Lunar Imbolc 2016: Year of the Fire Monkey

New Moon in Aquarius, February 8 2016 at 9:39am EST marks Lunar Imbolc, halfway between winter and spring.


Look at the year as a wheel. The Solstices of winter and summer and Equinoxes of spring and fall divide the year into quarters. Halfway points between each season further break the wheel into eight parts. In Taoist philosophy, a wheel is divided into 8 parts called the Eight Trigrams, each one a fundamental principle of reality.

Astrology and Taoism seek to bring humans into alignment with nature and cosmology. The theory is that the more we align ourselves with enduring principles of nature, the more we experience and create love and harmony.

I offer astrological insights in the hopes of affirming nature and offering tools through which we can deepen our connective relationship with All That Is.


Year of the Fire Monkey

The New Moon on February 8 begins a Chinese New Year. We exit the year of the Wood Sheep and enter the year of the Fire Monkey. The year of the Wood Sheep has been about cooperation, altruism, and steady expansive growth. Community and creativity were nurtured in 2015.

Wood feeds fire, so the inspirations and dreams that have been growing are ready to be illuminated and lifted to the sky. Like wood, fire is expansive. But whereas the growth of wood is lateral and somewhat patient, the fire lifts matter upward with immediacy.

In 2016, we catch a fire.

This is a year of brilliance.

The Monkey is playful, curious, adaptable, dexterous, and incredibly smart. Combined with the illuminating qualities of fire, intelligence becomes radiant genius. Our ideas can spread instantaneously like wildfire. We can be unstoppable.

Monkeys live in troops, yet possess uniquely spirited personalities. Now’s a time to bring your distinct skills into the light of the collective. Show us what you’ve got. Do a little dance. Offer yourself courageously, with humor and optimism.

Here in Costa Rica, the howler monkeys have the loudest voices of any land animal on earth relative to their modest size.

This is your year to howl: your voice, your vibration can travel great distance beyond your physical form. 

Monkeys are brave and industrious. They can often be found going out on a limb (and then another, and another)! They stretch themselves and use creative means to get where they need to go.

This is a year of motion. Dynamic progress. Exponential growth. Taking risks and leaps of faith is encouraged. We will definitely feel impulsive and moved to change. Live your life this year like a game or a zesty experiment. Relish possibility.

The Spectrum of the Fire Monkey

Everything manifest contains polarity: positive and negative qualities. This is the principle of Tao. The yin/yang symbol depicts a whole circle first divided into two parts, dark and light. The seed of one always contained within the other.

So far we’ve mentioned positive attributes to the Fire element (illumination, radiance, warmth, fuel, connection with spirit), but we also know that fire holds immense power to destroy. Fire is restless and all-consuming, indiscriminate with what it turns to ash. Things can be torn down prematurely or accidentally within the blink of an eye. Fire is a force of letting go.

When we play with fire, unless we use caution and respect for the flame, we can easily be burned. As you take risks that increase your sense of vitality, use humility and acute observation. Every fire needs to be contained. Discover what structure will best hold you glow. The rapidity and heat of fire can be exhausting. Try not to burn the candle at both ends: build rest into your schedule. Excessive fire can be inner restlessness and irritability. We could waste time spinning our wheels. Fire can also boil our blood, becoming rage and revolt. Anger is fuel for revolution.

And the monkey, while smart, can be mischievous and cunning. I’ve known more than one to steal a piece of fruit or an expensive camera. They can tease other creatures with a malicious humor and create distractions. Mental prowess can change to mental excess. Watch that you don’t suffer from too much ‘monkey mind’ and swirl in the sands of anxiety. Balance the nervous system with regular practice in your meditation of choice; preferably movement meditation. If you find yourself overthinking in a web of confusion, back off and get into your body.

For those unaccustomed to change, the monkey year will be a challenge. Monkey is comfortable in any position, even hanging by its tail upside-down. Things may not be what they seem and a sense of disorientation can prevail unless we are agile and fully engaged.

A word of advice around leaps of faith. Don’t be rash. Monkey never leaps without all parts of himself united and engaged. He has already acutely observed every detail of his surroundings and the place he plans to land. Activate this sort of awareness, and listen deeply to the calls from within before committing yourself to a risk. Trust in God, yet still tie up your horse. The risks you take should support you in creative action and soul-aligned work. It’s not a straight shot to success. Make choices that help you break your upper limits, and remain strong and persistent as you continue to move forward. Keep your eyes on the long-range view of what you hope to accomplish, and let your risks breathe new life into those plans. Lean into enthusiasm.

The year of the Fire Monkey is about creative transformation. We have the fuel for a resurgence of love, a joyful revolution at our fingertips.