Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit

coverwebOur trusty scribe reveals the mysteries ahead for dear, sweet Santa Cruz
The study of astrology is, bear with me here, as old as the stars. Well, maybe as old as the youngest possible star. The need to find answers when none seem possible or readily available would seem to be human nature, as would the corresponding desire to reject astrology altogether as, per my grandfather, “a load of hooey.” From Alchemy to Geomancy to the I Ching, there is an undeniable urge to know what’s coming—a little preview of what’s on your personal road ahead.

Searching for guidance, or at least guide posts, in life is not exclusive to the superstitious, and certainly not relegated to the common rabble (no offense intended—I self-identify as rabble). Political and cultural leaders throughout history have turned an ear toward perceived spiritual or psychic henchmen for inspiration. Russian Czar Nicolas II  had Rasputin, Napoleon had Madame Lenormand, our own White House had Billy Graham, Billy Graham and more Billy Graham. Even young Manek had Madame Sousatzka (you didn’t think we could escape a Shirley MacLaine reference, did you?) There’s comfort in believing our destiny is pre-written, and finding an all-knowing person, idea or method to peek into future chapters. This is why astrology is the number two money-maker on the Internet. Insert wink here.

That’s No Ordinary Rabbit

We’ve been through quite the astrological hubbub over the last few months. The alleged rearranging of sun signs threatened to turn Aquarians into Capricorns and proposed the creation of the dangerously named Ophiuchus sign. cover_rabbitThe subsequent revelation that this breaking news was actually 2,000 years old and largely irrelevant brought a collective sigh of relief. As if on the rebound from a bad relationship, we turned to the Chinese astrological charts (which quite frankly come with a few thousand years of indisputable accuracy, no irrational revisions turning Horses into Goats, and the welcoming familiarity of dumplings and firecrackers). It is with the co-opted authority of a seriously established astrological system that I say, “Welcome, ye of little, great or no faith, to the Year of the Rabbit!”

I can feel the worldwide exhale at this pronouncement. “Phew! Rabbits are cute! This is going to be a … cute year.”

Well, maybe in comparison to the exiting Year of the Tiger (scary!), but don’t get ahead of yourself. Rabbits are, indeed, cute. But what’s that just under the cuddly exterior? Hypertension? Over-commitment? Nervous energy? A raw food diet?

The Chinese astrological chart is based on a 12-year cycle, each animal sign celebrated every dozen years. Anyone who has eaten in a Chinese restaurant knows from educational placemats what sign he or she is, and how exacting the description can be. Why yes, I really am a dragon—eccentric and complex, passionate and healthy. And sure enough, my love interest is self-centered. Amazing.

Like many of my fellow armchair astrologers I am fascinated by the implications, and as a curious dragon I can’t turn away.

While I’d love to discuss the coming year with each and every one of you and what it might hold in store, I simply can’t; I’ve got children to feed. But since we all live in Santa Cruz together, let’s approach this in a time-saving logical way, and, some might argue, an aptly holistic community way—let’s treat our hometown like she’s just another truth seeker. If Santa Cruz proper is the subject of our dalliance today, we can determine the appropriate animal symbol by using the date found on the official Seal of Santa Cruz—1866. Santa Cruz, we are a Fire Tiger! (Of course there are arguments for different years to implement for this experiment, but can you really truly argue with a City Seal? It’s our birth certificate, sans the inked footprint.)


The Story So Far

First an overview (simplified) of  2011’s year of the Rabbit, which began on Feb. 3. The Rabbit year is rumored to be fortunate, and nearly everything will come more easily. We can look forward to peace, joy, calmness and many happy moments. This is excellent news, especially after 12 months of Tiger year that hit us upside the head with change, conflict and disaster. Throughout history, tiger years are associated with turmoil, political and social instability. Good riddance!

cover_tigerNow to confirm our Santa Cruz Tiger personality: Fire Tigers are either born leaders or rebels according to my sources, and, quite frankly, that works just fine. Santa Cruz is both! So far, so good.

A popular Chinese astrology site states, “Tiger can be quarrelsome and overly aggressive at times, but her innate charisma and charm are usually sufficient to alleviate her from any serious problems that may arise from a lack of patience and foresight.”  Phew! A perfect illustration of our habit of insisting that beach parking cost a dollar a minute, that burritos include lettuce, and that a train to Davenport will cure lupus, balanced by the irresistible family fun of our Beach Boardwalk, the tasty swells at our break points and the chocolate-covered bacon at Marini’s. How much more Tiger can we get?

But wait, there’s more, according to the expert interwebs:

“Tigers are admirable and warm hearted”  (homeless shelters!), “… have a natural, raw appeal that is extremely magnetic to other signs,” (beaches!), “… is not just about physical attraction,” (UCSC!), “… opponents are wise to be frightened by this feline” (Pack Your Trash, Valley Go Home, You Go, We Tow!).


I Have to Tell You About the Future

The next step on our increasingly inane journey is to put these two great tastes together, Rabbit year for Tiger Santa Cruz, and discover what’s in store. At first glance one might assume an all-you-can-eat buffet, considering the Tiger-Bunny food chain rankings, but that glance would be incorrect.

In my hours of research, I saw the same predictions again and again for Tigers in the Rabbit year, along these lines, “The Tiger has to be quick if they are to be successful in business or the opportunities may disappear.” Does anything more clearly point to La Bahia or the Rispin Mansion? Let’s move, Santa Cruz (you, too, Capitola, you Dog, you).

“For Tigers who are still studying in the Year of the Metal Rabbit 2011, they have to work extra hard in order to obtain better results.” Clearly a call to balance those books, fund those libraries, re-open that teen center!

cover_roosterI’m sorry to relay that Tiger’s 2011 wealth luck in the upcoming year will be disappointing. Tiger (Santa Cruz) will have a steady income (thank goodness) but we are unlikely to win the lottery. Seriously—more than one source pointed that out in no uncertain terms. So, since the lottery is out, what can we do, as a Tiger City, to better our fortune? One suggestion for more financial luck is to put a black gourd or lucky amulet at our bed frame. I volunteer to undertake this task on behalf of us all, and I guess I’ll just put it on the beach … no, wait … in Pogonip, oh, no, we can’t sleep there either … in front of City Hall? Where exactly is this Tiger City’s bed?

Another method for Tigers to improve luck in 2011 is to hang a “hundred blessing picture” in their living room, so naturally I’ll hang a hundred dollar bill at Caffe Pergolesi if everyone’s OK with that. You’re welcome.

On the health front, this is Tiger’s year for extra vigilance, although, really, can Santa Cruz be any more vigilant about health? If one were to be struck by a passing bus, odds are pretty good that a bulk herb bin would break the fall. In any case, according to experts, illness is ready to strike, especially in or around water (rogue waves?), and we will have a tendency to overwork. It is recommended that Tiger has regular check-ups this year. A collective health industry smiles.

What horoscope would be complete without a romantic outlook? I am reading quite a bit about a favorable connection between Tiger (Santa Cruz) and Dog (well, hello there, Capitola), but we are reminded to not make empty promises (rail stop?). Also, Tiger may be the subject of office gossip and should keep a low profile at work, talk less and work hard. Take heed, you chatty Tigers. The City Council open forum has a time limit!

While Capitola may be the Dog we’re drawn to, I’m going to take a stab in the dark and note that Sacramento (Rooster) is one of our more influential life partners in this dramatization. Wouldn’t you agree?

Along that vein, Rooster (Sacramento) is hard-working, shrewd and bold, slightly eccentric and … selfish. Aha! Talented yet devoted beyond their capability (Redevelopment fund crisis?). Rooster loves to be in the spotlight and especially enjoys entertaining guests (lobbyists?). One of the best-dressed of all the signs, Rooster (Sacramento) likes to dream, but is disappointed by loved one (Santa Cruz), for the reality usually doesn’t match up to the dreams (fiscal peril?). Such a common romantic story. “I dreamed all of your grade schools met the state benchmarks! And yet, sadly, because of my inherent selfishness and insistence on being right despite all facts bearing out the cover_dragoncontrary, they aren’t.”  (It is here the Tiger’s courageous nature marches on with, “I wish I knew how to quit you, Rooster.”)

It comes as no surprise that Tiger (that’s us, try to keep up) is least compatible with Rooster (Sacto). As if the backpack vs. briefcase argument didn’t point that out already in the County Seat, State Capital grudge match.


I Drink Your Milkshake, Rabbit!

In order to give my cockamamie theories some credibility, I attempted to contact local Chinese astrologers to share my musings. Shockingly, none returned my calls. Faced with the dilemma of an article without a live source, I delved into my own past and called upon a close friend who is half Chinese and half Texan “So half of what I know will be right.” This is Patty Cooper, friend, former roommate and inherently knowledgeable about the Chinese zodiac, or at least willing to discuss it, “… maybe because I’m Chinese and I seem wise.”

Patty did confirm that we are a Tiger-like lot. “The tiger is very charismatic but also can be irrational.”  She was spot on—I was giddy.

And as for the year of the Rabbit? “Rabbits are annoying and irritating. Mostly. They seriously get on my nerves.” I inquired whether the entire year would be annoying and irritating, and how we might handle that. She advised, “Rabbits are also very afraid and twitchy, so the best thing the Tiger could do is eat the rabbit … the best thing you can do this year is not let the irritating stuff get on your nerves and get the best of you. Focus on what’s important.’

That’s good advice.

“That’s the Chinese Half talking.”

What now, Santa Cruz Tiger? Well, aside from avoiding lottery tickets I propose we follow Patty’s advice (focus, people!) and also:
Get regular check-ups and take lots of rest.
Be nice to dogs.
Eat the Rabbit. Eat it up.

Kim Luke is a Dragon, breathing fire and challenging all comers. Defy me at [email protected]

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