AN INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN LEVITT ABOUT THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY
by Mark Hyena, Urban Animal, SFGate (online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle)
January 19th, 2004 – Will 2004 be a foolish year? Will all serious human endeavors collapse into silly shenanigans and goofy chatter as we helplessly slip on cosmic banana peels? Be prepared: The Year of the Monkey (the Chinese New Year) starts Jan. 22. San Francisco Taoist astrologer Susan Levitt offers guidance to not only Monkeys but also Rats, Oxen, Dragons, Pigs and other human beasts as I query her on the 5,000-year-old astrological method. What are Monkey people like (people who are born this year, and every 12 years before this one 1992, 1980, etc.)?
People born in Monkey years are ingenious, sharp, alert, entertaining, mercurial and aggressive. Powerful Monkeys have strong leadership potential. They have to be the leader, because they don’t allow anyone else to tell them what to do! They can have successful careers as actors, like Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis. Monkeys are also great in other types of entertainment, and in business — if they get to run the show. Monkey people are also often bohemians, artists and free spirits.
Monkey people like get-rich schemes. They like to work smart, but not hard. They are not patient. They are not 9-5 people, and they don’t care about pensions. They are very creative and curious, and they change careers a lot. In their work habits, they are very different from Ox, who enjoys hard labor.
What will 2004 be like, economically, with a frivolous ape as its mascot?
Monkey year is a time of courage, action and devotion to the wildest of moneymaking schemes. Business success can be attained, but woe to the gullible or dull witted! People are going to be working the shrewdest angle this year to get the best deal and win big.
I heard from a divorced woman at a party that Monkey people are philandering sluts — they should be dated only with extreme caution. Is that rumor correct?
Monkeys are very sexual and seductive. But in love affairs, Monkeys can be tricksters. They love the chase, the pursuit, but they have trouble sustaining interest. They get easily bored, and they can have trouble maintaining commitment. In relationships, they often “monkey” around, because they seek new excitement. But they are excellent mates for people that they are compatible with.
Who is Monkey compatible with, and why?
Dragon, Rat and other Monkeys are Monkey’s best mates. All three are extroverted, dynamic, active, passionate, vigorous, powerful and entertaining, But they can be selfish, egocentric and too dominating.
There are four compatibility triads. Ox, Serpent and Rooster are also good partners. Another compatibility triad is Hare, Sheep and Boar. And also Tiger, Horse and Dog.
What animal signs are incompatible with Monkey? Who has conflicts with the frenzied primate?
Monkey is least compatible with the mighty Tiger, because they are opposite each other in the 12-year cycle of animals. A relationship between Tiger and Monkey is never recommended. Neither will compromise, and both want their own way. They are both strong and aggressive, and it is a standoff between them.
Ox is also not a good match for Monkey. Oxen are steady and methodical. These attributes are not appreciated by anarchic Monkeys.
I have heard about Fire Horses and Metal Dragons. What is that? Are there subsets to each animal category?
Yes. There are five Taoist elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These elements are important in Chinese medicine, and they also rotate through all the animal signs of the Chinese calendar — 2004 is Wood Monkey Year. This means that the year is all about growth, learning, expansion, travel.
Who should be cautious in 2004?
Tiger should be aware that this is not their lucky year. This is their year of inactivity, to slow down and rest, which is not easy for the mighty Tiger. Tigers must think before they pounce — 2004 is not a favorable year for Tiger to get married, or for any other major endeavor. Tiger does best to wait for Dog Year, 2006, when Tigers will be lucky.
Horses can have wild luck and sudden gains this year, but they have to be sure to avoid accidents, especially when they are driving or cutting with metal tools.
What are Monkey people like as parents? It seems like they would be terrible.
Monkeys are good parents if they have kids they are compatible with, like little Monkeys, Dragons and Rats. Monkey moms and dads are not so good with Ox children, who want regular schedules, like oatmeal every morning at 8 am. Colin Powell is an Ox. He would have been a difficult child for a Monkey to raise, because Monkey won’t submit to a routine.
What are Monkey kids like?
If you have a Monkey child, expect a lot of energy, a wild chatterbox that needs a lot of stimulus and is always looking for the next thing to break.
I just missed getting a Monkey child. My second daughter was born in early January.
Perfect! Your child will be a Sheep. A little lamb girl. That’s nice in a daughter — she’ll be a perfect, beautiful, feminine little angel. Sheep are noncompetitive and full of contentment. And she will definitely want comfy things.
How did the Chinese system evolve using animals instead of constellations, like Western astrology?
The Chinese calendar’s use of animals as a reference is a folk method. It is from peasant farmers, who were observant of the traits of animals. There is another Chinese astrology method that uses the stars, like Western astrology. That method is based on the Pole Star, the North Star and on movements of stars in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
In conclusion, do you have any general advice for people in 2004? What should we avoid?
I advise people in 2004 to try to not indulge in “Monkey mind.” By that I mean, it is easy this year to jump to a branch, peel a banana, take a bite, drop it, jump to the next branch, peel a banana, take a bite, drop it — on and on like that in a useless cycle. It is a good year to meditate, study and cultivate clear thoughts, to keep ourselves from Monkey-mind tail chasing.
Also, Monkey Year is the perfect time to read the Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” which stars magical Monkey. You’ll learn all about Monkey’s character traits.
Susan Levitt is the author of “Taoist Astrology,” “Taoist Feng Shui,” “Teen Feng Shui,” “Introduction to Tarot” and “The Complete Tarot Kit.” She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original at: SFGate, January 19th, 2004