While I love putting on a sparkly dress come New Year’s Eve and enjoying a fine meal, wine, and good company, what I really look forward to is Chinese New Year. Of course, the beginning of the Western calendar year also allows for reflection and new beginnings, but I suppose as an acupuncturist and practitioner of the Shaolin arts I have a much closer relationship to the shifting energies of the years seen through the lens of Chinese medicine and metaphysics. It feels so much more alive to me.
February 10th marks the start of the year of the Wood Dragon. If you’re not familiar with each zodiac animal’s Five element association, check out this post I wrote last year where I detailed how this fascinating concept works. As we move out of the quiescent, gentle nature of the Water Rabbit, where the focus was on rest and healing, we move into the dynamism and nobility of the dragon. We enter the year fresh and rested, ready to tackle the growth and expansion that it brings.
Dragon years are held in high esteem in Chinese culture, as the dragon itself is considered auspicious. They are seen as mythical creatures, signifying grace, benevolence, strength, intelligence, and nobility. Dragons are also considered symbols of good fortune. Across Asia, you often see an increase in birth rates in these years as dragon babies are also considered auspicious.
Dragons are also seen as harbingers of change and transformation. This is particularly important to note as the element associated with this upcoming year’s dragon, wood, brings an energy of growth and striving to all things. Wood helps to generate fire, which drives the process of change. What this means is that not only will the wood energy be present that will make us seek growth and new adventures, so will the fire energy that helps us accomplish our dreams. A rough analogy is that the energy of this year will give us both the desire to cook the soup and the fire underneath with which to cook it. All we need to do is supply the ingredients.
The nature of this wood dragon year is such that it’s an excellent time for new beginnings, whether that’s in relationships, career, starting a business, or life in general. Thanks to the prevailing Qi of the year, we have a foundation for long-term potential in whatever we do. In my house, we manifested the dragon energy of new beginnings when we adopted our new cat after our sweet girl passed in 2022.
So, with all of that said, here’s a few ways to make the most of the wood dragon year:
Practice the Xiao Nian: The what? Xiao nian translates into ‘little year’ in English, more commonly known as the Kitchen God Festival. It’s a time to sweep, dust, and clean the home so as to greet the new year with a clean slate. This year, the Xiao Nian falls on Friday, February 2nd. Take some time to organize your home and welcome in the new energy of the year.
Incorporate the color red: Red is associated with wealth and good fortune in Feng Shui, bring it into your life through clothing, jewelry, artwork, flowers, and items in the home.
Embrace the wood element: It’s a great year to spent more time in the forest or add more plant life to your home.
Maintain good relationships: In the workplace and at home. Being easygoing taps into the flexible side of wood and prevents our wood energy from stagnating and causing us trouble (read: bickering).
On balance, this year will be good for most zodiac signs provided they are mindful of their unique challenges and that they choose to take advantage of the energy of the year. Do you have goals or plans you’re enacting this year? Let’s hear about it in the comments!