the twelve years of the Chinese calendar is appointed one of the following 12 animal’s names (in this order): rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon (the only mythological animal), snake, horse, goat/sheep, monkey, fowl, dog, and pig. The animal that rules the year of your birth is said to exercise a major influence over your life, and that year in general. Much of the information used for this article is taken from The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora and Laura Lau, 2007. The sign of the Goat/Sheep is the eighth sign of the Chinese zodiac, and the animal related to this coming New Year.

The Sheep

I am nature’s special child.
I trust and am rewarded by trust.
Fortune smiles upon my countenance.
All things blossom in the gentleness of my love.
I strive to find beauty in all I behold.
I am fair of face,
And full of grace.
I AM THE SHEEP. (Lau & Lau, 2007)

February 19, 2015 through February 7, 2016 is the Year of the Goat. Wait! Wasn’t the poem above about a Sheep? Also, you may have heard this New Year being referred to as the Year of the Ram (adult male sheep). So, which is it?

Well, the 8th sign of the 12-year cycle of animals of the Chinese zodiac is called yáng, in Chinese. What is yáng? In a Chinese dictionary, yáng is defined as follows: A ruminant mammal, generally with horns on its head. Divided into a number of types, including sh~nyáng (goat), miányáng (sheep), and lίngyáng (antelope). So, goats, sheep, and antelope are all different types of yáng. However, since only the goat and the sheep have been domesticated, the Chinese generally divide yáng into two types: sh~nyáng and miányáng, goats and sheep, respectively.

If you were to go to the grassland areas of China where ‘sheep’ are raised, you would be in for a surprise. The so-called ‘sheep’ is not of the wooly kind (that we think of here in the USA); it’s a cute goat with long straight hair. Therefore, it is equally correct to say the Year of the Goat and the Year of the Sheep. The animal; however, that goes with yáng-nίan (‘Year of the Yáng’) is often shown as a GOAT.

So, welcome to the Year of the Goat!

Goat personality

If you were born in one of the following years, your sign is the Goat (on or after February 1, 1919; February 17, 1931; February 5, 1943; January 24, 1955; February 9, 1967; January 28, 1979; February 15, 1991; and February 1, 2003).

A person born in the year of the Goat is considered the Good Samaritan of all the animal signs. S/he is righteous, sincere, tender, polite and easily taken in by sob stories. S/he is likely to be mild-mannered, even shy. At his/her best, s/he is artistic, fashionable, and a creative worker.

The Goat personality is known for his/her gentle and compassionate ways. S/he can forgive easily and be understanding of others’ faults. S/he dislikes strict schedules and cannot tolerate too much discipline or criticism. People who are born under the sign of the Goat tend to be worriers, can be pessimistic sometimes, and can easily complain about things. They also tend to be close to nature, diehard romantics, and can be something of a homebody. The Chinese believe that good fortune smiles on the Goat because of his/her peaceful nature and kind heart. Generous with their time and money, the Goat will not turn you away.

Don’t let the subdued outer appearance of the Goat fool you, though. S/he has very strong inner determination. When threatened, s/he can respond passionately and decisively even though s/he hates fighting.

The Goat personality tends to be very lucky, and s/he tends to have things made easier for him/her self. S/he has the uncanny ability to turn his/her every weakness into a strength. S/he knows how to get what s/he wants by insinuation and subtle hints. Finally, where aesthetics are concerned, don’t worry, the Goat will not disappoint you. S/he has very discriminating tastes and makes discerning choices.

Famous people born in the Year of the Goat:

  • Desmond Tutu, African Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Archbishop
  • Andrew Carnegie, American Industrialist
  • Bill Gates, Microsoft Co-founder
  • Steve Jobs, Apple Co-founder
  • Nicole Kidman, Australian Actress
  • Sir Laurence Olivier, British Actor
  • Julia Roberts, American Actress
  • Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
  • Robert De Niro, American Actor
  • Bobby Fischer, American Chess Champion
  • Billie Jean King, American Tennis Player
  • and of course: Sock Puppet Lamb Chop, (whose original puppeteer was Shari Lewis)

General predictions for the year of the goat

Last year, the Year of the Horse, was fast moving, and may have left you feeling like you were barely holding on as you rode the powerful steed. Since the Goat is a symbol of peace, harmony, and tranquility, this will be the primary and fundamental mood for this year. Though there are cries for war, it will be important for mending fences, healing of past events, and nurturing others. This will help to ensure that peace is maintained.

Many will look into their hearts and wonder at past grievances, realizing that the road to harmony is through peaceful rather than violent ways. For those who trust in goodness, happiness and success will follow them. 2015, the Year of the Goat, is a year to use mental abilities over brute force. For those who wish to be aggressive, expect to be out-maneuvered by strategy and common sense.

Quotes to live by in the Year of the Goat

  • "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein
  • "Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset." - Saint Francis de Sales
  • "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." - Nelson Mandela
  • "Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all." - George Washington
  • "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mahatma Gandhi

Do any of these resonate with you? If so, write it down and place it somewhere you see it every day.

Be sincere, peaceful, and strive for harmony in the 2015 Year of Goat.

Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist, physical therapist, and Reiki Master with over 20 years of health care experience. Her office is located at 249B York Street in Gettysburg, PA.  She can be reached at 717-752-5728.

Read other article on well being by Renee Lehman