2012: The Water Dragon, the Year of Sudden Change.

This is a long piece; for short simple predictions click here.
For predictions for individual Animals click here

“Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much…the wheel, New York, wars and so on…while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time…….the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man…for precisely the same reason.”
Douglas Adams.

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Legless in Basra.

My earliest upbringing was in the village of Mullion, Cornwall in the remote South West of England, as far away from London as you can travel without getting wet; next stop Newfoundland. By the time I was four my mother had five children under seven, my father was often away at sea, there were no trains and a bus once a week, she didn’t drive and we were wild. I was climbing cliffs before I went to school and indeed before I could swim. So it was that as soon as I was literate I was reading pretty much anything I felt like without censorship or supervision. I knew Howard Carter, Leonard Woolley, HP Lovecraft, Lobsang Rampa and the Book of Changes before my voice broke. And Edgar Cayce.
Cayce (1877-1945) was a visionary and light worker who made a welter of predictions, many of which turned out to be false. One, as I recall was that the UK would be submerged by now, so that’s probably just as well. Global warming will lead to many changes but not that one. I intend to be able to be more specific by this time next year. I am myself a Water Dragon and working out what the 21st century may hold is a great deal of what 2012 is about for me.
When a particularly cataclysmic prophecy proved wrong, Cayce would express relief that good will had pre-empted the visions becoming facts. Which is the quandary I find myself in every year at this time. I have to incorporate the clouds while holding out for the silver lining. We are each responsible for our reality and mine seems to include some nastiness. You know the type of thing: Darfur, Gaza, Tibet, The Human Centipede, News International, Tescos.
Every Dragon Year ushers in a phenomenon known as the Four Earths. This is perhaps the most powerful combination known to Chinese Metaphysics and it is the conjunction of Dragon, Dog, Ox and Sheep, the Earth Branches, sometimes called the Four Vaults or Tombs. Some very powerful (and conflicted) people find these in their ba zis. The Earth Animals are the connections to the Ancestors, to our heritage and they offer both opportunity and challenge. In a Dragon year of course such a conjunction is present in the Earth months of January (the Ox), July (the Sheep) and October (the Dog) especially on the days ruled by these Animals when the heavy duty opportunities emerge. Many Masters simply think of the Four Earths as misfortune but I have found them to signify moments that can make a life but which neglected, can lead to despair. They often coincide with a project that requires getting ducks into a row over a long period of time. Sometimes this takes a huge protracted effort and one duck can fall out of place. At that moment we may find illness or injury preferable.
Cayce’s view was that responsibility commits us to creating better if we know better. One of my most powerful influences, Dr. Chuck Spezzano whose model the Psychology of Vision pervades everything I do, appears to be wrestling with a vision of epidemics in just this way right now.
Among the better prospects for the future is the continued presence of the campsite in St Pauls Churchyard. I expect those kids are pretty cold at the moment, bless them. Those confronting the shameless tax dodgers of the dark canyons of the City and of Wall Street are as I have said before, predominantly drawn from the yang (that is the energetic) side of the compass: Rabbits, Dragons, Snakes, Horses, Sheep and Monkeys born between 1987 and 1992. Too young to vote on either side of the Atlantic in 2004 and 2005, they voted in 2008 and 2010 only to be deeply disappointed with the outcome. They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it. No generation since the 60’s has been as prepared to take on injustice whether it’s the Inland Revenue for exempting bankers in return for a good lunch or shameless champion tax dodger Philip Green advising the Cameron government on waste. Whatever faecal heap my generation has bequeathed, there is hope while the next is holding Vodafone, Stagecoach and Arcadia to account.
Meanwhile across the North Atlantic in the direction of Newfoundland, my friend Rory Mackenzie is as I write, around a thousand miles short of the US coast. I met Rory in 2007 shortly after his leg had been blown off in Basra. Rory’s a medic. That’s a karma-free mission. He was not there to kill anybody. Now he and his multi-plegic comrades are rowing to the USA. Today they tell us their desalinator is malfunctioning which means they risk dying of thirst but it doesn’t seem to inhibit the banter. Rory reports that he has had to do imaginative things with (or without) underwear and lubricants. Ladies: look away now.
Imagine rowing four thousand miles. Now imagine doing it with one leg. Now imagine the pressure on the upper part of the missing limb. As his ba zi showed, Rory is impossibly brave. A sports-playing Action Man, when I met him he was so disconsolate he could hardly hold his head up. I told him however hard it gets, to trust. This too shall pass. It did and now with bottomless support from his family and especially his Mum Shealagh a heroine in her own right, he’s as fit as a man gets, limbed or limbless. There are few enough men who are prepared to feel and not to despair. Follow Rory on Twitter: @Row2Recovery .
I remain ambivalent about the whole Help for Heroes thing. I don’t want to encourage any more young men to be heroic for me. I don’t even buy a poppy for fear of being as Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance wrote, “another cog in the murder machine.” Somewhere in there I would end up endorsing the carve up in Iraq that Water Snake Tony Blair wished on Rory and his contemporaries. And more wars.
Rory was in Basra because the powers that be ignored a million-plus strong protest in 2003. We don’t er…need another hero. Someone described invading Iraq as like attacking Mexico in return for Pearl Harbour. What is to suggest they will take seriously a gaggle of kids shivering in the shadow of Goldman Sachs?
Nothing at all. But we must. I choose this despite what I know.
To pile on the agony the World Wide Fund for Nature says that as things are proceeding, there will be no trees or fish by 2050. They didn’t mention dolphins. What I know is that when investors can make more money solving global warming than by selling junk bonds short, the environmental crisis will be over. Since you asked, this will not be before 2016 but not later than 2043 which of course is a bit tight.
Climate is cyclical and the Earth has been this warm before. As a feng shui man, I work from the traditional Taoist axiom that history itself runs in cycles of sixty: there are twelve Chinese Year Animals (Rat, Dragon and so on) and five Elements (Wood, Water, Fire, Earth, Metal). Twelve Animals, five Elements, that makes sixty discreet years: Metal Tiger, Water Dragon, Wood Snake and fifty seven more. The central principle is that Dragons which appear every twelve years are alike, Water Dragons which come up once in sixty are very alike. They are, as you might expect wet; the Lynmouth flood for instance was sixty years ago in August 1952. Dragons are years of mud and landslides. That year also, the last Water Dragon, saw the opening of the Korean War and it would not take supernatural powers to foresee trouble in that pocket of the World in 2012. The fact that the prevailing energy of the year travels South East-North West making both of these sectors trouble spots, just underlines it. There’s a decent chance though that the outcome in the South East of South East Asia will be good news for the one of the most deprived populations in the world.
There are other informative ways of tagging the year: the magic square or lo shu (above) for 2012 holds the 6 at its centre, the Xuang Kong kua is 6/4 which suggests the annual concerns are Father-Daughter issues and the lap yum, Long Flowing Water usually describes protracted discussions.
These, Rory and his mates in their boat, the shivering kids in EC2 and snatches of dialogue from the Lord of the Rings are what inform these views of 2012. Hold on tight.

“Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.”

Sam: “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”
Frodo: “What are we holding on to, Sam?”
Sam: “That there’s still some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Better to be for things rather than against them. Exchanging Muslims for Russians or even Global Warming for Muslims doesn’t strike me as progress. The sooner none of us is against anyone else the better.
However, 2012 is a 6 year. Six is the number of Heaven and the Father, hence authority and getting things done and hence opposition. This is a year in which authority is challenged wherever it asserts itself. Also as the Rhyme of the Magpie goes, six is indeed the number of gold. A complex year but each of us – in so far as us means anything – is responsible for it. There may be a multiverse of possible realities but I’m right here.
I will be bringing the feng shui of each of my retainer clients into 2012 over the next few weeks but I can tell you now that when 6 is at the centre of the lo shu, there’s a buck to be made. And lost. My drill for 2012 outlines how to gain immediate benefit from the changed energy of the new year and will be available generally from early February but for now you might note that to profit from the Metal 6 you need to add Earth and Water. Ask me how.
Meanwhile it’s 2012 and we have a world to save. In a year when world leaders provided such an unhelpful example, what price the future? Cameron and Obama gain cheap approval points as 2011 ends with lazy postures of respectively knee-jerk opposition to the garlic eating, cheese making French peace monkeys and compliance with the insane family values of the Tea Party. But there is hope here. Obama’s one of the 1961 Metal Oxen who reassert their authority to a great extent in 2012. A re-elected Obama, free of the need to seduce voters may act as boldly as he talked in 2008. And pleasing the xenophobic wing of the Tory party is not going to gain Cameron’s uneasy coalition shelf life. I give it eighteen months, about as long as the Euro.
Because a Water Dragon is essentially Earth with added Water, wealth will be attaching to activities such as publishing, health and horticulture which can be labelled Wood and that thrive on Earth. Also favoured are Earth activities like building, property and spiritual endeavour that profit from Water, particularly towards the end of the year.
But don’t expect property values to recover. There is a whole new paradigm coming. I doubt that the notion of home as investment will survive the decade; 2012 is not the end of the world but it may be the year Marx gets proven right: when those who make the money do not pay the taxes, the majority tire of the rule of markets. If for “dolphins” we read Greece, Italy, Portugal and even France and for “humans” read Germany, it becomes clear why the Euro has such a short life expectancy. The b’ak’tun of the Mayan calendar is probably not about 2012 but 2013, focusing as it does on December 21st 2012, dung gee, the midwinter solstice which for many of us is the moment that indicates the character of the following year.
In any Dragon year change is rapid; not so great for Dragons like Philip Green who suffer the so-called self clash which means they tend not to play nicely among themselves. Nor on the face of it, is it promising for Dogs who often react poorly to the Dragon. In pole position are Pigs, Monkeys, Roosters and Rats who can expect to be at the top of their game.
But to use this information slavishly is to miss its point. Monkeys can easily fail to take advantage of the ball on the penalty spot in 2012 by simply not kicking it. Similarly the smarter Dragons will treat the probable turbulence and competition of the Year of the Water Dragon as a cue to learn, grow and change. A Water Dragon myself, I plan a very differently shaped year: I will be travelling and researching for two books and a tv series scheduled for 2013 and be very discriminating as to the surveys and new clients I take on.
Above all we need to remember that each of us is much more precious and more individual than any astrological definition. We were in any case, each born under Four Animals one for each of the month, day and hour as well as the year of our birth. As the introduction to the Animal Fortunes* page on my website clarifies each of these applies to a different sphere of our life. So if we find our year Animal (relating to heritage, family and our public persona) poorly augured we may instead like to focus on our month Animal (work, resources, immediate family, friends, peers, colleagues) or day (our truest self, relationship, spirit, psyche) or even hour (future, children, creativity, expression). Being born on an Ox day, I can anticipate an interesting and satisfying year relationship wise, something that is pretty essential if I am to push the boat out professionally. This is a rational way to employ essentially irrational material.
*If your immediate personal future is your main concern, click now and move on, I should.

Arab Sprung.

Chinese numerology is living algebra; like the other eight integers, there are literally millions of levels of meaning to the year number six. The 6 belongs in the North West and to the Dog and Pig. In classical feng shui nothing gets started if the North West is missing. Many times I have had to place something in that area of a house (generally outside of course) to compensate before I can make lasting changes. Every home needs a Father.
So by extension, we can expect a watershed year in which the trends of the 21st Century may start to become solid. If we take these trends to be towards the liberations of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt we may perhaps take comfort, if towards the score-settling in Libya or the human ducks-in-a-barrel of Syria, not so much. As more dolphin nations are bailed out and more bankers paid bigger bonuses while more libraries and public toilets close (all of which is likely) the pressure for positive change will build. In the UK, expect further riots, probably in August and probably met with disproportionate force. In 2012 peaceful demonstration will tend to be wilfully confused with insurrection. Smaller banks may fail around the same time. Like several others (April and December most probably) August will be a wet month also.
In the USA, as the Presidential Election progresses, the fault lines between the Northern and Western states and the Southern and Eastern will become more and more clear. Intellectually, morally, politically and spiritually the US is two if not three or four nations. In 2012, this becomes stark. By 2030 it will be physical.
Authority and efficiency are interesting themes for a year in which elections are to be held in so many major nations. It should for instance come as good news to Vladimir Putin in Russia where election means “election.” In the USA the way forward is simple for Barack Obama whose best approval ratings followed the assassination of a suspected but unconvicted terrorist and his family. Expect Obama to achieve re-election simply because his opponent will be selected from a short list of the deluded, intellectually challenged and criminal, a line-up so obviously lacking a statesman that even the American electorate might notice.
The Water Dragon is, as I said, the year of the landslide: literal landslides in the North West and South East as well as metaphorical ones at the ballot box. Expect trouble leading to eventual reunification in Korea in the South East of South East Asia. But it will be a rocky and potentially explosive road. Some nations like some people, are so damaged that they see a lifeline as an opportunity to pull their rescuer into the water. What can men do against such reckless hate? Iran is on that troubled NW-SE vector also and is going to be asked to blink this year. In Mexico, the 14th largest economy in the world and the largest Spanish speaking nation, one of the focus nations of the 21st century, elections will be at best troubled.

A light that never goes out.

The Chinese character for the Dragon depicts a rain cloud about to burst. Dragon energy is pent up, uncontainable, even violent. It is the moment that the nagging high pressure before the storm becomes the storm itself.  This pressure – financial, social, political – has been building in a hundred locations during the Metal Rabbit of 2011. In Lhasa as on Wall Street, it feels like something has to give. There is if you like, a war going on between love and control. You could see the positive side of this in the protest camps in Boston and Oregon as well as St Paul’s Churchyard and in the scenes of joy in Tahrir Square in Cairo. But it’s a knife edge. The South holds the tricky 2 Star and the three curses of Place, Calamity and Robbery under the Water Dragon. Arab Spring II, This time it’s Personal looks like a very inferior sequel. The prognosis in Libya is delicate: replacing one murdering tyrant with several isn’t going to change much of anything. In Tibet, to the North West of China, so many monks have set fire to themselves that the (Chinese) police now carry fire extinguishers. This Fire is spreading. It brings enlightenment along with heat but we don’t need any more human candles.
While the principle is that the events of previous Water Dragons will be reflected, those who know only Western history will be expecting parallels that can be found in the predominantly Eurocentric sources of reference. As Grand Master Raymond Lo (whose own subtly perceptive predictions can be found at www.raymond-lo.com) bemoaned to me in Singapore earlier this year, Wikipedia is a relatively shallow source.
It does not for instance highlight the Water Dragon year 208 BCE when China was finally reunited by Qin Shi Huang Di after two decades of impossibly brutal civil war. Nor that Qin and his dynasty were gone within two years of this reunification. Nor does it point out that many Chinese did not consider the infant PRC complete until Tibet, lost since the mid-19th century, had been regained in the Water Dragon year of 1952. All of these facts suggest some sort of Chinese comeuppance over the next three to four years and this likelihood is echoed in a dozen other portents. Revolutions are started by the hungry and while the Chinese middleclass are driving Mercedes, they will continue to toe the line. Sometime between now and 2016 however, the legacy of poor domestic lending and the illiquidity of the rest of the world will burst the Chinese bubble. The following may suggest the shape of this.

”Forever blowing bubbles.”

“H needed to provide a mechanism for funding government debt (but) he could not (by law) establish a bank. He therefore established what, on its face, was a trading company, though its main activity was in fact the funding of government debt.
The government and the company convinced the holders of millions of pounds of short-term government debt to exchange it with a new issue of stock in the company. In exchange, the government granted the company a perpetual annuity or a perpetual loan paying 6 percent. This guaranteed the new equity owners a steady stream of earnings to this new venture. The government thought it was in a win-win situation because it would fund the interest payment by placing a tariff.
Next the company proposed a scheme by which it would buy more than half the national debt again with new shares, and a promise to the government that the debt would be converted to a lower interest rate, 5% for ten years and 4% per year thereafter. The purpose of this conversion was similar to the old one: it would allow a conversion of high-interest but difficult-to-trade debt into low-interest, readily marketable debt. The price peaked in early August and the level of selling was such that the price started to fall drastically, triggering widespread bankruptcies amongst those who had bought on credit, and increasing selling, even short selling—selling borrowed shares in the hope of buying them back at a profit if the price falls.”

This is not (though it might be) an account of how Goldman Sachs suckered the EU into admitting Greece into the Eurozone. Nor does it concern the fall of Lehman Brothers or even that of Enron in the last Dragon year of 2000 though it describes the mechanism of both. You’d think, these bucket shops of manufactured fraud being ten years apart, something might have been learned. But no and the whirlwind is still to be reaped.
The year in focus is the Metal Rabbit of 1711 when the South Sea Trading Company was founded and the events illustrates perfectly the cyclical nature of time. During the Water Dragon year of 1712 and the subsequent decade, the company issued and traded a series of financial instruments, each more preposterous than the last until in 1720 it went down along with huge numbers of investors. This may well give us a clearer view of the meaning of the b’ak’tun as it suggests the likely pattern of the years 2011 to 2020. As we move into the next Chinese Fate Period -9- which relates to Fire and is likely to be dominated by global warming, we can expect six to seven years of financial crisis, paralleling those of 300 years ago.

Ronery no more.

The East is the place of hope in 2012 but India, the world’s largest democracy is a more likely industrial giant in the 21st Century than China, the World’s biggest command economy. The South East holds the baleful 5 wu huang Star which implies avalanches and mudslides in the Spring and Autumn along the NW-SE path of the year energy: Oregon, China, Korea, Ulster. Good news for Norwich City and Moscow Dynamo but suggesting a meltdown at FIFA. Good for Poland, poor for Italy, good for Mexico not so great for Argentina. There may be East-West wrangles over intellectual property.
Richard Ashworth © 2012

Short & Simple:

 


Oscars: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Viola Davis.
Euro 2012: England has a real chance.
Olympics: Disrupted and disappointing for England. Over policed.
Kate & William: happy announcement later in the year.
London Election: Livingstone despite surprise big guns behind Boris
Paul McCartney: dispute over intellectual property.
Iran: all down to Netanyahu.
Weather: prodigiously wet.
CERN: unexpected evidence of multiverse.
Cricket: England to beat South Africa despite intrusive political issues.
Facebook: extends reach, capital value increases massively.

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