In the morning we see the sun, and at night we see the moon — two constant and consistent luminaries in our lives. Yet once a year, on Jan. 1, we celebrate the beginning of a new solar year, but we deny the moon its celebration. Why not celebrate the beginning of the lunar year too — even if you aren’t Chinese?

The lunar calendar provides a second opportunity to create something good to start the year. Jan. 23 is the first new moon of the year, making it New Year’s Day on the lunar calendar, celebrated grandly by the Chinese and known as Chinese New Year.

The Year of the Dragon

Chinese astrology has a specific Chinese zodiac animal associated with each year, and this year is the long-awaited and revered year of the dragon. The Chinese believe that by understanding the animal we get insight into the energy and can take advantage of the unique opportunities the upcoming year will bring.

The dragon is the only mythical animal in the Chinese Zodiac and is considered special, a symbol of power and benevolent wisdom. The dragon is considered innovative, enterprising, flexible, passionate and unpredictable, which means that for many of us this year will be transformative and life changing, taking on those characteristics.

The Water Dragon


Each animal year is associated with one of five feng shui elements. This year’s element is water, making it the Year of the Water Dragon. The element of water imparts some of its characteristics to the animal, and because water has a calming effect on the dragon’s temperament, it allows the dragon to redirect its energy to be more patient, great energy for the coming year.

Advice for this year: To move forward, “go with your inner flow” and bring greater intuition to your decision-making rather than left brain logic, which can hold you back. Reevaluate circumstances in your life. To move through your year with greater ease, you may need to let go of certain people and situations.

Feng shui new year actions

By implementing feng shui actions, you consciously put yourself in the flow and maximize the potential of the year. Optimize your environment and get ready for the lunar new year in the following ways:

Clean and clear

Besides the usual clearing and purging of the things around you, clear out outstanding debts that you have been meaning to take care of and clear up misunderstandings between friends and family. If you can help it, don’t bring this energy into the coming year.

Fill your wallet

Prior to New Year’s Day, get some cash — lots of small bills are great — and fill up your wallet, making it appear stuffed and full, symbolizing abundance and setting the intent for maximum wealth for the coming year. It always feels good to have lots of money in your wallet!

Buy a new outfit


New clothes worn on New Year’s Day symbolize a new reputation and new beginnings. Red is the color of fire and symbolizes passion, joy and happiness, so wear something red!

Move 27 things

Move 27 things in your home to new spots on New Year’s Day. The purpose is to shake things up and set the intent that any stagnancy you experienced in 2011 will dissipate, bringing new opportunities in 2012.

Put out some citrus

Tangerines are symbolic of good luck and oranges are symbolic of wealth. Together they symbolize good health and long life, so why not put some out to remind you of these much desired qualities in life?

Open up the windows

When you wake up on New Year’s Day, open all the doors and windows and let the energy of 2011 move out so that new, inspirational and fresh opportunities can be welcomed in 2012, then take a deep breath, inhaling the new and exhaling the old.

Your year is up to you

Celebrating a new year is about celebrating a change from the old to the new. What you do on New Year’s Day sets the intent for the rest of the year, but it’s up to you to keep the momentum going.


When you start the year out well, but lose steam by the second or third month, you are probably not clear on “why” you want to make changes. Write down a hundred reasons why making change will benefit you and your family. When you reach the most important reason on the list, you will naturally be inspired to keep going. Don’t let this year be one in which you are stuck doing the same old thing. This is a magnificent year for new awareness and inspired change! Take advantage of it.

Feng shui expert and life guide Alice Inoue offers books, DVDs, workshops and private consultations. Visit