I'm not an astrologist, but I've been fascinated for a long time with the rich, descriptive nature Chinese astrology. Its many separately turning dials (yin/yang, five elements, twelve animals) all work together to evoke a wonderfully expressive variety of images to communicate in much greater depth the essence of a thing than I feel like western astrology does.
Consider the way Chinese astrology is used to forecast the energies for a given year. Last year was called the year of the White Fur Rabbit (or, more particularly, the Yin Metal Rabbit). It was, astrologically speaking, expected to be one of a series of years with conflicted energies. This one would look peaceful on the surface, but be full of hidden (unexpected) problems, challenges and trials. These trials were not expected to be of a catastrophic type, overall, but it was not a time to do things on a grand scale because even the smallest of these problems could bring down a great endeavor.
Doesn't that give you a good sense of things?
2012 is the year of the Yang Water Dragon, which is known more descriptively as the Black Dragon.
In terms of the year ahead, the Black Dragon does not mark the end of the unsettled period of the last couple of years, but it does indicate the beginning of transition and potentially major change. The relationship of the various cycles in the upcoming year is symbolized by the image of water sitting on top of earth (some use the image of an earthen dam). According to Chinese element theory, earth is the destroyer of water (or, in the image of the dam, it holds it back) and so this relationship indicates a period of conflict. However, the water of the annual cycle is a natural element of the Dragon. Water produces wood, which signifies growth and so, even though things are still in a bit of turmoil, there is plenty of possibility for the year to be a positive one.
Doesn't that sound cool?
Happy New Year!