So the Year of the Earth Dog is definitely upon us and just like that, boom, two weeks long, I was flat out in bed with the “plague” – flu, bronchial & pneumonia symptoms. When Earth is out of balance it can be from over-worrying or over-thinking (who me?!?) or the spleen being out of balance (this year ‘s Earth is associated with the stomach & spleen). It can also be environmental and since we’ve had fires, flooding, mudslides, and winds spreading it all who knows, but instability causes problems with Earth. Hrumppphhh….

But then there is the magic…a mother hawk or perhaps a family of hawks have installed themselves in our neighbourhood and have been sending me messages each day. I take note because Hawk portends that,

The universe is trying to send you a message…she swoops into your life so be ready for a whole new level of awareness developing in your mind and spirit… often a messenger from Angels, Devas and the Divine. She signals a time in your life when you need to focus on what’s ahead and prepare…you are learning a lot about timing your actions.” I listened and readied my ceremonies, in between fits of coughing and spluttering, for the Lunar New Year eve that has come and gone.

This morning after the daily hawk cries, I hear this constant knocking which makes me think that my neighbor is putting up something in his yard or getting ready for his upcoming move. But the hammering is constant, and too regular. I glance out my balcony window and I observe a very busy female Downy Woodpecker working her way around our Royal Palm for hours – her message “get busy?!”

February 4th was the beginning of the Solar New Year, the midpoint between the winter solstice & vernal equinox. We are now just coming into the 6th month of this YELLOW EARTH MOUNTAIN DOG YEAR – the halfway point. Our friendly British astrologer calls the ‘Year of the Mutt’ one that relates to a dog that tugs on its lead with hardly any idea of where it wants to go – sound familiar – he predicts this as part of the theme for 2018.

Affairs of the Earth and Dog pro-actively focus on building and improving what has begun in the year before from a more reserved, functional, conservative, realistic, and practical approach in which a slower pace will take hold – a down-to-earth attitude demanding lots of patience. It is very important to keep things in perspective. Values of justice and equal opportunity and the fair treatment of women and the LGBT community are themes that began strongly at the start of the Dog year and will continue. Think of a dog with his unconditional nature of loyalty, ‘man’s best friend’, companionship, intelligence and honesty. Let’s hope that some of this rubs off onto our world and political leaders and spreads in our local communities.

Double elemental EARTH is associated with the trigram ‘MOUNTAIN’ and can relate to changes on the ground, just imagine the movement of the terrestrial tectonic plates which have begun to shake around the globe as we hear the rumble of earthquakes. The YIN FIRE element rises this year in the centre, Fire creates Earth, this relates to the inner Fire of the Earth as the latest news tells us about the lava flow spewing upward and forward on the big island of Hawaii and elsewhere. The elevated nature of YIN FIRE, LI, reflects clarity, integrity, vision, and aligns the heart, bringing conscious awareness to the goals we strive for, which in their highest form are in the service of others.

Let us align ourselves with the elements of this Year of the DOG and allow Earth to ground and map our course with goals and visions, step by step, month by month, whilst the inner Fire alchemically burns away the dross, the impure. We can use all this energy to walk the high ground, the integral path of the heart, expanding our nurturing qualities as we begin to live in harmony with self and others. This is the key to transformation as we send our prayers to the heavens, opening the way to our inner truth, to enlightenment, releasing the bounty of Earth and the illumination of Fire. May it be so.