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The Year of the Water Tiger signified the end of hibernation, and we woke up – often activated by a catalytic event or events. Emotions and senses stirred which stimulated our consciousness and revealed a path. Now, for the Year of the Water Rabbit, we are fully awake. Like animals foraging in nature, we are all out in the world engaged with our purpose and following the path that was realized last year. The rabbit represents thunder shaking the ground, which unlocks our true nature and propels us forward.
I am honored and humbled to carry on Lillian Pearl Bridges’ tradition of writing the Chinese astrology forecast. Her memory lives on and her teachings of yin/yang, the five-elements, and the energetics of the 12 Chinese animals are contained in this prediction. I will do my best to honor her legacy. Also, for over a decade, I have had the fortune of studying under Master Zhongxian Wu, who has written several books (listed below) on the subject, many with his wife, Dr. Karin Wu. These will be incorporated into this prediction. I hope you find the following information helpful in navigating the upcoming year.
Director of Development for the Lotus Institute
Join CT Holman as he explains the energetics of 2023 and how they influence the various aspects of life, including weather patterns, disease patterns, health, business, politics, social issues, fashion, and personal communication. The information comes from CT’s extensive studies with Lillian Pearl Bridges and Master Zhongxian Wu. He also discusses aspects of the Black Rabbit year that are not included in his written forecast. Hope you can attend this fun celebration of the new year!Click to Register Now
2023 denotes the year of the Yin Water Rabbit. The Rabbit (Mao) is the fourth earthly branch of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. It represents prospering, growing, and expanding energy. According to Master Wu “the oracle script for Mao looks like an opening gate, which represents the earth opening its door for everything to grow.” (Wu, 2014, p.115). Humanity realizes its true nature and flows, cognizant of its authenticity, down the path of life. The new year begins on January 22nd and the rabbit emerges on February 4th.
Each year, Chinese cosmology consists of three aspects: one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, one of the five-elements, and either yin or yang. These three aspects provide information about the energetics of the year and contribute to guiding a person in making choices. This year, like last year, is represented by water setting on top of wood. To better understand the year qi, I will first break down the symbolism and qualities of the three aspects and then discuss how they influence various facets of life.
Rabbit: Rabbit represents the month of March and the time 5am to 7am, when animals emerge from their caves and wag their tails in the warm spring air. Powerful qi builds, expanding with new life energy. Rabbit is associated with the wood element, the color green, and the cardinal direction east. Personality traits include wisdom, ambition, skill, secrecy, and vitality. Rabbits run fast but also take time to rest and display gentleness. Rabbits live in dens, hidden securely underground, allowing them to restore their lively energy. They possess great strategic qualities and know when to act or retreat, thus 2023 holds awesome potential for putting a plan into action.
The nimble nature of rabbit empowers us to maneuver around any obstacles that arise in 2023. There can be old patterns or belief systems that hold you back and the rabbit’s agility enables you to let go of these and just do it! Fortunately, rabbits are not risk-takers or fighters, and their cautious nature allows you to move forward with care and cultivate progress while considering of all various outcomes. The doors are open, and growth is quick.
Water: Water is the element of the year and is traditionally associated with the color black, thus 2023 is called a Black Rabbit year. 2022 also featured the water element which fed the wood nature of the tiger (water is the mother of wood). Rabbit is also in the wood family, making the wood aspect especially strong this year. The nature of water is to flow and accept changes. It provides us with great endurance and supports the active, expanding energy of 2023. Water is associated with mystical energy, which continues the emphasis on the magical aspects of life such as astrology, fengshui, and other mystical arts that we saw in 2022. Last year many of us experienced heightened emotions due to water’s ability to hold a lot of emotion, since it absorbs and resonates. This year also brings more emotionality and there often can be surges of fear which can overwhelm the wood energy, creating inaction. This would be like the flooding of a forest. Take care to manage emotion by connecting to the earth and bringing grounding qi to daily life which controls the emotion of water.
Yin: Yin is symbolized by resting, nighttime, moon, female, retreat, et al. This helps to balance the active wood element and harmonize the energy of the year. Yin represents Mother Earth and feelings of safety, being held, and nurtured, which allows us to navigate the expanding growth of 2023 with an inner stillness. Yin water is the most yin, signifying gentleness, softness, and the ability to surmount hardness. It provides a strong spiritual connection and allows us to tune into the wisdom of the universe. Yin water grants us the means to quiet the mind, make a tidal shift, and ultimately distance ourselves from past decisions to create a new trajectory which hopefully includes fulfilling our obligation to make an offering to the human family. This resonates with the compassionate personality of the rabbit, which is yin wood.
The saplings that sprouted in 2022 now grow into trees, reaching upward toward the sun. Trees do not grow alone, competing for water and nutrients. They grow in communities and communicate through their root systems, sharing resources, and warning each other of pathogens and danger (research made popular by scientists like Suzanne Simard, author of Finding the Mother Tree, that confirmed what several indigenous peoples worldwide believed for centuries). We each have a tap root fed by the yin water of the year, giving us wisdom to know our true selves and showing us the most prosperous path for our journey and our partnership with all living beings.
Weather: As predicted last year, the effects of global warming intensified. In the United States, hurricane Ian (a combination of wind and water which were the elements of 2022) devastated the east coast and record heat waves scorched Europe. Several countries experienced droughts and flooding. These extremes are likely to continue in 2023.
The rabbit represents the second month of spring when the weather grows warmer and nature flourishes. Windstorms prevail, such as sandstorms, hurricanes, and dust cyclones. Spring thunder commonly shakes the earth which could mean more earthquakes, as we saw last year in Peru, Japan, Iran, Fiji, and Indonesia. The quakes will especially occur under the ocean. The weather pattern associated with the rabbit is yang ming (dryness). This, combined with the yin water nature of the year, could balance temperatures, and yield a warm, comfortable spring and summer with mild autumn and winter temperatures in general. However, throughout the year the lively nature of rabbit will bring times of extremes. Northern zones will have higher rainfall while southern regions will endure intense heat. The effects of global warming challenge the ability to predict weather since humans have interfered with Mother Nature and surprises are likely. Many scientists predict we are coming close to a tipping point, especially in the Amazon, where deforestation continues and the topsoil that was been held by the lush tree population is washing away. Based on the high chance of extreme rainfall in 2023, there will be more flooding. This is humanity’s wake-up call to create harmony with Mother Nature. The rabbit is associated with yin wood – trees. Trees are living beings residing in forest communities that provide clean air and many healing remedies. Hopefully, we humans will see the forest through the trees, begin establishing rights for nature, and live in harmony with nature, which ultimately benefits the health of all beings.
Health: The rabbit represents strong life energy and an expansion of self. It symbolizes the time 5am to 7am, which is a wonderful time to cultivate energy, thus this year signifies transformation and a thriving qi. The thunder associated with 2023 generates strong liver qi which combines with the yang metal to make metal energy. Breathing techniques to build vital energy are recommended such as ‘box breathing’ (breathing slowly, evenly, deeply, smoothly through the nose only in four second segments: in, hold, out, hold). 2023 brings visions and connects us with the mystery of life. These visions allow us to develop great strategies to make wise decisions while letting go of those belief systems that no longer serve our highest good.
Frustrations can arise that overwhelm digestion, so take care to not overeat or drink in excess. Manage your liver energy through exercise like swimming and let your hun (ethereal soul) fly freely by allowing your spirit to soar by following your dreams. This ensures a strong defensive system to ward off pathogens. Observing these suggestions prevents digestive issues like constipation, food cravings, and stomach problems. Since this year is yin water, your kidneys need extra rest. Rejuvenate your energy through napping and getting eight hours of sleep to avoid edema, difficulty with mobility – especially walking – blood problems, low back pain, poor memory, decreased libido, and infertility. Essentially, 2023 is about seeking balance between action and repose. The Yin Water Rabbit gifts us with the ability to learn how to harmonize our qi and solidify our drive for navigating the forward momentum of the upcoming several years.
Foods: Increase consumption of steamed greens like kale and spinach. Introduce more sour and fermented foods. Adding two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day to veggies or warm water facilitates healthy liver and digestive functions. For meat eaters, consider eating more pork and lamb. And for those adventurous folks, try making a broth from liver, kidneys, and tendons.
Business: New business ventures prosper, and many opportunities present themselves. 2023 is a great year to make money especially for those enterprises focused on compassion and benefiting nature, such as health care, sustainable forestry practices, animal rescue, and human rights groups. The search engine Ecosia (ecosia.org), which supports reforestation, gains momentum and gives Google a run for its money. Travel flourishes this year so any industry associated with travel will benefit. Businesses run by women and those businesses benefiting women succeed. Construction continues unabated and businesses relating to wood, thrive. For those folks who have been living off government support, it is time to discover your purpose and get to work in a field that nourishes your soul’s desire.
Politics: Rabbits avoid fighting. Instead, they thump the ground with their hind legs to ward off a predator and thus leaders this year will choose posturing and puffing up their chests versus going into battle. Russian efforts to conquer Ukraine are not supported and leaders from other countries will avoid engaging in the war. The wood elemental nature of the year is associated with guns and other weapons so there will be continued efforts to manage these and there could be several rallies regarding gun rights.
Human rights are strongly supported this year, especially women’s rights, since this is a yin year. There will be continued protests regarding women’s reproductive rights and we will see more women-led protests like what is happening in Iran. In addition to human rights, there will also be an increased emphasis on animal rights and the rights of nature. Efforts to establish rights of trees and forests move to the forefront and lawmakers will be asked to consider passing legislation to protect these living beings. Water will also be highlighted, and lawmakers will enact strict regulations on corporations purchasing water resources. 2023 supports nature and there will be more attention on climate change. There will also be a strong drive for freedom and many countries will seek autonomy.
Social: Talents come forward and a feeling of freedom blossoms. 2023 emphasizes compassionate communication and tenderness with each other. It also features wood and water, both elements that can stress the earth so a sense of community might be challenged, and food shortages continue. Work to connect with friends and family to nurture this network, just as trees connect with one another through their intricate root systems. Although you might feel alone at times, remember that your humanitarian efforts and ethical pursuits of justice support the greater good and improve your spiritual connection to the universe.
Fashion: Advancements in women’s fashion materialize. Red is the favored color of the rabbit for social gatherings and presentations. Athletic gear continues to dominate the industry and there will be more efforts to produce ‘green’ clothing such as t-shirts made from recycled materials.
Stock market: The economy prospers. The market booms and a lot of money can be made, especially by those companies that honor nature and are considered socially conscious. Consider investing in enterprises based on sustainability like solar or wind power. Electric cars continue to grow in popularity and expect these companies to see high profits.
Communication/interpersonal relationships: Like last year, 2023 swells with passion and encourages new relationships and deepens existing partnerships. Maintain direct, compassionate communication and cultivate humility. There is a famous Chinese proverb I learned from Master Wu: A great tree gets knocked by the wind. Meaning when your fame and recognition increase, people often criticize and try to belittle you. Stand tall with grace and kindness and ensure to honor all beings; nurture your benevolence. Emotions run high this year so work on tenderness. The wood aspect of the year can be interpreted as a joker who likes to push buttons and unveil a person’s true nature. Be prepared to take off the various energetic masks you wear in your interactions and reveal your authentic self. Do your best to forgive those who have wronged you. Release old hurts, as this allows you to walk your path unencumbered.
Future: The universal energy continues to expand. This momentum can go in two directions, one in favor of seeking dominance and control over others, the other in honoring all beings and supporting the greater good. The choice is yours. The powerful energy from last year and this year culminate in 2026, the year of the Yang Fire Horse, which can be either explosive or a boon of creativity.
A Chinese astrology chart is comprised of four animals. Many people believe they are simply the animal based on the year they were born; this is incorrect. A person’s chart is made up of a year, month, day, and hour animal. Each animal influences a different stage of life: the year animal relates to childhood, the day animal applies to adulthood, the hour animal pertains to the later years (after age 60), and the month animal influences your overall life. The following information regarding specific animals will be most beneficial if you focus on the animal relating to your current stage of life. To determine your year, month, and hour animal refer to Master Wu’s book, The 12 Chinese Animals. For your day animal, you can schedule an astrology reading with Master Wu or consult the various Chinese astrology apps available; I do not have a recommended app.
Charms: Rabbit belongs to an auspicious triad of animals: rabbit, sheep, and pig, thus sheep and pig have extra luck this year. For those rabbits turning 60 in 2023, they will also enjoy extra good luck. However, for rabbits not turning 60, experiencing Chinese good-bad luck will offset the challenges of the year. Chinese good-bad luck is defined as moving to a new house or city, having a baby, travelling, beginning a new relationship, or getting married. To navigate these challenges, carry or wear a dog charm. The dog is the rabbit’s secret friend. For those animals who face challenges this year (indicated with an asterisk below) they benefit from a dog charm. This charm can be an amulet, a small stone carving, a miniature wood statue, or for those who live with dog(s), simply spend more time with your beloved animal(s). Anyone can utilize a dog charm to boost their luck.
Individual Animal Forecasts for 2023
Rat: You gain extra wisdom this year. This motivates you to go out into the world and bring spiritual knowledge to the human family. Your excellent survival skills are nourished by the extra water energy of the year. The wood nature of the year feeds your creativity, and you will find yourself charming large groups of people. Take care to not be lax in your efforts. The emotional nature of the year might cause you to feel bogged down by old beliefs/patterns. Utilize the momentum of the rabbit to propel yourself through the year into the good luck that awaits you in 2024!
Ox: You are inherently an earth-natured animal, and the extra water of 2023 could muddy your thinking and result in miscommunication. Practice grounding techniques and walk in nature. You are great at processing information, thus strive to focus on action and avoid overthinking decisions. Rabbit enhances decision-making which will guide you throughout the year. Consider carrying a dog charm to prevent the overwhelming water nature of the year. Use your earthy attributes to act as a container for water and collect the wisdom of the year. If you remain grounded, you can hold immense wisdom and move straight towards your goals.
Tiger: You reside in the wood family (tiger and rabbit) and thus should experience good luck with making decisions, accumulating wealth, and accomplishing goals. Forward action energy predominates 2023 which can cause the tiger to act prematurely and communicate harshly. It would be wise to consult others about major decisions and to foster compassionate interactions. A promotion in leadership is likely and you might be asked to accept a role as an authority figure. This year will solidify your ability to balance the various aspects of life to prepare for the next several years of expanding energy.
Rabbit*: A good luck year for those turning 60. Otherwise, you might face challenges with finding the balance between activity and repose since 2023 is known in Chinese culture as a good-bad luck year for rabbit (see above for explanation). Harmonize your action and rest to preserve your inherent vitality. 2023 symbolizes the teenage years, and feelings of irritation and distraction can arise. Cultivate your kindness and you will be recognized for your tenderness and compassion. When dealing with others, strive for clear communication. There might be a tendency to hold back in your decision making and activities, thus use the energy of the year to propel yourself forward on your path.
Dragon*: Known in Chinese shamanism as the rainmaker, dragons are mystical, transformational beings and 2023 challenges you to change and completely overhaul your ways. The year presents obstacles that, if successfully navigated, will bring rewards. Frustrations can arise and emotionality could affect digestion leading to stomach problems. To prevent this, you can strengthen the lungs and large intestine through breathing techniques and letting go of old beliefs. You might be overly critical in personal relations, thus cultivate your compassionate nature. You will benefit from listening to others and from carefully assessing options before moving forward. Once you have decided, continue onward, and commit yourself. You can do it!
Snake: The fiery nature of snake is accentuated by the wood energy of the year which stokes your charming, enthusiastic, and powerful nature. Your inner warmth fosters great communication and your awakened consciousness shines. The water aspect of 2023 could dampen a bit of your creativity; however, it does provide extra wisdom that can be channeled into your career, unveiling innovative designs and state-of-the-art modes of transportation. Use this year to deepen your studies and gain more knowledge of a particular field of interest. Take time to express your feelings and cultivate humility. Utilize your intrinsic attractiveness to captivate audiences and promote your creations.
Horse: The wood nature of 2023 fuels your passionate nature and feeds your excitement, so make efforts to tap into the watery nature of the year and seek quiet time to recharge and avoid agitation or irritability. This will help you balance your lively nature from exhausting your reserves. The water aspect of 2023 could create some fear and doubt, so communicate heart-to-heart with those close to you. When facing a task, rely on your inherent endurance to bring it to completion. You might begin a passionate relationship this year. 2023 would be an auspicious year to get pregnant and/or give birth to a new business/career.
Sheep: 2023 brings good luck! Your vitality and graciousness will shine, and you will easily complete your tasks and possibly take on new responsibilities. Make sure to listen to others and clearly weigh all the pros and cons before proceeding, taking care to focus on things you love to do to not over-extend and scatter yourself. Passion abounds in 2023 and you will experience more romance with your partner. If you are single, this could be the year to meet your soul mate. You will enjoy financial abundance and a life of comfort.
Monkey: The prosperous and expanding qualities of 2023 will fuel your quick mind and spontaneous nature. The bounding energy of the year can cause you to rush and be impatient about your tasks, so it would be wise to utilize the water aspects of the year to flow and recharge. You would benefit from social activities and using your wit to navigate achieving your goals, while cultivating your humility. Irritations and frustrations can arise this year. Make sure to not take them personally and capitalize on the blooming new energy of the year to let old patterns go. 2023 is a wonderful time to release negative beliefs, so to set the stage for good luck coming to you in 2024!
Rooster*: Your excellent observational skills will guide you through the year. There might be times when you feel rushed and want to quickly get though an activity or feel drawn towards direct, intense speech. Take care to methodically move toward your goals, soften your communication with others, and foster gentleness. There are times when you might feel agitated and want to fight but choose to deflate any potentially negative situations with your famous humor. Use the extra water nature of the year to fuel your inherent intuition, nourish your fluids, and gain visions of the year to come which includes lots of good luck!
Dog: The good luck you experienced in the tiger year keeps on rolling this year since you are the special friend of rabbit. Your intuition continues to blossom and your artistic and healing abilities shine. Make sure to exercise daily and nourish your gentle nature so you can flow with the action of 2023. Family issues might persist this year, so focus on your truth and let it go. Passion grows strong which might rekindle a current relationship or present a new lover. Your honest nature is celebrated, and your inherent courage might be called upon to stand for human and animal rights.
Pig: You enjoy lots of good luck this year! Your intelligence will be celebrated, and you will be asked to share your knowledge with the world, which you can easily tap into during resting times through dream voyaging. The powerful momentum of the year launches you into the public eye and you accomplish your goals effortlessly. A promotion in leadership awaits and you bring your compassionate, gentle nature to those around you. You might find yourself spearheading projects to help others. In addition to all these possible advancements, you enjoy fun, relaxing times. Tap into your flowing nature and ride the wave of cosmic qi in 2023!
*Carry a dog charm to help bring good luck for the year: Rabbit (unless turning 60), Dragon, and Rooster will benefit from carrying/wearing a charm. Sheep, Dog, and Pig do not need to carry a charm.
For those seeking advanced information: In addition to the three aspects of 2023 – Yin Water Rabbit – we can delve deeper and gain insights from the earthly branches. Each Chinese animal is associated with an earthly branch which represents an organ, an acupuncture channel, and a weather pattern. Rabbit is associated with the liver organ, the large intestine channel, and the yang ming (dryness) weather pattern.
Liver: The liver governs the tendons. With all the activity expected in 2023, repetitive injuries might frequently occur. Take care to nourish tendons by eating more protein, taking fish oil supplements, and drinking plenty of water. The liver is also associated with courage and decision making and thus is paramount this year. You will be called to engage in life by advancing on your path, evolving into your truest self. Utilize the strategic nature of the year to make choices that benefit your ability to best serve humanity. Like a general on a battlefield, observe all the possible options before selecting and moving forward with correct timing.
Large Intestine channel: The rabbit is associated with the time 5am to 7am which, as noted above, is an ideal time for cultivation such as qigong, yoga, breathing techniques, etc. This is the large intestine time and is symbolized by letting go. The large intestine moves downward while the liver rises. This combination is like the tai ji symbol depicting the dance of energy in the body. If these organs are healthy, the energy in the body flows harmoniously. Anger and resentment block this flow and can cause a myriad of problems, most notably respiratory distress, indigestion, constipation, headaches, and explosive tempers. Take care to flow with the changes in 2023 and let go of the past. A helpful visualization is to imagine breathing in clear, bright light universal energy through your lungs and all the pores of your skin, and breathing out the old energy, letting it dissipate into the earth.
Yang Ming: The weather pattern of 2023 is dryness. This can increase the likeliness of droughts and poor soil integrity. Since this year also is associated with yin water, there can be some balancing of energies. However, yang ming can still affect fluids in the environment and in our bodies. Dry skin, lips, bowels, and tissue will be more prevalent so strive to increase fluids.
Thank you to the wonderful Lillian Pearl Bridges for all her amazing teaching and her generosity in sharing her wisdom. Her spirit lives on! Thank you to Master Zhongxian Wu and his lineages for all the insightful knowledge to understand and navigate the universal qi. Thanks to Rick Breen for his great editing.
References/Recommended Reading List:
Bridges, L. (2012) Face Reading in Chinese Medicine (Second Edition). London: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Duveen, J. (2022) Applying Stems and Branches Acupuncture in Clinical Practice. London: Singing Dragon.
Holman, C. (2020) Shamanism in Chinese Medicine. London: Singing Dragon.
Holman, C. (2018) Treating Emotional Trauma with Chinese Medicine. London: Singing Dragon.
Nester, J. (2020) Breath. New York: Riverhead Books.
Powers, R. (2018) The Overstory. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Simard, S. (2021) Finding the Mother Tree. New York: Vintage Books.
Wu, Karen T. (2018) Calculating the BaZi. London: Singing Dragon.
Wu, Master Z. (2010) The 12 Chinese Animals. London: Singing Dragon.
Wu, Master Z. (2011) Chinese Shamanic Cosmic Orbit Qigong. London: Singing Dragon.
Wu, Master Z. and Wu, K. (2014) Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches TianGan DiZhi, The Heart of Chinese Wisdom Traditions. London: Singing Dragon.
Wu, Master Z. (2009) Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change. London: Singing Dragon.
Wu, Master Z. (2006) Vital Breath of the Dao. St. Paul: Dragon Door.
Disclaimer: All the information in this prediction is based on the ancient Chinese wisdom traditions and is intended for entertainment purposes only. There is no express or implied guarantee of results from using this information, and individual users are solely responsible for their own interpretation or application to their own circumstances. Further, the information is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for legal, medical, or psychological advice, evaluation and/or treatment. You are welcome to share this post, but please refer to the source.
©CT Holman: President of Redwood Spring PC and Director of Development for Lotus Institute
CT Holman, a clinician with over 20 years of practice, teaches internationally and authored two textbooks, Treating Emotional Trauma with Chinese Medicine and Shamanism in Chinese Medicine. CT trained in China three times, operates a busy general family practice in the USA, teaches at the Oregon College of Chinese Medicine for its doctoral program, is the Director of Development for the Lotus Institute of Lillian Bridges, conducts a mentoring program, and has video courses available here on the TCM Academy and on his website.