2018: The Year of the Earth Dog
by Wendy S. Goldman, L.Ac.
2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog. As you may know, the energy of each year is different, and most people know the animal of their birth year in the Chinese Zodiac. Each animal represents different energetic implications for the year. With a basic understanding of how the energies of the year interact, we can get some insight into the implications for weather, health, emotions, business, the economy, politics, and more. We can use this information to plan and prepare for the year.
The Western Calendar vs. Lunar New Year
January 1st became the first day of the year in 45 BCE. Julius Caesar set it as an arbitrary date to correct previous errors in the calculation of the calendar, since there are actually 365 days plus a few hours in a year. It has nothing to do with the movements of energy in nature. And it has no relation to the actual start of the new year from an energetic perspective.
January 1st is in the middle of winter, and is only about a week after the winter solstice. The solstice has the shortest amount of daylight, and longest night, and is the most Yin day of the year. Everything is still frozen, and if it’s not actually frozen, in winter, the energy goes down into the ground to rest and recharge for the active growing season that starts at the beginning of spring. The start of spring is the start of new growth. So, when you think about January 1st as being the start of the new year from the energetic perspective, it makes no sense at all.
The Chinese lunar calendar, though, is based on the movements of energy in nature. The start of the year is the start of spring and the cycle of new growth. This year, Chinese New Year is February 16, 2018, and is the year of the Yang Earth Dog.
Each year is either Yin or Yang, and alternates each year. 2017 was a Yin year, so 2018 is a Yang year. Yang represents the heat, fire, function and activity. Yin represents calm, quiet, and rest. Daytime, spring and summer are more Yang in nature, being more light, bright, warmer and active. Nighttime, fall and winter are more Yin in nature, being darker, quieter, colder and naturally less active. Yin time is the time to rest and recharge.
Every year, we have both the energy from Heaven, and the energy from Earth. When we say “Heaven energy” it represents the energy coming from the sky, or the universe, not in any religious sense. The Earth energy is exactly as it sounds, the energy coming from the Earth. Because Heaven and Earth are so much bigger than humans and everything that lives on Earth, we’re all affected by these energies.
The Heaven and Earth energies are often different elements. For example, in 2017 the Heaven energy was Fire, and the Earth energy was Metal. It happens that in 2108, both the Heaven and Earth energy are the same element. The Heaven energy is Earth, and the Earth energy this year is the Earth Dog. Thus, we have 2018 as the Yang Earth Dog. It’s a double Earth year, so the energy of the Earth element is very strong and excess in 2018. All effects of Earth energy will be magnified, and since it’s a Yang year, they’ll be even stronger.
The good news is, that after finishing the last two years of sharp, cutting metal energy, we should get a bit more peace with the Earth energy.
Nature of the Year
Let’s first consider the nature of the animal this year, the Dog. Dogs are loyal, social, pack animals, that work together. They’re devoted to their pack, be it canine or human. This is a year that working together with others should bring good results. Dogs will also fight viciously to guard and protect their own when threatened, so this may be a year we see people band together for protection, and the good of their “pack” or tribe of people. Not necessarily violently, as Earth is more spiritual in nature than material. The violence and passion of the last two years was due to the Metal and Fire energies.
Now let’s think about the character of Earth, which is trust and harmony. We may see people band together to create more trust, care, welfare and harmony of the “pack”. We should also see more truth emerge, as truth and trust are the nature of Earth.
Next, we can get a sense of the weather for the year, by considering the nature of the Earth element. First, the Heaven and Earth energy are in harmony, since they’re the same element, and there’s no conflict between them. Weather temperatures should be a bit more normal, after coming off of two hot Fire years. The fire energy is depleted, so there should be a lot less fires, and any fires should be smaller than the last couple of years.
Ancient Chinese books tell us exactly what to expect: the nature of Earth is dampness, and the actual substance is the earth. Earth is in charge of clouds and rain, and causes movement. Earth transforms and transports. That tells everything. When I saw this one coming, I got a bit concerned, since I live in California. It’s a Yang, double-Earth year, which means the effects will be magnified, and strong, since it’s a Yang year. That’s our California Armageddon: earthquakes (big ones, since it’s a Yang year), lots of rain, and mudslides. I’ve been telling my patients for the last six months to repair their roofs and any leaks they have in their homes. I was a bit reluctant to write this, since Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach, and the emotions of those organs are worry and overthinking. I don’t want to damage anyone’s Spleen! Having the information in advance, though, means that we can take steps to prepare. If you live in an area that tends to have earthquakes, landslides, and/or flooding, 2018 has the potential for all of these to be big problems, so you’re forewarned, and can take precautions and prepare.
Speaking of the corresponding organs, Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach. Think dampness. Earth is in charge of clouds and rain, which are wet. Dampness is mucus, phlegm and fat. Expect lots of dampness this year. Anything that can get damp in 2018, will. It’s a great time to focus on eating right, and avoiding damp foods. Examples of damp foods are dairy products (milk, cheese, etc., but not eggs – eggs are not damp; wheat is also damp).
We’ll see digestive issues with dampness, for example nausea, bloating and stomach flu with lots of diarrhea. If you already have digestive issues, avoid eating the damp foods mentioned above.
Colds that occur in 2018 will be of the damp type, rather than the dry type. So, instead of lingering dry coughs, there will be a lot of mucus with nasal and chest congestion.
Because the Earth and the Spleen correspond with muscles and flesh, we may see more muscle injuries, as well as more lumps, bumps and tumors, as dampness likes to accumulate.
The emotions of the Spleen and Stomach are worry and overthinking, so people that have a tendency to fret are in for a more challenging year.
People with Heart and Small Intestine issues may worsen. Anyone with emotional issues like anxiety may be worse, and worry about it more.
Earth can put out, or weaken the energy of Fire. Think about it this way – you throw soil on a campfire to put it out. So anything corresponding with Fire should be weak this year.
Fire represents the stock market and electrical and computer industries, so they may not fare well in 2018. Interesting that the stock market and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (which are electronic/tech) took a dive at the beginning of February, hmm?
Don’t let your computer or electronics get damp. That will be very bad in 2018!
But the real estate market and earth industries, or anything having to do with earth and soil should be strong, as long as long as they’re not damaged by earthquakes, landslides and flooding.
Earth represents the Spleen and Stomach, which are the main part of the digestive system in Chinese medicine. Based on that, I expect that businesses related to food, eating and restaurants will have a good year.
When we analyze the energetics of the Year of the Earth Dog, and the interactions of the energies, we can get a good idea of what to expect clinically in any given year. This can help us live long lives in harmony with the Heaven and Earth energies.