February 12, 2021 is the beginning of Lunar New Year, this year we celebrate the Metal Ox, the second sign in the Zodiacal wheel. According to myth, the Jade Emperor established the order of the zodiacal animals based on when they arrived at his party. The Ox was in the lead, but kind-hearted in nature, gave Rat a ride on his back. As soon as they arrived at the party, Rat jumped down becoming the first animal in the zodiac, and Ox was second.
The Ox is highly valued in Asian culture, represented in religion, art, literature and popular culture for centuries. Associated with harvests, hard work, honesty and fertility in China, Ox is also very auspicious and able to grant one’s wishes. In Korea the Ox is portrayed as very altruistic, diligent and loyal.
The Ox is sacred in many world religions including Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, where there is strong respect for the lives of animals as well as beliefs that violence of any kind is wrong. In Zoroastrianism the spirt of the cow is associated with the soul of the Earth. In Buddhism the Ox is said to represent Buddha nature, that it is possible for anyone to achieve enlightenment. In Japan the Ox is venerated in Shintoism and can be found in Tenmangu shrines, dedicated to the spirit of Sugawara or Michizane, the god of academics, who also has a relationship to health and wellbeing, that likely arises from a belief that cows have the power to cure disease.
Qualities of the OX and what to expect in a Metal Ox Year.
The Ox is grounded, gentle, trustworthy, intelligent, realistic and reliable, not afraid to engage in hard work, does not expect praise for their dedication, they will endure without complaint. A Metal Ox year is a time to consolidate, gain flexibility, and strength and to set realistic goals. To stay balanced focus on creating healthy boundaries and structures in your life that support your forward momentum and ability to find joy in your work and home life.
This is an excellent time to focus on completing things that we may have begun in the tumult of 2020 but were unable to finish. This is also an opportunity to reconstruct or rebuild from a more holistic and grounded place. Think about what you might want to let go of; are there actions you want to take that would simplify your life and nourish you in new ways. Remember that Metal rules the lungs and is associated with the emotion of grief. A Metal Ox year is a time to envision new pathways that allow us to let go of deep grief and to set new roots that help us to grow and thrive.
May this Lunar New Year be a time for great harvest and rich nourishment.