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2022: Year of the Water Tiger

I hope you sharpened your tools and prepared your fields during 2021's metal ox influence because the water tiger influence of 2022 makes this a year to make a splash, and start bringing in some harvest. The year of the Yang Black Tiger begins with the new moon on Monday, January 31st, 2022 at 9:46 pm PST. Because the new moon occurs in China on February 1st, many people celebrate the Chinese New Year on 2/1/22.


"Our original nature is like water. It benefits the ten thousand things without exertion. Like Dao, it is at home in places that are commonly shunned and detested." - the Tao Te Ching, translated by Liu Ming

We shift from the energy of metal (white) in 2020-2021 into the energy of water (black) in 2022-2023. After the past two years of letting things go, tuning into what is truly of value, and refining and polishing what remained after the pruning, we are now ready to go into the depths of the water element.

Water is a great teacher of Dao and of Qi, which is not merely "energy" or "life force" as it is often called, but a condensation and flow of the Dao itself. If you observe water, you observe the Dao, the way things are, and you can use what you learn to instruct you in how to flow skillfully with the changing circumstances of life.

  • Water flows around obstacles, or it erodes them over time. In the coming years, what obstacles might you flow around, and what obstacles might you patiently erode with steady effort, or with many small bits of effort, like waves against a rock?

  • Water sinks to the lowest place it can find, and builds up from there. How might humility elevate you? What is the deepest, most solid bedrock you can plant your feet on?

  • Water can attain great depths - dark places where things are felt rather than seen. If you take time to be still and quiet, to sink below the surface layers of activity, what do you find beneath all your efforts, striving and longing?

  • Water adjusts to the shape of any container. What shape would you like to take in the next couple of years? What container would give you that shape? What structures would support you in being what you feel called to be?

  • Water reflects its surroundings. What people, places, communities, and activities do you enjoy reflecting? What people, places, communities, and activities do you not enjoy reflecting?

  • When water is pushed one way, an equal amount of water flows in the opposite direction, maintaining balance of direction and saturation. So often, we push forward in life, only to find the very things we are moving towards getting farther and farther away. What happens if you step back? See if you might end up BEing pulled in the direction you wanted to go in the first place.

  • Water changes form. What's your density and speed? Are you an unmoving iceberg, an amorphous cloud, a placid mountain lake, or a gurgling stream? Are you traveling at the pace and density that best serves your circumstances, or is it time to slow down, speed up, thin out, or thicken up?

  • When water does not move, it festers. Are there any areas of your life, mind, heart, body, or relationships that are stagnant? How might you bring movement into those areas? Remember that even a small amount of movement over time can generate great change.

Considering the unpredictable ways that climate change is manifesting around the globe, it will be unsurprising if the water element speaks up during 2022-2023. Super storms of rain, snow, hail? Monsoons? Tsunamis? Floods? These all seem possible, given the active influence of Yang and the volatile pouncing influence of Tiger on the Water element. Maybe the best advice is put your house up high, but keep your humility low to the ground. Certainly, we would all do well to bow in humility to nature, for it is indeed more powerful than any one species it contains.


In the human psyche and spirit, the water element is associated with your zhi or will. Ultimately, your will is how you direct your resources, which include time, energy, money, skills, etc. Using your will and your resources skillfully connects you with the virtue of the water element, which is wisdom.

The emotion most commonly associated with the water element is fear. We all have fear, and it serves some good purposes, so the goal is not to get rid of it. Instead, it's a matter of working skillfully with it. The first crucial step in working skillfully with fear is to notice and acknowledge when it's present. Then it's possible to assess whether the fear has some good points to make. It's possible to be both courageous, acting in alignment with one's heart despite fear, and also cautious, taking care in dangerous or precarious situations. This, too, is wisdom.


The shift from Yin to Yang this year indicates a time of greater movement... and a certain dose of chaos...

This is Yang water though, so while actions taken can be strong and powerful this year, consider how you might also maintain a sense of softness. What do the terms "supple power," "resilience," and "flexible action" inspire in you?

In modern culture, we tend to prefer Yang to Yin - action to stillness, and shining forth rather than being receptive. A couple things to keep in mind with this year's Yang influence are -

  1. Yang emerges from Yin, so balance your activity with periods of rest. And when you're planning to make a big maneuver, make sure to precede it with enough rest so that you can move with pliant strength.

  2. You are not alone in this Yang year. The Yang of others - other people, other communities, other organisms, the weather, and nature in general - will also be active. You will not only be giving out your Yang efforts, but also receiving the Yang of everyone and everything else around you on this Earth. And thus it is best to spend enough time in Yin mode (receptive, reflective, observant), so you can best take in and be nourished by the Yang of others.


"A tiger doesn't proclaim his tigritude. He pounces." - Wole Soyinka

The shift from Ox to Tiger will feel like a welcome change at the beginning of the year. Probably, you've had enough of plowing along, towing the line, refining, and doing the hard, often thankless work now for future rewards that was the essence of the Metal Ox. Tigers have an entirely different strategy. They rest long hours, and then slink in the shadows, silently and carefully observing until they know what they want and how best to get it. Then they crouch, and then they pounce.

This year, you will most likely get some rewards for all the work you did in the Ox year, and even more will come in the ensuing years. If you're observant and patient like a tiger, you should be able to make some good leaps forwards this year. But again, remember, everyone and everything else is crouching and pouncing too. Imagine that feeling of the calm before a big storm, then the chaos of the storm, and then the way the world finds equilibrium again after the storm passes. Then there's calm again, and eventually another storm, etc. That is how the Black Tiger year will be. Stillness and then rapid movement, and then things settling into place until the next period of stillness. And maybe by the end of this year, you'll be looking forward to the quietude and hunkering down of the Yin Black Rabbit in 2023.


  • Fine tune your self care and rest routines. In order to pounce successfully, you need plenty of strength and deep rest. Cats sleep around twenty hours a day, and they have five times the muscle density of humans. Think of cats napping and stretching out in sunbeams. Find your version of that, and sink in. Consider what/where/who helps you feel strong in your body, mind, heart, and spirit, and spend time with those people, places, and activities. Cats are famous, also, for stretching, so make time to stretch your body at least a little every day.

  • Tend your kidneys, bladder, bones and brain. These organs and body parts are sensitive during water years. Take note of your salt and water intake, and make sure they are in good balance. Keep your lower back warm in the cold months, and out of the wind at all times during these water years (2022-2023) to protect your kidneys. Black and dark foods - black sesame seeds, black beans, black lentils, black fungus, purple cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, and seaweed are great foods to increase in your diet in water years. Walnuts and omega oils support your brain. Qigong and Yin Yoga are helpful practices for supporting your kidneys, bones, brain, and the kidney and bladder meridians.

  • Engage with water in ways you enjoy. Whether you are the type of person who likes to soak in a hot tub, or the kind of person who likes to plunge into icy water, or someone who likes to splash in puddles, engage with water in your favorite ways. And maybe you can find some new favorite ways to engage with this protean element.

  • Go deep. Coming into stillness and silence is paramount during water years. It is in the depths that we are able to observe the truth of things. The depths is also where we contact our own essence and power. Then our power effortlessly flows through us in any action we take.

  • Timing is everything. When you know where you want to pounce, feel for the right timing. Imagine how it would feel if you pounced before things were ready, or after the window of opportunity passed. Then imagine how it would feel to leap at that exact right time, when everything is aligned just so.

  • Be courageous. The word courage is rooted in the French word for heart - coeur. Whether fear is present or not, act wholeheartedly, with generosity, flexibility, clarity, and strength.

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do... the process is its own reward." - Amelia Earhart

Wishing you good health, happiness, flexibility, wise courage, and prosperity in the water tiger year.

With care - Rae


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