Lunar Tunes

Lunar years don’t line up neatly with our Gregorian calendar, but it will be the Year of the Dragon from this weekend until sometime between late January and late February in 2025, with the exact date determined by the timing of the second new moon after the next winter solstice.

The dragon is my sign: this Year of the Dragon will be the seventh I’ve seen, counting my kick-off in 1952. The underlying mythology of zodiacs does not speak to me, but a 12-year cycle does offer a different template for thinking about my life in a longer chunk of time than a season or a year. My default for that long view has always been to go by decades (perhaps a side-effect of Canada having gone metric just before the start of my third dragon cycle).

Ah, I remember how much energy I had
in my twenties.
Or was it my thirties?

Clearly, my seventies will be the “Or-was-it?” decade.

Zodiac cycles don’t offer me as neat a way to reference them as my decades do, likely because I have never felt the need to remember things according to which of my six zodiac cycles I was in at the time. Nonetheless, as the dragon comes around again it reminds me of the grand sweep of life’s cycles, overlapping though they may have been, like my years of schooling which were smeared across my years of child-raising in the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich that was my twenties. Or was it my thirties?

Anyway, in the general messiness of life, almost any familiar pattern can be comforting, anchoring me to what has been and inviting me to what may yet be.


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10 Responses to Lunar Tunes

  1. barbara carlson says:

    Living a long time, and asked by “young people” what life was like — way back — in the 90s, makes me believe in relativity. The 90s? For me only a few years ago. Hardly 30!
    Decades are patterns, if messy ones, but we still try to define them with a name. Will calling this year The Year of the Dragon really mean anything when every year lately seems to be wildly threatening with far-reaching flames?
    But remember it’s the only mythical creature in the Chinese horoscopian pantheon — it’s only as real as you want it to be.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I think we’d have to live more fully with(in) the zodiac for it to come close to supplanting our cultural default of decade groupings. Or maybe just celebrating the transitions for two weeks would do it!

  2. Marion says:

    I’ve always thought seven-year cycles fit into the human growth and development patterns. That may have been triggered by learning about the British 7-up series, where they followed a group of children starting at seven years of age and every seven years after that. I forget how long it went on for, but it was into their adulthood.
    ‘My’ phases:
    0-7 – little kid phase
    7-14 – big kid phase
    15-21 – developing into an adult, physically if not in other ways
    22-28 – figuring out what being an adult is all about
    29-35 – realizing that OMG you’re really an adult and starting to deal with it
    36-42 – and so on, middle-life crises and etc. I think we can all craft subheadings for the rest of the phases, based on what happened in our own lives.

    Anyway, that’s my Sunday morning philosophy.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – Fun! And interesting. Those years before the end of high school cover a lot of phases – I think you’ve captured them.

  3. Tom Watson says:

    Thinking of Marion’s stages, what happens when we arrive at the “very old kid” stage but there’s still a good dollop of the “young kid” left in us?

  4. The idea of examining my life relative to decades or to cosmic cycles beyond the yearly circuit of the Earth around Our Star overwhelms me. How the rotations of the signs of the zodiac could produce universal human characteristics of any kind seems to me to be fantastical. If you add the Chinese “element” of wood to this dragon year, you get “significant” colours attached to it (blue and gold), which leaves you up to your eyebrows in nuggets of “wisdom” and taboos that could constrain your choices and behaviour — or provide excuses for them to the superstitious. Think of the effort of examining your “dragon years” with those complexities! I can fathom an event, such as a conjunction of a celestial event with a human one — as the Bethlehem star with the birth of Jesus — might impel certain kinds of human behaviour — the journey of the Magi — or confirm a prophetic foresight. Certainly, I am in favour of a two-week festival in February to offset the painful withering of winter, but it would take more than dragon-song insomnia to galvanize me into creating one or even to join in. The local sled dog races were such an event that lasted a few days and required weeks of civic input, until the weather changes — dare I say climate changes? — melted the trails and forced the village to reconstruct its identity as the “sled dog capital of Ontario.” Good luck to you in your 2024 dragon year — and watch out for dogs.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I could never see the appeal, logical or mythological, of any zodiac scheme. But at my best, I can find it inspiring rather than overwhelming to take the longer view. Not to do an assessment –that would be overwhelming–but to remember that I have some amount of time left, and not to fritter it away.

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