This year about to begin will be the Earth Tiger and it will begin on 28 Jan at 06:19 Greenwich Time, according to the ephemeris. The last Earth Tiger came in 1938 and it will be 2058 before we see another one. This year just ending has been the Fire Ox. The year following will be the Earth Rabbit. The Ox marks the end of old things. It is the sign of winter, of sleep, of death and extinction. The Tiger is the opening of new things. It is the sign of Thunder, of the new dawn, of springtime, when life and warmth return to the land.
The Tiger corresponds to the Western Aquarius. Its natural element is Wood, here mated with Earth. The Tiger is the symbol of earthly raw power in untamed nature, even as the Dragon is the symbol of heavenly creative forces. It is a sign of the eastern sky and of the springtime. This is the planting season in the agricultural almanac of ancient China, when the ground becomes workable once more and nourishing rains begin to fall. It is also the sign of the pre-dawn hours, when birds and a few other animals sense the coming dawn and bestir themselves. It is a time of new life, new beginnings and a trembling wakefulness.
This Earth Tiger will be a very special year for a number of reasons. The Tao is deeply correct and its energies are much accelerated --- the pace of change in this year and next will be the greatest our generation can expect to experience, especially the winter months of each year. Only 1988 (Earth Dragon) can compare. Before that, we must look to the early 1800s and the Industrial Revolution to find a comparable group of years. After this, we must wait until the Metal Horse year of 2050 to get it again.
Moreover, because this is an Earth year, Earth shall come into direct contact with itself during the Earth Season in the summer months. Because no animal year claims Earth as its native element, this can only happen for less than 150 days out of each decade --- the rarest of all elemental configurations and essential to our evolution as a species because it is in these times that most meaningful and lasting change takes root.
What can we expect from such a year? Plenty! When the Tiger comes, we must always expect the unexpected.
The Tiger conquers Earth and conquest configurations are always times of accelerated change and heightened creativity. Not only do we create new things and make startling new discoveries, but we also develop new tools for creativity --- new tools for creativity in our culture in the arts, new tools for creativity in our consumer society in industry, new tools for creativity in our nations through government. But the Tiger is brash, reckless, opinionated and forceful. It is the general who needs no army to fight its wars or to win its battles. It leads and cares not who follows. Therefore, we can expect this Tiger also to have a hand in creating what should not be created.
This is a strong trigger for evolution. New lifeforms may make an appearance this year and be recognised. They may be as small as a virus or bacterium or as large as a secretive mammal of the rainforests. Or it may be some sort of artificial life, created through genetic engineering. Yes, genetic engineering and cloning have been in development for years, but advances made this year and in the next will have particular significance. It is a tool for creativity and it will make the transition from the research labs to the street and the manufacture of lifeforms will become a productive industry.
Media convergence will continue apace and perhaps experience something of a consummation in their desire to create art that imitates life and even successfully passes itself off as life. When this configuration last occurred two centuries ago, it sparked the Industrial Revolution. And that great event was not so much about the mass production of consumer goods as the creation of the tools that make mass production possible: engines, turbines, cheap power sources, precision tool engineering, efficient transportation, automated mechanisms of all kinds. Within our own lifetimes, earlier instances of this energy have brought about the discovery of fractal geometry (the Mandelbrot Set) and the development of virtual reality (VR) interaction. What's next? Interactive holography perhaps? At the very least, we must expect the Internet to reach its maturity in these years.
Speaking of Revolutions, let us not forget that this is the primary revolution configuration. The people create new tools for their better governance and then they put them to use. Never underestimate the power that is unleashed by a true Revolution. A revolution is no mere coup d'état, where one government replaces another and life goes on as before. No, the Revolution taps into the deeper consciousness of a nation and unlocks its spirit in a phenomenon that we call "Zeitgeist" -- a German word meaning "the Spirit of the Age". The Zeitgeist of a nation is locked up in Pandora's Box and it is unleashed by that man of the hour who has been given its key. Zeitgeist is a primal and instinctual force. It is not to be trifled with. No man whose heart and mind have not been touched and blessed by the Zeitgeist might hope to withstand its power to inundate, overwhelm and wash clean the scorched earth.
Do you scoff at these words? Think on those, then, who have stood in its path: the Shah of Iran, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicolae Ceaucescu, the Tsar Nicholas II, the French King Louis XVI, the English King Charles I. Where are they now? Now stand in awe of those who rode this beast to power: Chairman Mao, the Ayatollah, Lenin and Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Robespierre, Napoleon, Cromwell, George Washington. An interesting collection of both saints and villains, yes, but men of presence and of power one and all who had a hand in transforming our world down to its very foundations.
We have a rendezvous with destiny in this year and the next, a date with the Zeitgeist lurking within our own souls. We may or may not escape it this year, but 1999, the Earth Rabbit, will not pass away without an encounter with this shadow. The Revolution from above shall fail, but that from below shall triumph. The Revolution of the springtime shall fail, but that of the autumn and winter shall win the love of the people and shall triumph. The people shall come thronging together to acknowledge their common lord and to pledge their love and affection to each other. There is solidarity among the masses and the world shall become a much smaller place.
And then what? ...
Tyger, Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Created Jan 1998. Last Updated 28 Jan 1998.
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