Enter the Year of the Black Dragon

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Enter the Year of the Black Dragon

Another year goes by, and in a week, the Year of the Rabbit will pass and the Year of the Dragon will begin. Around this time of year, I always have more regrets than gratifications. This year, I have accomplished little. I have had all the motivations and inspirations, but they were not supported by actions. No matter how trivial a task may be, it is important to do my best to complete it thoroughly. Having regrets until the last moment may be the way the life of a mediocre man goes.

Next year is the Year of the Dragon. Industries have already prepared promotions and marketing campaigns to celebrate the Year of the Black Dragon, which comes only once in 60 years. While the Year of the Dragon returns in a 12-year cycle, the Year of the Black Dragon, or Imjin, comes every 60 years.

According to the “Book of Changes,” the Wu Xing, or the Five Movements, defines “Im” as water, which corresponds to the color black. Therefore, Imjin means the Year of the Black Dragon.

Among the 12 “earthly branches” represented by 12 animals, the dragon is the only imaginary figure. In Eastern civilization, a dragon has an appearance that combines features of nine different animals. A dragon has a head of a camel, horns of a stag, eyes of a rabbit, the neck of a snake, ears of a cow, talons of a hawk and paws of a tiger. A dragon can freely navigate across the sky, land and water and represents harmonious changes. Therefore, the Year of the Dragon is said to be full of significant changes.

The Black Dragon has brought upon significant changes and incidents historically. In 1592, Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea. Sixty years ago in 1952, the country was at the height of the Korean War. And we hear so much about the eschatological 2012 phenomenon.

Dr. Choi Jeong-jun, a student of “I Ching” master Kim Seok-jin, said that the Year of Imjin is not necessarily bad. He added that it depends on the grand cycle of destiny to determine good or ill fortune. Fortunately, next year will be different from the Imjin years of the past that brought catastrophic changes, he explained. Dr. Choi said, “It would be a great opportunity to settle the postponed tasks harmoniously.” While many changes are anticipated, fortune and misery all depend on how we respond.

With the death of Kim Jong-il, great changes are expected throughout next year on the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, the presidential and general elections are scheduled. Hopefully, the Korean Peninsula will be blessed with the grand fortune of twin dragons to resolve the long-cherished wishes of us all.

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Bae Myung-bok

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