Happy Lunar New Year of the Yin Metal Ox!

February 12, 2021 was the start of the Lunar Year of the Yin Metal (white) Ox one of 12 signs of Chinese Zodiac

The late Taoist scholar Liu Ming described these 12 Zodiac signs as “12 shapes of Qi”, ways that individual/societal awareness and focus may shift through the years. Ming also emphasized that astrology is about looking at metaphors and their meaning. In this post we take a look at some of these symbols and share some links you can explore to learn more about the Year of the Ox.

image by Patricia Zumsteg via Unsplash

Ox is  characterized by strength, endurance, reliability, cooperation, and ancestral wisdom. It is confident, hard-working and moves slowly and steadily towards its goal. After the frantic Yang Metal Rat year which brought so much turmoil and change, we welcome Ox’s more gentle, unhurried, and calm energy.

Ox is loyal and supportive, a capable leader, determined and not easily swayed. Ox represents integrity and respect for traditional ways, a return to the basics, the practical stuff.

Things are likely to be more peaceful in the Ox year, but extra patience will be required to see the fruits of our efforts. Think of the slow progress from ploughing the field and planting seeds to waiting for the  harvest at the end of the year. Establishing structures and routines and following them can be challenging and even boring, but will bring rewards down the road.

Of the five Taoist elements Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood, we are still in the Metal aspect for this new year. Metal element is associated with the Lung/Large Intestine organ system in Chinese medicine and with the emotions of grief/sadness. As we are still in the midst of a pandemic of a largely respiratory illness, we are encouraged to keep on giving extra care and attention to our respiratory health and to allow ourselves some space to process grief and loss. Taking some deep breaths can help us relax and settle in for the long haul. Qi gong practice can be deeply nourishing and beneficial, and of course, acupuncture is a very helpful tool!

The innate element of the Ox is Yin Earth, and it nourishes the Metal element by bringing useful minerals to the soil. Earth by its nature is slower, softer and more gentle.

The Earth element (corresponding to the Spleen and Stomach organ systems) is involved in digestion and cultivating Qi (energy) from the food we consume. Thus the Ox year is a good time to pay special attention to and support our digestive system to help the sluggish Ox along a bit. Earth energy is also about nourishment of others and strengthening familial connections, so here is hoping for small social gatherings over meals with our loved ones becoming safe again soon.

Our wonderful Qi Gong instructor Rae Diamond recommends: “Establish healthy routines in both your work and your self-care. Set up daily and weekly structures, so you can just get things done, and not have to think so much. Thinking was last year’s focus. Steady progress is the aim now….Think like a farmer preparing a field. Make sure you have the right nutrients (resources, including experience and knowledge) in the soil for the crops you want to grow. Make sure the ox (your body and mind) is well cared for, so it can do its work. Make sure the yoke is solid and strong, and the plough is sharp enough to till the soil (maintain the tools you need to accomplish your tasks). Then set a pace that you know your ox can maintain, and put one foot in front of the other.”. Read Rae’s Lunar New Year post here.

White is the color associated with Metal element in Chinese Medicine. According to Dr. Nate Mohler (martial arts master, educator, acupuncturist and herbalist in Colorado): “Native American culture, the Buffalo is the closest endemic animal to the Ox. While I do not speak for Native American custom, it is my understanding that many Native American groups associate the birth of a white buffalo to be a sacred symbol of hope and abundance to come.” You can read Nate’s entire Lunar New Year post here.

Tiger’s Play Astrology offers one of the most extensive Lunar New Year reflections we have seen. Its author, Gregory David Done, writes:

The nuts and bolts of American culture have been laid bare, and we are all left with the question – what now? The Ox answers – to build anything enduring, we must first re-establish the foundation, and to do that, we must acknowledge our lack of control.  We do not control Nature, but we can learn to work with it; such was the experiment of Chinese agricultural society, and such is our task now.  If there is a positive outlook to take on the current situation, it is that we can re-build, re-shape, and re-establish our world.  But will we?  Maybe. No guarantees.

According to astrologer Lillian Pearl Bridges, the Yin Metal Ox year will be especially auspicious for those born in the year of the Rat, Ox, Snake, Rooster and Pig.

Tiger, Dragon, Sheep/Goat, and Monkey will have a more challenging year. She also writes: “The Ox Year suggests that you stay in touch with loved ones, gather together in small family or friendship groups, eat together and share resources with those who have less. More inclusivity and tolerance will be promoted and practiced by many and will make the hardships and struggles of the past start to fade.

You can read Lillian’s entire detailed Year of the Ox forecast here.

Some famous people/public figures born in an Ox year are: former US President Barack Obama, actor George Clooney, activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Olympic champion Simone Biles, Princess Diana of Wales, painter Vincent Van Gogh.


We wish you all deep nourishment, healing, and endurance in the Ox year. Let us persevere together and make steady progress towards a brighter future for us all!

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