2020: Year Of The Metal Rat


A Year to Make Your MarkBy Richard Giles

Welcome to the Chinese Rat Year for 2020 and a new decade. Chinese tradition employs both a Solar and Lunar calendar and the New Moon day of Saturday 25th January 2020, is the official Lunar New Year celebration day. Using the Solar calendar, the year starts on 4th February beginning the new Zodiac animal cycle. The New Moon day of Saturday 25th January 2020, is the official Lunar New Year celebration day. This day is when the dragons and fireworks come out onto the streets.


The Rat Year signals the end of a 12 year cycle and also the beginning of the new decade of the 2020’s. There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac and they finish at the Pig year and begin again with the go-getter and active Rat. In the big cycle last time we experienced the Metal Rat year was in 1960 when we had the previous start of a sixty year cycle to today.  What do you recall about the beginning of the 1960’s, if you were here then?

The Sixties ushered in a period of drastic change in the world with the shifts in musical tastes, film making, art breakthroughs, social and political justice, the growth of the natural medicine industry and the advances in technology that came via the Sixties. The Beatles’ Paul and John met in 1957 at the time John was in The Quarry Men. Paul and John got together then but the name The Beatles only emerged in 1960 after a run through of names such as The Silver Beats and The Silver Beatles. Bob Dylan was meanwhile playing in coffee houses and folk cafes. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards  both 17 years old were at Art School in 1960.  It was two years later they formed the Stones. Phil Spector who had worked with Jerry Lieber & Mike Stiller broke away to form his own label in 1961, while back in 1960 he began to produce music for Curtis Lee and the Paris sisters. It was also in 1960 the Viet Cong emerged in the rice fields of Vietnam. In September the first national televised Presidential Debate aired in the USA. Elvis Presley left the US Army to go public. The Contraceptive Pill was born in December 1960 and shook the world within a few years changing people’s sexual patterns.  In April the US Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed.

The 2020 year and the coming decade will act to profoundly change the world in the same  way we may remember from the 1960’s. It will be as world shaking.  

The Rat’s qualities and its Mythology

The Chinese mythology of the Rat is a tool for some finding insights into the year ahead. (Rat years are 1924, ’36, ’48, ’60, ’72, ’84, ’96, 2008, ’20). The Rat lives underground and burrows and thus he/she is the master of the underworld. He is a symbol of wealth and prosperity and is generous to those whom he enjoys. As an animal the Rat is one of the most intelligent, rated alongside the dolphin and whale as a creature of high native intelligence.  The Rat was the first of all animals to answer the call from the Buddha to take care of the years in the Chinese calendar.  In our culture the rat does not have a great reputation and indeed is detested and reviled as a creature of the plague and of disease. He is solitary, individualistic and self-willed. He’s alert and watchful and its very difficult to influence the Rat. He’s very protective of his/her own secrets and will jealously guard  the part of his life he does want anything to be known about. 

To give you an idea of character here are some celebrity Rats: Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Hugh Grant, Jeremey Irons, Mark Zuckerberg, Tony Robbins, Greg Ritchie, Prince Charles, Al Gore, Hugo Weaving, Andrew Denton, Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Brightman, Robert Plant, Cat Stevens, Stevie Nicks, Johanne Strauss, Toulouse Lautrec, Auguste Rodin, Tchaikovsky, William Shakespeare, Claude Monet, Leo Tolstoy, and Tim Winton.

What is the Rat Year About?

The Chinese zodiac makeup this year is of Yang Metal and Water elements. They come together in a harmonious relationship, but because the characteristic of Yang Metal is more difficult, then their combination can be destructive. Both Metal and Water elements are ‘cold’ elements because they represent the Yin seasons of autumn and winter. Hence the atmosphere of 2020 can tend towards people feeling more liable to resort to direct action and violence to achieve their political or environmental ends  and thus create more conflict.  There will be more impassioned protests, civil unrest, angry demonstrations and riots over issues of social justice, environment and inequalities.

The Chinese Elements of the Year

2020 is symbolised by the two Chinese characters -Yang Metal and the Rat. Yang Metal is the Heavenly Stem (character on top) and the Rat is the Earthly Branch (the bottom). The Rat is a Water element. In the Five Element cycle, Metal gives rise to Water. Because the Stem, Metal supports the Branch, Water, you can say this combination represents a more harmonious relationship. Therefore, you could expect 2020 to be a more peaceful year. It may not always work out that way for several reasons. The ‘cold’ nature of Metal may count.

You can use the Hsia calendar (traditional) and the framework of the Five Element cycles (birth and destruction) to understand the year’s theme. For example, 2018 was Yang Earth Dog (Earth). The Elements are the same so we experienced some harmony.  You can see that the USA and North Korea came to a temporary and peaceful agreement to halt nuclear testing. Then 2019 was Yin Earth Pig which was Earth over Water, in a destructive relationship. Thus, the peace talks between the USA and North Korea broke down, and hostility between the USA and Iran intensified.

I’ve noted that the Fire element is totally absent this year to control the strong Water energy, so we can expect to see water and fire-related disasters, including sea and air accidents. This can include flooding, heavy rainstorms and tsunamis. Further, because the Fire element is gone and both the Metal and Water elements are weakening the Earth element, there will be more serious earth type disasters such as landslides, avalanches, mining accidents, sink holes, building collapses and quakes. Stay aware.

The Chinese Calendar works on a Sixty Year Cycle and 1960 was the previous Yang Metal Rat year.

What happened then gives us clues to the 2020 year. There was a series of major earthquakes  in that year resulting in huge loss of life. Strains between the USSR and the USA escalated when a U-2 spy plane was shot down by Soviet Air Defence Forces in May 1960. The South African Sharpville massacre happened in March when police opened fire on demonstrators killing 69 and injuring 180. On the positive side 17 African countries, including Cameron, Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Somalia, and Madagascar all declared independence. Cyprus also gained independence from Britain that same year.  In the USA, the Greensboro sit-ins were a series of protests that led to the Woolworths chain removing its policy of racial segregation in southern USA shifting everything starting a chain of changes. John F. Kennedy was elected president of the USA in November 1960. 

What’s Your Health Issue In 2020? 

In Traditional Chinese medicine the Metal element represents the breathing organs including the lung, nose, and skin. The Rat who is of Water element is related to the kidney, urinary system, and sexual organs. Excessive Water element this year can cause problems in these areas. And because both the Fire and Earth elements are totally absent in 2020, this contributes to weakness in the stomach leading to digestive problems, the pancreas (diabetes), the immune system and issues with the heart, blood or overall vitality.  There is so much moisture and wetness from the Water year (and the lack of Fire to balance) that it can cause rheumatism and bone diseases. In order to support the weaknesses of the Fire and Earth this year suitable health supplements to take are any antioxidants for regulating the Earth element, and COEnzyme Q10 for enhancing the Fire element.

The Rat Year and The Economy 

Fire element years prevailed from 2013 to 2017. Fire promotes good performances in the stock market which has been the main driving force behind previous market growth. The cycle of the Fire element ended in 2017 and in 2018 Fire entered the grave (a Dog year), resulting in economic setbacks in the world. The Year of the Pig was the termination of Fire element. Now the Water element with the emotion related to fear has begun and the world’s economy is hugely affected. With the Rat in 2020 Fire has gone into an embryo state and thus the general economic atmosphere will slow and the pace of growth slows. Looking back to 2008 (again a Rat Year), Wall Street was in turmoil after the financial tsunami of the Sub Prime Mortgage scandal leading to a recession lasting from 2008 to 2013.

Home & Business Feng Shui in 2020. 

In the Chinese system there are Five Elements and Nine Stars. The Flying Star system helps a Feng Shui practitioner analyse your home and business. Flying Stars move each year to interact with the set Stars of your home. These are general guidelines here – if you need help contact myself or your nearest Feng Shui practitioner.

With the Feng Shui energy of your home and office changing there are ways to take care of this. This year the poor energy called the Yellow Five, or the Star Number 5 symbolising obstacles and misfortune moves to the East sector. It’s best to hang a 6 piece metal wind chime to neutralise the 5, or use metallic items here. The most difficult months will be March, June and December when the monthly Stars trigger the annual 5 Star.  The other poor Star is the Number 2 which brings sickness and worry. Its in the South sector. The traditional method is to use red cord tying together six metal coins.  Hang that in the South. 

The positive Stars are the numbers 8 and 9. The number 8 is in the North West and the 9 is in the West sector. If you have your office, bedroom or main door in one of those sectors its a good year ahead. To enhance the number 9 support it with the Fire element colours (red, bright yellow, orange, purple). In the Nth West of your home or office you can place a set of earthy crystals or bright decoration such as coloured candles or flowers supporting the good number 8.

The Chinese Zodiac – what animal signs work best with this year? Those three animals that do best in the Rat year are the Ox, the Monkey and the Dragon. People born in the year of Horse are said to be “Offending the Grand Duke.” This means, you are in conflict with the energy of the year. Therefore, the Chinese recommend you wear/carry a jade pendant of the OX to reduce any negative effects. 

What’s in Store for Each of the Twelve Animal Signs in 2020? 

This is a guide only to the year.  Remember that this is just a simple picture – for complete forecasts for 2020 look at your Four Pillars Chart which is your full Chinese destiny zodiac chart.  It uses Year, Month, Day and the Hour of your birth to get a picture of your character. Visit a Chinese Astrology Four Pillars site  for a full calculation of your chart.   

That Zodiac sign that’s most unfavourable with the Rat is the Horse. If you were born in the Horse Year (1930, ’42, ’54, ’66, ’78, ’90, ’02, ’14), you are in a direct clash with this year. These clashes bring turbulence, accidents or big changes. You can anticipate more travel  opportunities and its a good year to change jobs or move office or home. You need to carry the jade OX pendant for some protection. Travel: its not recommended to head directly in the direction of the Grand Duke which is North this year. Also take extreme care with any risky sports such as fast cars, piloting aeroplanes, skydiving, or parachuting. You can also be in a clash even if not born in the Horse Year, but born on a Horse Day. Check your zodiac chart. This clash issue can also impact your relationships with a spouse or with any member of the opposite sex.

The Rat brings a Nobleman year for those born on a day or a year of Yin Earth or Yin Wood, or if you were born in years ending in 5 and 9 – such as 1955, 1959, 1965, 1969, 1975, 1979, etc.  The ‘Nobleman’ tag means help comes from heaven to offer rescue and support. The Nobleman Star often brings a solution to obstacles and dangers. If 2020 is your Nobleman year go ahead to develop your new projects.

We can now deal with the Chinese Zodiac Animals here one by one. Note – When the animal is listed here below its element is in brackets.

THE RAT (Water): (1924, ’36, ’48, ’60, ’72, ’84, ’96, 2008, ’20).  The Rat has his/her year now. This can be good or bad for you depending on your attitude to yourself and success. It can be a year of career changes for you and it may also favour moving to a new location. These will work out well if you are positive about it. Health is going to be good but you have to work at it. Its important to put yourself out to help others in 2020. You gain from it. 

THE OX (Earth): (1925, ’37, ’49, ’61, ’73, ’85, ’97, 2009) .  The Ox gains much from this year of the Rat. You will have a great benefit from the combination with a Rat person as they can bring a harmonious situation for you this year.  You will do well in career and if you work hard benefits will come to you in 2020. A good way to focus is to pick a direction you wish to go and work on it, making it a good year for you. 

THE TIGER (Wood): (1926, ’38, ’50, ’62, ’74, ’86, ’98, 2010).  Its not a great year for the Tiger as the Rat and Tiger are not best of friends due to Tiger’s Wood makeup. Your career may slow up and progress will be lighter. It’s more of a year to sort out what you want in life. Look at friends and acquaintances and make some decisions. Love or romance is good this year.

THE RABBIT (Wood): (1927, ’39, 51, ’63, ’75, ’87, ’99, 2011). The year for Rabbits can be a little bit better for you. The best thing to remember in 2020 is to watch how you address people as foot-in-the-mouth disease may affect you this year. The normal worry that overtakes some Rabbits is not useful this year. Be calm and show your appreciation for others so that you can see their potential. Romance is always a possible this year. 

THE DRAGON (Earth): (1928, ’40, ’52, ’64, ’76, ’88, 2000, ’12).   This is a year in your favour with the Rat being a friend for the year. The year ahead can work smoothly for you. Home becomes important for you in 2020 and its good to look at what can be done to improve it. Ancestors may play a part in your thoughts this year even though they have departed. Make sure all errors of the past are forgiven in your life.

THE SNAKE (Fire): (1929, ’41, ’53, ’65, ’77, ’89, 2001, ’13).  This year is not the most favourable for the Snake.  However there is money there for you if you make the moves towards it. Your personal approaches to others are important this year and also the way you present yourself.  Make good connections this year to help you along your way in 2020. Team up with a Monkey or an Ox this year for your benefit.

THE HORSE (Fire): (1930, ’42, ’54, ’66, ’78, ’90, 2002, ’14).  The year of the Rat is not your best year as you oppose each other across the Chinese zodiac. You can experience instability this year and family and friends will be your best help in this case. Look to your health and diet in 2020.  Its a year to think about your life and plan for longer term goals next year. Carry the jade pendant of an Ox this year which will help to neutralise the Rat influence.

THE SHEEP/GOAT (Earth): (1919, ’31, ’43, ’55, ’67, ’79, ’91, 2003, ’15).  Your main issues in 2020 will be to focus on your children (or other’s) and your career. Your life will feel much more satisfactory if this is where you look to this year. People will be seeking you out for help and advice much more in this year and if you work in the health or service industries its very good for you in 2020.  Don’t overreach yourself in the year and make stability one of your goals for the next twelve months.

THE MONKEY (Metal): (1920, ’32, ’44, ’56, ’68, ’80, ’92, 2004, ’16).   Monkeys benefit from the year of the Rat. Your work situation will improve and you will find a better money flow increase in 2020.  If you feel you have not been recognised for your worth then this year will be a turnaround for you. You may even move locations or shift jobs to improve your position. The Rat favours you but make sure you don’t step on toes, especially with people from your past. 

THE ROOSTER (Metal): (1921, ’33, ’45, ’57, ’69, ’81, ’93, 2005, ’17).   Roosters are going to do pretty well out of 2020 and more is coming your way.  Relationships may also improve for you in all fields, both close ones and work related. If money comes in to you look at putting it into investments for the future.  Relationship troubles will ease in 2020.  Take care of your assets. Take a lesson from your heart and follow it this year and cooperation is a theme for you now.

THE DOG (Earth): (1922, ’34, ’46, ’58, ’70, ’82, ’94, 2006, ’18).   If the last few years have been slow and poorly for you then this year is going to improve. You may find yourself in the spotlight. If you have done well in the past few years, then the opposite may happen.  Avoid being drawn into other people’s dramas this year.  Set aside times for yourself and go away for the weekends with plenty of time to relax and escape. You will benefit from travel and moving around – meet new people this year.

THE PIG (Water): (1923, ’35, ’47, ’59, ’71, ’83, ’95, 2007, ’19).   The Rat and the Pig can do well together if all things are favourable. You will experience support from others in 2020. Take time to think about how you present yourself and what you put on as you go into the world. There will be much activity going on around you and its important to make sure you can move along with some of it. Others will appreciate your sense of cheer and goodwill. Your best times come from being out and moving around this year.

May you Greatly Prosper, Experience Abundance and be Successful in 2020.

Richard Giles is a Feng Shui Practitioner of 20 years and an Astrologer of 30 years. He studied in the QLD region and made a study trip to China as well as part of his Feng Shui course. He’s been seeing clients in SE Qld and Nth NSW for some twenty years, and producing a yearly account of the Chinese Year ahead for 15 years. You can contact him on 07.5435.0158 or  Text – 0421.180.477. E: [email protected]

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Richard Giles, Feng Shui Practitioner and Astrologer, PO Box 489,   MALENY, QLD .

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