China has a long history of using astrology to predict
financial markets. Based on the lunar calendar, Chinese New
Year fell on 10 February, ushering in the black water snake. So
what financial trends can we expect for 2013?
While 2013 will undoubtedly be a year of change and
transformation, overall there will be less drama and volatility
in the markets than was experienced in 2012. In astrological
terms, the water snake is the karmic partner of last
year’s dragon. The dragon is the masculine, yang,
active principle and the snake is the feminine, yin, receptive
In financial terms, this means a year to collect on last
year’s investments; 2012 was all about selling a
good story, making a splash but on reflection very little
financial progress actually materialised. Returns on
investments just didn’t live up to the hype. We
only have to look at the UK to see the truth of this.
The UK celebrated a very Dragon year in 2012, with the
Queen’s Jubilee followed by the Olympics and the
Paralympics – all great Dragon campaigns of pageantry
and hype. Every political and social commentator was quick to
jump on the hyperbole bandwagon with endless promises of
economic gain, boosts to business and sporting legacy. Yet the
tangible financial results as the UK slips into further
economic decline have, so far, proved to be as mythological as
the fire-breathing dragon itself.
Things will be very different in 2013, and there is a lot to
celebrate about this new arrival. The receptive nature of the
snake suggests a year where dividends can finally be reaped
from last year’s fiery posturing.
That’s not to say all will be plain sailing, but
in a quiet, snake-like way, things will gradually improve,
confidence will return and investments will prosper.
The Chinese underpin their astrology system on the
interactions of the five elements that comprise life: fire,
metal, water, wood and earth. These elements enjoy compatible
or antagonistic relationships with one another, and this
governs how trends will manifest in the markets; 2013 is
governed by the element of water but it is also a snake year,
and the snake’s fundamental energy is fire.
Therefore we can expect certain anta-gonism, as water and
fire are opposing elements. But because it is yin (passive)
water, these conflicts are likely to be less dramatic than the
uprisings witnessed in 2012 – a yang (active) water
year. That said, the year will not be without its natural
disasters due to that antagonistic elemental relationship. The
last time we experienced a water snake year, in 1953, severe
North Sea floods claimed the lives of 1,835 people in the
Netherlands, with many more lost at sea. There was a hurricane
in South-East Asia, an earthquake in western Turkey and a
devastating tornado in America.
For the stock markets there is good news in the presence of
this fire element – its first appearance since 2008.
Fire is the element of vision, joy and optimism –
something the markets need to thrive. Although investors need
to heed caution, as what is known as the 'fire
penalty’ will cause market instability, especially
in August due to conflicts with opposing elements.
Overall the year generally favours investments in property,
new technology, science and the entertainment industry. It was
in the last water snake year, 1953, that Watson and Crick
discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, the first polio
vaccine was tested, there was an explosion of innovation in the
white-goods markets, America announced the development of the
hydrogen bomb and the first colour television set went on sale
in the United States for the grand sum of $1,175.
The snake is a master of transformation and resurrection and
we can expect to shed outmoded ways of being – just as
the snake sheds its skin. This will result in continued
political shifts globally as old regimes continue to topple
where they are not serving the populace. Consequently the stock
markets will experience unpredictable swings and be hard to
The snake is also a symbol of power and healing. The two
intertwined serpents of the caduceus have long been adopted as
the international symbol for medicine, and 2013 will see
breakthroughs in medicine and science. In 1953, the discovery
of REM sleep was first published and it was proved tobacco
smoking caused lung cancer; this could be the year that the
elusive cure for cancer is finally found.
Referred to in China as the year of "the snake in the
grass," underhand dealings will quickly come to light and
honesty is undoubtedly the best policy in 2013. Evidence of
this trend is already surfacing in the UK with the latest
sexual-harassment scandal in the Liberal Democratic Party and
the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien over
alleged inappropriate behaviour. More investment scandals will
be uncovered and hidden dangers are an ever-present
possibility. Yet the cunning and intuition of the
snake’s energy can be used to advantage in clever,
tactical, well researched investments.
In personality terms, snake people are considered political
and good wealth creators. They are generally glamorous and have
a certain indefinable allure – Jacqueline Kennedy
Onassis, John F Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Greta Garbo, J Paul
Getty and Princess Grace of Monaco were all snakes. This
alluring quality will be reflected in a boost to the luxury
goods market and the entertainment industries. 1953 saw the
launch of Playboy magazine, with Marilyn Monroe gracing the
front cover; Ian Fleming published the first Bond novel, Casino
Royale, and Peter Pan premiered.
That said, 2013 is unlikely to be an outstanding financial
year – the snake prefers a low profile unless provoked
– but neither will it be a disaster. It will be
quietly revolutionary, with the odd dramatic highlight and
those investing in the right areas of real estate, travel,
science and new technology stand to make substantial