monkeyUnder the Oriental lunar calendar, the Year of the Monkey begins with the new moon on February 8, 2016 and lasts until January 27, 2017.  Different cultures have slightly different interpretations of the various years, and in this post I will refer primarily to the so-called “Chinese zodiac.”

Most people know that the years in the Chinese zodiac cycle through twelve different animals. Additionally, each of those animal years cycle through affinities to the five elements – fire, earth, metal, water and wood. This will be the Year of the Fire Monkey, which occurs every 60 years.

I will be making some predictions as to what may occur during the next year, but I am not holding myself out as having extraordinary psychic powers. I am no more or no less psychic than you are – and that is true whether you are Suzy Skeptic who does not believe in the existence of anything “paranormal” or you are the world’s top psychic or astrologer (whomever that may be be at the moment).

The approach here is to assume that there are historical cycles such as those recognized by the Chinese zodiac, and then look at what has occurred in previous Monkey years. With that historical perspective, we should be able to extrapolate and predict what may occur during the next few months.

Before getting into that, let me say that the Year of the Sheep or Goat, which is thankfully coming to a close, has been a rough one.  For the past several weeks I have been dealing with some personal crises that have limited my research and writing.  Consequently, this year’s discussion is going to be more brief and cursory than have those in past years.

There is a children’s rhyme that begins:  “Five little monkeys jumping on the bed/One fell off and bumped his head/Called for the doctor and the doctor said/’No more monkeys jumping on the bed.'”  Monkey years are often like that.  Acting on irrational exuberance without sound planning is the order of the day.  Things may go wrong and need to be fixed, but in most cases, it is going to be done after the fact.

Buddhists and other meditators tell us about the “monkey mind” that keeps us from controlling our thoughts.  While that unsettled way of thinking is with us too much of the time, it will be even more prevalent during the coming year.

The best advice would be to recognize these trends and try to quiet the monkey mind and act rationally before making any important decisions.  That may not be possible for many of us over the next 12 months, however.

As the new lunar year is ready to begin, the American news media is focusing on the presidential campaign and the distressing state of the stock market/economy.  Let us begin by looking at those topics. Continue reading