articles_monkeyAugWelcome to the time of Leo, the Monkey’s Western counterpart. In the seasonal rhythm, we are now in the energy of Metal (Autumn). Rather than a focus on activity and expansion (like we did in the Spring and Summer), we will experience a contraction in Qi.

What that means is: along with the inexorable process of letting go, the nature of Metal holds a great sense of quality and meaning, which is apparent on gifting yourself the time to pause and reflect. The big themes for Metal are of letting go of loss and disappointment, and recognizing one’s own inherent value as well as value in other people. The health of the Metal Element starts with the development of self-worth and respect, resilience, and assuredness.

This month’s forecast will, for obvious reasons, be quite different from the past because I want to pay a special tribute to the Metal (Autumn) energy. So much emphasis has been placed on Wood and Fire this year that the arrival of Autumn may finally be the shift in energy we’ve all been waiting for.

Metal is a difficult one to grasp in nature at first. But it is the connector of all things. Without it, the “nuts and bolts” of all things would come unhinge. Rather than a world of creation, Metal is the SPIRIT underlying the creation of the world. If Earth is the Great Mother, then Metal is the archetype of the Father, the heavenly energy that, when planted within, initiates life. That’s why this Element holds the “transcendent function,” conveying a sense of reverence as you stand in awe before the wonder of creation.

Metal is also a reminder to honor your father (or a strong father figure) in your life. In Chinese Medicine, a father’s positive influence helps instill a child’s development of moral authority, principles, and discipline, all of which foster self-reliance and self-worth.

As you take the much-needed pause to reflect on your immediate past, it won’t matter how much intellectual accolades and material possessions you have gained. Without the spirit of Metal, there will always be a sense of grief and isolation. That’s why this is the right time to move past what has been holding you back and turn your attention to what matters to you the most.

It’s time to transform perfectionism to appreciation, regret to inspiration, and loss to acceptance. This is the domain of the Metal energy.

No doubt the first half of the year has been a wild one, to put it mildly. In many ways, the “Universe” has thrown a lot at us, forcing us to confront many lessons related to relationship matters, money, business, career, and health. With the turmoil of international conflicts, environmental threats to our planet, staggering number of sea-air accidents, and natural disasters have put our bewilderment (and shock) to a whole new level. Of course, there is also the ever-present moral dilemma of deciphering right from wrong. That’s hard, because what is right for us may not be right for everyone else.

Ignorance has definitely not been bliss. Everything imaginable (or unimaginable) life circumstances have sprung out onto the surface in full force. This is certainly not the time for turning a blind eye, procrastinating, or even wishful daydreaming. On the other hand, this year has been an imposing one, a giant bulldozer pushing and coercing us to take action. It’s telling us it is time to move ahead, make progress, initiate change, take a leap, and fly!

So as you wind down from the Fire energy, ask yourself this: What have you done so far? You may have done your fair share of good and positive progress… perhaps even a handful of not-so-good or errors in judgment. Just look around you. What have you seen or experienced so far? What has been done to you? What would you change and do better? Can you do better?

Regardless, there is still so much beauty in all of it. It is exactly in these moments when I am reminded of the essence of Yin and Yang; wherein the fundamental design of the Tai Chi exists not in perfect harmony. Instead, the purpose of its existence is borne from conflict, struggle, tension, and the need to overcome the other. That’s the journey of life – to strive for balance.

And that is a great lesson to bear in mind…

Is suffering really necessary? Could love exist without hate? Would we be able to celebrate life if we don’t know death? Would we appreciate nature’s abundance if she doesn’t remind us that our resources are limited?

Maybe. Maybe not. We will never know what life is like without the other side. Every side has two faces, two stories, two perspectives. So whatever side of the story you may be at this year so far, there’s always a flip side.

If things are good, be grateful. If things are hard, be hopeful.

It’s hard to talk about August without mentioning a few key events that happened in July. Like I always said, learning and deeply understanding the complexities behind the relationship of the Five Elements is incredible. It really affords us the ability to foresee and understand the timing and causes of events not just in our lives or the lives of others, but also the forces that influence our physical environment.

Take the recent incident with Malaysia Airlines MH17. Unfortunately, I was not able to find the birth date of Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, the Group CEO. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if his Luck is not so good because we know in BaZi, your personal fortune always manifest in your life. Last month, Flying Star also showed us that 2-3 was residing in the Southeast (with 2 as the Visiting Star). This combo might have been the culprit to some of the ongoing misfortunes that happened in that region. We can only hope that the shift in the season will give those guys a break with the pressure and affliction that seem to be happening incessantly.

This month Yang Water 壬 sits on top of Monkey 申 (Metal). In the Five Elements systems, Metal supports Water. That’s why we can expect August to be a particularly strong Water month even though we are in the Metal season. This is our first encounter with Water all year. Finally, Water shows up to control the overbearing Fire year.

We often say Yang Water 壬 is like the ocean. When balanced, it is peaceful, cleansing, and serene. So a Yang Water person can also be described as clever, enthusiastic, and driven. On the flip side, peaceful ocean water can easily turn into “tsunami” water. An unbalanced or maladapted Yang Water person may exhibit rage, appear pushy, wishy-washy (indecisive), or impulsive.

Note: Famous Yang Water people include Kate Middleton, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Katy Perry, Mark Wahlberg, Monica Belluci, Sophia Bush, Zoe Saldana, Pablo Picasso, Sophia Vergara, Tom Ford, Tom Cruise, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Because Water is associated with the emotion of fear, it is important to be mindful of your thoughts and actions as you move forward with the rest of the year.

Are you making major life decisions from fear? Are you overly ambitious and find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unable to make clear and productive choices? Can you convert these behaviors stemming from fear to one that is filled with wisdom, insight, and fortitude?

Remember, the relationship between Water and Fire embodies the principle of mutual transformation between complements that is captured in the Tai Chi symbol: at the time of the most Yang, Yin is born.

Even though Water this month is a welcoming break, we cannot ignore the flip side for exactly this reason. As I have mentioned in the past, Fire is associated with the emotion of joy. Except, there are no more Fire months this year. And so, the Fire’s dynamic and lively energy associated with optimism and celebration is winding down.

Take the stock market for example. After a remarkable run this year, particularly in June when it was a very strong Fire month, the Dow Jones Industrial took a big plunge as we move towards a strong Water month. The Dow Jones fell nearly 500 points in just one week with sharp selloffs and sentiments of fear and skepticism. (The Dow Jones was at 16,957 points on July 28th and finished at 16,493 on August 1st.)

Also, there was considerable weakness in the energy sector (Fire) as crude oil retreated. A number of economic news continues to report on an increase in negative sentiments. Traders and investors alike were still feeling skittish and risk averse.

Clearly, the escalating violence in the Middle East and the ongoing geographical situation in Ukraine also have unnerved investors. It is also not a surprise to see investors show an increased appetite for the more-defensive sectors (Metal), with the consumer staples and utilities stocks in demand. But it ends there. The remaining groups are currently trading in the red. So it’s safe to say the market will cool off a bit.

We observe the stock market performance as one way of witnessing how the Elements are influencing the emotions of investors. When the market took a nosedive in 2007 that was the year of Pig 亥 (Water), going into a strong Water year of the Rat 子 in 2008. We did not see signs of recovery until 2010 when the Tiger 寅 (Wood) year showed up, also the birthplace of Fire.

So what does this mean? It means we need to carefully observe our emotions now. Whether you’re coming from the highs or lows of the Fire energy, we need to be more mindful we do not transform that energy into fear. If you suddenly find yourself feeling anxious, doubtful, or indecisive, take stock of what’s happening and see how you can proactively mold that into something insightful and productive.

Flow with the Metal season and let go of anything that no longer makes sense or serves a purpose. Pause and take that the time to reflect on your material possessions, the goals and emotions you are hanging on to, and evaluate the personal relationships you have in your life.

Just know that it is in the Metal’s nature to teach you to relinquish control, to surrender and have faith, to trust yourself and your convictions, so that the NEED to hang on to the seasons past will not be from a place of fear or angst, but from a place of gratitude and appreciation.

So what can we expect in Monkey 申 month? Five years ago, also a Yang Water Monkey 壬申 month, we saw a series of bombs and explosions. Notably, there were bombings in Baghdad, Iraq that killed 100 and injured over 550 people. This seems to be the theme for much of 2014, right? Because Yin energy begins (after Summer Solstice), the Fire is finally released. The Wood Element comes back to life with the support of Water. With that in mind, the gas blast in Taiwan on July 31st was another indication of Fire breaking free.

Reports claimed people smelled gas at 09.30pm on July 31st. The Four Pillars combination at this time showed 3 combine of Wood (Pig 亥, Rabbit 卯, Goat 未), stimulating the Horse 午 (Fire) in the Year. The explosion occurred around midnight, early morning hours on August 1st. The Horse 午 and Rat 子 clashed causing the explosion. Also, Flying Stars in July shows 2-3 in the Southeast (Fighting Bull). Southeast is Taiwan.

And on August 1st, the Stars in the South are 7-9, which is fire disaster, and Kaohsiung (where the explosion occurred) is South of Taiwan. Furthermore, the President of Taiwan, Mr. Ma Ying-jeou, is strong earth (like Obama); meaning the Fire year is also unfavorable for him. While the exact cause is still unclear, authorities suspect the explosion was related to several petrochemical pipelines that ran along the sewage system.

Speaking of pipes and enough about Fire… what about Water?

On July 30th, a burst water main on LA’s Sunset Boulevard caused a huge flood at the University of California, Los Angeles. The main burst around 3.30pm, sending a jet of water high into the air and opening a hole 10ft (3m) wide in the street. It took authorities nearly three hours to contain the flow. Unfortunately, despite California’s severe drought problems this year, the incident caused as much as 8-10 million US Gallons (30-38 million liters) of water spilled!

July 30th was a Yang Water Tiger Day 壬寅. The Heavenly Stems on the Day and Hour support the two most Yang energy of Tiger 寅 (Wood) and Monkey 申 (Metal), making them very powerful and forceful. Monkey 申 Hour is also the birthplace of Water, and it clashes against Tiger 寅 Day, right when the pipes (Metal) burst, inundating the streets with water for three hours.

When the burst was finally contained, it was in Rooster 酉 Hour, the clash is gone. Thankfully, nobody was injured.

Yesterday, I came across a piece of news about the toxins (Metal) in Toledo’s water supply, affecting more than 400,000 people in the region to avoid bathing or drinking tap water (Water). While there have been no reports of sickness, it seems we may see more Water-Metal incidents in the coming month.

Let’s also not forget the clash of Water and Fire. Water is related to Sea and Fire is related to Air. Consistent with Grand Master Lo’s 2014 prediction, there have already been a number of sea and air accidents. These events have all been well publicized and we could see more. Also, Monkey 申 is a land animal, when combined with Tiger 寅 and Snake 巳, it creates a Fire penalty related to land accidents such as trains and automobiles.

Last month I talked about President Obama who has been having a tough year. But he is now in the Metal and Water seasons, Elements that are more supportive and favorable to him. Also, August is his Monkey 申 Nobleman month, and we should see a shift in his public support and political progress.

By the way, the five-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death is on August 25th. I’m sure we will be seeing tributes and remembrance to the King of Pop.

As for your personal Four Pillars, the Monkey 申 combines with the Snake 巳 but clashes with the Tiger 寅. If this is your clash month, it’s a good idea to make plans to travel or move around and make some changes in your physical surroundings. The Monkey 申 is also a Nobleman to those born in the Year or Day of Yin Earth 己 and Yin Wood 乙.

In the matters of health, if your Four Pillars need Fire to keep healthy, it is important to bring in food and physical activity related to Fire in the body to stay balanced. Fire foods include anything that is hot (temperature), spicy, and red. Others include red lentils, beet, dandelion root, okra, red bell pepper, scallion, tomato, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, persimmon, sunflower, and pistachio. Because Fire is related to the heart, the physical activity is anything to bump heat into the body, such as cardio exercises or hot yoga.

There’s a lot going on with Flying Star this month as Flying Star 2 takes the Center position. The Wind Trigram in the Center this year brings the element of Air such as wind and fire related disasters, and viral infection: MERS and Ebola. While these viruses are not airborne, the nature of the spread is similar to the idea. In my previous forecasts, I have included discussions on MERS, but now Ebola has taken the spotlight.

The first major Ebola outbreak occurred in West Africa in 2007 but the first recorded cases came in 1976. Since then, it has gradually gained momentum while scientists are battling to contain it. At this time, there is no cure and the outbreaks have a case fatality rate of 90%.

Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola in Africa, arrived back on U.S. soil last Saturday. The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, or CDC, received angry emails and calls from people demanding to know why they have allowed an infected citizen to return to the U.S.

So on Saturday, I asked the I Ching if Ebola will spread to the U.S in 30 days. The Hexagram came back Thunder over Heaven (total clash) change to Thunder over Thunder (total clash), 2nd and 3rd lines active. Second line is key element, also void but is active change to duplicate, so it will stop. To my surprise, Master Lo said he also asked the same question for Asia, and the Hexagrams also showed total clash change to total clash.

We could interpret this to mean the I Ching’s answer is “No.” Or we can look at it as the virus is active and moving, but these countries will be able to contain it. Derek Gatherer, a researcher at Lancaster University in the UK who studied virus genetics and evolution was quoted saying, “Western medical services would probably cope quite well with catching Ebola as it arrived, because we’d be aware of people coming from Ebola-affected areas.” He also said that it is possible that a small cluster of cases could occur in a hospital setting in the US, because healthcare workers have this type of close contact with their patients, but control procedures would prevent further spread. Let’s hope so!

I am still wary because sickness seems to be the theme in Monkey month with Sickness Star 2 is in the Center, prompting us to take notice and special care for health-related disasters. Flying Stars are super active this month, especially related to the health.

Here are the Star combinations related to health:

  • 7-5 in the Northeast. Misfortune 5 is visiting this month and is related to poison and sickness.
  • 5-3 in the Northwest. Star 3 is visiting this month and is related plague and sickness.

You can avoid traveling to these regions, or for your home, place 6-metal rod wind chimes in the Northeast and objects related to the Fire Element in the Northwest. Also, watch out for fire-related disasters in the North with 9-7 combo. Despite August being a strong Water month, Flying Stars show lots of Fire combinations in the NW, N, E, and NE. This means we can continue to see more wind and fire-related disasters in the coming month. Let’s hope we do a better job at maintaining our reservoirs to battle these fires!

By the way, reports show more than 80% of California is now in a state of extreme or exceptional drought. The drought has been serious for over the first 6 months this year. No doubt this is true because the whole year is dry – no Water, until now. Seems our government (and the public) are making noises to bring awareness about this environmental problem. Also, this year has been an exceptionally busy fire season. On top of the drought issues, the state is dealing with what they call “a year-round fire season instead of a seasonal fire season.” And this obviously puts an enormous strain on not just water supplies, but everything else that goes into fire-fighting operations.

Yep, that’s what I mean. More water-fire-metal related problems in August. So, hold your Horses! So to speak…

The Southwest and Southeast Sectors are prosperous this month, with Visiting Stars 8 and 1, respectively. If you have an office here, or a room more conducive to activity, you may want to activate these Stars by placing moving objects such as a fish tank, a TV, or incorporating more Fire and Water Elements. Keep these areas open and active.

Whew!! That was a lot

Just for fun, did you know Hollywood released a new movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? Apparently, the film is at the top of the spot in the UK and Ireland box office in its second week of release. Haha!

Anyway, to conclude with this month’s forecast, I’d like to pay a tribute to Pablo Picasso, also a Yang Water person. He said,

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

And so I hope with everything else that’s going on around us, your days ahead are filled with everything you can imagine – ones that are innovative, wonderful, productive, inspiring, and game-changer. Happy Monkey!

Fun facts: Did you know monkeys are most easily distinguished from apes by their tails? Apes have no tails!

To check out my previous forecasts, you can visit my website under “Articles” or in the “Notes” section on Facebook.

PS: Registration for the 5-day Feng Shui Practitioners Program in Scottsdale, AZ is now open! For more info, visit my “Events” page on my website.

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