“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 61: Dragon Magic

By some accounts, the Year of the Dragon began officially on the Chinese New Year, January 23.  (See Day 47: New Moon Monday, New Moon Year.)   In others I have read, it began on February 4, just as we began the weekend.  Did you feel a new surge of power?  Personally, I was exhausted, but by Sunday I had rallied.

Chinese astrology works in 12-year cycles.  According to legend, Lord Buddha challenged all the animals of the zodiac to race across the river.  The cunning rat got there first.  The sluggish pig took his time and arrived last.  The goat, which is Zoe's sign, came in 8th.  I washed up 10th, as a rooster.  The dragon is the fifth year in the cycle.

Babies born between now and February 9, 2013 will be dragons: the free spirits of the Zodiac, wildly colorful, flamboyant, extroverted, showy, confident, fearless, and probably very successful.  Dragons are gregarious and generous and make a lot of friends, but are secretly solitary at heart.

Apparently, not all dragons are alike.  2012 is the year of the water dragon, or the black dragon, and the dragon contains earth, water, and wood.  You have to use Chinese astrology to determine which of the five elements are dominant for you to know what qualities this dragon year will bring out in you.  If you want to avoid your work this morning, you can look this stuff up pretty easily.

The goat, which is Zoe’s sign (I only just found this out today, in my research) tends to be very shy.  My hope is that the dragon will give her the extra power she needs now.

In the Sun Dynasty (AD 960-1279) the dragon was described as having the head of an ox, the muzzle of a donkey, and eyes of a shrimp, horns of a deer, body of a serpent covered with fish scales, and feet of a phoenix.  The dragon usually clutches a pearl symbolic of its super-natural powers.  Accompanied by thunder and rain, dragons move like lighting and whirlwinds—all powerful yet totally unpredictable.

The water dragon of this year (the last one we had was in 1952) is not as bold as the other dragons.  According to one source:

Water has a calming effect on the Dragon's fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm, and makes him more perceptive of others. These Dragons are better equipped to take a step back to re-evaluate a situation because they understand the art of patience and do not desire the spotlight like other Dragons. Therefore, they make smart decisions and are able to see eye-to-eye with other people. However, their actions can go wrong if they do not research or if they do not finish one project before starting another.

But according to my sources, the dragon is considered the ultimate auspicious symbol of success and happiness, and it should be a good year for all.

In May of 2010, my husband and Zoe and I visited Blois, the birth place of the illusionist Robert-Houdin, who began his life as a watchmaker and became a magician and illusionist who inspired many who came after him, including Erik Weisz, who changed his name to Harry Houdini in homage to this great master.  There are some rooms devoted to him as well in this museum, which I recommend you visit if you ever happen to be in the Loire Valley of France and want to take a break from gawking at all the châteaux and tasting all the beautiful wine.

At the Robert-Houdin House of Magic, a dragon automaton on the façade of the building comes to life every hour.

If you look closely, that's me inside the chess pieces

A statue of Robert-Houdin

Our timid year-of-the-goat dog who is afraid of inanimate objects that look like critters but aren’t, including large ceramic animal shapes, snowmen, and over-the-top Christmas displays like the one we saw one year on our street of some reindeer at a bus stop, was, to our great delight, undaunted by the sight of these giant golden mythical creatures bobbing their powerful heads at us.

She had made a friend, a living friend, of her own kind, and was otherwise engaged when the dragons came out to breathe on us all.

Wishing everyone a year of dragon magic.


  1. what a fun post for me, a water dragon from 1952. For better and worse, that description describes me perfectly. Perhaps this year all my research will culminate in one finished project after another. Also finishing up another Saturn return, and am Leo rising and moon in Cancer. The water dragon description mirrors that combination totally. Now to finish, finish, finish.

  2. I also feel empathy for everyone else under this influence. Of course patience has to be developed because it's like being stuck in irons on a lake; in between the fire and the water- being in the center of opposites. If the metaphor is tacking in sailing, then expect to take lots of little steps, touch the water, then the fire side. I imagine Zoe will feel the beauty of the every day deeply, and being in your care she does not have to worry about finishing things.

  3. memory eclipsed by fog: Leo sun, cancer moon.