2022 - Year of the Water Tiger
Author: Wendy S. Goldman, L.Ac.
Lunar New Year 2022 arrives on February 1st and brings us the Year of the Yang Water Tiger. You may also see it referred to as the Black Tiger, since black is the color of Water.
What does the Tiger have in store for 2022?
According to Chinese philosophy, we have the concepts of Yin and Yang, and Heaven, Earth and Humanity. The way these elements combine determines the energy for the year.
Heaven and Earth
Every year is either Yin or Yang, and they alternate, so there will never be two Yin or two Yang years in a row.
Last year was Yin Metal Ox, so we know 2022 must be a Yang year. In the production/ creation cycle of the flow of the elements (Wood -> Fire -> Earth -> Metal -> Water), we see that Water comes after Metal. That gives us a Yang Water Year.
In the Chinese Zodiac, which also represents the Earthly Branches, or the Earth Energy, the Tiger comes after the Ox.
The element that precedes the specific animal is the Heaven energy, or the Heavenly Stem, and the animal represents the Earth energy, or the Earthly Branch.
The Heavenly Stem this year is Water, and the Earthly Branch is the Tiger, or Wood element.
In the cosmology of “Heaven, Earth and Humanity”, we the people, being “Humanity”, live in between Heaven and Earth and are affected by their energies and the energy of the year.
Parents and Children
Let’s first consider the relationship between the Heaven and Earth energies of Water and Wood. Heaven, or Yang, gives birth to Earth, or Yin, so we have the Heaven energy of Water giving birth to Wood. This is the natural and proper flow of Qi.
In the five Elements creation/ production cycle, Water gives birth to Wood, or is the parent of Wood. Since our elements in 2022 are Water and Wood, we have a parent-child relationship, which is again the natural flow of energy, so they should get along well.
The parent “gives birth to” and supports the child. This a natural and harmonious relationship between the elements and there is no conflict between them.
We have the correct order of flow between Heaven and Earth, and within the Five Elements cycle with no conflicts or counter-flow between them.
What Does This Mean?
Since Heaven is “above us” (the sky and heavens are up above us), it relates to things/ people “above” us, or that have power over us. This can mean parents, bosses or the government, that generally have some sort of power or control over us.
The last couple of years have not been harmonious, but 2022 bodes well for improved relationships between those “above” us, and those “below”. The natural flow of energy in the relationship between these two elements means there should be more support from those above to those below, just like a parent supports a child.
We can expect to see things shift from the attitudes of 2021 where employers and governments tried to over-control people, and the people weren’t having it, because that was the energy present at the time. Some of the effects of this energy that come to mind are the shortage of employees and many unfilled job openings. The “children”/ employees didn’t want excess control over them, so they quit.
In 2022, we should expect more peaceful support and the “parents and children” getting along more harmoniously. Employers should start to treat their employees better, so we may see more job openings filled in the coming months as employees feel more supported.
Nature of the Elements
The Nature of Wood / Tiger
Now let’s consider the nature of the Tiger. It’s a big cat. If you’re a cat person, or live with a cat, you understand the nature of the Tiger. (I’m owned by a cat, and he’s on my lap right now helping me write this.)
Cats are highly intelligent and generally represented as regal, especially the big cats like tigers. They are the rulers of the universe in their own minds.
Since cats are meticulous about their grooming and appearance, being well-groomed this year will be expected. The opposite look may be detrimental for success this year.
Cats sleep most of the day, and when awake, may chill out or have intense bursts of energy. They can sometimes be a bit demanding when they’re awake and want something.
Think of tigers in the wild. They sleep, hunt (big burst of intense energy), eat, meticulously groom themselves, and sleep some more, with maybe some play time in between. They’re sprinters, rather than distance runners.
Next, we need to consider the nature of the Yang Wood element, because the Tiger represents it. Yang Wood is like a big tree, like a Redwood or Giant Sequoia. They’re not flexible like smaller trees or plants, but hard and unbending.
The nature of the Earth energy in 2022 will be like a cat. It should be sleepy /calm most of the time, with periods of intense sprints of activity.
It may be somewhat demanding to keep up with when it happens, because it may be unyielding, but remember, it’s a cat, and will want a nap sooner rather than later. The intense periods should be short.
Plan for this and take care of yourself so when the bursts of intensity come, you can flow with it. Then take a nap. Be a like a cat to stay in harmony with the energy.
Trees are also calm unless something external affects them, like a storm. Trees are considered to be in alignment with Heaven and Earth and are very tranquil. That’s one reason it feels good to be in a forest or near trees. 2022 is an excellent time to be in nature with trees. This calming influence of big trees (Yang Wood) should also bring some calming energy to the year.
Nature of Water
The Water energy in 2022 is Yang water. Yang Water is like the ocean, the Great Lakes or a very large river like the Amazon, Mississippi, or Yangtze. It’s big, powerful water. We’re not talking about puddles or clouds or mist, but its exact opposite.
It can be powerful, washing away everything in its path, when it’s stirred up.
When we look at the Water and Wood together, because of the harmonious parent-child relationship, they should get along fairly well. The intense times may be like a parent saying “go clean your room”, but then should calm again. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just intense.
Water gives birth to Wood. We water plants to feed and nourish them so they’ll grow. Wood needs Water to grow and thrive. This is harmonious.
Wood also is the start of Spring and the new year. This year will be a good year to start and grow new things, so if you’re thinking of starting or growing anything, this is a good year to do it. There is good support for it to grow and thrive. It should be beneficial for new and growing businesses.
Wood also represents kindness, compassion, healing, and medicine, especially herbal medicine. It should be a good year for business in these industries, and any other industry related to wood or working with wood, trees, and/ or plants, like food or farming.
Water industries like plumbing and shipping should be strong, although there could be problems from storms.
Metal is the weakest element this year, so industries associated with metal, metal-working, and/or use metal may suffer. Metal is also associated with truth and justice, so it may not be a good year for progress in those areas. That doesn’t mean we won’t see any truth or justice, just that they’ll have a harder time this year because the element is weak.
According to the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, the atmospheric nature of Wood is wind. The nature of Water is cold, and also represents actual water, like oceans, rivers, etc. It refers to water, rather than rain, because the Earth element is in charge of clouds and rain. So even though it’s a Water year, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll have excessive rain. The Water element is more about coldness.
That tells us about what sort of weather to expect: cold and windy is a good summary.
Temperatures may be on the cool side all year, and very cold in winter. (Caveat: global warming does have an effect, so it’s become a little more challenging to predict. This is what the weather should be like in general, but any excessive heat can be attributed to global warming, rather than the energy of the year.)
Because it’s a Yang year, the winds will be strong and the cold in winter may be severe, especially if there is wind involved.
There is potential for devastating winter storms, because the Water element is cold and associated with winter. Tornadoes could also be frequent and severe because of the wind. Storms like hurricanes and typhoons that combine wind and water could be particularly damaging.
Spring is associated with the Wood element and wind, so there could also be bad storms involving wind, or damage from wind, without the water involved.
According to the Su Wen, Wood’s negative state of mind is anger, and Water’s is fear. People with Liver and Kidney excesses may be more prone to these emotions, while those with deficiencies in these organs should benefit.
A lot of people’s Kidney Qi has been damaged by the ongoing fear state of the pandemic. It’s possible the strong Water energy, associated with the Kidneys, should help strengthen the Kidneys and lessen the fear this year.
As humans, we’re affected by both the Heaven and Earth energy, but because we live on the Earth, we’re more affected by the earth energy, which is Wood. Water (fear) gives birth to Wood (anger). We may start to see anger this year, particularly related to ongoing restrictions or things related to the pandemic, especially if people are scared. It may be that people become tired of the fear and this generates anger, especially when the fear is generated by those “above”.
It’s unlikely to be violent, as Metal, which is associated with violence, is weak this year.
Wood’s nature is wind, which represents change, because wind is always moving and never stays in one place. We’ll most likely see some change this year, especially regarding issues people are angry about. It is possible there may be big changes, because it’s a Yang year and that always makes the elements more powerful.
Wood’s positive mental state is kindness and compassion, and Water’s is wisdom. It’s possible we’ll see a shift in attitudes more in this direction. Practices like meditation, Qigong, etc., that help to calm the mind and develop kindness and wisdom will be especially beneficial and supportive. These practices can help shift people from anger and fear to the positive mental states of kindness, compassion and wisdom.
The strongest organs this year will be the Liver (Wood) and Kidneys (Water). Those prone to excess in these organs could have problems, especially when wind and/or cold are part of the pathology.
There is the possibility of more strokes and conditions associated with Liver wind this year, especially in people with excess Liver conditions. Be cautious with those patients who tend to have a lot of anger, because this will be a more dangerous year for them. These people will need more calming and relaxing herbs and treatments.
According to the Su Wen, the Wood element is also associated with falls (think of a tree falling). People whose balance is not good should be very careful. The strong Water energy this year should help those with weak bones (Kidneys), but they should still be very careful to avoid falling.
People with Yang deficiencies and/or cold in the body will need warming herbs this year.
The weakest organ this year will be the Lungs (Metal) because both Water and Wood weaken the Metal element. Those with weak Lungs will need strengthening.
Even though it’s a Water year, we should see more cold than dampness. The Earth element, associated with dampness, is weak, so we will most likely see more external wind-cold attacks than colds with dampness. This bodes well for coming out of the Covid situation, where the excessive dampness was the primary pathogen.
People with ongoing Lung deficiencies from Covid will need Lung tonic herbs to help them recover faster.
If people have problems with dampness, it will be more from weak digestion and improper diet than from external sources like weather. Counseling patients about correct diet is important, as well as strengthening the Spleen, Stomach and digestion.
The Earth element is weak in 2022, so more support may be needed in this area.
The Heart/ Small Intestine (Fire organs) are fairly neutral this year, so we shouldn’t see anything out of the ordinary with those organs.
In general, I think we’ve got a better year ahead and may start to see some positive changes happen. The last couple of years were tough ones, as we all know. It wasn’t fun to put the bad news out there. And, the energy is what it is. I’m only the interpreter analyzing what our ancient teachings tell us about the nature of Yin, Yang and the Five Elements. Over the ten or more years I’ve been doing these predictions, they’ve been fairly accurate. That’s the gift from our ancestors and the power of our medicine and the philosophy it’s based on.
The advantage of having this information is to know what to expect and how to prepare. We’re forewarned, and know what to expect for ourselves and with patients each year, so we can prepare, stay in harmony with the year, and avoid problems.
Just a note, because it’s a big misconception: if you were born in a Tiger year, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good year for you. Or a bad one. How the energy of the year affects each individual is dependent on each person’s Ba Zi /Chinese Astrology chart. Most years for most people are a mixed bag.
This analysis is of the universal energies of Heaven and Earth that affect us all. My personal hope is that the wisdom of Water and the kindness and compassion of Wood will prevail, or at least show up, as they’ve been missing in action for a while now!
We can all help by being sources of wisdom, kindness and compassion in the world, and not letting fear and/or anger take over. There is great support from the universe for it this year.
| Bio: Wendy S. Goldman, L.Ac.
Wendy has been in private practice in San Diego for over 20 years. She is a 14th generation Master of Emei Qigong. Wendy can be reached at info@GoldmanWellnessCenter.com