The Rat in the Year of the Metal Rat 2020

Who is a Rat?

The Rat in 2020: below

Years:  1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.
Month*:  December
Hour: 11:00 pm – 01:00 am
Day: ask us

* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too.

What is a Rat?

The Rat is yang water but with a hidden stem of yin Water, that is to say pure 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. This powerful idea may clarify 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 this year?

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 be 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.

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) calls 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 and 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 may have these dynamics to juggle this year.

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 Rat is a guardian, a watcher. Sometimes he is self-appointed and the unbalanced Rat has 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). 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 indeed 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 himself 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 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©

The Rat in 2020

The cheapest price to pay is attention.

1960 Metal Rat Chuck D.

In a Rat year, Rats are going to be questioned about, and questioning, experiences of childhood, parenting and parents. I doubt that is welcome news, but why not treat it as the opportunity it is? We often avoid subjects we consider difficult with the excuse that we can’t find the right time to address them. I’m telling you it’s right now. This is the year.

Rats have a love/hate relationship with attention. They like to hide out in plain sight but often feel left out because they are so good at it. In 2020 your habits of observation and your secret shortcuts will be exposed and even coopted by partners, friends, children and accusers. The boundaries you’ve crossed with your diplomatic privileges are common knowledge.

Over the holidays you may already have been accused of not doing enough or not being more helpful in the context of family relationships. That will likely peak again in March. Take a deep breath. You know that your best has improved over the years. Don’t look for anyone to confirm that though. Let your self-knowledge be enough. It’s not your fault when others don’t notice your contributions. It’s not theirs either.

In 2020 your natural gift for powerful words is enhanced. Spend time studying, reading and writing. Craft what you want to say carefully because your words are a catalyst; a magic spell. Stay on script when the moment arrives. You will find you can truly speak things into existence when you get them “right”. Don’t turn this blessing into a curse.

Those born in a Rat year and/or on a Yin Water day have the Star of Fame present bringing solid return for efforts so make the most of it. The attention you get for your work brings an attempt to displace you in June but unless you’ve got a Horse in your Ba Zi it probably seems more threatening than it is. Deploy your charm. Calmness and care with words will win the day. Stay in your flow. Someone is going to give feedback to your boss about your performance.

1972 Water Rats and those with a Yang Water day stem may be accident prone as they try to rush through these unwanted feelings and experiences which will only exacerbate the fallout. If you feel so pressured or anxious that everything has become an emergency then slow down. Literally.

Rat in the day pillar? You may be working towards promotion only to discover in September that the coveted executive power belongs to the Ox: a partner, friend or co-worker who is already present in January. The job was already taken before you arrived at the interview but you can ride the coattails of the Ox to boost your future plans.

Choose your Ox early on rather than letting them choose you. A 1985 Wood Ox may be the most successful one. If you feel blocked I know you can find ways around it. That’s what Rats do.

©Stephanie Stewart 2020

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© Richard Ashworth 2020