Ba ZiIf you follow Chinese astrology, you know that 2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey.  If you don’t follow Chinese astrology, it doesn’t matter, but stay with me because it’s all going to make sense shortly.

Chinese astrology is based on the 5 elements and the 12 zodiac signs.  Every person has a unique (12,960,000 possible combinations) combination of 4 elements and 4 signs, called the “stem” (zhi) and “branch” (gan).  These 8 symbols are known as your Ba Zi, or “8 seeds,” which are based on the year, month, day, and hour of your birth.

The stem and branch for this year are “bing” (fire) and “shen” (monkey/metal).  An aside:  the animals that we all recognize as the fun part of Chinese astrology were created to help the farmers and fishermen more easily learn the zodiac for fishing and harvesting purposes.  Astrology then was learned only by scholars, not tradesmen.  Traditionally, there are characters, but not animals associated with the years.

So we have a fire / metal year.  How does this impact our health?  Some of that does depend on your own unique Ba Zi and how those elements interact with your own balance of elements, but there are some universal aspects to it.

First, we need to understand the 5 elements chart.  This chart is a fundamental aspect of Chinese medicine and Chinese astrology.

5 elements

According to the CONSTRUCTIVE / GENERATING CYCLE (arrows on the outside), Fire produces Earth which produces Metal.  According to the DESTRUCTIVE / CONTROLLING CYCLE (inside lines), Fire melts Metal.  The organs and body systems associated with Metal are the most vulnerable this year, because Fire –> Metal is “controlling.”  The Metal organs are the Lungs (yin) and the Large Intestine (yang). 

Lung problems in Chinese medicine may include:  allergies, asthma, skin problems, rashes, and (excessive) sweating.  Large Intestine problems include:  parasites, allergies, improper nutrient absorption, and constipation.

Heart problems are possible this year as well.  Cardiac problems could include palpitations, murmurs, anxiety and insomnia.

There are 6 basic rules that guide the element cycles.  Read it like this:  the “I” is one element / any element, and in the promoting cycle, the next element is “my child.”  The element that generates “me” is my “parent” element.  My “parent” “controls” my “child.”  Does this make sense? 

  1. Whoever I give birth to, they will give birth to the element that I control.
  2. The element I generate controls the element that controls me.
  3. The element I control generates the element that controls me.
  4. The element I control controls the element that promotes me.
  5. The element that controls me promotes the element that promotes me.
  6. The element that promotes me controls the element I promote.

Ok, that’s a lot!  If you put these sayings into real life situations, they start to make more sense:

  1. A grandparent “controls” the grandchild.
  2. At your job, you generate money that governs how you are able to live your life.
  3. You control a pen.  The pen produces writings which you are now responsible for.
  4.  You work (/ control) a computer helping people fix their own computers.  The broken computers control the people who are in need of help.  When the computer is fixed, you receive praise / promotions.
  5. Pain can control you.  Pain can also encourage you to seek help with your health.  Seeking health, you not only get rid of the pain, but improve your overall well-being.
  6. Your boss controls your paycheck!

Basically, everything has a way of balancing itself.  This is why you should never worry too much; the universe takes care of itself.

Back to this year of Metal and Fire:  Fire controls Metal.  This is neither good nor bad, it just is.  That being said, it will be an interesting year!  Fire is fun (in Eastern culture, anyway); like the life of the party.  Metal is more “anal,” precise, likes to be in control.  The balance between the two is Earth.

The secret to harmonizing this year’s energy is to enhance your Earth element.  WTH does that mean, Nicole?  You may be asking.

Earth has to do with digestion in Eastern medicine.  Nourish your Spleen and Stomach.

  • Avoid foods that are too cold.  Avoid ice.
  • Eat small, warm meals.  Soups, stews, and stir-fry are a good base to start from.
  • Sugar and sweets harm the digestive tract.  Act accordingly.
  • Get enough protein:  grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, full-fat (and raw if you can) milk and yogurt, bone broth soups, lentils, raw almonds and walnuts, etc.
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables daily:  kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower.

So Earth sedates Fire and generates Metal.  The Earth is your center, your hearth or kitchen.  Enjoy the festivities of this Fire year, but temper it with good sense.  Then you will enjoy the balance!