The Rat in the Year of the Water Rabbit 2023

Rat Pic by @elliespinelli

Who is a Rat?

Years:         1948, 60, 72, 84, 96, 2008, 2020.
Month*:      December
Hour:          11:00 pm – 01:00 am
Day:            you’ll need a Chinese Calendar. 

* Caution: Chinese Solar Months can start as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year.

What is a Rat?

The Rat is yang Water but with a hidden stem of yin Water, that is to say they are 100% Water, the only Chinese Animal that is so pure. All Water on this planet, unless interfered with by outside forces, is connected with and on the same level as all other Water. Sea level at Zeebrugge is the same as sea level at Miami. If I spill my cup of tea here in Surrey and you spill yours in Taiwan, sooner or later they’ll mix. It may take aeons but they’ll mix. Perhaps that clarifies the connection between Water and communication.

Someone said that we have two ears and one mouth for a good reason: that we should listen twice as much as we speak. The issues relating to Water are listening and speaking while keeping the ratios right. The Rat can easily miss this. Some of us are elected primarily to talk and the yang Water of the Rat says it’s you. The Rat is the talker of the Chinese Zodiac. As you know, an unbalanced or distressed Rat tends to clam up or run off at the mouth. Which will it be?

Interestingly both Prince Harry and his father Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales are Rats. Charles’ career has been one of juggling his often outspoken opinions with the privilege of his position. I observed some while ago that Harry’s lessons might correspond; wise Rats tend to blurt or have learned to be shtum. Under considerable provocation Harry seems to have learned from his father’s example. Uncle Andy (1960 Metal Rat) not so much; he may embody the equal & opposite Rat quality of secrecy; the Rat who sits among the rafters above the dinner table. He will be under the bus when the Queen dies, as soon as Charles’ feet are under the desk btw.

The Rat is supreme in the realm of ideas. It is said that when you can tell Fire and Water apart, you are their master. The blue of the sky at mid-summer, for instance is not Water but Fire. Who can identify this consistently? The Rat who is a planner and a plotter and a deep thinker, is the most likely candidate. He thinks ahead, sometimes to the detriment of his awareness of the present. This makes him a good chess player but not so great at poker. He is apt to be too controlling for games that require openness – even to good fortune. That sort of uncertainty can be painful. Your average Rat wants the credit and to get that he has to be in control.

In conversation you may find that the mature Rat second guesses in a very distinctive way: typically he gets his correspondent to commit to a position before he states his; a very useful quality in a teacher but not everyone’s cup of tea in a collaborator. The Dragon and the Monkey, even the Ox, may find this reassuring but it drives the Horse and the Tiger wild and to some extent even the Dog. 1936 Rat Derek Walters is just this kind of Rat teacher and very effective too.

Being big talkers and travellers, Rats are traditionally suited to work involving communication: sales, oratory and persuasion. In the collaboration with the Rabbit, Rooster and Horse that Derek Walters called the Flowers of Love, the Rat is the talker, the chatter-up if you will, where the Rooster provides the glamour, the Horse the passion and the Rabbit the accommodation. A Rat with the assistance of these other Animals is effortlessly successful and charismatic. Whichever of this quartet may be missing at any given time indicates his weaknesses.

None of the others however is ever much at ease alone in the company of the Rat. The Rooster appears to be on another planet which can make the Rabbit resentful, especially if that Rabbit is parent or child to the Rat; yang Water is a little too much for the Rabbit’s delicate yin Wood. Creed, Black Panther and Just Mercy star Michael B Jordan has just these dynamics to juggle.

An unbalanced Rat talks too much and listens selectively. A balanced one gets it exactly right; he is fascinating talker and a skilled listener. But this wilful deafness can be a point of pride. Blessed with an orderly mind and excellent retention, a Rat can consider his ignorance of a subject a reflection upon the subject rather than upon himself. This sort of Rat needs to learn to value the convictions of others, especially if they are derived from premises he does not accept.

The mature Rat is often a guardian, a watcher. Sometimes he is self-appointed and unbalanced, a Rat can display a particular blindness that leads him to believe that his opinion is an absolute. This is more accentuated and less well-informed in his partner the Ox in what some call the House of Creativity (or cleverness perhaps). The relationship between the Ox and the Rat is less that of partners than of pupil and tutor but the Ox can be a particularly obdurate and dominating learner, sometimes drawing conclusions to which he is not entitled and sticking like a limpet to any conclusion he can justify. In these circumstances the Ox is not so much partner or even student of the Rat as tormentor. When Ox and Rat are together it is the Ox who calls the tunes.

A very conscious Rat can make good use of his blindness to the value of other people’s positions. She is likely to be able to explain things that baffle others and to derive laws from this gift. To have no explanation however is to open up to chaos. If he knows this about himself he can master even the most abstract discipline.

The Rat is versatile and multi-talented though not as notably so as the Pig of whom he is often jealous or the Dragon who can baffle him despite their mutual affinity. The yang Water of the Rat can speak of profligacy with money. Rats are brilliant small businessman but often poor tycoons. In the power triad with the Dragon and Monkey, the Rat may appear to overvalue the hands-on deftness of the Monkey to the detriment of the Dragon because he finds the Monkey easier to control and may envy the Dragon his magic. Twin Rats Robert Plant and John Bonham and Monkey Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (formed in the Monkey Year of 1968) may be a good example of this creative tension.

And it is this potential for envy that is the other big weakness of the Rat. Often in dispute with Horses, the full-on spontaneity of Fire draws resentment from certain Rats. He can’t admire what he can’t himself master. This can lead to him not getting credit for originality of mind. Consider Water Rat Alan Turing of Imitation Game fame who was not exonerated of the “crime” of homosexuality let alone appreciated until decades after his miserable death. And finally the Rat can be a fickle partner but an attentive parent, albeit one who may have favourites. The awakened Rat is absolutely even-handed; that in itself is quite a gift.

Richard Ashworth © 2023

King Rat: The Rat in 2023 rat

The ongoing theme of this Year is the so-called “Ingratitude Penalty” that occurs when Rat meets Rabbit. Which of course is going to happen a great deal in a Rabbit Year. The dynamic as the name suggests is ingratitude. A person born in a Rat Year on a Rabbit Day, for instance will to a greater or lesser extent have an ongoing issue with their upbringing. Such dissatisfaction may reach epidemic proportions in March and December but the preponderance of helpful Stars means that you generally come up smelling of roses.

Although this is a golden year for you, you may have some hurdles to clamber. The appearance of the yum san (or Yuen Zhen) bonding Star in October (for women) and August (men)will signal difficulties that are essentially a message to those you have brought up as to how good a job you did. Charles III please note.

JK Rowling suggested there should be a statute of limitations on this complaint, the older I get the earlier I think that might rightfully be. Parents know they don’t get dummies to practice on and there is almost no advice available on parenting adults. My Dad used to say that as a parent the worst years were the first forty. I thought he was joking; he wasn’t.

So a Rat parent can expect friction from a Rabbit offspring this year and the other way round. And of course the familial relationship is not limited to Parent/Child. Monarch/Subjects is just as likely: 1948 Rat Charles III may feel underappreciated for the causes he has taken up in his 70 years of anticipation and subjects may not accept his lapses of judgement in the way they did his Mother’s.  I have written before about the Windsors and the Ingratitude Penalty and one upshot may be some very poor calls relating to 1984 Rat Prince Harry and 1960 Rat Prince Andrew. Both probably under the bus by December.

It’s worth noting also that in a ba zi, Rabbit so often stands for Mother.

This pattern will affect you and me in many other ways. Insofar as we are employers and patrons we need to be ready for the widespread strike action that is virtually certain but there may be some surprising additions to the pickets. Think ahead if this applies. March is the first peak, December the second.

Long distance travel is likely as well as expressions of creativity that may have been dormant decades. In a Rabbit year the Rat writes.

In relationship you may not be giving your all. The Rabbit demands of the Rat without offering much support. If that’s accurate, best buck up yourself. Loy Hong suggests a Rat may stray. If you’re reading this as female partner of a male Rat, traditional remedies include the image of a hen on the wall above the toilet. Cats in the threshold– images or actual felines – are reckoned to deter rivals.

If you are the one confronted by hen images, remember that relationships  crest and trough and that when you hit a trough the way through is communication. Don’t confuse country and western songs with accounts of actual relationship.  Events will only turn your brown eyes blue or spell D-I-V-O-R-C-E if that is how you truly feel about it. There is no irony in real life; only choice.

As one of the Tin Yute Gwai Yans of the year, you will find yourself father or mother confessor to many. If this is unusual for you, be ready to learn. You will be needed and you need to get out from up yourself to do that. Put it like this: in a hundred ways you will be very lucky this year. Share it. And tell the King if you come  across him. 

Lesson:                   Speaking with discretion.

Best Months:         January, April, August, December

Worst Months:     June, July.

Theme:                   Long term strategy.

Hexagram:            8 Bi Union.

Health:    =          Wealth:  ☺      Relationship:   =

This forecast is prepared by comparing your own Chinese year Animal with the Water Rabbit of 2023.  Your Year Animal is just one of the four that make up your Ba Zi or Four Pillars of Destiny. A fully-drafted ba zi can indicate possible futures and probable pasts as well as moments of decision. Knowing these moments can heal and prevent heartbreak as well make success and happiness more easily achievable. What is a ba zi? 

© Richard Ashworth 2023

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© Richard Ashworth 2023