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2020: Chinese Year of the Metal Rat
The Year of A Time to Make Your Mark

Go Forward Click to jump straight to how the Year of the Rat affects you in 2020!

Welcome to the Chinese year of the Rat and a new decade! Despite the threatened viral outbreak this year, Chinese New Year is nevertheless the main holiday of the year for more than one quarter of the world's population and the Chinese New Year commences each year in February, according to our Western, Gregorian calendar. Chinese tradition employs both a Solar and Lunar calendar. Using the Solar calendar, the year starts on February 4th, beginning the new Zodiac animal cycle. The New Moon day of Saturday 25th January 2020, however, is the official Lunar New Year celebration day when the dragons and fireworks come out onto the streets!

2019 was the Year of the Earth Pig and it's been a challenging and dramatic year of changes. Now, in the cycle of twelve animals, comes the ambitious Rat. He's the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and thus we begin a new 12 year cycle the beginning of the new decade of the 2020's. There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac and they finish at the Pig year and begin again with the go-getter and active Rat. In the overall cycle, last time we experienced the Metal Rat year was in 1960 when we had the previous start of the sixty year cycle that has lasted until today.  What do you recall about the beginning of the 1960s, if you were here then?

Calculate Your Chinese Zodiac Animal

Enter your birth year. For example: "1985"

Please bear in mind that the Chinese year begins in February
Go to Top A Turning Point

The Sixties ushered in a period of drastic change in the world with the shifts in musical tastes, film making, art breakthroughs, social and political justice, the growth of the natural medicine industry and the advances in technology that came via the Sixties. The Beatles Paul and John met in 1957. At the time John was in The Quarry Men. Paul and John got together then but the name The Beatles only emerged in 1960 after a run through of names such as The Silver Beats and The Silver Beatles.

Bob Dylan was meanwhile playing in coffee houses and folk cafes. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards,  both 17 years old, were at Art School in 1960.  It was two years later they formed the Stones. Phil Spector, who had worked with Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, broke away to form his own label in 1961, while back in 1960 he began to produce music for Curtis Lee and the Paris sisters. It was also in 1960 the Viet Cong emerged in the rice fields of Vietnam. In September the first national televised Presidential Debate aired in the USA. Elvis Presley left the US Army to go public. The Contraceptive Pill was born in December 1960 and shook the world within a few years changing people's sexual patterns. In April the US Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed.

The 2020 year and the coming decade will act to profoundly change the world in the same way we may remember from the 1960's. It will be as world shaking.  

Go to Top The Rat's Qualities and its Mythology

The Chinese mythology of the Rat is a great tool for finding insight into the year ahead. (Rat years are 1924, '36, '48, '60, '72, '84, '96, 2008, 2020). The Rat lives underground and burrows, and thus he is the master of the underworld. He is a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and is generous to those whom he enjoys. As an animal the Rat is one of the most intelligent, rated alongside the dolphin and whale as a creature of high native intelligence. The Rat was the first of all animals to answer the call from the Buddha to take care of the years in the Chinese calendar. In our culture the rat does not have a great reputation and indeed is detested and reviled as a creature of the plague and of disease. He is solitary, individualistic and self-willed. He's alert and watchful and it's very difficult to influence the Rat. He's very protective of his own secrets and will jealously guard the part of his life he does not want anything to be known about.

Go to Top The Rat is a Go-Getter

The Rat is a go-getter. He's active and highly strung and hard mental effort attracts him and also relieves him. When he does nothing, he has problems and can wander in circles becoming over critical and obnoxious. The way of struggle is vital for him and he finds he cannot endure life if it's full of rules and mundane obligations. He's original; the mysterious attracts him as does Baroque fashion. He can forget your wedding anniversary, but he has a knack of inventing new things to celebrate to make up for it. The Rat respects laws but usually only his own laws, and can be the type that breaks taboos and defies the establishment.

He is also very detached, purposeful and adapts to all the changing circumstances around him. He is full of courage, industrious and hardworking and his brain is keen and alert. Rat people see the goal they want and go for it. He is unafraid of the unforeseen, so can move with whatever changes happen to him in a project or a profession.

Go to Top Rats Who Love

Rats are anxious and sometimes aggressive; they would never win a prize for being the easiest to get on with. On the other hand, they are romantic creatures and never boring, so will be passionately involved in an affair. In fact the Rat's romantic life is not simple, as it can be a mad infatuation all the way to an inflamed passion! Sometimes those excessive emotions will frighten less outgoing zodiac creatures away. In love, he is capable of fantastic generosity and has the reputation of getting himself involved in some extremely complicated situations, being sometimes a victor and sometimes a victim, not knowing why someone turned on him. At times, you could even say he is slightly sadomasochistic.

The happy Rat is faithful and committed and will always appear to be the great advocate of sincerity. Sexually, he is a passionate person and a great lover. The Rat in Chinese Four Pillars astrology is known as the "Flower of Romance". So a year of the Rat will stimulate much romance, with big marriages in the news – and also its share of dramatic sex scandals.

Go to Top Celebrity Rats
Famous people born in the Year of the Rat:
  • actors Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Hugh Grant, Jeremy Irons, Hugo Weaving
  • singers Robert Plant, Cat Stevens, Stevie Nicks, Sarah Brightman
  • scientists Werner von Braun and Galileo
  • film and television makers Luis Bunuel, Kenneth Branagh, Andrew Denton
  • politicians US president Jimmy Carter, Al Gore,
  • composers Hayden, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Johann Strauss
  • painters Claude Monet and Toulouse Lautrec
  • sculptor Auguste Rodin
  • sportsman Greg Ritchie
  • writers Jack London, Emile Zola, Charlotte Bronte, Tim Winton, Shakespeare, Shelley, and Leo Tolstoy
  • adventurer Lawrence of Arabia
  • Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, was born in 1948.
Go to Top What is this Rat Year all about?
The Chinese zodiac makeup this year is of Yang Metal and Water elements. They come together in a harmonious relationship, but because the characteristic of Yang Metal is more difficult, their combination can be destructive. Both Metal and Water elements are 'cold' elements because they represent the Yin seasons of autumn and winter. Hence the atmosphere of 2020 can tend towards people feeling more liable to resort to direct action and violence to achieve their political or environmental ends and thus create more conflict. There will be more impassioned protests, civil unrest, angry demonstrations and riots over issues of social justice, environment and inequalities.
Go to Top The Chinese Elements of the Year

2020 is symbolised by the two Chinese characters: Yang Metal and the Rat. Yang Metal is the Heavenly Stem (character on top) and the Rat is the Earthly Branch (the bottom). The Rat is a Water element. In the Five Element cycle, Metal gives rise to Water. Because the Stem, Metal supports the Branch, Water, you can say this combination represents a more harmonious relationship. Therefore, you could expect 2020 to be a more peaceful year. It may not always work out that way for several reasons. The 'cold' nature of Metal may count.

You can use the Hsia calendar (traditional) and the framework of the Five Element cycles (birth and destruction) to understand the year's theme. For example, 2018 was Yang Earth Dog (Earth). The Elements are the same so we experienced some harmony.  You can see that the USA and North Korea came to a temporary and peaceful agreement to halt nuclear testing. Then 2019 was Yin Earth Pig which was Earth over Water, in a destructive relationship. Thus, the peace talks between the USA and North Korea broke down, and hostility between the USA and Iran intensified.

I've noted that the Fire element is totally absent this year to control the strong Water energy, so we can expect to see water and fire-related disasters, including sea and air accidents. This can include flooding, heavy rainstorms and tsunamis. Further, because the Fire element is gone and both the Metal and Water elements are weakening the Earth element, there will be more serious earth type disasters such as landslides, avalanches, mining accidents, sink holes, building collapses and quakes. Stay aware.

Go to Top The Chinese Calendar works on a Sixty Year Cycle and 1960 was the previous Yang Metal Rat year.

What happened then gives us clues to the 2020 year. There was a series of major earthquakes in 1960 resulting in huge loss of life. Strains between the USSR and the USA escalated when a U-2 spy plane was shot down by Soviet Air Defence Forces in May 1960. The South African Sharpville massacre happened in March when police opened fire on demonstrators killing 69 and injuring 180. On the positive side 17 African countries, including Cameron, Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Somalia, and Madagascar all declared independence. Cyprus also gained independence from Britain that same year.  In the USA, the Greensboro sit-ins were a series of protests that led to the Woolworths chain removing its policy of racial segregation in southern USA shifting everything starting a chain of changes. John F. Kennedy was elected president of the USA in November 1960.

Go to Top What's Your Health Issue In 2020?

In Traditional Chinese medicine the Metal element represents the breathing organs including the lung, nose, and skin. The Rat who is of Water element is related to the kidney, urinary system, and sexual organs. Excessive Water element this year can cause problems in these areas. And because both the Fire and Earth elements are totally absent in 2020, this contributes to weakness in the stomach leading to digestive problems, the pancreas (diabetes), the immune system and issues with the heart, blood or overall vitality.  There is so much moisture and wetness from the Water year (and the lack of Fire to balance) that it can cause rheumatism and bone diseases. In order to support the weaknesses of the Fire and Earth this year suitable health supplements to take are any antioxidants for regulating the Earth element, and COEnzyme Q10 for enhancing the Fire element.

Go to Top The Rat Year and The Economy 

Fire element years prevailed from 2013 to 2017. Fire promotes good performances in the stock market which has been the main driving force behind previous market growth. The cycle of the Fire element ended in 2017 and in 2018 Fire entered the grave (a Dog year), resulting in economic setbacks in the world. The Year of the Pig was the termination of Fire element. Now the Water element with the emotion related to fear has begun and the world's economy is hugely affected. With the Rat in 2020 Fire has gone into an embryo state and thus the general economic atmosphere will slow and the pace of growth slows. Looking back to 2008 (again a Rat Year), Wall Street was in turmoil after the financial tsunami of the Sub Prime Mortgage scandal leading to a recession lasting from 2008 to 2013.

Go Forward Click here to read how the Year of the Metal Rat affects you!

Yin Yang Richard Giles is a Feng Shui practitioner and astrologer who is available in Australia for consultations on your home and business. He has been involved in astrology for 15 years and writes for several Australian magazines. He is also the director of the metal Healing School of Queensland, running practitioner courses in metal Healing and Geomancy. Click to contact Richard Giles.

Year of the Metal Rat: part 1 | part 2 | FengShui Your House | Chinese Zodiac | Feng Shui

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This page was last modified on Monday, 10 February 2020