By Ana Cortes with Beatriz Álvarez and Yolanda Corona, Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

According to the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, each year resonates with one of twelve animals plus one of the five elements, Earth, Fire, Water, Metal and Wood. February 5, 2019 marked the beginning of The Year of the Earth Pig. Grandfather Fire has granted an audience in Tepoztlán, Mexico in honor of the Tibetan New Year every year since 2002. 2019’s audience happened on March 3, during which the lucky crowd heard about the important qualities of the year ahead.

Grandfather began by telling us that one of the notable features of the Year of the Earth Pig is that, for the second year in a row, it is not a Fire year. Before that, we had four years during which Fire was the governing element and played a special role, bringing a lot of activity and capacity for prosperity.

Next, the element Earth comes along with the presence of Water because the pig has many characteristics related to Water. This means that yin energy–a more feminine energy–molds this year. This causes the quality of Water to be soft, like slow moving water. Putting all this together, Grandfather spoke of 2019 as an “Earth over Water” year, with the Earth lacking stability. This year will be a difficult time for Fire, the timeless ally of human beings, to propagate. Grandfather warned that, due to the instability, there would be “some interesting earthquakes” this year. Because of the effect of Earth over Water, relationships could be somewhat tenuous or delicate and feel unstable; sometimes even good relationships might feel difficult this year. Because it is a soft yin year, however, there won’t be too much instability in this arena. This is also a good year for easing of physical illness where excess Fire has been a problem, and it is also favorable for working with plants and growing things.

Characteristics associated with Pig were mentioned: pigs are reliable, intelligent, hardworking, with strong energy and determination but without a very strong creative expression. They are willing to take on projects and work on them even if these are somewhat boring. Pig energy includes honesty, optimism and enjoyment of material things that can be held and appreciated.

The potential for prosperity in this Year of the Earth Pig will not come from being overly creative or making new discoveries, but through hard and simple work related to basic, tried-and-true areas that are not necessarily exciting. Grandfather recommended staying with the kind of work that has proven successful and not to try new things or to take big risks at this time. In all, He stressed the importance of keeping things very simple, yet also recommended seeking some entertainment, some fun and lightheartedness. In doing this, however, we were warned that pig’s optimism could sometimes show up as a naivety, and material things could tend to distract us. In that case, it would help to be practical and to bring a bit more Wood, the energy of Push, to fuel the Fire needed to keep projects moving. A distinction was made between determination and stubbornness. With determination, humans can learn to move forward when there are obstacles, and pig is good at this. On the contrary, stubbornness is when something is not working and we just keep obstinately pushing, but we won’t be able to accomplish anything worthwhile in this way.

Reviewing the Teachings of the evening, it is always good to have a map to help us recognize the terrain ahead, and this year it seems particularly important to balance the energy of pushing through and maintaining diligent work to help us keep moving and getting our practical work done.