March 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I was interviewed for KQED about food favorites in the year of the Snake. For those who missed this post, here it is again. My interviewer Anna Mindess was born in the year of the Snake, and the charming illustrations are by her Monkey daughter Lila Volkas. I’m born in Sheep year and Hare (Rabbit) month, so my favorite foods are organic fruits and vegetables. This was one fun interview!
I just discovered that I am a Snake. The Chinese Zodiac celebrates the Snake every 12 years and February 10 will kickoff a significant year for all us charmers. I am proud to share my Snake-hood with Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan and Oprah Winfrey.
Having not paid too much attention to my slithery side, I recently turned for some expert advice to San Francisco professional astrologer and author Susan Levitt, who reassured me that the Snake in the Chinese Zodiac is not the evil temptress of the Garden of Eden, but a wise, intuitive and magical creature who appreciates art and beauty, and is the feminine side of the powerful Dragon.
As the Snake sheds its skin, this should be a year of transformation for everyone, she explained, where rewards will be found from looking inward into the world of spirit, instead of focusing on the outer world of material things.
Enlightening information, but as a food writer, my obvious next question to Levitt was how the year of the Snake and the Chinese Zodiac relate to what I eat. In the spirit of fun, Levitt offered me the following descriptions of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac and their relationship to food.
People born in the Year of the Snake, she said, focus on quality over quantity, and follow the maxim, “less is more.” They are drawn to organic and other fine ingredients, and would rather have one piece of the best dark chocolate than a whole box of cheap chocolate. That characterization totally fits for me and explains the reason I continually have to hide the chocolate in my house from my “Monkey” daughter – read on to find out why.
Restless Monkeys tend to eat erratically and like a lot of candy. So they need to slow down and work against their crazy, candy-eating Monkey tendencies and learn to shop and plan meals.
Conversely, the hardworking Ox is a solid and steady beast. People born in the Year of the Ox appreciate three square meals a day, dinner on the table at 7pm and a nice, dependable bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
The strong Horse is an athlete and is drawn to trail mix and power bars. People born in the Year of the Horse should make sure to have plenty of fruit and other healthy snacks to keep their energy up.
THE RAT AND THE DRAGON
Some animals in the Chinese Zodiac, Levitt tells me, have similar dining preferences and would enjoy sharing a meal. For example, the Rat is a connoisseur who likes to be the first to try new restaurants. The Dragon loves living large and entertaining at big banquets. This pair of gourmands would have a blast going out to fancy restaurants and impressing others by ordering only the best.
THE TIGER AND THE DOG
On the whole, the Tiger and the Dog love meat (but of course, Levitt allowed that that there could be a Dog who is a vegetarian as well). The independent Tiger tends to grab food on the go. Perhaps the reliable Dog can influence the Tiger to slow down enough so that they could share a thick, juicy steak together.
THE SHEEP AND THE RABBIT
Both the Sheep and the Rabbit appreciate the artistic. The social Sheep enjoys selecting fresh fruits and greens from the farmers market. The Rabbit pays attention to the beauty of how food is plated. They could share a salad of fancy greens, especially foraged ones, decorated with edible flowers.
The Rooster is a fussy eater. Levitt advises Roosters that it’s a good time to try out some new tastes. Smart Rooster learns quickly from cookbooks and then can improvise.
And in keeping with its character, Pig loves to feast, especially on comfort foods like ice cream. Those born under the porcine sign tend to overeat, but make good chefs. “They also enjoy their booze,” Levitt tells me. Not surprising to find that Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who all seem to savor the pleasures of the table, are all Pigs.
February 12, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Valentine’s Day falls on the day of the sensual Pig. Party-loving, romantic Pig is perfect for Valentine’s Day! Relationships are very harmonious and people are at ease with each other. You can have success with very little effort, especially in romance. And the Sun makes a fortunate sextile to the Moon, adding luck for the opposite sex. So how does Valentine’s day bring out the animal in you?
Rat: Only the finest for you Rat! Rat is a true connoisseur and appreciates the best things life has to offer. A gourmet meal in the finest restaurant followed by a gift of expensive jewelry is perfect. So are airline tickets to a luxury resort. Nothing cheap or shabby will do if you want to bring out the passionate, creative, and smoldering side of the Rat.
Ox: Ox can be serious and is a hard worker, but loves the idea of taking a big break for Valentine’s day. Head to a hot tub, sauna, or spa to indulge in a relaxing full body massage. Or provide a massage in the privacy of your boudoir. And be sure to include lots of chocolate. Ox may may be slow to warm up, but once turned on is unstoppable!
Tiger: Tiger was born ready to go but is easily bored, so plan a fun and eventful evening with lots of activities. First cocktails at the hippest and most crowded hotspot in town to see and be seen, then dinner at the most popular bistro, then out for dancing til sunrise. A big night on the town turns Tiger into a purring pussycat.
Hare: Romance, candlelight, and intimate moments are what excites a Hare. A bouquet of beautiful flowers are a must, followed by a quiet dinner at a small, secret, out of the way little bistro. Read poetry while dining, then take a slow walk holding hands. Sensitive Hare will be ready to melt in your arms.
Dragon: Go big or go home for the mighty Dragon! Dress up and go out to the top hotspot in town to drink, dance, and really party. Flattery will get you everywhere with a Dragon so pile on the compliments all evening. Then Dragon will be on fire by night’s end. And be sure to show up with a huge bouquet or the biggest box of chocolates.
Snake: Elegant refined Snake loves understated elegance and luxury. You cannot miss with fine dining so make reservations at a restaurant known for it’s authentic cuisine. And Snakes love gifts so an elegant piece of jewelry is ideal. But nothing too gaudy or flashy because Snake is a class act. Then go home for a night cap, coil up, and squeeze!
Horse: Horse loves adventure and new experiences so Valentine’s Day activities must be unique and entertaining. The latest blockbuster movie, a horse ride along the beach or a motorcycle ride around town, then a dip in a hot tub or pool will keep Horse stimulated. For Horse, this is foreplay!
Sheep: Sheep loves romance and a quiet night of sincere conversation to feel love, appreciated, and cherished. Precious flowers such as orchids, a small box of artisan chocolates, or a book of romantic poetry make the best gifts. When Sheep feels cared for and nurtured then out comes their sensual passion.
Monkey: Variety is the spice of life so do the unexpected to get a Monkey excited. Start out with red roses, but then add a surprise. The more offbeat the better! Go to a restaurant featuring cuisine that’s new to the Monkey, or a wine tasting bar with many choices, and then or kick up your heels at a place you’ve never been before. Then Monkey is happy and ready for love.
Phoenix (Rooster): Plumage matters to the Phoenix so get dressed up, put on your dancing shoes, and go out for a night on the town. The perfect gift is a fine silk or cashmere scarf, gemstone necklace, or other luxury item of clothing. After partying all night in the spotlight, Phoenix won’t be tired but instead still raring to go!
Dog: Romantic Dog appreciates declarations of love and fidelity. Bring romantic flowers and chocolates, but focus only on your loved one as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist. As the world melts away and Dog is assured that they are the one and only, then they are putty in your hands.
Pig: Perfect for Pig is a big box of gourmet chocolates. Gourmand Pig loves really good food so definitely include cocktails and a meal at a nice restaurant. But Pig doesn’t really need anything too fancy. Fine to go home, turn on the TV, and snuggle. Once Pig is comfy and cozy, then the passion begins.
January 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
FULL MOON IN LEO
Saturday January 26 2013 is a full Moon in the strong Fire sign Leo the Lion. Now is time to take charge, take action, and boldly pursue your goals. Leo brings a positive attitude and new optimism so don’t be held back by fears or limitations. This full Moon sextiles Jupiter in Gemini for luck in your endeavors. Whatever you touch can turn to gold! The Sun in Aquarius is opposite the Moon (this occurs on every full Moon) so your head might say one thing while your heart says another. But under the influence of the mighty Lion you must follow your heart.
This full Moon occurs on a very powerful Dragon day in a Dragon year. The volume is turned up now, and there is a strong sense of fate or karma in your interactions with others. This is the final full Moon of this Dragon year because the next new Moon in two weeks begins the year of the Snake. So go big or go home before Snake crawls in. Luck is strongest for Fire signs Leo, Sagittarius and Aries and those born in Dragon, Rat, and Monkey years.
WATER SNAKE YEAR 2013 TALK
Please join me on Saturday evening January 26 at 7:30 pm at my annual Chinese New Year talk at East West Books, 324 Castro Street in Mountain View, California. The fee is $10 in advance or $12 at the door, and everyone is welcome. Hope to see you there.
Happy full Moon,
January 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Sunday January 6, 2013 is an extremely lucky and powerful day in Chinese astrology; a Monkey day in a Rat month in a Dragon year. Monkey, Rat, and Dragon make a relationship harmony trine and are most compatible together because all three of these signs are dynamic, active, aggressive, passionate, vigorous , powerful, entertaining, and exhilarating people.
So don’t hold back today! Take a risk, try something new, and express yourself. Be social, network, and communicate. You’ll have plenty of time for quiet reflection after Snake year begins on February 10. So this Sunday, get out there and be innovative as the wily Monkey, clever as the intelligent Rat, and powerful as the dynamic Dragon. Luck is with you in all endeavors.
In Chinese astrology, the other three relationship harmony trines are Snake Ox Phoenix (Rooster), Tiger Horse Dog, and Hare Sheep Pig. Good luck!
December 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
NEW MOON IN SAGITTARIUS
Thursday December 13 is a new Moon in the exciting Fire sign
Sagittarius. Sun, Moon, and Mercury are all in Sagittarius bringing a
more positive outlook and playfulness to your interactions. Mercury
in Sagittarius is very helpful for communications after Mercury’s
intense retrograde journey in Scorpio. Now is the time for new
thoughts and perceptions, to see the truth, and gain clarity for
WATER RAT MONTH
This new Moon begins the month of the Water Rat. In Chinese
astrology, Rat is smart, sharp, and clever. The element Water makes
the Rat more sensitive and caring. Water symbolizes money so finances
should be examined. And be social this holiday season! Rat loves the
pack. Opportunities are strongest for the Fire signs Sagittarius,
Aries, and Leo and those born in Rat, Dragon, and Monkey years,
especially the Water Rat born in 1972.
WATER SNAKE 2013
There are two more months of this Water Dragon year. Water Snake year
begins on the new Moon on February 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm PST. Please
join me for my Year of the Water Snake 2013 talks:
January 18 – Friday afternoon at 1:00 pm
JCCSF Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
3200 California Street, San Francisco CA
January 26 – Saturday evening at 7:30 pm
East West Bookshop
324 Castro Street, Mountain View CA
$10 in advance or $12 at the door
Happy new Moon,
August 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
NEW MOON in LEO
Friday August 17 is a new Moon in the dynamic Fire sign Leo.
Sun, Moon, and Mercury are all in Leo making this the perfect time to communicate your ideas, pursue goals, and launch new endeavors. During this new lunar cycle, stay strong and don’t give up. If you were delayed during the recent Mercury retrograde, that influence is over as of this new Moon.
Luck is with you for even the most exciting plans because this new Moon start the month of the Monkey. Playful Monkey loves a good time so let the parties begin! Events occur quickly with unexpected twists and turns of fate. Win or lose, action is fast during this Monkey month.
Opportunities to be motivated and unstoppable, or on a lighter note to enjoy the summer with an open lion heart, are for everyone. But luck is strongest for the Fire signs Leo, Aries, and Sagittarius and those born in Monkey, Dragon, and Rat years.
Happy new Moon!
January 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
ENTER THE DRAGON
Sunday January 22 at 11:39 pm PST was a new Moon in the independent and exciting Air sign Aquarius. Chinese New Year is on the second new Moon after Winter Solstice, and this new Moon began the year of the Dragon! Magical magnificent Dragon is the most powerful sign of the Chinese zodiac. Anticipate a year that is exciting, creative, and over the top. Dragon’s influence inspires passion, drive, and daring. Dragon year is an excellent time to start a business, get married, have a child, travel the world, or take incredible risks. But results can be drastic: undreamed of success or unrealistic fantasies that crash. Either way, life’s pace is speedy, dynamic, and anything can happen. On a planetary level, expect extreme earth changes such as earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanic eruptions.
WATER DRAGON 2012
2012 is the year of the Water Dragon. Water is the most yin/feminine element, but yin is not considered weak in Taoist astrology and feng shui. Water is the most powerful element for it can move around any obstacle in its path without losing its essential nature. Water can, in time, dissolve the hardest mountains. Dragon year is powerful and intense. The volume is turned up, events can occur quickly, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed. In a Water Dragon year, it’s helpful to have a Water room in your home for rest, healing, and retreat. In feng shui, a Water environment is cool and dark, such as a bedroom or bathroom. The ideal Water room is quiet, soft, and restful. Water’s colors are black, blue, and shades of blue like turquoise and azure that bring a sense of calm and peace. Water objects in the home and office include all types of reflective surfaces including mirrors, glass, and cut crystal. Water is also represented by waterways, rivers, streams, pools, fountains, and aquariums.
Feng shui is important at New Year to welcome new opportunities. Clean your home as if it is spring cleaning but done now. Move any piece of furniture that has not been moved during the past year to clean behind and below it. Dragon year can be hectic, so don’t start this year with any clutter! Now is the time to get rid of it. If how to handle money is not clear to you, then you definitely must have no clutter hidden, stashed, or hoarded. Money is symbolized by Water in feng shui. Money has a chance to flow like Water this Dragon year if your home is clean and clutter free.
Traditionally in Chinese astrology, the mighty Dragon year brings luck and good fortune. Powerful, mystical, and magical Dragon is the bringer of spring rain, Dragon grants blessings, and is the symbol of power and the Emperor.
But in 2012, the Dragon is still crawling out of the Recession that began in Earth Rat year 2008. So this Dragon year is not the year when the Recession ends, but the year when it is obvious what works and what does not work. In a Dragon year, there is not much middle ground. The time for middle-ground diplomacy was last year Metal Hare 2011. So in this Dragon year, expect extremes in stock markets, fluctuation of prices, and general chaos in all things financial. In Dragon year, it will be Europe’s turn to crash. And it won’t be over until Sheep year 2015.
On a practical note, Dragon year is a time to be more concerned with image. So if a fine garment or new haircut will impress, do it. Go up a notch with how you dress, your home furnishings, and how you entertain. Nothing sloppy or grungy in Dragon year will do. Save casual and outdoorsy for Horse year 2014.
YOUR FORTUNE IN DRAGON YEAR
RAT – Rat is smart, sharp, clever, and has a natural ability to be successful. Finally, Dragon year 2012 is your fortunate year to shine! Although some translations refer to you as mouse, your personality is rarely meek and mousy. Don’t be timid in this Dragon year when good fortune and success can be attained in love, marriage, business, politics, family, and real estate. Rat is a master planner, and events occur quickly in a Dragon year, giving you the pace, action, movement, and breadth to end up with the biggest piece of cheese.
OX – Dragon’s values do not match Ox’s values. Honest, strong, reliable Ox is a hard worker with integrity of character. Dragon doesn’t care what integrity is, unless it can be used to get ahead. So in this Dragon year, it’s best for Ox to be realistic and not tricked into any type of compromising actions, especially with your finances. If you see others living in grand Dragon style, don’t even try to keep up with the show. You start a whole new fortunate life cycle in Serpent year 2013 when all your good efforts will be rewarded.
TIGER – Dragon’s dynamic energy will stimulate Tiger and bring lots of action and diverse activities. Tiger has superb instincts but can be impulsive, so in this Dragon year think before you act. Be like a Tiger on the hunt; silently observe but do not pounce. Now is not the time to follow any new ideas or fantasies. Hold off on any grand gesture or big change. Tiger and Dragon are the two strongest signs so if you feel competition from others this year, try to compromise. Learn from the mistakes of others and be helpful. Stay loyal to those who love you.
HARE – Dragon year is about power. Hare is an artistic soul, and power is not what motivates you. Hare prefers to avoid the fray and be a connoisseur who appreciates all the fine and beautiful things in life. Battling to the top is just not of interest. But the energy and activity of Dragon year can be very beneficial for you if you stay engaged in life and keep an optimistic attitude. New friends and acquaintances can open doors so don’t be shy. If overextended, retreat and rest at home. An excellent year for creativity and inspiration.
DRAGON – The celestial Dragon T’ien Lung flies through the sky, chasing a pearl that is the sun. Like the celestial Dragon, you born in Dragon year have potential to soar. This is your lucky year so celebrate life whenever you can, get involved, and shine in the spotlight. Life is lived on a grand scale, and you lead the way.You have fresh ideas, high energy, and are raring to go as New Year begins. Take a risk, go for broke, and do not hide your brilliance. Now is your time for accomplishments, recognition, and much progress in business and with family.
SERPENT – Dragon and Serpent are compatible allies. You are both powerful, focused, and passionate. Extrovert Dragon is yang to your yin. Dragon year brings excitement and much activity, but Serpent is an observer who contemplates before acting. Stay steady, yet be open to new ideas and career opportunities. Travel is fortunate for you this year. You can be peaceful in the eye of the storm if you retreat ocassionally to rest and refresh. You’ll start a whole new life cycle next year in Serpent year 2013 when you shed your skin and are reborn.
HORSE – Horse loves life, and does not like to sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by. So Horse enjoys and appreciates the vital energy of Dragon year. But Dragon can bring extreme highs and lows, which can be unsettling for Horse. Dragon is a dreamer and Horse is a doer, so don’t get involved in any sort of Dragon scheme this year, especially with money. Be more conservative than your usual radical risk-taking Horse self. Avoid too much chaos under the influence of the changeable Dragon, although travel and romance are very favorable.
SHEEP – Dragon brings stimulation and excitement for artistic Sheep. Under Dragon’s glorious influence, Sheep can find happiness, success, and romance. But care must be taken to not overextend, and don’t let Dragon chaos get you frazzled. Dragon year can seem like the time to strike it big, live a grand lifestyle, or indulge in a round-the-world holiday. Instead, use common sense, typical Sheep thoughtful insight, and don’t take any big financial risks. Sheep “eat paper” meaning that spending must be controlled, especially in a Dragon year.
MONKEY – Dragon and Monkey are best friends so Dragon year is one of your best years ever. Monkey has not had good fortune in a long time, and finally 2012 is your year for fantastic luck, fun and merriment, and much achievement. Monkey’s traits are courage, ability to take action, love of anarchy, and true devotion to even the wildest of schemes. And that kind of thinking leads to success in a Dragon year! Monkey can hit the jackpot in Dragon year and win big. A very fortunate year for work, health, love, marriage, and children.
PHOENIX (Rooster) - Anticipate a fantastic year now that Hare year is over. You’ve not had much good fortune in the past three years, but luck is with you in 2012 to improve all areas of your life. The spotlight shines on Phoenix, success is guaranteed, and rewards are harvested. Dragon’s inspirational energy is ideal for your creative mind. Dress in your finest plumage and join the show. An excellent year for marriage. Dragon year brings opportunities for you Phoenix, and next year Serpent 2013 can be even better!
DOG - Like a real dog, a person born in the Dog year possesses the admirable qualities of loyalty and integrity of character. In all your dealings, including financial, you are truthful and work for the collective good. None of this is true for the Dragon, who is your exact opposite! Dragon dreams, Dog does. Dragon can dazzle with smoke and mirrors, whereas Dog is practical, realistic, and down to earth. So be cautious in this Dragon year. Maintain your humanist ideals and not get swept up in Dragon materialism. Stay steady, strong, and true.
PIG – Pig would rather enjoy life and all of life’s little pleasures instead of chasing status and money – both of which are highly prized by the Dragon. But Pig still has a great time feasting, celebrating, and enjoying the party in Dragon year. Luck comes Pig’s way, success is achieved at work, love is found or deepens, and Pig enjoys recognition and respect from others. Just be aware that Pig can be gullible, and swindlers are out in force in a Dragon year, so stay sweet and kind, and nobody’s fool. Travel is enriching and offers delightful discoveries.
DRAGON YEAR TALKS
Please join me for my Year of the Water Dragon public talks:
Friday afternoon January 27, 1:00 – 2:30 PM
JCCSF Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
3200 California Street, San Francisco CA
Free of charge and everyone is welcome
Friday evening February 3, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
East West Books
324 Castro Street, Mountain View CA
$10 in advance or $12 at the door
Happy new Moon and happy New Year,