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A dragon's destiny

Monday, January 23, 2012
The Star
By: Sandra Low

A SYMBOL of power and wealth, the Dragon is the mightiest of the zodiac signs in Chinese astrology. In China, the Dragon represents the emperor who holds authority over the minions of the land. The only mythical creature among the 12 animal signs, the Dragon is described as proud, intelligent, extrovert, ambitious, charming, confident, gifted, charitable, and successful in his endeavours.

This year, if you are 72, 60, 48, 36 or 24 and you are feeling the heat because you have betrayed your fellow Dragons by not measuring up to your majestic qualities, fear not - you're hardly alone.

Sherwin Ng, 29, feng shui instructor and senior consultant for Joey Yap Consulting Group, is baffled by the resolute list of characteristics that is doled out to each animal sign.

Ng, who is born in the Year of the Dog, admits he is unable to identify with the canine traits of loyalty and good-naturedness.

Ng studied Western astrology and Vedic or Indian astrology, before he discovered Chinese astrology and later delved into feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of harnessing the natural forces of nature to promote harmony, prosperity and constructive changes in our lives. His first book, Your Head Here - Your Guide To Real Bedroom Feng Shui, was published recently.

"It's really impossible to generalise and produce a list of positive and negative traits of someone born under an astrological sign," Ng explains. "To determine a person's personality and destiny, we need his birth date down to the hour. Destiny is not carved in stone. There are potentials and possibilities. Sometimes money or third parties can affect the course of a person's life."

Hence the misconception that having a Dragon baby or getting married this year will make everything fine and dandy, says Ng.

"Things may not be as rosy as people make it out to be. Whether the outcome is good or bad, depends on your personal astrological chart. Once a reading is done, it may show that this may not be a good year for a Dragon to marry or conceive," Ng explains.

However, whether you do a reading through Chinese, Hindu or Western astrology, the results should be the same as they each refer to the same set of stars in the sky, Ng stresses. Precise to the hilt: ‘To determine a person's personality and destiny, we need his birth date down to the hour,' says Sherwin Ng.

To understand how astrology is read, Ng explains that there are two types of Chinese calendars; one is based on the sun (solar), and the other on the moon (lunar).

During the early days, people in China traditionally used the lunar calendar for the planting of crops and to determine festivals. So until today, the Chinese people look to the lunar calendar to determine important festivals and dates.

"However, for readings of the astrological chart, we follow the solar calendar. The Dragon year begins on Feb 4 according to the solar calendar and it only varies between a couple of days every 12-year cycle," he explains.

Now how did the 12 animal signs come to appear in the Chinese astrological chart?

There are several versions but one legend has it that before Buddha departed from this earth, he summoned all the animals to come before him and only 12 animals appeared to bid him farewell.

To reward the animals that came, he named a year after each of them in order of their arrival. Interestingly, the Dragon is the only fabled animal on board this time-honoured Buddha-approved list. But how the Dragon made it to this list and not the ubiquitous house cat would be another story entirely.

Ng believes the legend is based on fairy tale.

"The 12 animals chosen for the Chinese zodiac was probably developed in the early stage of China's civilisation and were picked more for convenience and as a point of reference. The animals were used as a simple description to demarcate time for lay people back then."

Ng explains that each animal has an element, for example, "in the Tiger month it is the start of spring which is around February when life is starting to bloom and there is vibrant energy, so the Tiger represents this period."

"The Dragon's element is earth where things start to slow down for a transition to summer, so the Dragon represents the end of spring. Spring is called the season of wood qi (energy or life force which plays an essential role in feng shui) and it is moving into summer, the season of fire qi. The Dragon lies between the transition of wood and fire," says Ng.

The Dragon also represents endings and beginnings tied to the end of spring and the beginning of summer.

"By allowing the fire qi to come in, it represents enlightenment and joy, and prepares the stage for new and good things to happen. Though the Dragon is an earth element, it contains minor qi of wood and water. Wood represents growth and life force, while water represents wisdom and life," Ng says.

"By and large, for those born in the Year of the Dragon or Dog, Ng sees a general trait where the energy is more aggressive and harsh. This means that there is a bit of hardship, but success will follow hard work."

Explaining the astrological chart, Ng says: "This is the year that the Dragon meets the Dragon. So there is a condition called self-punishment in the charts, which means there will be self-imposed restrictions, mind games and checks on bad habits."

As the Dragon will encounter a host of problems, Ng advises them not to act irrationally and to always get a second opinion for their plans and actions to avoid sabotaging themselves.

Ng notes that there is a positive star called the Elegant Seal Star in the Life Palace of the Dragon this year, and this represents intelligence, talents and the appearance of helpful people.

Before the Dragon gets too excited over this good star, Ng cautions against the side effects of a positive star: "Since you have so much talent and intelligence, you will tend to spend a lot of time alone, and this is not good for relationships. The Dragon may feel disconnected with the people around him."

Ng also highlights a negative star called the Sword Edge Star, which is linked to physical injuries and car accidents. To mitigate this, the Dragon should go for medical check-ups and have their cars checked, too!

"The Dragon should not make any drastic changes in their career or relationships, but focus on short-term goals which are more manageable," Ng advises.

So whether you are the fearless Dragon or the closeted one fearful of being outed for not living up to the awesomeness of your Dragon nature, it may be wise to heed your constellations to avoid injury to self or, more importantly, ego, especially for a Dragon!

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