Before we herald in the sheep year let's look back at the previous year of the Horse and reflect on how the year transpired. When I re-read my article about the Horse year, there was promise for it being a lucky year, with lots of opportunities and fast movement.  The year of wild, unpredictable, unbridled action.  Did you feel this powerful Horse energy in 2014? How did it play out in your world?

As of the the new moon (on February 19th), the fast cantering has slowed down to a stroll and we find ourselves in the midst of lush, green, grazing pastures.  Enter the Year of the Sheep.  (Also called year of the Goat or Ram).  Sheep are a very different beast; they're wonderfully woolly, they hang about in flocks, and are mostly gentle, calm and peaceful.

Eagles fly alone, sheep flock together ~ Proverb

lamb sheep 400w

Those born in Sheep years, (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015), are generally believed to be tender, polite, clever, kind-hearted, compassionate and wise, with a strong sense of justice. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, and a fondness for quiet living. Although they appear gentle on the surface, they have strong inner resilience and perseverance when the going gets tough. If you are born in a Sheep year then 2015 is likely to be an important and significant year, with the opportunity to do well and flourish in all aspects of your life.

It is madness for sheep to talk peace with a wolf ~ Thomas Fuller

As I started researching and pondering on all things sheepish I was struck by the low status vibe underlying the quotes and analogies about sheep.  The references are mostly about the passivity, conformity and vulnerability of sheep. But sheep are very resilient creatures.  Perhaps you have witnessed sheep working together to survive a hot, dry day in a paddock with no shade?  They stand together in a huddle with their heads down and faces out of the sun, conserving their energy and using the protection of their combined fleeces to keep cool.

Right now we are desperately in need of fostering some of the positive, Sheep year qualities in our aggressive, fractured and warring world.  With a compassionate eye and gentle action we can flock together and stand up for what we believe in.  Perhaps the greatest challenge we face is finding wise shepherds to guide us.  The modern day Mahatma Ghandis and Martin Luther Kings.  Visionaries who inspire and lead us to look further than our small political, economic, religious and domestic feedlots.  Can we be brave and wise enough to manoeuvre towards a peaceful future that embraces the whole diverse flock of humanity? Yes, it is madness for one sheep to face a hungry wolf, but millions of resilient and persevering sheep standing together are strong.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind ~ Mahatma Ghandi  

I'm hoping that like applying lanolin to skin, some of the peaceful, harmonious and united sheep year energy can help soothe and calm the heat of our current world cracks and abrasions. And if not on the world stage, then each of us has daily opportunities to apply the salve of ahimsa (non violent action in thought, word and deed) to our interactions and relationships with all our fellow living beings. Even those who appear to be wolves!

It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them ~ Tiberius

My mantra for this year of the humble Sheep is this:  Bring your inner sheep to the fore. Be counted as a compassionate, gentle and peace loving member of the great flock of humanity. Choose your shepherd with the greatest of care and part with your fleece wisely. And to end, a little sheepish lightness that I came across...

I just realised that I'm not the black sheep of the family.
I come from a family of black sheep. 
I'm their SCAPE GOAT!

2015 goat

 © Claire Heywood, March 2015