You will always find an answer in the sound of water.
In times that test fortitude and persistence, there are urgent choices to be made. The balance between our public and private selves seems to seesaw with every exchange. Thank goodness there’s everyday life to distract us. We need to have dinner. The kids need to go to the dentist. I take comfort in the idea that these things are separate at the same time that I realize it is an illusion. What I make for dinner and the planet are intertwined – like one hand holding another. I don’t think I will ever be perfect at it but this kind of integration is what I pursue in my work.
The Water Monkey month begins August 8th. The pillar is made up of yang Water in the stem on top and yang Metal in the Monkey branch on the bottom. In the Chinese calendar Monkey month marks the beginning of the Metal season that is autumn and the birth, or Chang Sang, of yang Water.
It strikes me that the coming Metal Rat year is an inversion of this Water Monkey month or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe it’s a mirror – or something like the conception of the coming year. I like that better. The Rat is the peak of Water, also called Dai Wong.
The character for Yang Metal 庚 evolved from a more ancient ideograph that shows two hands, right and left, holding or swinging something in between. I envision it like a pole or a sword – maybe a scythe. Some interpret the origins of the character as having to do with harvesting. Timing would support that since Yang metal is the main element of the Monkey.
The character for Monkey 申 carries a similar meaning. This time the two hands are holding a rope each pulling in a different direction. There’s a choice to be made; a struggle of alternate principles. The Monkey is all about decisions: yin and yang. Even the symbol shows a “crossroads”. Which way to go?
I recently watched The United States of Hoodoo. I’m always interested in the origins of magic and the commonalities of archetypes. I find the archetype of the Monkey very similar to Papa Legba. Papa Legba is a guardian, but also a trickster who presides over the spiritual crossroads. He invites you to examine your habits and beliefs and get down to your truth. There’s something about morality here but it’s not personal.
Papa Legba’s sense of humor is mordant. He seems to share the trait with the Monkey of revealing the truth through comedy, or fibbing to conceal the chaos. It’s going to be painful either way. That kind of pain can be a catalyst if you let it. Like the Monkey, Papa Legba has a gift for language. He speaks every language and operates to carry communications from the spirit realm to the physical realm.
Myths of Papa Legba describe blues musicians like Robert Johnson going to an actual crossroads at midnight to acquire new skills and talents. You can do this too. All you have to do is be brave enough to show up at the appointed time and place with a gift. Be ready to accept attendant consequences. Learn the lesson.
The most interesting person in this documentary that is full of them is 1974 Wood Tiger Val Jeanty who explains about the influence of rhythms and music on space/time. A Wood Tiger playing with Metal (music) tells you that Val wields plenty of power herself. She explains that certain rhythms are “precoded” for different purposes – to create a certain frequency.
When you put your hand near the speaker the sound manifests as a physical reality…certain songs you don’t sing after 3pm on Thursdays. Everyone knows not to sing it because there’s a frequency in that song that you don’t want to manifest.
I hear her talking about the Metal element. People with Water stems in their BaZi may get this more than others. Music makes them well up.
Val Jeanty is doing what a Feng Shui master does. She is tuning into a certain frequency; like a radio homing in on a clear signal. She charges the environment. Using Feng Shui you can do this with a person, a house or a business. The Feng Shui person’s job is to figure out which channel is the best one for you and set up things to receive it.
When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float.*
Funny how well that quote describes the Water Trigram.
It’s going to be a turbulent month. Expect lots of communication, talking, tears and outbursts. In terms of the Five Elements, Water (pessimism) may temporarily conquer Fire (optimism). If this seems overwhelming it might be helpful to remember that the human body is 60% water. We develop in and are born from water. No need to fear. Time to act.
*See also: The Law of Reversed Effort