With Chinese New Year upon us this weekend, we’re ushering out the year of the Tiger and welcoming the Year of the Rabbit. Although the Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated on 22 January 2023, it's actually 4 February 2023 that the animal year begins.
Chinese Medicine practitioner Katie Brindle explains. “The Year of the Rabbit comes in on 4 February, which in the Chinese calendar is the Start of Spring: the beginning of the astrological year,” she says.
It’s not just any old rabbit, either, that will set the energetic tone of the year. It’s a Yin Water Rabbit. What on earth is that? Katie explains that each astrological year has its own defining characteristics not just based on the zodiac animal (of which there are 12 including pig, ram, snake, horse etc; a quick Google will tell you which is your birth year) but two other factors. Chinese Five Element theory says that the universe, and every one of us, is made up of five elemental energies, wood, fire, earth, metal and water, with one usually dominant. We also have both yin (passive, cooling) yang (active, fiery) qualities, but one is more pronounced than the other. I, for example, am a Yang Fire Ram based on my date and time of birth. So each moment in time, whether that's the year we're in, or the time of our birth has an animal, an element and a yin or yang energy dominance.
Side note: you can find out your personal energetic ‘makeup’ and what the year has in store for you (as I did) via a Chinese astrology reading known as BaZi. It offers a guide to your best health, best decisions and most fulfilling relationships and Katie, who gained a BSc in acupuncture from the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine, is one of only a handful of people in the UK trained to offer this. You’ll probably also know her as the expert in all things gua sha massage and the founder of the Hayo’u Method which offers preventative health tools and techniques from Yang Sheng, the Chinese art of self-care.
Back to the 2023 rabbit 'warren' and Katie says: “After the dramatic and often turbulent energy of the Yang Water Tiger in 2022, the Year of the Yin Water Rabbit (also known as the Black Water Rabbit) promises to bring a gentler energy; a time of healing, of regaining inner balance, of serenity and of tolerance,” she says.
What do those individual elements mean?
- Yin: wise, persistent, placid, organised, cautious
- Water: thoughtful, self-contained, a thirst for understanding, gentle. Can be fearful but also strong and resolute
- Rabbit: sensitive, homely, peacemaking, fearful
The future is looking promising in 2023, according to Katie, with even better news on the financial front.
“It will be a time of taking stock of our goals and making plans for a better future, of focusing on inner alchemy, creating peace, harmony and balance,” she says.
"According to Chinese astrology, Water, especially Yin Water, brings sensitivity, instinctive wisdom, lucidity and the opportunity to really look inwards and learn from past experiences - to have an intuitive reawakening. It will be a year of refinement, of softening and creating inner and outer peace, of new ways of healing and even a little magic!
"However, in its negative form, Yin Water energy may lean towards melancholic feelings, anxiety, and even a touch of hypocrisy. This negativity may also occasionally seek to escape difficult or frustrating situations by retreating from reality or abandoning its natural moral integrity.
"The Rabbit's temperament is peaceful, curious and patient. Sensitive, intuitive and adaptable, they are also very often more than a little psychic. Rabbits, being peacemakers, healers and homebodies, like to face and express their emotions, which bodes well for our own self-care and wellbeing, as well as for the wider world around us.
"Rabbit energy will encourage us to avoid being too impulsive or foolhardy whatever situation we find ourselves in, and to be altogether kinder, allowing our innate wisdom to come to the fore and for fairness to prevail – Rabbits dislike conflict of any kind and will go out of their way to diffuse any tricky situations. The Rabbit's gentle, forgiving and tolerant nature will encourage us to progress smoothly and steadfastly along our own spiritual journey and be tolerant of others who might be less enlightened - if past challenges or long-buried emotions reappear, Rabbit's compassion will support us as we work to finally resolve and transcend our issues, allowing our health to shine and our compassionate nature to radiate.
"However, with their keen perception and usually solid sense of fair play, if Rabbits are faced with danger, intentionally cruel or unkind people, or situations they are uncomfortable with they can become rather superior, imperious, or impractical.
"The overriding energy of Yin Water will support and encourage us as we learn from our past challenges, allowing our inner wisdom and guidance to steer us. The determined, yet fluid, nature of Water, coupled with the adaptable and creative Rabbit will enable us to work smarter, not harder, helping us to concentrate on the task in hand, yet allowing time for precious self-care such as meditation or spiritual practices. As Rabbits are renowned for taking care of, and even attracting money, we may well also find that finances are a little easier during 2023.
"The Yin Water Rabbit energy will encourage togetherness and family, a recognition and an appreciation that we are all, indeed, connected. 2023 will be a year to welcome the opportunity of healing and rejuvenation of all kinds – personal, domestic, even global.
"As 2024 will be the year of the favourable Wood Dragon, where we will again experience the high energy of expansion, growth and karmic retribution, 2023 will be the ideal year to rest, to heal and to recharge."
Find out more at katiebrindle.com