Nobody saw it coming!
Feng shui master Marites Allen is, of course, referring to the dreaded, deadly COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the world. Seers, doomsayers, clairvoyants, psychics were all blindsided. Prophet Nostradamus, the man who saw tomorrow, didn’t see it, too, though there are claims he hinted at the emergence of the coronavirus in his quatrains.
UK psychic June Field could only say she “had a feeling of dread, like death was coming.”
“We’re not fortune tellers,” Marites is quick to point out. “Feng shui is all about helping people live in harmony with their surroundings. It can impact lives in many different ways: enhancing wealth, finding love, keeping harmonious relationships, boosting career, improving health and longevity, controlling negative energies, among others.”
Before the pandemic struck, we were jolted by news of the Taal Volcano eruption and suddenly, we had to mask up to protect ourselves from the toxic ashfall. Was this a preview of morbid things to come?
Unfortunately for the incurable romantics, this is not a year for romance because the northwest and the southwest sectors are afflicted with the misunderstanding and argument star.
“When Taal Volcano erupted, I told my friend Ching Cruz, a businesswoman, to stock up on food and other essential household requirements because something else was going to happen—this was not yet it,” Marites recalls in hindsight. “Who would have thought we’d all be walking around with a mask?”
The 60-year cycle
At the stroke of midnight on Feb. 12, we will all bid the Year of the Metal Rat 2020 goodbye, with nary a squeak, and say hello to the Year of the Metal Ox 2021.
But before that, let’s step back in time. In the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Metal Rat is said to bring widespread death and destruction of biblical proportions whenever it comes around every 60 years, especially in China.
We’re not fortune tellers. Feng shui is all about helping people live in harmony with their surroundings.
Take note of the Opium War in 1840, the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, the Great Chinese Famine in 1960 where as many as 45 million died, and now, COVID-19.
The Rat is the first sign in the Chinese animal zodiac. Thus, 2020, the Year of the Metal Rat, signaled a new beginning. However, it was hardly the kind of new beginning we had hoped for or expected. But according to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
Enter the Ox
Enter the Year of Metal Ox, which begins on Feb. 12, 2021 and ends on Jan. 31, 2022.
For starters, Marites maps out this year’s lucky/unlucky directions. ”I’m looking at the Malacañang Palace facade,” she tells us during an online interview. “It’s facing northwest, not really a nice location this year because it has the robbery, misunderstanding, argument star. At the back of the Palace is the Pasig River, which is in the southeast, which this year has the so-called misfortune star.”
She elaborates, “What countries are in the Southeast region? Yes, one of them is the Philippines that has the misfortune star this year. It’s an ugly location because, to quote Murphy’s Law, ‘Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.’“
Lady Luck and Digong
Despite Malacañang’s unlucky location this year, Lady Luck is smiling on its No. 1 resident. President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte was born in the Year of the Rooster (1945), which has the so-called “wealth star this year,” Marites shares. “Lady Luck is on his side. If he’d be beset with issues, that would still come next year—2023, the Year of the Rabbit, which is in conflict with his sign.”
The Year of the Metal Ox is back after 60 years. The last time we had it was in 1961. According to the Chinese calendar, a new cycle in one’s life begins every 60 years.
Looking at 1961 and 2021
“If you look at 1961, you’ll see that it’s a strobogrammatic number, meaning it’s an upside-down number,” says Marites who then proceeds to draw parallels between 1961 and 2021.
In 1961, US President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the increasing influence held by the military industrial complex. If you think about it, today, anything and everything we do—we click, we search—goes to a data base. Google knows exactly who we are.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the United States. This year, Joe Biden was recently sworn in as the 46th US president.
Marites adds, “The chart of 2021 is also, more or less, similar to 2012. Two of the most significant world events that occurred in 2012 were the production of tight oil (unconventional oil from shale and limestone rock deposits) and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, which caused over $70 billion worth of damage in the US. Here at home, Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) killed over a thousand people, with more than 800 missing, dramatizing the effects of climate change.”
Having learned our lessons from the past, we’re luckily now better armed to deal with nature’s wrath and avert a grim date with history.
A glimmer of light, a flicker of hope
Is there even a glimmer of light—or a flicker of hope—at the end of the tunnel?
“Yes, 2021 is a year of economic recovery and long-term investments,” Marites gingerly notes. “We’re not yet out of the woods, but the fourth quarter of the year may be better as the economy starts to work again. The world has changed and everyone has to change. And it takes us, as a person, to really make a change.”
Marites gives us a sneak peek of what (or what not) to expect in the Year of the Metal Ox.
- Usually, it’s always better to celebrate Chinese New Year before Feb. 4, but this year, it falls on Feb. 12, when the money luck is weak. So, hold on to whatever cash you have. If you want to close your business and pick it up later, do it!
- Anything that has to do with the Internet, connectivity, e-commerce, computers, technology will thrive. Our life now is hooked to Zoom. Today, we can buy anything and everything online—from toothpicks to fresh picks, from salad dressings to dresses, from soaps to canned soups, from apples to appliances, and the shopping list goes on.
- Anything to do with courier service is a godsend as everyone avails themselves of assorted home deliveries.
- With businesses realigning their operations, even call center companies now have found a new calling. For instance, a call center company in Gingoog (Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao) has signed up to take food delivery calls in the United Kingdom and is even hiring additional call center agents.
- With some businesses closing or downsizing, warehousing (where to store office stuff) holds a lot of promise this year.
- Anything to do with pharma, health and wellness have healthy prospects. In this pandemic, people are learning to do yoga and exercise to keep fit while grounded at home.
- The Year of the Metal Ox will see the digitalization of businesses and the rise of homepreneurs. Suddenly, home bakers are rising faster than yeast and doing brisk business from the comforts of their homes.
- 2021 is not just a year of vaccination but also of self-realization. As you can probably see on Facebook posts, many are happy to discover they could cook, bake, bike, drive around the village.
- With everybody hunkering down at home, the furniture business is moving well because people are buying or hoarding things for the home.
- Luxury fashion is in vogue, that is, for people with money, such as the triple-A class. Did you know that in the UK, Ralph Lauren recorded a 30-percent increase in sales? It has even diversified into more fashionable outfits with the PPE (personal protective equipment) theme.
- Anything to do with energy, like solar panels, shows a bright future.
- Travel is going to boom. When it comes back, it will come back so big! So, if you have the opportunity to avail yourself of advance bookings and cheap deals, go for it.
- Unfortunately for the incurable romantics, this is not a year for romance because the northwest (home of the patriarch or father) and the southwest (sector of the matriarch or mother) are afflicted with the misunderstanding and argument star. The northwest also has the so-called robbery star which can trigger hot tempers. Marriages can be affected by infidelity so if you’re married, beware of third parties.
- Whether romance is in the air or not, the Year of the Metal Ox will see a surge of babies. The idea of quarantined young couples cooped up in the bedroom can be pregnant with meaning!
So, let’s all welcome the Year of the Metal Ox with a healthy dose of optimism and bullish hard work.
For Marites Allen’s website, click here.