Everyone calls this Chinese astrological creature “the Snake,” but I prefer “the Serpent.” Sounds more poetic, doesn’t it?

Because Chinese astrology encompasses twelve Celestial Creatures that rule each year, the Serpent shows up every twelve years. And because the Serpent is the most powerful and fearful of all the Celestial Creatures, Serpent Years have, in the last century, often been years when major economic upheavals (1929) have occurred or major wars (1941).

Western symbology overwhelmingly associates the Serpent with evil, deviousness, and stealth. Eastern symbology is not nearly so negative, associating the Serpent with deep wisdom, immortality (because it sheds its skin), and sexuality, especially male sexuality. The Serpent is also savvy at business and at romance and the arts, so perhaps these positive attributes will mitigate the negative.

I don’t know. Quite honestly, I think this Serpent Year will be very difficult for many people, though others may prosper. The strongest advice I can give you is do not gamble this year. The Serpent is unforgiving.

Chinese alchemy also declares that the Universe is comprised of Five Elements: Air, Earth (or Metal), Fire, and Water (as in Western alchemy), and, in addition, Wood (or Vegetation). Each time a Celestial Creature steps forward to rule the year, beginning on the New Moon in February (which will occur this Sunday, February 10) the Creature is also associated with an Element.

2013 is associated with Water, the most powerful Element of the five. Water erodes solid rock, quenches fire, becomes mist in the air, becomes ice in the cold, and nourishes all Life. We would not have Life on Earth, if not for the evolution of the planet which permitted the formation of oceans. There is no other planet in the solar system as blessed with Water, and therefore Life.

2013, then, is the Year of the Water Serpent. The last time we saw the Water Serpent was 1953, sixty years ago. The Korean War ended in July, with the division of North and South Korea, a dangerous hot spot to this day. But the American economy enjoyed post-war prosperity. Modern electric appliances much as we know them , denied to people during the war, were widely distributed, transforming how women handled their households and freeing them to start seeking gainful employment outside the home. The Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, died and Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, along with Tenzing, his Sherpa guide. The Cold War cast its pall with “the Balance of Terror,” but “I Love Lucy” was the number one TV program, Arthur Miller staged his play, “The Crucible,” about witch-hunts in seventeenth century Massachusetts (an allegory for McCarthyism), James Baldwin published his first book, “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” and people went to the movies to see “From Here To Eternity,” Disney’s “Peter Pan,” and “Roman Holiday.”

A Good Year, 1953. Perhaps even a Great Year.

I’ll revise my earlier pessimism and say that 2013, our Year of the Water Serpent, has great potential.

What do you think?

My romantic suspense, Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! If you love romantic suspense or historical mystery, this is both. Please give Lily Modjeska a try! Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) should be up and running in about a week.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Summer of Love is available free on Kindle Prime until March 1, 2013 in the Summer of Love Serials 1 through 7.

Don’t miss my sexy thriller, SHAKEN, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished in Europe and South America, is on Nook and Kindle. Also on UK Kindle.

And don’t miss The Story That Sold To The Movies. TOMORROW’S CHILD began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is in development. On Nook and Kindle. Also on UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!