The Year of the Water Dragon

The dragon is the only mythical animal in the Chinese zodiac, separate the myths from facts about this year of the Dragon!

Happy Lunar New Year!  As a Momma with a penchant for Chinese astrology (check out this post on the Chinese Gender Calendar) and a baby water dragon on the way, I wanted to set the record straight about this year’s zodiac animal.  So, the question that begs to be answered: Is the year of the Black Water Dragon really that special?  And the answer is: No, not really, but it certainly sounds like it is!

Does the Black Water Dragon sign only happen once every 60 years?

A lot has been made about the fact that “The Black Water Dragon happens only once in every 60 years!”  When I first heard this even I was seized with a feeling of pride, mystery and amazement.  But when I consulted my trusty Chinese astrology book, I soon realized that every single person’s birth year animal and associated element comes only once every 60 years.  So, you have an interesting choice to make when asked about your baby’s special birth year.  You can either be a Chinese zodiac snob (like me) and set the record straight with a: “Well, technically every zodiac occurs only once in every 60 years;” or you can rub it in with a: “Well, my baby’s zodiac, you know The Black Water Dragon, happens only ONCE in every 60 years!”  Either way you are technically right but you may not make a lot of friends at the playground either way.

Why is it called a “Black” dragon?

What makes a water dragon black? A lack of blue ink?

This threw me for a loop too, since I knew well in advance that we were going to try to conceive a water dragon, I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden it turned form blue to black.  In Chinese astrology each year also has an associated element, with this year’s being water.  Each element also has an associated color, and black is the color typically associated with the water element–thus the fuller-titled, and slightly more annoying, “Black Water Dragon.”

I have to call out the ancient Chinese astrologers here–I just don’t see how black is associated with water.  I think it’s safe to say that the ancient cultures throughout time have typically associated water with the color blue (I’m thinking of the Nile painted vibrant lazuli in Egypt).  Why did the Chinese associate the water element to black, instead?  According to my book, “Chinese Astrology” by Dr. Henning Hai Lee Yang, the water element is governed by the moon and “[t]his element belongs to the night and to winter.”  So, I can give them that, water would certainly look black at night.  In Dr. Yang’s book, the elements are more loosely associated with ranges of colors instead of just one in particular and that makes more sense to me.

Colors Associated with Chinese Elements According to Dr. Yang:

  • Wood–Green
  • Fire–Red, Violet and Orange
  • Earth–Yellow, Browns and Golden colors
  • Metal–White, Silver and Golden colors
  • Water–Black, Blue and Grey

The water element will play a key role this year. I’m thinking it’s time to start my three-year-old with swimming lessons!

Does the year of the Black Water Dragon symbolize the “End of the World” or other dramatic changes?

No doubt by now you’ve heard the conspiracy theory that the world will end in 2012.  It’s no coincidence that this much-hyped year is the year of the dragon.  Take a guess as to the last year of the dragon?  Maybe you recall the Y2K scare of 2000, another year the world was going to end (or at least the technological side of it) and another year of the Dragon–the Metal Dragon to be precise.  I think both the Mayans and the Hindus have predicted December 21st, 2012 to be the exact cut-off date for the entire globe (well, at least we get to enjoy almost all of the 12 months, right?).  Skeptics of the 2012 theory point to the fact that believers of this end-of-the-world theory may mistakenly think of the Mayan and Hindu cosmologies as linear rather than cyclical.  And the Chinese astrological calendar is no exception.  With a 60 year cycle for all zodiac combinations, this year of the Dragon is far from the end of the calendar but is sure to be unpredictable and bring with it great waves of change.

So what does the Chinese astrological calendar have to say about this year?  It actually predicts a better future for mankind, with some countries such as (big surprise here) China, taking prominent roles on the world stage.  According to author Shelly Wu, of the book “The Definitive Book of Chinese Astrology” the “6,000 year-old art [of Chinese astrology] [predicts that] our planet should progress quite nicely in the next two years.  2012 and 2013 correspond to the ‘lucky’ Dragon and the ‘wise’ Snake years; [and] the Dragon and Snake together make up the life-palace of Spirituality.”  That is not to say there will not be a fair share war, famine, and natural disasters this year but nothing to the extent that we are all wiped out all at once.  And for a Momma about to bring a new member of her family into this world, there is no possible way I can even entertain the thought that it’s all just going to end–at least not right now (I’ll get back to you when I’m 70).

As can be imagined, since this is the year of the Water element, water as a natural force will be a dominate factor this year and the next year (the year of the water snake).  Think: flooding, droughts, high or low precipitation, hurricane, typhoons, tsunami, etc…  Shelly Wu confirms that “[t]he energetic high point of the year is the dragon moon, which is from May 20 to June 18 (new moon is May 20, full moon is June 4 and dragon moon is over June 18).”  So, expect something dramatic!

Will my baby be born in the year of the Water Dragon?

The year of the Water Dragon begins on January 23, 2012 and ends on February 9, 2013.  Check your due date to see where you fall.  I knew that we had until May of 2012 to conceive a dragon baby–so if a “Black Water Dragon” sounds like a really cool zodiac to you, get cracking!  Concerned about what sex baby to conceive?  Check out our post on the accuracy of the Chinese Gender Calendar!


6 thoughts on “The Year of the Water Dragon

  1. bellaquest

    lol! Funny rant about an annoying topic i did hear about it an awful lot! so wonderful that baby is doing well…

  2. SheilaSellsSeashells

    You’de be astonished at how many young kids believe that the end of the world is happening this year. My daughter is in Jr. High and I hear her talk about it with her friends. Reminds me of y2k  

  3. Tim Morris

    We have a “Black Water Dragon” baby on the way too, and it was completely unplanned.  :)  They are also going to be a Scorpio, and if things work out as we fear, possibly a Cross Quarter Samhain baby.  The world will never be the same I fear.

    1. Kristen

       Congratulations on your baby dragon!  I just read an article about the “dragon craze” in China as couples all over the country were trying feverishly to conceive a dragon!

  4. Tegan

    I got pregnant in August/September of 2011. My friend was all excited about how the baby was going to be a black water dragon, very lucky, and to boot a baby boy.

    So now my baby, born May 31 of 2012, no different from any other baby (or lucky), is 4 months old. Loves television, color, nursing, and getting naked.


    1. Tegan

      Noting here that I had no idea our baby was going to be a black water dragon or the significance, aside from my Chinese friend being crazy excited over it. 😛


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