Lunar Year of the Metal Rat & Navigating Natal Years

The Rat is the start of the zodiac cycle, much like Aries in the Western zodiac. Thus, any year of the Rat is going to be prognosticated as a year of beginnings, of starting over, and new opportunities that come your way.

The Rat is considered to be business-savvy and entrepreneurial, so sole proprietorships are going to be more prosperous than usual. It’s a lucky year for small businesses or new startup ventures.

With 2020 being the year of the Metal Rat, we’re going to see a global focus on technology.

Metal years, no matter what the animal sign, are also more prone to social conflicts, so we may see more of that across the world stage. This is a year of nations and leaders trying to show off their power.

On the other hand, in terms of culture and humanities, it should be a great year for music.

Chinese Zodiac Animals (Oracle Bone Script)

Here are the 2020 forecasts for each of the Chinese zodiac signs:

For those born in the year of the Ox, 2020 is predicted to be a prosperous year and a growing savings account, with an increased sense of financial security.

For the Tiger, your intuition is on point, so there is no need to second-guess your judgment; act decisively in all matters and you’ll come out ahead.

2020 can feel a bit daunting to the Rabbit, so be cautious, conservative, risk-averse, and try to walk the Middle Path, being as balanced as possible in all matters.

On the other hand, this is going to be a great year for the Dragon when it comes to career matters. Be ambitious, be visible, socialize more, and you will make gains in status.

Meanwhile this is going to be a spiritual year for the Snake. Focus on personal development and inner reflection. It’ll serve you well to be a little more recluse this year.

The Horse is going to go through some significant life changes in 2020. When it comes to what you want out of love or career, you’ve got to be more proactive if you stand any chance of achieving your goals.

For the Sheep, there will be a few surprising curve balls in 2020, but otherwise, matters of the heart and matters of your pocketbook look stable.

The Monkey is going to feel stuck in molasses, like no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to make any progress. This is just one of those years when you have to work harder and put in more elbow grease just to get things done.

For the Rooster, stay engaged and social with community, as networking will be the key to all successes in 2020. Also, make this year a year all about service. What can you do for others? How can you contribute?

This year will be a stable, solid year for the Dog, though a lot of hard work and responsibilities are thrown your way. Be able to negotiate better deals for yourself. Don’t let others take advantage of your kindness and amicable nature.

Finally, the Boar is going to find some relief in 2020 after making it through your 2019 natal year. This year will be about roots and foundations—go back to basics and you will ensure your own success for the years to come.

Were You Born in the Year of the Rat? – Navigating the Natal Year

The majority of Asians who follow the lunisolar calendar believe in this thing called the ben ming nian, which I’ll just refer to as your natal year. Every year of the lunisolar calendar is governed by one of twelve Chinese zodiac animals. If you don’t know this already, then apparently you have never been to a Chinese restaurant and stared at their tabletop placemats.

Anyway, how the zodiac animal is determined is based on the positioning of Grand Duke Tai Sui in the heavens that year. The Grand Duke Tai Sui is somehow related to but not Jupiter. (Jupiter has an orbital period of twelve years…). So according to esoteric Chinese thought, when Grand Duke Tai Sui rules over your zodiac sign in a given year, the celestial presence takes your fortunes for a crazy-ass ride. How the Chinese view the ben ming nian is a bit like how Western astrologers talk about Saturn Returns.

Natal years are calculated based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, so a conversion from the Western Gregorian calendar to that lunar calendar needs to take place. The reference table on the subsequent page will help you determine whether 2020 is your natal year.

Generally, your superstitious Chinese friends might tell you your natal year will bring bad luck so you need to get all these magical contraptions and doodads to ward off the negative juju.

Ehh. It’s complicated. It’s not that the natal year brings bad luck (in reality, it does not; not at all). It’s that the natal year brings greater volatility in the energies around you, so if you don’t know how to calmly navigate that wacky energy, it can go off balance and feel like bad luck. Basically, instead of walking on solid ground, you’re walking on a balance beam a hundred feet up in the air. That’s only bad luck if you don’t stay calm, find your center of gravity, and take the balance beam one step at a time.

In 2020, the Lunar New Year begins on January 25, 2020, when the sign will be the Metal Rat. (Just to get technical, traditionally the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon, therefore technically, the lunar new year begins exactly when the moon enters the new moon phase, which in 2020 is January 24, 13:14 PST, but in modern times, all around the world, it’s simply fixed by the solar Gregorian calendar.)

If you were born between any of the dates listed in the below chart, then 2020 will be your Natal Year.

Natal Zodiac Sign Start Date End Date
Wood Rat Feb. 5, 1924 Jan. 23, 1925
Fire Rat Jan. 24, 1936 Feb. 10, 1937
Earth Rat Feb. 10, 1948 Jan. 28, 1949
Metal Rat Jan. 28, 1960 Feb. 14, 1961
Water Rat Feb. 15, 1972 Feb. 2, 1973
Wood Rat Feb. 2, 1984 Feb. 19, 1985
Fire Rat Feb. 19, 1996 Feb. 6, 1997
Earth Rat Feb. 6, 2008 Jan. 25, 2009
Metal Rat Jan. 25, 2020 Feb. 11, 2021
Water Rat Feb. 11, 2032 Jan. 30, 2033

There is also the strongly held belief that talismans can be crafted to even out that volatile energy and therefore neutralize any bad juju. Talisman crafting range in composition, but one thing seems to remain unanimous: it’s got to be red. Second runner up after red would be gold or “imperial yellow.” These are the auspicious colors to offset bad juju, per Chinese tradition.

Then there’s a secondary prong of analysis to determine where on the spectrum of lucks you fall on for your natal year. That secondary prong is determined by the Wu Xing or elemental of your natal year.

For example, if you were born between Feb. 10, 1948 and Jan. 28, 1949, then you are a Natal Earth Rat. In the subsequent reference chart, note the general prognosticated effects of a Metal Rat natal year on you as a Natal Earth Rat. If you were born between Feb. 15, 1972 and Feb. 2, 1973, then you are a Natal Water Rat. The year 2020 as a Metal Rat Year is going to have a different energetic impact on you as a Water Rat than the individual who is an Earth Rat.

Effects of the 2020 Metal Rat Natal Year

Your Birth Year Forecasted Impact of Natal Year on You
Natal Wood Rat Personal trials and significant hurdles presented; main areas of focus will be the stability and security of family life and also financial matters; strengthen your throat and sacral chakras to maintain the dynamic personal powers needed to navigate your natal year. How you speak and present yourself, i.e. communications will be the determining factor.
Natal Fire Rat Personal trials and significant hurdles presented; main areas of focus will be your professional life and matters relating to innovation, creativity, or research. Focus will be on personal ambitions. Strengthen your heart chakra to maintain the dynamic personal powers needed to navigate your natal year. Finding emotional balance will be the primary challenge of this natal year.
Natal Earth Rat The natal year will be a significant milestone in your life path. Main areas of focus will be academics, education, or knowledge. Starting new romantic relationships this year will send you on a rough ride ahead. If you can find the willpower, stay focused on yourself this year. Strengthen your root chakra to maintain the dynamic personal powers needed to navigate your natal year.  Being able to conserve your energy and focus it in a singular way on your top priority goal is going to be the determining factor of whether or not you succeed in the many years to come.
Natal Metal Rat Although it will be your natal year, there are energetic support systems in place to fortify your life path. Main areas of focus during your natal year will be civic matters, community, your public sphere of life, your social network. Strengthen your crown and third eye chakras to maintain the dynamic personal powers needed to navigate your natal year. If you carry talismans of gold or wear more gold, dark blue, and azure greens this natal year, you’ll be fortifying your aura with energies that will safeguard you from harm.
Natal Water Rat Might feel less in control through this natal year with many extenuating circumstances and forces at play. May feel voice is not being heard. Challenges of a personal, private, or emotional nature. Main areas of focus during your natal year will be your career or your sense of life purpose. Pondering some of the larger philosophical questions, such as what is the meaning of your life. Strengthen the solar plexus chakra to maintain the dynamic personal powers needed to navigate your natal year.

By way of a personal example, the year 2017 was the year of the Fire Rooster and my natal year, since I was born in the year of the Rooster. I’m a Metal Rooster by year of birth, and since there is an elemental conflict between Fire and Metal, where Fire weakens Metal, 2017 should have been a pretty rough year for me, given that it’s my natal year and the elemental dignities for the year.

However, I believe that my own willpower, intention setting, power of manifestation, and of course, a natal year Fu talisman that I kept on me at all times taped inside my 2017 Metaphysician’s Day Planner kept volatile energies under control and transformed all that energy into constructive forces for me, so I had a wonderful 2017, with incredible advancements on the professional, financial, spiritual, and personal fronts. So whether a natal year is something to dread or look forward to is entirely up to you and your intention setting.

By the way, I do believe in the reality of the natal year energy volatility. My 2017 wasn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and roses. I experienced physical health complications throughout the natal year and keeping my energy levels and vitality up felt like a constant battle. Such effects align with the Wu Xing elemental dignities of Fire subduing Metal. The year of the Fire Rooster subdued the personal energies of the Metal Rooster (me).

Each zodiac sign has a guardian spirit sign. In other words, each animal totem is paired off with an ally, another animal totem. Your ally animal totem will support you when you’re going through a rough patch and most need an ally, such as your natal year. For those born in the year of the Boar, your guardian spirit sign is the Tiger, so the Tiger is your ally animal totem for 2019.

Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

Your Animal Totem Ally



A Fu talisman, or in effect a magical sigil, can be charmed, petitioning your animal totem ally to support you throughout your natal year. For those who are experiencing their natal year in 2020, the animal totem of the Ox is summoned and activated to help be your supportive ally.

Click to download

Above is a printable protective Fu talisman to download for those born in the year of the Rat to help you navigate the Metal Rat year, or 2020, by petitioning your animal totem ally. The rest of this section will explain the anatomy of the sigil so you understand it. I will also offer some instructions and recommendations on how to work with the talisman.

The blank square at the bottom center is where you affix your seal, signature, personal sigil, or something that represents and indicates you, that you’re the one to be protected and safeguarded.

If it is your natal year, print out or draw the Chinese Natal Year Protection Talisman, and then cut and paste it inside your day planner. Preferably, the talisman should be printed with red ink. A red version of the talisman image file is also provided.

The Chinese believe in the metaphysical relevance of directionality. In the year of the Rat, Grand Duke Tai Sui’s throne is positioned in the area of the Rat. If you’re born in the year of the Rat, you never want to be in direct opposition of the Grand Duke, as that’s considered offensive to the Grand Duke. Those who seat themselves prominently throughout the year in direct opposition (i.e., 180° angle, just like in Western astrology, interestingly enough) to the Grand Duke may face a more challenging, malefic year.

Thus, those born in the year of the Rat will avoid sitting in direct opposition of the Grand Duke. How do you do that? The Grand Duke is said to be seated in the North during the year of the Rat. So if it’s your natal year this year, avoid seating yourself in the south, whether it’s your back to the north (considered disrespectful to the throne of the Grand Duke, who is situated in the north) or you’re facing off against the north from the position of the south (also disrespectful, because it’s like you’re “staring down” the Grand Duke). For those familiar with Western astrology, note how this is similar to interpreting angular oppositions.

So if it’s your natal year because you were born in the year of the Rat, avoid the south direction altogether.

If your bed is in the south corner facing off against the north, perhaps move your bed for 2020.

If where you most often sit throughout the year, such as your home desk, is in opposition to the north, perhaps relocate your home desk.

If the front door of your house faces off against the north, then temporarily place a Ba Gua mirror on your front door for 2020 to ward off the malefic energies of the Grand Duke directed your way during your natal year.

Secondary in importance is also avoiding the north position itself, which is where the Grand Duke is seated (you don’t want to compete with his space!). (For those studying Western astrology, this is akin to the conjunction.)

I grew up with this folk superstition that when it’s your natal year (ben ming nian), wear red underwear. I never personally took that superstition seriously, but if it makes you feel better about 2020 and you were born in the year of the Rat, then go on and buy yourself a wardrobe of red underwear.

By the way, in lieu of red underwear, you can go with red string, and wear a knotted or braided bracelet or anklet made of red thread. Tying red cord with a few beads of either amber or black tourmaline to eight posts positioned around the circumference of your home is also said to ward off the natal year’s malefic forces.

This is an excerpt from the complimentary 2020 Metaphysician’s Guidebook that comes with every order of the 2020 Metaphysician’s Day Planner. To order your Metaphysician’s Day Planner, go here.

9 thoughts on “Lunar Year of the Metal Rat & Navigating Natal Years

  1. Gabrielle

    It nice to have a mini overview of the main priority of this year, there is always something interesting on this website and in the blogs. I am very grateful for the printer list, which is very useful for those of us who were interested in creating their own decks maybe this will be the year or decade we get our deck out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ashley

    Thank you for sharing this. This is my Natal Year and it’s following my second Saturn Return. Phew! I need all the support.

    I cannot find this section: “The rest of this section will explain the anatomy of the sigil so you understand it.” Can you point me in that direction.

    Again thank you for all you share with us. It’s amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. shadowrose

    First of all: Thank you very much!

    I am one of those little rats experiencing quite a strange year. Though I’m actually not into astrology, I have to admit, that there is definitely something about those natal years…
    Those years tend to be – well, can’t find a more fitting term – strange. Neither entirely negative nor entirely positive, but not the least normal, as well. There are some positive tendencies and chances, but they would just go somewhat pear shaped in the end.
    Like that job interview I was really waiting for and hoping for so long that proceeded well in the first place, but failed in the second. And other things like that.
    In my last natal year – guess what – I went to China for a year abroad. It was actually one of my best experiences ever, but not entirely happy, as well. For my worst competitor accompanied me, a dear friend died and I suffered from a heart ache.

    Concerning the prognosis… Well, global focus isn’t on technology – but on the respiratory system (which is also related to metal). Ironic, isn’t it? And for the social conflicts and discussions and nations and leaders showing off their power, it’s entirely true.

    Hope you stay all well! Best wishes!

    And to those fellow-rats out there: Let’s keep up and make something positive from our new opportunities.


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