Auspicious Dates and Places
The (4th) month of the Metal Snake, 2020.
(09:08 5th May to 13:49 6th June 2020 inclusive)
in the Year of the Metal Rat.

 The Creative
 Hexagram 1

The Metal Snake Month, Animal by Animal
The Pig is dubious,
Rats may feel less boosted,
The Ox is restored to power,
Tigers make heavy weather,
Rabbits are above it,
The Dragon receives fresh and respectful attention,
Snakes are comforted,
The Horse is not at full power,
The Sheep may feel extended,
Monkeys may be both pushed and pulled,
Roosters are mostly respected,
Every Dog is claimed.

Online One-Day Workshop:   Interpreting the Book of Changes in 2020

A 5 month                                 brings trouble to the heart of things.
The Snake Month                   is about truth and its alternatives.
Where to be this month:     North East. Where not to be: tai chi, East.
Favoured Animals:                Snake, Rooster, Ox, some Monkeys – in any Pillar.
Especially challenged:         Pig, Tiger, other Monkeys.
The Hexagram (above):        Qian The Creative. Heaven over Heaven.

4             2
3       5       7
8       1       6
Metal Snake

This month’s lo shu: wu huang 5 at tai chi ; san sha East

The Slime of No Reply.
I’m worried about the slugs. Yes I’m concerned about Covid-19, testing, vaccination, cabin fever and Brexit – though this last has receded a tad from my list of worries since Lockdown began – also incompetent government and dumb leaders and so much more.

I used to worry constantly about the environment. I would wake suddenly at three in the morning with a mind full of orang utans and pangolins. But right now as the Month of the slithery Metal Snake opens, I’m worried about the slugs and snails.

You see my sunflowers are doing too well. I start them indoors in February and I usually plant maybe three times as many seeds as I expect to survive. They go out in the garden when I think the frosts have ended: usually late April. Once out, their chief predators have always been slugs and snails. Over the years I’ve tried to discourage them with moats of beer around the pots, following the folk wisdom that gastropods like nothing better than a sip of Hogs Back Ale of a spring evening; I’ve experimented with sprinkling dry cat food among the saplings on the grounds that snails prefer them to sunflowers, only to make the predictable discovery that cats do too. Own goal: cats show no mercy to the little plants as they dig out the tidbits. But it’s lap ha, the Beginning of Summer today May 5th, and usually at this time I have a garden rich with fat slugs and the sunflowers have thinned out. But this year no slugs; a veritable forest of Russian Giants may be burgeoning.

The month that’s coming is a Metal Snake, the most deceptive of the Celestial Animals. The Metal Dragon just past signalled a tussle with authority: Americans desperate to get out into the open and shoot each other; over here bat-crazy new age dabblers confusing political business as usual with rococo conspiracy theories. Governments lie, that does not mean we’re controlled by eight foot foot lizards from the planet Splong. If we were they might be a bit more efficient.

Such wild paranoia btw is simply what’s known as “level confusion”: we live simultaneously in several worlds, one material, others not. Tian Ti Ren is the Chinese term for this: we inhabit Heavenly, Earthly and Human realms at one and the same time. This confusion technically known as the Mind-Body Problem, is literally as old as the word “philosophy”. We seek control and explanation, but we know underneath it all that we’re each spinning alone on an imaginary ball of mud. Elegant feng shui can work on all these levels. But the fact is that there is pretty much nothing we actually can control.

Lies and the consequent confusion will come thicker and faster in May. They don’t actually come much thicker than some of the politicians involved actually but the power of the patriarchy is waning. May is a month to question everything, especially truisms like the one that everyone is chafing to break lockdown at any cost. Mostly that’s the employers, “wealth makers” and “job creators” chafing, I think, not the bus drivers and ICU nurses.

Or the idea that everyone hates having their children at home. And the one that working couples – what other sort is there? – would rather be at work than together. The Dragon is a teacher, and social media and my Zoom calls are full of parents relishing the time spent with their offspring, learning or playing. Fact is there is not enough playing in the world. In these days when most families need two full-time breadwinners to er….win enough bread to keep a family, such an opportunity is rare. And of course juggling small children, schooling requirements, the need to make money and a full in-tray is an art. No business meeting live or virtual is as demanding as caring for a toddler. And home-education is no picnic. But it’s so much more worthwhile than scouring the iPhone for notifications. I write as the father of six miraculous children and like you, I never had dummies to practice on.

The Hexagram for the month or so leading up to Mid-Summer is Qian, the Father, Authority, extreme yang. That’s true every year but the ruling Hexagram for 2020 is number 42, meaning Increase. The structure of that Hexagram is Wind over Thunder, Eldest Daughter holding sway over Eldest Son. The conjunction of these two suggests the need for a turnaround in gender politics. The Earth’s response to mass extinctions is letting us know that she is round and that therefore economic growth cannot be perpetual. That’s what dolphins in the canals of Venice and lions on the golf course in Pretoria indicate. The Earth is not threatened by the fragile pink primates who have recently elected themselves dominant species but she may shrug them off if they don’t play just a bit nicer. Right now New Zealand appears to be the only nation paying attention.

Recently I’ve had variable results with tomatoes. Those at the front flourish where I place them to receive sunlight from dawn to mid-afternoon. But ones placed behind the house where the light patterns are at least as helpful, have not fruited for several years. Same with the wild raspberries and strawberries – they flourish at the front, languish to the rear.

A wealth of buddleia and other bee-magnetic bushes face the house. My guess is that the bees pollinate strawberries and tomatoes while about their buzziness among the buddleia, hence things blossom outside the living room window and not on the decking. God bless the honey bee. And of course I worry about bee numbers. My tomatoes and berries are telling me the bees are in trouble too.

I’m worried about slugs and about so much else. It grieves me to only see my kids on a screen. I’m worried by the gullibility of electorates that have brought morons to power worldwide. I’m worried about the families of the victims of Covid-19. I’m worried about the bovine hysteria of the mob that has brought us Bolsonaro, Orban, Brexit and Trump. But storks are nesting in West Sussex for the first time in centuries and some of my sunflowers are already a foot high. Blue whales – the largest creatures ever to breathe on the Earth – are venturing South and in Florida manatee nuzzle alligators.

The slugs’ll be back like the dolphins. I’m not worried about the Earth anymore. She’ll be fine.
Richard Ashworth © May 2020

Where to be in May.
Summary: creative.
North East, Wealth Star: Year Star: 1 Sun (Ox NE1), Month Star: 8.
The communicative  1 Star is enhanced by the visiting 8, the best place to be this month by a long way. Suitable for writing, learning, also alpha-rhythm activity, prayer, meditation, visualisation, when tangible outcomes can be expected. A crystal journey NE-NW-N might bear further fruit.

Enhance: occupation is the most powerful activation but a little Metal such as Metal objects and colours (including white) may stimulate creativity.

Where not to be in May.
Summary: things fall apart, the centre will not hold.
Tai chi, Home: Year Star: 7 Month Star: 5
Capitals, inner cities and headquarters are all treacherous this month. The tai chi of your own space is implicated as well as rulers and principals (not principles obvs) of all sorts. This is not, repeat not, the time to trust authority but a time to take responsibility for our own free choice.
Like so many of us, the Stars are in their home locations. Returning to the hearth is the main theme of the month. Which unless we are royalty or government is the wisest plan: aim to be away from the seats of power which will prove seriously polluted throughout May and, as I said most of the year. Avoid the tai chi in every sense.
Tame: t’ang lung.
Richard Ashworth ©2020. www.imperialfengshui.infoAnchor

Richard Ashworth is among the most respected Western Feng Shui Masters. He was among the pioneers of feng shui survey & analysis at a distance (now of course the only way to do it) on MySpirit Radio in the noughties. A good taster of his approach may be found on Audible at

Richard has worked from Lebanon to Bermuda, in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and with stars such as Kelly Hoppen and Gillian Anderson. Unusually for a Western Master, he has addressed the Grand Masters at the International Feng Shui Conference in Singapore.

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