Happy Chinese New Year:
Year of the Wood Rooster

by S. J. Lindquist-Hellman


If you’ve already blown your New Year’s resolution, you’ll have a second chance to start anew February 9 when the Chinese Lunar New Year begins. The calendar used in Chinese astrology begins with the second New Moon after the winter solstice, so the Chinese New Year doesn’t fall on the same date each year, but it is always in January or February. People born under the western astrological signs of Capricorn and Aquarius will have to look up their birth dates to be certain in which Chinese year they were born, because Chinese astrology is based on year of birth.

I have a very good friend and client named Bob. Inside Bob’s massive, gruffy, tattooed exterior is about the happiest, most carefree Cappy you could ever meet (he does have a Pisces Moon). On Bob’s left forearm is a tattoo of a dragon breathing out a smoky yin-yang symbol. Bob got the dragon tattoo because he mistakenly thought he was born in the Year of the Dragon, when in fact, Bob was actually born in the Year of the Rabbit. So here is yet another gentle reminder to our Capricorn and Aquarian brothers and sisters to double-check anything they should happen to read on a placemat in a restaurant, thereby helping to save themselves from having to get a tattoo of a dragon with rabbit ears.

With many similarities to western astrology, Chinese astrology also has 12 signs. However, the signs are named for a menagerie of animals instead of the constellations. Oriental astrology is very ancient, and many variations have developed regarding the mythology of the Chinese zodiac. The order of the animals is said to be either the sequence in which they arrive to attend a royal meeting or the order in which they finish a race. In the proper order, the animals of the Chinese zodiac are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Based on the order of their arrival, each animal was given a year of its own. Accordingly, each animal bestows its nature and character upon all those born in that particular animal’s lunar year.

While the western zodiac takes 12 months to complete its cycle, the cycle of the Chinese animals takes 12 years. To further complicate things, it takes five cycles of 12 years each to complete a 60-year lunar cycle, thus adding a system of five elements — metal, water, wood, fire, and soil.

This Chinese lunar year is the Year of the Rooster or Cock. The element is wood. The last time we experienced a Year of the Wood Rooster was 60 years ago, between February 13, 1945, and February 1, 1946. Forecasting that tumultuous time, the French seer Nostradamus, centuries earlier, composed warnings of the times ahead in verse. That last Year of the Wood Rooster was definitely a year of Biblical proportions, a time in history when the forces of light battled and conquered the forces of darkness and death, and many powers were shifted. The unfathomable horrors of the concentration camps were unveiled. World War II came to an end as Hitler and his evil Third Reich were taken out of power and destroyed. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. There is a very old adage that history repeats itself in cycles, a fact of which I’m sure Nostradamus himself was well aware. If this Chinese lunar year manifests itself anything like it did back in 1945, the Year of the Wood Rooster is sure to not only change the course of history, but shape the course of the future as well.

On the other hand, expectations of a repeat of the doom-and-gloom seriousness of 1945 may be unwarranted. The Year of the Wood Rooster 120 years ago, compared to 1945, had many similarities in theme, but 1885 was much more subdued and creatively light-hearted. One could say there was a yin-yang (or masculine-feminine) relationship between the two years, where 1945 was very masculine in character and 1885 was more feminine-inspired. In 1885, the Statue of Liberty, symbolic of American freedom, arrived in New York City from France. The Salvation Army, an organization dedicated to the ongoing war against the forces of evil, was officially structured in the United States. Forever changing and influencing the lives of generations, in March of 1885 the Eastman Film Co. perfected a method of bonding photographic emulsion onto thin strips of celluloid and the first commercial motion picture was manufactured. Later that year, with an enormous amount of energy (more than both of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan combined) a new star appeared in the Great Nebula of Andromeda. Illuminating the sky in that same month, a phenomenal 13,000 meteors an hour were seen coming from the constellation of Andromeda — the stardust of which seemingly settled down somewhere on Hollywood Boulevard.

Here is a link to determine your Chinese Sign and Element:

Highlights of previous years ruled by the Wood Rooster:

  • April 12, 1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt died.
  • April 30, 1945: Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide in Berlin.
  • May 7, 1945: German forces surrendered.
  • July 16, 1945: The first atomic bomb was tested in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
  • August 6, 1945: The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:25 a.m. An estimated 140,000 were killed.
  • August 9, 1945: Another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, resulting in 75,000 deaths.
  • August 15, 1945: Gasoline and fuel-oil rationing ended in the United States.
  • March 26, 1885: The Eastman Film Co. of Rochester, N.Y., manufactured the first commercial motion picture film by perfecting a method for bonding photographic emulsion onto thin strips of celluloid.
  • March 30, 1885: Texas was the last Confederate state readmitted to the Union.
  • June 1885: The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City from France.
  • August 30, 1885: Some 13,000 meteors were seen in one hour near Andromeda.
  • August 1885: A new star appeared in the Great Nebula of Andromeda.
  • September 5, 1885: The first gasoline pump was delivered to a gasoline dealer in Ft. Wayne, Ind.