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Finally, the Fire Monkey fulfills the departure awaited by so many, and the Year Spirit takes up the form-and-flow embodied in the image of the Fire Fowl.


May the New Year bring a rebirth of prosperity and the renewal of satisfaction and success!


The Fire Fowl has an easy-going manner (with plenty of confidence to justify it), but prefers to display a conservative attitude in social affairs, a determined restraint over self-limiting appetites and indulgent ambitions, and a preference not to look too widely beyond immediate circumstances and obvious opportunities. After the Fire Monkey’s pesky and impertinent improvisations (which might very well seem to have been designed to produce sheer consternation, as much as to produce any practical or solid results), the Fowl’s shrewd intensity and close attention to order, precision, and detail will bring great relief to the mind, increased calm to the spirit, and deeper grasp of “things as they are.”

Indeed, the Fowl’s predilections are perfectly suited to considering in turn each apparently random particle of whatever rubble the Monkey tossed into careless arc through empty space, then snatching it out of its haphazard trajectory, and placing it deftly into perfect position, making of the Monkey’s dizzying chaos, an artful mosaic of durable value and illuminating clarity. The Fowl’s entry cannot promise always to feature the smoothness and gloss of well-preened feathers, or the softness and warmth of a down-filled bed, but for those who can summon the alertness, tolerance, and good-hearted patience necessary to endure the exacting gaze and the sharp beak for which the Clan of Feathers and Claws are well-known, the year will bring great promise of insight, wisdom, and —finally!—a working ground of practical results.

If the Monkey left you puzzling over Mystery, welcome in the Fire Fowl to make demonstration of Mastery. Just make sure to stand firmly in that confused feeling that you “don’t get it”—which was, in truth, the Monkey’s great gift to you—and allow the Fowl to work out the world around you, marking out the path to a confident comprehension, a deeply plumbed center-line of placement in the world, and the indispensable wisdom of “knowing not-knowing.”


Blessings Arrive


Many thanks to all those who joined me on the 21st for my Preview Talk for the New Year, hosted by my good friends at Sanford’s Martial Arts in Soquel. We recorded the event on video (which is currently being edited to ensure better sound quality) and the recordings will be available for download through a link at Ming Li Tong Shu Online in a few days. Simply go to the welcome/sign-in page, where you’ll see the link button for “Digital Products” at the lower left. I’ll make an announcement here on Tong Shu Talk once the recordings are available for download, so if you’ve signed up to follow this blog by submitting an email address (that option is available in the sidebar on the left side of this page) you’ll receive an email automatically, letting you know they’re up and ready to go!

I’m so grateful for the Sanfords’ gracious and unfailing support in hosting the event, and I hope that you may find value and enjoyment through the video recordings. Part of the material covers a series of “do-little dates,” and that recording comes with a .pdf of the handout sheet I gave out as a reference for the coming year.






Saturday evening, January 21st, from 6:30 to 8:30, with some additional time afterwards for those who wish to stay for questions.

Sanford’s Martial Arts, 4626 Soquel Dr., Soquel Village (through the red door next to Aldo’s Bakery, and upstairs to the second floor.)

Cost is $25 at the door (cash or check)

Once again this year, my good friends at Sanford’s Martial Arts in Soquel Village have offered to host me in giving a Preview Talk about the coming year in the Chinese calendar. This time, of course, it’s the Year of the Fire Fowl, which begins with the new moon on January 28th.

If you’re near the Santa Cruz area, I’m hoping you can join us in person for the event. If not, I’ll be making a recording of the talk, to be made available for download at Ming Li Tong Shu Online, hopefully by the 25th or 26th of January.


As the Fire Monkey is making its exit, the Fire Fowl will offer new opportunities for clearer thinking, deeper insight, and the discovery of unrecognized pathways to practicality and resolution. The Monkey’s impertinent acrobatics, teeter-tottering between giddy hopes and frantic fears, have left many feeling exhausted, confused, and a bit sick at the stomach.  Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who can look back with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, it may be hard to have confidence in the ground on which you find yourself standing, given the Monkey’s penchant for magical illusion and showmanship-over-substance.

If the Monkey has treated you roughly, the Fowl has the power to help redeem your losses, and if not fully to comfort you, then at least to bring you proper value in recompense for what you’ve been through. If you’re caught in the puzzle of juggling the various oddly-shaped blessings which the Monkey has dropped into your hands, and you (perhaps) find yourself gradually losing confidence in your ability to keep the Monkey’s Magical Machine twinkling forward, then the Fowl’s calm clarity of gaze (and laser-like exactitude of aim…!) can help to bring you a more sober view of your true and natural capacities, and help you to discriminate between those actions ahead of you which will only lead to more “acting,” and those which can lead in fact to “actuality.”

To start off the Preview Talk, I’ll be discussing the year at large, with special attention to several periods of problems and potentials, and handing out a list of dates through the year when taking or avoiding action are advisable.

I’ll finish up with my analysis of the year for those born in each of the Twelve Animal Years, with some watchwords for avoiding pitfalls and recognizing opportunities. If you don’t know your Chinese Animal, don’t worry: we’ll look it up for you!

You don’t need to register for the event, but if you have special questions or requests, please give us a call:

Sanford’s Martial Arts   (831) 475-9676

Robert’s iPhone             (408) 963-9988


“Good Fortune and Prosperity Through the Four Seasons!”



“Long Life Surrounded By Blessings!”


Thursday begins the Lunar Week:

January 2017
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