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Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Rat of 2008 is a year of significant change, in new beginnings and fresh starts. With the huge shift in social structure, coinciding with Pluto moving into Capricorn, our government experienced huge changes when we elected a new leader, and in America we have enormous talk of political change, with elections coming up there also. Never before have we seen a woman, or a black man lead in the history of American government, and with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama running for the leadership position, the globe is most certainly up for the change.

Given that Pluto governs death and rebirth, along with change and transformation, with it now moving into the sign of Capricorn, it is our social structures, governments and political order that are up for most of the restructuring and rebuilding brought forth by this transit influence, lasting until January 2024. This year is the year of the Chinese Earth Rat, which again looks at our earth, and matters involving water, continuing on from the previous year of the fire Pig.

Being water animals, these two years have seen us as a globe, shift from the external matters to those of the inner worlds, and our natural resources which are vital foundations of our world as we know it (such as water). This is what happens when we are transiting water years, as it is a yin element crowning the bottom of the Tai Chi symbol. In water time, we tend to go within for reflection, on ourselves, our direction and purpose. It is a time when we have the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate ourselves and prepare for the following cycle of forward movement and the upward, rising energy of the wood years, of new growth, life and expansion.

This year being a number 1 in numerology and central in the annual Feng Shui distribution of energy, we have water here as a very strong presence. The numerological energy of 1 comes in this year, suggesting a huge shift into fresh new ventures, energy and inspiration. In terms of the Feng Shui annual star being 1 also, we have another layer to look at, that will be influencing us. The number one in Feng Shui relates to the water element once again.

Water in Chinese Medicine (metaphysics and philosophy) is the element that governs the kidneys, reproductive organs, bladder and ears, therefore It is these areas of the body that will particularly be influenced by this year in terms of health, so do pay attention to them especially if you have a deficiency of water element, or an excess of it. People with water deficiency tend to have warmer constitutions and complexions. In excess, this element can make you sluggish, often tired, cold and emotionally exhausted. The key is to maintain a balance in the body between all of the elements, for optimum health and wellbeing.

Also in Feng Shui, the number one relates to academic success, achievement, promotion and career so it may be a good time to focus on self advancement in all and any of these areas especially during this year. Another area in health to watch out for will be the earth element. Again as this is a water year (by animal) the earth element, as a result is quite unsettled, vulnerable and sensitive.

Those of you who are strong in earth element, constitutionally, (Astrologically & energetically) will welcome the fresh water energy is it will provide the earth element with a focus point on which to direct its energy. If you are energetically deficient in earth element on the other hand, the Earth Rat will require you to take more care of your health this year, as water can be quite destabilizing to the earth. In general it is your stomach, digestion and spleen that relates to the earth element, so you would be wise to include plenty of leafy green, iron rich vegetables, herbs, spices, fresh fruit, grain and vegetables in your diet this year, more so than others.

It would most certainly be a good year to commit to such a diet to maintain a healthy balanced earth element and physical body. Given that the earth is highly unsettled this year, the obvious place to look to is in fact our very home, our mother earth. With the abundant water, growing even stronger towards the later months of the year from August onwards, floods are suggested, amongst other kinds of natural disasters such as storms, cyclones and land slides across the globe. With the difficult annual star residing in the south this year, it is likely to be the direction more affected than other areas throughout 2008.

For Feng Shui, it is advisable to avoid the colours red, yellow and orange, especially in the South sector of your home for the year, as this may tend to attract negative influences for the house hold, or business. The conflict star is in the west this year so if you have a main living room, bedrrom or entrance in this area of your home, avoid too much of the colours green, blue and purple here for this year, as it may tend to attract argumentative people, abruptness, anger and aggitation. This particular influence affects young men epecially so if sleeping in this area of the home, it may be advisalbe to consult a practitioner if you notice any of these influences and are unsure what to do.

Another area to watch this year, is the northwest. There is an earh star influencing this direction for 2008, which can contribute to ill health, stomach and digestive problems, so avoid the colours red, orange and yellow here also. The most prosperous star resides in the east this year, so for those houses and buildings facing this direction, it could be a good year for increased wealth and abundance. To enhance this energy even further, it may advisable that you consult a professional, as the prosperous areas are different for each and every building and are not at all generic as many Feng Shui books seem to say (which is mis-guiding). Each building is as unique as each individual person and needs to be treated accordingly.

For more information on how 2008 will influence you on a personal level, you may wish to take up the current two for one offer for a full Astrological transit report. This will give you much more specific and personalised information on what influences will be prominent for you in the year ahead with regard to health, relationships, career and much more. I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy and fulfilling Chinese New Year, whatever you may be doing. Blessings and Good Wishes.

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