Based on the Asian zodiac, the January 21, 2023 new moon signals the end of a Yang Water Tiger year in 2022 and the beginning of a Yin Water Rabbit year in 2023. Through the final lunar cycle leading into the lunar new year, I reflected upon how 2022 felt and pondered the arrival of 2023.

In the 12-year cycle of the Asian zodiac, there are 12 animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

Each year’s animal is influenced by one of the five elements, representing the relationship and interdependence between all things: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. These five elements align closely with the seven Thrivival elements that make up our blog categories: aether, air, water, energy, metal, fire, earth.

Years also alternate between yin and yang energy:
Yin: passive female principle, characterized as sustaining, associated with earth, cold, and dark.
Yang: active male principle, characterized as creative, associated with heaven, heat, and light.

2023, year of the Yin Water Rabbit
2022, year of the Yang Water Tiger
2021, year of the Yin Metal Ox

In Asia, the Tiger is known as the king of beasts and a symbol of strength, courage, and the ability to triumph over evil. Tigers walk their wild terrain with sovereign independence.

Water flows along the path of least resistance, feeling its way around the largest obstacles and through the smallest openings. Water gracefully adapts to its environment—hot spring, frozen lake; crashing ocean, still pond; raging rapids, babbling brook.

In my Happy Lunar New Year 2022! The Year of Supple Strength post, I had reflected on 2021, a Yin Metal Ox year

Like metal, 2021 felt cold and immutable—entrenched in lockdowns and unbendable restrictions. Enduring 2021 too often felt like embodying the ox, shouldering a yoke of heavy emotional burden, leaning against the weight of it to struggle forward, making little progress and choking on the dust of exhausted, infertile terrain—unforgiving work levied by world leaders who wielded their arguably undeserved powers like bulls in a china shop.

I optimistically ventured that the shift from Yin Metal Ox to Yang Water Tiger intimated a significant change in energies…

In 2022, we will find ways to quietly stay within our sovereignty. We will learn to navigate the changing streams with formless grace.

How did the year of the Yang Water Tiger feel?

For me, 2022 certainly offered ample opportunities to test my ability to “navigate the changing streams with formless grace;” whether or not I succeeded at it. As political unrest in Canada heightened and lines of division were dug deeper and deeper, I felt myself swept emotionally downstream, jostled from rock to hard place. In my GRIT Series, I related how events in 2022 required me to Go Right into Trepidation and sit in it a while. I spent much of the year feeling like I was submerged underwater, staring into the murky depths, much like my character in Anni Annihilation.

Like the tiger, I coped by quietly retreating deep into the shadowy ‘jungle’ where I faced my own inner dramas and traumas. Inwardly, I felt more than ever before; outwardly, I accomplished little and endeavoured to say less, I traveled nowhere and, for the most part, I socialised with no one save a very few especially kindred friends. In true carnivorous form, I sunk my teeth into the heavier, more gruesome aspects of the human psyche. I saw deception, corruption, and manipulation in plain view. I surrendered to the shadow work and it showed me expressions of human experiences most suppressed, most shrouded in guilt and shame (which I will dare to explore in my upcoming Herd Immunity Series). When we shine the light on the dark aspects of ourselves and humanity, the shadows show themselves in dark contrast—we must see them to transmute them. I allowed intense feelings to flow through me in spiraling levels of intensity.

Does this all sound rather melodramatic? It felt dramatic—it felt intense, overwhelming, and all-consuming. But, I recognized the need to feel it all; I realized that we cannot bypass the dark to ascend to the light, we must ascend through it. I settled into the process and practiced becoming the observer, finding a place of neutrality, and simply watching it all unfold. In that solitude—by “quietly staying within my own sovereignty”—I eventually found strength and that gave me the resolve to continue.

Eventually, I concluded and accepted that humans are flawed and complicated—driven by sub-conscious programs, repeating deeply entrenched patterns, and reacting based on unhealed past traumas too painful to feel. Like the tiger, I grounded myself to the earth and digested it all, transmuting the trauma—spiritual alchemy. By the end of 2022, despite ‘doing’ so little out in the world, I felt inwardly, inexplicably exhausted. But, in that exhaustion, I began to glimpse the smallest glimmer of that “formless grace” I had envisioned at the beginning of the year—and that sparked ‘the little willingness’ I needed to welcome 2023, the Year of the Yin Water Rabbit, with optimism.

How did 2022 align with the Water Tiger energies for you?