The Chinese New Year began on the 8th of February and many astrology experts are promising a year of exciting opportunities. In Chinese astrology, each year is given an animal and elemental character. In 2016’s case, it is the year of the Fire Monkey. As one can presume from the name, this year is predicted to be explosive and wild.
Astronomy and astrology are not necessarily the first things you think of when someone mentions Oriental medicine. However, these ancient fields of science are deeply intertwined throughout their lengthy histories. Physicians utilized astronomy to help fine tune treatment strategies and therapeutic principles. These doctors were the first to propose health is derived from finding harmony both within the internal world (body) and external world (nature).
The year of the Fire Monkey relates to Oriental medicine in a few different ways. The element of Fire is associated with specific organs and tissues of the body. Fire represents explosive and powerful materials that fuel for the body. It is a combustible mix that can generate massive amounts of power for an entire lifetime. The heart, pericardium, small intestine and the endocrine system are all associated to the Fire element.
These organs and tissues govern functions of the body including cardiovascular, digestive, immunological, and mental. These systems are constantly working and demand a large amount of the body’s resources. Of all the organs related to the Fire element, the heart is obviously the most important.
In Oriental medicine, the heart is not only a physical pump, but also the physiological and emotional core of a living being. It can be viewed as the king/queen of the body. The heart lovingly rules over the body. Its main job is to distribute blood and lymphatic tissue throughout the body.
A heart also radiates, loves and connects with others in truthful and honest ways. It is the loving reflection of oneself in present time that shines brightly behind our eyes. The Heart organ’s “fire nature” is flammable and infectious. It is undeniable, explosive and sometimes dangerous. In most cases it is loving, kind, sweet and vivacious.
The nature of the Monkey is very similar to many qualities associated with Fire. The monkey is engaging, intelligent, energetic and yet unpredictable. A modern personification of the Fire Monkey is the late comedian and actor Robin Williams. His infectious comedic styling, childlike nature, and even his furry appearance is a perfect example of the Fire Monkey.
A historical archetype of a Fire Monkey can be found in Norse mythology (and Marvel’s comic books and movies), Loki the god of Mischief. Loki relates well to the idea of the Fire Monkey. They are both tricksters, wanting to be entertained, and extremely creative.
Historically, Hollywood and entertainment industries also tend to portray monkeys as mischievous and comical. From Aladdin to The Night at The Museum movies, monkeys are comedy gold. It seems that the smaller the monkey, the more naughty and destructive they can be.
In Oriental medicine, there is a direct association with the emotion of joy with the heart. The heart feels joy, emanating this feeling throughout one’s body and mind. The heart works tirelessly keeping the body moving and motivated. When the joy from its work is removed, the heart begins to tighten and restrict blood flow to the body. In simple terms, joy is the heart’s fuel. Without joy, the heart will eventually burn out.
The monkey is your heart’s true natures. It emits joy and passion. These emotions can only be felt in the moment. They are governed by time. They can be remembered, but never “felt” the same way. In this case, a monkey’s nature is spontaneous and appreciative. Handling each moment with courage and grace. They are living in the present moment, seeking ways to be happy or make others happy.
This astrological year reminds us to reflect to our inner monkey. I try to direct my patients to cherish their respective monkey energy. I encourage them to embrace their inner self and appreciate ones joyous nature. I also feel that it is always a good time to reach out and connect with others. Spreading heartfelt warm from living beings to another is the most wonderful feeling someone can experience. This type of energetic exchange can have some amazing healing abilities.