The straight-talking timekeepers of the zodiac

In case you missed it, today is the Chinese New Year and we are now embarking on the Year of the Rooster.


I bought this hand-painted tile in Portugal in 2002

According to the December issue of Director magazine (which I was flicking through yesterday), Roosters are uncomplicated and straightforward. The website also claims that Roosters are “almost the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start to work”.

I am an absolute stickler for time-keeping, loyalty and keeping my word (and expecting you to keep yours too!) so it is probably no surprise to you when I say that I am a Rooster.

Anyway, in conducting a bit of research for this post, I learnt that the Chinese Zodiac also assigns one of five elements – fire, earth, water, gold and wood – to each lunar year and that 2017 is a Fire Rooster year.

However being born in 1969 makes me an Earth Rooster. The website suggests that Earth Roosters are the most grounded and focused of the Rooster types. Apparently our natures are practical (I’m known for my pragmatism – bags of theory just doesn’t do it for me), hardworking and prudent and while we want success, it is less about material wealth and more about getting the best out of ourselves and others. We are straightforward and analytical communicators but when we get idealistic (i.e. on our soapbox), we are more likely to try and persuade others versus being open to other opinions.

Make of that what you will but I reckon it’s pretty spot on.

I found out that there are some seriously awesome Earth Roosters that predate yours truly…

  • Benny Goodman – King of Swing, insanely talented clarinet-ist and big band man
  • Leo Fender – musical inventor, electric guitar afficionado (the clue is in the name peeps)
  • Fanny Craddock – food critic, celebrity TV chef and inventor of the prawn cocktail
  • Fred Perry – tennis legend, winner of eight grand slam titles
  • Errol Flynn – actor,  general swashbuckler and fellow Australian
  • Ivan Pavlov – Nobel Prize Winner and Russian scientist renowned for the concept of conditioned response – ever heard of Pavlov’s dogs?

…and that fellow Earth Roosters from 1969 include stars from the worlds of…

Business: Mellody Hobson (Chairman of Dreamworks Animation), Lei Jun (the Steve Jobs of China), Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook), Divine Brown (hardworking and practical yes but maybe not so prudent).

Acting: Oscar winners Cate Blanchett (slight girl crush and proud to be a fellow Australian) and Matthew McConaughey (just…sigh), Gerald Butler, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jack Black and Renee Zellweger.

Music: Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Manson, Jennifer Lopez and Jay-Z (‘Mr’ Beyonce).

Art & Beauty: Darcey Bussell (ballerina), Alexander McQueen (fashion designer), seven Misses of the 1991 Miss America pageant – Michigan, Mississippi, Texas (4th), West Virginia, Maryland, Oregon and Delaware – as well as two (Arizona and Idaho) from the 1996 pageant.

…as well as sports, politics, crime, literature and even royalty (including two Dutch princes and a Japanese princess).

1969 was also a year of many firsts (including my birthday – the first of August)…

Golda Meir became the first female and fourth Prime Minister of Israel on February 17th…

Concorde made its maiden flight on March 2nd…

…Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to walk on the moon on July 21st…

…British driver Jackie Stewart won his first Formula One World Drivers’ Championship on October 19th (exactly four years later I got a Lil Chicky)…

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the globe…

…the first communications were sent through ARPANET (the precursor to the internet),  the first ATM was installed in the USA and the first transplants of a human eye and an artificial heart were carried out (although not together)…

…and cultural icons Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Sesame Street (with its cast of Jim Henson‘s Muppet creations) debuted, the first on the BBC on October 5th and the second on PBS on November 10th.

We also said goodbye to few things in 1969.

This is the year that The Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band dropped out of the chart after a stint of 88 weeks. The Fab Four also launched their last album together (Abbey Road) and held their last public performance on the rooftop of Apple Corp. at 3 Savile Row in  London.

We also lost US President Dwight D Eisenhower and statesman Joseph P Kennedy Snr. (patriarch of the Kennedy clan), actors Judy Garland and Sharon Tate, boxer Rocky Marciano, writer Jack Kerouac and revolutionary Ho Chi Minh. (I did not know that the city had a namesake – you learn something every day.)

And in 1969, the death penalty was abolished in the UK.

But enough of the reminiscing. The most important question right now is this:

What does 2017 hold for all we Roosters?

This is your year. You understand the flow of the energy this year. Your timing will be impeccable. If you arrive late to the party, it was meant to be. If you forgot something, you will find you didn’t actually need it. A time for rebirth, transformation and growth as Rooster benefits from the energy of her own year and begins a new twelve-year life cycle. Rooster must still work hard, but rewards abound in 2017, affairs are under control, order reigns, and Rooster rises in glory. Bravely pursue all new opportunities, dear Rooster. 2017 is a year to renew and restore; replace old furnishing and enjoy a new wardrobe – new plumage.


So this little black duck cock hen is off to work hard, pursue new opportunities and buy some new plumage…

…and I’ll make a concerted effort to go with the flow and not to stress about being late to the party.

No really. I will try.

I promise…

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