In the Chinese calendar the year 4704 is the year of the Fire Dog and begins January 29, 2006. The Chinese character associated with this astrological branch, the 11th of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, is Xu. It pictures a halberd, a martial weapon that looks like an ax on a long pole. This protective image gives us an apt symbol for the nature of the chi associated with the Dog, and some insight into the upcoming year.
The Chinese developed several dog breeds but the one most closely associated with the astrological character is the Chow. No docile family pet, this dog was known for its devotion, loyalty, and ferocious courage in defending its master. In battle it would attack the legs of enemy horses, often snapping them in its jaws, and would stay by the side of its fallen master even after death. This combination of yin devotion and yang protectiveness, gave the dog a special place in Chinese society as guardian of the home. It is said that dogs protect the home, while pigs take care of the people in it. In astrological symbolism, the Dog is known for its qualities of loyalty, honesty, faithfulness, and devotion to the protection of friends and loved ones. It has a harmonious relationship to Tiger, Horse, and Rabbit, an oppositional relationship to Dragon, and an argumentative relationship with Rooster. So what can we expect in the coming year? In general, all of us can benefit from the clarity gained in the past Rooster year if we now devote ourselves to stewardship of what we truly value. There is no deviousness in the Dog. So, though the year will support hard work and honest effort, the outcome will be better if our agenda aligns with our highest values. Dogs work for home and family, not for personal gain.
Here are some tips for each of the astrological signs:
RAT: You may have to abandon some of your secretiveness this year. What you see as just good strategy, the Dog views as conniving. You have a brilliant mind, and see the complexity of life. Dogs see things with no shades of gray. It’s pretty much black or white, friend or foe. Because of this difference in view, you tend to argue and not respect one another. Try to muster up some tolerance and you’ll do just fine this year.
OX: This could be a tricky year for you. You love hard work and are immune to the brashness of the Rooster, so you fared better than most last year. The problem between Ox and Dog is that they both love to play the role of protector, and neither is willing to back down. This always turns into a power struggle over who’s in control. Your best strategy is to relax a bit and let others share the load. I know. This is close to impossible for the Ox. Think of it as a useful experiment.
TIGER: Finally, your ship has come in. It’s been a rough two years and you certainly could use a break from the tension. The Dog is one of the harmony animals for Tiger. They share a commitment to integrity and honesty, and the Tiger is able to relax with loyal and trustworthy Dog at its side. The Dog loses some of its natural anxiety in the presence of courageous Tiger. Stand aside. Tigers will show up as capable and confident leaders this year.
RABBIT: Good news. You have weathered one of your most difficult years and can now come out of hiding. Rabbits hate conflict and had to practically disappear last year in order to avoid it. In the Dog year you will feel protected and appreciated. You can enjoy your home and friends again. Open your door and invite people in. It’s safe now.
DRAGON: Things have been going great for you lately. In the Monkey year you had endless fun and lots of attention. In the Rooster year you felt successful and important. Now things are going to change. Dogs find Dragons to be hopelessly self-centered and won’t pay any attention to them at all. Dragons view Dogs as boringly cautious and pragmatic. Since you’re likely to feel unappreciated and unnoticed this year, it’s best to take a vacation or go on retreat. Your star will shine again in 2008, the Year of the Rat.
SNAKE: For you, it’s probably best to rest during the Dog year. Like Ox, you managed quite well during the Rooster year, working behind the scenes as a master strategist. Having accomplished much, it’s important to rest up to prepare for the upcoming Pig year in 2007. This will be your most challenging time, so spend this year planning your strategy.
HORSE: Like Tiger, you can move forward with confidence this year. Everything is lined up for success. People appreciate your valor and boldness. The Dog is watchful enough to see that you don’t get hurt. This is the time for you to take action. Don’t waste the year because in 2008 (Rat year) you’ll feel unsupported and ineffectual.
SHEEP: This can be a nerve racking year for Sheep. There is a criticalness in Dogs that comes from their watchful nature. They tend to see Sheep as needing lots of improvement so they earnestly attempt to “herd and train.” This relentless crusade on the part of the Dog usually backfires. The Sheep, a natural worrier anyway, gets anxious and irritable. This is a no win situation. Best strategy for Sheep this year – team up with friendly Horse or generous Pig, both of which get on well with Dog, and let them run interference for you. You’re a team player anyway so don’t try to meet the Dog head on.
MONKEY: Your job is to not get bored and depressed this year. Dogs can be pessimistic worriers. This puts a damper on your usually irrepressible nature. You appreciate the Dog’s honesty and faithfulness in a crisis, but its sensible pragmatism may get irksome. Also, the Dog is offended by what it sees as your “flexible morality,” and will try to teach you ethics. Save your risky endeavors for the Rat year, when your ability to conjure brilliant solutions out of thin air will be applauded.
ROOSTER: What used to dazzle as decisive clarity will now be viewed as criticism and will not be tolerated. The Dog is more than willing to take on what it sees as your arrogance. Fur and feathers fly if you take this personally and get into a snit. Take advantage of the Dog’s integrity and honesty to move forward in financial endeavors, and try to relax about convincing others of your personal opinions. Would you rather be right, or happy?
DOG: It is not always an auspicious time to be in your own year. It’s a bit like sitting in the front row of class, knowing you’ll be called on. But Dogs do better at this than some of the other signs. Dogs like being part of a group, and once they get the hierarchy worked out, things can be both playful and efficient. So take advantage of the respect you’ll receive this year. Others will look up to you and depend on you. You’re fully capable of stepping up to the plate, so trust yourself and enjoy the accomplishment and reward of putting your best qualities forward.
PIG: Pigs have a kind and generous spirit. They love home and family. Their only downfall is that they can be gullible. The Dog, with its devotion to family, its integrity, and its defensive nature, makes the Pig feel secure. This promises to be a great year for those born in the year of the Pig. They benefit from the stability and safety provided by Dog. Relax and enjoy the peace.