Features and Occasionals

Life Will Be a Barrel of Monkeys

By Valerie Litchfield

In the mood for some bigtime fun? The Chinese New Year for 2016 will be bringing it, with the arrival of the Yang Fire Monkey. The actual Chinese New Year starts on February 8. But you may have felt the energy over the past month. This action-packed animal has come to delight us, play tricks on us and entertain us in carnivalesque ways.

According to Chinese legend, the Monkey is the ninth animal in the 12-year cycle of Chinese astrology. The number nine in this system is deemed very lucky as it carries the power of three, three times. In ancient times, the number three symbolized the force of initiation uniting with the energy of germination, resulting in fruitfulness. In the feng shui system, the number nine encourages us to magnify and realize our dreams and brings an increased self-awareness of our truest desires. Con­nect­ing to these desires can be an effective way to silence the Monkey mind and infuse our desires with the power of imagination that can bring them to life in the coming year.

Fire, the ruling element this year, is part of the Five Elements of Taoism. Ancient Taoists observed repeated patterns of expression in nature and the changing of the seasons and interpreted and described these patterns as Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. The elements fuel each other and represent the transformation that occurs in the world around us; they are metaphors for describing how things interact and relate with each other and how change is orchestrated in the universe. Fire element is the expansive energy of summer, and brings illumination to an already energetic Monkey. Fire element will be made more dynamic because it’s yang and symbolizes the brightness of the sun. This warm, optimistic energy brings happiness, ignites passions and opportunities as well as making it easier to reach out to people in friendship.

Monkey can be a trickster, so nothing is straightforward. We can try to attend to every detail, but somewhere along the line a monkey wrench will be thrown into our plans causing them to go awry. Be advised to have an alternate plan if you’re buying or selling, planning a party, changing jobs or going on vacation. Monkey years are notorious for being a roller-coaster ride, so surrender to the journey. Obstacles, like hurled bananas, will also play a part; plots and schemes, real or imagined, will appear in the workplace, on social media and in family relationships. Monkey, being an opportunist, will find ways to succeed, no matter what. Monkey energy releases inhibition and promotes flirting and teasing that could lead to promiscuity. Last year’s healing energy of the Sheep will be replaced by the Monkey’s self-centered and superficial behavior. Mon­key is an unabashed entertainer, so parties and socializing will be plentiful in 2016, as well as opportunities to step into the limelight.

Monkey people: 1920, ’32, ’44, ’56, ’68, ’80, ’92, 2004, ’16

Those born in the Year of the Monkey have an insatiable curiosity about the way things work and make excellent scientists, doctors and engineers. They are also noisy yet brilliant communicators, are great with words and are gifted with great mental powers and abilities to problem-solve. Monkey people are best suited for the hustle and bustle of the jungle or city life and are invigorated by the demands of work and an active social life. They occasionally take a “time out”—not to rest but to explore a different course of action.

Monkeys are thoroughly entertaining companions and have good will towards others. While they retain their youthfulness throughout their lives, they are also easily bored with hearth and home, and the demands of parenting cramps their style. They constantly need to be surrounded by people and usually have a vast network of friends and acquaintances. With their clever minds, bubbly spirits and sense of adventure, these people can’t help but be popular.


2016 unfolds in a flamboyant style, as real lifes masquerades in mystery and amusement resulting in unpredictable events. Nothing should be taken for granted this year, as things might not be as they seem. However, quantum leaps can be made if you’re willing to shake things up and freely and fearlessly ex­press yourself. Monkey invites us to choose a new costume, swing from the trees and explore parts of the jungle we haven’t seen before. There isn’t a rehearsal in the Year of the Monkey, it’s a time of making it up as you go, because Monkeys can do anything.

Optimism and risk take center stage this year when it comes to markets and money. Fortunes will be made and lost in the blink of an eye. Strategy and planning are advised, while acts of desperation will surely fail. The pleasure-seeking Monkey will make following a budget challenging as he loves to throw money around and indulge in the finer things of life. While it’s best not worry about money this year, don’t throw all caution to the wind, as income can become erratic during Monkey years.

2016 is an excellent time to become an entrepreneur and original business ventures are likely to succeed. Quick deals can make resources available and progress will figure prominently this year. Expect to see advances in the sciences, technology, education and the performing arts. Markets are driven by fire energy, so the stock market will continue to be very active especially in the spring and summer months as people will be in the mood to buy.

Monkeys love romance but relationships might be a wild ride as there will be a tendency to treat them like a game. They can come and go with lightening speed and issues are centered in trust and jealousy. Love, on the one hand, will masquerade as being fiery and passionate, but unsustainable, so you might want to be careful about tying the knot this year. Long-term relationships find deeper intimacy as routines are invigorated with excitement and merriment. 2016 is also a good luck year to have a baby.

The yang fiery energy of 2016 will have people on the move, exploring and discovering the world.

Tiger people (those born in 1926, ’38, ’50, ’62, ’74, ’86, ’98 and 2010) will have an unsettling year as they find themselves in direct opposition to the Monkey. Tigers can anticipate change in all its forms from a new job to a new residence. It is recommended that they carry the pendant of the Snake, the Monkey’s secret friend, to draw the Monkey away.

Monkey people will find themselves looking inward for change during their own year. 2016 will be very fortunate for Monkeys overall as well their friends the Rat (1924, ’36, ’48, ’60, ’72, ’84, ’96, 2008), Dragon (1928, ’40, ’52, ’64, ’76, ’88, 2000, ’12) and Snake (1929, ’41, ’53, ’65, ’77, ’89, 2001, ’13).

Advice for the Year of the Monkey

1. Monkey is the symbol of the setting sun in Chinese lore. This year, make it a point to see a lot of sunsets.

2. Fire years are a great time to follow your passions, and redefine your vision. Dream big and don’t listen to voices of doubt.

3. Live by the adage; “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”, you can’t fix everything, especially in the Year of the Monkey.

4. Monkey years are a great time to increase exercise and physical activities. Go climbing, try a zip line, or let your inner child swing from the monkey bars.

5. Display the Three Wise Monkeys as a reminder to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” nor dwell in negative thoughts this year.

6. The mischievous Monkey likes to take risks, so accidents can happen. Exercise some caution this year.

7. Engage in the social vibe of the year by enlarging your circle of friends, and meeting up with like minded people for the sheer pleasure of it.

8. Exploration is a key component, so whether it’s your own backyard, or the jungles of Amazon, find fun and adventure in new places.

9. It will be easy to start projects and not finish them this year, as Monkey easily loses interest. Try to maintain focus and a healthy balance.

10. Take in all forms of entertainment and nightlife; the circus, magic shows, improv, plays and stand-up comedy.

11. Keep your sense of humor this year, you’re going to need it.

12. Scams and betrayal are plentiful this year, so do your homework.

Learn more from feng shui master Valerie Litchfield on Sun., Jan. 31, noon-1:30pm: “2016 Year of the Fire Monkey —Feng Shui for Health & Prosperity.” Salt Lake Buddhist Temple, 100 S. 215 W. $18, includes handouts.

This article was originally published on December 30, 2015.