Tweak your luck
Fate, however, is not written in stone. Individuals can tweak their fate and turn disadvantage into benefit. But for this they need an understanding of what fate holds, and have the wisdom to respond to it in the right way.
“This is what astrology is about. It can be summed up as ‘attracting good fortune and avoiding bad fortune (取吉避兇),” Tsai said. “There is room to change your fate. Some people will have their fortune read but they will do nothing to change themselves.”
Unfortunately for Taiwan, at least in Tsai’s interpretation, the government on the whole pays little regard to the hints and suggestions that astrological readings might provide and therefore is unlikely to do anything that will improve the nation’s dismal outlook.
“Most of our leaders are more inclined to believe in themselves than in astrology, so most are complacent about Taiwan’s current situation,” Tsai said.
Professionals and charlatans
Much necessarily depends on the skill of the astrologer in first making a correct reading, providing the correct interpretation and then figuring out a remedy.
“Astrology is like any other profession,” Tsai said. “There are all sorts of people practicing astrology — from skilled professionals with deep understanding of the field, to charlatans who know nothing. Just like there are skilled doctors, average doctors, and even incompetent doctors. Good astrologers can achieve a high level of skill through study, but at the very top are those with a gift for this art that allows them to achieve a deeper understanding of the information provided by a reading of the stars.”
Tsai, who became a professional astrologer at 16, published his first treatise on astrology at 18, and is one of the first astrologers from Taiwan to break into the China market, has convinced many of his unique talent.
Red improves fate
So what does Tsai say we can do about the rather dismal fate that seems to await us in the Year of the Snake? His advice, especially in the area of financial management and investment, is to incorporate fire (represented by the color red), into our lives. He notes that people should look at red objects, eat red foods (such as red beans, red dates, strawberries and wolfberries), or fiery food such as garlic, peppers and chili. Listening to music with a fiery temperament is also helpful (time to dig out those old AC/DC albums) and using essential oils from astringent plants such as ginger, rosemary and lemongrass. These things will help redress the balance, putting some vitality and good fortune into a year that holds out few promises.
Whatever your fate and whatever your fortune, Taipei Times wishes all its readers a prosperous Year of the Snake.