Table of Contents

Yang Metal Rat Retrospect
Enter the OX
Earth and Yin
The Hexagram
Economic Outlook
Weather and the Environment
Personal Astrology

Year of the Metal Yin Ox, Chou Xin! 丑 辛

The adorable OX photos are compliments of
Jenny Raabe-Eastep and Lil Angels Miniature Donkey Rescue in Franklin, TN!

“This is precisely the importance of the world-view described in the Book of Changes: There is no situation without a way out. All situations are stages of change. Therefore, even when things are most difficult we can plant the seed for a new situation that will preserve within itself the present situation, though we must be capable of adapting and finding the proper attitude.”
― Richard and Hellmut Wilhelm

This quote from Richard and Hellmut Wilhelm’s Understanding the I-Ching encapsulates several ideas on the complex subject of change: Change is inevitable; the preferred method of change flows in an upward spiraling pattern rather than a straight line or circle; the notion that change and adaptability are goals we should seek; and that evenin the most difficult times are we called to make a positive shift of direction for the good.

In past years, I jump immediately into the new year’s write-up. Because of the extraordinary difficulty of 2020, Yang Metal Rat, I want to say a few things about the past year. I could write an entire paper on the difficulties of the past year. As we will discuss, carry-overs from the very inception of the United States as a country came to an ugly climax last year in the form of social unrest, racial injustice, and the climate crisis. The disastrous newbie in this list is nothing other than a world-wide pandemic. Every Soul on the earth has faced loss, isolation, loneliness to some degree. These losses are not equal. For some it’s death, illness, homelessness, and food insecurity, for others it’s an inconvenience and temporary shift in daily routine.

As we isolated because of the pandemic, many people turned to the Internet for connection and entertainment.  Yet, the internet and social media became home to and the engine for division rather than connection as people cloistered in groups and echo chambers of disparate opinions and wildly diverging views on politics, health, safety, religion, and the environment. People don’t agree on facts anymore. Battle camps grew of every description from health to religion. There were protests over racial injustice. There was a bitterly fought election for President of the United States. There was an acceptance of violence that led some people to storm the capitol of the United States and seek to harm and kill lawmakers. These insurgents believed they were in the right. They believed the election had been rigged and their candidate had won. They believed they were “patriots” and were saving the country and that truth and God were on their side. Other people saw them as outlaws, terrorists, and would-be murderers. These warring forces pit brother against sister to a degree that has not been apparent since the Civil War. Thus was the Year of Yang Metal Rat.

Yang Metal is the harsh energy of weapons, swords and shields in old days, and also guns, munitions, and bombs in modern times. The year 2020 had no Fire element and thus this heavy, harsh Metal element went unchecked throughout the year. Fire controls metal by melting it into useful tools and because it could not transform, it became stagnant.  The Rat is a pack animal who lives in groups. A group of Rats is called a mischief. In 2020, the population became ever more separated into groups formed on social media where ideas and conspiracies became the justification for all sorts of abhorrent and violent behavior. These groups and their actions were fueled by hate and anger. Rage in Chinese Medicine is a function of the Wood Element and liver, not the heart and the Fire Element. Fire is the warmth of the Heart and Soul. The Heart element was missing. Wood creates Fire and in a healthy circumstance, provides the fuel for the Order, Love, Reason and the connection from one human being to the other. Without support of the Fire Element, this liver fire devolved into anger, rage, resentment, and, ultimately, violence. More on the lack of Fire later. 

Rats are hoarders. Each group hoarded their own ideas of right and wrong, of truth and lies. As the pandemic hit, we hoarded commodities such as toilet paper and certain foods. Rats are aggressive. From a place of deep-seated emotional unrest that perhaps reaches back to the Civil War, or even the Revolutionary War, the harsh Metal Rat Year devoid of the warmth of Fire challenged our way of living and working together in the United States like never before. Unlike past times, the enemy is internal.

Amid the chaos, there was also good in Rat year. As tragedy struck over and over through death from the pandemic, and social unrest that seemed to never end, heroes emerged. There were heroes of every description – nurses and doctors, teachers, police, sanitation workers, mailmen and women. To name a few, we saw chefs dedicating themselves to feeding essential workers. We saw children earning money to donate to food banks. The World-renowned Cellist Yo-Yo Ma recorded free concerts on the internet to help raise the spirits of a beleaguered population. We realized that true heroes walk among us all the time, often underpaid and certainly underappreciated. As people took to the streets to protest racial injustice, it was encouraging to see old and young, black, white, Latino, Asian, uniting for racial justice by participating in peaceful marches not only in the US, but all around the world. This is a stark contrast to the protests of the 1960’s when most of the protesters were Black.

We gained a new appreciation for family and friends and isolation helped us value simple pleasures of community we previously took for granted. While we missed our normal activities, we were given the gift of time to contemplate, to meditate, to be quite. We learned that this time is precious and many of us are forever changed for the better. We learned new ways to appreciate and show gratitude for simple things like a beautiful sunrise, the seasons, or the land. Globally, nations are learning from the pandemic we either rise or fall together because we cannot be fully recovered from COVID until it is conquered all around the earth. 

No problem can be solved unless it is out in the open, acknowledged and understood. Many of the social issues facing the United States right now have existed since the first settlers set foot on this continent. But it was easier to deny these problems or project them onto an outside enemy than to look inward and realize where solutions really lie. Solving these issues reminds us of Albert Einstein’s famous quote “No problem can be solved at the level of thinking at which it was created.” To surmount such great social problems, we cannot resort to the thinking of the past which led us to this point. In every way, these issues must be addressed internally by each one of us. We must compassionately shine the harsh light of truth and reality on ourselves, each with her own laser-focus in order to discover and transmute the places within each of us that led us to where we are right now. The solitary Ox energy of 2021 may provide us with the boost we need.

To become aware of what is constant in the flux of nature and life is the first step in abstract thinking. The recognition of regularity in the courses of the heavenly bodies and in the succession of seasons first provides a basis for a systematic ordering of events, and this knowledge makes possible a calendar. … Simultaneously with this concept, a system of relationships comes into the idea of the world. Change is not something absolute, chaotic, and kaleidoscopic; its manifestation is a relative one, something connected with fixed points and a given order.”

― Richard and Hellmut Wilhelm

And thus, we move to yet another point on the never-ending continuum of change. Daoism asserts that the laws of nature are unchanging while Nature herself is in constant change. On February 11, with the new Tiger Moon, we usher in the year of the Yin Metal Ox. Ox will gratefully bring a whole different energy to these problems. Ox is a more calm, patient, trustworthy when tamed and disciplined animal than the Rat. The hardworking Ox is more focused on the task at hand than the high strung Rat and less likely to frantically dash from one thing to the next.  In some way, this new energy may feel like sending a bunch of overly-excited children to separate rooms to help them calm down.

The Ox is a much slower-moving animal than the frenetic rat. The frenzy of the Rat year will calm somewhat enabling personal, as well as societal issues, to be addressed with a firm, steady hand rather than the fury of the past year.

The sturdy Ox has long been a symbol for the survival of humankind. The farmer who had an ox could plow more ground, carry bigger loads to market and thus the Ox became an indispensable and valued part of the homestead. The Ox is known for its strength and discipline and adherence to duty. It gives itself as a beast of burden easily taking loads no human and few animals could bear. Oxen are respected and venerated throughout Asia. Their untamed animal nature means that they are considered dangerous when undisciplined but powerfully useful when tamed. Consequently, they have come to represent the attributes of the sage and contemplative learning, having overcome the wild and untamed forces of his nature.

Many Daoist Immortals are pictured riding the sturdy Ox symbolizing the strength and trustworthiness of a spiritual path and through that path overcome powerful dark forces within. The Ox is the very essence of grounded focus on the task at hand. The Ox plows one row at a time, row upon row until the field is plowed. This is the energy that will be available to us all in this Ox year. The bull or ox untamed is seen as embodying the unpredictable and instinctive power of nature. In ancient times, the sacrifice of a bull or ox was the ultimate sacrifice to a god because of its value in service to humankind. It was an especially potent sacrifice due to the symbology associated with the idea that when the lower nature of humans is sacrificed, it gives way to higher wisdom.

The untamed bull or ox represents dark forces we must all confront and master at some times in our lives. In western mythology, this encounter with death and danger, in the form of a creature part man part bull, is echoed in the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. In this legend, the Minotaur (half man, half beast) is sent to the people of Athens because of past wrongs in the society and it demanded blood sacrifice each year. King Aegeus sent his son Theseus to kill the Minotaur. The taming/killing of the wild Ox is also reflected in the 7th labor of Hercules in which Hercules was tasked with capturing and taming a ferocious bull. This savage bull, kept by King Minos of Crete, was insane and breathed fire. Hercules wrestled the beast to the ground and brought it back to King Eurystheus. The hero’s quest to seek out and capture or kill the beast is the quest of each one of us as we confront our lower natures.

The taming of the Ox is also a famous Buddhist legend in which a boy tames an ox in ten steps symbolizing the human’s struggle with his or her own wild nature. The steps begin as the boy first hunts for the illusive ox, discovers its footprints, perceives it, catches it, tames it, rides it home, the Ox and self transcend, they reach the source, and then return to society.

The importance of the ox in ancient times is emphasized in the fact that the Phoenicians chose it to represent the first letter of the alphabet and our letter ‘A’ is evolved from this. The original glyph was inverted like a ‘V’ with a crossbar to give a pictogram of an ox head with horns. Their name for the ox was ‘alef’, but as writing spread to Greece, the symbol was inverted and the name became ‘alpha’.


The polarity of the year 2021 is Yin. The qualities of Yin are receptiveness, openness, feminine, dark and nurturing. The Element of this year is Metal. Yin metal is like jewelry, or polished, precious metals. One treasures one’s jewelry. It can be worn as adornment, given as a gift, or traded for something else, but it is not a tool of war. However, Yin Metal is also harsh and references small potentially dangerous objects such as knives and daggers. This is the energy of hidden or cloaked violence or aggression. By contrast, as we look to 2021 and the prospect of a vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be administered by the essential needle, a yin metal object.

Yin Earth is the Ox’s native element. It also bears the hidden elements of Yin Earth (soil) and Yin Water (rain, mist, or gentle flowing streams). These elements of metal and earth bear a slowing or stopping energy. This will be a welcomed change from the frenetic energy of Yang Rat. Yin water is very nourishing. It’s the energy of a gentle rain or the mist. Humans, plants, and animals can utilize this kind of water. Its opposite, Yang Water, is big rivers, and ocean waves. While these bodies of water are important containers and reservoirs the water can be so strong as to not be available for the slow absorption that nurtures growth not to mention the very velocity and power of the water itself can be destructive.

In the Phases or Elements, one needs them all to be present to be strong and prosperous. Each element has a function and not only acts independently but also serves an essential purpose for the other elements. Fire is completely missing in the Ox. Fire is needed to melt the Metal into useful tools. In fact, there has been no Fire Element in the yearly make-up since 2015 and another fire element won’t appear until 2024. The lack of a Fire Element makes the Ox weak because Fire creates Earth, the Element of the Ox. Because of lack of Fire, Ox is also considered cold earth, so it can be considered a bleak sort of year. Fire is needed to melt metal into useful tools and jewelry. The lack of Fire will allow the Yin Metal of the year to be harsh and stagnant. 

In the Chinese Zodiac, the Twelve Animals, referred to as Earthly Branches, also represent the 12 months of the year, beginning with Rat month, the month of the winter solstice. Ox is the second month of the year, associated with winter and always preceding the advent of spring. As such, it is Earth Element, and said to be the Grave month of Winter – the old must die so the new can be born. This is the energy we may expect from this Ox year. It can be a time of settling old scores, learning our lessons, and putting the past behind us so something new can be born.

In Chinese legend, the ox was the second animal to arrive when the Buddha invited all the animals of creation to come to him and in recognition of this, a year was dedicated to it in the Chinese zodiac.

In the yearly cycle, one of the animals or Branch is paired with a yin or yang polarity, and one of the Five Phases or Elements called the Heavenly Stems. In the passage of time, this results in a 60-year cycle from one Stem/Branch combination to the next identical one (12 Branches x 5 Stems). The Branch (Animal) repeats every 12 years but will have a different stem and polarity. This pattern roughly follows the cycle of 11.85 years of the planet Jupiter’s path around the Sun. It’s useful to look at what happened in past years of the same energy to determine patterns if there are any. Thus, the time interval is 60 years.

The Animals also represent the hours of a 24 hour period. Each animal rules one 2-hour block, yang the first hour and yin the second. Ox is the second 2-hour block, 1 to 3 am. So the Ox energy will be amplified each day from 1 to 3 am, one day every ten days, and again in 2022 when Ox month heralds the Lunar New Year of 2022 in Tiger Month.

On the Wheel of the Zodiac, Ox is in the North East sector. In Chinese philosophy, the wheel of the Zodiac is divided into 8 sections or gua, hence the Ba (8) Gua(sections). Unsurprisingly, the BaGua also reflects the 5 Phases. Ox falls with the trigram Gen or Mountain in its after creation form. Mountain energy is Earth. It represents the stability that comes with knowledge, so placing an office or library in the North East section of a home is advisable.

In the same place on the wheel in Primordial conditions lives the trigram of Zhen (Thunder) representing the Phase of Wood, explosion, shock, the Spring, new growth, tall bamboo, and expansion. When Primordial conditions descend to the manifest world, the explosion and shock results in mountains. Thus Ox reflects the stability, immobility of the mountain, formed from shocks and explosions deep in the earth, creating forms of earth that reach toward heaven.


Each year is represented by a hexagram of the I-Ching. The hexagram for 2021, Yin Metal Ox is #58. Dui or Joyful. Dui is the combination of trigrams Lake over Lake. Alfred Huang’s translation of Confucius’ Commentary on the Decision for this hexagram:

It is a symbol of joy.

The solids are in the center,
and the yieldings outer.
Joy is favorable to be steadfast and upright.
It is acting in accordance with the will of Heaven
And in correspondence with the wishes of the people.
When One’s priority is to give the people joyfulness,
They forget their toils.
When people are willing to encounter danger,
They forget their fear of death.

How great is the power of giving people joyfulness.
It stimulates them to do everything possible!

In the cycle of the Four Seasons, Yin Metal Ox is the 8th stem and 2nd branch. Chinese Astrology allows for the interpretation of the year’s events in the categories of: Auspicious, Inauspicious, Uneventful, and Startling. The year 2021 is interpreted as Year of Uneventful Events. I believe a year of uneventful events will be welcomed.

In astrology, those people born in the year of the Ox are said to exhibit many traits we also assign to the animal. Sometimes, a difficult childhood for an ox will become the springboard for a hard-working and prosperous adult. Success is achieved by diligence and persistence. The Ox is calm, decisive, self-disciplined, and steadfast to the point of being relentless. The Ox will value safety, saving money for hard times, and most often shy away from high-risk business endeavors. An Ox’s is patience, compassion, and calmness helps him or her succeed in a variety of life tasks. The Ox can also be stubborn, territorial, jealous, opinionated, and possessive. They hate to be challenged and do not like to fail. In some cases, they resort to obsession or authoritarianism.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Metal Element represents the breathing organs, including the lung, nose, and skin and the Large Intestine.  Metal needs Fire to melt it into useful tools, when the Fire Element is missing, the Metal Element becomes imbalanced and unhealthy. It’s not surprising the COVID-19 pandemic took advantage of the weakness of Metal Element or the lungs. In 2021, it’s likely we will continue to see this vulnerability not only with COVID, but also flu and viral infections affecting the lungs, nose, and skin.

The emotional aspect of the Metal Element is grief, sorrow, shame, guilt, and despair. Without healthy support from Fire not only this year but 5 previous years, humanity as a whole will have little support for transmuting the grief and sorrow from the losses associated with the pandemic. This lack of support can be devastating. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. Transmuting the grief emotion leads to recognizing integrity and righteousness, the guidance of the North Star for the Soul as it goes through uncertain times.

The native element of Ox is Earth and corresponds to the digestive organs, stomach and spleen/pancreas in TCM.  Because Fire is totally absent and Fire creates Earth, the Earth Element of the Ox is very weak, contributing to the weakness of the stomach such as digestive problems or diabetes. This is a year to focus on taking care of your body by eating foods that nourish and sustain health. The emotional imbalance for the Earth element is a worry. The transmuted quality is trust.  

The lack of support from yearly energies for Fire means the Fire organs of the Heart and Small Intestines are also impacted. This influences the heart, blood circulation, and overall vitality of the body. The warmth of Fire also provides warming for the fluids of the body and causes excess water to evaporate (or be excreted). Without this warmth, excessive amounts of Water this year could wreak havoc on the urinary system, kidneys, and reproductive organs.

Fortunately, human beings have the capacity to compensate for lack of support from the yearly energies. from a health perspective, warmth is important. In cold months, take care to dress appropriately for the weather. Be careful to eat warm foods and drink warm or room temperature beverages. It would be advisable to consult a nutritionist or herbalist to seek herbs that help the body maintain and properly use warmth. The energy of Fire manifests as order. Fire moves in an orderly fashion driven by its fuel. So one may ask what it is that guides us? Are we guided by the cold intellect or by warmth and compassion of the heart? Is our fuel selfish desire or lashing out in anger? Creating an orderly world around us in homes, offices, even our daily schedule will go a long way to creating the environment for the Fire energy to flourish.

The emotional aspect of an excess Water element in the body is Fear. If the Water Element is healthy, the warmth of Fire will transmute the watery element into wisdom accessible by the heart. Without this support from the energy of the year, fear, loneliness, pessimism cynicism, and despair can afflict the soul. This can occur in not only personal mental health but also in the consciousness and mechanisms that guide and move nations.

The fearful energy of the Water Element cycle could prevail in the coming year. Pessimism, cynicism, and despair could set in and contribute to economic decline. These activities can lead to longer-term setbacks, and more economic crises may arise. 


Without Fire, we can expect a bearish market, but there are industries that can survive even in this market.

Industries belonging to the Fire Element can expect prosperity even without support from the yearly energies. Fire conquers Metal, therefore, represents the Year’s money element. Fire industries include energy, power generation, restaurants, and entertainment. [NOTE: in traditional BaZi, everyone’s wealth or money element is the element you control or conquer. Shameless advertisement: PM me to have your BaZi chart read!]

 Earth conquers/controls Water and produces Metal. Earth industries include real estate, land development, mining, insurance, computer software, and technology. The Year’s Ox will support these industries, although not strongly. 

Metal means activity and productivity. The Metal industries will face serious competition this year due to a lack of controlling Fire causing an overabundance of metal energy as it flows unchecked. These industries include automobiles, engineering, banking, and machinery.

Water inside the Ox also means money, and Water is Earth’s money element. But Fire is Water’s money Element. Without Fire energy support, the industries of shipping, transportation, communication, and beverages may suffer.

The money prospect for the Wood industries is also weak because, while the Ox is Wood’s money Element, this Ox is very weak. These industries include fashion, media, books, and the environment.


With a situation of a weak Earth, one can expect earth-related problems including earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes. This will also affect things that move on the earth including cars, bicycles, and trains. With unchecked Water element, we may expect to be afflicted by flooding this year as well as other water-related issues including effects from pollution of waterways. The metal element is cold and harsh overall. We can expect the weather in some areas to reflect this aspect in colder weather in some places and harsher, less hospitable weather in other places.


Chinese Astrology for any one person looks at four aspects surrounding one’s birth called the Four Pillars. Those aspects are the Year, Month, Day, and Hour. Each aspect will indicate one or the other of the 12 animals of the zodiac (Earthly Branches) one of the 5 elements (Heavenly Stem) and a polarity of Yin and Yang. It’s a bit complex. But you can gain some information from knowing only your year, and that information is fairly easy to find on the internet and in books.

As with any kind of relationship, some of the Animal signs are compatible, some are not.  It is thought that incompatible signs should be extra cautious in years when there is a conflict between their sign and the yearly sign. This year, the Sheep (Goat) is the sign least compatible with the Ox. Likewise, Pig (Boar) and Rabbit don’t mix well with the stodgy Ox. Dragons will need to be cautious this year as well. Chinese astrology looks at clashes and conflicts by recognizing discordant energy as a way of life – the unchanging laws of Nature. Moreover, this law asserts that clashes, hardships and conflicts can bring out the best in us. We are more or less forced to bring to the surface and act on traits that have remained hidden, in some cases simply because we have never been called to use them. Recognizing potentially unpleasant possibility is one way to prepare.

A clash does not mean avoidance or inaction. For example, one should examine the fine print on any contract needing to be signed under this energy. Once due diligence is accomplished, go ahead with your plans. If you are seeking a new job, be sure all the “I’s” are dotted and “T’s” crossed, then go ahead and take that new position. It’s also good to remember that really good opportunities in life sometimes begin as an uncomfortable situation. If you are in a clash circumstance, it’s necessary to be cautious because things may not be as you first think they are, but to remember the apparent mishap may only be a clarion call to dig deep into your own store of power and turn the situation into something very very good.

An interesting facet of Chinese Astrology is the Peach Blossom phenomenon. The Peach Blossom for any animal sign is the one that can help it find romance! If you are an Ox looking for romance, look to someone who is Horse sign to be your “Wing Man.” As defined by the Urban Dictionary, A wingman is a friend that you can bring to a bar or party in order to find women (or men) more easily. This energy would also apply to the month of the Horse which is generally the month of June. Ox folks might want to step up their quest for romance in the summer. There are also series of Feng Shui tips to enhance this energy.

The animals who are most compatible with the Ox are the Rooster and the Snake. These are folks who will naturally work well with the Ox and for whom she has an affinity. This means for Rooster and Snake year people things may go a little easier in 2021 and they will naturally side-step pitfalls. While relationships will be more compatible with Rooster and Snake, this is not to say that Ox people should avoid the other signs, even ones which are the least compatible. It simply indicates that they may think differently than you and your relationships will involve a little bit of work.

Interestingly, in Chinese Astrology, people born under the sign of the year are said to be insulting the Deity of the Year, or Grand Duke Jupiter, Tai Sui, or Star General.  The name of this year’s General is Yang Xin and he is in the North North East. If you were born in Ox year, be extra careful of your health this year and by all means, refrain from high-risk sports. It is on the basis of the Animal’s position around the Zodiac and their relationship to Tai Shui that conflicts arise. It is said to be inauspicious to challenge the General either directly across or from the side. There are traditional Chinese cures for these maladies.  

It is sometimes helpful when looking to the future, to understand a little about the past. It’s often difficult to fully understand events and actions in the present day, much less gauge which way those actions will lead, but over time, patterns begin to emerge. These patterns speak for themselves, devoid of personal, cultural, racial, or even national significance. For purposes of looking at Chinese Astrology, we’ll look at years with the same Heavenly Stem energy, the same Earthly Branch energy and the same polarity. These years provide the most relevant analysis because it is an apples to apples comparison.

For eons, Western astrologers have noted similarities in earthly events concurrent with solar and lunar eclipses to the point these events are named and categorized and a pattern can be seen from one to the next. A similar function can be seen in the 60-year cycles of Chinese Astrology. For Yin Metal Ox year, the previous years are 1961, 1901, 1841, and 1781. Because the topic is vast, we’ll pay particular attention to the history of the United States. Politics, Science, Culture, and the Arts will be highlighted.


Compared to the history of our Asian or European neighbors, the short history of less than 600 years in the United States classifies us as an infant nation. Indeed, only through very modern scientific techniques of examination has it been possible to determine when the first human inhabitants came to the continent. It is believed most humans migrated from Asia over the Bering Strait some 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Clues are scarce, hidden in glaciers and deep sediment in the earth. There is even evidence of human populations 90,000 years ago. But aside from a Norse colony in the 7th century AD, it is commonly accepted European migration began in earnest with Christopher Columbus’ exploration in 1492. from the beginning, the land was fraught with conflict. White settlers against Native Americans, colonizers against their mother country. Finally, in Yin Earth Goat year of 1619, slaves brought to the continent on which the fledgling economy would be built, paved the way for the Civil War and millennia of social unrest.

[NOTE: Hexagram for year 1618, #18, Gu Inner Destruction]
The pictograph for Gu is literally worms in the intestines, symbolizing ruin and decay and the need for remedying and innovating. In trigrams, it is the picture of Mountain over Wind. Mountain is standing Still and represents the Youngest Son. Wind is Following and represents the Eldest Daughter. The Gua is the condition that the daughter is willing to follow, but the son is standing still and there can be no forward movement. However, the I-Ching’s wisdom indicates that this situation is not permanent and in time, will bring good fortune, provided the people act in virtue]

Fast forward to the Yin Metal Ox year of 1781, five years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the British in 1776 (Yang Fire Monkey Year). The Revolutionary War raged through most of the year between Patriots (those who supported the newly signed Declaration of Independence) and Loyalists (those who sided with the British) This year:

  • Imminent personal danger is evident for the signers of the Declaration of Independence and Jack Jouett begins a “midnight ride” to warn Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia legislature of approaching British cavalry who have been sent to capture them
  • Richmond Virginia is burned by the British led by Benedict Arnold, otherwise, too many battles and skirmishes in the Revolutionary War to mention individually
  • The United States Continental Congress implements the Articles of Confederation (signed in 1776) forming its Perpetual Union as the United States in Congress Assembled.
  • Bank of North America is chartered by the Continental Congress
  • Virginia and Maryland and Vermont and New York argue over land boundaries and the new United States is formed
  • Aided by the French Navy, the Battle of Chesapeake was decisive for the American Colonists because it led to victory at the Siege of Yorktown, effectively securing independence for the Thirteen Colonies.


  • Samuel Peters publishes his General History of Connecticut, using the term blue law for the first time.
  •  A school is founded in Washington County, Pennsylvania that would later be known as Washington & Jefferson College
  • Los Angeles is founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula (City of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula) by a group of 44 Spanish settlers.

1781 was almost an in-between year for painting schools. Neoclassicism, however, came to the new country of the United States. Benjamin West, American-born neoclassical artist, was known in England as the American Raphael. Painted a few years after 1781, West’s Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky is a typical example of the realistic style, classical subject matter and composition of American Neoclassicism. Neoclassic architecture, characterized by grandeur of scale, simplicity of geometric forms, Greek, especially Doric, or Roman detail, dramatic use of columns, and a preference for blank walls was popular for decades in the United States. The White House, built in 1792, largely by slave labor, and Capitol building, 1793, in Washington DC are examples of Neo classic architecture.

Romanticism did not take hold in the United States until a few years after 1781, perhaps the harsh realities of the Revolutionary War precluded the focus on emotions, imagination, and mystery as is typical of the Romantic style.


In politics of 1841, the first ongoing filibuster in the United States Senate from February 18–March 11.

William Henry Harrison is sworn in as the ninth President of the United States. He dies of pneumonia, at one month, becoming the president with the shortest term served. Vice President John Tyler, then becomes the tenth President of the United States.

[NOTE:] It is a thinly veiled fact that Harrison was more than likely killed by medical practices of the time. His inauguration was outside on a very cold and wet day in Washington DC. It is said he immediately began to experience symptoms of cold or flu, but did nothing to protect, nourish himself or rest. By the time doctors were called to his bedside, their methods of bloodletting, ipecac, castor oil, calomel (a stone now known to contain mercury), and mustard plasters only served to weaken him further until he died. This is not to mention that modern idea of sanitation was not accepted at the time and White House water supply was downstream of public sewers. Reflecting on the present, it underscores the importance of modern science and while not perfect, we have come a long way in understanding what helps the body and what hurts it.

  • His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis regarding succession to the presidency
  • At that time at 68, he was the oldest man elected to the presidency.
  • But even though he was only President a month, historian William W. Freehling calls him “the most dominant figure in the evolution of the Northwest territories into the Upper Midwest today”.
  • Harrison sought to enact in the territory of the present state of Indiana. Thomas Jefferey worked tirelessly to undo Harrison’s policies of slavery and was ultimately successful in defeating attempts to expand slavery in the Territory of Indiana.
  • Harrison was also (in)famous for his negotiations with Shawnee Chief Tecumseh whom he subsequently defeated in the Battle of Tippecanoe.
  • John Augustus develops the concept of probation in Boston, Massachusetts, by standing bail for lesser offenders.

[NOTE:]Fast forward to 2021, and President Biden has nominated Native American Rep Deb Haaland who is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe to serve as United States Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed, she would become the first Native American to run the Department of the Interior, and the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.


  • Romanticism thrived in the United States by 1841
  • Literary greats such as Edgar Allen Poe, James Finamore Cooper and Nathaniel Hawthorn were active during this time.
  • American. M. N. Turner’s Slave Ship (pictured right) is an example of The Romantic School of painting.
  • In Europe, Romanticists such as Eugène Delacroix, and Francisco Goya, and used their art for political and social statements
  • American artist John G. Rand invents the collapsible zinc oil paint tube, marketed by Winsor & Newton of London.


  • September 17 – John C. Colt murders Samuel Adams in an argument over a business debt in New York City.
  • Frederick Douglass speaks at the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society Convention.
  • Iconic chocolate company Whitman’s is established when Stephen F. Whitman opens a small retail “confectionery and fruiterer shop” at Third and Market Streets in Philadelphia.
  • P. T. Barnum purchases Scudder’s American Museum in New York City.


  • The first steam self-propelled fire engine in the U.S. is completed by Paul Rapsey Hodge for use in New York City



William McKinley is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States. “His first term had built his reputation on high tariffs, promising protection for American business and well-paid American factory workers with The Dingley Act which would raise rates on wool, sugar, and luxury goods. It law with McKinley’s support. McKinley favored legislation to formally affirm the gold standard, and was able to sign the Gold Standard Act on March 14, 1900, using a gold pen to do so.

African Americans were hopeful of progress towards equality but ultimately disappointed. McKinley had spoken out against lynching while governor, but his priority as President was in ending sectionalism [an exaggerated devotion to the interests of a region over those of a country as a whole]. Loius L. Gould, the historian, said, ‘McKinley lacked the vision to transcend the biases of his day and to point toward a better future for all Americans”’

On September 5, 1901, American anarchist Leon Czolgosz shoots U.S. President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley dies 8 days later. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the 26th President of the United States. upon McKinley’s death.

[NOTE:  The radical thinking that moves people to violence is still apparent in society. However, lessons learned in standards of secret service protection would make it very difficult for someone to fire at the President of the United States from point-blank range. Likewise, the wounds McKinley sustained would most likely have been survivable given today’s medical interventions.]

Also in 1901:

  • The new Constitution of Alabama requires voters in the state to have passed literacy tests.
  • Cuba becomes a United States protectorate.

• The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (later renamed Minor League Baseball), is formed in Chicago.
• American businessman William S. Harley draws up plans for his first prototype motorcycle.
• An American pharmacy retailer, Walgreens was founded in Chicago
• U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt invites African American leader Booker T. Washington to the White House. The American South reacts angrily to the visit, and racial violence increases in the region.
• Then Vice President Theodore Roosevelt first utters the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”
• New York becomes the first U.S. state to require automobile license plates.
• Typhoid fever breaks out in a Seattle jail, the first of two typhoid outbreaks in the United States during the year.
• In the first great Texas gusher, oil is discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.
• Baseball’s American League declares itself a Major League.
• U.S. Steel is incorporated by industrialist J. P. Morgan, as the first billion-dollar corporation.
• A showing of 71 Vincent van Gogh, considered Post-Impressionist paintings in Paris, 10 years after his death, creates a sensation.
• By 1901, Post-Impressionism was the most prevalent painting style. This group of painters worked independently striving to convey personal meaning through subjective visions, abstract forms and personal symbolism.
• Mary Cassatt was an American Post-Impressionist most famous for her intimate portraits of women and children. Her Summertime is featured left.




• UN General Assembly condemns apartheid in South Africa.
• Berlin Wall is built, dividing East and West Germany.
• American-backed Cuban exiles fail in an attempt to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.
• Outgoing President Eisenhower issues warning of a “military-industrial complex” developing in America
• Cuban exiles fail in their bid to invade Cuba through the Bay of Pigs; President Kennedy accepts responsibility
• Soviets build wall dividing East and West Berlin
• The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.
• construction of the Berlin Wall begins, restricting movement between East Berlin and West Berlin
• Confrontation at Checkpoint Charlie: A standoff between Soviet and American tanks in Berlin, Germany heightens Cold War tensions.
• U.S. President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.
• Cold War: In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro announces he is a Marxist–Leninist, and that Cuba will adopt socialism.

• President Kennedy establishes Peace Corps
• Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated Southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v. Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.
• “Frito” corn chips appear
• Average Cost of a new car $2,850
• “Barbie” gets a boyfriend when the “Ken” doll is introduced
• The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) started
• Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev requests asylum in France, while in Paris with the Kirov Ballet.

•  Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space during a single-orbit flight
• Commander Alan Shephard Jr. becomes first American in space in a suborbital flight aboard Mercury 3; Virgil Grissom two months later
• Soviet space probe Venera 1 becomes the first man-made vehicle to reach another planet when it arrives at Venus
• First lasers developed
• Anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey discovered Homo habilis in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania
• Electric toothbrushes introduced
• OP Art, Pop Art, and Minimalism were the predominant painting styles of the 1960’s. The Op Art and Pop Art designs used in home interiors of the 60’s is popular again today. 


Frank Stella’s Irregular Polygons are typical of the Minimalist style of the 1960’s. Shown above is one of his Protractor Series from the late 1960’s.

Alexander Archipenko’s The Queen of Sheba (shown left) is a good example of 1960s Minimalism in sculpture.
• Minimalism was also popular in the 60’s in architecture. The photo below is an example of the Minimalist style in architecture.

End Notes

WilhelmRichard and Hellmut, Understanding the I-Ching, p 170
Huang, Alfred, Daoist Master, The Complete I-Ching, 1998, 2101, Inner Traditions, Rochester VT, Totonto, Canada.[image crediti:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laozi]
Huang, p. 172

To attain knowledge, add things everyday.

To attain wisdom, remove things every day.

Lao Tsu, Dao de Jing




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