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Complementary Corner

2016 – The Year of the Monkey

Renee Lehman

(2/2016) 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 Chinese Lunar New Year always begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice, in case you were wondering why it’s on a different date every year.)

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 Monkey is the ninth sign of the Chinese zodiac, and the animal related to this coming New Year.

February 8, 2016 through January 27, 2017 is the Year of the Monkey.

The Monkey is commonly regarded as the emblem of trickery.

So, get ready for an unpredictably adventurous year!

The secret to understanding the energy that we are going to be moving with this year can be found in the Chinese classic novel of the 16th century (Ming dynasty), Journey to the West (by Wu Cheng’en). One of the famous characters in this legendary tale is the Monkey King who demonstrates a combination of pluck, bravery, scandalous irreverence, ingenuity, ruthlessness, and magic to assure his status as one of China’s epic folk heroes. The Monkey King was born from a stone, acquired supernatural powers from a Taoist master, stole an elixir of life, steals the peach of longevity from the Empress’ garden, and then rebelled against heaven. No one could defeat him. Finally, Buddha tamed and jailed him. In the end, the Monkey was sent to accompany a famous monk and his disciples to the western kingdom to bring a Buddhist sacred text from India to China. All sorts of magical adventures ensue over the course of four-volume book. This legendary story has been adapted for TV, movies, cartoons, and opera many times.

Monkey Personality

If you were born in one of the following years, your sign is the Monkey (on or after February 20, 1920; February 6, 1932; January 25, 1944; February 12, 1956; January 30, 1968; February 16, 1980; February 4, 1992; and January 22, 2004). A person born in the year of the Monkey is an intelligent, quick-witted, and inventive person. Overall, they are clever, flexible, and innovative. They can solve problems with ease, and demonstrate an independence associated with achievers. The nimble monkey is playful, youthful in nature, and symbolizes irrepressible curiosity and creative energy. A person born in this year will be successful at whatever s/he chooses to do. No challenge will be too great for him/her.

On the shadowy side, the Monkey person has an inborn superiority complex. The Monkey’s problem solving tendencies can turn them into being a trickster, opportunistic and not all that trustworthy. The youthfulness hides an unscrupulous adolescent, and the independence can turn to unfaithfulness. However, it can be difficult to begrudge a Monkey’s wonderful joie de vivre. This is what makes him so enviable at times. Even in the Bible you can spot a Monkey. Mary Magdalene and the Prodigal Son were Monkeys. They got to eat their cake and keep it, too. They slid back into everyone’s good graces – Monkeys are unsinkable!

Famous People born in the Year of the Monkey:

  • Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Artist and Inventor
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, American First Lady
  • John Milton, British Writer
  • George Lucas, American Film Director
  • Lucy Liu, American Actress
  • Celine Dion, Canadian Singer
  • Tom Hanks, American Actor
  • Harry S. Truman, American President
  • Venus Williams, American Tennis Player
  • Katie Couric, American Journalist
  • Will Smith, American Actor
  • Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President of the United States
  • Michael Hillman, the editor of this paper (which explains a lot!)
  • And of course, Curious George!!!!

General Predictions for the Year of the Monkey

In the Year of the Monkey anything can happen. This mischievous animal bursts with exuberance, bringing a lightning fast pace and fantastical motivation. Business flourishes and risks tend to work out. The Monkey’s gift is the ability to find unconventional solutions to old problems. Daring to be different could lead to success.

A promising time for new inventions, the Year of the Monkey is for taking risks and being rebellious, a year where agile, inventive minds, sheer guts and bravado will win out. Now is the time of courage, action, anarchy, and true devotion to even the wildest of schemes, a time to start new endeavors, for they are destined to succeed under Monkey’s influence. But a word to the wise: those who can hang on for the wild ride, outsmart the confidence-trickster, and bluff their way through will come out untouched. Those who are lackluster or slow-witted, and can’t handle the stress will come unnerved.

On a personal level, harmonize your own nature with this Monkey energy. Summon your own power and move forward in your life. Make strides, and reach out for the adventure that lays ahead, and don’t look back. Learn to see magic everywhere!

Quotes to Live By in the Year of the Monkey

  • "The problem is to keep the monkey mind from running off into all kinds of thoughts." ~ Lee Kuan Yew
  • "The mind is a monkey, hopping around from thought to thought, image to image. Rarely do more than a few seconds go by in which the mind can remain single-pointed, empty." ~ Dani Shapiro
  • "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." ~ Stephen Hawking
  • "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." ~ Albert Einstein

And finally, something witty: If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress?

Enjoy the exciting adventure of the Year of Monkey 2016.

Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist and physical therapist with over 25 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