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2016 Year of the Yang Fire Monkey

2016 Year of the Yang Fire Monkey

photo credit: Bijoy Ki

2016, the Yang Fire Monkey Year

by Karen Abler Carrasco

On February 8th, say farewell to the introspective Yin Wood Sheep year of 2015, and open up to the expansive Yang year of the amazing Fire Monkey!  We have another “big shift” year ahead.  Switching from yin to yang, from the inner world to the big outdoors, is always a noticeable event, and when we add the expansive movement of the Fire element in bold Yang form to that shift, it becomes an even bigger jolt.  

       Knowing how the Five Elements of Chinese medicine work together to support each other can assist us to flow into this shift more easily.  We are leaving two years in a row of Wood energy, which encouraged us to stretch up into new and unexplored territory, to use our intuition and reach for fresh inspirations.  During this time, dreams of new ways to live on the earth more sustainably presented themselves, and we were encouraged to use the inner compass of intuition to make some new choices, or at least to clear away any old, irrelevant debris that no longer served us well.  

       We will now move through two years of the passionate and generous realm of heart-centered Fire.  Wood feeds Fire in the nurturing cycle of the Five Elements, so any new choices or decisions made in the past two years will ripen and bear their fruits in 2016 and 2017.  If we allowed our True Selves to make those choices, the harvest will be delightful to us, and the generous nature of Fire will encourage us to share the abundance of whatever we manifest.

       Wood energy is a bit idealistic, a bit airy, and shifting away from it and into Fire energy means getting down to business–Monkey business! Hold on to your hats, folks, the circus is about to begin.  The Monkey is one of the most intelligent signs of the Chinese zodiac, with an unerring talent for snatching up the best opportunity in any situation.  A Monkey character can act so quickly because he acts for himself first1, and thus does not waste any time wondering how others may react.  Monkey sees and Monkey does what is best for Monkey!  Add to this character the powerfully bold qualities of Yang and Fire, and you have a triple-strength simian–incredibly quick, elegantly astute, flamboyantly extroverted, and ultimately successful.  Failure is barely a blip on this Monkey’s horizon, just a slight delay before a more precise second or third attempt manifests the desired goal.  Plus, the exuberant Fire Monkey has a big heart and is always happy to share his gains with those around him.

       The Monkey’s energy is highly innovative and opportunistic. The Fire element encourages collaboration and philanthropy.  These qualities acting together on the global scene means we will see some truly amazing marvels of technology, with that Monkey expertise making it happen in real time.  Look for new tools and products for creating a cleaner and more sustainable environment.  In money matters, the global financial scene is still rocking and rolling, requiring some careful adjustments for us all.  The Monkey year brings excellent momentum for managing your finances very intelligently and personally.  Being diligent and regular with your budgets and planning will bring success. 

       Normally the self-interested Monkey year is not focused on community well-being, but the Fire element balances this, bringing in a passion for socializing and communicating heart-felt concerns.  When we collaborate with others this year, we can turn that self-interest into profound social change, because what helps one, helps us all. This is an excellent year to meet with friends and neighbors to find innovative solutions to the most pressing local problems.  The Fire Monkey loves this kind of hands-on problem-solving, especially when the goal is direct action rather than mere brainstorming.  Keeping such work local and small-scale allows the human heart to open more directly and the magic of its generous spirit to pour out.    

       Monkey energy is persistent, sometimes compulsive, and can be impatient with those who don’t see the solution as quickly.  This is a good reminder to be patient with ourselves, and others.  Be sure to make plenty of time for creative play, a favorite Monkey activity.  Health-wise, pay closer attention to what you are ingesting.  Avoid feeding the Fire of inflammation in the body, something the standard American diet already does to excess.  Reduce excess Fire with the stable Earth-y actions of regular mealtimes and serenity around the table.  Increase Water-y flow with calming yoga, tai ch’i, ch’i gong, and meditation.  Add some deep breathing exercises into each day.  The Yang energy of the year wants to fly up and out, so consciously pull down and in throughout the day to keep your balance.   

       It promises to be a bonfire of a year, and through it all, the wily Fire Monkey will be skillfully swinging along, constantly looking ahead for the best opportunities to make his inspired dreams come true. As we collectively embody this Yang Fire Monkey energy in 2016, we can reach for the stars. The phrase “Carpe Diem” says it all–seize the day!  Large or small, profound or mundane, line up your desires this year and ACT on them.  Let the Yang Fire Monkey energy carry you across the bridge between the seen and unseen worlds to reach those goals, for yourself and for us all.

1. Traditional Chinese astrology designates the animal signs as male or female according to whether it is a yang/masculine year or a yin/feminine year. It describes the quality of the energy, not the gender.

Karen Abler Carrasco

Author and beloved WSFS teacher Karen Abler-Carrasco


  1. wow!!! i feel my energy flying just reading this!!! super exciting. Time to get to work–I don’t want to waste a bit of this Monkey energy! And thank you for the reminders to keep it grounded and cool… will need it!

  2. I’m so excited about this year! It’s already charging ahead, Monkeys don’t wait. We couldn’t have imagined a better sign for this years BIZARRE circus of a presidential election to occur! let’s envision the “100th Monkey” phenomenon of a tipping point, a radical shift in direction, towards better living for all, and a realization of our common good.

    • Yes, I feel energized as well! Ready to feel comfortable with discomfort to push through the areas of my life I desire to take action in!!! Thanks, Karen!!!

      • That is so well said, Ro. “Ready to feel comfortable with discomfort in order to push through…” I feel gently but firmly pushed to just jump right in to areas of action that used to be quite daunting for me, and the surprising amount of synchronicity as I go through them is so delicious. The Yang Fire Monkey energy fired right up at my house way early this year!

  3. I can feel the energy!! It has already started. I is going to be a great and joyous year.

  4. How ironic, right before I read this I made plans to play and practice circus Flow arts with my buddies, let the monkey play begin hooray!

    • While I read, I was just thinking in my plans of presenting my first Contact Juggling act this summer… 🙂

  5. Thanks Karen, I’m holding on to my hat and looking forward to more energy and success in my business in 2016!

    • Me, too, Gail! I’m making some organizational changes to my own business this year, and expecting some good expansion there. Putting some loving focus on the money side of it as well, since the Monkey always gives the practical aspects of making a living a good scrutiny.

  6. How did you get from Chinese Medicine to all that other stuff?

    • I used the term “medicine” just to place the Law of the Five Elements into a context for us. The Five Elements–Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, are much more than that. They are the qualities that are constantly interacting on every level, both seen and unseen, in our terrestrial experience. Chinese medicine uses the vocabulary of these five elements to demonstrate the complex connections between all of our internal and external environments. Chinese acupuncture, nutrition, herbalism, martial arts, massage, exercise, and feng shui all use the language of the Five Elements to describe what needs balancing to bring ultimate health to the body, mind, emotions and spirit. So, when speaking of Chinese astrology, the Five Elements come into play by the fact that each year is given an elemental quality, along with a yin or yang designation, and an animal sign to denote the particular personality of the year’s energies. In all the diverse applications of the Five Elements, Wood qualities always feed Fire qualities, Fire always produces Earth, Earth compresses to create Metal, Metal holds Water, and Water nurtures Wood. It is an organizational system that is both elegant and fun to study, and I used some of its concepts to explain how previous years’ energies are now transforming into this year’s energy. I hope this answers your query?

  7. I love your summaries of the year ahead + have been waiting for this one to be published. My understanding is that this isn’t going to be a good year for monkeys – that any monkey year isn’t good for monkeys?? I’m an earth monkey so am interested in your interpretation of this…

    • Hi, Suzanne, Earth Monkey! I, too, have read in certain sources that the monkey year can be challenging for Monkeys. Since this is NOT the case for every animal sign in it’s native year, it’s curious. What I came up with is this: the Monkey is highly competitive, the Yang Fire Monkey even more so. He likes the spotlight, is daringly creative, yet often incautious of the consequences of his ventures, including the feelings of others. So, Monkey folks feel their leanings towards impatience this year times two–their own tendencies for competition running straight into a year when all of the other animal signs are ALSO swinging along in Monkey energy. This could cause the native Monkey person to jump ahead too quickly, trying to out-Monkey everyone else, perhaps making some rash choices without taking time to ponder the consequences. There might be a feeling of pressure from every side to do more, to perform perfectly, to WIN. Monkey folks might be tugged into leadership roles this year, which can mean more scrutiny and more risk. So, native Monkeys are well advised to journey with extra care and wisdom this year. This does not mean it is a “bad” year for you. Instead, it is a year to be more judicious with your endeavors, use your brilliant intelligence and flair for attracting good luck, and move at an unhurried and elegant way through the year. After all, YOU will still be the adroit, scintillating Monkey for years to come–everyone else has only this one chance every twelve years! Let them have a little monkey fun, be generous, and relax a bit along the sidelines, perhaps. May it be a wonderful year for us all. I know it will be a very powerful and creative one.

      • Thank you so much Karen. What a lovely, considered reply with plenty of balanced, good advice. It all makes a lot of sense + i’m keen to embrace some relaxing on the sidelines if at all possible. If I can just get these 67 different projects sorted…!! Wishing everyone a wonderful year with lots of fun as well as hard work.

  8. Thank you for the lovely interpretation!

    • You’re welcome, Sandy! it’s so fun to explore the concepts held in Chinese astrology. It’s like the flip side of western astrology–they are yin and yang to each other, it seems to me.

  9. Do you have any thoughts on how the energy of the year will progress through the seasons? A couple years ago, during the year of the horse, I heard it said that the beginning of the year was like a young rebellious colt that yearned for training and nurturing. Then that changed by the end of the year, where the horse had a job it loved (with a human, metaphorically) and was able to teach others.

    • What a lovely concept, Joni. I think the cycle of birth, growth and maturation can be seen in everything living. If we can describe the energy of the year as a living cycle, this could be true for the animal symbolism as well. I know that by the end of each year, either in the Roman or Chinese calendar, I feel really ready to experience some “new energy,” almost as if I have worn out the old year like tired and torn jeans! And I DO feel a shift, each new year, into something fresh and unexplored. I certainly felt the speeding up of action and choices in my own life this year, well before the February start date of monkey energy. Whereas last year, the slower energy of the sheep let me ease on into it in a leisurely pace lasting well into March.

  10. 1956 was a Fire Monkey year, but was it yin or yang?

    • A Monkey year is always a yang year, regardless of the date. The element attached to it does change every year, cycling through the 5 Elements every 12 years. 1956 was a yang Fire Monkey year also. If this was your year of birth, happy 60th birthday this year, Rick!

  11. It is my 60th this year and i have been told that this is a big year for me as it is for anyone returning to their birth year and sign. Both of my sons are getting married and our first grandchild is on the way so it is proving very true. I’m loving this energy!

  12. My son Orion was born in late July and I’m already seeing signs of his monkey nature! So bright and interested! Already starting to hold up his head, grabs at my breast at start of feeding and draws his hand to his mouth, and smiled in his first week of life. So excited to be part of his learning and discovery process! Happy Monkey year!

  13. As a monkey on fire this year has brought about all of the changes and intuitive action that it promised. My entire way of living and experiencing life has changed. All for the better good of self, though I was not selfish. Hidden beneath the cool and composed exterior was a spiritual path through yoga and meditation which woke up the ability to see and feel love for self and others in a whole new light. Reading this now at the end of this topsy turvy year put all of the experiences that I’ve had into perspective. Onward monkey goes into another fire year. Cock a doodle dooooo.