2012 - Year of the Water Dragon

Everyone’s had fun with the traditional Chinese zodiac printed on their restaurant placemat at one time or another. And by now, you’ve heard that 2012 will be the Year of the Dragon. Will be, because Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar, and doesn’t begin until Jan. 23. The Dragon will rule until Feb. 9, 2013.

The system of 12 animal signs in a recurring 12-year cycle is called the  Sheng Xiao  and it’s been in use for over 4,000 years in China. The animals in order are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, Boar.  (Sometimes the Sheep is called a Ram, and sometimes the Boar is called a Pig)

The Dragon is the only one of the group that is a mythical creature, and it is the most powerful and dynamic of the twelve animal signs. Unlike the evil, fire-breathing creatures of Western stories, the ancient Chinese dragon is wise and intelligent, the symbol of strength, honor and benevolent power. It is the divine bringer of good fortune. 

Dragon years are considered auspicious for marriages and new business ventures. The Chinese believe that success follows children born in a Dragon year, because heaven and earth are forever in balance in their lives. Dragon years are associated with wealth, often bringing an increase in personal income and boosting world markets.

Because this sign tends to magnify both achievement and disaster, it’s no surprise that the last time we had a Dragon year, we were terrified of Y2K and the end of the world as we knew it. And in this year, some have interpreted the Mayan calendar to mean the end of the world, period!  

There’s good news, however. Each year’s animal symbol is modified by one of five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. A Fire Dragon year is the most volatile, but the year 2012 is a Water Dragon year.

A Water Dragon has a more peaceful disposition than other dragons, with water calming the dragon’s fire.  The Water Dragon is known for its calm, visionary intelligence and a balance of right brain creativity with left brain logic. 

Of all the dragon years, the Water Dragon is most likely to bestow the Five Blessings – Harmony, Virtue, Riches, Fulfillment and Longevity. Because of this, some have said that 2012 may be more about breakthroughs than disasters. After the upheaval of the past few years, this would certainly be welcome! 

Dani Harper

PS - This post was originally associated with the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop. That event is now CLOSED.

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