Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! This year we’re entering the year of the Tiger. Every year when I look at the Lunar zodiac cycle I am amazed at how ready I am (we are?) for the energy of the animal coming our way. Last year, the Ox grounded us and provided us much-needed space to regroup, create routines and pace ourselves. A welcome and wise antidote to the self-centered and frenetic Rat that started this cycle just a year earlier. The Ox’s head-down, hard-working attitude has done us well and gotten us through some tough times, but the time has come to switch gears. There is change in the air. Can’t you feel it, the rising energy to be a bit more active, in the moment and in control? Well, gather your strength, fix your gaze and get ready to pounce. Here comes the year of the Tiger!
Twelve animals make up the Zodiac, each with their own transcendent powers and eternal flaws. We observe these 12 characters along with 5 earthly elements together, spanning 60-year cycles and creating the entirety of the universe, each playing their part in the greater whole. No one animal is any more valuable than another. In this new year, the Water Tiger will do her part to show us our own inner greatness and our role within the greatness.
Steadiness, perseverance, boundaries, the long game…these well-learned lessons of the Yin Ox are going to give the stage to an animal better known for its nature of action, boldness, and explosive power. The transition into a more Yang state of being, fortified by the power of its water element will help us create the world we want in ways that only deliberate action can produce.
Power & Protection
Tigers are magnificent creatures and have adorned art, stood as totems, and been at the heart of myths for centuries. Powerful creatures that embody action and change, they are playful & adventurous, yet fastidious and orderly. Tigers are pride-oriented yet competitive and want to lead. Their sensual and luxurious nature can hide their speed, stealth, and unpredictability. This combination of seemingly contradictory, more so complimentary qualities has imbued the Tiger with symbolism as an animal that can majestically lead and protect us in the material world as well as the psychological, spiritual, and cosmic. It’s no wonder so many people and movements have aspired to be like them.
While the Tiger will guide us to be active and responsive in the year ahead, much of the power behind it will come from the water element it is associated with. Like the Tiger, water runs smoothly and with ease – which should be our intention for the year. Sometimes with a rush, sometimes with a more discreet flow, water is able to move around obstacles but like the Tiger, don’t let that softness fool you. Water is known as the drilling element. Whether it runs like a gentle drip from a spring or as a strong flowing river, water has a will that cannot be stopped. We’ll see the fulfillment of that will be the driving force behind the Tiger this year. The water element will empower us as we use the Tiger’s adeptness to fulfill our intentions. The path may not always be predictable and can sometimes be destructive (especially when the Tiger is the traveler!) but if we are in touch with where we want to go and what we stand for, this will be an exciting year of realization in all spheres of our lives.
The Water Tiger’s call to be full-on and determined this year comes with its cautions. While these characteristics help the Tiger to survive, they can lead to risk-taking and over-commitment to positions that may not serve us, no matter how coordinated we think we are. Also, here is a quick reality check: Tigers are not always the best communicators. They can be aloof and judgemental. They are authoritative, bold, and never “take it back.” Even when they are trying to be constructive, their criticism can be brutal and ferocious. Combined with their quickness to conflict, this reminds us that amongst all the great things we want to get back to and achieve this year, taking a moment to consider how we are coming across will be an important balance to keep. Likewise, If you’re dealing with someone who is being particularly Tiger-ish, appropriate deference may be the way to get what you’re after. Acknowledgment will often get you further than needing to be the willful Tiger-in-the-right yourself.
Where the Tiger is Taking Us
This year, the message of the Tiger is to take pride & stand in your power. This also means not setting yourself up for unnecessary risks but instead, having intentions, the courage of your convictions, and taking the action to make them real. The water element will give you the fortitude to fulfill them – at times in the face of adversity. The Tiger has night vision and is street smart. She sees things we don’t always know are there. Tap into your true instincts and watch stuff happen!
Get comfortable with change and get back to creating it for yourself. Identify what you are in choice about – what are you habituated to or tolerating that can change to be more in alignment with your destiny. Remember that you’re not the only one being guided by the Tiger and while you may come upon unfamiliar situations, collaboration and communication will allow you to be a part of the solution rather than diving into destructive conflict. No matter how self-assured a Tiger may be, they are still incredibly emotionally sensitive. You may find the opportunity to cultivate relationships you never thought possible.
Pro tip: One thing a Tiger definitely does not do is feel resentful or look backward.
Finally, an important lesson from the Tiger this year: work hard, but r-e-l-a-x hard too. One thing the Tiger (and all cats) knows how to do is take time to create solitude and sanctuary for themselves. We all need self-care to rejuvenate. And for goodness sake, don’t forget to play! Looking forward, there is so much to do—for ourselves, socially, environmentally—but being committed to doing good work is not mutually exclusive to having fun. Find the space to tumble and romp.