Sunday, January 25, 2009

Written in the Stars

Today happens to be the last day of the year in the Chinese lunar calendar, which means that tomorrow is the first day of the Year of the Ox, the latest in a traditional twelve-year cycle of animal mascots. Tomorrow morning, in fact, is expected to bring a lot of events for the local Chinese population — probably involving dancing dragons, loud firecrackers, and rice desserts sticky enough to thicken your stomach wall by a couple more inches.

From a more personal point of view, I was born in the Year of the Goat, way back in 1979... which means that I turn 30 sometime this May. (Pity me.) My association with this unfortunate animal that eats cans and gives milk, moreover, means that its implications can be compared against the representation of the new year. I assume that this forms the backbone of the contemporary Chinese horoscope, and it supposedly tells me how I'm expected to fare in the coming twelve months.

As a contemporary person living in a scientific world, I don't place much stock in horoscope readings. They feel speculative to me at best, more like a series of very general predictions that only end up correct by means of random chance. In fact, given how my year is turning out so far, I'm inclined to think that nothing that the rest of the calendar year can offer could possibly get much worse...

This may not be as favorable as a year that you desire.

Whoa. What?

Coming off the year of the Rat, you may be seeking relief from the difficult year. Don't let up now.

Well... that's nice to hear. Even the horoscopes are against me, it seems.

It will take an extra effort to rely on the help of others to make it through these times, but if you keep a steady focus on your goals and display painstaking efforts, you will be pleased to see the fruits of your labor arrive next year. Don't fret, as you may learn a lot about yourself in the process. You may learn that you are more versatile, as well as resourceful, than you ever imagined.

Isn't this a bit of a standard template for Chinese horoscopes? I mean, regardless of what animal mascot dances over your star chart, you always get encouraged to work hard. I mean, you have to... otherwise what kind of world would this be?

If you don't make some changes in your routine, you may experience health issues this year. Watch what you eat, as this will go a long way towards living a healthier life.

Considering that I'm on a fair diet right now (involving abstinence from bacon, sausages and many, many other things that I'd love to consume without regard for the state of my arteries), this does not amuse me in any way.

But then, what does this mean, anyway? The last time I checked, I was a believer in fate as a non-entity, ergo, a world where each of us shapes our own destiny rather than having some outside omnipotent force lay it all out for us. A horoscope is a creative bit of writing, I assume, but nothing more than that.

Goats usually complain loudest in Ox years. the claim that they are being misunderstood by the powers-that-be. And they are. Goats don’t like to be told what to do any more than anyone else does.

Do... you... mind? I'm trying to write a blog post here!

Ox years are definitely not your favorites. Of course you have to work harder than usual which ordinarily you don't mind. You can work as hard as the next guy and for a far longer stint. It's the yoke that is so heavy and itches when it's hot outside. You hate to be dictated to, prefer to be left to your own creative devices and be allowed to get on with your own signature endeavors. If truth be told, deep down, you really wish you had a kindly venture capitalist camping in your backyard who would finance the rest of your unusual life.

Well... that part about the venture capitalist may be true (despite the fact that they would definitely not be camping in my backyard), but that doesn't change anything. Horoscopes are woefully inconsistent and highly prone to human interpretation, even if the same reference materials are used. And there's no guarantee that the reference materials may even be correct in the first place!

To be honest, I really see no reason to believe how a bunch of twelve animal representations can dictate what my life will be like within the next twelve months. It's the stuff of markteting and commercial promotion, really, not of faith and trepidation.

During the Ox year, [Goat] people need to be cautious and enjoy simple pleasures, rather than spending extravagantly or making huge changes.

That said, the unified prognosis is looking rather grim...

On and off, there’ll be tensions with other people. Stay tactful and diplomatic, but do stick up for yourself and express your feelings. Expect there to be extra chores and calls on your time.

Ugh. This is just reading worse and worse. It's time to close the book on this one and move forward with my actual life.

The Chinese horoscope isn't the only one around, of course. Most of us should probably be familiar with the traditional Zodiac-based horoscope based upon Western constellations. Curiously enough, this astrological practice eschews year-long predictions in favor of day-to-day reports for some reason; among such star charts and planetary alignments, I happen to be a Taurus. That means that...

Things will move in the career front in such a way that you will be able to experience intrinsic satisfaction along with materialistic progression in the form of increment in salary or status. However, increased work-load that makes it difficult to balance career and domestic commitments may leave some of you worried. Success comes to you only after hard efforts during this year – but that should be no reason to sulk for the hard-working Taureans, as hard work comes to you naturally!



...Maybe I should just go back to bed for the rest of the year.


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