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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Creativity Abounds in the Year of the Sheep

Feb 02, 2015 11:26AM ● By Dale Bruder

The Chinese New Year is celebrated on February 19 this year. Female wood sheep year, according to the ancient Chinese zodiac calendar, is connected to grass, leaves of vegetables, vine, sprout, low bushes and scrub, which need sunshine, soil and water to grow their leaves or branches. The same is said for its energy; nourishment for creativity.

The sheep is among the animals that people like most. It is gentle and calm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to make writing brushes and coats to keep warm. The ancient Chinese ascribed the whiteness of the fleece to delicate and precious white jade, calling it “suet jade,” a metaphor for good things.

In Chinese tradition, the goat, sheep and ram are regarded as different forms of the same animal. The character image shows horns, legs and tail of the animal as seen from above. The sheep is the most feminine sign of the zodiac, receptive to creative expression. Sheep are artistically talented and have a great sense of fashion.

The 2015 Chinese year is 32 in the current 60-year cycle, is called yi (wood) wei (sheep) and is described in cultural tradition as “respected by others.” Overall, this is an inspiring period for leaving behind any unstable affair and connections with the aim to carve new, more honest patterns of relations. By their nature, unable to move backwards or sideways, sheep can only move forward, adding to the leaving behind the old and embracing the new metaphor.

The I-Ching hexagram of wooden sheep is 20, Contemplation, combining wind above and earth below. Wind is penetrating and earth is receptive. The Taoist I-Ching describes it as a gradual progression in accord with proper timing, advancing without impetuousness and with alert observation. In Buddhist terms, hexagram 20, Contemplation, means the progressive cultivation to cut off delusion by subtle observation.

The year of the wooden sheep is an auspicious time to pick up a paint brush, a chisel, a pen, a needle and thread or myriad other tools available and pursue creative endeavors. We call on our observation of the world, draw from our intuitive imagination, learn from those that have mastered techniques before us and honor the energy of this time.

Tao Time publishes a monthly newsletter prior to every new moon and provides a selection of implements accessing and interpreting the I Ching to discern the time we are in and the developmental path that lays before us. See Daily Tao I Ching at Tao Time on Facebook. For more information, visit