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Saturday, 31st of July


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE STOMACH, which takes its name from an asterism of  three stars from the region of the constellation Aries, The Ram.  These three stars used to be called Musca, The Fly, but that designation is regarded as obsolete, and they’re now considered as part of Aries.  Different classical authorities also referred to this asterism as Vespa, The Wasp, and Apis, The Bee, illustrating that it was not just the ancient Chinese who used various names for the same groupings of stars.

In any case, for the ancient Chinese, these three stars formed a triangle with a sharper apex than the three stars of “The Treasure Mound,” the previous asterism on the zodiac’s ecliptic.  Whereas that group suggested the beginning of the harvest, the sharper peak of this asterism suggested a higher pile of grain at the end of the harvest, and therefore signaled the time of the completion of the harvest, the storage of grain, and the wealth for the empire that it made secure for the rest of the year.  The character which is used to write it now (胃 weí ) means “stomach,” or “digestion,” which is both a homophone for an obsolete character meaning “granary,” and also an alternate name for this asterism, in part because it pictures THE STOMACH of the White Tiger of the Western Palace.

This Lunar Lodge is (not surprisingly) equally as auspicious as yesterday’s.  It’s regarded as universally beneficial for important public events and affairs, and is specifically favorable for putting things into safety or storage.  Construction and excavation are appropriate, as they are a necessary part of creating safe storage spaces.  Even burials take benefit from this sign, partly as it is associated with the time in Autumn just before the equinox—when Yīn will turn stronger than Yáng—and partly because the grave is in one way a kind of “granary of ancestral ,” the placement of which (so as to properly benefit the living descendants) is a major part of the traditional use of fengshui principles and techniques.

The spirit animal for THE STOMACH is the Pheasant, the most widespread species of which, the common pheasant, is originally from China, and has been introduced and naturalized to many other parts of the globe.  It has become, therefore, a ubiquitous emblem of Autumn, as it appears in cleared fields after the harvest, gleaning fallen grains, and clawing and pecking after insects which have been made easier to find.  The golden pheasant is another species from China which, in spite of its brilliant and intense plumage (in the male) is extremely difficult to see in its natural terrain.  Though its flashing jewel-colors make it look “like a treasure,” through most of the year it’s safely hidden away in the undergrowth of the woods and forests.  The Pheasant is a natural enough attribution of THE STOMACH, not only because it’s appearance in Autumn, but because its meat has a special nutritive quality:  it is one of the few foods which is dispersed in digestion equally through all of the  meridians in the body.  On top of that, it’s not only auspicious, it’s also delicious!

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The Solar Index today is SHUT, named for the first month of Winter in the agricultural calendar.  The character with which it’s written ( 閉  ) is a picture of a pair of doors, closed and barred.  This is the time when the weather grows cold, outdoor labors shrink to almost nothing, and the  slips down into quietude.   The whole natural world is in a state of cold, exhaustion, and rest.  Consequently, the proper pace of human life is interior, inactive, and aiming towards recuperation.  SHUT days are similarly times of deep recuperation and timely withdrawal from the outer world.  Only those who are born on a SHUT day should risk disturbing the when it demands to sleep!

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  This being also the last SHUT Day of the Moon, the Horse’s energy will devote itself to Recharging and Recuperating, and you should follow suit.  If you slenderize your agenda to the absolute minimum, and refuse to step beyond those rooms and patterns you are most familiar with, you too will get a “recharge” out of the day;  trying to stay productive, or aiming to explain yourself, or convince others to your way of thinking, will produce only a futility of exhaustion, and a need for even deeper rest for the remainder of the Moon’s waning.  Worse, you might also convince those you would persuade, that you are, in fact, either crazy, or simply not to be trusted.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will bring you lots of new considerations to mull over, and some of them are going to be more than worth the time.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  It’s fortunate for you—considering your recurrent potential to disrupt and displease the Equine Clan—that this Horse’s “increased certitude” will be devoted to the regeneration of his own energies, and to the enjoyment of his capacity to Just Stand Around when no higher levels of activity suggest themselves.  This is also the last SHUT Day of the Sheep Moon;  you may feel the drop in energy solely as a drop in resistances to your purposes, but pressing forward with greater determination will not produce any faster progress, and may only rouse others enough to add obstacles and objections to your path, out of sheer annoyance with your untimely determination.  Even if you don’t feel it as deeply as others, the Sheep Moon has been draining you of your resources;  take today as a respite, and build yourself back up.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will seem dedicated to your humiliation and reversal, and will only be satisfied with your compliance whether you like it or not.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  As this is also the last SHUT Day of the Sheep Moon, this Horse’s capacity to accept and enjoy inaction—when all other options are lacking—can do great benefit to everyone willing to take his quietude as an example to emulate.  For you, doing just that will seem as natural as breathing, and as restorative as a snooze in the warmth of the sun.  The Monkey Moon arriving in ten days will not be entirely devoid of this kind of opportunity, but you will still want to enter it as far from exhaustion as possible;  take the day to refill your fuel tanks, and to regain your center of mind.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will rally your attention towards outstanding details, and begin to shape your exit from the Sheep Moon.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  This member of the Equine Clan is famous for his intention to let Someone Else suggest the direction of movement, along with which he will then be perfectly happy to run.  But since both the Sheep and Tiger are in the mood for repose, and particularly since this is the last SHUT Day of the Moon, the direction suggested is liable to be:  “none.”  For you, this opportunity to bask in the support of the Sheep, and under the guardianship of the Tiger, will seem quite sweet, and perfectly appropriate to your preference to enjoy your domestic bliss in familiar surroundings.  If you’ve got extra energy today, pour it into anything you find personally nourishing, and let cares for your responsibilities towards the outer world rest for the day.  If you let your mind wander where it will (while mixing cookie dough or watering house-plants, for instance) you’ll find you’ve come up with some fresh solutions to your problems;  sometimes, after all, “not thinking” is “best thinking.”  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will bring you a sharpness of vision, and an orderliness of thinking that might send you scrambling for a notepad and pencil, to get it all down in the moment.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  As this is the last SHUT Day of the Sheep Moon—and more particularly since These Three all share a willingness to make Repose an honored part of their respective agendas—the lift of energy you normally experience on Horse Days will not be arriving.  Instead, you’ll have an extra amplitude of Free Space and Free Time within which to exercise your imagination, and run through your entire repertoire of Ploys and Strategems, like a pugilist shadow-boxing to keep limber.  Whether your practicing is physical or purely mental is up to you;  but to make the decision, remember that all the energies you expend today will be yours alone, and you might want them held in reserve for the Monkey Moon arriving in ten days.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will arrive to limit your flexibility, and to critique your plans—or lack thereof.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  This member of the Equine Clan is famous for his willingness to wait for orders—or at least, to wait for someone else to take the initiative in demonstrating a choice of action—and he will therefore prove very enticing to your perpetual appetite to grab the reins, and gallop off to nowhere in particular.  However, as the Sheep and Tiger will be holding the Horse’s attention, and share with him an appetite for honoring the SHUT Day by settling into Repose and Recuperation, you’ll have to let your ideas of a little joy-ride slide forward in the calendar at least twelve days.  Then again, as the Monkey Moon is coming up in ten days, with any number of options for a Wild Ride or two, perhaps you should follow suit, and aim to stay low-key for the day, as well.  You can probably get away with some small exertions, and you might find the sleepy atmosphere serviceable to small accomplishments, but don’t risk larger ones, or you’ll also risk rousing others from their sleep.  If you do that, they’ll not just be sleepy;  they’ll be grumpy, cross, and very likely, feeling vindictive.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will demand your close attention, and have a few “suggestions” you should take as commands.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demostrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  This Clan-Mate of yours is well-known for his willingness to wait for Someone Else to come up with a plan of action, and usually insists on waiting further, until Someone Else also takes the first step, before demonstrating his agreeability in following along.  Consequently, you may feel that your interests and plans are to be well-supported, andd that your purposes will get a lift of encouragement for the day.  However, this being the last SHUT Day of the Sheep Moon (and it also being the case that both Sheep and Tiger are already dedicated to the idea of Rest and Recuperation for the day) you’ll find the Horse’s “increased certitude” is for Standing Still, and that you’re going to have to demonstrate your “agreeability in following along.”  Try not to be deflated, unless of course that helps you actually to enjoy the sleepy atmosphere of the day, and to dive deeply into recharging yor batteries, and resting your nerves.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will be delivering your wake-up call, and laying out their plans for you over the next ten days, in anticipation of the Monkey Moon’s arrival.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  As this is also the last SHUT Day of the Sheep Moon, your attention is going to be highly focused on preparing for an elegant as well as efficient finish, before the Monkey Moon arrives in ten days.  Normally, you can expect the arrival of any member of the Equine Clan coming on duty to supply the muscle through which you work your magic, and to certify your strategies with clear and concrete demonstrations of What Works, and What Doesn’t.  Today’s Horse, however, is so congruent with the restraint the Sheep Moon shares with the Tiger Year, that he’s going to take the sum total of his job to be Standing Still and Looking Pretty.  If you need to readjust his position, or make some small cosmetic change in his surface appearance, you’ll have no trouble;  but raising your energies enough to attempt to raise his, will be largely futile, and not good for either of you, in any case.  I suggest instead that you take your job to be Standing Still and Appreciating Beauty.  It will do you a world of good.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will arrive like fresh troops, reinforcing your position, and bringing Mail From Home.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  Under most circumstances the spirit and physical savvy of the Equine Clan can be counted on to regularize and rectify the more wobbly and wiggly parts of your Nature;  during the Tiger Year, that’s not only more true, it’s also something to count on working towards your benefit and safety.  In specific, the Horse on duty today will raise your awareness of your physical limitations at the same time he teases your sense of adventure and opportunism.  That’s all to the good, though not, I suspect, in the way you might think.  You have in mind a bit of a pony-ride, perhaps, and imagine flying across fields and bounding over fences and ditches, hanging on tightly while you squeal encouragement to go faster;  instead, you’re going to find yourself Sitting Pretty upon his reassuringly broad back, but standing as still as if you were posing for your portrait in the form of an Equestrian Statue.  The auspices of the day are all aligned towards this effect, and once you get over the brief disappointment, you may very well find that Nap On Horse is a very satisfying pastime, after all.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will be speaking to you from both sides of your head, as if talking you through a dream, or walking you out of a nightmare.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  It’s quite commonly the case that your basic experience of the entire Equine Clan comes down to a view towards a high-powered sports car with very appealing lines, but with a steering system that makes no sense to you at all.  That’s certainly likely to be so today, as this Horse is as famous for his elegant appearance, as for his reluctance to make any movement at all without the proper signals being given, at the proper time, and in the proper order.  While it’s true that you’re fully up to the task of solving his enigmatic requirements—though it might take you all day to do it—I’m afraid you’d only find out at the end of it, that he’s Already Under Orders.  The Sheep and Tiger—honoring the requirements of the last SHUT Day of the Sheep Moon—are lining up in support of Resting, Recuperating, and Recharging, and the Horse will be willingly compliant.  It might seem disappointing to have to follow along as well;  but then, there are those sports cars that are Really Cool to just sit in, Looking Cool while you do it, aren’t there?  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will arrive like a team of sales executives, eager to help you put together a purchase plan, and show you how that steering system works.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  At the arrival of a day conditioned by the guardianship of These Three, your heart must leap in excitement for the prospects of delight and satisfaction.  If you were dedicated to the notion that “excitement” would be the operative term in that phrase, however, I’m afraid you’re in for a bit of a disappointment.  The consensus among them will be to honor the implications of the SHUT Day—the last one of the Sheep Moon—and the Horse, for his part, will be doing nothing more energetic than Standing Still and Looking Beautiful.  I can’t imagine it will take you much time to join their consensus, however, and agree that Rest and Recuperation are both Very Good Ideas.  And while you’re Lying Around and Looking Contented, you’ll have your convenient choice of the sunward side of the Horse, if you want warming, and the spot of shade he’s providing on the other, if you get over-heated.  Sweet!  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will arrive like a team of butlers, ready to lay out your clothes, or pour out your morning beverage, or recite for you your schedule of upcoming events.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Water Horse on duty today has great strength of heart but a flickering will, and will demonstrate increased certitude under the guidance and confidence of the Sheep, and the patient authority and protection of the Tiger.  As this is also the last SHUT Day of the Sheep Moon, the first thing These Three will be agreeing upon is that it’s an excellent day for the Three R.’s:  Resting, Recuperating, and Recharging.  This means that you won’t be able to make use of the Horse’s spirit for action in any but the most imaginary of ways, and that doing so will have more of the feeling of a day-dream—spun out in your mind, while lounging indolently in the shade, sipping on something cooling and restorative—rather than any kind of actual pony-ride—whether slow and shuffling, as on a tethered and dispirited carnival steed, or flying forward, as on a thoroughbred, hell-bent to win a race at full gallop.  The truth of it is, though, that the Tiger Year has proved busy enough for you so far, that you’re due some of those R.’s yourself, and it will take no more than a nod towards your Great Friends in Fleece and Stripes, for you to fall into agreement, and to feel the sweet lethargy overtake you.  Tomorrow’s Twin Sheep will arrive like a team of secretaries, ready to take down your dictation of the plots and plans you’ve dreamed up, flying out of you at such a speed, that there’ll need to be two of them, just to keep up.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

The wind comes down onto the valley floor, bringing not cool refreshment and relief, but only more heat.

If fires break out somehow, they’ll be fanned up to infernos, rampaging across the grasslands, raging through the trees.

The creatures of the wild will scatter, and the impermanence of the world will be shown in fire and charred earth.

Those who escape as far as the river bank will drench themselves;  panting and waiting, they’ll show their wisdom by returning to begin again.

“Midnight’s plans gain wisdom at dawn.”

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Friday, 30th of July


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE THREAD, which takes its name from an asterism of three stars of the western constellation Aries, The Ram, which form a shallow “v” shape.  In ancient times, this shape was seen setting in the west just before sunrise in Autumn, with its apex pointing downwards (“v”), making it look like a harvesting basket.  This signaled that the time for harvesting had arrived.  One of its alternate names was “The Treasure Mound,” as at the same time of year it appeared just after sunset in the east, with the apex pointing upward (“^”), so as to look like a pile of heaped up grain.

The modern character for this asterism ( 婁 loú ) is a rarely used verb meaning “to trail along” (like a train dragging behind a gown) or “to thread together,” “to collect.”  Other ancient (and now archaic) characters for the asterism depicted a woman with a bundle of grain or a basket on her head, or a woman outside an enclosure or field, with two men working in it.  These variations were pronounced the same, and had similar pictorial meanings.  They were different ways of “spelling”—that is to say, “drawing”—the same word: “harvest-time.”

Consequently, this Lunar Lodge is regarded as extremely favorable for a wide range of productive and commercial activities.  Since it has association with the first fruits of harvest, it indicates a time of growing wealth, and the near end of labors.  Most modern almanacs do not mark it as particularly appropriate to weddings or religious celebrations, but that is most likely because of its special value towards other pursuits.  The more traditional commentaries claim that marriage on such a day will ensure wealth and comfortable living, and that ventures begun on the day of THE THREAD will bring maximum profits.  Under this “harvest-time” image, relying on helpers is inauspicious only because they are already going to be busy, that is, they will be laboring to bring in the wealth of the fields.

The spirit animal for THE THREAD is the Dog, which has such a long history of association with humankind, that he may reasonably make the claim of being the first “domesticated” animal.  Under one modern theory, wild dogs became linked to humans through long generations of scavenging off their refuse.  The less timid and more calm among them gradually became more and more comfortable with their human neighbors, better fed, and yet again more comfortable, until humans became comfortable enough with them to strike up more formal and friendly relationships.  There is much to suggest the accuracy of this theory.  Recent genetic experiments with foxes, for instance, have proven that just breeding selectively for calmness of temperment and lack of aggression (over as few as 8 generations) produces offspring that not only act more domesticated and friendly—like dogs, that is—but also look like dogs:  strong and unusual variegation in coloring, larger and flopping ears, “puppy-like” behavior towards those giving them food, etc.  They even bark!

In any case, and whatever the true nature of our histories together, by now they are intimately intertwined.  Dogs, particularly in traditional Chinese life, are intimate members of family life, guarding the yard from strangers, keeping vermin at bay, protecting the children, and cleaning up stray bits of refuse.  (Still at it!)  In Chinese astrology, the Dog is representative of loyalty, nobility of purpose, earthiness of style, and the wisdom of taking the laziest way possible that still produces good results.  The Dog adds to this Lunar Lodge an emblem of civilized repose, a readiness to do what’s called for, and an easy willingness to “fit in,” and follow along.  To the “work together” spirit called for to accomplish the harvest, the Dog adds a perky sense of enjoyment, and a reminder that the true value of labor lies in its ability to ensure access to comfort and repose.

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The Solar Index today is OPEN, which relates to the month in the agricultural calendar directly following the harvest, from early October to early November.  The hard labors and tense worries of the year are largely past, and a season of festivities, congratulations, and camaraderie begins.  The only concerns for the near future have to do with preparations for the depth of winter, and its cold and storms.

The character for OPEN ( 開 kāi ) is a picture of a pair of doors swung wide.  The feeling of this time is adventurous, light-hearted, and free-wheeling.  The Chinese say, “Go out the door to find fortune!” and today certainly feels like the time to do it.  Normal constraints drop away, and new (though temporary) options are suddenly available.  After the harvest, the cleared fields offer little shelter for birds and other game, and hunting becomes opportune.  A sense of repose arises, as the wealth earned through long labors is safe in the granary.  It’s also, however, the time when bandits and thieves may feel that it’s finally worth their time to come calling.  The “open doors” are a welcome to friends to share in leisure and hard-won luxuries, but they are no barricade to wanderers who wish to crash the party, and pilfer a few valuables.  Keep a light heart, but also, a sharp eye.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  The Snake’s reluctance to make display will match the Tiger’s luke-warm interest in demonstrating any commitment quite as of yet, and consequently the day will be full of empty rooms, hidden complexities, and dark recesses of doubt.  Keep to the shadows as you make progress forward, but don’t rush ahead;  you’ll be able to deal with the complexities and doubts, but it will be much more difficult to do so it they catch you by surprise.  Make sure you get to eat something you really like, today, but not too much of it.  And try to get into the sunshine for a bit;  it’s not good for you to be too much “in the shadows.”  Tomorrow’s Horse will add a lot of confusion and wasted time to your efforts, so staying unengaged yourself would be wise.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  As the Snake and Tiger will both feel like retiring to their opposite corners, the Sheep will be less restive and anxious than might have been expected, and consequently less forthright in actions that would cause you difficulty or annoyance.  The simplicity of the day will therefore be the attribute you will most appreciate, and as long as you don’t get rattled by the few brushes you’re due to have with the Wooly-headed Mentality of those in your path, you’ll have an opportunity to see your position relative to your aims much more clearly than you have since perhaps since the Sheep Moon began three weeks ago.  Use your time wisely today, and don’t think you’re building up a head of steam;  you have some serious resistance to deal with over the next two days, and pushing harder today won’t help you at all.  Tomorrow’s Horse will make you rely on your spirit of independence, but won’t reward you much for doing so.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  As this member of the Clan of Scales and Fangs has the intention of withdrawing into the shadows for the day, perhaps you should take as your motto: “Leave well enough alone.”  This will not be as easy, or as comforting, as it might sound, as when the Snake is not visible, your worries and anxieties about his meddlesome ways can multiply.  Still, chasing him into dark places won’t resolve your mind with any effectiveness, and you’d be much better off finding your own Lair of Retreat, in which to consider and fret over your current options.  As the Sheep Moon wanes you’ll need to settle at least on Contingent Plans to express your will and demonstrate your choices;  waiting until the Monkey Moon arrives to do so will put you in a very awkward position.  Tomorrow’s Horse will favor your staying hidden away, but will help to strengthen your heart and clear your mind.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  As both the Snake and Tiger are coming to “an agreement to disagree,” and retreating to their own recesses to Consider Their Condition, you’ll be left on an empty battle-field with the Sheep Moon to light your way.  The Snake will leave behind an aura of romantic heroism that you’ll inhale like a dusty perfume;  the Tiger, for his part, will leave a sense of athleticism and a grand scale of action.  So if you find yourself imagining scenes of Grand Bravura and Great Daring-Do—and casting yourself in all the lead roles—you should take it as a gift, finessing into pure fabulism what could have been a bloody and heart-rending clash, had the Two Combatants not decided to call “Truce!”  Even though your actions will be mostly in the realms of The Virtual, still they’ll solidly demonstrate your heart-felt will, and will function as inner rehearsal for steps you’ll need to take before the Sheep Moon finishes waning.  Tomorrow’s Horse will demonstrate a similar reluctance to come forward—or to get anything done—but his quietude will allow your dreams to simmer, and your problems to seem less pressing.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  Since the Snake and Tiger will be refusing to engage—generally, a Good Thing for everyone—the operative energetics today will follow the Rule of Fleece and Horns;  which is to say, “small steps, small changes, and everything according to plan.”  This can work perfectly well for your purposes, as long as you emulate the Absent Snake by remaining mysterious and slow in motion, and the Absent Tiger by parking your powers behind your patience.  Just to keep it interesting—if that proves needful—you can flicker back and forth, at will;  it will keep the Sheep from recognizing your ploy, and will make the game much more satisfying a joke for you.  The net result will be more progress than the Sheep would normally allow, and more than you probably were expecting.  If caught in the act, you can avoid reprimand by simply asking:  “Who?  Me?” and really believing in your utter innocence.  Tomorrow’s Horse will allow you to come out of the shadows and mists, but you won’t get much assistance from him, even if you do.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  Espying the vanishing tail of the Tiger as he departs the erstwhile Field of Battle may make you think that you’ve chanced on your opportunity to gather your troops and capture all the enemy’s flags.  However, such grandiose claims of Total Victory will be shortly dismissed as Unsportsmanlike Conduct under the truce maintained by the Sheep Moon, and you’ll be required to relinquish any booty you’ve gotten your hands on, and follow your Clan-Mate into his shadowy retreat.  Avoid the embarrassment by just going there to begin with, saving your forces for other fields, other skirmishes, other days.  The Monkey Moon is coming soon now, and you’ll have the high ground more frequently than you could have hoped;  you’ll need to make use of the conference time in the Snake’s Pavilion today, to develop sound strategy, agreement as to mission, and plan out the wise array and movement of your forces.  Tomorrow’s Horse will offer you more open opportunities, but you’ll have to keep to a small scale of ambition to make any use of them.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  As both the Snake and Tiger are taking their arguments to their respective corners—to mutter to themselves perhaps, instead of slinging complaints and recriminations at each other—you’ll be left to your own devices and diversions under the oversight of the Sheep Moon.  Well, what that actually means, of course, is that they won’t be your devices at all;  it’s just that the Sheep will be able to make you believe that they are.  Not that you’ll be complaining!  Both the Snake and the Tiger have left careful notes as to how they would have supported, encouraged, and directed you, if they had remained on the field.   The Sheep—like a diligent baby-sitter reviewing two sets of instructions left by Departed Parents—will be demonstrating great artfulness in recombining them into an agreeable agenda for your entertainment and enjoyment.  All there is for you to do is to summon a slight degree of willingness, and your satisfaction will be secured.  Plan on getting to be early, however;  some of the activities the Sheep has planned will be timed to produce sleepiness even before you’ve gotten into your pyjamas.  Tomorrow’s Horse will make you feel frisky and festive, but strangely unable to do anything about it.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  As both parties to the potential clashes of the day are agreeable turning away from engagement, you’ll be left with a small excess of space, energy, and time, and a ripe opportunity to look towards the practical matters still to be settled if you want to capture maximum usefulness from the Sheep Moon before it finishes waning.  Chief on your list should be one or two tests you can set for yourself, in order to determine whether your Natural Powers have completed some level of recuperation since the end of the Awful Ox Year, and can be relied upon to strengthen, as the Tiger Year continues to bloom.  You’ll have much to contribute during the Monkey Moon coming in about ten days, and you’ll need some conviction in your abilities to do it.  Beyond these “tests,” see to the practicalities of your health and its nourishment.  A little, today, will accomplish a lot;  I suggest more sleep, some time in the sunshine, and a bit of Fine Dining.  Tomorrow’s Horse will suit your talents to a “t,” but will test them with his shyness.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  It’s to your great Good Luck that Snake and Tiger are synchronous in their unwillingness to engage, turning towards their own retreats, and leaving behind—unsettled—matters that could be the source of general mayhem and rampant destruction.  Breathe a sigh of relief, put yourself under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon, and don’t spoil the placid stillness left by the Battle Not Met.  Most often it’s the Ox who offers to your your deepest Spiritual Lessons, but the Sheep will be caretaker of a rare opportunity for you today:  to come upon an empty stage, and not to make use of it.  Find some quiet corner from which to watch the emptiness, and you’ll come out of the day with a kind of Spiritual Armor, the better to traverse the battle-fields awaiting you for the rest of the Tiger Year.  Tomorrow’s Horse will tease you out into action, and give you a bit of a challenge as you try to make it productive.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  When caught between Snake and Tiger, your position is naturally weak;  your affinities are clearly with the Serpent Clan, but your better wisdom argues for the strengths and positioning of the Great Stripéd One, whose reign will be continuous until the turn of the year.  How fortunate for you, then, that both these Perpetual Combatants have spontaneously decided to yield the field to the other for the day, leaving the Sheep Moon only, to act as care-taker over an empty field full of unharvested possibilities, and untroubled by argument or its resultant rubble.  The Snake has—by virtue of your enduring friendship—left you credentials empowering you to enter this “empty field,” and to wander to your heart’s content, like a sole tourist allowed admission to a grand house, and invited to roam the halls, test the comfort of the beds, and raid the refrigerator for a satisfying snack or two.  And, as long as you—following the preferences of the Sheep Housekeeper—leave nothing damaged or seriously ruffled, you may well be invited back.  Sink into your enjoyments today, but maintain your Good Manners.  Tomorrow’s Horse will arrive like a limousine at the front door to take you home, though you may have some trouble getting the passenger door open.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  Both the Snake and the Tiger are choosing to demonstrate today the Shakespearean saw that “discretion is the better part of valor.”  They will be retiring from the agreed upon Field of Battle, and returning to their own encampments, to keep their own counsels, to review their own positions, and to grumble and mutter perhaps, about what they might have done if the other hadn’t “turned tail and run.”  This will leave the day perfectly free to roam in—albeit, under the careful watch of the Sheep Moon, taking up the post of Minder of the Truce.  For you, there will seem to be something fishy with this strange arrangement, however, and whether you were to cast yourself as Wandering Spy, or as Roving Reporter, you’re going to be unable to get any sense of peace from the cancellation of hostilities, and will most likely feel unsettled, and suspicious of small things, for most of the day.  This is not really a bad condition, on the face of it;  you can stretch your legs, and get a good run in—and every shadow or crevice you look into, and check off your list, will be one less thing for you to worry about.   Besides:  as long as you’re only looking, there’ll be no harm done.  Tomorrow’s Horse will enter the field as if to join you in your running, but you may find him difficult to inspire to go along with you.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Metal Snake on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, which will simplify the Sheep Moon’s task in smoothing the Tiger’s path towards accomplishment.  Whether happen onto the scene today purely by accident, or having made careful travel plans and packed a folding chair, an insulated container for properly chilled champagne, and a picnic lunch, you’re going to be surprised to discover that the scheduled Battle Royale between these Perpetual Combatants has been cancelled.  It seems that both parties thought better of their willingness to engage, and spontaneously—and synchronously—took a powder, retiring to their respective pavilions, and leaving the field uncontested, and unoccupied.   The Sheep Moon has happily agreed to remain as Referee In-Waiting, and as Official Go-Between—just in case their bellicosity gets the better of their good judgement, and they wish to send a note of challenge to the Other Tent—and will no doubt be happy as well to help you find a good location (with a view) to enjoy your picnic.  (Yes.  I know:  of course you brought one.)  If you wish to join your mutterings and complaints to those of the distantly tented Opponents, you’ll be perfectly free to do so—you’ll have, after all, the entire field to yourself—but there’ll be no-one really listening.  The Sheep may smile and nod politely, of course, but he’s got other things to worry about before the Monkey Moon arrives.  Tomorrow’s Horse will bring a sense of potential for action, but you’ll have to use both invention and creativity if you wish to bring it to fruition.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

Lady of the Lotus, they call her;  or Gentle Maiden of the Nine Heavens, who hears the cries of pain and suffering,

From all the wide-flung corners of the world, from all dimensions of the Universe of Sentient Being, and attends.

Her smile is soft, her gaze is welcoming, her robes drape in flowing folds about her gracious form.

With one hand she receives petition, with the other she offers mercy:  to her heart of kindness she generously beckons all.

“If you can’t sing, listen.”

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Thursday, 29th of July


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE STRIDE, first of the seven days of the Western Palace of the White Tiger.  It’s named after an asterism of fifteen stars, most of which are part of the constellation Andromeda, The Chained Lady.  The fifteen stars appear to delineate two legs held apart, and therefore were seen to depict the action of stepping forward, or of bracing oneself with legs “astride.”  To the ancient Chinese both of these implied a condition of “accommodation to difficulty,” and the Lunar Lodge is consequently regarded as being mildly inauspicious.  It’s an awkward day for construction or excavation, and particularly risky for new beginnings, adventures into unknown circumstances, or distant travel.

The shape of the asterism also can suggest the shape of the sole of a sandal or shoe;  the star where the “legs” meet together, is taken as the pointed toe of the footwear.  THE STRIDE therefore has the interesting attribution of ruling shoes, boots, socks, and leggings or trousers.  Making them, shopping for them, repairing them, are all to be undertaken with confidence and towards satisfaction and success.  By extension, clothing in general, and textiles at large, are also under a favorable star on this day.  As is common for weakly inauspicious Lunar Lodges, taking medicine is appropriate, and both gossiping and socializing are to be avoided.  However, routine activities of study or research are benefited by the mild caution added to the day;  caution with expenditures and a general attitude of thrift will be highly effective under this Lunar Lodge.

The spirit animal for THE STRIDE is the Wolf, which like the White Tiger of this week’s Celestial Palace (that is to say, “quarter of the sky”) is an emblem of danger in the natural world.  Among the Twelve Animals of the Earthly Branches, only the Tiger is above humans on the food chain.  Similarly, the Wolf is such an icon of danger and warning, that the character with which it’s written, 狼 ( láng ), also means “cruel,” and “fierce.”  The inauspiciousness of this Lunar Lodge is thus based on “caution, but for the right reasons.”  Keeping to the main path, and ways that are already known, will lead to the best results.  If you stray “into the woods” who knows what you might have to confront?  Be wise, and drop arrogance (and any desire to tempt danger) before you see the huge white fangs under snarling lips, and the glaring eyes measuring out the distance to your throat.

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The Solar Index today is HARVEST, which is the name of the second month of Autumn in the agricultural calendar, from early September through early October.  It contains the Autumn Equinox, and represents the time when the vitality of the year distills to an essence;  the plants wither and grow stiff while the fruits and seeds grow plump and ready to drop from their stems.  The labors of humans at this time of the year are hard, and must be accomplished with speed.  The results of the harvest, however, fulfill the labors of the entire rest of the year, and are a source of great satisfaction and relief.

In most editions of the almanac, HARVEST days are printed in black, as their association with Autumn makes them inappropriate for weddings.  In terms of industry and production, however, HARVEST symbolizes the gathering in of the abundance of the natural world, and the fulfillment of human labor, in preparation for the sternness and cold of Winter.  This is a favorable sign for commerce in general, and for investing, borrowing, and lending, in specific.  It is not suitable for medical treatment in the Chinese traditions, as the  is going down and thinning, and though the shēn is ample, its presentation can be misleading.  Better to wait for a day, to determine a more accurate understanding of the patient’s condition, and to make an adjustment more likely to “take.”

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  This bright and buoyant member of the Clan of Scales and Claws will have his abilities stretched the max, trying to bring spontaneity and inventiveness to the waning Moon, and challenging the recalcitrant Tiger to cease his musings and demonstrate a dedication to direction and accomplishment.  Nonetheless, you’re due for some favoritism as the Dragon sweeps through, and you’ll find your taste for complexity, and calculation of contingencies, well satisfied by the range of productive options made available to you.  In exchange, he’ll have some favors to ask of you, and—as they’ll be well suited to your means and motives—you should not hesitate to agree to them.  This is a day to say “yes,” and to ask further questions after you’re already in progress.  Tomorrow’s Snake will cloak your actions with protective camouflage and misdirections, but you may find that means your own vision is also dimmed.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  The Clan of Scales and Claws specializes in inspired re-direction—usually without the benefit of any advance notice—and as the arrival of this member of the Clan disturbs the fussy rationalism of the Sheep’s reliance on planning and follow-through, there will be no room for your insistence that you be allowed to follow your self-reliant independence and your taste for straight-ahead progress, plain and simple.  In truth, you’re going to be so turned-about by the turmoil the Dragon will engender, that you may not feel at all certain by the end of the day that even you know quite which direction you’re trying to pursue.  Cut your potential losses then, and pull your oars out of the water entirely;  sometimes you just have to be blown by the storm wherever it takes you, and re-calibrate your proper heading only once it’s swept through.  Tomorrow’s Snake will bring clearer—if not perfectly calm—weather, and allow you to take a fresh reading on your position.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  This highly competent and flashy member of the Clan of Scales and Claws will not fit smoothly or obligingly into the Sheep’s more diligent style of aiming for progress, and the disagreement between them will throw a lot of dust and debris into the air before they’ve come to some compromise between themselves.  You might think that being thus engaged would keep the Dragon from disturbing your peace, or meddling with your preferences, but that’s not going to be strictly true.  He’ll have enough free attention every now and then through the day, to drop some unnerving questions under your nose, and to make quite clear his insistence that he’d like you to close up your considerations, and dedicate yourself to Steps To Be Taken.  Let the Sheep do the objecting to the Dragon’s style;  you should take the questions seriously, and receive his insistence with at least the will to take the matter under advisement.  Tomorrow’s Snake will be much less theatrical, but may have far more disturbing ways to bring your attention to the same matter.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  One would think that as much as you enjoy surprises and spontaneity, the arrival of this witty and highly competent member of the Clan of Scales and Claws might inspire in you a smile of delight;  however, you’re far too well-grounded to take all his showmanship as anything more than Slim Theatricality, and far too impressed by the Sheep’s broadly-based and intricate planning, to risk throwing The Grand Plan aside for something so flimsy as a Brand New Idea.  The Dragon’s entry could cause you some annoyance, it’s true;  but if you keep your wits about you, you’ll reckon quite quickly how lacking in substance his gestures are, and how congruent the Sheep’s meticulous and rational arrangements are with your own style and tastes.  As the Moon wanes, you may have cause to re-examine this decision, but for today, don’t take The Imaginary as reason to rise to enthusiasm, or to fall towards dejection and anger;  problems arising today are made of air and shadow, and should be taken as Toys, instead of as Trials.  Tomorrow’s Snake will bring some illusory apparitions as well, but they’ll be entirely to your liking, and will produce good grounding for your exertions and contributions to take effect.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  This Clan-Mate of yours is a Master of Demonstration and Display, and can shift and move about without the drag of mass and inertia seeming to slow him down, like flecks of sunlight bouncing off of ripples in water, careening freely across the surface of a wall.  All the careful plans and diligent attentions to Proper Management of Resources laid down during the Sheep Moon will be in jeopardy, and even your most cogently and clearly expressed reasons why they don’t need to be protected will have a hard time carrying any weight.  If you’re looking for concrete results today, you’d be wiser to save your hopes, and hang out hidden in some cloud-bank, biding your time.  But what master-builder imagines that the simple presentation of The Plan instantly produces the entire edifice?  Make your own demonstrations today, and think of it as Planting The Seed:  “From tiny acorns,” after all, …and then again, there’s that joy to come in the future of “having been right all along.”  Make sure there’s a memo, email, photo, diagram, or note-on-a-napkin to memorialize your “display.”  Tomorrow’s Snake will make much more change available than you might have hoped for, but you’ll have to act coy and indifferent to make use of its availability.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  As is regularly the case, the departure of the Darling Bunny and the arrival of Big Brother Dragon will give you full justification to lower your sense of need to stay active, and heighten your confidence that things may just Go Your Way, even so.  Think of it as the solitude you must grant dough as it rises, or as the proper stillness of appreciation in the audience at the close of the final notes of an orchestral work, but find some way to indulge your natural taste for Sinking Down, today.  The Dragon is going to be quite busy flummoxing the Sheep’s intention to stay In Control—mostly by suckering him into chasing reflections on the wall, and teasing him into trying to stamp out shadows—and your interest and assistance will be neither necessary, nor even much noticed.  Stilling your action, and slowing you thoughts will keep you safely away from the Sheep’s stamping and bucking, and will allow you to read—in those reflections and shadows—a coded message instructing you in the proper way to take the baton from the Dragon, once he’s finished softening the Sheep up for you.  Tomorrow’s Snake will tempt you to rise to the Dragon’s great stature and grand sweep, but will only reward you if you keep to your eminently practical nature, and avoid the pitfall of self-delusion.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  The reliance you naturally place in the Sheep’s confident planning and perpetual attention to detail, will fall into natural disturbance with the entry of this member of the Clan of Scales and Claws.  He specializes not in planning, but in spontaneity;  not in detail, but in grand vision.  Where the Sheep re-affirms your sense of Good-Grounding, the Dragon’s aim is to make you thirst for the Taste of Air and the exhilaration of Soaring Flight.  Consequently, the main problem you face today is the apparent split between these two affections, and the resulting turmoil which trying to Make a Choice will bring you.  My advice:  refuse to choose.  The Dragon’s purpose—in your case, anyway—is more to provide reminder than to demand re-direction of your energies.  Your Upward Ambitions are soon to be given their proper Flight Clearance, but that’s not for a couple of weeks yet.  Let your heart ache for High Accomplishments, but keep your feet on terra firma;  the Sheep Moon is waning, but has much to fulfill in its promise to give you Complete Preparation.  Tomorrow’s Snake will resolve your dilemma, if only by taking away your access to choice, and showing what you can do when someone else “takes the reins.”

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  This witty and insistent member of the Clan of Scales and Claws is going to blow in like a sudden wind, giving your apparently solid constructions a sideways knock that will make all their joints creak and crackle, and half-convince you that you’re soon to find yourself airborne, or—worse—buried in the rubble of our own failed planning.  You can relax, however:  this is just a Stress Test, designed to weaken your presumption, and to strengthen your End Product.  The time when the Dragon can show his true force again is not yet here, and the appearance of threat he’s brandishing today is really just by way of a wake-up call.  If a few of your guy-wires snap, or a latch comes loose in the gust, so much the better;  you have some time before the Sheep Moon finishes waning to make repairs, and even do a bit of a re-design, if necessary.  (And come now, you must admit, that’s one of your favorite activities.)  Tomorrow’s Snake will turn your attention away from the clouds, and towards the hard practicalities of what’s left to accomplish before the Moon closes.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  This flashy and highly-competent member of the Clan of Scales and Claws will be blowing in, with clouds and dust roiling through the air, giving you excellent cover while you hitch a ride, and clamber on board to delight in his airy theatricals.  He’s here to give the Sheep Moon a slight tweak of the nose, the better to assure that plans are going forward correctly to prepare for the entrance of the Monkey Moon in just under two weeks’ time.  Your ride-along for the day will be a brief chance to confer with your Aerobatic Friend, and to take the opportunity his swooping flight will give you to reach out and do a bit of tweaking yourself.  Take care not to announce yourself in your actions today;  just knowing that something was straightened, and that something else was knocked a bit awry, should be enough.  Beyond that, the Dragon has some ideas to impart to you—which you’ll recognize as errant thoughts capturing your attention, and making you pause to think briefly: “what if?”—and to place in your attention a Great Task or two, even though the time is not yet ripe for you to solve them.  But be assured, that time is coming.  Tomorrow’s Snake will help you to remain concealed, but only if you aim to be, and will demonstrate the Secret Joys of giving up showmanship.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  By this point in the Sheep Moon, you may very well be wondering whether there’s anything still available to refresh your appetites, and to convince you that the Dull Dogmas of the Clan of Fleece and Horns are at all worth enduring.  Just in time arrives this most artful and highly competent Dragon, showing you once again the height of your ambitions, and the lift and loft your spirit can give you when it goes light enough to catch the air.  The Dragon’s presence is of course temporary, and won’t be able to render much of a lasting effect, however grandiose and witty his demonstrations may be.  But the Sheep Moon is waning now, and eventually the reliance on Insistent Planning and Adherence to Proper Form will have to give way.  For your part, let the Dragon’s Display take you up into the clouds—even if it is all done with smoke and mirrors—and let that give you patience towards expectations coming to fruit later in the year.  Tomorrow’s Snake will be equally willing to supply you with enjoyments, and this time they’re going to be as real as warm soil and cool water.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  This witty and highly competent member of the Clan of Scales and Horns is the master of Artful Display, and his theatricalities are largely intended to impress and inspire.  In the case of the Sheep, what will impress is the Dragon’s impetuosity and lack of respect, and what will be inspired is a gasp of disbelief and impending wreckage;  in your case, your expectations can’t even rise that high.  But take heart:  the Dragon is only barn-storming through today, and his aim is to put on an air-show merely, with not much more threat in reality than a witch on a broomstick writing out in black smoke: “SURRENDER DOROTHY.”  You will have a small dilemma in the choice between believing the stability you feel on the ground, or believing in the airy intimidations so far away up in the sky.  But the larger problem is just the state of confusion the Dragon so typically incites in the Canine Clan.  You’ve been here so many times you’ve lost count, and it always works out okay in the end;  trust in your grounding, and watch the black smoke dissipate.  (You can close your eyes and cringe, if it will make you feel any better.)  Tomorrow’s Snake will replace confusion with suspicion, and put you on the hunt for something that Feels Wrong.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Metal Dragon on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but it’s his flexibility and sleek elusiveness that will put him in competition with the Sheep Moon, and will rattle the confidence and poise of the Tiger Year.  This member of the Clan of Scales and Claws always manages to impress you with his airy competence and flair for the grandiose.  It’s true, he may put you out a bit today, by virtue of being so disrespectful of the cautious planning put in by the Sheep so far this Moon, and by virtue of rudely neglecting to invite you up into the clouds with him, granting you the honor of a ride-along.  Trust me, though, this is a ride much better observed than experienced, and if you had been invited along, you’d find yourself squealing for descent, and wailing for the stability of terra firma under your feet, as soon as you’d experienced the first loop-the-loop, and even before you had realized just how far away the flight had taken you from everything you know and hold dear.  Keep your distance from tempting offers then, today, and don’t risk the embarrassment of having to recant all your expressions of confidence, certainty, and depth of experience.  Tomorrow’s Snake will give you reason to complain that you’re not being listened to, and not much chance to convince anyone that that’s true.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

When thick clouds pile high, dimming the light, and thunder booms down the long valley,

The branches of the willow ripple weakly and the lake turns dark, shuddering in accord.

Summer’s heat amasses, and the vitality of the world begins to curl, in expectation of Autumn.

When there were kings, they made their grand gestures, and then turned towards the Western Mountains.

“The little mouse is small and weak, so through a small hole he can squeak.”

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Wednesday, 28th of July


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE WALL, last day of the Northern Palace of the Black Tortoise.  Its name comes from the shape delineated by the two stars forming the left side of the grand square in the constellation, Pegasus, The Winged Horse.  The full name of this asterism is “The Eastern Wall;” the other side of the grand square is the “The Western Wall,” which is an alternate name for THE HOUSE, yesterday’s Lunar Lodge.  This indication is even more favorable than yesterday’s, as it points toward the ending of winter, and symbolizes the turn of the seasons towards the renewal of life, and the happy warmth of receiving the first rays of the morning sun.

These associations make it favorable for all sorts of activities:  commerce and the expansion of business, artistic expression and accomplishment, indulgence in luxuries and sharing them with others, and negotiating or fulfilling of contracts.  Since it’s associated with the time just before Spring begins, it’s not a time for making promises, or for throwing out things (which might prove necessary or useful once the change of the time has been accomplished.)  Like the days just before Spring, which are filled with anticipation and preparations for celebration, there is too much energy abroad on such days to make retreat, meditation, fasting or other austerities suitable.

The spirit animal for THE WALL is the Porcupine ( 豪 猪 háo zhū ), which means literally “bristled pig.”  This is perfectly harmonious with most European languages, in which the various versions of “porcupine” usually mean literally “thorny pig.”  Another term for the Porcupine is 箭 猪 ( jiàn zhū ) meaning “arrowed pig.”  The character for “bristled” also means “brave,” “heroic.”  Covered in hundreds of sharp and stiff long spines (or “arrows”) such a beast can afford to act brave.  When pressed by attack, they actually move towards the attacker, in order to wound them with their spines.  Even braver would be the predator who tries to take him as prey!

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The Solar Index today is COMPLETE, which is the name of the first month of Autumn in the agricultural calendar, from early August through early September.  This is the time of relaxation of growth and labor, and of the preparations for harvest.  The  of the year begins to shrink back, and the stalks devote their stored energies to the “completion” of the grains.  The vitality of the growing season is being invested into seed-form, partly to nourish the animal partners of the natural world, and partly to ensure that the plants can endure the coming winter, and renew life when spring arrives again.

This day in the Solar Index cycle is a bright indicator, partly because of the lightening of labor it represents, and partly because it captures the hopefulness of the coming harvest.  The character with which COMPLETE is written ( 成 chéng) can also be translated “accomplish,” “attain,” “fulfill,” “succeed,” “become,” or “finish.” Seeing to the fulfilling of promises, and finishing the preparations for hard work soon to arrive, are both highly auspicious.  “Don’t delay until tomorrow what you can do today,” is very timely advice.  That “tomorrow” is liable to have little free time available;  in fact, “free time” may be the thing on shortest supply.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  You have a perfect knack for irritating both Sheep and Rabbit, and will have to maintain your strictest propriety to avoid doing so.  If you carry your intention to Cause No Bother, well in front of other considerations, you’ll easily find the way to bustle about, getting things done, and setting up the arrangements for future accomplishments.  The price for this permission—beyond your Very Good Behavior, that is—will be the amount of energy you’ll be drained of by the end of the day;  eat simply in the evening, and plan to be in bed well before your usual hour.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will present you with some complexities to play with, and some duties you can cheerfully agree to take up.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  Unfortunately for you, the lightening and easing effect the Sheep will be rendering on this member of the Clan of the Long Ears, is going to come at your expense—or at least, that’s the way going to feel.  Your path is most likely going to be strewn with random and extraneous concerns that will prove useless to your understanding of the situation, and will delay your progress, without any noticeable payoff, even over the longest frame of time.  This being said, however, none of the difficulties are being specifically intended to block your way, and if you accept a slower, more worrisome, state of movement, you’ll catch the rhythm of it fairly quickly, and at least gain the satisfaction of hitting a pace that you can count on continuing through the day.  Demonstrating your irritation, on the other hand, or striving to “break free” or “break through” will run the risk of undoing all the “calming influence” of the Sheep, and releasing a Rampaging Rabbit;  and if you’ve ever come across one of those, you know you don’t want to bump into one today.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will bring things to a virtual standstill, and put you at the tether-end of your patience.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  What the Rabbit hears from the Sheep as an anthem of soft encouragement and re-assurance, you’re going to hear as a catchy little ditty, setting your toes tapping, and awakening your curiosity.  If you feel your attention is sharpened, and your spirit of gamesmanship is stimulated, you’re most likely going to have to find something entertaining which requires only your own company and exertions;  most everybody else will either be feeling depleted, or will be convinced that when you offer an invitation for them to join you, that you can’t really be meaning it in earnest.  If there’s some solitary project or pastime that you’ve not been able to suitably fit into your busy schedule this year, this is exactly the day to pick it up, and feel fully satisfied in the results.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will add more busy-ness in your week, and challenge you to demonstrate your point of view, without getting huffy about it.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  For most of the Clan of the Long Ears, this “calming influence” will have more of the tone of a soothing lullaby, not actually demanding sleep, per se, but seducing your wilder, bouncier side into quiescence, and sharpening your awareness of your surroundings outside, and your belief in your feelings inside, into perfect balance.  Unless you’ve found the last week or ten days rather tiring, you’ll be free to practice that happy habit of “staying active,” roaming though your world with your mind open, and your heart unburdened.  It’s a day for “bustling about,” but without the sense of rush or impatience that “bustling” usually implies.  It’s also a day to demonstrate to yourself that—as we used to say in the 60’s—”no matter where you go, ….there you are!”  Tomorrow’s Dragon will arrive like a ping-pong ball hitting your forehead, and giving you the choice to take it as a challenge to play, or to pout.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  The slow and detail-driven efficiencies of the Sheep will have no “calming influence” on you, however, and the roused willingness of the Hare, will seem to you to demonstrate only a condition of drunken sloppiness or lazy stupor.  In a word, you’re going to be frustrated in virtually all of your aims, and most particularly in the one that has to do with “dealing with it.”  About the only terrain left to you that will make any sense, or will provide any sense of utility, will be your own State of Frustration, faced in perfect stasis, and without the hope of “dealing with it,” either.  This is neither a bleak Sentence of Doom I’m pronouncing, nor nearly as odious a condition as it might sound:  your Greatest Accomplishments always come out of mastering yourself first, and taking a leadership position thereafter.  The Clan of the Long Ears is just making sure that you get your regular reminder of that, today.  Coil your great emotional powers inside yourself for the duration, in preparation for tomorrow’s Dragon, which will present a target at which you can more successfully—if not more productively—aim them.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  While the Sheep is singing a lullaby of re-assurance and encouragement, settling the infamous Rabbit Temper, and nudging fascinating little tasks into his view, you may easily find yourself falling into what the hypnotists sometimes call a “secondary trance.”  The Sheep’s efforts to manage your State of Attention are almost never sophisticated or complex enough to truly earn your Undivided Attention, but when you can observe the complete compliance the Darling Bunny displays in falling into the spell, you fall headlong with him;  this will lead not only to a sweetly satisfying loss of concern on your part, it will also wrap you in Fleece and Fur, the better to avoid notice or notoriety.  Agree to be soothed and sated—rendered invisible, in fact, even right beneath the Tiger’s nose—and check off one more day of safe-passage through the Land of Stripes and Claws.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will give you good use for staying invisible, but directions in which to express your ambition as well.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  While the Sheep is focusing on this most troublesome member of the Clan of the Long Ears, it might seem that you’re due to suffer a bit of neglect, or at least to be responsible to supply your own company, and to manage your own recognizance.  However, what will be “calming” for the Hare, will be “grounding” for you, and if you agree not to focus on mere differences in appearance today, you may find that you easily absorb the willingness being called forth in the Rabbit, and apply it to your own affairs in a style that’s more tidy, more intimate, and more nonchalant than you usually have any right to expect from yourself—at least, not all at the same time.  If this seems mysterious to you, well… perhaps you’re falling into the same trance as the Mollified Rabbit.  If so, the day could prove quite productive;  and anyway, it seems to me that you’d look quite fetching in a Rabbit Fur Coat.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will cause you disturbance, as your attention is forced to split directions, and your grounding becomes unfirm.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  Master of Management that you are, you’re going to truly appreciate the artful technique thus demonstrated by your Clan-Mate, on such a willing and inducible subject as the Rabbit will present.  The opportunity to shape your attention towards the highly local and extremely unfocused awareness of the Clan of the Long Ears always offers a chance to show the very height of your powers, and to match your intentions so perfectly to your skills and options, that your increased confidence is the natural and necessary out-come.  As intent as you may be to instill re-assurance and congruity in those you work and play with, this is a day for that intent to instill them in you.  Toast yourself, then, and enjoy your moment, staying collected, casual, and conversational;  you have some much more in-congruent challenges coming up shortly, and a bit of theoretical chat about Work So Far—and about Getting Back To It—will help you future-pace your confidence towards it.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will give you a bit of a shake, reminding you to check the stability of your stance.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  As dark and demented as your passage through the dangers of the Tiger Year may sometimes seem, there’s a great deal of “calming influence” you can get from the Sheep’s ministrations, as well.  Since the style of this member of the Clan of the Long Ears is so obstreperous, and so resistant to Taking Steps, the Sheep’s focus will be on raising his interest in the world, and on bringing forward his willingness to engage with it.  Since your style is already all about “interest,” you might imagine that eavesdropping on the soft and Fleecy little melodies aimed at those Long Ears could get you into Real Trouble, but in fact it’s the opposite that’s more likely to take place.  It’s your powers of mimicry and investment that you have to thank for this miraculous turnabout:  allow yourself to be soothed, and don’t be surprised if you find your curiosity tempered to a humming quietude, your Long Tail hidden under a lovely coat of Rabbit Fur.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will lead you back into overt action, and pose some puzzles only you can solve—even if it is a Tiger Year.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  As far as you’re concerned, you’d very likely prefer to leave this obstreperous and curmudgeonly member of the Clan of the Long Ears deep down in his own self-centered attention, and hope that you can skate through the day without rousing him to any awareness of your passage.  Not a bad plan, actually, on the face of it;  but unfortunately, the Sheep has uses for the Rabbit’s bustling energies and unambitious domesticity, and the Rabbit will be roused.  You may find the net result, however, much more confusing and confounding than truly obstructive.  The Sheep will be weaving a kind of trance for the Rabbit to fall into, hypnotizing him into disbelieving his presumptions, and following instructions on a Fleecy cloud of suggestion;  the effect on you will be Fleecy alright, but a bit Furry as well, and the suggestions you’ll fall into, will make you think you’ve lost your grip on reality, and wandered into a kind of Dreamland.  Don’t resist;  embrace the weird.  It may not be good for your Sense of Stability, but it will be very good preparation for the kinds of tests and challenges still coming up for you in the Tiger Year.  If it helps, just keep muttering under your breath:  “Dreaming.  Dreaming.  Dreaming….”  Tomorrow’s Dragon will wake you like a snap of the hypnotist’s fingers, “feeling awake, and alive, and perfectly fine!”

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  Your style of stimulating the Clan of the Long Ears into action is far different from the Sheep’s subtle and soothing ministrations, and so you might imagine the possibility of falling into argument over how to Get the Job Done.  However, you must remember that both the Sheep and Rabbit have such deep understanding of your spirit and nature, and know so confidently how to appeal to your appetites, that half of the Sheep’s attention is always going to be aimed at you, and therefore, a great deal of his “ministrations” are going to manage you even more effectively—if only because you believe they have nothing to do with you.  Technically, this is an Artful Means referred to in the trade as “secondary trance,” and you’re going to get a very happy dose of it today.  If you allow yourself to Go Completely Within, I can promise you’ll have a very interesting time in there, and that you’ll awaken “feeling good, feeling fine, feeling perfectly alive!”  Tomorrow’s Dragon will bring a small dilemma, and some big confusions.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Earth Hare on duty today has an inward-turning spirit and a contemplative nature, but will soften his sometimes dark and recalcitrant mood, and bend his attention towards productivity, under the calming influence of the Sheep Moon.  As the Sheep murmurs a little reverse-lullaby to gently rouse the Rabbit to action, you’ll appreciate both the artfulness of the Sheep, and the compact composure of the Rabbit.  Once the job is done, and the Rabbit’s actually on the job, however, there will be a new problem to attend to:  Over-active Rabbit Syndrome.  Once he’s gotten going, this most curmudgeonly and obstreperous member of the Clan of the Long Ears can turn both willful and mighty, and it may take the combined efforts of you and the Sheep to keep him from turning into a “loose cannon,” rampaging over the landscape, blowing random articles to smithereens.  Take up the challenge, however, and all will be well;  you’ll have a satisfying way to engage your talents, and—yet again—earn the admiration of Those Who Are Observant, and any little task you’d like to set the Rabbit to accomplish, will be done in record time, and to a fine degree of discrimination.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will seem neither gentle, nor compact, and will show little respect for your position or presumptions.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

Though the world is wide and full of wonders, Heaven spreads across it all.

The Sun, Moon, and Stars pace ever westward, and make observance of everything.

To be in a good boat, on a lake, in a thunderstorm, is to be safe, but in danger.

The little view is not false;  standing upright, lying down flat, it makes no difference.

“Artistry is not highest until it disappears.”

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Tuesday, 27th of July


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE HOUSE, next to last in the week-long Northern Palace of the Black Tortoise.  The asterism for which it is named is composed of two stars of Pegasus, The Winged Horse.  They form the right side of the large square that’s usually taken as the horse’s chest.  For the Chinese, this square formed the confines of a ritual enclosure, and the right side of it was the “Western Wall,” which it was sometimes called.  In ancient tradition, an enclosure was made of four “walls” of earth and cut saplings, within which a ritual pyre was constructed for a sacrifice to the gods before the end of Winter.  The square of stars then, does not depict a house, per se.  For modern understanding, it would be perhaps more accurate to this image to use one of its other names:  ”House of Fire,” “The Encampment,” or “The Enclosure.”  But the character used for this Lunar Lodge is the common one for “house” ( 室 shì), and this is the way it’s referred to in modern almanacs and common speech.  Indeed, capped by yesterday’s “roof,” the four walls, holding a fire, fulfill completely the rudiments of what humans need in a “house.”

The association of this Lunar Lodge with the close of Winter (and the promise of the coming Spring), and the image of the ritual offering to the gods (both the construction and the fire), make this a sign of extremely good auspices.  Beginning activities or businesses (particularly, beginning construction), holding weddings and their celebrations, moving house or business, and—as one might expect—performing religious rituals, all derive benefit from the energy and timeliness of the day.  In keeping with its association to ritual actions, THE HOUSE is a time for maintaining the “middle way.”  Thus, both avoiding social interaction at one extreme, and over-indulging at the other, are inappropriate.  Yesterday’s Lunar Lodge having been so favorable to burials and taking risks, today is devoid of such auspices.

The spirit animal for THE HOUSE is the Pig.  This seems quite natural, since the character for “household,” or “family,” ( 家 jiā ) is a picture of a dwelling with a pig inside it.  Then again, ritual celebrations and offerings (at least in the domestic sphere) are virtually required to include pork.  The Pig means prosperity and proper hospitality, and adds, to the uprightness and good demeanor necessary in the “House of Fire” ritual, the warmth of social welcome, and the strengthening of community relations and friendliness.

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The Solar Index today is DANGER, named after the third month of Summer in the agricultural calendar, from early July through early August.  At that point in the Solar Year, the sun is still close to its height in the day’s skies.  Temperatures are even warmer than earlier in the season, and provided there is enough rain or water for irrigation, the crops thrive in it.  However, lack of rain or lack of water in such heat could spell disaster.  The height of heat needs balancing cool.  This is similar to the quality represented by the DANGER day;  the energy is high, and full of potential for accomplishment, but it requires coolness of heart and calmness of action to yield its best results.

DANGER is written with the same character ( 危 wēi ) as the Lunar Lodge, THE ROOFTOP:  a picture of a person standing on the edge of a cliff or precipice.  In the case of the Lunar Lodge, this means “the caution necessary when working on the roof of a house.”  Working on the roof equals danger, as it were.  In more general use, the character can be translated as “danger,” “daring,” “awkward,” “precipitous,” or “tricky.”  This is actually a bright indicator, and is printed in red in most traditional Chinese almanacs, largely because it’s regarded as extremely favorable for weddings.  The excess of Yáng gives vitality and good luck to the couple, and a feeling of happiness to the ceremony and celebrations.  For practical purposes, and more industrial uses of the day, it’s still favorable, but so “close to the edge” that the pair of black dots in the Ming Li Tong Shu is offered as a warning.  It’s safer today to err on the side of under-doing;  just a touch too much, and all may collapse like a house of cards.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  This is a day for your delicacy and tact to come to the fore, and to begin every action with a request for permission to do so, or at least a polite announcement that you’re about to start.  Given this small limitation to the free-range of your ambitions, your intelligent observations will be given an attentive hearing, and your ideas about going forward will have a chance to make an Actual Difference.  Make sure you follow this Tiger’s appetite for slow progress—or at least, slow preparation for progress—and err on the side of doing “a little too little;” adding more will be easy, subtracting what made Too Much will be impossible, and your opportunities will be closed down.  Tomorrow’s Hare will allow for a faster pace, but also require more attention to “polite announcements.”

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  As harmonious as this Tiger’s taste for “slow considerations” may be with the Sheep Moon, his style of pursuing it is far more congruent with your own, and will allow you to feel a brief easing of the frictions that have been making your progress difficult and obstructed.  The Tiger has an equal taste for unfettered freedom, and demands the right to make bold choices;  if you want to get the most out of his temporary indulgence, you’ll have to be willing to notice when conditions favor a slightly different direction, and then, to swerve a bit to take it.  If you can make such small adjustments, you may find that they bring you a new understanding of what you’re ultimately aiming for, as well as add speed and ease to your progress.  Tomorrow’s Hare will slow your speed again somewhat, but guarantee continual progress if you can agree to the slower pace.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The passing of the Full Moon has tempered the Sheep’s influence, and the arrival of this most curmudgeonly of your Clan-Mates should be seen as a good omen:  his harmony with the Way of Fleece and Horns will make it possible for you to recognize the work you’ve accomplished so far this year, and to summarize the experimental evidence you’ve been gathering, empowering your selection of What To Do, and justifying your commitment to Doing It.  For some of your Clan, this will mean a slowly dawning awareness of an Announcement to be made;  for others, the fact that we’ve not yet endured the Monkey Moon will mean that any public committal of your energies will have to be delayed until you’ve passed that test.  But in any case, you should trust your sense of yourself today, and revel in it;  the rest of the Moon is going to feel more and more like it’s Your Territory.  Tomorrow’s Hare will make you feel coy and playful, but you’re very unlikely to convince anyone else that that’s so.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  For most, today will feel a bit as if one more tumbler of the lock has dropped into place, bringing us one step closer to the Tiger’s secret lair being thrown open, and his hidden plans being revealed.  For you, this might be true, but it’s also fairly irrelevant;  your trust in the Way of Stripes and Claws is part of your birthright, and what he choses to hide or reveal can’t damage that.  Consequently, while others are going to feel like they’re waking up to something today, you’re going to feel sleepy;  while they’re busily readjusting their view towards the year at large, and themselves in it, you’re going to be readjusting the position of the pillow under your head, and the shawl thrown over your legs on the sofa.  Naps won’t take all of the day, of course, but they’ll summarize the spirit of all the things you can do, that will feel like the right things to do.  Tomorrow’s Hare will give you the sweet sensation of staying busy, while not trying to go anywhere, or fundamentally change anything.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The Double Tigers will be conspiring with the Sheep to corral you into a very narrow space today, as if demanding that you take up “sober and slow considerations.”  There’s no point in putting up much of an argument;  they’ll have you well-surrounded, and out-numbered, anyway.  Take this time—even if it does feel like Solitary Confinement—not as an imprisonment, per se, but as an opportunity to enter a sense of Spiritual Retreat, and to take an undistracted and brutally honest look deep into your own nature, your own aspirations, and the wisdom—or lack thereof—in the choices that have defined your progress so far.  When you gain your release, much the same difficulties will be facing you, but the way you face them might be completely transformed.  Tomorrow’s Hare will present you with a bit of Harassment from the Guards, perhaps, but even in a zendo, they hit you with a stick;  it helps you to concentrate, they say.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The stiff maturity and worldly wisdom of the Double Tigers will leave you little room for experiment or even reconnoitering, today, and the additional mastery of Technical Analysis which the Sheep will add, means that you’ll have no leeway to set spin to your story, or shine a favorable light on your history, or your report of it.  Picture yourself on the Witness Stand today, and promise yourself that you’ll just “come clean.”  Honesty may not always be the Best Policy—not from your point of view, anyway—but it does have the diamond-hard virtue of being the very easiest version of events to stick to, and—in virtually all cases—to gain corroboration for.  Suffer your examination with a patient spirit, and you’ll gain your freedom of movement quickly enough, and without much of a fine being imposed.  And if you treat tomorrow’s Hare with the deference and dedication you find so easy to summon when a Bunny comes bouncing by, most likely your fine will be rescinded, in light of your “community service.”

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The Double Tigers are going to be flanking you on both sides today, and with the Sheep guarding your rear, you’re going to feel something like a cannon-ball, ready to fly forward out of the cannon’s mouth.  Any sense of frayed nerves or frazzled understanding that have built up over the last few days will be simply be blown away, once you catch the moment like a spark set to powder, and simply Go.  Once you’ve done that, I’m afraid my metaphor falls apart, for instead of finding yourself hurtling forward alone, you’ll find your Trio of Friends hurtling along with you, as concise as a team of jet planes flying in tight formation.  Finding that the “formation” is what counts for you, not the direction it’s going, might also be “just a metaphor,” but I’m willing to bet it will be nonetheless true.  Tomorrow’s Hare will bring you back to a safe landing, and you’ll have to accept the ministrations—and in some sense, the instructions—of the Ground Crew.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The passing of the Full Moon has no doubt finally clicked some cog in your machinery into its correct position, and released an Attachment To Doubt, that has kept you from your proper confidence as to the Way of Stripes and Claws, and your competence to harmonize with it.  In that light, the Double Tigers will give you a sense of camaraderie and fellowship, certifying your comprehension of your capacities, and all but pinning the Honorary Tiger Ribbon onto your lapel.  Mind you, the Tiger on duty today is not the effusive type, and the ceremonials may include nothing more than a lingering arch of an eye-brow, or the perfunctory lifting of the corners of the mouth to signal approval;  still, this can feel like a Very Good Day, if you take it as your job to stand still, and be the subject of scrutiny and acceptance.  Tomorrow’s Hare will provide a meager but comfortably arranged reception, with a round of brief toasts, and a bit of chat about Getting Back to Work.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The Double Tigers, following the dictates of the Ever-aesthetic Sheep, are going to artfully arrange themselves into a symmetrical balance of Threat and Distance, insuring that you can neither advance, nor retreat, and demanding that you stand your own position—like a boxed-in Queen on a chessboard—and just Stay There.  How you fill the blank on the board with experience and/or deliberation, will be entirely up to you, but the Sheep’s Fleecy support—signaled by the passing of the Full Moon—may have given you a clue as to a New Option you have recently earned:  Being As You Are.  It’s the inactive version of one’s Nature that’s truly hard to trust in, and the function of the entire Tiger Year—in your case, anyway—is to show you that version, if only by showing every aspect of the active one to be “insufficient.”  Un-plug your battery pack today, and muse on this opportunity.  Tomorrow’s Hare will plug you back in, and get your motor whirring, as if to say: “Hmmmmmm…….”

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The Double Tigers will be taking a pleasantly symmetrical position in relation to the artful fussiness of the Sheep Moon.  Perhaps because of this—or because of the passing of the Full Moon—you attention will be focused clearly, if not sharply, on Where You’re Standing, without much concern for the direction in which to step when leaving there, or the destination to which you might aim yourself when you do.  When things fall into the perfect balance between Opportunity and Risk, or between Threat and Indifference, this sort of casual stance arises, and your clarity achieves that most rare of its forms:  Undifferentiated Awareness.  If this sounds hopelessly zen, or like mysterious mumbo-jumbo, I’d say that’s ample demonstration of just how rare this occasion is in your experience.  But the less you do today, the deeper the demonstration is going to get, and the more real its results are going to be.  Tomorrow’s Hare will test your balance and aplomb, and “show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  With Double Tigers empowering your confidence and composure, and the Ever-willing Sheep agreeing to your requests—whether subtle or blunt—it would be very perverse of you to imagine that this was going to be anything but a Very Good Day.  Since the Full Moon has just passed, and we’re deep enough into the Tiger Year for your sense of “track record” to have real meaning, the true value of the day will lie in its offering of a Free Kick for you to power down the field—or up into the stands, for that matter—without restriction or correction.  In a way, this is just an invitation to dip down into yourself, and see what you summon up, when there are no hints guiding your choice, no suggestions substituting for your own predilections, and no threat of repercussions cushioning you from demonstrating your own Nature.  If, by doing so, you discover today that it’s not direction, but directing that counts, then I’m going to insist that you end the day by entering into your diary the abbreviation: V.G.D.  [see above]  Tomorrow’s Hare will lower your appetite for Dashing Off, and raise your interest in Sinking In.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Earth Tiger on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, but he may relax his cautious stance somewhat due to his confidence being supported by the Tiger Year, and his sober and slow considerations being favored by the Sheep Moon.  The Double Tigers are going to be taking up their positions as if your own Personal Body Guards, and—if the Sheep Moon has any meaning for you at all—they’re going to be properly arrayed in very tasteful suits, equipped with artfully concealed weaponry, and able to stand perfectly still, move large objects with perfect ease, or play a very respectable game of cribbage or frisbee golf, all with equal aplomb and agreeability.  In other words, this is a day when all your appetites and interests have an equally happy chance of meeting with full satisfaction, and when the only determining factor in what comes up, how it develops, or which direction it goes, will be the influence supplied by your choosing and fancy.  Be aware, however, that these Big Guys in Stripes are not appearing so agreeable to everyone else;  it would be a great mark of your civilization and generosity for you to make sure that Composure Is Maintained and nobody gets seriously Roughed Up.  Tomorrow’s Hare will supply all the composure necessary, though it will be partially your task to see that no weaponry is brought forth.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

Having made a false step, the next few hold the fork between danger and easy passage.

To go forward quickly, lightly, without presumption of blame, may be to court your Luck, or to seal your Fate.

To pause in your tracks, and breathe with the silence of a sparrow, may be to wait for the open door, or for the falling axe.

How then to make choice?  After the creek-bed comes the slope upwards;  after the brightest, brightness dims.

“Not a wedding, without guests;  not guests, without good-wishes.”

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Monday, 26th of July


Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE ROOFTOP, fifth day of the week-long Northern Palace of the Black Tortoise.  The name comes from an asterism consisting of three stars:  one is the second brightest of Aquarius, The Water-bearer, and the other two are from the forelegs of Pegasus, The Winged Horse.  They form a flattened triangle, like the shape of a gable-roof.  This asterism has an ancient tradition linking it to funeral rites and burials.  As yesterday’s Lunar Lodge was known as “Tomb of the Sun,” THE ROOFTOP represents the time for human burials and memorial for the deceased.  A passage in the ancient Book of Rites ( 禮 記 Lǐ Jì ) describes a funerary ritual in which the folded clothes of a deceased person were carried in a bundle up to the roof of the house, on the eastern side, and then across the apex of the roof, to be lowered down again on the western side.  This ritual was done in mimicry of the passage of the Sun, and in demonstration of the arc of human life.  It ritually ensured that the spirit of the deceased would pass on to its “tomb life” in the Northern Realm of the “Tomb of the Sun.”

This Lunar Lodge is fundamentally inauspicious for activities not harmonious to its funereal tone.  Opening a business (or making a start of any kind) is unsupported, and doomed to bad results, if not failure.  Legal proceedings, taking steps towards promotion, or expansion of business, are similarly inauspicious.  However, this image of the ritual “going over the roof,” seems to give permission for house repairs (particularly up on the roof), and for outdoor work of any kind.  Commerce and routine business affairs are favorable, but only in so far as they are truly “routine.”  The character with which THE ROOFTOP is written ( 危 Weí ) is a picture of a person on a high place, taking pains not to fall.  It is the same character as the Solar Index of DANGER, that being the character’s most common meaning.  Consequently, this Lunar Lodge makes the dangers of working high-up—or of any other kind, actually—safer.  Dangerous activities are therefore to be undertaken today, so as not to have to accomplish them under riskier, “unprotected” conditions.

The spirit animal for THE ROOFTOP is the Swallow, which can easily be imagined soaring and wheeling above the roof, and nesting under its eaves.  The Swallow is also an icon with a funereal meaning in Chinese culture.  In virtually all cultures across its extremely wide global range, swallows are the symbol of return according to the seasons, or return from long travels.  They symbolize happy and active community life, as well as diligence in parenting.  And of course, the elegance of their tapering bodies and long forked tails, along with the swooping and darting characteristic of their flight, make them instantly recognizable and enduringly memorable.  As they also return to northern climes with the warmer weather of Spring, one would have to have a hard heart and an anti-romantic spirit not to long for their return.

In Chinese culture, the Swallow holds a special iconographic place in the long-standing tradition of “burial clothes.”  These are a specially selected and prepared set of garments in which one is to be buried, which may be completed even decades before death is expected.  Having them completed is not regarded as unlucky, or morbid;  in fact, having them on the ready is regarded as increasing the longevity of their owner.  Swallows are a traditional part of the embroidery embellishing and beautifying these garments.  Like the passing of bundled clothes over the roof, they symbolize safe passage out of life, completing the arc of life, and achieving rest in death.  Whether it’s this practice which has resulted in the attribution to THE ROOFTOP, or the other way around, is unclear.  What is clear is that the Swallow depicts not grieving and sorrows, but well-wishes for the departing spirit completing its journey to the North, and provides an amulet of protection to those family members performing the funeral rites.

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The Solar Index today is DESTROY, named for the second month of Summer, from early June through early July.  This is the agricultural month which contains the Summer Solstice.  In farming life, the work in the fields can turn to the destruction of weeds and vermin, since the crops have attained nearly their full height, and they can stand disturbance without being damaged.  Weeds have accomplished enough growth to be pulled up by the roots.  As they have not yet set seeds, they can simply be left on the soil to mulch, returning nutrients to the plants, and helping to keep moisture in the soil.

The character for DESTROY ( 破  ) can also be translated “break,” “solve,” or “spoil.”  This is the month when the Yáng reaches its peak, and its rise is “broken.” For the next 6 months, Yáng will be declining, and pouring nourishment into Yīn.  This alchemy is necessary for the crops to gather their  into useable fruits and grains, and for the year to renew itself in the dark depth of Winter.  Like this month, DESTROY days are appropriate for clearing away inessentials, beginning to give up the rule of Yáng, and yielding to the nourishments of Yīn.  Start turning towards ends and accomplishments;  the time for investigation, striving, and “the big push” is not over, but it’s beginning to fade.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  As the Ox will be stressed by the opposition of the Sheep, you won’t feel much benefit from his broad-shouldered support today;  instead, you’ll have to take up his work-ethic, and apply yourself with more continuity and evenness than is strictly good for one with such a small battery-pack as yourself.  Make sure you eat as continuously as possible through the day;  you will most likely not be getting any of those little pauses from which you get so much recuperative value.  That being said, as long as you promise yourself an early bedtime, you may feel the day has been tiring, but on the whole, well worth the effort.  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will invite you to cash in some of the Good Ideas you’ve been holding on ice, and grant you an audience in which you can present your honest opinion.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  In spite of the bad mood the arrival of your Clan-Mate is going to put the Sheep Moon in, you may have a more productive time of it today than most would expect of you.  The trick will be to borrow some of that “finesse” and pass-up any opportunity to Lock Horns over issues that will be settled eventually anyway, as long as you give them time to work themselves out.  If this seems to amount to a “what will be, will be” attitude, then congratulate yourself of getting half of it correctly;  the other half is more like “don’t force immediate solutions on long-term problems.”  Remember that Outlasting Others is your strong suit, and smile.  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will break open some new spaces for you to head for, and challenge you to do a quick re-think of choices you’re currently pursuing.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  The potential for lock-up usually produced when the Sheep and Ox have to share the same pen, will look to you more like a frozen stand-off, than anything resembling a pitched battle.  There’s to be some huffing and puffing, and a great deal of shifting of positions, but the day’s going to end with the game board pretty much in the same position as it started.  For someone with such long and sensitive whiskers as you, this will seem quite obviously to be a good opportunity to soften your stance, and to refresh your supple muscularity by toying with details, staring pleasantly off into space, and fundamentally detaching your attention from Commonplace Importances.  I’m thinking, also, that a nap would not have to be lengthy, to be truly satisfying.  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will sweep your doubts aside, and give you access to that deep strength you can make use of only once your mind has been made up.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  In a situation such as today, when Ox and Sheep are so well-balanced in their Mutual Opposition, tensions will be quite high, but activity will not be productive;  by the end of the day—whatever shifting and scuttling has been going on—everything is going to be basically in the same relative position as when things started.  The only difference will be the amount of sheer energy that has been used up for no productive purpose.  You’re going to feel the stress of this more than most, and rooting for the side you favor (or hoping for disaster to befall the side you don’t) won’t change any outcomes, but will drain you of optimism and openness to the benefits the Sheep Moon still holds in store for you.  Try to distract yourself from the drama by applying yourself with a diligent attitude to the full array of tasks in front of you.  Keeping a simple attitude by “simply working,” is the best way to avoid letting the turmoil affect you;  and besides, by the end of the day, think of all the things you’ll have checked off your worry-list!  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will conversely give you excuse to slack-off a bit, and to find ways to comfort your spirit, and relax your attitude.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  The confrontation this member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns can offer the Sheep Moon is both powerful and artful, making it such an Equal Opponent that the entire match could go scoreless.  However, due to your particular viewpoint towards the Two Combatants, even small shifts in attitude and stance will reveal highly valuable information, particular concerning the gateways of possibility the Sheep will be recognizing as Now Closed, and therefore implying which direction things may turn for the rest of the Moon.  For such a Master of Directionism as yourself, such observations are golden, and can lead to a tripling of your effectiveness, if you can find the right situation to put them in play.  There are two or three such situations coming up, even in just the next two weeks, so calm yourself, take up a seat, and keep your attention at a higher level than your activity.  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will throw your attentions back on yourself, and will make it highly valuable to drop your delusions, and take up your trust in Playing Through.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  The stalemate this member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns will be producing against the purposes of the Sheep Moon, will keep things still enough for you to sniff out and take advantage of a number of small opportunities through the day.  If they satisfy your immediate appetites, and can be linked directly to your physical needs, then you should waste no time in scooping them up.  If, however, the Big Energies being exerted today—without really accomplishing much change of position or momentum—make you think that there’s a Power Position for you to achieve and take advantage of, you’re playing a much higher-stakes game, with a much less advantageous risk-to-reward ratio.  As the Sheep Moon still holds some unharvested potential for you, it seems to me that you should emulate the Ox’s Long-Term View, and restrict your play to your own powers and potentials.  This is even more true in consideration of the Double Tigers arriving tomorrow, to lock-down your options and call you to account for your ambition.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  This Ox has the responsiveness and strategic flexibility to provide a Very Worthy Opponent to the Sheep Moon, and their confrontation will be a highly energetic, but fundamentally a stand-off, and will produce very little change in placement, advantage, or momentum.  For you, the field of energy they’ll be throwing off will ripple through you like sound waves through water, stimulating your willingness to exert yourself, but giving you no particular place or direction in which that will can be released.  If this produces anger or frustration, you may find yourself having to work it off through some kind of exercise or expression;  but it’s very important that you also aim to leave things basically unchanged, after the day’s turmoil.  Perhaps it will soothe your irritation to realize that this is all in preparation for the arrival of the Double Tigers tomorrow, commanding the field, and giving you Clear Direction for the excitement that’s been worked up.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  This member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns has a surprising amount of flexibility—particularly where strategic shifts are concerned—and almost endless reservoirs of willingness to reframe his response to new information as it arises.  Consequently—in spite of your congruence with the Sheep Moon—it’s you who is very likely to feel flummoxed and out-flanked today, and your exertions—as mightily as you might summon them—are liable to drain your “reservoirs of willingness,” without putting any points on the board for all your effort.  Consequently, instead of aiming for progress and movement, you should consider the day to be a kind of Stress Test, showing you quite clearly—after a small amount of analysis, at least—the parts of your Game Plan that are not producing results, and giving you a moment—however “stressful”—to dump them, and bring others into play.  This will all be extremely well-timed, as tomorrow’s Double Tigers will be giving you your clearest notion yet of the stakes you’re playing for, and of the style you’ll have to feature, in order to bring things to a satisfying close by the end of the year.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  We’re fortunate—in a way—that the Sheep Moon includes the entry of this particular member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns, since he’s got the resolution, resourcefulness, and resilience to battle the Sheep to a stand-still.  While the Two Combatants heave and groan mightily—to no effective change of position or advantage—they’ll give everyone who doesn’t have a bet down on the table, a chance to stretch their legs and take a bit of air.  The value for you of this kind of Undeclared Intermission in the progress of the Tiger Year, is that it can provide you with the moment to review what issues you may similarly be struggling mightily to resolve, in ways that are either demonstrably ineffective, or that require so much energy to keep up, that they can’t be sustained (…and wouldn’t be worth the outlay, even if they could.)  If this feels like someone has hit the “pause” button on the remote which controls the movement of life around you, then you’ll know that you’re in exactly the right frame of mind to take full advantage of it.  Don’t feel you have to come to any decisions or resolutions;  for today, just dunking yourself in the feeling of “Hmmmm…..” is more than enough.  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will arrive to catalyze your Nature into its true strength, and to convince you of the value of Sinking Down and Playing Through.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  The deep resources of responsiveness and resilience this member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns possesses, make him a Perfect Pairing for the Sheep Moon—”perfect,” at least, for those who want to see more of an extended bout, and less of a one-sided rout.  Whereas yesterday’s Rat gave you the opportunity to note what you shouldn’t try doing, today’s standstill will allow you to mingle among the crowds, running small tests of what you think might still be on your list of What Might Work.  As “working hard to stand still” will seem to be the order of the day, you’ll be wise to keep the tests small, and not to expect big results to come from them.  In fact, the smaller the experiments, the bigger the results you can hope to render as the Sheep Moon wanes, and through the rest of the year.  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will bring a state of stillness, different because it’s easy-going, but also because it will invite you to recognize your real advantages.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  The opposition this member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns can present to the drive and drift of the Sheep Moon, is so well-matched that the day is going to seem filled with a great deal of scuffling and scraping, with almost no net result to show for all the effort, either in position or potential of the Worthy Opponents.  This is liable to be quite exhausting an affair for you as well, partly because you’ll not be able to rely on the Sheep to lighten your load of duties, partly because the Ox’s spirit of Work Without Let-up will be pervading the day, and partly because the field of energy being thrown off by the Two Combatants will affect you so deeply.  You might very well feel like jumping around and making a lot of noise, but without a clear sense of what you could accomplish by doing so.  I can’t imagine there’s a way for you to settle your nerves very effectively, but it would be helpful for you to minimize your expressions of discomfort or dismay in any way you can.  Tomorrow’s Double Tigers will arrive to call the “draw,” and invigorate your understanding of what all that excess energy you’ve worked up is actually good for.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Fire Ox on duty today has both liveliness and stability, and easily recognizes how to take advantage of lucky turns when they appear, and to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  In any confrontation between Sheep and Ox, your “party loyalties” are clearly with the Sheep.  Consequently, you may take it rather hard that this particular member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns will be arriving with such ample resources of responsiveness and resilience, as to supply to the Sheep Moon a Very Worthy Opponent, and in fact, to battle him to a Draw.  As the energies these Two Combatants are willing to throw into the contest are considerable, there’s going to be quite a lot of Work going on for very little Result;  by the end of the match, they’re both likely to be scoreless, and pretty much in the same position as when they started, just a lot more tuckered out, and perhaps more than a little bit frustrated.  Just standing back and observing such an Energetic Standstill is liable to leave you vicariously exhausted, and that’s not even counting any energies you may expend trying to advise the Sheep towards advantage, and potential—if unfulfilled—for victory.  I can only advise you to do what you can to limit the drain on your own resources, and perhaps to see if you can be instrumental at the close of the day to get the Adversaries—sweaty and panting—to shake hands in mutual congratulation and appreciation, now that Physical Exhaustion is what they truly have in common.  This would be particularly timely, as tomorrow’s Double Tigers will be sweeping in to demonstrate what all that Fruitless Exertion could more profitably be turned towards.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

The Classic says that even with one eye blinded, you can see;  even with one leg broken, you can get along.

But if you step on the Tiger’s Tail, you will be bitten.  Who needs to be told this is a sign of disaster?

Watching the skies for omens, counting knuckles and finger-tips to calculate Fate,

It’s easy to skip over the obvious:  “Military men serve ten thousand great lords,” but neglect to watch where they’re going.

“Though the potato’s in the cupboard, it still wishes to sprout.”

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Tong Shu Time Workshop • July 25th • Sunday • 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

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Sunday, 25th of July

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE VOID, the fourth and central day of the Northern Palace of the Black Tortoise.  The asterism which gives its name to this Lunar Lodge is composed of only two stars, the second brightest of Aquarius, The Water-bearer, and the brightest of the small, dim, and not well-known Equuleus, The Little Horse.  As THE VOID falls in the center of the Northern Palace, it is associated with due north, and with the Winter Solstice.  In the oldest traditions, THE VOID was associated with death and burial, and was regarded as the “Tomb of the Sun,” because it marked the point in the year when the Sun was weakest, or “died” and achieved its rebirth.

The character with which it is written ( 虚  ) depicts a hill or promontory with tigers roaming on it.  This is an ancient image of a place with no people, and therefore “empty,” “void,” “deserted.”  Tigers also have a long iconographic tradition linking them with death and burial, and may be here the guardians of the Tomb of the Sun.  All these associations make it unsurprising that this is an inauspicious sign, suitable only for the most austere and solemn activities.  Neither frivolities such as gambling and flirtation, nor important legal or social pursuits, are supported by THE VOID.  Religious rituals (but not public ceremonies), solitude, contemplation, and stillness, all make proper use of the temperment of this Lunar Lodge.  ”Cautious Romance” is acceptable, because after the moment of the “Death of the Sun,” the Yáng will be rising.  It’s not a day to meet with or pursue romantic engagement, but the first questions can be well inaugurated:  ”Do you know, ….is he ….attached?”

The spirit animal for THE VOID is the Rat, naturally enough, since the Rat Moon always contains the Winter Solstice, and thus he points to the principal of resurgence implied in this Lunar Lodge.  The Rat is a Yáng animal, and though small and weak of body, he has cunning and intelligence, wide ranging interests, and an inveterate ability to gnaw through obstacles.  (“Rodent” comes for the Greek for “growing teeth.”)  The Rat is diligent, social, curious, and opportunistic.  When he’s not sleeping deeply, he will be bustling about locating resources, memorizing terrain and pathways, and evading the many predators who would pounce on such a nourishing little morsel.  Though the Winter Solstice is a time when humans must desert the world, the mind is still active, and much can be contemplated, re-considered, planned for.  Solitude and rest on such a day serve to nourish intelligence, refresh spirit, and reconnect understanding to nature.  From inactivity in this time, much will come.

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The Solar Index today is MAINTAIN, named for the first month of Summer in the solar calendar, from early May through early June.  This is the time in the agricultural year when work falls into a regulated rhythm, focusing on whatever minor matters may require attention to keep human engagement in step with the state of the crops and the conditions of the natural world.  The character for this Solar Index, ( 执 zhí ) can also be translated “hold,” “grasp,” ”guard,” or “manage.”  So the task at hand, at this point in the cycle, is to “grasp” what has been arrived at, and “manage” its natural progress forward through time, potentially to the benefits of a bountiful harvest.  Today it is auspicious to keep a watchful eye, a meandering path, and a ready hand.  Let the actions of the moment spring up in direct response to the conditions as they arise.  Proper solutions will be suggested by the problems themselves, and cannot come from some over-arching ideology, or from a pre-determined plan of action.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  The festive respite you had yesterday will prove to have been well-timed if you pick up your interests and duties today with increased verve and intensity.  Your affairs are not destined to go perfectly smoothly, as the Sheep’s penchant for querying you as to every minor point in your plans will test your willingness to be forthcoming with explanations, and make it difficult to maintain focus.  More important to maintain than focus, however, is your temper;  turning irascible will cause more problems to turn up, and make it that much more difficult to chew through the ones you’re already dealing with.  Slow and steady nibbling will see you through the day, and give the Sheep an opening to help improve your results.  Tomorrow’s Ox will give you more work than you’re used to shouldering, and little time for recuperation from it.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  You can rely on this Friendly Rat to help you to make quick assessment of your current conditions—and your state of preparation to deal with them—but you shouldn’t be surprised if that means you won’t be getting back to your top speed today.  In truth, the best use of the day for you is to let your engines idle, while you review the path behind you—particularly over the last two weeks—and deal with outstanding matters you may have skipped over, or accomplished incompletely.  Once having settled your “current accounts” you’ll feel the lift of energy that comes from this Rat’s insistence that you lighten your load.  Tomorrow’s Ox will give you a refreshed attitude, though it will aim you again towards the same old problems.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  This member of the Clan of the Rounded Ears is strong-willed enough to stand up to your overwhelming power, and clever enough to have gathered something useful for you to hear before he does.  Keep your own ears open today, whether wandering in public amidst crowds, or chatting with friends and business associates;  even what sounds like rank gossip could contain a gem or two, which a very small amount of consideration will transform into advice you’ll find tailor-made for your current set of problems.  Don’t be shy about asking for small favors, either:  just because this Rat is so “feisty,” doesn’t mean he’s not as soft and sentimental about his friendships as all the others.  Tomorrow’s Ox will bring a bit of turbulence to most affairs, and for you, a good reason to slow down and re-group.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  Your loyalties are going to be tested against your belief in appearances today, and your best course through the day will be to err on the side of Stiff Formality rather than risk following Casual Presumption, and having everyone end up angry, confused, or disappointed with you.  This doesn’t mean you have to be unfriendly, or turn down invitations that seem like they might be fun;  but if you’re even slightly in doubt about the meaning of the situation in which you find yourself, or the intentions of the people to whom you’re speaking, taking a perfectly bland and respectful stance, and smiling politely, will bring forward more information, and prevent you from blundering into trouble.  Most importantly, do not insert yourself into what seems like an argument, or even what seems like it might become an argument;  there’s a bit of tension in the air around you, and you need to let it pass on its own accord.  Tomorrow’s Ox will bring some disruptions to your state of harmony, and demand from you more effort than you’re comfortable supplying.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  This member of the Clan of the Round Ears is always the first to jump onto your band-wagon, and always the first to take up your cause when called upon.  Though you may have no particular iron in the fire to point to, at this point in the Moon, he will nevertheless be doing you the great favor of distracting the Sheep’s attention, leaving you free to consider the terrain in which you currently find yourself, with casual detachment, and without the need to answer a lot of immaterial questions.  Do keep your eyes and ears open, however, to those around you;  the haggling back and forth between Rat and Sheep is going to shake out some very interesting details which have heretofore been hidden or difficult to make out.  Tomorrow’s Ox will have a somewhat similar effect, though the chief information to be demonstrated is concerning which direction the Sheep is going to turn for the waning of the Moon, which starts tomorrow night.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  This member of the Clan of the Round Ears has such a nonchalant realism in regard to the way the world works, that he’ll have no difficulty recognizing your penchants for pragmatism and efficiency, and will give you safe-harbor in which to recover from any scrapes you may have gotten yourself into during the Pig’s Party yesterday.  You’ll find you can kick your shoes off, and loosen your belt, if necessary for greater comfort or ability to move, and you’ll receive no criticism for your more relaxed responses to the demands of those around you.  Do be careful to examine opportunities that come to light today quite closely, however, before snapping them up;  the Rat knows quite well what you’re capable of, and you may find yourself reaching out, only to get your hand bitten.  Tomorrow’s Ox, in any case, will bring you a much better day in which to trust your instincts, and make use of your strengths and appetites.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  Between the Rat and Sheep, there’s always a cordial—though sometimes rather noisy—willingness to disagree, and when the Rat is as sure of his opinions as this one, the disagreement can get noisy, indeed.  Still, the Sheep is perfectly knowledgeable about the Rules of Debate, and more than competent to hold up his side, so—your loyalties and preferences notwithstanding—there’s no need for you to imagine the disturbance has to affect your progress or well-being.  However, that does still leave us with the problem of The Noise, and for that concern, I’d like to suggest that your perpetual appetite for a Friendly Group to have around you is just the ticket;  whether you’re only able to find some group activity that makes the racket emanating from the Debate seem much more peripheral, or you’re able to drop into deep conversation with someone whose opinion and influence you trust, don’t leave yourself “out there alone” today.  Tomorrow’s Ox will raise your anger somewhat, and test your willingness not to act on it.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  Now that the Pig’s Party has passed, and you’ve refreshed your sense of Proper Service, as well as forwarded your studies in the Stripe and Claw Academy, you will probably feel a strong appetite to get back to your own purposes, and make strong and brilliant progress under the Full Moon.  Fortunately, that’s about to happen;  unfortunately, it’s not due until a bit after the Full Moon.  Today’s Rat is perfectly willing to sign on to the direction you wish your progress to take, but not without a lengthy—albeit friendly—negotiation as to how his interests are to fit in, and as to which strategies and tactics you propose to make use of.  All this delay, and bandying back and forth about philosophy, logistics, and theoretics, will in fact produce improved results, but you’ll have to summon you patience, and settle for delay, in order to get to them.  Tomorrow’s Ox will bring not just delay, but breakdown, and its only benefit will be that what breaks down will have needed to be fixed, anyway.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  This member of the Clan of the Round Ears has the exact balance of grit and graciousness to make you feel both fully recognized, and fully appreciated.  Consequently, whether you were able to maintain Proper Decorum yesterday during the Pig’s Party, or you were chastised for swinging from the chandelier and falling into the punch-bowl, you’ll get a chance to rest and re-organize, under the Rat’s friendly protection.  No doubt his influence will bring you some interesting little puzzles for you to engage yourself with, and as long as you don’t wander off into matters that fall under someone else’s jurisdiction, things will go smoothly.  Loosen your tie, take off your jacket, roll up your sleeves.  But be ready to jump up and do favors when called upon;  your friends will love all the more for your readiness, today.  Tomorrow’s Ox will bring disturbances across the board, and may make you question your presumptions to the root.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  This member of the Clan of the Round Ears has a clear enough conception of your strengths and attitudes to want to keep you in his conversational circle, but most frequently his ideas don’t actually respond to your concerns or ambitions.  This will be doubly true today, as he’ll be deep in conference with the Sheep Moon, trying to haggle out the differences between basically agreeing on aims, and fundamentally disagreeing on strategy and tactics.  To you, this “conference” will seem more like a Battle Royale, and may cause you to simply wish to withdraw from society for the day.  Withdrawing, I think, would be wise, but only to a judicious degree;  if you stay within observing distance, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your own strategies and tactics, by noting how the ones suggested and demonstrated by the Rat, don’t really fit you.  Tomorrow’s Ox will be an excellent opportunity to test your discoveries, but you’ll have to keep a low expectation of how much progress they’ll get you.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  This will be a very mixed-up day for you, even though both the Sheep and the Rat hold your attributes in high regard, and have a deep—though sometimes flickering—affection for your strengths of character.  The problem is that they are going to be in a rather heated argument about what they can afford to disagree about, and which direction their agreement would actually take them, if they could arrive at it.  The Rat is going to be directing you towards things that are too complicated—and contingent on variables—for you to think you properly understand;  and the Sheep is going to be insisting that you find the simplest thing you can get your hands on, and stick to it for the whole day.  Neither of them will really be relating to your spirit, and neither of them is going to win the argument in time for you to do anything but stress-out.  Take it all with as little investment of your own energies as you can;  Tomorrow’s Ox is going to require a lot of work from you, that’s not destined to produce much results.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Fire Rat on duty today has a feisty spirit, but understands the power of flowing-along in response to actual conditions, which will earn respectful encouragement from the Tiger, but closer scrutiny from the Sheep Moon.  Most of the members of the Clan of the Round Ears finish up an event like what was going on yesterday over at the Pig’s Palace, and want the festivity to just keep rolling on and on, hosting you in the relative calm of their little Rodent’s Nest, laughing over newly won memories, and munching on left-overs until well into the evening.  This being the Sheep Moon, however, the Rat is going to be otherwise engaged:  arguing with the Landlord over repairs needing to be done, and more importantly—to both of them, anyway—why they need to be done.  You’ll most likely see the Sheep’s side of the argument as more the convincing, but even more likely, you’ll think it’s a problem into which you don’t need to insert yourself.  Do the munching and chuckling by yourself them, and take it as a day to re-charge your batteries.  Tomorrow’s Ox will bring disturbances that are much more difficult to ignore, and force you into more labor than you’re usually ready for.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

Anyone knows that when setting up your camp, the rule is: “Fire above, Water below.”

But once well settled in, doesn’t one gather water in a pot, and set it above the fire, to cook your meal?

I’ve heard of those who have found their lonely retreats in the secret places of the mountain;

It’s said that their work is already done, even before they begin their wandering amongst the pines.

“Solitude is good for thinking;  even better for giving up thinking.”

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Click on Dragon for Ming Li Tong Shu Online

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Tong Shu Time Workshop • July 25th • Sunday • 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.

Saturday, 24th of July

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE MAIDEN, third day of the Northern Palace of the Black Tortoise.  This Lunar Lodge is named for an asterism composed of four relatively weak stars of Aquarius, the Water-bearer, and was originally connected to women’s duties indoors, once winter had set in.  The character with which it is written ( 女 ) means ”girl(s),” or “virgin(s),” or “woman (women),” depending on the context.  In this context, since it applies to the work of spinning, dying, and weaving, the Lunar Lodge is sometimes rendered as “The Weaving Maiden.”

This produces a mild confusion, however, as “The Weaving Maiden” ( 織 女 Zhī Nǚ is also the name of a separate asterism, not on the zodiac’s ecliptic, but well north of it, and on the eastern edge of the Milky Way.  It includes Vega, second brightest star in the northern sky, which is the embodiment of the daughter of the King of the Sun in the tragical story of “The Ox-herder and the Weaving Maiden.”  Over the many centuries of star-lore in China, the similarity of name and meaning of the two asterisms have caused both to be associated with the famous romance of the “star-crossed lovers.”

And in any case, the indications of this Lunar Lodge are as dark and sad as yesterday’s, striking a similar note of solitude and resignation to duty.  One difference is that THE MAIDEN is regarded as favorable to religious ritual (though not public ceremonies).  It is also a day when generosity is both appropriate and well-placed;  gift-giving and hospitality can be made with an easy grace, and will be received with respect and gratitude.  Among activities forbidden under this sign, sewing is noteworthy.  One might imagine that as part of the tradition of “women’s work” it might be favorable;  but since it involves cutting of the woven material, it is in a sense the opposite of producing the cloth, and therefore inauspicious.

The spirit animal for THE MAIDEN is the Bat.  Both “bat” and “blessing” are pronounced the same ( ), so the Bat ( 蝠 ) is a rebus for ( 福 ) “blessing,” “happiness.”  (The two characters share the same phonetic—that is, the right half of each character—which when written by itself means “a roll of cloth.”)  Bats are, therefore, ubiquitous in Chinese iconography, indicating the arrival of (or wish for) happiness and blessings.  The Bat, as an attribution to this Lunar Lodge, suggests a lightening of the sad story of the separated lovers.  They are, after all, re-united once a year on Double-Seven Day (the 7th Day of the 7th Moon), when all the magpies in the world are supposed to fly up to the heavens, and form a bridge for them.  The two cross over the Celestial River (as the Milky Way is called) and are allowed the “blessing” of one day of “happiness.”

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The Solar Index today is SETTLE, and represents the third month of spring in the agricultural calendar, from early April through early May.  This is the time when the previous two months of heavy labor show appreciable results.  The character for SETTLE ( 定 dìng ) is a picture showing “moving things until they’re in the right place in the house,” a jostling of things until they’re brought into the correct arrangement.  It could also be translated “fix,” “stop,” “determine,” or “arrange.”  It indicates a time when work can be eased off enough to reconsider the options for work going forward, and adjustments can be made aiming to capture the best benefit.

This is a time to re-tune the intentions laid down during the time of DESIGN, and to make sure they stay responsive to the turnings of reality and chance.  As such, this Solar Index is a very bright indicator for the day.  As long as one can shake off any influence of nostalgic pride in “the way it was planned,” there’s still time to meet things as-they-are with creativity and engagement, and to yield great result.  But the brightness of the day comes partly from the fact that a great deal of the work has already been done.  Don’t drop back and re-design the whole thing when simple jostling into position is what’s called for.

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  Don’t decline the Pig’s cheerful invitation to enjoy yourself, and to show your willingness to indulge in the pleasures he’s arranged for your delight.  Your diligence, dedication, and determination need a holiday, anyway, and they’ll get you nothing but taunting and booing today.  If you feel you must keep busy, let it be to serve someone else’s enjoyments, as well.  Tomorrow’s Rat will present tasks and troubles to be dealt with, and will satisfy your perpetual taste for gnawing through problems.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  When the Pig throws a party, there’s a place for everyone, and you’re certainly no exception.  You won’t be able to take much of the spotlight—unless you act grumpy, and make yourself the butt of the jests of others who wish to spend the day in happy revelry—and you should probably aim to remain at the periphery of the party games, so as not to embarrass yourself by winning all the contests of strength.  Summon a spirit of polite gratitude, and don’t decline to taste new foods, or to investigate unfamiliar subjects.  Tomorrow’s Rat will delay your getting back to work, but only to make sure that you’re aimed in the proper direction.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  When the Pig throws a party, the Tiger always has a seat of honor, and you’ll find yourself perhaps a bit more at the center of attention than you usually find comfortable.  Fortunately, due to the magical hospitality of the Clan of the Curly Tail, you’re going to find that you do like it, and will have no trouble diving into the party games, and munching your way through the tasty dishes arrayed along the banquet table.  Do try not to eat too much, unless you’re sure you can find a comfy and quiet corner to catch a short snooze;  and do make sure it’s a short one, or you’ll risk inciting worry, or causing offense to your Happy Host.  Tomorrow’s Rat will bring you a bit of information or random gossip that may have the ring of Good Advice to it.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  The kind of party the Pig likes to throw is guaranteed to bring you satisfaction, entertainment, and well-balanced social engagement.  Part of the enjoyment will no doubt lie in the many ways you’ll find you can be of assistance to others, whether it’s in something as simple as holding a door open for them, or as complex as helping them reach resolution with an important life-decision.  In any case, the day is perfect for you to drop your worries, and follow the sense of the moment;  if that shows you the ways in which you can most naturally live a Useful Life, you shouldn’t really be surprised.  Tomorrow’s Rat will require a more formal sense of social propriety, and you’ll be frustrated if you try to emulate the Rat’s style of working through things.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  The Pig has wide-ranging tastes, even when it comes to the guest-list of the kind of party he’s hosting today;  consequently, you can be assured that your presence on the social scene will be expected, and your timely attendance appreciated.  However, you may not feel that you’ll be enjoying affairs to quite the same height as most of the attendees.   As tasty as the tidbits will be, and as happy as the toasting will be, you’ll feel the oppressive—if subtle—need to mind your p’s and q’s, avoiding a breach of etiquette or poorly-worded phrase that could cause offense or misunderstanding.  Such concern is very well placed;  when you’re in the Pig’s House, you must be careful not to incite anger or argument.  Tomorrow’s Rat will give you reason to relax, and a fresh report on your situation, helping you to get back to work.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  It’s perhaps due to this Pig’s trust in Rational Optimism, or perhaps to his breezy reliance on the effectiveness of Social Grace, but he’s defying everyone’s expectation today, and making sure that you’re invited to the party he’s throwing.  If you rely on the instruction you’ve received so far at the Sheep School of Dance and Proper Deportment, you’ll make very certain to observe the order of things As Presented, and to fit compliantly into line.  This is no time to take short-cuts, or to slip in to make changes where you don’t really understand traditions, motives, or intended effect.  Maintain your cool, and when in doubt:  do nothing.  You can have a very nice time, if you remember that you’re out of your element.  Tomorrow’s Rat will bring easier social demands, and some opportunities you’ll need to approach with caution.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  As lucky as these auspices are for the Pig—and therefore to everyone else, invited to the party he’s throwing today—they have a particular lucky spin to them for you, as they require the Pig to make sure that he’s found exactly the sort of party games to include in the agenda, and exactly the right kind of foodstuffs to place on the lengthy buffet table, to make you feel right at home.  He’s even made sure that you’ll get to exert your appetite for Exercise and Contribution, by saving a few of the party preparations for you to help with.  Don’t be shy about showing up a tad early, and it would be a good idea not to wear your very best party clothes today.  Dressing down will be all the rage, anyway, and you don’t want to risk a big bill at the cleaners if the day’s festivities include a friendly food-fight or water-pistol battle.  Tomorrow’s Rat will hold some natural—and recurring—tensions, and you’ll find your friendships even more helpful than usual.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  Whenever the Pig throws a party—and he’s hosting one of the most festive events on the Social Calendar for the entire year, today—you can be certain that you’re going to be given a prominent place at the Center Table, where he can make sure you’re getting first access to the finest dishes being served, and where he can make use of your expertise and assistance, as little problems of logistics or social decorum arise.  With such ready possibilities for making an Important Contribution, and with such satisfying rewards passing by on every plate, you’ll have no difficulty relaxing into confident ease, and maintaining the dignified poise in which you take greatest delight.  Do try to drop some of the dignity when the party games start;  you have a good chance of taking home several of the trophy prizes.  Tomorrow’s Rat will bring you more logistical matters to attend to, and the danger that social decorum might be difficult to maintain.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  This Pig has enough Rational Optimism to take the risk of including you on the guest-list for the party he’s throwing today—in truth, he hates leaving anyone off of it—and it would be a shame either to decline the invitation, or to plan on attending but not enjoying yourself.  Fortunately, you’ve spent enough time in your coursework at the Sheep School of Dance and Proper Deportment to understand how to behave in the sort of Grown-Up conditions the Pig will be arranging, and how to forestall your natural appetite for diving at what you need, in order to negotiate through your social environment to achieve it.  When in doubt, just move more slowly, and imagine you’re keeping time to a slow and serene waltz: One-two-three, One-two-three…  Tomorrow’s Rat will have some interesting tasks for you to attend to, and an easier costume to remain comfortable in.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  The party this Pig is throwing today is going to be quite a shindig, and—not wishing to leave anybody out—he’s made sure you’re invited;  and he will expect you to come and enjoy yourself, even though he may not be sure if the myriad treats covering the buffet table, and the agenda of party games he has planned, will be entirely to your liking.  Fortunately the event is going to be laid out as a Truly Adult Affair, and will include few of the little indignities and annoyances you had to endure yesterday.  Still, this is going to be a purely Social Engagement—with no room for Business, or Working On Things—and you’ll put yourself in ill-repute if you don’t just sit back and enjoy it.  Take your pick of what looks enticing or intriguing, and simply pass over the rest, without comment or critique;  you may have a much better recipe for potato salad, but it would be Very Bad Form even to announce the fact, let alone barge into the kitchen to start whipping it up.  Tomorrow’s Rat will help you settle some problems you’ve been trying to work through, but mostly by suggesting solutions that won’t work.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  The sort of festivity the Pig is throwing today will be just the right after-party to allow you a good “cool-down” from yesterday’s hi-jinx and shenanigans, and he’ll have no trouble making sure that you get all the proper nourishment, liquid refreshment, and sensory stimulation, to make you feel back “in your own skin,” and smack-dab in the middle of his wide and multi-various social sphere.  Don’t be surprised if part of the value of his ministrations comes in the form of small suggestions you could well follow to your increased benefit;  whether in matters of social grace, elegance or comfort of attire, business opportunities, or political maneuvering, the Pig will be tossing up tidbits of high value, and some of them will be aimed specifically at you.  Don’t eat too much, but don’t be shy about wandering out into the garden for a bit of a nap in the hammock;  you’ll get called back into the house in time for the party games.  Tomorrow’s Rat will bring you some conflicting instructions, and some confusing advice.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Wood Pig on duty today has a natural expectancy towards bright results, and the worldliness and drive needed to strive towards them, but will be celebrating serendipity and ease, under the auspicious influences of Tiger and Sheep.  The party this Clan-Mate of yours will be throwing today is going to be one of the most Significant Festivities of the entire social season, and you won’t be surprised or embarrassed to find that you’re enjoying it more than anyone else in attendance.  Make sure you mix and mingle in equal proportions to your attention to details of logistics and hospitality;  part of your job for the day will be to display a clear model of just how one goes about “enjoying” this kind of shindig.  And all you have to do, to do that, is to follow your own appetites, and suggest that everyone else follow along.  If you bump into a few new appetites, that you didn’t even know you had, …so much the better!  Tomorrow’s Rat will give you the opportunity to wind down, and tally up your social triumphs.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

In the State of Chǔ lived a clever lad, born in a well-to-do family, and destined for prominence and success;

Yī-Zhì was his boyhood name, and well-chosen it was, meaning “In the Light of Knowledge.”

Lǔ Bǎn we call him now, and his rise to service and fame has eclipsed his relatives, one and all.

Nowadays, adults make grateful offerings to him for his engineering wonders;  boys and girls, for inventing the kite.

“Without singing and dancing, there is no festivity.”

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Tong Shu Time Workshop • July 25th • Sunday • 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.

Friday, 23rd of July

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE OX-BOY, the second day of the Northern Palace of the Black Tortoise.  The character for this Lunar Lodge means simply “ox” (牛 niú ), and in the most ancient tradition, it was related to the time when the oxen were freed from their labor in the fields, and from transporting goods by wagon, because of the onset of winter.  It was also associated with the sacrifice of an ox—dedicated to the sun, moon, and stars—as part of the winter’s feasting, and to prepare dried meat for storage.

Naming this Lunar Lodge for the lad minding the ox (rather than the ox himself) comes from a later tradition linking this Lodge (and tomorrow’s) with the romantic story of “The Ox-Boy and the Weaving Maiden.”  In the old folk-tale, these two are separated by her disapproving father, the King of the Sun.  He places the unlucky lovers at distance from each other in the sky, on opposite banks of the Celestial River (as the Chinese call the Milky Way).  The astronomical results of this sad affair are represented by the bright star Altair, in an asterism actually called “Ox-Herder,” and the brilliant Vega, second brightest in the northern skies, in an asterism called “Weaving Maiden.”

In keeping with the sad theme of this story, THE OX-BOY is an unlucky day, particularly for diversions from duty, and relying on others.  Consequently, new beginnings, contracts, and ceremonial events are inauspicious.  The austerities of fasting, retreat, and stillness are suggested by the lovers’ punishment, and can yield better results today.  Romance is “not to be trusted” today, though flirting is actually favored.  It could be said this way:  if everyone knows it’s “only flirting” ….then no harm done!  Real estate negotiations might seem a strange addition to the favorable activities, but they are in one sense like flirting;  the “romance of the deal” isn’t sealed, until the deal is accepted and signed-and-dated documents are exchanged.

The spirit animal for THE OX-BOY is, of course, the Ox.  This is the animal icon par excellence of a life of hard work, borne with a good spirit, and without complaint.  The Ox has huge reserves of strength and stamina, and they make the Ox the foundation of whatever wealth can be brought forth from the land through labor.  The Ox, however, also has the winter-time away from the fields, and so he is also a symbol of serene solitude, and favors a life partly devoted to contemplation.  Through this attribution, THE OX-BOY is a day for resignation to duty, but in happy anticipation of the time when work will be over.

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The Solar Index today is LEVEL, the character for which ( 平 píng ) could also be translated “even,” “balanced,” or “calm.”  It implies a certain sense of placid boredom, which (to the Chinese way of thinking) is essential to healthy and proper conduct, if one wishes to achieve the deepest, sweetest, and most lasting end results.  LEVEL is the quality of the second month of Spring, from early March to early April, when the weather begins to warm appreciably, and the sweetness of the season starts to make itself visible.  The high labor of the previous month continues, and can be applied to the actual planting of crops.  Keep up your drive today, and focus on following through with the intentions and actions of yesterday.  Don’t push too hard;  drama is only distracting, and you’re going to need the same “level” of exertion tomorrow.  Sounds “boring,” maybe, but:  ”Just keep up the good work.”

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  Complexity and intricacy will be of no service to you in dealing with the Puppy running rampant today, and so you’d better condense your multi-faceted understandings into terse and direct statements if you want them to be understood and appreciated.  As the Dog will be driving the Sheep hither and yon for his own impetuous purposes, you’ll find less obstruction to yours, but it would be wiser to take this as an opportunity to gain repose and recuperation, than to imagine that you can get from the Dog what the Sheep can’t:  productivity.  Tomorrow’s Pig will be in a happy mood, and it will be a waste of time and opportunity for you to try to turn things towards purpose, instead of towards pleasure.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  This member of the Canine Clan has more Puppy in him than Wolf, and though his exertions will make you feel as if something is constantly underfoot—causing you concern for your stability, perhaps, and requiring you to slow your pace out of simple caution—any nipping at your heels you may feel will be so minor as to suggest a certain frivolity, and will certainly be far more cute than cutting.  In any event, stopping to deal with what seem to be obstructions will be much more limiting that simply soldiering on.  And if you do come to a complete stop, a quick look around at your circumstances will doubtlessly bring a smile to your lips.  Tomorrow’s Pig will arrive in a happy mood, and you might as well give up pressing forward, and settle into agreement with the party atmosphere.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  The puppy-like affections of this member of the Canine Clan will easily warm your heart, and deter you from taking even the most serious offenses quite so seriously.  As the Sheep is doing his best to come to knowledgeability of the Tiger Way, perhaps you can use the Dog’s simplicity and open-heartedness as an avenue to approach the artistry and commitment of the Clan of Fleece and Horns.  The apparent strictures of the Sheep Moon can be understood as perfectly congruent with your powerful insistence on your rights, but you need to relax a bit to see that:  the Dog’s happy frolicking is exactly of the proper spirit to help you accomplish a repose through which the Sheep’s offering can be recognized and accepted.  Tomorrow’s Pig will be equally happy, but far more orderly in his approach towards festivity.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  With the guidance of this Friendly Trio, your day will go as smoothly as a slow canoe-trip across a glassy mill-pond.  The only real dangers will come from the inner exuberance you will feel at such a happy confluence of energies;  dancing for joy can be a serious problem when you’re in a canoe.  Raucous and rowdy leaping about are perfectly acceptable, of course, but you should take a moment to look about, to determine that the space around you is appropriate for high-spirited hi-jinx, and that your actions will not put the Felicitous Festivities in jeopardy of requiring an ambulance, police cruiser, or fire-truck to bring them to a halt.  Tomorrow’s Pig will bring you equal joys, and a more productive sense of putting them to use.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  For most, this member of the Canine Clan will cause smiles and laughter, as they coo and giggle over his puppyish antics;  you, on the other hand, will find nothing particularly charming in one so unable—or unwilling—to demonstrate even the least observance of the sanctity of Your Personal Space, or ceases his mindless careening from excitement to exhilaration only by stopping long enough to piddle in the middle of the rug.  Your natural haughtiness will make it likely that you’ll be the one doing the cleaning up;  everyone else will be doubled over in laughter, and will seem to you completely unconcerned with Values, Civilization, and Human Proportion.  Your patience and tolerance as to these humiliations will be structurally valuable to you;  perhaps someone should be taking up the task of training this Dog, but believe me, it isn’t you.  Tomorrow’s Pig will show much more elegance, and a more proper invitation to your presence and contributions, but that doesn’t mean the party he’s inviting you to will be an entirely care-free affair.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  The unsure and care-free spirit of this member of the Canine Clan will suggest to you a vast array of advantages to be taken, and opportunities to be harvested, but you’ll have to put them all on hold;  protected as he is by the Great Stripéd One, and supported to an almost maternal degree as he is by the Sheep, this Dog—mere Puppy though he may seem—will have the charm of aristocracy about him—a Puppy-Prince, as it were—and his bodyguard will be both formidable, and hovering always near-by.  There’s no need to absent yourself from his Court, however;  there’s much to be accomplished, and a great deal to be enjoyed, as long as you keep to Basic Practicalities, Simple Tastes, and Inherent Efficiencies.  This Puppy loves offerings that are direct in presentation, and immediate in satisfaction;  repayment for your offerings may not be grandiose or full of utility, but perhaps just having a day of enjoyment—and safety—should be enough.  Tomorrow’s Pig will be well-positioned to cause you great alarm and distress, in spite of the atmosphere of festivity he’ll be sponsoring.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  All members of the Canine Clan can easily calm your spirit, and make you feel more conviction in your physical capacities and your natural sensitivity to your environment;  this one, however—perhaps due to his puppy-like inquisitiveness, and fascination with the new and the untested—can rouse you to your most extreme heights of frolic and frivolity.  As well-supported as both of you are by the Tiger and the Sheep, you might well imagine that the day has been dedicated as a Perfectly Safe Space in which you can neglect your sense of Responsibility, and give yourself over entirely to your appetite for Play.  Only don’t be too surprised if the result comes out very close to what you would have been aiming for, had you dedicated the day towards Purpose.  Tomorrow’s Pig will be equally dedicated to maintaining a party spirit, but will have a few requirements for you to satisfy before you hit the party punch.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  As this is the most immature and irrepressible of the Dogs, the style of tolerance you’ll have to exhibit will be very much like that of Nurse-Maid or Nanny, attentively forestalling small catastrophes and assiduously cleaning up little >ahem< accidents, as the day goes forward.  Mind you, such tasks as these can be highly valuable to your social reputation and professional standing, showing as they do the attributes of Painstaking Oversight, Diligent Protectiveness, and Service Without Judgement, which the pursuit of your own aims sometimes masks.  Beyond that, the little bugger can be quite a delight to observe, and you deserve a bit of a respite from your more earnest—and taxing—concerns for the year.  Allow yourself a good chuckle over the Puppy’s antics, and don’t be shy about getting down on the floor in a playful mood yourself.  Tomorrow’s Pig will sponsor a party for the Grown-Ups, but there’ll be plenty of giggling there too.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  Most of the members of the Canine Clan offend you through their dull and drab dedication to What’s Already Known, and by virtue of their willingness to choose the most direct, most efficient, and—as far as you’re concerned—most uninteresting way to do anything.  This particular member of the Clan, however, offers a different sort of annoyance:  his puppy-like inquisitiveness strangely offends your sense of maturity, and makes you feel as if your strengths of wit, quickness, and creativity, are not only unrecognized, but entirely immaterial to the pursuit of a Happy Life.  As the Dog is so well supported today, however, you will no doubt have to succumb to the indignities of his playful licks, and irrepressible frolicking;  bringing forward your own playful spirit will seem like some sort of violation of Being Natural, but it’s certainly the best way to avoid the censure of those who are enthralled in “puppy-love,” and to earn back some dignity for yourself, by showing tolerance and willingness in a way that doesn’t spring from your own appetites.  Tomorrow’s Pig will present some indignities as well, but staying mature about them—rather than “puppy-like”—will get you through them without serious mishap.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  Most of the members of the Canine Clan cause you irritation and dismay on account of what they see as the Wisdom of Inaction, and you see as Bone-Deep Laziness.  This member, however, with his infectious immaturity, and his dedication to the ever-present Opportunity to Play, brings disruption to your clarity and calm not because of what he doesn’t do, but because of what he does do.  Under most conditions, you could follow the natural impulses of your nature, and forestall his impertinent interruptions and inquisitive insinuations into your affairs, by delivering a sharp reprimand—or simply chucking him out of doors.  Today, however, the Puppy Prince is the darling of the Tiger, and the ward of the Sheep, and against their protection, you’ll have to suffer in silence.  Chucking yourself out of doors might be the best source of relief, come to think of it, but if you take that route, you’ll have to make sure the padding of Little Puppy Feet is not to be heard behind you.  Tomorrow’s Pig will bring in a decidedly more adult tone, but you’re still going to have some trouble getting back to work on anything you regard as Truly Important.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  This most puppy-like member of the Canine Clan will make necessary one of the most fundamental rules under the Law of the Pack:  the weaker must always be indulged and protected.  Due to the Wood Dog’s infectious spirit of play, and lack of presumption as to his own powers, you’ll be duty bound to follow the festivity he brings in, and to give in to the weaknesses in your own spirit that he brings forth.  Under some circumstances, this can give rise for a need to be cautious, and on guard for those who might take advantage of your apparent loss of maturity and good-judgement.  But under the fierce protection of the Tiger, and the observant guidance of the Sheep, you really have nothing to fear but getting your clothes rumpled while wriggling in laughter on the floor.  Tomorrow’s Pig will be equally festive in attitude, and will show you a different kind of “observant guidance.”

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Wood Dog on duty today has the charm of innocent curiosity, and an eager willingness to respond to orders, but will more likely express an excited exuberance, under the tolerance of the Sheep, and the indulgence of the Tiger.  Most members of the Canine Clan bring you respite from your labors, and sponsor a restful reconsideration of the earthy appetites that power your intelligence, and guide your highest aspirations.  This particular Dog, however, has the extra knack of inspiring such youthful optimism, and such infectious impertinence, that he can easily have you squealing in delight, or rolling on the floor in laughter, so that your cares and sense of responsibility vanish into thin air.  Under the auspices of the Friendly Tiger and Cordial Sheep, these effects are not only certain to entertain you, they will most likely allow you such a deep relaxation of your more normal Haughty Perspicacity and Mature Judgement, that you may well believe you’ve entered a “second childhood.”  Take this re-assurance of your Nature on the basis it’s presented:  “You’re never too old to have a happy childhood.”  This, too, is one of your “earthy appetites,” and you’ll feel your rough-edges and crinkled surfaces smoothed out, if you indulge it.  Tomorrow’s Pig will add assertion and new ideas to your refreshed confidence, and put you in a position from which you can call the shots.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

The Master of Péng Mountain lived so long that everyone’s forgotten his true life story.

800 years, that’s all the reports agree about;  that, and his trust in proper sleeping, his taste for cassia and cloud-mushrooms.

Of course, he also practiced proper sex, but then he had plenty of time to get it right, outliving over 100 wives.

Was it his secret techniques that defied the grave?  Or, as some say, that the King of Hell simply forgot to enter his name on the Roll of Death?

“The ox will pull the plow, but you’ll have to walk behind him.”

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Thursday, 22nd of July

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Master Mouse Says:

The Lunar Lodge for today is THE LADLE, the first day of the week-long Northern Palace of the Black Tortoise.  This is named for an asterism of 6 stars, which so perfectly mimic the shape of Ursa Major, The Great Bear, that since that constellation is called “Northern Dipper” ( 北 斗 Běi Dǒu ), THE LADLE is called “Southern Dipper” ( 南 斗 Nán Dǒu ).  In antiquity, it was associated with the part of the year when grain stores were measured out (by the ladle-full), in order to properly plan for usage through the winter, and for payments made in grain.  Ten of the measuring “dippers” made one “bushel,” which is also a meaning of the character 斗 ( dǒu ).

This is an extremely auspicious Lunar Lodge, as might be expected from a sign concerned with “counting out wealth.”  It’s favorable for virtually all matters, from religious rituals, to excavation and construction, to political ambitions and accomplishment.  It is an indicator against nagging and over-indulging, perhaps because both will disturb the proper keeping track of the count.  The auspices of the day are quite favorable, and should not be squandered on such negativities.  ”When heaven sends a good day, don’t insult it with complaints.”

The spirit animal for THE LADLE is the Griffin, which is a rather loose translation for the original Chinese beast.  The Qí Lín ( 蜞 磷 ), as it’s called, is similarly mythological, and similarly composed of the parts of several different animals.  There is no exact equivalent in western language traditions, though it is most frequently translated as “unicorn.”  That’s understandable, perhaps, as one its animal components is the horse.  However, the Qí Lín has not one horn, but two antlers, like a deer, plus the scales of a snake, the head of a lion, the legs and hooves of a horse, etc.  In any case, like the Griffin, it’s appearance in the land is a beneficent sign of protection of the realm—and of its deserving rulers—and a harbinger of the greatest good fortune for all the citizens.  This underscores the highly favorable tone set by its Lunar Lodge.  As long as one can keep a cheerful and respectful attitude, the day is filled with good prospects.

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The Solar Index today is FULL, named for the first month of Spring in the agricultural calendar, from early February through early March.  While the onset of Spring, in the Chinese sense of the seasons, does not bring abundance of flowers and balmy weather, it has a vitality and promise which must be taken when offered, if the greatest results are to be obtained from the farmers labors towards the distant harvest.  Many plants are not ready to be placed in the soil, but still there’s much activity to be seen to.  The lengthening days make working more and more productive.

The FULL day offers this same opportunity to “get things going,” so as not to miss warmer and more fertile conditions when they do arrive.  The character for FULL ( 满 mǎn ) also has the meaning of “entire.”  This day calls for whole-hearted commitment of mind and resources, and for the “gung ho spirit.”  This phrase ( 工 和 gōng hé “work together”) was, incidentally, brought into usage in the English language by the U.S. Marines, who picked up the phrase from the Chinese in the Pacific Theater of operations during W.W. II.  To coin yet another Marine usage, it’s a good day to “see the hill,  take the hill.”

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Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  Your own social charms will be somewhat weak under this condition, and while you’ll share the Rooster’s clarity of ambition, you’ll have to be very quick about the steps you take to accomplish forward movement.  Opportunities are going to appear and disappear in very rapid pace, and your directness is the only thing you’ll be able to count on working.  Save half of your attention for things you should be avoiding, as it will take a long time to deliver apologies, if you’ve blundered into a mistake you should have seen coming.  Tomorrow’s Dog will allow you to relax somewhat, but mostly on account of a demand for increased simplicity.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  Your spirits should rise a bit today, as the Clan of Feathers and Claws captures the Sheep’s attention, allowing you to mosey onwards without direct obstruction.  The Rooster can also offer you the benefit of translating your blunt statements of purpose into more refined language, explaining to others how your long-term aims fit into their shorter-term requirements.  Don’t take any sense of lowered resistance as an invitation to try to speed up, however;  the Fowl is arranging an elegant frame for your action and accomplishment, and you’ll have to maintain even progress not to step right out of it.  Tomorrow’s Dog will bring some complaints, but as long as you don’t take them as reasons for you to complain, they won’t do any serious damage.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  Affairs for you will go in fits and starts under this condition, while the Rooster passes one test, only to be confronted very shortly by another.  As long as you think of yourself as only toying with the options and offerings in front of you, the lack of free space and free movement that this implies will not be particularly difficult to stomach, and the momentary arguments between what is clearly seen and what is going to be allowed, will bring forward the extra information you’ll need when the space opens up again.  Tomorrow’s Dog will reward you for your investigatory interest, and make your sense of the need for space—free or otherwise—much less important.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  The kind of clarity this member of the Clan of Feathers and Claws specializes in is particularly confusing for you, and while the Sheep’s resistance to its free exercise will help you keep your footing, you won’t feel your own ambitions are well grounded, or even clearly in view.  Don’t dwell too much on the consideration of how things could Go Wrong;  you’ll have to put some attention towards the negative, but what seem like overwhelming obstacles today, only look that way because they’re being given enough attention to get them well-resolved.  Tomorrow’s Dog will bring a lift of the fog, and a lift in your energies as well.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  You could well imagine that the attention the Fowl is calling forth from the sometimes fussy Sheep is primarily an act being performed as a Diversionary Tactic for you, allowing you extra wiggle room to forward your own ambitions, and do an end run around the snags you’ve been encountering over the last ten days.  While that’s not strictly true, there’s no harm in capitalizing on the Rooster’s intervention, and taking a momentary break in the clouds to rise up and catch a day’s overview of your situation.  Do so quickly, however;  tomorrow’s Dog will have you down on the ground, scuffling in the mud with menial details and nonsensical obstructions.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  The common point of consideration between These Two is the concern for how Things Fit Together, and if you can show the way your purposes produce an ecological effectiveness, you’ll gain energy from the Rooster’s directness, and ease of movement from the Sheep’s elegance.  This is an excellent time to reveal secrets you’ve been harboring, as long as you can do so without implying that the main purpose of keeping them hidden was to put others at a disadvantage.  Rely 10% on your charm, and 90% on your pragmatic nature, and all will go well.  Tomorrow’s Dog will have much less appreciation for your pragmatism, unless you can show that you’re applying it towards increased efficiency.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  For you this means that the Sheep will be screening the Fowl’s actions, allowing to go forward only those which fit into a much larger scheme of consideration than the Clan of Feathers and Claws usually regards as meaningful;  you should, therefore, be prepared for sudden jolts of energy, or realizations coming to you from out of the blue, to prompt you into action, without notification beforehand, and frequently without immediate understanding of what you’re doing, where you’re going, or why.  Trust in your sense of the present, and follow the moment’s impetus;  clarity will come through doing, today, and as long as you keep your wits moving as fast as your legs are taking you, good things will come forward.  Tomorrow’s Dog will show you just how good, and give you reasons to kick up your heals a bit in pure satisfaction.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  While you’re the master of Overview and Integration, this member of the Clan of Feathers and Claws is the master of Insight and Accomplishment;  if you can rest a bit on your own “accomplishment” so far this year, and let the Rooster Way have more of a say in your progress for the day, you’ll find that your relaxation of control will be paid off handsomely with some of his “insight,” adding wisdom and accuracy to the artistry with which you’ll fulfill your ambitions, at least for the rest of this Moon.  Then again, if the stresses of keeping up with the demands the Tiger has placed upon you have built up to the point that you’re feeling exhaustion looming over you, perhaps giving up control could be justified on the grounds purely that you need a small break.  Either way, tomorrow’s Dog will hand you back all the authority you require, and will offer no restrictions whatsoever on how you make use of it.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  The good thing for you about the entry of the Rooster is that your preferred speed of action is almost perfectly congruent with his, and that—while his sharper style and more predictable aims are diverting the Sheep’s attention—you’ll have a more unobstructed opportunity to pursue your curiosity in whatever direction occurs to you.  Just make sure that you maintain a clear exit path, and that you can make use of it as quickly as you entered;  you won’t fall into trouble unless you fall into fascination, and forget that the day requires you to make full use of your quick wits and nimble command of space.  Tomorrow’s Dog will very likely get you cornered into doing something you’re not particularly fond of, and force you to demonstrate how good you can be at it, even so.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  The only restrictions you’ll feel due to the Sheep’s oversight, will have the tone of Bureaucratic Regulation, and all the seeming importance of that part of the label on bottled water where “Caloric Value” is listed.  But you do need to remember that the Sheep’s fussy requirements are backed up by the Tiger this year, and you may find that the apparently Wooly-Headed insistence of the Clan of Fleece and Horns is partly there to keep you from blundering into more intense action than would be strictly serviceable for you longer term success.  So relax into your own strengths, today, and relax as well into whatever minor limitations seem to appear;  sometimes the Universe has very good reasons not to allow you to have it Your Way, and your compliance with actuality is the key to your Luck.  Tomorrow’s Dog will bring more limitations, and most of them will seem central to your aims, rather than “minor.”

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  While the Rooster’s style is almost always guaranteed to put you out of sorts, you can count on the filtering influence of the Sheep Moon to remove all but the most appropriate jabs and zingers.  Anything that reaches your sphere of experience, therefore, you should take as a “necessary evil,” and to which you should respond both quickly and with diligence.  The alternative would be an increase of the frequency of the Prodding Insistence, and very likely an increase in the voltage of it, as well.  Satisfy yourself that there are things to be done, and—once they’ve been pointed out—there will be no value in delaying the doing.  This will mean relinquishing a Lucky Feeling you’ve been nursing into greater and greater strength as the Tiger Year has progressed, but don’t worry:  you’ll be getting it back in full force tomorrow, when the Dog appears, coming—as it were—to your rescue.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Water Fowl on duty today knows what he wants and how to get it, but will find his ambitions held to close scrutiny under the Sheep Moon’s requirement for cordial demeanor and orderly progress.  The sharp inquiries of the Rooster Way—and the insistent exactitude with which the Clan of Feathers and Claws take aim at the objects of their desires—can rankle your sense of elegant balance in your pursuit of pleasure and information, and can disrupt the smooth flow of your thoughts, whether floating along in your own sphere of appreciation, or laying it all out for an admiring and appreciative audience.  It’s lucky for you, then, that the Sheep will be filtering out all be the most essential efforts of the Fowl today, and insuring that they fit into the larger template laid down by the Tiger Year.  Trust in the Sheep’s efficiency, and take any disruptions with your highest state of resilience and aplomb;  they’re not aimed at you personally, but may bring you personal benefit, nonetheless.  Tomorrow’s Dog will smooth things over for you again, and give you back a more soothing sense of going forward at your own pace.

Text © Robert Fenwick • The Fenwick Academy • (831) 471-0388 • Words to the Wise:

In the House of Fire, everything rises upwards;  good feeling, camaraderie, success, and completion abound.

Only the fulfillment of things holds a soft sadness, like the ending of a party, like the departure of friends.

When the pot is made of finest bronze, the handles do not require gold fittings, or ornamental affectations.

Even when the flames have died down, the hearth holds its warmth, a simple meal still means “abundance.”

“The bricks will be heavy and hard to lift, but the wall will be solid and enduring.”

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