Who is a Rat?
Years: 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.
Hour: 11:00 pm – 01:00 am
Day: ask us
* Caution: the start of the Chinese month can be as early as the 4th & as late as the 9th, depending on the year. I can let you know this too.
What is a Rat?
The Rat is yang water but with a hidden stem of yin Water, that is to say pure Water, the only Chinese Animal that is so pure. All Water on this planet, unless interfered with by outside forces, is connected with and on the same level as all other Water. Sea level at Zeebrugge is the same as sea level at Miami. If I spill my cup of tea here in Surrey and you spill yours in Taiwan, sooner or later they’ll mix. It may take aeons but they’ll mix. This powerful idea may clarify the connection between Water and communication.
Someone said that we have two ears and one mouth for a good reason: that we should listen twice as much as we speak. The issues relating to Water are listening and speaking while keeping the ratios right. The Rat can easily miss this. Some of us are elected primarily to talk and the yang Water of the Rat says it’s you. The Rat is the talker of the Chinese Zodiac. As you know, an unbalanced or distressed Rat tends to clam up or run off at the mouth. Which will it be this year?
Interestingly both Prince Harry and his father Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales are Rats. Charles’ career has been one of juggling his often outspoken opinions with the privilege of his position. It’s likely that Harry’s lessons will be similar; wise observation of his father’s conundrum could be invaluable. Rats tend to blurt or have learned to be shtum.
The Rat is supreme in the realm of ideas. It is said that when you can tell Water from Fire, you are a master. The blue of the sky at mid-summer, for instance is not Water but Fire. Who can identify this consistently? The Rat who is a planner and a plotter and a deep thinker, is the most likely candidate. He thinks ahead, sometimes to the detriment of his awareness of the present. This makes him a good chess player but not so great at poker. He is apt to be too controlling for games that require openness – even to good fortune. That sort of uncertainty can be painful. Your average Rat wants the credit and to get that he has to be in control.
In conversation you may find that the mature Rat second guesses in a very distinctive way: typically he gets his correspondent to commit to a position before he states his; a very useful quality in a teacher but not everyone’s cup of tea in a collaborator. The Dragon and the Monkey, even the Ox, may find this reassuring but it drives the Horse and the Tiger wild and to some extent even the Dog.
Being big talkers and travellers, Rats are traditionally suited to work involving communication: sales, oratory and persuasion. In the collaboration with the Rabbit, Rooster and Horse that Derek Walters (himself a Rat) calls the Flowers of Love, the Rat is the talker, the chatter-up if you will, where the Rooster provides the glamour, the Horse the passion and the Rabbit the stamina. A Rat with the assistance of these other Animals is effortlessly successful and charismatic. Whichever may be missing at any given time indicates his weaknesses. None of the others however is ever much at ease in the company of the Rat.
An unbalanced Rat talks too much and listens selectively. A balanced one gets it exactly right; he is fascinating talker and a skilled listener. But this wilful deafness can be a point of pride. Blessed with an orderly mind and excellent retention, a Rat can consider his ignorance of a subject a reflection upon the subject rather than upon himself. This sort of Rat needs to learn to value the convictions of others, especially if they are derived from premises he does not accept.
The Rat is a guardian, a watcher. Sometimes he is self-appointed and the unbalanced Rat has a particular blindness that leads him to believe that his opinion is an absolute. This is more accentuated and less well-informed in his partner the Ox in what some call the House of Creativity (or Cleverness). The relationship between the Ox and the Rat is less that of partners than of pupil and tutor but the Ox can be a particularly obdurate and dominating learner, sometimes drawing conclusions to which he is not entitled and sticking like a limpet to any conclusion he can justify. In these circumstances the Ox is not so much partner or indeed student of the Rat as tormentor. When Ox and Rat are together it is the Ox who calls the tunes.
A very conscious Rat can make good use of his blindness to the value of other people’s positions. She is likely to be able to explain things that baffle others and to derive laws from this gift. To have no explanation however is to open himself up to chaos. If he knows this about himself he can master even the most abstract discipline.
The Rat is versatile and multi-talented though not as notably so as the Pig of whom he is often jealous or the Dragon who can baffle him despite their mutual affinity. Yang water can speak of profligacy with money. The Rat is a brilliant small businessman but often a poor tycoon. In the power triad with the Dragon and Monkey, the Rat may appear to overvalue the hands-on deftness of the Monkey because he finds the Monkey easier to control and may envy the Dragon his magic. Twin Rats Robert Plant and John Bonham and Monkey Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (formed in the Monkey Year of 1968) may be a good example of this creative tension.
And it is this potential for envy that is the other big weakness of the Rat and lays him open once more to the Rooster of the year who of course shares it. The full-on spontaneity of Fire has always drawn resentment from certain Rats. He can’t admire what he can’t himself master. This can lead to him not getting credit for originality of mind. Consider Water Rat Alan Turing of Enigma fame. And finally the Rat can be a fickle partner but an attentive parent, albeit one who may have favourites. The awakened Rat is absolutely even-handed; that in itself is quite a gift.
The Rat in 2019
2018 was lonely. Those in power forgot how much the Rat had contributed to their causes in the past. The Rat’s mentorship has been disregarded. You shared your secrets but they were not valued. Your associates Dragon and Monkey were struggling too, possibly with illness or depression and weren’t able to help you as much as usual.
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, is a 1972 Water Rat. She resigned her post in the Trump administration in October 2018 – Dog month, Dog year. As a Rat, Nikki realized before others that her thwarted efforts meant it was time to leave the sinking ship. There are rumors that she will run for President in 2020. The Ox in her month says she would be better as an advisor to the winner. The Rat in her year says if the election were in 2019 she’d run.
Though the earthy nature of 2018 is still present in the first quarter of the year, the Pig of 2019 brings relief to the Rat by beginning the water cycle. Water is your element. Your gift of articulacy has been compromised by the Dog year. You’ll be returning to your usual wordsmithing around February.
The Rat’s good ideas about leadership have gone unappreciated, and now she thinks that being in an advisor role is not enough. Being number two feels like losing. This competitiveness is a live issue for you throughout the year, peaking in April. Patience. 2021 is coming.
You are the most expressive of the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals, and in January you’ll be taking talent that in a different direction with a new agenda. It only feels risky because it’s not your usual way. A new iteration of your job is calling you to apply the benefits of your education, training and background for those who need justice. You’re worried about how this will affect the lifestyle you’re accustomed to, but you needn’t be. Go with it.
In 2019 the Ox’s influence on the Rat is growing. The Ox is interested in practical applications of justice and brings a heightened sensitivity to a Rat’s work. Rats are usually more comfortable wielding justice in a political sense, like a judge. Impartiality falls away in 2019 as Rats realize that justice is personal too.
In 2019 your natural charisma is enhanced. There’s romance if you want it. Your position on the dial plate amplifies your problem solving abilities regarding romance and everything else. In April and August especially, you are needed. Channel your refusal to lose so that it benefits others.
The Horse month of June, your clash month, is easier to manage this year. You’ll be putting out fires, literally and figuratively, likely on behalf of someone else.
Your full recovery from the Dog year will arrive in August. Timing and clarity become yours again for the fall and winter. You’ll need it to deal with your competitors.
Roosters are having another tough year, and will seek your counsel in September. Be open.
By December you’ll be officially working for the Ox. Curious?
© Stephanie Stewart 2019
Richard Ashworth is probably best known for introducing authentic Chinese
Imperial Feng Shui to BBC tv’s Housebusters and for his book The Feng Shui
Diaries which apart from anything else, may be the funniest on the subject to date. Read more…