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Monday, 31st of January


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

The FIRE DOG on duty today has cheerful drive, strong appetites, and a fierce defensiveness of domestic stability, but will present a more enthusiastic and impulsive attitude than could prove suitable for the resolution of the Ox Moon.  Be careful not to over-exert or over-extend yourself in an attempt to gather more satisfaction from the day than has been properly prepared for;  new interests will not be easy to fit into the pathway you’re on when it’s so well-defined by the unswerving momentum of the Ox, and as the close of the Year is only two days away, the directions they will lead you are very likely to turn into blind alleys, in any case.  If you must respond to a sense of restlessness or ambition, its better to be moving in one place than to attempt to fulfill the notion that you ought to be traveling towards a destination.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The excitement and confidence of the Dog on the watch is like a false dawn, and while the energy he can supply to the day is real, the chances that the direction he seems to be wishing to dash off in actually lead you to solid results are very low.  There’s no need to try to dampen your own spirits, or to take a dour attitude to counter-balance the Dog’s excesses, but the more you apply your energies to what you’ve already been working on, the less you’ll be wasting them on inappropriate and illusory goals, and the less you’ll have to suffer the energy drain—not to mention the irritating embarrassment—of re-tracing your steps and returning to your former trajectory.  Tomorrow’s Pig is more likely to mislead through insistence than enthusiasm, and you’ll have to deflect diversions by holding to a strong sense of duty.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The bouncing and barking which the Dog on the watch will so easily fall into, will not improve your mood or your concentration, but as your energies are more than sufficient to insist on your forward progress, you can simply rely on your famous Tough-Hided Independence, and deflect diversions by barreling on through.  Keep a clear sense of the order in which you want to go down your check-list, and don’t get talked into trying to readjust it to get more items squeezed in.  If you find that a few sharp words are in order, take a moment to make sure that they’re strategically well-chosen, and that they very clearly express exactly what you want done.  There’s no need to dwell on explanations today;  concise instructions delivered without complaint will do the trick.  Tomorrow’s Pig will put you in a much better mood, in spite of the fact that he might not share that fortune.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Dog on the watch will be bouncing up and down, straining at his leash, and pleading to be allowed to drag you down the street after something he thinks he’s seen, smelt, or heard.  Your senses are actually much keener than his today, and you’ll be able to tell almost instantaneously that such exuberant enthusiasm is more about hoping there’s something Highly Interesting down the road, than it’s demonstrative of any evidence that that might actually be true.  In any case, your disinterest in possibilities and profits is stronger than any of his hyperactive impulsiveness, and if you keep to your calm and settled demeanor, he’ll soon settle down and join you in some cozy time and comforting restfulness.  Tomorrow’s Pig will be more agreeable to start with, but may have a few pesky ideas you’ll have to be firm in ignoring.

Born in the Year of the Hare: While any exuberance and drive provided by the Canine Clan can usually be counted on to provide you with exactly the kind of stimulation you need to achieve great speed and highest efficiency, the bouncy hyperactivity of the Dog on the watch today will neither suit your mood, or honor your need for contemplative concentration as the Year comes to its close, and the Tiger slips silently off the stage.  Still, you may feel a comforting lift in your energy, and a thrill of excitement, and if you can apply them to the preparatory tasks suitable to the welcoming of the New Year, then the Dog’s distractions may prove annoying, but still not entirely useless.  Follow your own will, and you own understandings, though, or you’ll find yourself buried in labors and entanglements that will only lead to exhaustion without accomplishment.  Tomorrow’s Pig will make you feel more productive without actually allowing you to be, and at this point in the Year, that’s not really a bad thing.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The chirpy nonsense the Dog on the watch is going to be nattering on about today will prove neither worthy of your attention—should you turn to give it an ear—nor easy to ignore in order more to freely pursue your already tight agenda.  If you feel this puts you between a rock and a hard place, with no really effective tactic suggesting itself to put you in a sweeter position—or a sweeter mood—I can only say, “you’re correct.”  As your irritation index rises through the day, however, it might be a good idea to take a second look at that check-list you’re trying to work your way through, and see if some of the items share the Dog’s penchant for seeming to Require Action when they actually only want to Waste Your Time.  Cut yourself some slack, and allow yourself to deal with such matters will a swift stroke of your pen, marking them through with a dismissive line, or—if it’s more appropriate—a single, concisely-worded order.  Your gift for balancing complexity and responsiveness will not avail you today;  sometimes a Dog just needs to be barked back at.  Tomorrow’s Pig will not lift your mood much, and you’ll have to give up the satisfaction of “barking back.”

Born in the Year of the Snake: Just when things were rolling so smoothly towards a well-conceived and well-executed resolution of the Tiger Year, this Dog arrives to raise a ruckus, and to contribute nothing but misleading confusions to your plans.  You’ll not be the only one taking a dim view on his yapping and jumping, and if you can keep your composure, you’ll find it easy to summon agreement from those around you to try ignoring him to see if he will go away.  Of course, he won’t, but at least you’ll have a First Step accomplished:  getting everyone’s heads into a huddle.  If you follow that with a small demonstration of your famous ability to offer suggestion with the force of command, you’ll find it so easy to get them all lined up properly again that even the Dog may have to fall into compliance.  Speak softly, and don’t pick up any sticks.  Tomorrow’s Pig will present the same kind of problem, and such soft words, unfortunately, will prove of no avail.

Born in the Year of the Horse: For most around you today, the excitement the Dog on the watch wishes to bring to the day is going to be about as welcome as a fire-truck blaring its siren outside the bedroom window at three in the morning, on its way to some indeterminate emergency, sending out General Alarm with no particular value for those disturbed by it.  For you, however, the Dog’s friendly rousing will seem more aimed to reassure than to rattle, and the effect of his enthusiastic yapping will not suffer from the fact that it’s about Nothing In Particular.  Still, you always find it more comfortable to keep the neighborhood happy, and if you can find a way to co-opt the Dog’s exuberance by putting some energy of your own into action, he may calm down just enough to allow the neighbors to get back to sleep.  You might find that you have to speed up to take charge, but thereafter, do all that you can to slow down again.  Tomorrow’s Pig will prove a little more annoying to you, and a little less easy to calm down.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: Just when you may have reached a point of resignation about your transit through the trying Ox Moon, the Dog on the watch arrives to yap at you about Other Possibilities, and urging you to defend your position, whether you’re clear from what direction it’s being attacked, or not.  Don’t get suckered by his False Alarm:  he’s much more interested in adrenalin for its own sake, and if you let your own levels rise, you’ll find yourself slaving away for the rest of the day, dashing madly after goals that are not really achievable, and neglecting the careful nourishment of the State of Rest which is your proper departure point from the Tiger, and the proper landing pad onto which you can expect the Rabbit to alight with a beaming grin.  Maintain confidence in your own powers, but don’t risk applying them to someone else’s Get-Rich Scheme.  Tomorrow’s Pig will bring much more appealing—and much less disturbing—offers, but you’ll do best to decline them, as well.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: While the Dog on the watch is going to be all Bark-and-Bounce—and very little Bite—his eager insistence that being at rest is a horrible waste of time will not convince you.  Still, you’re much more agreeable than most around you today towards the idea of getting some exercise for its own sake, and perhaps you’ll be interested in a bit of the sort of adrenalin rush the Dog is arguing for.  Be careful, however, to be the restraining force in your unlikely partnership with the Dog;  his noisy racket and impetuous pawing for attention are already setting teeth on edge all around you.  If you’re not pulling back on the leash as hard as he’s pulling forward, you’re going to become part of The Problem, in addition to finding yourself suffering the kind of fatigue that you find it most difficult to recover from.  Once the “adrenalin rush” is over, “adrenalin exhaustion” is not a pretty thing.  Tomorrow’s Pig will make a much quieter presentation, and you’ll have an easier time leaving it alone.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The rampant enthusiasm the Dog on the watch will be exhibiting will not impress you at all, either as correct in timing at this late date in the Year, or justified by the range of opportunities you see around you as the Moon melts away towards renewal.  Your irritations at the Dog’s distracting behavior will be shared by many, and if you find your anger and frustration rising to the point that you take Sharp Steps to resolve matters in the most direct and unrestrained of forms, you may very well find yourself surrounded by sudden applause.  Do make sure, however, that any actions you take are patiently conceived—if abruptly delivered—and that you don’t fall into delivering blows just to get some exercise.  If you do it correctly, after all, most times just rolling up the newspaper in full view is sufficient to accomplish the effect.  Tomorrow’s Pig will present some much more intelligent and agreeable ideas for consideration, but you ought to consider ignoring them.

Born in the Year of the Dog: For most around you today, your Clan-Mate coming on the watch will be far too bouncy-and-barky to be either trusted or put up with in comfort or composure.  If you feel his exuberant urgings to Do Something affecting you, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put on your running shoes, if only to help exorcise his rampant rambunctiousness through a bit of exercise.  Do try, however, to take him off in a field somewhere, or down a lonely road where you’re very unlikely to come across others;  the more you’re off by yourself, the less likely you are to be blamed for the disturbances damaging everyone’s ability to keep their attention focused, and the less you’ll have to fall into the flimsy and sheepish ploy of claiming: “But, he’s not my dog….!”  Tomorrow’s Pig will have more sophisticated urgings to offer, and you’re going to eat them up with a spoon.

Born in the Year of the Pig: As much as you appreciate the earthy appetites of the Canine Clan, and as easily as you can turn their influence towards sophistication and generosity, even you will have to agree that a Dog raising alarm for no reason, or bouncing incessantly up and down in insistence to be paid attention to, can be a deadly distraction when Focus and Calm are the order of the day.  Such is, of course, the case with the Dog on the watch, and though you may have a longer fuse than most, and will have more patience for his impatient disturbances, you can be sure that your temper will be tested along with everyone else’s if you don’t exert your influence and get him to calm down.  Use your Big Attention gaze, and your Talking To You voice, and you’ll find it fairly easy to get order reestablished.  Don’t plan on getting back to work, however;  this Dog is not any good at Sit-Stay, and you’ll have to keep him in Obedience School for the duration.  Tomorrow’s Pig will be much quieter in his complaints, but no less disturbing if not equally dealt with.

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

Near to the end of long labors, one comes to a divide:  either a final push will be necessary, or a coasting home will suffice.

Telling the difference is the Great Art, and many tries can be required to gain its mastery.

Be gentle with yourself in meeting the tests:  crushed aims and unfulfilled goals are no tragedies.

In triumph, you misunderstand your Fate;  in defeat, you misunderstand your Circulation.

“When the rabbit is moving it’s easier to see.”

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Sunday, 30th of January


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

The WOOD FOWL on duty today has a modest and attentive nature, and a sober style that will offer little encouragement for aggressive activity, harmonizing elegantly with the slow and patient conservatism the Ox Moon favors.  Take the brighter auspices of the day as reason to fully enjoy in the plodding deceleration which is necessary before the Year renews itself, and don’t look for extra items to fit into your schedule until extra space has truly become available.  The truth-telling for which the Fowl is known will aid you if you apply it to a comparison between the tasks before you, and the time and resources you have to fulfill them.  If you find yourself from time to time acting without enthusiasm, or completing stages of your work without any sense of triumph, congratulate yourself for hitting on the secret value the Fowl has to offer:  high caliber workmanship is its own reward, and doesn’t need to reflect back on the worker.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Fowl on the watch has such an appropriate manner for the delicacy of progress that must be maintained at this point in the close of the Year—and is enjoying such a strong position today, able to please the Ox without stressing the Tiger—that you should take it as your job to make sure you don’t disturb the gentle balance of the day.  You don’t need to feel as if you’re “walking on eggshells,” but working quietly, and aiming not to disrupt the solitary focus of others unless it’s strictly necessary will bring you the best benefits, and allow you to focus in on your own tasks with increased exactitude and efficiency.  If you feel that you’re remaining productive while avoiding “waking the baby,” you’ll have hit the tone for the day exactly.  When in doubt, use less energy than you think you might need, and if it proves insufficient, build up the force you exert in small increments through repetition.  Tomorrow’s Dog will bring a flush of confident enthusiasm, and you will need to avoid taking it on its face value.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The close focus that the Fowl on the watch so easily invokes will allow you to soften your attention, as if to step back a bit, and to let him take over.  It’s not that you don’t still have energy to spare, or don’t have a clear sense of where to apply it, but the more you let your tasks coast forward under the Fowl’s competent guidance, the more correctly they’ll drop into their slots over the next three days, perfectly ensuring a close to the Ox Moon’s beneficial phrase, and correctly avoiding the danger of over-stepping your office, or over-working your results.  Your powers of exertion don’t need dramatic demonstrations to be appreciated, and your spirits will only rise, the more you allow yourself to take the day as an opportunity for a bit of “free-wheeling.”  Even if you can’t do a true walk-about, allowing your attention, at least, to wander will bring you Luck.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with perky enthusiasm which you should aim to limit rather than make use of.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The delicate and competent modesty of the Fowl on the watch will have the almost magical effect of making negligible any concerns for the proper progress of your responsibilities, allowing you that rare kind of sociability and friendly willingness that come forward only when you are not cocking your attention towards Proper Timing and Well-Estimated Force.  A bit of exercise is in order, if only to express your celebratory mood and light-hearted sense of freedom, but you’re better off aiming for playful improvisation rather than putting yourself through any tests.  The more meaningless your activities seem—particularly to onlookers—the more they will properly show how cleanly you’re about to leave the Tiger Year behind.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with apparent enthusiasm, but you’ll need to be cautious in following any implication that it could accomplish large results in a short time.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Fowl on the watch will be demonstrating quite clearly his preference for not meddling with your affairs, and will only be requiring from you that you return the favor.  You’ll feel quite clearly what you wish to have accomplished by the time the Rabbit enters, but you’ll need to be quite conservative and careful in the way you go forward today.  If it seems that your way is temporarily blocked, or that you’re unable to get the kind of traction that would enable you to build up speed, congratulate yourself:  your relative inability just means that the Fowl is handling if for you.  Relax into the strange sensation of “accomplishing without doing,” and smile as you notice the terms of  your requirements dropping one by one into their appropriate slots.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with great enthusiasm and apparent willingness, and you’ll have to be careful not to take his invitation to violate the spirit of the Time.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: Your affinity with the Clan of Scales and Claws is so solid and sure, that you’ll recognize the modest demeanor of the Fowl on the watch quite readily as perfectly appropriate to the unassuming and untheatrical progress necessary at this time of the Year.  If you heave a sigh of relief, and hit on the idea that you might take his competence as full justification for a bit of Playing Hooky on your part, let me be the first to “second that emotion,” and to wave you on your way out of the workroom.  You have a grand appetite for playful exertion today, and it’s far better than you should be indulging it in some public space where heaving-and-lifting or dodging-and-darting will not influence the safe and secure completion of your duties.  Set things up, sign yourself out, and let the work proceed without your meddling;  everyone will appreciate you “giving them space.”  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with a lot of extra energy to use up, and you’ll have to be careful not to over-exert yourself in trying to get him to calm down.

Born in the Year of the Snake: Your solid friendship with the entire Clan of Feathers and Claws will enable you to recognize instantly the appropriateness of the meagre and deft energies the Fowl on the watch is so competent in applying, and you’ll have no trouble taking the extremely efficient and conservative position that his Taking Charge allows you.  Where others are better advised not to risk disturbing his attentiveness, you have the cool-headedness and sleek agility necessary to hover appreciatively just behind him, whispering encouragements, and helping to guide his slow productivity towards your own benefit, without damaging at all the over-all effect.  Remember that this kind of ability on your part rests more on your confident certitude than on your capacity to exert your intention through force of will, or by virtue of some kind of Hypnotizing Gaze.  Relax and let the day roll forward;  the precision you demonstrate in matching that of the Fowl will be the source of your deepest satisfactions.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with far too much enthusiasm to be trusted, and you’ll be spear-heading the move to corral him and calm him down.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Fowl on the watch is fully competent to master the necessary tasks of the day;  but you’ll be at a slight disadvantage in harmonizing with his style, as his work is going to seem so close and delicate that simply aiming to observe the results may leave you with the disconcerting notion that—perhaps—nothing is happening at all.  You task will be, then—if you wish to properly harmonize with his deft capabilities, and help to forward the Ox Moon’s close—to summon your confidence and agreeability, and exude them with all the conviction you can muster into the broad sphere of your place in the world.  If it should feel to you like you’re risking joining in a lie, or worse, tricking others into believing one, just look quickly to the opposite “imagination:”  feeling that you’re “telling the truth” and so helping to keep small things from showing their effectiveness, would be a much more dishonorable and impractical stance.  Supply a bit of trust, and you’ll soon see evidence that your strengths are not being misplaced.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with reassuring exuberance and energy, and you’ll have the duty of making sure he doesn’t just wreck things by trying to exert them.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: Your comprehension of the Clan of Feathers and Claws is strong enough to allow you to feel that you understand implicitly the modest scale of exertion the Fowl on the watch will be bringing to the day’s forward movement:  conservative, deft, careful.  On the other hand, it would be highly uncharacteristic of you to get this far into the Vexing Ox Moon and not feel that the Fowl’s cautious pace might provide some openings for you to re-insert actions and aims that have been unsatisfied thus far, or in fact may have been openly denied and ejected.  You must do whatever is necessary to avoid falling prey to the temptation to “get your digs in,” or to pull a purely technical move to ensure that your purposes are forwarded, after all.  This would be a form of cheating on your part, I think you’ll admit, and it would prove to be particularly embarrassing as it can’t help but be discovered and stopped.  Beyond that fact, you have such broad permission and grateful support coming to you with the arrival of the Rabbit, that it’s really quite silly of you not to invoke a little patience, and simply Bide Your Time.  Take a walk out of the building, if your Meddling Mood starts to rise, and don’t be disappointed when you return to discover that things went along swimmingly without you.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with great exuberance and perky enthusiasm, and you’ll have to be very careful if you wish to avoid him saddling you with the accomplishment of his Fool’s Errand.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: You’ll understand quite readily the appropriateness of the modest amounts of energy and the close attention to exactitude with which the Fowl on the watch will be guiding the forward movement of the day.  Problem is, his refinement and patience are quite likely to raise your itchiness to help out to almost irrepressible levels;  if you don’t want to damage your own results—not to mention your reputation—you’ll have to summon enough Pure Discipline to countermand your urge to get your fingers into the gears.  It’s not that you’re not also capable of great deftness and dexterity;  rather, it’s simply that the kind of slow care that will be needed is not easy for you to continue long enough for it to have its proper effect.  Be a good soldier, then, and satisfy yourself with standing at your post, even if it does seem to be a disappointingly long way from the action at the front.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with far too much exuberant willingness to be trustworthy, but you’ll be able to save the day by distracting him, as long as you don’t fall into exuberance yourself.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: As easily as your Clan-Mate will find it to slip effortlessly into the pace defined by the slowing Ox Moon, you’ll find it equally easy to slip the items from your agenda onto his, confident that slow-and-sure will achieve your aims with a minimum of worry, stress, or exertion on your part.  You’ll have a natural appetite for remaining on hand, to offer encouragement or advice, or just to bask in the comfortable glow filling the air when things are being carried forward towards completion with such élan and lack of desperation.  Still, the day has a spirit of exertion in it for you, and if you find yourself getting itchy to do something with it, it would be better to turn to purely recreational and playful pursuits, well away from where Important Tasks are being dealt with.  Invest you interest in those things that clearly don’t matter, and watch the Meaningful Results accrue, as if by themselves.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with a great deal of gusto, aiming to apply more energy than will be necessary or advisable, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to nominate yourself as security guard to keep him away from what could be wrecked through ill-timed exuberance.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Fowl on the watch will show an elegant appropriateness of scale and force where the progress of the Ox Moon is concerned, but it’s only liable to make you think he’s falling short of achieving the full potential of the Time, when you observe how tight-and-tiny all his actions are, and how glacially slow his approach to each next step seems to be.  If this raises an appetite within you to attempt to complement his approach with your Plan B, please make sure that you develop the idea only within the confines of your own Inner Awareness;  if you attempt to enact them in actuality, you’ll only end up with egg on your face, and a stern rebuke for “getting in the way again.”  On the other hand, if you’re pressed into service under the Fowl’s guidance, you should expect to be given a clear description of your duties, and though you may not particularly enjoy the doing of them, you will be able to take satisfaction from sublimating your own urges to the requirements you’re being held to.  Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with an exuberant attitude, and you can take your reward for Services Rendered by drawing his playful enthusiasm out into the yard, where it won’t do any damage.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The careful and slow harmony of the Fowl on the watch—as he perfectly synchronizes with the Ox Moon’s descending ambitions—will fill you with gratitude and admiration, as if it’s a special gift to you to find yet one more thing in the Universe that Actually Works.  You may have some ideas you’d wish to submit in order to serve and improve the Fowl’s deft and delicate exertions, but most likely you’ll find that they’re being put into action just before you were about to express them, and that will simply deepen and enhance your appreciation of Proper Action coming forward at the Proper Time.  Similarly, you may have some opportunities to offer commentary or explanation to others, explicating the full ramifications of What’s Taking Place;  but with such a minor miracle to be observed, don’t be surprised if you find yourself speaking with great terseness and efficiency, the better to attend to the Event Itself rather than cloud the atmosphere with reflective reportage.  Probably the most satisfying thing you can do is simply to lapse into attentive silence, and use your Big Attention to apprehend and honor the Fowl’s Tiny Gems.   Tomorrow’s Dog will arrive with more enthusiasm and energy than are at all necessary or appropriate, and you’ll have the slightly irritating task of talking him down.

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

There’s nothing grand in the Winter’s close;  even storms of great force seem like desperate redundancies,

Lacking the shock they could deliver when the memory of Autumn’s glow was still fresh, and the warmth of Summer still seemed real.

Time must slide forward in its perpetual revolutions, and however far the distance achieved, each step is nothing special at all.

Even nobles of great privilege have their tedious labors;  even the poorest of the poor must prepare to rise from their beds.

“Three paces from your destination is no place to start hurrying.”

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Saturday, 29th of January


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

The WOOD MONKEY on duty today has a timid and indecisive nature, but also harbors a well-spring of curiosity for seeking out new problems and new solutions.  At this point in the Year, the Monkey’s aptitudes could turn quite easily in a destructive and reductive direction, but this will serve the Ox’s path if they can be dedicated to the cleaning and clearing necessary to prepare for the arrival of the Rabbit.  Keep your attention on the matters of the moment, and don’t allow yourself to dwell on the indeterminate future, or to fall into philosophical musings over the meaning of it all.  There’s plenty to be done, but no single task will have all that much significance;  it’s the moving smoothly from one little completion to the next which will help sweep the Tiger along, and properly prepare a platform on which the Luck of the Hare can land.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Monkey on the watch will have plenty of willingness to get things done, but his rather small-scale spirit will need your buoyancy of expectation to help stay on task.  There may be irritations arising, but most will have to do with insufficiencies on your part, and once recognized they can be readily corrected or filled in;  take the day in small chunks, and don’t let yourself balloon little missteps into big dramas.  Your creative position is quite strong today, so don’t constrain your functionality by requiring yourself to keep to formats or frames that are turned to usually out of simple convenience;  feeling that you’re making it up as you go along will keep you in the sweet spot of your satisfaction, and allow you to manifest the force of whatever Classical Tradition your style derives from, honoring your teachers, and expressing the character of your own generation.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will be weak of force but strong in position, and you’ll need to keep a soft touch in the accomplishment of all things.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Monkey on the watch will not arrive with any grandiose ideas, but it you want to keep him from getting so bored that he starts looking around for some, you’ll have to keep an unswerving gaze on the work in front of you, and demand that the completion of what’s already on the table be the sole aim for the day.  This will be just a little tricky, as the speed and urgency necessary to make proper progress are both creeping down towards zero;  remember, it’s your attention that’s required, not the full brunt of the force you still have so readily available.  If this sounds like a day of irritating constraint, you may be surprised at how much satisfaction you take from Refined Action, properly done.  Your willingness to accept the small offenses and blows of life with a slight smile will be the seat of your Wisdom today, and your most powerful platform from which to lead and inspire.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will have small expectations but a strong position from which to extend his influence, and your open-hearted insistence on enjoying yourself will unlock the best potentials of the day.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Monkey’s scale of expectation will be so small, and the position from which he could exert his more annoying tendencies will be so weak, that you may stalk and prowl through the entire day, and run across no evidence of his presence at all, save a vague awareness that there might be something problematic just around the corner.  In truth, your powers—now in a state of Resting Indifference—will remain high until the next to the last day of the Year, and wherever you wander you’ll find the world showing you that deference to your strength that properly enables you to feel that giving over your Special Position is not only suitable to your spirit, it’s completely congruent to your wishes.  Honor the Monkey’s smallness by toying with possibilities only, and not allowing yourself to enmesh yourself in commitments;  your sense of certitude will be all the stronger if you do not deign to demonstrate it.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will arrive with small ambitions, but will have a strong position from which to pursue them, inspiring your friendly diplomacy to lead your actions and investigations.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The unpresumptuous manner of the Monkey on the watch may deepen the mystery he and his Clan most commonly present to you, and the fact that he will very easily fall into the sort of Bustling Diligence that you’re most comfortable with, will only make the effect seem more bizarre and unaccountable.  Move as rapidly as you can away from any bafflement you may feel, and towards your confidence in taking action, as if your own presumption of Familiar Functionality were filling in the Monkey’s blanks.  Your sense of what you wish to do—from moment to moment, and from task to task—will be strong, in spite of any little question marks you may run across;  follow your own inner urgings, and don’t fall into second-guessing yourself.  If you strike a soft and flowing style of movement in your physical exertions—rather like waltzing through the day—you’ll find that your labors bring you energy as much as they disperse it.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will have weak ambitions but a strong position from which to pursue them, and you’ll have to allow yourself some extra flexibility to keep yourself properly on course.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Monkey on the watch will not be displaying the wide-ranging interests one commonly expects from his Clan, and his gaze will not fall far beyond his immediate reach, forestalling the sort of meddling disturbance his Mates are famous for.  You’ll consequently find it an easier task to keep your progress on its rails than you might expect, and if you find that you almost automatically raised a bit of extra energy in preparation, you’ll be able to hold it in reserve, and derive confidence and a sort of inner glow from the knowledge that it’s there, Just In Case.  The trick for you today will be to avoid over-doing, and to pursue your zest for exertion and accomplishment, through simply radiating your approval and influence, rather than stepping in to avert missteps or inefficiencies by direct action or demonstrative example.  Relax, uncoil, unwind;  this is a day to demonstrate the aphorism, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  Tomorrow’s Fowl will express a similarly limited range of concerns and commitments, and allow you to let things go forward on auto-pilot while you take a bit of exercise.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Monkey on the watch will have weak ambitions, and a weaker position from which to exert them, and if you wish to get yours supported by his arrival, you’ll have to step up and take the Driver’s Seat.  Of course—given your affinities with the entire Clan of the Long Tail—this will be neither difficult nor unpalatable for you to do, and as long as you can focus on the responsibilities entailed with your Leadership Position, you’ll find yourself quite satisfied with your capacity to bark orders and command compliance from all around you.  Don’t over-do it;  it’s your willingness to be the One In Charge that will inspire support for your ideas, and your tenacity to your declared Mission Statement that will earn you the devotion of others to your cause.  If you’ve already demonstrated your control, you’ll do best by exerting it with a softness of hand and an easiness of spirit.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will arrive with similarly small aims, but will be in a much stronger position to pursue them, particularly in so far as they are in alignment with yours.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Monkey on the watch will be arriving with such a narrow idea of what to do with the day, and such a timid sense of the energies he can make available, that you’re very likely to find yourself inspired to fill in the gaps, placing yourself in the forefront of whatever crowd you find yourself in, and throwing your hand up to volunteer, if only to raise the general morale, and to demonstrate your confidence in the principle of Going Forward.  Such as it is, this is not a bad strategy for the day;  but you will need to be careful not to put yourself in a position where your eagerness to resolve Unfilled Blanks has made you a committee of One;  if that happens, you will find that not only are you the only one from whom energy can be drawn, you’ll have to suffer a rather sad lack of companionship, as well.  Remember that the Monkey has very limited aims, and if you do find yourself in a position of control or authority, keep offering small resolutions to see if they suffice and satisfy, rather than delaying until you think you have Something Substantial to submit for approval;  you’ll only find, in the latter case, that you’ve purchased a Ferrari, when a skateboard would have been perfectly suitable.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will arrive with a similarly narrow angle of view, but a very potent position from which to make use of it, and you’ll need to keep buoyant and flexible in order to dance through the day.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Monkey on the watch is the weakest and meekest of his Clan, and his arrival may seem more like a lack of arrival, as if you’ve watched the train pull into the station, but your expected visitor doesn’t disembark, and you’re left alone on an empty platform as the train begins to roll forward again.  In the blank the Monkey’s apparently leaving, you’ll have an opportunity—perhaps for the first time this Year, in a way that can inspire true confidence—to feel the dawn of the Rabbit’s support, and the release of your commitment from the Boot Camp that the Tiger has had you enrolled in.  If you honor the smallness of scale that will seem so appropriate to such a “wee, timorous beastie” as the Monkey seems to present, this will be a day of building up your spirit, and feeling that the gears of your brainpower are getting a good oiling, and returning to their free speed of revolution.  Small things have great power for you today, and the smaller the tests you indulge in, the better you’ll be preparing for the Rabbit’s Many Blessings.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will have a similar narrowness of aim, but a much stronger position from which to exert it, and you’ll have to be careful not to over-shoot your marks.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Monkey on the watch is the most modest and unmeddlesome of your Clan, and for many, his reticence and composure will make it seem that his post is actually going unoccupied.  For you, his casual satisfaction at placing his gaze no farther than his reach will inspire a sense of friendliness and confidence, very close to the realization that the world is fine, Just As It Is.  Don’t misinterpret the state of inaction—or contemplative ease—that may arise as either an Accomplishment or a Disempowerment:  it is neither.  It’s the heart of your intelligence and far-flung talents, and it will bloom gradually through the Rabbit Year, as long as you don’t take it as A Something to be built on or repaired.  Be at rest, and watch the breath go in and out;  your meditation for the day is “Well!  There it is!”  Tomorrow’s Fowl will have similarly limited ambitions, but will be in a far more powerful position from which to pursue them, and you’ll have to keep your fingers away from the machinery in order not to get them dinged.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Monkey on the watch will have no great aspirations to pursue, and consequently, will be very unlikely to toss up the kind of confetti-storm of problems that you and your Clan very rightfully expect to have to deal with when the Masters of Meddling are in charge.  Consequently, you can approach the day with an easy attention, and without the need to rev up your engines to empower sudden surges of activity, or to keep your gaze constantly shifting to catch problems as they’re beginning to sprout, rather than waiting for them to tip over and crash to the ground.  Your position is both strong and well-balanced today, but you will find that it will be helpful to keep your imagination open, and to allow yourself to approach what problems that do present themselves with your sense of humor cocked, and your taste for whimsy and invention ready to be pursued.  Don’t be concerned if others look at you with mild alarm or bemused wonder:  in the blank the Monkey is supplying, they may simply be nominating you as Clown-For-A-Day.  Honk your horn, and tickle them;  they’ll love it, you’ll enjoy it, no harm done.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will have a similarly narrow range of ambitions, but a much stronger position from which to pursue them, leaving plenty of his energy available to make your purposes successful, and easy to accomplish.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Monkey on the watch is the weakest and meekest of his Clan, and his taking up of the post is going to be so undramatic that you might suspect that he’s gone AWOL, leaving his duties unattended to, and the guard-box he’s supposed to be standing in, completely blank of occupancy.  For some, his low-scale ambitions and willingness to completely shun the Mastery of Meddling that his Clan is famous for, will seem to give allowance for their own interests and urges to gain ascendancy, and their own spirits to soar.  For you, however, the lack of Appearance or Exertion will seem much more like some sort of set-up, attempting to lull you into a sense of freedom and curiosity, and luring you into the Trick Box where the trap can be sprung, and the prat-fall can be laughed at.  Don’t ignore or deny any such misgivings;  they’re almost certainly unfounded, but at this point in the Year, any reason for under-doing is a blessing, and there’s a certain comfort to be gained from knowing where you are, and staying there.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will have a similarly small intent to demonstrate his influence, but a much stronger position from which to exert it, enabling you to sniff out some possibilities you can more accurately respond to.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Monkey on the watch is the weakest and meekest of his Clan, and he will be so undemonstrative in fulfilling his duty that you might well imagine that he’s not shown up at all.  For some, this lack of illustration of the Mastery of Meddling—for which the Clan of the Long Tail is rightly famous—will bring forward a spirit of holiday, as happily received as a Snow Day by a class of third-graders excused from showing up at school.  For you, however, there’s only one thing more vexing than a Monkey to object to, that that’s a Monkey who won’t do you the favor of showing up to be objected to.  Give up hope, then, of joining the ranks of all the kids you see outside your window, sliding downhill on sleds and flattened boxes;  you’re going to feel “on call” for the entire day, unable to trust in the apparent freedom enjoyed by everyone else, and irked at the glee and willful indulgence they’re putting on display.  Put your attention instead on any matter that can be a target for you fidgety will to do something;  if you start with the smallest things first, and work your way up, you may find by the end of the day that while you didn’t particularly like the experience of getting it all accomplished, the result is quite satisfying indeed.  Tomorrow’s Fowl will arrive with small ambitions, but will have a strong position from which to pursue them, and giving you a position from which you can actually get your hands on something worthy of your attention.

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

The Spring has not yet arrived, and though the birds show their optimism, hunting about for tidbits,

The time of their showmanship and pride is still distant, however confidently it can be expected.

The year will renew, and the light will achieve its balance;  somewhere between, warmth will make its weak announcement,

And the world will open wide in hopefulness and abundance.  For now, the sparrows maintain modesty, the robins their travelers’ etiquette.

“Giving up thinking, difficult;  giving up giving up thinking, easy.”

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Friday, 28th of January


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

The WATER SHEEP on duty today has a cautious attitude, and can easily get bogged down in details, preferring to take action only after lengthy consideration of all counter-balancing influences.  Such an interest in close and careful examination will find no support from the Ox Moon, and the low amount of free energy available at this late date in the Tiger Year will guarantee that rougher standards and “the quick once-over” will be far more appropriate than any attempt to “stop and get it right.”  Aim to sail through the day with your attention on the far horizon, and lean towards the future.  Don’t over-estimate the importance of what seem to be flaws or defects;  the angle of light will shift dramatically once the Rabbit arrives, and what look like Demanding Matters now, will very likely look like molehills you were better to skip over, than mountains you needed to climb.  If your mood seems to be sagging, congratulate yourself on being in harmony with the day;  on the other hand, if it’s buoyant, be careful to keep “flowing along,” and not to taunt others with your good fortune.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: Relative to the Sad Sheep, your position is strong, and as long as you don’t take your advantage as an invitation to draw attention to yourself, you’ll find even the most commonly stubborn sorts of problems melting easily under your touch, and responding with uncharacteristic willingness to accept your suggested approaches.  Your powers will be at their greatest today when focused on aiding those for whom you have the greatest affection, and you shouldn’t be surprised if your normally rational and “fix-it” attitude turns mushy and emotional, at those times when you think you most need to be clear of speech, and composed in demeanor.  If that happens, just take a moment, and re-gather your wits;  it’s no defect to show the depth of your sentimentality, particularly when those it includes are the ones you’re showing it to.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will be similarly sad, inspiring not sentimentality, but irritated action on your part.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Sheep on the watch doesn’t have much resilience available, and is in such a disadvantageous position that you’ll barely recognize him as coming from the Clan which is so usually dedicated to your obstruction.  His insistence on pausing will come more from his own consternation than from a desire to work through a check-list he’s got in hand, or from a critical review of what you aimed at so long ago, and are now virtually done completing.  I, for one, won’t be surprised if this makes you pause, if only to scratch your head and wonder:  “Now, what is this we have here?”  Anything that will help you come to a bumpless completion of the Tiger’s Trajectory should be taken with some gratitude, and that includes the unexpected—and, it must be said, inadvertent—gift of the Sad Sheep.  Your tenderness of heart will be very much visible to those who know you well, but they probably won’t feel confident in expressing their appreciation of it today.  Look to your finances:  the more “dead in the water” you feel, the more sharply you will be able to see how to take decisive action.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will arrive looking equally sad, and inspire your Workmanlike Confidence to come forward.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Sheep on the watch has so little to be hopeful about, and is in any case in such a tractionless position against the Ox, that with less time than it takes to add up a column of 6 or 7 single-digit numbers, you’re going to reckon that his disadvantage qualifies him for Official  Under-Dog status.  Ever the one to insist on leveling the playing field and supporting those who are being denied a Fair Chance, you’ll find yourself in a mood for Helping Out, both more energetic and more enthusiastic than you have any right to expect so late in the Year.  If you keep your eyes open for the kind of problem that others find overwhelming, but for you amount to mere child’s-play, you will sail through the day like a Super-Hero, and feel entirely justified in returning to your lair for the evening hours with quiet time and cozy comforts to enjoy.  Don’t forget that you can ask for solitude, particularly if there seem to be tensions where your contractual partnerships are concerned.   Tomorrow’s Monkey will look so weak that you may think he’s arrived and vanished in one stroke.

Born in the Year of the Hare: In spite of his ever-upspringing affection for you and your Clan, the Sheep on the watch will be in such a disadvantageous position—not even counting his rather dour and conservative attitude—that he’ll be able to offer none of the clarity and organization he and his Clan so frequently bring to your aims, concerns, and troubles.  In the note-worthy absence of such support, you may find yourself falling into agreement with his pessimistic and cautious tone.   While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing at this point in the Tiger Year—when traction is failing for all of us, and “resting the ” is the best thing for you—it would be a pity if you got so sucked in that your attention became perturbed, and your spirit went into turmoil.  Practice some more of the calm that you made so available to others yesterday, and put your mind on the future:  Spring is coming, and your Time is coming with it.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will appear in a similarly disadvantaged position, but it will conversely not seem to affect your attitude at all.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Sheep on the watch has a dour and conservative attitude to start with, and on top of that, will have so little traction available with which to attempt to swerve the Ox’s path, that his only option will be to sink into a pouting-sort of pause, as if crossing his arms and knitting his brow will ensure that someone will notice his consternation.  Where your attentions are concerned, this may very well look like an opportunity to sink down yourself, and get in a few digs at those who have failed to recognize your wisdom over the last 12 months, or were so scurrilous as to have teased you in your moments of disempowerment.  Of course, this sort of snide behavior is well beneath your dignity, and you’ll pass over the chance with not much more than a fleeting thought of what you could have done, what you could have said.  You may not be able to gain much sense of progress for yourself either, under these circumstances, but at least you can look elegant and refined while you’re not moving.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will look similarly depressed and disempowered, but he’ll most likely inspire your friendly enthusiasm and energetic optimism in response.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Sheep on the watch will be in a weak enough position—in fact, very weak—that he’ll look to your careful rationalism and unhesitating speed for support and guidance.  Since you have the Ox’s ear, this won’t be a bad tactic on the Sheep’s part, and any way in which you can turn the extra attention this brings you to your own advantage will be entirely reasonable.  Express yourself with energy and commitment, and don’t give a thought to the pragmatics of how you look, or what side-effects you may be engendering.  By the time the Tiger Year completes and the Rabbit Year commences, all such considerations will have vanished like chalk washed off a blackboard with a power-hose.  Do something by yourself today that is one of your Very Special Enjoyments;  such use of your time will balance your physical energies, calm your mind and spirit, and deeply foster your longevity.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will be in a similarly weak position—not to mention, rather dour mood—and you’ll do best if you take it as your job to see that he doesn’t collapse completely.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Sheep on the watch has a dour and conservative attitude in general, and with the Ox Moon completely removing the chance for him to find any traction, he’s going to be rather petulant and pouty as well.  The advice, support, and guidance he’ll be able to offer you will be of the “Abandon Hope!” variety, and if you’re expecting instead a rousing “Go Get ‘Em!” speech, you’re going to be disappointed.  That being said, conditions are not nearly as dire or distressing as they will be portrayed today, and the friendliest thing you can do in response will be to absorb the blow with a good grace, sigh once or twice in compassionate agreement, and offer up a slightly more cheerful rejoinder: “Well, let’s see how it works out, shall we?”  When times are tough (or only seem to be) friends show their worth by their simple presence, and there’s no-one better at that art than you.  Get some exercise today:  it will do you a world of good.  Just be as gentle about it with yourself as you would be towards others.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will be in similar need of your gentle support, but you’ll have to be cautious not to agree to give too much of it.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: If you’ve been wincing under the expectation of a Worse Case Scenario, you may very well take today as a day to relax, at least, because you’re facing it.  Now, with that dire pronouncement out of the way, let me hasten to add that conditions are far less distressing in actuality than they might appear, and that the trough you’ve seemed to have fallen into has caused you to sink down, it’s true, but only in preparation for a proper rising upward.  For today’s caption, you might borrow Walt Kelly’s famous phrase:  “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.”  And though the fact that you seem to be in the public eye adds to your difficulties—when you were hoping instead that it might resolve them—your reputation for Diligent Labor and High-Caliber Results will not be in the least diminished, as long as you face your condition bravely, and aim to keep turning towards The Truth.  Remember also Georgia O’Keefe’s aphorism:  “For an artist, the best thing that can happen to you is to meet something that almost kills you.”  A bit too dramatic a statement, actually, but I’m thinking you ought to be allowed some drama and scenery-chewing today:  if you go far enough in that direction, you may very well discover that it’s not a tragedy you’re starring in, but a comedy.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will also be in a sinking down way, but at least you’ll see a bit of that “proper uprising” beginning to demonstrate itself.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The sad demeanor and sadder condition of the Sheep on the watch will make you feel quite clearly the range of powers that are still within your grasp, and will sponsor a deep tenderness in your way of employing them.  You won’t be able to express or accomplish the true height of your ambitions under these dour circumstances, but at least your wily intuition will be strong, and your sensitivity to what could go awry will keep your attention sharp and alert.  When you see the action that must be taken, do not hesitate to be the first one to demonstrate its necessity and effectiveness.  You won’t get a perfect score from any of the judges when they hold up their placards, but they’ll have to acknowledge your elegance of style and clean execution, in any case.  If you can keep your cool, and accomplish a good dismount, you may very well end up with a competitive placement in the field.  Don’t be aggressive, be shrewd;  there’s a huge difference.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will add no energy to your endeavors, but you’ll be in a friendly state of mind, nonetheless.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The pause taken by the Sheep on the watch will come from his petulance and pouting, but still it will offer you a moment of stillness in which you can re-address any problems or difficulties that have proven resistant to resolution over the last 3 weeks.  Comb back through your calendar, or just take a stroll through your memories, and count up the list of do-overs you’d like to have offered to you:  that list is what the day is making available.  Try to stay aloof, and independent of social responsibilities;  they will slow your reflexes and narrow your options for successful approach.  If you organize your list according to annoyance factor, and work down from Most Annoying to the bottom, you’ll demonstrate that efficiency that comes from “setting them up, and knocking them down,” and not feel your stamina has been damaged in the least.  Save some time in the evening hours for your favorite Special Comforts;  they’ll soothe your mind, and deeply nourish your longevity.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will be in an equally disadvantaged position, and it will take your Wildest Imagination to make productive use of it.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The sad and sagging condition the Sheep on the watch will find himself in will conversely raise your attention and your eagerness to make insistent progress, regardless of his pouty and petulant gloom.  While yesterday’s consternations required you to take a leadership role with a Happy Face, the Sheep will only respond to a Sharp Bark and a willingness to make a few well placed nips on his hind-quarters.  If you feel like you’ve been made Drill-Instructor-For-A-Day, at least take full confidence in your ability to fulfill the role.  Sometimes what’s needed is an apparent hardness of heart to keep others from falling into their own expectations of failure and collapse.  Your energies will prove to be unflagging and easy to aim, as long as you remember that for this tour of duty, you’re the Bad Cop.  The Tiger’s no longer interested in terrifying anyone, so you may as well step into the void he’s left available.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will be equally sad and sagging, but will prove far more difficult for you to steer or influence.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Sheep on the watch will be in a sad state, what with his dyed-in-the-wool dedication to Diminished Expectation, and his disempowerment against the Ox Moon’s irresistible drift.  You have two options under this condition.  The first is to take a “go with the flow” attitude, demonstrating to all—not least, to any Sheep who happens to be able to observe you—that This Too Shall Pass.  The second is to stand very deeply in your concrete dedication to things As They Are, and to smack the Sheep smartly on the cheek, insisting that he “straighten up and fly right!”  You’re as open to flights of fancy as anyone I can think of, but there are times when you have an overwhelming forcefulness in pointing to the power of believing in The Actual;  today is one of those time.  Observe carefully the extent of your activity, however, and stop short when sufficient results are achieved;  going beyond that point could damage your satisfaction, if not your health.  Tomorrow’s Monkey will not allow you to have much effect at all, and that may justify flying up into a World of Fantasy for the day.

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

Only the jays hop about in the branches of the pear trees, and they are perfectly silent through the afternoon;

Cat-birds chirp flatly at dawn, and then again at dusk, but they don’t go on long enough to dictate their messages.

When the Tiger prowls through the brush, every other form strikes a stark pose, and listens in silence.

When the Year is on retreat, even silence provides divination enough:  when the time is for waiting, wait.

“Arguing at a wedding is bad enough;  arguing at a burial, 70 years of bad luck!”

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Thursday, 27th of January


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

The WATER HORSE on duty today has great strength of heart but flickering intention, and will pause in confusion between the softening but unyielding press of the Ox, and the yielding but friendly indifference of the Tiger.  The most trustworthy realizations will come through physical observation and sensitivity;  the more lofty or extended one’s thoughts, the more likely they are to produce nothing but more uncertainty.  Those patterns that are already in play can be trusted, and carried forward, but maintaining a slow pace—so as to be clear what is present, and what isn’t—will be necessary to make your efforts count for something beyond escapism or self-distraction.  Honor any sense of enthusiasm, but invest more in your reticence to make commitment, and in your patience to wait for other options to appear.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The hesitant pause the Horse on the watch will be observing will bring you some advantages if you don’t rush in to try to capture them;  your charm is strong today, and your nose for opportunity has never been more finely-tuned in sniffing the breeze, but you owe the Horse some respect, and acting too quickly, or without a physically based sensitivity will mean you’re insulting when you should be paying homage.  Take a pause yourself, and let things come to you:  the world is in a curious state, and your stillness and silence will enshroud you in an irresistible mystery, fairly demanding to be investigated.  When you’re asked questions, it will be part of your knowledge they wish to know about, so don’t indulge in a Full Data Dump;  if you take the time to listen, you’ll know exactly what they need to hear.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will be give you the usual opening to state your opinions, but will be uncharacteristically open to accepting them without an argument.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The pause the Horse on the watch will be taking will put him in apparently perfect synchrony with your pace, lifting your spirits, and giving you a sense of companionship and camaraderie, even though it will seem strange to be coming from such a source.  If you continue confidently on your long deceleration, and don’t take the arrival of friends as a challenge to your progress, you may very well decide by the end of the day that you like this kind of Equine Experience.  Try to take some of your enjoyment out of doors, but don’t let light rough-housing turn into competitive tests of strength;  you’re stronger than everybody, and they all know it, and show-boating will only damage your sense of free play.  Tomorrow’s Sheep—weak as he’ll be—will put you on pause, but at least that will help you to lean a little more into the brakes.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The pause the Horse on watch will fall into will not seem so dire as to cause you concern, or give you reason to summon those enormous powers you so frequently dedicate to the support of your Equine Friends;  rather it will enable you to pause yourself, to turn your gaze back over your shoulder in consideration of the long journey you’ve made through the Tiger Year, and to prepare your mind for the decisive moment coming soon when The Past will be forsaken, and The Future will be selected.  By the end of the day, you may very well feel that—if that option were open—you’d be perfectly capable of starting over, and going through the whole thing again without even getting winded.  Having reached that sensation will be the signal that you’re truly ready for fresh territory and new terrain.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will enter with a sad expression and sagging spirits, inspiring your altruistic nature, and making you look for ways to perform as Problem-Solver.

Born in the Year of the Hare: As good as you are at running, there’s nobody as good at pausing as you;  the hesitancy and inner edginess of the Horse on the watch, will give you a great opportunity to demonstrate this mastery of yours, and if you can reach out your calm spirit in support, everyone around you will take benefit from your presence, and flood you with gratitude for your donation to their various causes.  Don’t think this kind of charity work has to be a big mental problem or a drain on your energies;  if you’re attentive, parked in one place, and acting as if you have some understanding of what they’re talking about, they’ll unburden themselves so freely that they’ll talk themselves right into their own solutions, all by themselves.  The great thing about some friends, after all, is what they don’t say.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will bring much more personalized problems, and you’ll have a much more difficult time maintaining that “calm spirit.”

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The pause the Horse on the watch will have to take will not affect your freedom of movement at all, except perhaps in making it easier to demonstrate.  This is a case where stillness or lack of motion does not indicate lock-up or resistance, only an indecisiveness as to direction and purpose.  Consequently, you’ll find great energies standing on street corners, just waiting for someone to come along and put them to work.  If you maintain that sharpness of conception for which your Clan is famous, and apply it with military diligence balanced by a soft hand, there’s virtually nothing to put your attention to that will not respond with brilliant precision and willing verve.  Don’t over-do it, please;  your power comes from your aristocratic air today, and gracious elegance and noble restraint should be your handmaidens.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will pause for those other reasons, and test your command of your dignity and refinement.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Horse on the watch will be in a hesitant pause, but since it arises from indecision and confusion, you’ll find that he’s more than available to any suggestion—or indeed, insistence—that you can offer to fill in the empty spaces.  This is the kind of pairing you most enjoy when the Equine Clan makes itself available to your influence, and you’re going to put this down as a red-letter day in your diary, if you handle it right.  “Handling it” will need to be based on your present condition and your future hopefulness, and not on any parting shots you wish to make by virtue of the Tiger’s departure.  The Horse’s affinities there are too solid to be commanded by you—even within a state of High Confusion—and if you test the matter, you’re certainly going to find yourself unceremoniously dumped to the ground.  Be broad-minded, and aim to spread some of the profits around;  money likes those who circulate it.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will be in the kind of pause that requires your patience, but will also be much more likely to catch the spirit of what you’re trying to accomplish by applying it.

Born in the Year of the Horse: With your Clan-Mate stymied in uncertainty and indecisiveness today, you’ll find your empathy rising like clouds of steam from a pot of boiling noodles.  If you feel confusion yourself, or if you’re caught in the flickering polarity of a true dilemma, you have only to turn your attention to those around you, and you’ll see how willing they all are to help you out of your consternation.  Your sweetness of spirit is something all want to get a taste of, and if you give yourself even the slightest of pretexts to demonstrate it, you’ll see how powerful it can be in the world.  If you’re lacking in a sense of your own confidence, put some energy into your Pet Project;  it will talk back to you today in very reassuring terms.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will bring you some dour advice, but as it will be offered with the friendliest of intentions, it won’t be all that hard to take.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Horse on the watch will be caught in a whorl of indecision, stymied by the fact that none of the available options—as far as he can see—has anything about it that recommends itself above any of the others.  Fortunately for him—and even more fortunately for you—this is exactly the kind of situation in which your masterful powers of comparison and analysis come to the fore with their greatest brilliance.  Never mind that sometimes the advantage you bring comes from the simple fact that you recognize when it’s action itself that is what counts, not which direction the action is taken.  If that means you can skip over the lengthy assessments and get right to sponsoring some movement, that’s all to the good.  And there’s no harm in selecting a direction that would do you some good, either;  in expression of his gratitude, I’m sure that’s how the Horse will want it, anyway.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will be able to offer you no advantages—or even gratitude—and if you tried to get through the day by imagining that it’s not really happening, that would be entirely understandable.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: As the Horse on the watch will be all suited up to dash down the straight-away, your excitement will be revving high;  but as he’s got no idea which direction to go even to get to the starting-gate, your confusion is very likely to rise to the same level he’s caught in.  This is one of those awkward conditions where your most important task is to Not Freak Out, and the more you consider your situation, the more difficult that task will become.  But you’ve learned quite a lot over the last 12 months about concentrating your restraint to the demands of the moment, and if you plant your attention firmly in the physical, you’ll find your feet are under you pressing into the ground—unless you’re already up in the saddle, in which case his are doing the firm pressing.  Trust in his solid stance, and practice your patience;  only 6 more days to go!  Tomorrow’s Sheep will be in a far worse predicament, but you’ll know exactly what to do with that one.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Horse on the watch will be stalled not from reluctance or resistance to the opportunities of the day, but because of a deep indecision about which of them to pursue.  You will have no difficulty looking over the options, or recognizing quite quickly which of them is most immediately available, which has the greatest likelihood of eventual success, which presents the greatest potential for long-term benefit, and so on.  Consequently, it will be fairly easy for you to unlock the snarl the day might have gotten itself into, simply by picking one of the more favorable options—or perhaps, the one that’s simplest to understand or see—and stating what to you will be The Obvious.  If you do so with soft-and-slow words, and with a reassuring manner, the problem will be solved, and you’ll have demonstrated yet another part of your Amazing Skill-Set.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will present a nut that’s a little harder to crack, but at least you’ll get to pull out your favorite hammer to crack it.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Horse on the watch won’t be so much irritated as perturbed, and not so much stuck as stymied;  there’ll be lots of options to take, but he’ll have no earthly idea how to go about choosing from among them.  In most conditions, you’re the one picking up what any Horse is putting down, and following along wherever his or her willfulness or excitement leads.  Here, however, you’ll need to be the one demonstrating some initiative, and stepping forward to call the shots.  Now, you can relax about the Burdens of Command;  all the choices today are pretty much equivalent in usefulness and safety.  They all spring from two considerations:  1.) the only direction available is the one the Ox is going in, and 2.) he’s going there very, very slowly.  The options only have to do with mood and attitude:  supply your Happy-Go-Lucky Mood and your Let’s-See-What-Happens Attitude, and the day will go forward splendidly, Horse and all—though of course, “very, very slowly.”  Tomorrow’s Sheep will be similarly perturbed, but you have other tricks available for that situation.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Horse is going to be in such consternation today, between the irrepressible demands of the Ox and the imminent disappearance of the Tiger, that whatever hot plans you may have on the burner are either going to over-cook if you keep stirring them, or turn stone cold if you try to dish them up and serve them.  There’s not much you can offer from your usual tool-kit to help the Horse out of his confusion, and whatever fabulous recipe you’d turn to were it you in such doldrums, you’ll find—I’m afraid—that it would not be to his taste.  If you take careful note, however, you’ll see quite clearly that in this sort of inactivity, those of the Equine Clan sink deep into their formidably sensitive awareness of the physical world, and that it’s there that you can hit on a remedy.  Make a clear mental picture of exactly what you’d like to have happen—in as simple a version as you can manage—and make one very small movement of your body towards it, as if it were already beginning to take place.  You’re very good at this type of telepathic communication, and the Horse will be hungering for someone to tell him what to do, so give it a try.  If it doesn’t work, just take a moment to relax, and try it again.  You’re very good at the Lather-Rinse-Repeat thing, too.  Tomorrow’s Sheep will have far more substantial reasons for pausing, and you can be similarly more substantial in your remedies.

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

Zao Jun Si Ming "The Kitchen God" watches all from his post above the stove.

Zào Jūn Sī-Mìng, “Hearth Lord Administrator”

The Kitchen God has departed, leaving the household unobserved.



Zào Jūn has flown up with his full retinue, arms full of bothersome memos for the Celestial Court’s perusal.

Emptier now, the house becomes more human, at the same time more “just like everything else.”

Clean and clean, as if to wipe the old year away, sweeping and dusting, just like grandmother taught you, long ago.

Startled by fire-crackers, your age will fall away, clapping hands and staring wide-eyed, laughing out loud like a toddler again.


“Even an old book can be a ticket to a new destination.”

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Wednesday, 26th of January


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

The METAL SNAKE on duty today has a dark and brooding attitude, and an appetite for solitude rather than involvement, but will take just enough of a boost from the Ox Moon’s momentum to reach virtually anything he strikes at or sidles up to.  Make your aims modest and you’ll be able to reach them with similar effectiveness;  it’s better to make them matters of the moment and convenience, than of long-standing preference or predilection.  If you are even partly settling a grudge, or trying to prove something to yourself or others, you may succeed, but you’ll be exposing yourself to sharp criticism and potentially damaging repercussions.  With the Rabbit’s blessings coming just around the corner, “proving something” will be far safer and more productive if you’ll delay your demonstrations for at least a week.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: In spite of his native conservatism, the Snake is in a strong position today, and will lead you with deft exactitude towards the center of those strengths you can borrow from the Ox.  If you don’t let your mental plans run on ahead of you, you’ll find that you have a confidence in your physical energies and attributes that you haven’t felt in several weeks.  Just make sure that you pass over any opportunity to grab hold of some problem that will drag you down the road in its own direction over the next week.  Your taste for large results could get you into trouble if you don’t use your Good Sense to match the Snake’s conservatism where energy outlay is concerned.  Tomorrow’s Horse will bring you Good Luck, but you’ll only be able to capitalize on it if you stay sober, unambitious, and bound to what you’ve already committed yourself to.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Snake’s cool-headedness will help you stay focused on what you’ve been dedicated to for these many long months, and ensure that you complete your commitments without fouling up your forward movement just because the end is so clearly in sight, and the efforts needed are becoming so close to zero.  Your taste for simple continuities will be well-satisfied if you think of yourself as running on automatic, but still paying close attention to the way the frame of your gaze is slowly shifting your view of the world around you.  Be careful not to act like you’ve lost your sense of humor where your partnerships are concerned;  love means never having to say “I was only joking.”  Tomorrow’s Horse will put you in a strangely agreeable mood, particularly if you decline to take little problems as Big Deals.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: Though his temperament is fundamentally conservative and cautious, the Snake on the watch will make at least a couple of demonstrations of his Willful Desires that will cross your path, or fall into your field of view.  The great temptation will be to see these as opportunities to make your own final Grand Gesture before the Tiger Year runs out, and to soothe yourself with the satisfaction of having taken a Moral Stand.  While it would be satisfying to remind yourself how solidly you place yourself on The Rules by which you engage the world, I can’t advise you to yield to the Snake’s temptation by making demonstration of the fact;  if you’ll notice, your heart isn’t really into such theatrics today, and no-one around you really requires any such proof of your strength of mind or your awesome energetic powers, either.  Bristle a bit, if you like, just for show, but let irritations and obstructions slide by unanswered.  Tomorrow’s Horse will give you far more honorable instincts to spring from, and show you how much energy you still have, held in reserve.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Snake will arrive with a secret message for the Clan of the Long Ears:  “Your power is coming.”  It’s not as if you didn’t know the facts of it already;  they are, after all, common knowledge here.  But the secret part has to do with the energetic shift you’re going to feel once the Resting Time of the Tiger has finished up, and you get (finally) called from the bench, and put into the game.  Take the rush of energy you feel today in your own private awareness, and pass over the temptation to put it to use, particularly if you’d be doing so to prove to the world just how ready you are to Show Your Stuff.  Everyone will be recognizing that soon enough, and you won’t want to lose strategic advantage by virtue of false timing.  Tomorrow’s Horse will show you the value you gain from your restraint, and further reward you with Leisure Among Friends.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: If the Snake is getting a boost today, he’ll be showing his good will towards the Clan of Scales and Claws by passing it right on to you, with rather a great deal of his stored up energy thrown into the bargain.  You’ve got a good chance of capitalizing on the Whip-Lash Ride he’s offering you by soaring right over the problems that have been vexing you for the last three weeks, and all you have to do is make sure that you don’t indulge in any over-steering.  Relax and let your trajectory demonstrate itself.  You will want to put most of your attention in the springiness of your landing, and whatever happens, plan on straightening yourself up, quickly readjusting your clothing, and declaring:  “I meant to do that!”  Beam broadly and go about your business, and everyone will believe you.  Tomorrow’s Horse will make his powers available to your shrewd commands, and ensure that what you aim at will be accomplished.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The conservatism of your Clan-Mate will marry itself to the liberal generosity of the Ox, giving you wide opportunity married to narrow appetite.  Anything you’ve laid proper groundwork for over the last several days—and at a larger scale, over the last several months—will present itself on a silver platter, ready to be bagged, tagged, and dragged home.  Summon your stillness and your patience, and simply wait for The Moment to arrive.  Your greatest pleasure will come from the exactitude of your timing, and the overwhelming release of energy when the trap is sprung;  don’t allow yourself to capture empty air by letting your attention wander, or by misusing the loophole you’ve discovered.  The stakes are great, but you’re holding the winning hand:  play it strictly according to The Rules.  Tomorrow’s Horse will provide you with plenty of comradeship, and all his energy in assisting you with that “dragging home” thing.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Snake on the watch may have a conservative temperament, but he’s got Big Plans in action today, and a place for you to fit into them.  If you feel a preternatural sense of danger looming over you, you won’t be entirely wrong;  but the Snake is in an extremely powerful position today, and his shrewd and cunning machinations are going to go off like a well-oiled and finely-tuned Swiss cuckoo clock.  Marvel at the turning of the wheels, and smile at the little birdy coming out in repetition to chirp out The Time;  the Snake knows exactly what to do it, and if you’ll just follow his prompting—by which I mean, “follow your physical instincts”—you’ll emerge from the turning of the gears with a giddy grin on your face, your sense of confidence re-booted, and no harm done.  Tomorrow’s Horse will bring out your tenderness, and show you how reliable your confidence is when married to your delight.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Snake is in an extremely strong position today—in spite of, and in some ways, because of his conservative temperament—and you’ll gain a few lessons in management of forces and the power of Exquisite Timing if you just hang back and observe the way it all goes down.  Normally, it’s you who are the one handing out such Educational Examples, but the Snake’s cunning and shrewdness—not to mention his cold-hearted and well-nigh mechanical patience—are going to fill you with astonishment at the new bench-mark of What Can Be Accomplished that he’ll be making.  Take the lesson with sober attention, and prepare to have your mind blown;  you don’t need much information beyond your own instincts to very properly negotiate the Rabbit Year, but if you were going to seek to enhance your skills, this is the direction you should be looking.  Tomorrow’s Horse will comfort you with his energetic availability, and bring forward your natural sense of what to do with it.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Snake is in a very powerful position today, and will be tossing out little bon-bons to all his true friends and admirers, and of course you’ll be in the front row of that contingent.  Normally, the world turns to you as Master of Timing, and marvels at your inerrant capacity to strike in perfect harmony with the emerging availability of arising opportunities;  today however, it’s the Snake who will making jaws drop and eyes bug out in astonishment as he displays his lesson in Cold Patience and Lightning Action for all to see.  If he asks for volunteers to go through a How To Demonstration, throw you hand in the air, and prepare to impress:  you’re going to take to The Art like a duck to water, and your only difficulty will be to keep your giggling from wrecking your sober concentration.  Tomorrow’s Horse will require much more of your “sober concentration,” but as your personal stakes will be higher, the giggling won’t much of a problem at all.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The Snake is in a very powerful position today, and his conservative outlook will only enhance the dramatic exactitude with which he will make use of it.  For most, the display he puts on will go by like a blur, happening so quickly that it might seem to have been more hallucination than witnessed reality.  Only you will see the timing and speed with equal precision, and if you’re astonished, the thought that goes along with your astonishment will be: “Hey!  Why didn’t I think of that?”  In truth, the display is partly being made just for your benefit, and having seen the technique used in formal example, you’ll be free to step up and give it a try yourself.  You can do so with confidence, but remember to observe the steps at the beginning with All Due Care:  in a trick shot on the pool table, it’s the setting-up of all the balls that counts.  Tomorrow’s Horse will be conversely disempowered, and will therefore show you how your the opposite tools from your skill-set are required.

Born in the Year of the Dog: In spite of the Snakes conservative and cautious temperament, he’ll be in an aggressive and demanding mood today;  because of his conservative and cautious temperament, his mood is going to be both unavoidable and inescapable.  For you, this means a day of some annoyances and many, many conditions fraught with Impending Doom.  Don’t think that Freaking Out is your only option;  if you feel as if you’re the one with the cigarette in your mouth, and he’s the one with the bull-whip, be confident that his accuracy will be unparalleled today, and that you’ll receive your share of the applause once the trick is performed, to the gasping astonishment of all in the audience, and—no doubt—to your own great relief.  Keep your cool, and you’ll end up amazing everyone;  you can take a Victory Lap while the cheering dies down.  Tomorrow’s Horse will be in a correspondingly weak position, and very much in need of your guidance and confident zeal.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Snake is in a very powerful position, and will be in High Mind to make use of it;  fortunately for you, he’s also going to be digging down into his conservative temperament—rather than departing from it—and that means there’s a weakness in his position from which to organize your response.  As long as you don’t openly challenge the way things are cranking forward today, you’ll derive great tactical benefit from watching the wheels go around:  you’ll see—if only by direct contrast—where your tactical strengths lie, and (more importantly) what your own strategic weaknesses are.  I’ll let you decide on your own terms for them, but “arrogance and presumption” might be a starting point to consider.  (Did you know General Custer was a Pig?) Make a few small sorties just to test the accuracy of your understanding, but don’t commit any significant amount of your forces;  you’re running Black Ops today, and the closer to invisible your remain, the better.  Tomorrow’s Horse will be in a correspondingly weak position, and will show you how much you can do by Thinking Small.

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

Zao Jun Si Ming "The Kitchen God" watches all from his post above the stove.

Zào Jūn Sī-Mìng, “Hearth Lord Administrator”

The Kitchen God watches all from his post above the stove.


The Kitchen God spends the whole year on the wall, but tonight he’ll take his sabbatical, and rise to the Palace of Heaven.

When taking him down from above the stove, be sure to treat him kindly, and show him the deepest respect.

Once you’ve sweetened his lips with sticky cakes, you can send him to make his report, riding upwards on smoke and incense.

For seven days, he’ll be snitching to the Jade Emperor, and we below will be gossiping and complaining to our heart’s content.

“When the carriage is ready to depart, haste is a virtue.”

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Tuesday, 25th of January


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

The METAL DRAGON on duty today possesses brilliance of style and elegance of manner, but neither his powerful flexibility nor his sleek elusiveness will lead to much advantage, with both the Ox and the Tiger so close to their departures, and declining to contend.  Try to maintain an agreeable attitude, and don’t make minor disturbances into major dramas;  better to regard sticking points as openings for diplomacy than to indulge stubbornness or self-importance, using them as pretexts for hostility or wrangling.  Any advantages that could be won that way would be entirely temporary, and the energy wasted in accomplishing them would be far better devoted to smoothing the Tiger’s exit, and achieving nourishing rest in honor of the Rabbit’s arrival.  When in doubt, think of disengaging, rising upwards, and building potential for the future by staying at rest and maintaining mystery.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: You won’t be able to rely too strongly on the Dragon’s support today, but even without him demonstrating much of his power in backing you, you’ll gain—from his standing the watch—a clear sense of your operative talents and their actualizing effects, with a special accuracy in reading how you’re coming across to others.  Don’t overstate your case;  acting pompous or presenting your position as self-evident will mystify those with whom you most wish to ally yourself, and lead them to think that you don’t really need their friendship and support.  Short silences are more powerful for you today than long words.  Be careful not to over-step the lines which you yourself have drawn, and be gracious and forgiving if money matters become snarled.  Tomorrow’s Snake will help you balance your mental and physical states, and tempt you with a chance to render Big Effects with an apparently minimal exertion.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The Dragon’s mysterious shadow-play flickering across your path will make it seem clear to you which parts of your agenda will need the most work over the next few days, and exactly how far it is that you have to go to bring them to completion.  Rouse your energies and lean into your labors:  a small increase in dedication and focus will help to stabilize your progress.  But don’t buy what the Dragon is selling today, lock-stock-and-barrel;  you’re actually much closer to your goals than his dramatics will make it seem, and if you take appearances too seriously, you might over-shoot your mark.  Don’t decline friendly invitations:  even strangers are likely to act perfectly psychic about what you really want.  Tomorrow’s Snake will smooth your path by making it truly easy to follow your duty as you understand it.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The arrival of the Dragon on the watch will put you quite naturally on your guard, but as he’s likely to stay out of sight for most of the day, you can plan on the slight lift in adrenalin and watchfulness you’ll experience as a little boon he’s granting you, making it easier to feel your physical wants, and more obviously appropriate to see to them.  As long as you don’t turn to anything too lethargic, or likely to induce sleepiness, you can indulge your tastes, and aim for deep satisfaction.  Just make sure you’re seeing to basic safety measures, and putting things in proper arrangement, before you leave the house, or close your eyes in pleasure.  Tomorrow’s Snake will present far more defined problems to attend to, and show you more clearly how you’d prefer them to work out.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The Dragon is not in a strong position today, and so the sorts of irritations that he can foster in your direction will be minimal;  but remember that you also are not in your strength, and if you feel that you’re doing some crouching-down in preparation for the Rabbit’s arrival—the better to jump forward when the New Year comes—perhaps it would be a good idea to spend at least part of the day in lying-down, instead.  Anybody you’re with is going to be easy to spend time with, but if you follow your natural inclination for exercise, it would be helpful to give them the job of telling you when to stop, just so you don’t go over-board.  Take some action to benefit your health;  a little effort will produce big results.  Tomorrow’s Snake will thrill you with expectations, and your responsibility will be to see that you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment by planning on cheating your own rules in reaching your achievements.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Dragon coming on the watch is one of your most agreeable and powerful Clan-Mates, but he’s not going to be in such an advantageous position that you’ll be able to derive much profit from his over-sight and protection.  Better to think of him as simply providing you with cover, decoying any attacks up into the formless clouds, instead of leaving you out in the open, an obvious target.  If you do your part in “maintaing mystery,” you’ll find the day restores your energetic balance, and recharges your vitality.  As we’re energetically scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point in the Year, that’s not an accomplishment to be sneezed at.  Tomorrow’s Snake will show you what the word “advantageous” means, and give you a taste for travel you haven’t allowed yourself for several weeks.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Dragon coming on the watch is not in a powerful position from which to take action, but if you’ll match his haughty disdain for engagement, he’ll do for you all the reconnoitering and fact-gathering you’ll need to take best advantage of the platform for success and satisfaction that the waning Ox Moon offers you.  Spend some time reviewing how you’ve got things set up so far, and put some attention on what might be your Next Surprising Move.  It’s what’s not expected from you that will give the best leverage, and even if you’re itching to pull the trigger, sober timing will make all the difference.  Tomorrow’s Snake will give you the high sign when it’s time to close the trap, and cinch up your prize.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Dragon coming on the watch will be in such a tactically weak position today that he’ll be phoning in his part, and sending you your instructions by carrier-pigeon.  Still, it can be quite helpful to have your steps guided by such a high-up overview, and you should take confidence in your prospects for the day.  Look for omens in view, as well as direct instructions from those around you, to suggest not the particulars of what you should do, but the over-arching effect you should be trying to reach.  You’re fully competent, and in lucid mindfulness, to fill in all the practical details yourself.  Just make sure that you’re referring to your famous instincts concerning the space you’re in, instead of relying on ideology or a pre-planned map to follow.  Stay in touch with your bosses and mentors:  they’ll want to tell you that you’re “doing fine.”  Tomorrow’s Snake will lead you into dangers, but you’re really going to enjoy the thrill.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Dragon coming on the watch will demonstrate his capacity for Maneuvering Mysteriously, and that will leave you with a sense of obstruction, but with no location in which to place it in your mind, or against which you can launch a counter-proposal.  Fortunately for you, the Apparently Empty Space he’s confronting you with is, in fact, Actually Empty Space, and if you choose to take advantage of the opportunity, there will be nothing arriving to obstruct whatever use you wish to put it to.  Whether that turns out to be a bit of blind-folded Ninja-Wizard shadow-boxing, or calling up a few friends to bring over some beers and burgers, will be of no particular import.  This is a day for you to do some Energetic Relaxing, and by tomorrow it will be just one more day sliding off the calendar.  Tomorrow’s Snake will conversely help you shape your attention correctly to make use of the Rabbit’s arrival, and the more seriously you take the questions confronting you, the better.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Dragon on the watch will be maintaining his post from a very high position up in the clouds, and though you might feel both the lack of his controlling support as a result, you’ll also be quite aware that you never know when he might change tactics and drop onto the scene for a General Inspection.  Consequently, it will handle all your opportunities and responsibilities most effectively if you go through the day imagining that the Inspection is coming up in “just a few minutes.”  Keep busy polishing and aligning, and don’t leave any of your work surfaces messy for a second longer than they need to be.  You’ll enjoy the challenge to your manual dexterity and your mental grasp, and even if the Dragon doesn’t make his expected appearance, you may find some coins of un-expected value while you’re doing all that cleaning.  Tomorrow’s Snake will bring you flattery, encouragement, and challenges, all in equal measure.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: With the Dragon declining—for mostly tactical reasons—to make a big show of himself, you’ll feel his support more in an aura of friendly opportunism than in the arrival of any particular event through which you could render a note-worthy advantage.  There is, however, the looming possibility that amidst all the gracious sociability, you’ll come across something Quite Significant that only you among all your comrades will know quite what to do with, and if that does happen, you should waste no time looking for consensus or permission, but go forward immediately and without hesitation.  You’ll know the moment has arrived, probably because you’ll find yourself already in action.  You don’t have to be public about the net results, if you don’t want to.  Tomorrow’s Snake will bring you some rough gems to sort through, and applaud as you show your skill at cleaving them into jewels.

Born in the Year of the Dog: It’s particularly fortunate for you that the Dragon coming on the watch will make a tactical decision not to display his powers, or even perhaps, allow himself to be seen at all.  If this fills you with a vague foreboding, worried about from which direction Disaster might strike from the clouds, you can minimize your concern by regarding yourself already in his All-Seeing Eye, and busying yourself with activities that demonstrate quite clearly how diligently you’re seeing to your assigned (or supposed) duties.  Take it from me, he’s not watching;  but you’ll be happier fulfilling your responsibilities with eagerness and dedication, anyway.  You’ll get no extra points for spending more energy than is necessary, so apply your famous taste for efficiency with liberal satisfaction.  Tomorrow’s Snake will bring you benefits you won’t feel comfortable trusting, but at least you’ll Get Your Exercise.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Dragon will be hiding out in the clouds today—rather than risk the embarrassment of defining a Field of Battle, to which no opponents choose to arrive—and his absence and lack of directing force will leave you somewhat “in the clouds” yourself concerning your own responsibilities and ambitions.  Should you take the day as a wash, and stop polishing all the weaponry?  Or should you be extra diligent in your preparations, just in case a Sneak Attack has been planned?  In the blank of other influences, it seems to me that you should be parking yourself somewhere comfortable—or at least, somewhere that’s not un-comfortable—and sorting through your duties with an eye to how well they fulfill your actual aims, and how well they make use of your actual talents.  You won’t be able to put any of your musings, decisions, or realizations to practical use just yet, but once the Rabbit arrives, you may find that having already thought through what you’d do if You Were In Charge will prove highly advantageous.  Since it’s only thinking, think about the Truly Big Problems.  Tomorrow’s Snake will sharpen your tactical awareness, and give you a chance to test your New Theories.

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

When the Winter is mild, the growth in the garden never truly ceases, and the plants get no rest;

When Spring finally arrives, the bulbs put forth a lack-luster effort, all leaves and no vitality.

Only when the Winter bites down hard, and looms with the darkness of death itself,

Does the Yáng properly enter the Yīn, courting fertility, and accomplishing the great nourishing.

“See the doctor, and trust the prescription;  take the medicine, and trust the effect.”

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Monday, 24th of January


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

The EARTH HARE on duty today has an inward-turning attitude and a contemplative nature, and brings a moment of reluctance and reservation to waning of the Ox Moon.  Take a soft-edged approach to the problems facing you today, and let your pace ease enough that you can include reflection on your aims, and appreciation of your progress.  The things that most seem to require immediate resolution, or give rise to a sense of desperation, are not worth pursuing with anything more than palliative response.  Aim to produce calm in your surroundings, and let affairs ripen in their own time;  the secrets of the world are on clear display in the facts of the matter, and making a great to-do about their lackings or mis-alignments will neither correct or re-order them to any great benefit.  When the tide is coming in, it’s the wrong time to set sail;  when the Year’s is draining out, one should rightly expect to find some of the Year’s wreckage exposed to view.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Rabbit on the watch is actually in a strong position, but not inclined to do much with his advantage.  Be careful not to put yourself on his bad side by insisting that movement must be made, or opportunities must be pursued;  your gentle calm will earn you far more appreciation than your posturing as The Intelligent One.  Look to the wishes of others, and serve them if you can;  your apprehensions are no doubt correct, but your ability to inspire agreement to your leadership is virtually non-existent.  If you’re looking for agreeable response to your presence, bring some cut flowers or a potted plant into the house:  anything that can talk or move about on its own recognizance will only bring you a potential for argument.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will bring you a clear sense of the difference between what you do best, and how you look doing it.

Born in the Year of the Ox: The reflective mood preferred by the Rabbit on the watch will give you reason to settle into your own thoughts, but staying there will not capture your attention.  Consequently, your quirky sense of humor is very likely to make an appearance, and suggest that you ruffle some feathers and tease a few Solidly Held Beliefs.  You’ll be able to get away with such inflammatory tactics only if you make sure that they’re precisely aimed, and even then, only if you give them up just as soon as their effects have been felt.  If you can’t make it clear that your jests come from affection, then you’d better be prepared for a fight of major proportions—or at least a Very Serious Pout—to take up the rest of the day.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will make it clear what you’re not finished dealing with, but allow you the camaraderie of like-minded mates to help guide you in accomplishing it.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The reflective poise of the Rabbit on the watch will allow you to relax into your natural powers without self-aggrandizement or bashfulness, and open your heart to the admiration and support of your friends and comrades in the never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the Tiger Way.  Given our position at the end of the Year, it would be better for you to feel that you’re at a reunion of past classmates, rather than at the embarkation of a crew of newly won pals setting off to capture the Golden Fleece.  Think “reminiscences,” rather than “quests.”  You’ll be in a strong position today, so don’t worry if you find that you’re following the drift of the crowd to an unusual degree:  luck will come to you through the ideas and urgings of others.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will put you back on your guard, but more for comfort than for safety.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The calm induced by the reflective attitude of your Clan-Mate will put your attention very clearly within your own skin, where you’ll find all the authority and pre-possession you need to imagine yourself the Captain of the Guard, and all the confidence and expressiveness necessary to convince everyone else to follow your lead.  Don’t lean too heavily on the conventions of leadership, however:  you’ll find it boring if you don’t make up some new rules as you go along, and your troop of followers will begin to question your influence if it appears to them that you’re simply reading your part out of a book of instructions.  For fun, make sure you include something that’s a little bit dangerous, and for profit, make sure that you’re following you own orders.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will put you in a diplomatic—rather than confrontational—mood, and only partly because you’ll be thinking that you might have gotten in over your head.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Hare on the watch will be striking a reflective pose, but will still have enough perspicacity available to note quite clearly the way in which you may be overplaying your hand.  There’s no reason to regard the pause in progress as a signal that you’re in a losing position, but it would be highly convenient if you used it to re-examine your holdings, recalculate the odds, and re-consider the willfulness and wiles of your fellow players.  There will be a way in which you can make a perfectly accurate statement, and still not give away all your secrets, but when you find all eyes are on you, it’s better to err on the side of Full Disclosure.  If you have a suspicion your Luck is fading, get up and walk around the room—or, better yet, into another building.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will restore your sense of vitality, but you’d be unwise to try to do much with it at this late hour of the Year.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Rabbit on the watch is the last of the Year, and his reflective demeanor will point your attention not towards Final Favors, but towards the long list of Trials and Travails that stretch out behind you over the last 11 or 12 months.  With the time of the Tiger’s Terrors so close to an end, and with only one truly problematic day ahead for you—before the Rabbit comes to sweep you into his welcoming warmth—it’s the perfect opportunity to gain a little calibration of your Wiles to your Wisdom, and to recognize that in many of your affairs, it’s the matters of Style and Strategics—rather than of Pillage and Plunder—that most often bring you to your satisfaction.  Bask in your own mystery, today, and think towards the Happy Hare’s arrival.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will sharpen your appreciation for a Well-Laid Plan, but you’ll be better at concocting, than you will be at conducting.

Born in the Year of the Horse: From your point of view, the Rabbit on the watch will appear more sleepy than sagacious, and if you take that as a reason to pay him little heed, perhaps you won’t be far wrong.  The danger for you, however, lies in your curiosity:  if you start nosing into small discrepancies between what you expect and what you observe, they’re liable to turn unaccountably into large complexities of discrimination and disturbance.  Let the small be the small, and keep your attention on your own affairs;  what you want is available, but you’ll need to take a slow path towards it, and follow your confidence every step of the way.  There’s plenty of help available, so don’t be shy of leaning on your associates—all of them.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will show you your duty, but you’ll have to follow your own instincts to fulfill it.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Rabbit on the watch is so completely disinterested in taking action for its own sake, that you’re liable to feel that he’s taken up the duty only to pass it on to you.  While you’re in a perfect mind to take up such a responsibility, it’s very important that you don’t take the job as more significant or burdensome than it actually is.  We’re sliding ineluctably towards the Tiger’s completed departure, and what’s required today is only someone to stand in the uniform and hat, looking awake and ready for action.  Since nothing is going to require action, the less stern and serious you act the better.  In fact, what the Rabbit is hoping you’ll do is:  show some of that flair for The Ridiculous that you display so rarely.  He knows you’ve got it in you, and so do I.  So: how ’bout it?  If you remember that everyone has an Inner Four-Year-Old, you’ll do just fine.  Tomorrow’s Dragon may cause a sort of lock-up in your affairs, but you’ll be happy to find the key in your own vest-pocket.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Rabbit on the watch will be maintaining his sober and reflective attitude today in the face of all but the most directly-aimed impertinence you could whip up, so don’t worry if he seems to inspire a bit of grandiose thinking on your part.  The truth is, you’re operating in what amounts to a completely different dimension than the rest of your companions today, and unless you’re actually hunting for a way to put Everything In Jeopardy, you’ll get away with it all, virtually scot-free.  Do make sure, however, that you are exercising your instincts and hunches, and not your rationales or ideologies;  it’s a day for play, not for philosophy.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will show you what you could better be doing with your time, and if you do it smartly enough, might reward you with a tidy profit.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: Partly by virtue of his complete disinterest in taking any actions for their own sake, the Rabbit on the watch will make you see quite clearly—in whatever direction you happen to turn your gaze—what you would do, if it were up to you.  While I can’t in good conscience advise you to actually step in and take over, it is true that your position is supported by the Ox Moon, and if you can manage to step out of your stereo-typical modes of behavior, you’re very likely to be able to achieve a result without even setting off the Rabbit’s motion-detector.  Think of yourself as wearing an Invisibility Suit that looks to everyone else like a Clown Costume.  Don’t worry if you end up giggling at your own zaniness;  everyone will just think that’s part of the act.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will reward your friendliness, but he might have a big favor to ask of you, as well.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Rabbit’s reflective composure will put you in mind of pausing, if not of falling into complete collapse.  Perhaps with so much of the Ox Moon gone by, you might feel that a bit of horizontalism would be just the ticket;  but you never know when a Rabbit’s going to run, and you’ll be extremely disappointed to discover that he went off without you remaining aware enough to give chase.  Fortunately, a large number of your buddies are going to be in a similar situation, and enough of them will be hanging out in your vicinity to make you feel the pause is about Sociability, rather than purely about practicing your Sit-Stay.  Keep clear about your ability to control yourself;  losing it would be bad for your health.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will close down your options, but you’ll do well if you can hold on to your famous Sense of Efficiency.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The lengthy and reflective pause the Rabbit is going to be taking will give you enough blank time in your own schedule to begin to wonder how you’re going to get everything done in time.  Never mind that you’re the one who decided on the number of the items on the agenda, and the one who set an arbitrary dead-line, just to give yourself a good reason to Get Moving.  Borrow some of the Rabbit’s somber composure, and do a bit of re-thinking;  if you take the day as an opportunity to remember how little you knew when you composed the agenda, and how much of value you’ve learned since that time, I’m quite sure that your creative juices will start flowing, and you’ll come to an artful rearrangement of the demands on your time, and the bench-marks by which you’ll allow yourself to achieve satisfaction.  Remember:  brain-storming means considering even the insane as an avenue to the possible.  Tomorrow’s Dragon will limit the clarity available to you, giving you reason to consider pausing for your own reasons.

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

The yielding covers the obdurate, like winter snows blanketing the rocks and boulders;

The brightening hovers above the recumbent, like stars flashing high overhead while the lake lies still as sleep.

Though the position may be awkward, the direction is unavoidable, and will bring reward in its time.

Great Cold comes just before Spring Begins;  this is the way of things, and it makes the whole world prosper.

“Two friends and tea, an entertainment;  two friends and wine, a celebration.”

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Sunday, 23rd of January


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

The EARTH TIGER on duty today has a gruff demeanor and a highly secretive style, which will make more likely stealthy retreat, rather than grumbling confrontation, now that the Time of the Tiger is ending.  On this last Tiger Day of the Year, respect is due to the Clan of Stripes and Claws, but not engagement or interference.  Let the Tiger peaceably pass on his way by keeping your attention on your own affairs, and giving no comment—let alone criticism—to those of others.  If you hesitate, take it as a sign that you should wait for other conditions in which to act;  if you go forward, do so with unrelenting energy and your highest commitment of the resources at your command.  If you are in doubt, then the answer is:  “No.”

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Double Tigers are neither threatened nor annoyed at your presence on the scene, and they’ll happily ignore you rummaging around for advantages and places to apply them;  but if you inadvertently produce irritation or disturbance, their indifference will vanish like the first raindrops splashing onto a scorching-hot pavement.  Maintain all caution, and work in as much quiet as possible.  If you need information, submit your request from as great a distance as possible, and leave it open as to when you’d like response.  If you think you need support, make sure that delay is not a workable option, and that not receiving help would result in serious damage or insurmountable difficulty.  Your wits are strong today, but your charm is not.  Tomorrow’s Hare will bolster your confidence, and will respond best to the gentlest side of your nature.

Born in the Year of the Ox: Your natural independence and inner confidence will serve you well while the Double Tigers are in such an unsociable mood.  In fact, if they weren’t being so stand-off-ish, I’m sure they would be congratulating you heartily for getting on with things on your own.  Take the fact that everyone else is following your example—whether it’s natural for them, or not—as the Tigers’ expression of gratitude for harmonizing so well with the demands of the day, and show everyone else what Productive Self-Reliance actually looks like when it’s in unobstructed operation.  Remember, though, that you’re supposed to be winding-down now, and consider knocking off work early for some satisfyingly empty evening hours.  Tomorrow’s Hare will put you in such a quirky mood, that you’re very likely to want to show some uncharacteristically meddlesome behavior.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: You’ll feel the influence of the Double Tigers as a certification of your natural instinct to trust yourself before all others, and as giving you license to do a bit of preening and prowling, as if to demonstrate—even though we’ve all had so much exposure to Stripes and Claws over the last eleven-and-a-half months, already—how grand and glorious your own influence on others has been.  You can afford to feature your softer and furrier sides in the display;  your Clan-Mates will have made it quite clear that crossing you, or even inconveniencing you, would be a Very Bad Idea.  On the other hand, if you see something that disturbs your sense of justice or fair-play, you’re probably the only one on the scene who can do something about it without ending up in a jail or a hospital.  Just remember:  intimidation is your most powerful weapon.  Tomorrow’s Hare will renew your self-confidence, and put you at ease in public company.

Born in the Year of the Hare: The foreboding and fearsome appearance of the Double Tigers will not affect you much, if at all;  you’ll take their intimidating broodiness as aimed at someone else, and assume—quite rightly, of course—that the silence surrounding you is there just to allow you to compose your thoughts, to come up with a succinct statement of your wishes, and to make the announcement without having to raise your voice.  Most within earshot will be alarmed that you’re taking such a dare-devil approach to the day, but as soon as they see that no dire results are befalling you, they’ll rush to your side to offer congratulations and seek your support and protection.  Be gracious and warm in accepting the first, and liberal in promising the second and third.  Remember, though, that what people are saying today, may or may not express what they’re going to be doing in the near future.  Tomorrow’s Hare will give you power among your circle of friends, but you’ll need to allow yourself to “think outside the boxes” to use it correctly.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Double Tigers—on account of their natural stand-off-ishness, and in keeping with the shortness of time remaining in the Year—will leave you to your own devices, and will have no counter-argument to anything you can present as Actual Fact.  Since they’re going to offer you such an uncharacteristically low amount of contention, the efficient thing for you to do is to be quite clear as to what’s most important for you to get out of the day, and what you can most afford to let slide, if beating a hasty retreat proves to be necessary, or strategically clever.  You can allow yourself to pursue a little bit of grand-standing, but the quicker you make your point and get on with things, the better.  Your position is only strong because your opponents have lost interest in the game, and turning convenient victory into a Grand Pageant will likely lead to embarrassment, if not to ruin.  Tomorrow’s Hare will remind you of the stakes you have in the game, and show you how little you have to gain by bluffing.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Double Tigers will be turning away from anything that smacks of competition or entanglement, and for your purposes that’s going to make it look as if they’re walking away leaving the majority of the stakes still on the table.  If you can do so without raising a lot of ruckus—and who’s better at that than you, I’d like to know—then you’ll have your pick of the spoils and no trouble making off with them.  Don’t be disappointed if you discover that nobody else really wanted them in the first place, or that the purposes to which you intended to apply them have soured a bit since you first dedicated yourself to The Pursuit.  The Rabbit will be arriving in just under two weeks, and most of your more recent dedications are going to look similarly sour once he gets here;  spend today practicing “catch and release.”  Tomorrow’s Hare will soothe any of your injured feelings, and show you how true it is for you that “it’s how you play the game.”

Born in the Year of the Horse: With the Double Tigers declining to make much a show of themselves—and even less, to take a position and defend it—you’re going to look as if they’ve departed in order to put you in the spotlight they’ve abandoned.  As the Tigers’ Intimidation Factor will linger on long after they have disappeared into the underbrush, you can confidently rely upon the thrill you get when the Clan of Stripes and Claws are on hand to offer their protection and encouragement, and with even the slightest willingness on your part to be the one observed, your display and your enjoyment will be one and the same thing.  Do your own thing, then, and count on it impressing the hell out of all the on-lookers.  Tomorrow’s Hare will present you with some small obstacles to hurdle, but if you keep aware of what it is that you want, you’ll get through them just fine.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The reluctance of the Double Tigers to make a show of themselves will look to you like an invitation to come forward as Ring Master, but the fact that their Intimidation Factor is perhaps even a bit stronger when they can’t be seen, will make you doubt that the Center Ring is all that attractive a place to be, after all.  Make a show of some of that Tigerly Reticence you’ve become so adroit at practicing this Year, and decline to consider invitations to alter your course or your context.  Keep both hands in your pockets—whenever that’s feasible—and don’t even look around if you hear someone saying:  “Any volunteers?”  Your diplomacy must look today first and foremost like discretion;  bravely allowing opportunities to parade by, unclaimed, will be your highest demonstration of valor.  Tomorrow’s Hare will, on the other hand, make it a pleasure to step forward and take charge, but the more clownish you feel doing it, the better.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: After fulfilling the Double Oxen’s festive expectations yesterday, you’ll find the apparent reticence of the Double Tigers to make their entrance more than a little taunting to your sense of showmanship.  You’ll sense quite clearly that the Striped Menace hasn’t yet actually left the building, but as long as the band is playing and the stage is still clear, perhaps you can get through one or two more numbers without risking life or limb.  This kind of hot-dogging it is your favorite indoor sport, and if you play it correctly, you’ll make a true tour-de-force.  Don’t get grandiose, and keep your footwork not too fancy;  considering the Intimidation Factor we all feel looming over us, it will be the delicacy and deftness of your movement that will properly heighten the effect.  Well:  that, and the fact that you’re clearly playing quite close to an exit.  Tomorrow’s Hare will make allowances for your rising willfulness, but you’d better keep focused on your intuition, just to be sure.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: The reticence of the Double Tigers to make a show of themselves will look to you like nothing quite so much as an abandonment of their opportunities.  While it’s true that they’ve left all the goodies on the table, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the players will feel ready quite yet to pounce on the pot, each of them elbowing their way to the prize they’ve had their eyes on.  Long after the Tigers have vanished into the undergrowth, after all, their Intimidation Factor will linger on.  Only those with the capacity to make their actions quick, small, and direct will feel comfortable in claiming their rewards, and that—of course—means I’m talking about you.  If it seems appropriate, you could divvy out some of the spoils to the rest of the gang, but make sure you make them sit quietly and wait their turn.  For everyone’s safety, you should stay in charge.  Tomorrow’s Hare will make you feel equally authoritative, but you’ll have to get Wild-and-Krazy to exert yourself successfully.

Born in the Year of the Dog: The Double Tigers will be most reluctant to make any show of themselves, and in their absence, you’ll feel a strange confidence in taking up the attention they have left available, and a definite idea of exactly what you should do with it.  This condition springs, of course, from the fact that even though the Tigers are not visible, their Intimidation Factor remains undiminished, and from the notion—which you may be fully justified in believing in—that imagining yourself in Stripes only enhances your charm, and empowers you to do your very best.  Feel comfortable in demanding the notice of all about you, then, and don’t be shy in exposing yourself to their close scrutiny;  the more they feel that you’re entitled to take action, the more comfortable they’ll be in remaining just part of the audience.   Tomorrow’s Hare will take you out of the spotlight and put you among friends.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The disappearing act that the Double Tigers are going to pull today will leave you with a clear sense of how much you’ve gained through the Year, how much effort and exertion it’s cost you, and how much potential it’s given you for your future.  If the Tigers are not going to be demanding so much of your Undivided Attention, what then can you take up as your Proper Aims?  You can consider this question deeply today, of course, but it’s not really necessary—or indeed, quite appropriate—to come to hard and fast answers until the Hare arrives in just under two weeks.  For today, then, enjoy the liberty you feel when you have the room to yourself, and the challenge you experience when there’s no-one in it to entertain.  Once the audience departs, you might find that the performance has taken more out of you than you expected, and flopping down on something comfortable is not only allowable, it’s damned intelligent.  Tomorrow’s Hare will dump you into your worries of Finishing In Time, and show you how your creativity springs forward when you think you’re Under Pressure.

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

There has never been a Tiger who didn’t know how to tread with care.  If you hear one behind you,

That’s only because her strategy is to creep in perfect silence, then make you turn to face the impending attack.

The arc of her leap is breath-taking, the sheer muscularity of her form is intimidation itself.

How much more astonishing then, when she shows you first her golden glare, and then her tail, disappearing into the reeds.

“A personal visit shows respect;  an artful letter shows regard.”

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Saturday, 22nd of January


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

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 how to finesse difficulties by remaining both thick-skinned and patient.  Thus doubled with a brighter optimism, and a wider-ranging interest in the surprising and the unknown, the Ox Moon will relax even more into its perseverance, and saunter a bit more casually towards the Rabbit’s arrival.  Don’t make too much of this alignment yourself, however;  even with the pulling power of the Ox re-doubled, momentum is waning, and your speed should be slackening rather than picking up.  Review your commitments over the next ten days, and see if there is some diligence you can do without, and some curiosity your can invest in.  There will be those duties that cannot be ignored, of course, but anything you can’t approach with a grateful spirit in seeing the Tiger depart, or with sober enthusiasm for the up-coming New Year’s blessings , should not be regarded as worthy of blind dedication or ritual solemnity.  This is the last Ox of the Year, and it’s a good omen that he’s the most buoyant and free-spirited member of the Clan of Hooves and Horns, when standing the day’s watch.

Talk to the Animals

Born in the Year of the Rat: The Double Oxen will make just enough disturbance in your drooping attentions to rouse you to curiosity and the satisfaction of your hungers.  They will tease you, no doubt—in their typically friendly fashion—to stretch a bit, yawn a bit more, and then to get back to the rhythm of hustling and bustling, packaging up the Tiger Year, and preparing to snip the ribbon on the Rabbit’s pretty wrapping.  Your inclination will be to take on the Big Things first, but you’d be wise to do so only in the sense of planning for them;  your instincts will be strong for the next ten days, and largely correct, but you’ve got some waking up to do today before you start testing them in practical application.  Don’t worry about worry;  it will be useful in getting your heart rate up to a healthier speed.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will be a bit grumpy, and you’ll have to be careful to work quietly so as not to give him reason to take it out on you.

Born in the Year of the Ox: Your Clan-Mates are in a hopeful mood, and with the labors of the Year so near their end, that can’t help but infect your attitude.  Everyone’s eyes will be on you, and the fact that you’ve got more appetite for work left, than duties to apply it to, will make it look to them like you’re the Local Champion of their purposes.  If you’ve got a free hand, you couldn’t do anything better with it than to give someone else a boost;  you might be surprised to find how satisfying it can be to step out of your rut to someone else out of theirs.  Put some attention on your finances:  decisions that need to be made can be approached with confidence and maturity.  If you can’t be nice to your partners, though, try to get away from them:  they will be in no mood for your quirky pranks.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will both give you agreement for your sense of yourself, and help you to express it correctly.

Born in the Year of the Tiger: The Double Oxen have such a strong position, and such strength in their combined forces, that they will grant you that most rare of circumstances, when you can allow all the constraint you maintain—for the protection of those around you—to fall away, permitting your spirit to expand to its true size, and your actions to roll forward unguarded.  This liberality on your part will naturally attract the attention of the world around you, and cause those who can’t dance with your daring, to shrink back into shadow, if not to depart the scene entirely.  Those who are left, you can be sure, are eager to party with your bold adventurism, and can be counted on to call your bets in the best spirit of Friendly Competition.  You can be as rough and rowdy as you like, but you should remember that it’s all going to add up to zero by the end of the day.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will bring you back to demonstrating your maturity and wisdom, and help you attend to the way you appear to others.

Born in the Year of the Hare: With the Double Oxen synchronizing their watches in the decrescendo of the Tiger’s Time, your attention will be turning towards the arrival of the Rabbit’s Regime, rising up like the flush of a small fever on your brow.  Looking out into your world, you’re liable to find all sorts of new interpretations suggesting themselves, and a swirling flurry of shadowy concepts will tease you by appearing to form, and then melting away as soon as you try to attend to them.  Don’t worry about the formless or the indeterminate;  all is only visible in a faint dawn-light at present, but full illumination is coming soon.  That being said, there’s no harm in diving at a couple of the phantasms drifting by today;  you might get your hands on something solid, and even if you don’t, a turn at shadow-boxing will get your blood flowing.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will inspire you to express your most heart-felt opinions, and lead you to find satisfaction among friends.

Born in the Year of the Dragon: The Double Oxen are uniting their forces in pulling the grand momentum of the Year to its gradual halt, and while they’ll have plenty of interest in their own diversions, they won’t think yours are worthy of any consideration, at all.  Consequently, it’s liable to be a day of Negative Results for you, and the more you can take the disappointments as Part Of The Process, the faster you’ll get past the idea that argument or obstruction could have any value at all, except to leave you drained of energy and new ideas.  Put your feet on the ground, and do your re-evaluation and future planning in the most physical terms possible.  Your confidence will be refreshed if you do so, and your capacity for enjoyment will spring up like seeds sprouting after a rain.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will respond to the power of your over-view of The Facts, but only if you already know what you’re willing to give up in the negotiations.

Born in the Year of the Snake: The Double Oxen are going to be in a friendly and tolerant mood—at least towards your aims—and there will therefore be no harm coming to you if you invest the day in harvesting some of the crops that have sprung up during the long and tedious periods of patience you’ve had to observe in the Tiger Year.  Be sure, however, to do so with precision and attentiveness;  missing the mark, or over-stepping the boundary-lines, might not lead to dangers befalling you, but they most certainly would prove disappointing, both to those rooting for you, and for your own sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  You’ll enjoy attracting some attention today, but you’d better be prepared to answer all the questions, and to direct offers of assistance in a manner that fulfills the expectation of mastery that you’ll be exuding.  Don’t pass up an opportunity to hang out with children today:  they’ve got their wisdom to show you.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will take little interest in you, but only if you show little interest in your ambitions.

Born in the Year of the Horse: The Double Oxen are more than a match for your forcefulness, however more quickly and adroitly you can change its direction.  You’ll have to comply with a slower process and a more gradual deceleration than you usually find palatable, but there will be no purpose served by raising objections or planting obstructions in the path of these Two Juggernauts.  They will, however, be in a quirky mood where entertainment is concerned, and may find your mutterings and complaints highly amusing, should you choose to make public your feelings of being mis-used and under-valued.  Just don’t take it too hard if they tease you about such attitudes;  they only know how to hit you in your tender spots because they understand so well your natural Spirit of Contribution, and perhaps, because they’re just a little bit jealous of how amazing you appear when you exert it.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will turn the spotlight of his attention on you, and show you off to the world in all your brilliance and grace.

Born in the Year of the Sheep: The Double Oxen are in a strong position, and while that usually means that you are not, they’re in such a festive and celebratory mood today, that the most vexing engagement you’ll run into will be no more serious than being disturbed from eating your salad, by a waiter asking if you’d like to order the rest of your meal.  You’ll even be allowed an unusual amount of latitude if you choose to remain morose or resentful in the way that you take up the menu and peruse its lists.  As long as you state your wishes concisely—and have made sure that they do spring from your Actual Appetites—your orders will be passed on to the kitchen, and you will be left to return to your greens.  If the dressing seems a bit bland, or you find you have to wait an unreasonably long time for the next course to arrive, please try to keep you attention focused on the future;  the Happy Hare will be arriving soon enough, and you’re going to find his cuisine and service much more to your taste.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will seem to be asking for your intervention, and refusing it at the same time, as if to test your skills in tact and diplomacy one last time.

Born in the Year of the Monkey: The Double Oxen are going to be in a festive and tolerant mood, and that means their willingness to put up with your famous Monkey-Shines will be doubled as well.  Beyond that, since their labors are so close to an end, and successful accomplishment is fairly well assured, they’re going to be in the mood for a bit of diverting entertainment, and they’re likely to find no-one so able to fill the bill as you.  Tip your top-hat forward over your brow, flex your white-gloved fingers out to capture the glint of the spot-light, and swing your cane from side to side with confident panache:  everyone wants to see what you can do today, and they will be ready to applaud before you have done much more than make your first appearance.  Aim to be sharp, refined, and elegant, and even you will be satisfied with the performance.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will present a small predicament for you to negotiate, and that too will require a bit of the Old Soft-Shoe.

Born in the Year of the Fowl: With the Double Oxen yoked together for the day, you’re in an extraordinarily strong position, and the fact that it comes without a long list of duties for you to attend to will make it seem all the more rare.  This is a great chance for you to get a bit of Me Time, and to see to all those curiosities and interests that are almost always forced to the bottom of your agenda, and therefore completely out of your proper attention.  Whether this means finding out how long you can nap without getting itchy to be active, or determining how many class-mates from high school you can look up on a google-search in a single two-hour stretch, will be up to you.  If your interest falls more in the direction of Important Accomplishments or International Affairs, I can only respond by saying, “Bravo!”  Just make sure to take your Human Nature into those deeper waters;  the world is in need of your directness, and can certainly use your willingness to focus on Problem more than on Pretension.  Tomorrow’s Tiger will be willing to supply his indifference, if you’ll be willing to bring your readiness to take charge.

Born in the Year of the Dog: With the Double Oxen linking up and setting the tempo for the day in no uncertain terms, you might think that some mighty tiring tasks are on your duty-list.  Under most other circumstances you’d be entirely correct in such a suspicion, but as the Ox Moon is curving gently and gradually towards its close, the arrival of a Clan-Mate on the watch will be a source of celebration;  their resultant frisky behavior will probably seem entirely uncharacteristic to those—like you—who are most usually put into punishment by their time at the controls.  Now, I can’t promise you a day that’s all—as they say—”skittles and beer,” but if you summon some of your Wisdom of Laziness, and apply that inerrant Sense Of Efficiency that your Clan is so well-known for, you’ll see that the loping pace you’ll need to keep up (in order not to get dragged along) will suit you just fine, and that the kind of frisking the Oxen will be doing, will seem …well, almost Canine.  Don’t laugh at the Big Bruisers if it seems to you that they’re trying to bark;  just pay them back by howling out a long “M-oo-oo-oo-oo….”  Tomorrow’s Tiger will ensure that you get liberated, and will be perfectly delighted to see you define your own pace and progress.

Born in the Year of the Pig: The Double Oxen are going to be in a festive mood, though to be sure, that will look—since you are the Captain of Carnivals, the Sultan of Celebrations, and the Sheikh of Shindigs—rather dour and drab to you.  Still, the Big Bruisers are going to be in a liberal and accommodating state of mind, and as long as you keep your requests low on the Flamboyance Index, they’ll be quite willing to see to your wishes with all deliberate speed.  You may need to find some small diversions to entertain yourself while you’re waiting—they won’t be dashing to the kitchen to fill your order, after all—but think of it this way:  you could wander out the door, have a charming and exhilarating turn around the block, saunter back again whistling a tune, and still be seated comfortably when they arrive with the goods.  To which I can only add:  “Bon appetit!”  Tomorrow’s Tiger will bring a message for you, which might be somewhat challenging—and inspiring—for you to read.

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

At the dark bottom of the lake, the fish must be sleeping;  the brilliance of the sky cannot disturb them.

Even if awake, their thoughts must be sluggish and dull, their rippling fins moving only but slowly.

One could crack the ice, and drop a line into the depths, taunting their slumber with a frozen worm or two;

But the ice is getting weak by now, and worms are still hard to come by.  Let them rest;  it’s just for a fortnight.

“Don’t take familiar roads expecting new destinations.”

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