In the western world we use a Gregorian calendar based on the solar cycle. The New Year starts on the 1st of January of every year. The earth rotation takes approximately 365 days, so this one year cycle is actually a physical reality.

However the date of the 1st of January is a convention. As a matter of fact, the 1st of April used to be the start of the New Year a few centuries ago in Europe, and this is what the April’s fool tradition formerly celebrated…
When looking at the Chinese system of calendar, things become a little bit more complicated. Of course, we do know that Chinese culture is never straightforward: I think it was made on purpose so the poor westerners like me, with their linear notion of time and unique calendar, would go through a hard time when learning Chinese metaphysics!

The Chinese calendar is neither solar nor lunar, but luni-solar! It incorporates elements of both systems into one.

So in details:

• The months are lunar months; therefore they are not starting on the Gregorian “first” day of the month. For example the first month of 2011 is called Geng Yin (Metal Tiger, the same symbol/energy that ruled the whole 2010 year), and goes from 4/2 to 5/3. So it is not “exactly” the corresponding month of February in the Gregorian calendar.

• The months are in average 29 days long, and there are 12 of them in a year too.

• Months and years are called by the name of their stems and branches. 2011 for example is the year Xin Mao: Yin metal over wood, commonly called “metal rabbit”. This is the symbols also used in Bazi, a form or Chinese astrology.

Then there is the problem, quite unique to the Chinese calendar, of the leap months!

Leap months are about the lunar part of the calendar. Lunar months are based on the lunar phases, and are therefore shorter than solar months – usually around 29 days. So that makes 355 days in a year, roughly…

And so, every 3 years, we have an accumulated 30 days gap, at the rate of 10 days per year. Therefore such years have a leap month: a thirteenth month! This is done in order to match the lunar and solar system at some point…

Funny isn’t it?

Now here is the real fun part: there are actually 2 STARTING DATES for the Chinese New Year!

Scratching your head?

The traditional date is based on the first lunar month of the year, and therefore changes every year – it can be anytime between the 21st of January and the 20th of February. This year it is starting on the 3rd of February.
Then there is the date we use in Chinese metaphysics – Feng Shui, Ba Zi etc. This date is actually the first day of the solar month called Li Chun, and falls on the 4th of February.

This is a very important concept in Feng Shui and Chinese astrology! So for example, someone who was born on 27th of January 2001 would be considered a Snake as the year started this year on the 14th of January. However, that would be a mistake in Chinese astrology: such a person still belongs to the Dragon sign, and the Snake sign only started on the 4th of February 2001!

I must add that there is a third date we take into account. For some oracles like Qi Men Dun Jia, the start of the cycle is the first Jia Zi, or winter solstice…

So now we have sorted out the question of date, it is interesting to have a look at what’s in store for this year in Feng Shui.

Chinese astrology

Despite the numerous “predictions” you can find everywhere based on the animal of the year, this usage of Chinese astrology is pointless. Indeed, you have four pillars in your chart: year, month, day and time. Their decreasing importance in a chart interpretation is: Day, month, year and time. Therefore making prediction on the year pillar does not lead anywhere – we need to see the whole chart to understand its dynamics with the luck pillar and the coming year.

However each year carries a universal Qi and it is interesting to see what this Qi brings to the world.
2010 saw a clash between metal and wood energy.

Let me focus on what did happen in the UK to illustrate this clash. The metal always tries to “chop” the wood. This represents the government becoming stricter, trying to enforce more rules etc. Teaching is wood in nature: therefore it was very logical to see the conflict between students and the government in 2010, a perfect illustration of the wood “rebelling” against the oppressive nature of the metal.

Wikileaks were another perfect example of this conflict between the uprising energy of the wood – writing, teaching, and networking – and the repressive nature of the metal that wants to control the information. The wood could grow but not get away from the axe, hence the case against the owner of Wikileaks.

Even amongst cultural events this theme was present. One of the most successful movies of the year, Inception, was about mind control and escapism: illustration of what the tweaking of metal (mind activities are metal) can do. Even better, the latest blockbuster of 2010, Tron Legacy, perfectly summarized the conflict of wood versus metal, with the idealism of having all information and data free versus the control to protect the status quo and the establishment.

In 2011 we should see more of the same, with Xin, or yin metal, on top of Mao, the rabbit, made of pure wood. However the metal is this year weaker, and the wood stronger. Therefore we should expect the student movement to obtain “leverage” on the government. The influence worldwide is still one of conflict, and we should see more leaks, fights and repression this year.

Feng Shui.

In Feng Shui we deal with location and space. However the influence of timing is acknowledged. For example some natural structures become auspicious or inauspicious to a specific building, depending of the period of time. Likewise, the Sha Qi can affect some people during some periods of time only.

Stem and branches, used to represent the hours, days, months and year in the Chinese calendar, are also used to design some locations in a space, as referred to the Luo Pan (Chinese geomantic compass).

Therefore, the energy sent by a specific year will also be stronger in some areas of your place- the sectors that bear the same symbols. Those specific sectors are known as the annual afflictions.

What does this means? 2011 is Yin Mao. Mao as a branch, also known as the rabbit, is East 2 sector. Therefore the East sector is one with a strong energy this year that should not be disturbed.

Tai Sui, Sui Po, San Sha and Wu Huang in 2011

In 2011 the annual afflictions are as follow:

• Tai Sui/The Grand duke Jupiter is in the East
• Sui Po/The year breaker is in the West
• San Sha/The 3 killings are in the West
• Wu Huang/The 5 yellow star is in the East

Both the East and West sector are therefore especially sensitive in 2011. Activating them could bring some problems to the household – robbery, accidents etc.
By activating I am referring to renovation, first and foremost; loud noises, loud music, knocking, digging etc.
Contrary to common belief there is no real cure once these sectors have been activated, best is to leave them quiet during this year then.

Spring cleaning.

Traditionally it is a good custom to do a great cleaning of your house before the start on the Chinese new year, so before February 4th.

The energy can become stagnant and need to be refreshed. To actually take it further you can also do a traditional cleansing based on a blend of Chinese herbs burned together.

At any time of the year a Feng Shui consultation can help you to resplenish the Chi and to have this fresh start you might be waiting for!

Author's Bio: 

Laurent Langlais is an accredited expert in Feng Shui, Chinese astrology(Bazi) and date selection. He was trained by a Chinese lineage in Asia and use both classical Feng Shui and an advanced form of Chinese astrology (Bazi) to achieve great results.
He has helped countless businesses and home owners to improve their lives and invite prosperity for good. Struggling businesses of all types are one of his speciality.
He is based in London UK and Vancouver BC, Canada and consults internationally.

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