Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Feb 23rd, - Mar 1st, 2007

Year of the Boar

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  In the Chinese tradition, we have just entered 4705, the Year of the Boar. The Chinese calibrate their New Year from the day we would call the Aquarian New Moon. This year that fell on February 17th in China, which is the 18th here in the US. They are the same moment in time, measured from different locations on Earth. The New Year begins a two week holiday which culminates fourteen days later on Lantern Day. In Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Tibetan, Thai and Vietnamese cultures, New Year is the most important holiday. For this reason more Chinese return home for this holiday than any other.

Year of the Boar

Year of the Boar

  Calendars are often based on different rates of rotation. Solar calendars are based on the motion of the Sun, when it crosses the equinox or solstice. A lunisolar calendar, or more traditionally, a lunar calendar, is based upon the phases of the moon.

  The Chinese New Year begins on the New Moon and culminates two weeks later with the Full Moon. During that fourteen day period, seven sets of days are specially acknowledged: the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th and 15th, each with different customs. On the evening of the Full Moon, children go out with lanterns, their luminous orbs being a reflection of the light of the Moon.

Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac

  Before Julius Caesar jettisoned the Moon, the calendar of the Roman Republic had also been lunisolar. Many calendars were. The New Moon began the new month. It was a simple visual system.

  Indigenous cultures around the globe believed that Heaven's Will was reflected here on Earth. Each of them developed different ways to monitor the heavens, usually using the local materials available. The Chinese looked into the sky and counted seven visible moving bodies. The Moon and Sun were paired together into our contemporary Yin and Yang. I'll let you guess which is which. That left five planets, which became the basis of their five 'element' system. Venus corresponded to Metal; Jupiter to Wood; Mercury to Water; Mars to Fire; and Saturn to Earth. Although using a different set of 'rules' than its western counterpart, both eastern and western systems say a person's destiny can be read in the positions of the Sun and Moon, and planets. No surprise there.

Year of the Boar stamp

US New Year's stamp

  Although the Chinese Zodiac corresponds to the western, twelve figure system, the two do not exactly equate. Both have Ram and Ox, but these are not Aries and Taurus from the zodiacs of the west (which would include India). In the Chinese system, the Tiger represents the stars of Sagittarius, the Hare Scorpio, the Dragon Libra, the Serpent Virgo, the Horse Leo, the Ram Cancer, the Ape Gemini, the Cock Taurus, the Dog Aries, the Boar Pisces, the Rat Aquarius and the Ox Capricorn.

  According to the Chinese, this is the Year of the Boar (or Pig). That means that if you are a boar, or if you are a creature that gets along with boars, (rabbit and sheep, which can also translate as cat and goat or ram), then this is going to be a good year for you, wherein recent obstacles can be overcome. Boars will shine, either personally or professionally. Presumably (for this is the way the western system works), if you don't tend to get along well with the boar (the other signs), then this won't be such a good year for you.

  People born during the Year of the Boar are thought to exist to serve others. Sometimes a little on the naive side, they can be nice to a fault and generally (unlike our image of them) have impeccable manners and taste. Boars care a great deal about friends and family and will work hard to keep everyone happy. They are highly intelligent creatures, forever studying, playing and probing in their quest for greater knowledge. They value friendships highly, and often make bonds which can last for a lifetime.

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