KONG, HONG KONG: Protesters march on a street during a rally against the extradition law proposal in Hong Kong. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong in Sunday against a controversial extradition bill that would allow suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.(Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)


“This is the year of the Earth Rat. Out of the signs of the zodiac, the mouse is the most unstable animal and because rats move so much, this is shaking the earth,” says Sherman Tai, a Vancouver-based astrologist and Feng Shui master.


Tai, who had consulted on the design of the Richmond Olympic Oval, said he had predicted this would be a bad year for world politics and the global economy as well.

“The mouse represents the water element, and you just have to go to the seashore to see how the water crashes against the earth. People will fight each other and leaders of countries will face endless headaches,” he told the Star.

However, Tai said there’s no need for people in many parts of the world including North America to overly worry about catching the coronavirus.

“Just wash your hands and be careful. Once warm weather comes around early May, the fire of summer will get the virus under control,” he said.

Jerry King, president of White Dragon Consulting in Vancouver, agrees that speculation about the relationship between the Year of the Gengzi and the coronavirus has mostly been exaggerated.

But he says that the Year of the Gengzi, which is part of the recurring cycle of the lunar calendar, carries patterns that can “tell us certain things about individuals and the world.”

To begin with, each zodiac is associated with one of the five elements in Chinese astrological thought: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

“The rat being a ‘water’ animal represents characteristics such as depression and sadness. It is the yin energy of the water that brings about the negativity. There is a lack of fire in 2020, meaning a lack of excitement and happiness,” King said.

“It depends on the individual. Some are luckier if their destiny chart likes the water element since every individual has specific lucky elements.”

So is it healthy to turn to astrology for clues to things like disease outbreaks or fluctuating stock markets?

University of British Columbia psychologist Jiaying Zhao, who studies the link between global events like climate change and human behaviours, says that religion, astrology and other spiritual or fortune-telling practices can certainly give people comfort during times of uncertainty.

“I think it’s understandable because people want to gain back a sense of control in their lives. When people turn to things like religion or astrology, they want to have some predictability. They want to know that things will be OK.”