The Chinese Year uses the cycle of 60 Stem-Branch counting systems; the Green Wood Sheep is the 32nd Stem-Branch in the cycle. This is because the Stem-Branch Calendar is connected to the Five Element theory. Chinese calendars use the Stem-Branch system to count the days, months and years. There are 10 Stems and 12 Branches in the system. Stems are named by the Yin-Yang of Five Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth). Branches reflect the various totem animals such as the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Those born in the years 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, and 2015 celebrate the Year of the Sheep, Ram or Goat.
The Sheep (Goat) is a Yin energy and symbol of peace, harmonious co-existence and tranquility. The sheep also represents gentleness and compassion, two qualities one must attain to reflect the former qualities. Astrologers agree that the sheep year will be a good year to heal from the chaos of 2014’s Horse year (my year. Woohoo! What a ride! I experienced a great deal of motion and upheaval, sometimes at break-neck speed; all of which cleared away cobwebs and encouraged me to learn). 2015 will nurture cooperation in faith and a belief that good will prevail.
The creative Sheep personality embodies warmth, wealth, and beauty, and this, suggest astrologers, will be reflected in 2015, a year, says astrologer Susan Levitt of Astrology.com, whose energy will cultivate “intimacy, family and close friendships.” Develop a gentle heart, open to love and acceptance on all levels, she adds.
I am Nature’s special child.
I trust and am rewarded by trust.
Fortune smiles upon my countenance.
All things blossom
In the gentleness of my love.
I strive to find beauty in all I behold.
I am fair of face
And full of grace.
The Sheep’s motto, “I depend” can be interpreted by knowing the animal. Sheep are independent but also very gregarious. They flock (or herd) like many animals of prey (e.g., birds, fish, ungulates, etc.) and derive much of their strength through cooperative social behaviour (e.g., lowering chances of predation). Like the animal, the sheep sign is social and functions best with feedback and support from others. The zodiac Sheep epitomizes the dependency of Yin and Yang: dark and light, night and day, moon and sun. As these energies depend on each other for existence, we depend on their balance for harmony, which is the natural inclination of the Sheep. In Sheep years we can make great progress with assistance of family, friends, colleagues or community. 2015 is a year to build bridges and knock down walls.
The Sheep is a symbol for the arts, reflected in creativity and the cultivation of beauty. In this renaissance year, the arts will flourish in all forms including visual art, literature, textile, theater, video, culinary arts, comedy, music and dance.
Writers work mostly in solitude and isolation. We ensconce ourselves, often in some woebegone corner, accompanied only by the muse of our imagination and—if we’re lucky—a warm beverage. Yet, to be a successful writer and be published, we have a great need to nurture cooperative associations; with editors, publishers, marketers, researchers, mentors and colleagues who can help us with our projects.
So, we welcome the Year of the Sheep… It will be a good year, a good time …
A time to slow the galloping charge of our vision quest …
A time to slow and embrace the warmth of reflection. To integrate, cooperate, and collaborate. To cultivate faith in our humanity and, sheep-like, listen to our intuition and go with the flow. Then just sit back and watch it unfold. As it should.
Wishing you the very best this wonderful year.
Happy Year of the Sheep!
Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Find her at www.ninamunteanu.me