Happy Chinese New Year, as we welcome in the Year of the Water Tiger, which occurs only once every 60 years. The next one you can mark will be in 2082!

In Chinese astrology, water is one of the five elements and when combined with the 12 animals, produces the 60 unique combinations. I don’t consider myself a particularly superstitious person but nevertheless, I was curious about what the Year of Water Tiger might hold.

Water is regarded as the strongest element, even stronger than fire, as it can go around any obstacles in its path and not lose its essential nature. The Taoist philosopher, Lao Tsu, wrote that: “There is nothing softer and weaker than water and yet nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.” So far so good, that all makes sense to me.

According to an expert on the subject, Susan Levitt, author of Taoist Astrology, this year the Chinese Zodiac sign is “known for its power, boldness and predilection to doing everything big and is all about going big or going home”. I am going to take that as an auspicious sign for BlueTech Forum 2022 in Vancouver!

There is one other reason why this all has a special resonance with me. I arrived for my very first time in Vancouver, Canada, exactly 20 years ago on the 2nd of the 2nd, 2002, so there’s a certain symmetry to it all.

One of key elements of Chinese Astrology is the concept of Yin and Yang. They are interdependent and flow into, and out of, one another. Yin is associated with the feminine life force of receptivity while yang is male and associated with action.

Water is the most Yin of the five elements. Its motion is downward and inward and its energy is stillness and conserving. Carl Jung believed that water represented the collective unconscious, writing that: “Water is the ‘valley spirit’, the water dragon of Tao, whose nature resembles water – a yang in the yin, therefore, water means spirit that has become unconscious.” That’s heady stuff. It resonates though; water is life and life is animated water.

We are exploring the power of water this year at BlueTech Forum, and indeed, one of our BlueNote speakers is the inspiring Erica Gies, author of the upcoming book “Water Always Wins – Going with the flow to survive in an age of droughts, floods, and climate change”. Erica has come up with the captivating concept of the Slow Water Movement. (Slowwaterworld.com).

She travelled around the world researching her latest work and has written about the Marsh Arabs, the Peruvian Amunas and Stepwells in India, as well studying water issues closely in her native California.

Erica will also deliver a Lighting Talk at our roundtable on Water Future Scenarios on 8 February. A key thesis, is that we have been trying to hurry water along. Given that it is the strongest of those five elements, in the year of the Water Tiger, maybe we are best placed to take note of ‘what water wants’.