animals-26667_640HEED YOUR STEED

Chinese New Year is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4712 begins on Jan. 31, 2014, and 1 in every 6 people in the world will be celebrating the Year of the Green Yang Wood Horse!

Chinese New Year begins on the 2nd new Supermoon, a perigee moon – “near Earth.”, and two Supermoons within one month will not happen again until 2018. This auspicious New SuperMoon January 30 begins the year of the Yang Wood Horse.

The lunar calendar has a 60 year cycle, and Chinese astrology uses the Five Elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth combined with 12 animal signs of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig to form the cycle.

A Chinese horoscope is based on which lunar year in this sixty year cycle you were born.

horse-49637_640For Chinese, Horse is a lucky symbol; energetic, strong, intelligent and able. Wood element brings a complimentary relationship, so this may be a fortunate year that brings good things, so the Wood Horse is thought to be a year that brings good luck. It is a time of movement, adventure, and connections. Horse year moves quickly, so make sure you are clearheaded and don’t gallop off chasing shadows.

Horse images are found from Iron and Bronze Age Europe. The horse was seen as a divine and sacred animal associated with a deity, or totem of a warrior king. The spirit of Horse is benevolent, and they are heroes of power and strength, accomplishing triumphs with exceptional strength and endurance.

The energy is strong and lively as this Yang Green Wood Horse year begins, and will carry a different energy to the Yin Black Water Snake. The Wood Horse is considered a year that brings luck and good things. It is a time of movement, adventure, and connections. Horse year moves quickly, so make sure you are clearheaded and don’t gallop off chasing shadows.

1000 LI MA

The ancient Chinese called someone with great talent and ability, ‘Qianli Ma’, a horse that gallops 1,000 li a day (li = 500m.) Qianli Ma is too swift and elegant to be mounted by a mortal, and a symbol of virtue, speed and perseverance.

horse-86414_640Qianli Ma has supernatural powers, is heroic, strong, and can fly. Much like the Siddhis of a yogi in Patanjalis Yoga Sutras, we must be careful to not get carried away with pride and attachment to our skills. They can become maya (illusion), creating the destruction and downfall of yogis who desire them.

Arjuna’s chariot in the Mahabharata and Katha Upanishad represent the skills of a resolute aspirant seeking Self Realisation. The chariot is expanded in the Katha Upanishad, and represents layers of maya and the Self. The Baghavad Gita offers insight to direct our actions to greater peace, bliss, joy, and freedom.

Arjuna is described as one whose mind is spotless and clean of impurities, and his name Anagha means pure of heart. Arjuna’s nobility is his beneficent compassion toward his adversaries, as he bears the injustice of the Kauravas and yet hesitates before the war.

Arjunas’ chariot represents the body, the reins the mind, the horses the senses and the charioteer Pure Intellect. The Horses (panchendriyas) are silver white, like clouds of Sattva (purity) and adorned with  garlands of extraordinary virtues. The mind (reins) receives input from the senses (horses) who interact with sense objects (the roads). Lord Hanuman flies above in the banner, representing the boundless power of faith and Divine love.

In our practice, we must remember who is in control of our chariot. The reins (mind) can flap out of control without guiding the horses (senses), and if the mind is impulsive, filled with attachments and aversions, it can fall captive to wild emotions.

Controlling the senses (horses) can help move our chariot forward, with discernment to recognize the transient happiness and eternal bliss of freedom. As the charioteer (Pure Intellect) becomes stable, there is increasing awareness the purpose of the chariot, horses, reins, and charioteer are to serve the passenger, the true Self.

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Devotion (bhakti yoga), knowledge (jnana yoga), and selfless action (karma yoga) are ways to Truth. This attention in action and experience helps us find peace. Each step of clear intention brings us gradually nearer to ultimate bliss. It trains us towards a still, silent, eternal center of our Sadhana (spiritual practice).

Krishna is Vivek विवेक (true wisdom) controlling the panchendriyas to find Truth in every action and experience. Devotion (bhakti yoga), knowledge (jnana yoga), and selfless action (karma yoga) are ways to Truth. This is sadhana (spiritual practice).

Take heed of your steed in the Horse Year, and enjoy the movement and mystery. Be wary to mind your chariot and not let the powerful energy of wild Horses carry you away with quick and impulsive action. Enjoy a smooth ride, and breathe deeply into sweet stillness and joy.

Wishing you all goodness in the Wood Horse Year!happy-new-year-152675_640