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The Year of the Water Tiger.

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

In Chinese Medicine, we base a lot of our diagnosis and decision-making on Yin and Yang and the 5 elements theory, but these concepts go way beyond the medical field. These theories were created by observing all natural phenomena and they are incorporated into our day-to-day lives. On February 1st, 2022 we are entering the Year of the Water Tiger. The Tiger is the third animal of the 12-year cycle of Chinese Zodiac.

The year of the water tiger, black tiger, lunar new year, chinese new year

Each year of the Chinese calendar is interpreted based on:

  • 12 earthly branches and the animal associated with it

  • 10 heavenly stems

  • Yin or Yang of the earthly branch and the heavenly stem

  • 5 elements of the earthly branch and heavenly stem


Let’s take a look at 2022

the year of the water tiger, new 2022 year, black water tiger, lunar new year, chinese new year

This year’s earthly branch is 寅 Yin, which corresponds to Tiger 虎 hu​. Yin is the third branch in a 12-year cycle. The tiger likes to act alone, therefore despite its strength and courage, it finished the animal race to the emperor in third place following the Rat and the Ox. The Tiger represents action and a burst of intense energy. Being the third year in Chinese Zodiac system, 2022 is the year to implement and act upon the goals that were set in the previous two years. It is the time for new beginnings, major changes, and growth. The Tiger is said to wake animals from hibernation, which in my opinion, is a perfect metaphor for all of us to start coming out of COVID-19 isolation and begin a new chapter of hard work and accomplishing the projects that we put on hold for a while.

Yin is not just a year, it also describes a month, a day, or time. Its time is 3am – 5am and it corresponds to the spring season. Yin is the most active time when everything in nature comes out of the ground, sprouts, and starts to blossom. It is ruled by Yang Wood. Yang Wood represents big trees like sequoias, which are very sturdy but not very flexible. This year carries a very strong energy of the Wood element as the element itself is predominantly Yang. The nature of the Wood is wind and the wind represents changes. Be prepared to adapt and adjust to the new order of things. Because of the windy nature of the year, there is also a potential for hurricanes and tornadoes in 2022. Tiger energy can also trigger earthquakes.

ren yang water, ren heavenly stem, heavenly stems, earthly branches, Yang water, waterfall

2022’s heavenly stem is 壬 Ren. Ren represents Yang Water. Yang Water is like a big river, an ocean or a big lake. The color associated with the Water element is black, its correspondent organ is Kidneys and its nature is cold. Therefore, even though 2022 is a Water year it is characterized mainly by coldness and not so much by the moistening nature of water itself which belongs to Earth instead. Individuals that are prone to poor circulation and coldness should take Yang herbs and stick to a warming diet. The Water element emotion is fear, but under the Wood influence, the dynamics of the year are coming out of the fear that we have been experiencing during the pandemic toward the sun of the spring.

yin yang, earthly branches and heavenly stems

Earthly branches and heavenly stems are paired based on their Yin and Yang nature. As Yin and Ren are numbered 3 & 9, which are odd numbers, they belong to Yang. Yang is an active and moving energy, which means 2022 will be a lot about making decisions, taking actions, and making things happen.