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2021 The Year of the Metal Ox Forecast

Released: November 17, 2020

Welcome to the Year of the Metal Ox!

About the Chinese Calendar

The Chinese calendar is commonly known as the Farmer’s Calendar or the Hsia Calendar. It is a fascinatingly accurate system that not only records the passage of time but is also used as a tool for Chinese fortune-telling. One of the most famous fortune-telling systems used today by professionals is called the Four Pillars of Destiny (BaZi).

The Hsia calendar always begins on Feb. 4 and lists the year, month, day, and hour in a series of Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth). As such, the system of the Four Pillars of Destiny means you can take the person’s birth data and convert them into Elements. From there, you can analyze a person’s destiny based on his or her birth date and better understand and accurately predict the cycles of a person’s fortune. In so doing, you can learn how to multiply the good luck or minimize the bad luck in life.

Additionally, the relationships of the Chinese Five Elements are believed to be the basic components of everything in the universe, including sounds, colors, shapes, directions, numbers, emotions, organs, and the list goes on. Hence, when you learn the sophisticated relationships of the Five Elements, you can say that you have a greater understanding of the theory of life.

The Year of the Metal Ox

In the Hsia calendar, 2021 is symbolized by two Chinese characters: Yin Metal and the Ox. Yin Metal is the Heavenly Stem (the character on the top), and the Ox is the Earthly Branch (the character on the bottom). The Ox is also an Earth Element. In the Five Elements cycle, Earth births Metal. Because the Earthly Branch (Earth) supports the Heavenly Stem (Metal), you can say that this combination represents a more harmonious relationship. Therefore, you might expect 2021 to be a more peaceful year.

In a way, you can use the Hsia calendar and the framework of the Five Elements cycles (birth and destruction) to understand the theme of the year. For example, 2018 was Yang Earth Dog (Earth). The Elements were the same. As such, we experienced some harmony. In particular, you can see that the U.S. and North Korea came to a temporary and peaceful agreement to halt nuclear testing. But 2019 was Yin Earth Pig. This was Earth over Water in a destructive relationship. Thus, the peace talks between the two countries broke down, and hostility between the U.S. and Iran intensified.

Qualities of Yin Metal

Before we dive into the details of my forecast, let’s explore the nature of this year’s Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch. Though they do come together in a more harmonious relationship, don’t be fooled because the characteristic of Yin Metal is quite harsh.

Yin Metal is often compared to that of a delicate piece of jewelry, beautiful and graceful. However, the opposite nature of Yin Metal is cold and brutal, similar to a dagger. What’s more, the Ox sign is considered “winter earth” without warmth. When adding these cold Elements together, you’ll come to understand why the outlook and sentiment of 2021 will seem quite bleak, scary, and even dangerous.

Yin Metal is always associated with beauty because it represents fair skin, teeth, bones, and an oval-shaped face. Hence, plenty of beautiful women of our times were born on a Yin Metal Day. They are feminine, charming, and very pretty. Here are some outstanding examples: Angelina Jolie, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Grace Kelly, Ivanka Trump, Orianthi, Naomi Watts, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

As for the gents, many Yin Metal men showcase boyish good looks. They are handsome and some even have a baby face. They include Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, former British Prime Minister David Cameron, George W. Bush, even Kim Jong-un, and Osama bin Laden.

Yin Metal is deceiving because though they may appear gentle, moderate, graceful, and sophisticated on the outside like a diamond, beware of the strong character inside, like a dangerous and destructive dagger. There’s a saying: “Beautiful on the outside but harsh on the inside.” This is why Yin Metal people can exhibit harsh and drastic behaviors with a tendency to take extreme actions to achieve their goals.

In fact, many famous serial killers were born on a Yin Metal Day. These include Cho Seung-Hui, the cold-blooded Korean killer who murdered 32 people at the Virginia Tech campus in 2007. Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings Flight 9525 co-pilot who deliberately crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 passengers and crew members in 2015. Anders Breivik, the Norwegian extremist who shot and killed 69 young students in the Norwegian Utoya Island in 2011. Cheng Chieh, a Taiwanese university student who stabbed and injured 24 people and killed four inside a Taipei subway metro train in 2014.

There is a very popular BBC TV series called Killing Eve, and it is about a pretty woman assassin called Villanelle who is a charismatic psychopathic Russian assassin. The role is portrayed by actress Jodie Comer who won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Jodie was born on March 11, 1993, a Yin Metal Day. Interesting how such an actress can portray a character so well that she herself embodies the Yin Metal Element in true form: beautiful and deadly.

Qualities of the Ox

In the Hsia calendar, the Ox is the second of the 12 zodiac or celestial animals. The Ox is an Earth Element belonging to the winter season. Inside the Ox sign, it contains three hidden Elements: Earth, Metal, and Water. Hence, there is a total absence of Fire to support Earth. This is why, in BaZi, we say the Ox is the weakest Earth Element.

Whenever the Earth Element is out of balance (too weak or too strong), it triggers earth-related disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, and volcanic eruptions. The famous “311,” or March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in North Japan actually occurred on an Ox Day. We’re not ruling out water disasters either because the Ox contains a powerful Water Element in the hidden stem, inciting floods, heavy rainstorms, and even tsunamis.

Furthermore, Earth is the road we drive on. Therefore, imbalanced Earth can trigger traffic accidents on the road. With Metal on top of the Ox, it symbolizes a car traveling on the road. As such, we can say that 2021 will bring more serious automobile accidents. Looking back 60 years prior, also a Yin Metal Ox Year, there were several serious road accidents. For example, on June 17, a train traveling from Paris to Strasbourg derailed and killed 24 passengers and injured 109. On Sept. 10, during the F1 Grand Prix in Italy, a Ferrari race car crashed into the spectators and 15 people died. Princess Diana also died on her Earth Penalty (Ox, Goat, Dog).

Four Pillars of Destiny

People born in the Year of the Ox (1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) are said to be “offending the Grand Duke.” It means you are offending the energy of the year. Therefore, it is recommended to carry a jade pendant of the Rat to reduce the negative influence. Famous people who are offending the Ox Year include Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Lionel Richie, Barack Obama, Michael J. Fox, and George Clooney.

The animal sign that is most unfavorable to the Ox is the Goat. If you were born in the Year of the Goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015), you are in direct clash with the year. Clashes will bring turbulence, movements, accidents, or big changes. You can anticipate more traveling opportunities, and it is a good year to change jobs or move offices or houses. You must carry the Rat pendant for protection. Though traveling is ideal to satisfy the clash, it is not recommended to travel directly in the direction of the Grand Duke, which is in the Northeast this year. And you must take extreme care and refrain from participating in risky sports such as driving fast cars, piloting airplanes, skydiving, or parachuting. Famous people born in the Year of the Goat include Bill Gates, Bruce Willis, Rowan Atkinson, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Jason Statham.

Also, you can be under clash even if you were not born in the Goat Year. Particularly, if you were born on the Goat Day. The clash is even more severe, and you could face a challenging year ahead. This clash can also adversely impact your relationship area with a spouse or opposite sex. Take extra care. Famous people born on the Day of the Goat include Donnie Yan, Lady Gaga, and Dmitry Medvedev.

The celestial animals that combine with the Ox are the Rat, Rooster, and Snake. These animals are in a year of harmony. However, I do not recommend relying on this kind of astrology scheme because it is not based on the formal fortune-telling system. For a more reliable assessment of one’s fortune, it is best to use the full system of the Four Pillars of Destiny so that the entire birth chart is analyzed as a whole. Because animal signs can appear anywhere within the Four Pillars of a person’s chart, the clash and penalty commentaries are not just confined to the Year Pillar alone. As such, you must assess how the clash and penalty will impact the person’s Month, Day, and Hour Pillars as well.

The Ox is also part of the Three Earth Penalty. When the Ox encounters both the Dog and Goat signs, it will create a massive amount of unfavorable Earth Element. If this is an unfavorable Element to a person, he or she will suffer hardships ranging from a bad relationship, legal trouble, incessant worrying, automobile accident, even cancer. An example is President Donald Trump. He was born in the Year of the Dog, Day of the Goat, and is currently in the Luck of the Ox. Therefore, the Ox Year will trigger this Earth Penalty. Other famous people under this penalty include J.K. Rowling, Julia Roberts, Angela Merkel, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bill Gates.

Finally, the Ox is a Nobleman year for those born on the Day or Year of Yang Wood, Yang Earth, or Yang Metal or if you were born in years ending 4, 8, and 0, such as 1954, 1968, or 1980. Nobleman means angels are coming from Heaven to offer rescue and support. The Nobleman star often brings a solution to obstacles and dangers; thus, it helps to make the year feel more comfortable and smooth. If 2021 is your Nobleman year, go ahead and take the chance to develop new projects.

The Sexagenary Cycle

As you learn more about the Hsia calendar and the system of the Four Pillars of Destiny, you’ll understand that everything is in a repeating, 60-year cycles (120, 180, 240, etc.). All you have to do is simply look back and revisit history to learn about the future. For example, 60 years ago, 1961 was a Yin Metal Ox Year. This was a significant year as the world entered a phase of serious global tensions between the U.S. and the USSR. It was also the year John F. Kennedy — born on a Yin Metal Day — took office as U.S. president. He was tasked with handling the confrontation with the USSR, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the building of the Berlin Wall to separate West and East Germany.

In August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected to restrict movements between West Berlin and East Berlin. On Oct. 27, a standoff between Soviet and American tanks at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin heightened the Cold War tensions and placed the world at the brink of a nuclear war. In December, the U.S. sent 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam, and American involvement in the Vietnam War officially began.  

As stated earlier, Yin Metal is often compared to that of a cold, brutal weapon. As such, this can be associated with terrorist attacks, assassinations, and coups d’etat. Such events have occurred in Yin Metal Ox Years of 1961 (60 years earlier), 1901 (120 years earlier), and 1841 (180 years earlier)!

For example, the First Opium War was a series of military engagements fought between Britain and the Qing Dynasty of China. The year 1841 was the most violent, resulting in the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. China lost the war and agreed to make Hong Kong island a crown colony, ceding it to the British Queen Victoria.

The year 1901 was a year of assassinations and assassination attempts. For example, U.S. President William McKinley was assassinated in New York, and German Emperor Wilhelm II survived a failed assassination attempt. In 1961, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo Patrice Lumumba was assassinated as well.

Such events also stirred attempts to overthrow the government. On April 18, 1901, a coup was attempted against the ruler of Portugal, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. In South Korea, Park Chung-hee took over control by a military coup on May 16. On May 30, the despot of the Dominican Republic was killed in an ambush. On Sept. 28, a military coup occurred in Damascus, Syria, resulting in the replacement of the United Arab Republic with the Syrian Republic. On Nov. 19, there was another military uprising in the Dominican Republic that overthrew the Trujillo regime. And the list goes on. You see, by looking at our history, you can already predict and foresee how the future will shape itself once again.

Moving on to the behavior of Mother Nature. Serious earth-related disasters were associated with Yin Metal Ox Years. You can pick a handful of significant examples. For instance, in 1901, the Black Sea earthquake, also known as the Balchik earthquake, clocked in at a 7.2 magnitude at the Northeast coast of Bulgaria. This was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the Black Sea. In May 1901, a serious mining accident in South Wales killed 81 miners. On June 1, 1961, another serious 6.5 magnitude earthquake shook the Karakore region in Ethiopia. On July 8, a mining explosion left 108 people dead in Czechoslovakia.  On Jan. 10, 1962 — which is still in the Yin Metal Ox Year — an avalanche in Peru caused 4,000 deaths.  

Because of the Fire Element’s total absence, the powerful Water Element from 2020 will continue into 2021. This will cause more Water (sea) and Fire (air) disasters. You see, in May 1901, a big fire broke out and destroyed 2,368 structures in Jacksonville, Florida. Or on Feb. 15, 1961, the Sabena Flight 548 crashed and killed 73 on board the plane in Belgium. The following month on March 13, a dam burst in Kyiv, killing 145 people. On April 8, a passenger liner called Dara blew up and sank off the coast of Dubai, killing 238 passengers and crew members. On Nov. 8, Imperial Airlines Flight 201/8 crashed in Virginia, killing 77 people. And on Dec. 17, a circus tent in Brazil caught fire and killed more than 500 people.

It’s bleak! But on the upside, we can expect 2021 to bring us a year of innovation. For instance, in 1961, a Yin Metal Ox Year, this was a significant time for space exploration. It was the year the USSR put the first man into space. The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was sent to space on April 12 and orbited Earth. A second cosmonaut, Gherman Titov, was sent to space on Aug. 6. Furthermore, a Russian spaceship called Venera 1 was sent to explore the planet Venus on Feb. 12. The U.S. also succeeded in sending their spaceman Alan Shepard to space on May 5 and again on July 21. Elementally speaking, it is not clear why the Yin Metal Ox Year brought on significant progress in space exploration. One factor to consider is that the Yin Metal Element is the image of a dagger or sharp needle, which mimics the shape of a rocket. We’ll have to wait and see what 2021 brings as President Trump touted the recent establishment of the Space Force — the first new U.S. military branch established since the Air Force in 1947. He also referenced NASA’s Artemis program of crewed lunar exploration. Artemis aims to put astronauts on the surface of the moon by 2024 and use Earth’s nearest neighbor as a training ground for a crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s.  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Metal Element represents the breathing organs, including the lung, nose, and skin. As Metal needs Fire to melt it into useful tools, when the Fire Element is missing, the Metal Element becomes imbalanced and unhealthy. Therefore, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic could be the culprit to the weakness of Metal Element or the lungs. In 2021, we will continue to see this health trend, including more prevalent cases of the flu and viral infections affecting people’s breathing organs (lungs, nose, skin).

Furthermore, because Fire is totally absent, the Earth Element of the Ox is very weak, contributing to the weakness of the stomach such as digestive problems and diabetes. The weakness of Fire means Fire organs are also impacted. They include the heart, blood circulation, and overall vitality of the body. The excessive amount of Water this year could wreak havoc on the urinary system, kidneys, and reproductive organs.

The biggest culprit here is the weakness of Fire. To bring balance, one can consider taking certain health supplements such as antioxidants and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Be sure to check with your licensed health provider for the adequate use of these supplements.

Stock Market and Economic Outlook

The fearful energy of the Water Element cycle is going to take over and prevail in the coming year. Pessimism, cynicism, and despair will set in and contribute to economic decline. Any activities will also lead to longer-term setbacks, and more economic crises will arise. Because Fire is lost until 2025, we can expect a longer bearish market ahead.

But which industries can still thrive in a bearish market?

Industries belonging to the Fire Element can expect prosperity because Fire conquers Metal, and Metal is Fire’s money. Fire industries include energy, power generation, restaurants, and entertainment.

Next are industries belonging to the Earth Element because Earth conquers Water and produces Metal. Metal means activity and productivity, and Water inside the Ox also means money, and Water is Earth’s money. Earth industries include real estate, land development, mining, insurance, computer software, and technology.

The Metal industries will face serious competition this year. They include automobiles, engineering, banking, and machinery.  The Water industries will also not make money this year because there is a total absence of Fire, which is Water’s money Element. Such industries include shipping, transportation, communication, and beverages. The money prospect for the Wood industries is also weak because, while the Ox is Wood’s money Element, this Ox is very weak. These industries include fashion, media, books, the environment, and climate change.

In summary, industries belonging to the Fire and Earth Elements will prosper and make progress. All other industries will suffer or experience an uphill climb.

Global Outlook

In the Five Elements system, the Fire Element is happiness and optimism. The Fire years prevailed between 2013 and 2017. Fire’s presence can boost people’s confidence about the economy and consequently, promote good performance in the stock market. This was the main driving force behind the stock market boom in those years. However, the cycle of the Fire Element ended in 2017 with Yin Fire Rooster. And then when the Dog Year arrived in 2018, Fire entered the grave, resulting in a setback in the economic atmosphere and creating a lackluster, zero-sum year. Then, the Year of the Yin Earth Pig in 2019 represented the termination of the Fire Element. The pessimism of the Water energy — the symbolic emotion related to fear — has begun. Hence, the world economy has been greatly affected by the trade war talks between the U.S. and China, which generated a lot of fear and uncertainty for global investors.

The years 2019, 2020, and 2021 all belong to the Water and Metal Elements, and the Fire Element does not return until the year 2025. Because 2019 represented the termination of Fire, 2020 means Fire enters the embryo stage. Finally, in 2021, Fire moves into the nourishing cycle. Therefore, the general economic atmosphere is mostly bearish, and the economic pace is gloomy and slow even in 2021.

Remember the last recession of 2008? It was also a Rat Year. The collapse of the mortgage business generated fear and catapulted the financial tsunami that lasted from 2008 until 2013 when the Fire Year returned. And so, in 2020, the powerful Water Year brought on the COVID-19 pandemic, generating insurmountable fear, forcing the world to come to a standstill and shutting down most of the international trade and travels, resulting in grave worldwide economic impact.

Going into 2021, the strong influence of Water will continue to cast a dark shadow of fear all over the world. The atmosphere will feel dull, cold, and gray. The continuous decline in economic growth will force investors to be more conservative and the public to spend less (demand will go down).

In general, the Yin Metal Ox Year (with Yin Metal on the top and weak Earth on the bottom), is a symbol of a harsh and cold atmosphere that incites disharmony, conflict, assassination, and terrorism. As the world economy continues to decline, the atmosphere of distrust will lead to more social unrest, political struggles, international tensions, assassinations, subversions, and coups.

Plus, with the drastic and extreme nature of Yin Metal, brute force and cold-blooded killing will frequent the news and heighten the emotional intensity of the year. People may choose to resort to violence in achieving their ideology and bring about more protests, demonstrations, and anti-government sentiments.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, sea and air accidents, environmental disasters, and world epidemics will continue to persist and prevail.

Feng Shui

The energy of your home and office will also change from year to year. Therefore, it is necessary to address the reallocation of good and bad stars at the beginning of the year.

This year, the bad energy called “Five Yellow” (or Star 5) that symbolizes obstacles and misfortune will reside in the Southeast sector. It’s best to hang a six-metal rod wind chime to dissolve this bad star. The worst months will be in April, October, and January 2021.

Star 2 is the next bad star, which brings sickness and worries, and it will reside in the North. The traditional method is to use a string of six metal coins.

The Grand Duke is in the Northeast this year, so it’s best not to “move earth” or make substantial construction work in this direction. Also, it is not recommended for one to sit with his or her back to the East. Otherwise, you will be sitting against the unfavorable energy called “Three Shars,” or “Three Killings,” and this can bring bad luck. Furthermore, the Southwest is in a clash position against the Grand Duke, which is not favorable.

Star 3 relates to conflict and robbery, and it resides in the Southwest. Use a piece of red paper to minimize this negative influence. Also, Stars 6 and 7 can create legal problems and scandals, respectively. The traditional solution is to place three bamboo stems in a clear glass vase in the Center and Northwest positions, respectively.


A few interesting things to point out about today’s world leaders. The year 2021 is favorable for U.S. President Donald Trump, but the Ox will create Three Earth Penalty, which will bring him more challenges and enemies. However, Joe Biden is weak fire person and the metal and earth of 2021 are unfavorable, so he will face tough year ahead until his favorable Tiger year comes in 2022.

This is also a favorable year for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, so his power remains very strong.

The Metal and Earth Elements are also supportive of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, but the year shows his competitor. As such, we could see him sharing some power with his sister, Kim Yo-jong. On a side note, the missing Fire Element will continue to affect Kim Jong-un’s health.

Last year Chinese President Xi Jinping was under clash with the Rat. This year, the clash is finished, and the Metal (money) and Earth (intelligence) Elements are also his favorable Elements, indicating that China could regain more stability and prosperity in the economy and world standing.

*This article was edited for clarity by Master Jen Stone and re-printed or re-produce in the 2021 Chinese Almanac and Feng Shui Journal Volume 7

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