The Rat in the Year of the Metal Ox 2021

Rat Pic by @elliespinelli

Who is a Rat?

Years:         1948, 60, 72, 84, 96, 2008.
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 it is 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.

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.

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 (himself a Rat) 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 has always drawn 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 © 2021

The Rat in 2021

In 2020, the appropriation of your work wasn’t happening in plain sight. Now that it is, what are you going to do about it?

Say goodbye to the Metal Rat. When the year that matches your Animal year ends, it’s a good time to check in with how things are going. What would you have done differently in 2020? Do you need to make amends? Give amnesty? Apologies and forgiveness can be awkward, but maybe less so when the year is still fresh in your mind. Don’t wait.

This year I recommend Rats check in with their 10-year luck cycle, also known as the Big Fate. That’s a pillar to consider along with your other four. When does it change? What might change?

Rats can expect a much quieter year in 2021 than in 2020. This year you’re a go between, a carrier of intel, willingly or not. You’re meant to transmit the secrets; to redistribute the goods that come your way. You might be the origin but you’re not the destination.

The hard part of 2021 may be finally getting your content known – in the context of someone else’s work. Even when you thought you had publicly teamed up, a certain collaborator might act like they’ve forgotten that their platform is built on your innovations. This is simply what happens when you’re good at what you do. Make sure your copyrights are in place and smile. Find new ways to market yourself. What else is there to do other than get to work on the next idea? That’s what you do.

Who am I to deny myself a pawn for you to use?

Small Poppies by 1987 Fire Rabbit Courtney Barnett

For those with two or more Rats in the natal chart, there’s a chance that you may be perceived as anxious, depressed, or too dark. If you feel that too, 2021 is the year to find new ways to release the Water stress. There may be a feeling of contamination you’re looking to rid yourself of. If confiding or confession feels impossible, start writing. Hide your journal if it makes you feel better.

Start the year by getting back in touch with support systems that go beyond your partner the Ox. You could both use some healthy objectivity. The Ox is going to be in demand, which won’t last that long, so perhaps give them the space to pull their hardest. That will empower you too. When you want to compare notes, have a few laughs and some comforting containment, turn to the Monkey and Dragon to freshen up your perspective.

Remember that as much as you love pursuing and fulfilling your purpose, there are times where you have big doubts. If you haven’t been doing so already, you might even be considering a complete overhaul of your work. Don’t do that without careful consideration. In 2021 your judgment may be slightly clouded. Why change your course when branching out is obviously more your thing? Use that natural tendency and you’ll move past the doubts with ease. Whatever it is you want to ditch will change its form with the progression of the year. You’ll see.

Looking for a mission? 2021 calls upon you to get the word out about resources, and with Monkey and Dragon, to store and transport them. This may not be literal, but however this scenario plays out for you, put yourself in charge of distribution. The acquisition without the distribution is unhealthy, as we’ve seen. If you’re serious about it, serve the Ox. Get the Ox to be your boss. Rent a warehouse.

For any health issues, of course you’ll want to see your doctor. Consider looking into acupuncture and moxibustion to support your current methods of treatment. If you’ve tried those treatments before, you may find they are even more effective in 2021 than in other years.

January           All about relationship.

March             The paradox of being a parent; also parenting parents.

April                There’s a support group for that and you’re invited.

June                Someone else takes the hit for you.

July                  You take the hit for someone else.

August            Your driver has arrived.

December       Cleansed and empowered. Up and coming.

Rats to Watch

1960 Metal Rats: Deb Haaland, James Comey; Amy Klobuchar

1972 Water Rats: Nikki Haley, Amy Coney Barrett, Beto O’Rourke

1984 Wood Rats: Meghan McCain, Prince Harry

©Stephanie Stewart 2021

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© Richard Ashworth 2021