As of February 4th, it is — on the Chinese Astrological Calendar — the Year of the Horse.
For some people that’s about as meaningful as saying, “It’s the Year of the My Little Pony.”
But on the Chinese calendar, I am a Dragon. The Year of the Horse is my Time of Trial. Which means for me it’s basically the Year of the Bucking Bronco. And there are days when, no matter how tight I grip my knees to its flanks, I am a hairsbreadth away from being tossed off on this wild mustang ride.
I am not overly fond of astrology, but just like mythological systems of any kind, astrological calendars — and predictions based thereon — make a certain kind of sense. People have long sought explanations for the events unfolding around them, and whether circumstances are viewed individually or collectively, naturally or supernaturally, in monthly fragments or yearly revolutions, one simple fact remains: Life moves in cycles.
And sometimes in life, we get caught in a spin cycle.
And I am spinning.
There are events unfolding around me ~ events that impact me greatly ~ over which I have little or no influence. Health issues. Work issues. Relationship issues. Community issues. Financial issues. All completely unexpected.
I don’t like to get caught flat-footed. I may not be the Queen of Preparedness, but I learned early on how to take care of myself, and that means I plan ahead. I always have a back-up plan. And a back-up plan for my back-up plan.
There are times when it’s impossible to see what’s coming, no matter how much you try to prepare. And no matter how much you know or trust a person, they will still act in unpredictable ways. In the past two months, I have been wounded grievously… emotionally. And physically, I have experienced a barrage of unforeseen accidents. It is like a macabre Series of Unfortunate Events uniquely tailored to my life. A comedy of errors that is not funny. Not at all.
In no particular order: I scratched my cornea, fell down a flight of stairs, dealt with identity theft, had a job contract altered against my will… My car broke down. My husband’s was broken into. My immediate community was victim to financial fraud. My greater community was impacted by a disaster. The list goes on. Personal, physical, communal, familial… I have been faced almost daily with new challenges to overcome; many of which require the *costly* resolution of problems — problems that were not caused by me.
And as a result of these first tumultuous two months of this wild horse ride, I find myself caught between two very distinctive aspects of self. In the form of lyrical conversation, these States of Being would converse as follows (not exactly angel and devil, but it amuses me to picture these two sitting on opposite shoulders, exchanging philosophies):
Bobby D: The answers, my friend, are blowin’ in the wind…
Chris Cornell: …but I am not your blowin’ wind; I am the lightning.
I am, generally speaking, equal parts Laid Back and In Control. A colleague of mine once described me as ‘flowy’. Then she squinched her eyebrows and added, “You don’t go with the flow. You are the flow.”
While I don’t entirely agree with that assessment, I understood what she was trying to say. To quote an obscure author:
Make your decisions like a Rock and live your life like a flow of Water.
~ Arlin Sailesh Kapadia
I think of a ‘flow of water’ like a river ~ constantly moving forward under its own momentum ~ as opposed to an ocean, which moves back and forth (ebb and flow) and is controlled by an outside magnetism. So when I apply that interpretation to the quote above, I think of ‘rock’ and ‘water’ and Rock and River. And In my own terms, I am — perhaps too uniformly — both Rock and River. Rock and River = Earth and Water. Which, going back to astrological implications, actually makes a lot of sense. On the Chinese calendar, the Dragon is an earth sign; on the western zodiac calendar, I am a Pisces (water).
Dragon = Earth: logical, methodical, objective, practical, centered.
Pisces = Water: adaptable, empathetic, intuitive, emotional, self-contained.
Earth and Water. Rock and River.
Like two sides of the same coin, these… thought processes(?)… belief systems(?)… behavior patterns(?)… are stamped into the copper of my being. And when that coin spins, balanced precariously on its grooved edges and turning ’round and ’round in a blur… It all sort of blends together.
But the coin can only keep spinning if it can stay on edge. And only for a limited time. And regardless of edges ~ and dangerous ledges ~ the world keeps turning, infinitely.
The Horse is a fire sign. Fire. At odds with both Earth and Water. The former it consumes; the latter quenches it.
And therein lies the key.
So while this bronco bucks and kicks, I will do my damnedest to hold on. I am under no illusion that I am a graceful rider; I am more straphanger than equestrian. While its hooves tear up the Earth, I might get thrown off. I may get trampled. I’m pretty well bruised already, and I’m only 17% of the way through this stampede. But the best thing to do when a horse bucks you off is to get back on again. I’m too stubborn to do anything else. So no matter how battered I become, I have faith that by the end of this year-long 8 second ride, I can ~ and will ~ lead this horse to Water.
And if not…
Putting astro-logic aside: A friend of mine pointed out that, in addition to being a Dragon and a Pisces, I am also ~ in terms of animal spirit totems ~ a Bear. “And I’m pretty positive,” he said, “a bear can take down a horse. It’s a bit hard to catch… but it can be done.”
Yes. It can be done.
And I will do it.
Horse sketch found at deviantart.com.
Coin photo credited to recreateyourlifetoday.blogspot.com.