2023: Chinese Year of the Black Water Rabbit…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In 2023 we leave the year of the Black Water Tiger and enter the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. This is a year of the black rabbit. Black represents the element of water in Chinese astrology. The Year of the Rabbit, as with all the animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, comes round once every twelve years. But then we also have the rotation of the four elements in the Chinese zodiac: Earth, Water, Wood and Metal. The last year of the Water Rabbit was 1963.

2023 Chinese New Year Day is on Sunday, 22 January 2023 and is widely announced as the start of the new Rabbit year. However there is a distinction to be made between New Year and the first day of the New Zodiac Year which in Chinese astrology is based on the lunar calendar.

Technically speaking, the first day of the 2023 Chinese Astrological Year is actually 4 February or the previous day depending on the lunar calendar in any given year.

This date marks Li Chun (立春), the Beginning of Spring.

This means that for a baby born before 4 February 2023, the baby’s Chinese Zodiac sign is still technically the Water Tiger, and not the Water Rabbit. Just be aware, the dates vary depending on the date of the February new moon. If your birthday is in February you need to check the dates in February for that particular year.

You are a Rabbit if you were born in the following years: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011

In the astrology of Vietnam the Rabbit is replaced with the Cat, and in Malay astrology, the Rabbit is represented instead by a mouse-deer.

The Year of the Black (Water) Rabbit ends 9 February 2024 when we will enter a new Wood Dragon year. 

The rabbit is traditionally regarded as one of the happiest Chinese zodiac signs. People born in a Rabbit year are known for their extreme patience, and for reliability, kindness, loyalty and also elegance and a certain air of mystery. People born in a year of the Rabbit are quick-witted, sociable, careful and inventive – even ingenious. But they are watchful- cautious just as in Nature the real Rabbit is a prey animal. The rabbit runs. But nothing is ever quite so simple or one dimensional, and the rabbit will also fight. A rabbit will kick or box ….allow me to share an old family story.

Back in the sixties, my parents had a buck rabbit, Arnab, who once offended a Syrian ambassador. His name, Arnab was Arabic for rabbit. We had friends from Damascus and Palestine who lectured in Arabic Studies at the Uni of Durham. Arnab got his name when Hanan and Hussein came round for drinks one night (they were Muslim, officially but they drank alcohol- and they celebrated Christmas too) and Hanan said, ‘oh, you have an ARNAB??’

They were not keen on rabbits- or rodents, ‘oh, Margaret (this to my mother) You have a filthy arnab!”

Cue my mother’s unrepentant screams of laughter.

One day Hussein asked my mother to host a visiting guest to the Department of Arabic Studies at Durham University while he visited Hanan who was in hospital.

This guest was a VIP, a visiting ambassador from Syria, a certain Judge Hoshea (if I have the spelling correct.) This gentleman duly arrived at my mothers house for afternoon tea, and was seated in an armchair by the gas fire, which on this chilly day in early spring was switched on, not least for the greater comfort of a guest from warmer climes.

While my mother was busying herself in the kitchen, Arnab, who had the run of the place- my mother says she should have forestalled this but she had thought Arnab was asleep in his favourite den in the airing cupboard upstairs- came loping down the stairs and into the sitting room.

Arnab had an ongoing feud with the gas fire. Apparently, he had burned his paw on it one time. Now, when he came in and found it switched on, he would establish his dominance and also exact revenge by pissing on it. Possibly he was also trying to put the fire out, who knows. A tiny puff of steam would rise, the hotter the fire, the bigger the puff of steam but this pissing competition, the filthy Arnab would always win, the steam whiffing ever so slightly of a cabbage-like smell.

Mother comes in with the tray, bone china cups and saucers, a dainty plate of cakes and notes the whiff of cabbage and the tiny whiff of steam coming off the fireplace.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Arnab has the guest at bay, loping round the feet, the elegant shoes of the distinguished guest.

Judge Hoshea is sitting rigidly, clutching the arms of the chair, his face like stone. But impassively correct, exquisitely courteous, he sips his tea, saying not a word as Arnab is unceremoniously shooed from the room and shut out.

He has the most beautiful manners. But it doesn’t need saying. He has now understood and is still processing this terrible truth- horrors- he is truly among the barbarians.

The point of this story is to address that non confrontational Rabbit archetype, and somewhat round out the picture.

A rabbit may indeed be aggressive, at least the buck/jack.

However the rabbit is not usually confrontational, and this may prove welcome news in 2023 in geo-politics. This year is expected to be a little quieter overall than 2022, the year of the Water Tiger which represents outward, expansive – and maritime Yang energy.

The Rabbit is creative. Spring is rime Rabbit power season. March, the month of the Rabbit in the year of the Rabbit is therefore looking like the key window in 2023 for launching new jobs, plans, projects and enterprises.

China’s President Xi has recently been ramping up aggression in Taiwanese air space, but he is being very careful, and he has Covid to contend with and all the attendant economic implications looking likely at least until March, the end of the first quarter of 2023.

The Mars in Cancer transit (war at sea?) could, though not necessarily, be detecting maritime developments or tensions late March-late May-

This could be detecting developments in the Black Sea.

President Erdogan, a Pisces native, turning up in the cards as the King of Cups, will most assuredly not want to see Russia succeed in taking the Ukrainian port of Odessa. This would be a challenge to Turkey’s maritime hegemony in the Black Sea. But President Erdogan does not want to fall out with Moscow,one of Turkey’s key trading partners, and has a tricky balancing act, with a general election coming up June 2023.

When I look at what if any single factor may affect when/how this war ends, I draw The King of Cups reversed. There are two figures here who fit this descriptor; the mutable Piscean ‘water king’ Erdogan-and the fixed Scorpionic ‘water king’ President Biden, and we don’t need cards to know that.

All the same. Readers can only work with the cards they get, or do not get.

Smith Waite/Rider-Waite Tarot

For the rest of us in general, the rabbit is at its prime in the spring, saying March-April 2023 is the optimal time for new opportunities. This is the time to make a push and to persist. “The early bird catches the worm”.

The diplomatic Rabbit again, brings hope of a ceasefire in Ukraine in 2023, or negotiations just possibly late in March-late April, and an easing of tensions in other areas, while astrologers in India are predicting a boom year of economic growth for India.

The last Rabbit year, 2011, signified positive news for the economy after the crash of 2008. 2011 brought a curbing of inflation. But the last Water Rabbit year was in 1963. What events or themes of 1963 may be coming round again then, this year, echoed, recycled or followed up in this new chapter in the Zodiac book of The Rabbit?

The cycles of history do not repeat, but they have a strong tendency to echo.

In the Water Rabbit Year of 1963

  • French president Charles de Gaulle prevents Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market.
  • Nuclear test ban treaty is signed by the U.S., Great Britain, and USSR.
  • Buddhist-led military group overthrows the government of South Vietnam.
  • Kenya becomes an independent republic.
  • Assassination of John F. Kennedy (by LBJ? That is the rumour. Strictly a rumour)

Inventions/Technology

-Instant coffee (freeze dried and generally made with Robusta beans, rather than the highly aromatic Arabica beans traditionally used in coffee.)

-Dr Who and the Daleks. My father comforted us that they could not climb stairs. But then, horrors. They learned to levitate.

-The Smiley Face icon/emoji

-The Computer Mouse and Hypertext, American inventor Douglas Engelbart

-The modern Hang-glider, the flexible wing airfoil concept

-The Lava Lamp, invention by British inventor David George Smith commissioned by British entrepreneur Edward Craven Walker, founder of Lighting Company Mathmos in Poole, Dorset.

-And last but certainly not least, in the field of astrophysics came the discovery of the cosmic microwave background-detected via a previously unexplained background noise via radio signal signifying a low level of radiation throughout the known universe that was interpreted as proof of The Big Bang Theory, in which the Universe is seen as rapidly expanding. More about this discovery HERE

Lucky colours in a Rabbit year

Considered especially lucky in a Rabbit year: green, blue, black, beige, white, and silver, gold.

In western cultures too, the rabbit is imbued with symbolism and superstition. Rabbits represent fertility, but the ancient Europeans also held rabbits numinous and sacred -mysterious creatures of the underworld, because they spent so much time underground. 

Wishing for the best that the Rabbit can bring to you in 2023.

Till next time 🙂

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