Welcome, all, to the Year 2022. Today is the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and it marks the return of the 60 year cycle of the Water Tiger.
There are five elements in Chinese symbolism; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. There are also twelve zodiac signs, although they are different that the ones in Western culture.
When you combine the twelve signs with the five elements, a 60 year cycle is created. Each one of the signs has a different element throughout 12 year period, until the full cycle repeats again.
Despite all my years as a symbologist, one culture I have not borrowed from extensively is that of the ancient Chinese. I have always been fascinated, of course, and dabbled a bit, but a 5000 year history is a lot to absorb, even for someone like me, a long time student of human culture.
Water seeks it own level, flows around obstacles, is persistent enough to wear away stone. Water can be gentle and nurturing; a tide pool for growing life. But water can also be a fearsome power that changes the shape of coastlines and geological history.
A Tiger is silent, and solitary. They are attuned to their surroundings and very responsive to fluctuations in their environment. These predatory animals are swift and ferocious, well known for their decisive action and their ingrained survival instinct. Tigers will not hesitate to strike hard when necessary, and are fierce in protecting their own, yet they can be gentle and loving with those closest to them. These magnificent cats, the largest in the feline world, exemplify grace and power.
What then, when you combine the two? How do these concepts come together in one form, a Water Tiger? Both these symbols are about adaptability and responsiveness. Although they can also both exhibit unpredictable behavior, it is the ability to be flexible in various situations which tie them closely together.
In humans, Water Tiger energy shows itself in intense activity, independence and curiosity. Often, a Water Tiger can be courageous and self-assured, using their long-range vision to assess a situation. But, they can also be like a rushing river, too full of the pressure behind them to be aware of plunging over the rocks to an unseen roil of water below.
Water Tigers tend to renounce confining traditional roles, opting for a life of their own devising. They have wide ranging minds, stretching across the horizon like an expanse of ocean, curious and fascinated by the world and all they see. This makes Water Tigers willing to contemplate their own existence even in the smallest drop of water.
A frank, honest and open approach to situations is a hallmark of the Water Tiger personality. They are known for being direct and forthright; not mincing words when it comes to strong opinions. Yet they are also warm-hearted, sociable and friendly. Their kindness and generosity tends to be their most dominant characteristic. But do not cross a Tiger, nor back one into a corner, for then they can become ferocious.
Solitude is often the price Tigers pay for their independence, but they are accustomed to it. They draw on their seclusion as a way to marshal great strength and gather fresh energy. This isolation allows a Tiger a rare type of perspective, allowing them to be more objective, which in turn gives them greater empathy for the human condition.
Water Tigers are accustomed to the sea of change, the vast ebb and flow of the events we call life.