I wrote to a good friend recently about the upcoming cycles and much of the discussion centered around the ideas of the five elements and 12 animals. Here is some of what I wrote and I hope that you will find this useful:
<<Note: The 2nd Thursday night class has been cancelled and replaced by an every 2nd and 4th Tuesday (of each month) format as explained below–more opportunities for all of us to further our astrological wisdom and experience–thank you for your continued support!!!>>
The year of the Fire Monkey is just around the corner, Feb 8th, 2016. For those of us turning 60 this Chinese year, then the year of the Fire Monkey is a very special year indeed as you will be coming back to your yearly birth pillar, which is the Fire part AND the Monkey part (Feb 12th, 1956 through Jan 30th, 1957–Lunar Calendar). You see, there are five monkeys total that we must contend with, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water of the traditional Chinese five elements. For the rest of us who are simply born under the year of the Monkey, then what we’re looking at is a return to home base so to speak. “What makes me happy?,” “How is my health?” These are common questions during the return of the 12 year cycle that closely corresponds to the Year Star or rather Jupiter’s return for those practicing Western methods. You also get your 1st house profected year as well, which will happen sometime around your 12 year cycle. But now I’m getting off on a tangent…The point is, is that the cycle of 12 can be a place where you can easily take stock of what you’ve got in life…how far you’ve come so far. 60 is where the Jupiter return and Saturn return roughly coincide, thus highlighting its’ significance even further.
[Update: 2/21/2016]–The Five Rats Chasing Table is an alternate method of calculating the hour stem of the beginning Rat hour of any day–it only seems to apply to the beginning of the Rat Hour. In other words, what you get is a different stem for the beginning of the Rat hour of the closing day prior to midnight. This is a different system than the vast majority of the books that I own have presented. I recently located this within Joey Yap’s Chinese 10,000 year pocket calendar. Apparently, this is the same system that he uses in his software. What is interesting is that this is the first time that I have ever seen this in writing as no other books mention it or reference it, including Yap’s software or any other Four Pillars author. This method is not an option in the Imperial Astrologer.