It’s tempting, especially this year, to shake off everything that happened in the year which is ending and look forward with high hopes and idealistic expectations to the year ahead. If we do this in a celebratory way, as a means of breaking up old energy, evaluating and celebrating what has been through roasting it soundly in jest and satire while inviting in the new, then good. If we do it uncritically as a means of escape, then the old adage of “What we cannot remember we are doomed to repeat” (thanks George Santayana) turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Each year is part of a two year cycle. Even numbered years are the start of the cycle. They break up old energy, push against structures and habits, work like fermentation to bring new things into being while bubbling things up to the surface. Odd numbered years take everything the previous year has created, or the remains of what has been shattered/transformed/dismembered, as well as the processes already in motion and brings them to fruition.  You can think of this cycle as Creation and Follow Through.

2016, the Year of the Fire Monkey, was tumultuous, but that’s the nature of Monkey and being in the element of fire just made it more so. Monkeys are known for creating shenanigans, which this year was full of. They are opportunistic, hopping from this situation to that, always looking for their own advantage. Being in a fire year there were many surprises when it came to people’s financial situations and careers. Windfalls, pratfalls, and things which seemed good and turned out bad were happening all over. Although there were also the surprising times when things turned out for the best even though there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

As always in a creative year, there were lots of new starts, enlightening events, charged emotions, and transitions of all kinds. This year has been a year of combustion, transformation, and conflagration. It has also been a year full of miscommunication in so many ways. Monkey years are at their core a great deal like Mercury Retrograde. They focus us inwards, pop deep truths to the surface, and keep us from external distractions by shorting out communications as well as electronics and mechanical things. All of this made 2016 especially trying at times, full of fabulous and panic-laden surprises, and, for once, made the weeks of Mercury Retrograde seem peaceful and comfortable by comparison.

It’s important not to forget or chuck out what has been learned, acquired, and suffered through in 2016 because 2017 is all about the follow through. Luckily it’s Rooster who takes this on.

Where Monkey is social but individual, Rooster is a leader and a guardian. He’s opportunistic, but uses this skill to protect his brood. He is loving to his people, guarded with the unknown, fearless in defense of those under his protection and will fight to the death if need be. His behavior can turn on a dime depending on how he interprets any given situation and his opinion comes from a chicken’s eye view. He doesn’t take the high road, doesn’t deal in the big picture, and isn’t interested in making deals or negotiation.

So 2017 will continue the non-linear progress we’ve been going through. What seems random to those who are used to steady progress will actually be hops, skips, and scuttles to the side which not only take things forward but include additional gifts, lessons, and opportunities. Luckily, a Rooster year includes patience, fortitude, and strength of purpose so it should be easier to see how things are coming together or might gel into something better. A year of the Rooster is often marked by brilliant success for those who have endured with patience the draining and often solitary build-up of a business or project. It’s not the time for starting something from scratch which wasn’t formulated or initiated last year as anything new will tend to fizzle out before the year is through. Follow through years are full of success for those implementing, advancing, and expanding careers and businesses already started.

2017 will have no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward. Stick to practical and well-proven paths, rather than risky ventures, but be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Rooster years tend to focus on ethics, honesty, and integrity, but not so much on subtlety, team work, or empathy. Remember what Roosters are most known for. Crowing loudly and long. They are amazingly dependable in a way which is humorous to anyone who doesn’t have to live near them or tries to sleep in. Which means this coming year will be full of difficult truths expressed in overt ways. Perhaps the best way to describe this will be “brutally honest” with emphasis on both.

Also, where last year was volatile around careers and finance, 2017 will continue this trend, but with more emphasis on appearances and material things. This year, impressions count as much as the actual deed. You’ll want to look your best and be clear on your intentions concerning love, money, and business. Roosters are all about the flash. This is what attracts the hens, after all.

And they are about what is theirs and keeping it safe unless it’s deemed a threat. Which makes this coming year fertile ground for dealing with boundary issues. In a Rooster year it is easy to have conversations which clarify boundaries, but also easy to discover where people disagree on them and definitely the need to call out and defend against boundary violations. Rooster Years are a blend of righteousness and justice, bombast and logistical efficiency. They reward hard work, which is what it takes to defend and care for a flock (or project/business/career) year round.

Like last year, those who want to plan things out, over think, analyze and be deliberate will struggle. The fire in this coming year requires quick thinking, spontaneity, being open to opportunities, and vigilance. It’s not a time for taking huge risks or jumping into the unknown. Think of this year as your chance to be your own best friend, guardian angel, and protector. It’s the year of being capable, ready and quick like a ninja, in the moment but with wisdom, shepherding your dreams like a flock of precious hens which are producing your future. All they need is a safe place to do so and a little encouragement. Ok, a little flattery won’t hurt either.

2016 cleared the decks, brought things into focus, surprised us out of our ruts, provided us with the improbable, made the impossible doable, and set us up to proclaim our truth and strut our stuff. Here’s to a less chaotic and more fabulous year ahead. Welcome 2017.

Happy New Year,