2020 Metal Rat

Welcome to the year of the Yang Metal Rat! 庚 子

Rat is the first sign in the twelve-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. Each sign will reign a year, thus, other Rat years will occur every 12 years: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032. We can also speak of the Rat in terms of an hour, a day and a month. The Rat is roughly the month of December. It is the yearly time of the greatest Yin (cold, dark), the longest nights and the winter Solstice. Rat hour is 11pm to 1 am. (hours are charted in 2-hour segments when compared to a Western time-keeping system). This method was set because it was observed that Acupuncture Meridians in the body alternatively became active and quiet in two hour increments, thus reflecting the circadian rhythms of the body. Rat Hour of 11pm to 1 am thus spans two days and is said to have a Yin hour and a Yang hour. Interestingly, the Rat manifests this polarity itself because it has 4 toes on its front legs (signified by an even number), and 5 toes on its back legs (signified by an odd number). Rat is naturally a Water Element sign and has water in it’s hidden stems, making it a water element sign through and through.

We can learn about the coming year by examining the Rat itself. In fact, it is because of these qualities that the ancient Daoists chose to label the 12 Earthly Branches (aka the years, months, hours, minutes) with animal names. If you have a Rat in your Chinese astrology chart, you may resonate with some of the Rat Qualities For purposes of this paper, we’ll be discussing the Rat as it pertains to the energy of this year.

Mr. or Ms. Rat:

The Rat is an intelligent, observant, shrewd creature. He has strong attention to detail so be observant of the little things this year. This isn’t the year to miss the trees for the forest! This can also lead to being overly selective and lacking persistence. Rat has an amazing potential for reproduction and is associated with abundance. Rats are quite adaptable and can swim making them great survivors. Rat loves the finer things in life. He is also great with accumulating wealth and investments of time and energy. This has the potential for good, but be aware of anywhere too much accumulation can occur either in health or acquiring too much “stuff.” the Rat is generally very thrifty, and the caution here is to avoid miserly tendencies. Where there is an upside, there is also a down-side! Rat is a quick thinker and usually an imaginative one. If you have Rat in your chart, you may shine at work this year! The Rat is a very social animal, loyal to her friends and family, benefiting from a close bond with familial groups. The Rat is extremely resourceful, able to draw from its resources in times of trouble and is thus valued by those around her in times of crisis. Rats move quickly and the coming year may reflect this fast-paced quality. The pattern of change this year can reflect the Rat’s ability to gnaw through obstacles or chew up whatever is in its path. This is a remarkable change from the slow moving, wallowing of last year’s Pig.

Some famous Rat Year people are: George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Wolfgang Mozart, William Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte, Truman Capote, Catherine I, Mata Hari, Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Avril Lavigne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alyssa Milano, Arnols Schwarzenegger, Martin Lutgher King, Mohammad Ali, general George S Patton, Ben Affleck, Eminem, Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson, Katherine McPhee, Kelly Osbourne, Denise Richards, Mandy Moore.

Grand Duke Jupiter 太 岁

The Chinese point to the path of the Planet Jupiter that moves around the Sun in a 12 year cycle and its correspondence to an animal sign each year. He is personified as the Grand Duke Jupiter, Tai Sui 太 岁, and moves 150 each year. This year he will occupy the degrees of 352.500to 7.5.0 (15 of the 45 degrees of Rat) There are 60 different Tai Sui and each has different qualities based on the Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch. No need to panic, but use this time as a chance for growth and development. Learning to go with the flow and not get upset when things don’t go as you expect will have a beneficial effect.

If you were born in the year of the Rat, it is said you will have a penalty relationship with Rat. This can promote stressful relationships of all sorts and betrayals with friends, family, colleagues.

The animal signs that get along best with Rat are Dragon and Monkey. They have similar and complimentary energies. The Horse and Rabbit may have the worst time this year because of clashes with Rat. If you have strong Horse or Rabbit in your chart, this is the year to lay low. Goat and Rooster also often find Rat years difficult simply because the energy is so unlike their nature.

These clashes play out in Feng Shui as well. For this, we need to apply the Earthly Branches (Animal signs) to their place on the 3600 directional compass. Rat is North, and it’s opposite is Horse, South. Rat/North is where the Grand Duke Jupiter, Tai Sui 太 岁 reigns this year and thus you would not want to disturb the Grand Duke at 352.50to 7.50 on your property. (See the Yearly Tai Shui in the photo left) No construction or loud noises. This is important if your house faces these directions (North 352.50to 7.50) – or if you have a door there.

We already discussed that Rat and Horse clash, therefore if you have a door in the South, 172.50 to 187.50 be sure this year the door is secured. Make sure it is free from clutter which might create a trip hazard. Rabbit is East and Rabbit and Rat have a troubled relationship. Take extra precautions with your relationships this year and if you have a door in the East, use the same precautions as for Horse. In general doors should always be attractive, well lit, and tidy.


Each animal sign is also associated with one of the Five Elements (Heavenly Stems) each year. This year is therefore Metal Rat. (Remember last year was Earth Pig) This heavenly Stem will carry either the polarity of Yin or Yang. This year is Yang Metal Rat (Geng Zi, 庚 子). A pictorial image of Yang Metal, is heavy metal objects like weapons, swords or shields. It could also be large pieces of equipment made of metal or a large band of ore deep in the earth. In the cycles of time, there are 12 animals(Earthly Branches) and 5 elements (Heavenly Stems), thus, the pairing of all Stems and branches results in a 60 year cycle. A Metal Rat will only occur ever 60 years.

Since everyone wants to know what this year will bring, it is somewhat useful to look at other Rat years. The most relevant year is perhaps 1960 since it was the most recent Yang Metal Rat year. Before that, 1900 was the last Yang Metal Rat. The most recent Rat years, 2008 and 1996 will also be discussed briefly because of their proximity in time to the present even though they were Earth and Fire element respectively. A detailed bullet point of some notable events from 1960, 1996 and 2008 will appear at the end of this paper.

On a personal level, you can look back at your own life for these years. In Chinese astrology, you will now be in a different Ten Year Luck Pillar than the past Rat years, but reviewing how you fared in these years can give you an indication of how this year may go. Your Luck Pillar is external to your 4 Pillars and calculated by your birthday.

The overriding principle now for business and finance is that there will not be return of Fire element in a year pillar until 2022. Fire energy is uplifting and optimistic. In its absence, pessimism ensues. With this scenario, we may expect a bearish market before the return of the Fire Element. While the Metal element also symbolizes money, it is the Fire Element that brings the spark to initiate the activities that bring about the exchange and creation of goods and services that promote the flow of money.. Fire is the warm spark necessary to begin new projects. It is also the Fire element that will evaporate dampness which causes congestion and slow-down in both health and energetically in the marketplace. Some might say there can’t be too much money, but in BaZi, there can be. Too much money can stifle creativity, the drive for morality, ethics, human relationship. This began in the 2018 Dog year when Fire went into its grave.

This year is Metal over Water (Rat is naturally a Water Element.) While one possibility is that the metal enriches the water as in a stream flowing over a vein of ore making this an excellent year for money wealth. This year can also be interpreted as a huge lid of ore atop water which prevents its flow. Flowing water is the ultimate symbol for money in Feng Shui and in Five Element Theory, Metal controls Water. When water is not allowed to flow, it stagnates, causing sickness and turbidity. Water needs to flow, move, evaporate and condense. Both Metal and Water represent the cool months of the year – autumn and winter. With Metal over the water, it lacks the support of Earth which it desperately needs. Yang Metal also symbolizes ships, and other large vessels make of metal and its precarious placement over water can portent maritime accidents and accidents involving large metal objects and vessels.

Fire controls water, thus, with the lack of Fire and its ability to control this strong water energy, fire related accidents may occur on both land and at sea. This all builds up to a weakening of the earth – Fire creates earth and this can result in earth-related disasters – landslides, sink holes, mining accidents, earthquakes. We need the warmth of Fire to conduct the cycle of evaporation and condensation of water. Without this, the process is stagnant. Fire type industries – energy, power generating, restaurants and entertainment.

The 5 Elements relate to each other in ways that reflect human interaction. Metal is Fire’s money element.(Fire controls/melts Metal) and without Fire, Metal can experience and out of control situation. Metal industries are automobiles, engineering, banking and manufacture involving metal.. While Metal is not fed this year, neither does it have a controlling or limiting element.

Likewise, Earth controls Water (think of the boundaries of a lake or river.) This year’s Rat has no foundation of Earth. This may effect real estate, land development, mining, computer software and technology. The strong Metal of this year will feed the Water, so this uncontrolled flow may reflect maritime accidents, floods and tsunami’s. Water industries involve movement like shipping, transportation, and communication.

There is the potential for Wood industries to flourish, but it will depend. With such strong water, the possibility is also that the wood will be washed away – think of trees being uprooted by a flood. Wood industries are fashion, media, media and the environment. Fire is Wood’s money element and it is totally lacking this year, thus without yearly support nor any Fire, these wood industries will most likely not flourish.

Earth controls Water and thus the Earth industries of real estate, pottery making, land development, mining, computer software and technology can thrive, but are not supported in the year necessarily.

A look back at 1960, the most recent Yang Metal Rat year:
Geo Political Scene:
Those of us who were alive remember the turbulent times of the 60’s.
• Senator John F. Kennedy wins the Race to succeed Dwight Eisenhower as the cold war continues.
• Four black college students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina stage a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth lunch counter, protesting their denial of service. This action caused a national campaign, waged by seventy-thousand students, both white and black, over the next eight months, in sit-ins across the nation for Civil Rights.
• In the Soviet Union, a United States U-2 reconnaissance plane is shot done by Soviet forces, leading to the capture of U.S. pilot Gary Powers and the eventual cancellation of the Paris summit conference. On August 19, Powers is sentenced by the Soviet Union to ten years in prison for espionage. On February 10, 1962 , he would be exchanged for a captured Soviet spy in Berlin.
• The fifty star flag of the United States is debuted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reflecting the admission of Hawaii into the union in 1959
• President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law.
• Cold War trivia: Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a table at a United Nations General Assembly meeting, protesting discussion of Soviet Union policy toward Eastern Europe.
• Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a table at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, his way of protesting the discussion of the Soviet Union’s policies toward Eastern Europe
• Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy first suggests the idea for the Peace Corps of the United States.
• 17 African countries declared their independence form an occupying nation. Among them are Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria,
• The first (“Genesis”) block of the blockchain of the cryptocurrency and decentralized payment system Bitcoin is established by the creator of the system, known as Satoshi Nakamoto
The Arts and Culture:
• The sexual revolution of the 60’s had begun with the use of birth control pills and Hugh Hefner opening the first of his Playboy clubs in Chicago.
• The “Flintstones” is shown on television for the first time and movies this year include “The Magnificent Seven” and “Psycho”
• Sprite is introduced by Coca-Cola.
• After a two-year stint in the Army, Elvis Presley returns from Germany.
• The Beatles begin a forty-eight night engagement at the Indra Club in Hamburg, West Germany.
• Chubby Chequer and The twist start a new dance craze
• Harper Lee publishes her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which later wins the Pulitzer Prize for the best American novel of 1960.
• Tiros I, the first weather satellite, is launched by the United States. Twelve days later, the navigation satellite, Transat 1-b is launched.
• Notable technical achievements include the invention of the Laser. Theodore Maiman operates the first laser.
• France tests its first atomic bomb and joins those countries with nuclear bomb technology.
• The first CERN particle accelerator becomes operational in Geneva, Switzerland.
• Introduction of the first oral contraceptives for women
• The Heart Pacemaker is first used

The most recent Metal Rat year was 2008. Some major happenings:
• Stock markets around the world plunge amid growing fears of a U.S. recession, fueled by the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.
• Rising food and fuel prices trigger riots and unrest in the Third World.
• Global financial crisis: U.S. President George W. Bush signs the revised Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law, creating a 700 billion dollar Treasury fund to purchase failing bank assets.
• Democratic U.S. Senator Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first black President of the United States
• Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 777.68 points, hitherto the largest single-day point loss in its history.
• $700 Billion Bailout. On October 3, the Senate passed the $700 billion bailout bill, now called the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
• General Motors Corp. reports the largest ever recorded loss for a maker of $38.7 billion loss for 2007
• Great Sichuan earthquake – along the Longmenshan Fault, Measuring 8.0, the epicenter was located 80 kilometres (50 mi) west-northwest of Chengdu, the provincial capital, over 69,000 people lost their lives in the quake, including 68,636 in Sichuan province. 374,176 were reported injured, with 18,222 listed as missing
Arts and Culture:
• The last surviving Civil War widow, Maudie Hopkins, didn’t pass away until 2008. She married an 86 year old veteran when she was only 19.
• Kung-Fu Panda was so successful in China that it caused a national debate on why Westerners made a better film about Chinese culture than the Chinese themselves.
• During a world-wide hops (needed to make beer) shortage in 2008, Sam Adams brewing company sold craft brewers their hops at cost to keep them in business and has given over 3 million in loans to small breweries to spur competition.
• An asteroid weighing ~80 metric tons exploded above the Nubian desert in 2008 with only 19 hours notice
• The year 2008 was declared the International Year of the Potato by the UN.
• Iran opens its first space center and launches a rocket into space.
• The proton beam is circulated for the first time in the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, located at CERN, near Geneva, under the Franco-Swiss border
• SpaceX Falcon 1 becomes the world’s first privately developed space launch vehicle to successfully make orbit
• Europe’s space laboratory, Columbus, docks with the International Space Station, on June 4th
• Surgeons at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital perform the first successful operations using bionic eyes, implanting them into two blind patients.
1996, Second most recent Rat Year:
• Kofi Annan of Ghana is chosen as the Secretary-General of the United Nations during December
• US eases sanctions against Cuba
• Osama Bin Laden is expelled from Sudan and moves to Afghanistan
Militant Taliban Forces Capture Kabul and declare Fundamentalist Islamic State of Afghanistan
• The U.S. stock markets, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gains at an incredibly fast pace and ends the year over the 6,000 mark
• 30 Black churches in Mississippi are burned to the ground the previous 18 months
• The IRA plants a bomb that explodes in the Docklands area of London
• The 6.6 Mw  earthquake near Lijiang in South-west China kills up to 322 people, injures 17,000, and leaves 300,000 homeless.
Arts and culture
• Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales get divorced.
• Nintendo releases their newest gaming system the Nintendo 64 or N64 in Japan.
• Mad Cow Disease hits Britain ( Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE)
• .Meningitas Epidemic in West Africa
• NASA launches the STS-72 Space Shuttle mission during January of 1996
• Motorola introduces the Motorola StarTAC Wearable Cellular Telephone, the world’s smallest and lightest mobile phone to date.
• The element copernicium is created by fusing a 208Pb nucleus with a 70Zn nucleus, forming 278Cn. Given the placeholder name “ununbium”, the element is not named until 2010.
Finallym 1900, second most recent Yang Earth Rat Year:

To attain knowledge, add things everyday.

To attain wisdom, remove things every day.

Lao Tsu, Dao de Jing




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