Happy Chinese New Year!
This is my piece for the upcoming issue of Infinity Astrology Magazine.
I’m writing this from a high-rise in the centre of Hong Kong, overlooking the dancing lights of Kowloon, which reflect and refract in the waters of the straits. It’s been quite a week here because we’re in the run up to Chinese New Year.
It’s the Year of the Pig — and swine are being celebrated all over town. I’ve eaten rice buns decorated with pink ears and snout, window-shopped at Gucci and Chloe for porcine handbags, not to mention piggy jewellery, hairbands, slippers, knickers and baseball caps. Flying pigs, cute pigs, Peppa Pig, gilded pigs decorate every building. There are giant, wobbling blow-up pigs in the streets and teeny weeny dangling pigs in the taxis.
The Zodiac is celebrated with winsome glee here in Hong Kong. The pig in particular seems to bring out the Chinese sense of fun. This outburst of astrological creativity has set me thinking about our own 12-year cycle of Jupiter.
Personally, I think of each year in terms of Jupiter, so this year, for example, is a Sagittarius year in my mind, since Jupiter is in Sagittarius from November 2018 through December 2019.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we greeted the entry of Jupiter into a sign with the same verve as the Chinese greet their New Year. We could have sent each other centaur cards back in November, created centaur handbags and slippers — and next year we’d all be sporting Capricorn baseball caps in the run-up to Christmas.
Recent years of the Pig were 1959, 1971 and 1995 — which were, you guessed it, all years when Jupiter was in Sagittarius, although the handover from one sign to another was in different months. So the Chinese cycle of 12 years is close to the cycle of Jupiter anyway.
The Pig is described as lazy, lucky, amiable and a little dumb. It seems unlikely that everyone born in the same year shares all those characteristics, however, Chinese astrologers drill down to month and time of day. You might be a Pig-Dragon-Rabbit, for example. So the year sign is less influential than one might think. A proper Chinese astrologer would probably throw in some numerology, palmistry and face reading too — and if you’re lucky, you might even get your foot read. Nevertheless, I’ve yet to hear of a Chinese psychological portrait as nuanced as one by a good Western astrologer. I like to think our planetary system ends up being more accurate, but I’m ready to be proved wrong.
A country in the region particularly celebrated for the efficacy of its astrologers is Burma, which also happens to be the point where Indian and Chinese cultures meet and fuse. It’s said the few political decisions are made there, still, without consulting an astrology. The country’s birth date and time, 4.20am, 4 January 1948, was chosen by our colleagues over there. Obviously, they chose a strong Jupiter. That is one in Sagittarius, so the country’s having a Jupiter Return this year. Unfortunately, they also put Mars on the MC, which may account for the rule by the military.
But back to Jupiter, if we celebrated our Jupiter year, we could add a once a decade party to our birthday list. Imagine, you could have a major fiesta at 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60, on top of the usual birthday bash. This would certainly add to the general merriment. In these gloomy times, we need to spread some gaiety.
And what better year to do that than the year of the Centaur-Pig, a creature renowned for its hospitality, love of feasting and general party-hearty attitude to life. Everyone agrees, east and west, that somehow, this is likely to be a year of both excess and, if you play your cards right, luck. Roll on Pigittarian, or should that be Sagipig.