The Pulse of Balance – Winter New Year 2023

Written by: Sonia Tan

January 11, 2023

May this email reach you healthy and peaceful after the holidays. It is the time of year where our seasonal newsletter changes to a focus on Chinese Astrology and the Seasonal Balance dates of the coming year. 

Before that, a brief note. We are transitioning to provide all our programs privately through our academy, including the Balance Acupuncture Certificate program, previously co-hosted through Langara College. For those that have been waiting, thank you for your patience. For those ready to begin, we should be ready to launch registration online in 1 week! Cohort 4 begins Feb 10, registration is due by Feb 3, 2023. Hybrid delivery and payment plans available. See you when the stars align!


  • Water Rabbit musings from Dr. Tan
  • Seasonal Balance dates
  • Ways to Learn – New and Current courses

Wishing you a Winter full of connection. Zai Jian 再见 (再見)!

See you online, in-person or on our HUB,
Tan Shifu aka Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM, RAc, RTCMP
Founder, Principal, Chinese Medicine & Metaphysician Illuminator.

Chinese Astrology Musings from Shifu Tan

2023 – GuǐMǎo Water Rabbit Chinese Astrology outlook musings

By Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM, RAc, RTCMP, Certified Astrology and Feng Shui Practitioner


Another year has infused into our lives with the Heavens trying to signal to us what we are meant to be doing and heading towards. This article is a longer version from prior postings earlier in January (Medicinal Roots Magazine) and a similar version to ones soon to be released (through Net of Knowledge and Eastern Currents). Keep reading for expanded musings for those that saw my earlier article. I mentioned previously that the Tiger year is a bold year of change, positive change in the end, especially if Tiger has an interaction in your chart. If you have had a bold change, and you are still struggling to understand the silver lining, I’m here to remind you it is there. It may appear later and you will reflect back on the year as one of instrumental change for the better. As with all actions, you must act with kindness and respect for the karma to come back around to help you. This coming year of the Water Rabbit is a softer Yin approach versus the bold Yang energy of the Tiger.


However, I cannot say with confidence that this softer Yin year means it is all for the better. Let me clarify that. In fact, let’s define what better means. Usually that means an improvement. One’s perspective of improvement is actually what matters. Thus, each and every year are opportunities for us to learn, grow and better ourselves. The difference is that some years for individuals are for course-correction and learning, and are not meant to be productive. They are seed planting. Other years are about abundance, output, creation and movement. Every year affects one’s own life differently, based on your own individual Birth Chart, which is composed of four pillars, not just one animal pillar. As some of you may know, I usually hesitate to do these, because Chinese Astrology and your “fate” is determined by your entire chart—year, month, day and time—that interacts with the year, and Feng Shui and human relationships. Providing an astrological annual outlook is pretty general and inaccurate. This creates a misunderstanding of Chinese Astrology, and consequently, its value and effectiveness.


Why does Astrology matter (even just a bit)? Simplistically, chronobiology and circadian rhythms look at how time and light affect health. Astrology is one of the Chinese metaphysical ways we look at the energy of time, light and other sensory phenomena, with how it affects our human health, energy cycles of nature and global health. We, as Chinese metaphysicians, also look at other tools such as Flying Star Feng Shui, Qi Men, Yi Jing, together with the Ba Zi. Despite the challenge of taking something complicated and trying to speak about it simply, I appreciate that people like to have a general idea, to be prepared, and to be provided with context and understanding of one’s path. So while I will give a general synopsis, keep in mind, again, your personal path may be different, depending on your “energetic DNA”, or your complete Ba Zi Birth Chart. Globally, my perspective on the general 2+023 Water Rabbit trends will be based mostly on both the Ba Zi and Flying Star Feng Shui. Let’s dig in!



The upcoming year looks subtly dramatic. Sounds like a conflict right? Wait for it. On January 22, 2023, the Lunar start date for the year of the GuǐMǎo Water Rabbit begins, with the official Astrological Solar start date beginning on February 4, 2023 at 10:47. This year of the (Yin) Water Rabbit will be one of creativity, play, hidden agendas and movements, knowledge, senses, emotion and intuition, growth, follow through, and assessing tolerance and boundaries. The Rabbit is the second animal and stage in the Wood and Spring season. Many attribute the Rabbit to be the fourth animal sign, which is true if you follow a clock pattern. However, when you align it with the cycle of the Sun and the seasons, the Rabbit is the second animal in the Earthly Branches and the Wood/Spring season of growth. It is also a pure Yin Wood energy. This means it is solely about sprouting, moving forward, creating, and surviving. We are continuing on our trajectory that began last year of a new life, a new era, a new way of living, that will leap into a new stage again in 2024. Here in the Water Rabbit year, we finish what we began in the Water Tiger year and move on. There may be many back and forth swings, until finally, a decisive and quick action is made, without looking back.


Rabbit Mǎo 卯 is one of those animal signs that I call a “quick and elusive implementer”. As mentioned, it is a pure Yin Wood energy, without any other energy within it. This usually means it is a more volatile energy, with no other elements of tolerance and adjustments. It’s one of the all-or-nothing signs with it being pure Wood, and Yin Wood. Generally Wood element people, at their core, exist as compassionate and benevolent people, movers and doers, intelligent and strong, quick to get things done, yet also can also be impatient, temperamental and intensely angry. The Rabbit at its core, because it is Yin Wood, moves through life striving to cultivate skills and growth for prosperity, survival and vitality. Specifically, the Yin Wood in the Rabbit is like a grass or vine. Grasses bend in the wind and vines contort to get around an impediment. Thus, Rabbits and Yin Wood selves are known to be great survivors, as they can often find a way to curve or bend around an obstacle to keep growing and stay alive.


Rabbits also are a directional animal and something we call a “Peach Blossom” Táo Huā 桃花 animal sign. This means they are extra popular. It’s easy for them to attract people in their life. Sometimes this is called the “Romance star/animal”. Charms, romance, sexuality, emotions and hidden sides come to light when this sign occurs. This does not mean all people are good for them nor does it always mean romance (it depends on your individual chart). One of the challenges of those who have two or more directional/Peach Blossom animals in their chart is to understand how to establish boundaries for themselves. To be more clear, I mean, how to decide who to have in your life or not. Who is good for you or not. With this year being a Peach Blossom year, this means we can expect this “popularity” energy. It can feel dramatic if this interacts with your Birth Chart—ins and outs, ups and downs, like a swinging door. Thus the World may also feel this drama, shake-ups in relationships, until it figures out what is good for it/that country/person, etc. This is one part of the “subtly dramatic” theme of this year.


The second part of my “subtly dramatic” year is what we have to walk through this year. We look above to the Heavens, Planets, Universe cycle of Qi, represented by the Heavenly Stems. This year is Yin Water coming from the Heavens. On a good note, we have Water and Wood again which are harmonious elements, with Water nurturing Wood. As Wood develops further in the year, it will sedate the Water. However, let’s also remember Water’s strengths that reign this year: Water represents intuition, emotions, senses, ideas and flexibility. Yin Water specifically is a symbol of the clouds or rain, formless, shapeless therefore flexible and always flowing with one’s senses or mood and often changing directions. Water’s shapeless form means it can always figure out how to get around or through things. You cannot put a door in front of Water—it will find the cracks to flow through. With Yin Water, its droplets will subtly make it to the other side, almost unnoticeable until it is there. With Yin Water being also a sensory and emotional element more so than Yang Water, we may feel waves of moods and emotions, up and down. This is meant for you to ask yourself to look inward, tap into your senses and intuition this year. Ascertain and listen to what the wise mind is telling you about yourself and how to move forward. Yin Water is subtle and gives hints, sensory hints, intuitive hints. You need to pay attention to what your gut is telling you. Pay attention to the little signs that may show up. Be aware of what your intuition is telling you. Your sensory self is there to help you tap into your inner knowing to guide you to the next steps. This year is a continuation of previous years of implementing the new you and new life you have envisioned for yourself, but you still need to listen and feel. It’s not a year to logically think it out. That was the digging up, throwing out and seed planning and planting stage we’ve been through for the past few years. Now it is a year of growing that seedling. It is a year to tap into what feels like it harmonizes with you, the sense of who you are where you want to go, and flow with that as you gently move forward. Hopefully, you’ve also listened to my past advice where, in order for new energy to thrive, we must have already made room and let go, and must have also been respectful.


Yin Water from the heavens is different from the Earthly Branch Yin Water. The Heavenly Stem Yin Water is the purest form of Yin, and ultimately, as in natural law, wants to transform to Yang and Fire. This occurs with certain other characters in place, but ultimately means that Yin Water actually has more of a dryness affinity. Coupled with the Yin Wood of Rabbit, which is also inherently dry, we are looking at a dry year. Mǎo 卯 also has an affinity to the Yangming channels. Thus, we may see a dry year, with more fires and heat-related disasters globally. In Chinese medicine we may see Fire and dryness problems especially in the Yangming channels, on top of the Water and Wood problems if a person’s helpful elements are damaged by this.


With the coupling of Yin Water from the Heavens above and the Yin Wood of the Mǎo 卯 Rabbit, we have a subtly sensitive and contorting year as we move along in our new era of life. Globally, this may mean dramatic swings and subtle aggressions, but also soft, kind words that transform change, and quick action. Financially, metal is not present, so the economy will struggle, and may see a further hit in the late summer and early fall. In the second and third quarter of the year things will feel like the friction pushes the love-hate relations enough to sever ties and move on. The last quarter’s intention is to see our visions restabilize and return to growth. It’s not a bold in-your-face year like the Tiger, however it is a lot of nudging and passive-aggressive friction, meant to move and transform as one taps into the intuitive and sensitive side, the World included. At times it may feel like an impatient year, but it is meant for us to dip a little deeper into our subconsciousness in order to move us toward positive change and the new Age of Light coming in 2024. In the coming few weeks, I’ll be writing about some specific animals that are more highly affected this year, so look for those. For now, I’ll leave you with this musing: now is the time to hone your intuition and gut, to continue to follow through on your new visions that you have been growing, especially if the elements of Wood and Water are your beneficial elements of your Birth Chart. Harness the sensory and survival power of the Water Rabbit to help implement your visions, growth and abundance this year.



Let’s look at more layers: there are Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches that have conflicts or clashes every year. The Earthly Branches are easier to understand, and I’ll mention the main ones. We speak about this in context of the Rabbit, because the Rabbit is the Chief this year! Those that have a Phoenix or Rooster in their Birth Chart (year, month, day or time) should be aware this is one of the harshest clashes in all the Chinese astrology energies. This is a knife or blade (Yin Metal of the Phoenix) trying to cut the grass or vine (Yin Wood of the Rabbit). With the Rabbit being the Chief, it is likely the Phoenix will NOT win this fight and the vine/Rabbit will dominate. However, if you actually need your Metal sedated in your chart or need more Wood, this will end up being a good change for you, but will feel quite harsh in how it comes about. As with all conflicts or clashes, they are meant for you to evaluate and evolve your own development.



Other animals worth mentioning are the Goat/Sheep and the Boar. This creates a trio with the Rabbit that wants to create more Wood—movement, kindness, growth. If that is what you need in your chart, you may see changes in education, and your desire to create change will be a huge motivating force. For Chinese medicine practitioners, since this is an amplification of Wood, you may see more Liver, Gallbladder or tension conditions flare up this year. Balance Acupuncturists, you may do best to utilize Jueyin-Shaoyang III-VI all the live long day!



Next on my list is the Dog. The Rabbit and the Dog are best friends, and together they like to create more Fire. This is a helpful spark of joy, inspiration and warmth in one’s life. If you have a Dog in your year, month, day or time, this will be an inspiring year, especially if you need more Fire. For Chinese medicine practitioners, since this is an amplification of Fire, you may see more inflammatory conditions flare up. Balance Acupuncturists, you know the go-to Magic 4 Heat.



Globally, with Rabbit being what I like to call a “Popularity” star (aka Romance star), more swings (or fun) with romance, clients, friends and family is expected. Take care again to ascertain WHO is good to have in your life, not how many. With more attraction, comes more drama. What is good for you? With any conflict, look at the big picture and keep in tune with your inner blueprint of your developing self.



Lastly, I always look at the year in context of Flying Star Feng Shui, where this is an analysis of the cycles of Qi that come from the stars above, i.e., the Big Dipper. This year, the 4 Wood Star is in the center palace. This emphasizes swift action. Be mindful of enhancing the Southeast part of your home to encourage the Rabbit to thrive, and sedate the centre of your home with some metal elements to subdue any illness. As with a personal Birth Chart, every building has its own life cycle. In Feng Shui, this is not just design–it is looking at the energetic DNA of a building, its energetic sectors and exposure to light and its aging process. Since we are over 70% fluid and we are visually processing information all the time, we are constantly absorbing our surroundings. Understanding the harmony of our environment can help affect our inner health and temperament as well. On a global scale, in Flying Star Feng Shui we are one year away from a new 20-year age of existence. Next year, the motive force of change will amplify to a new level and the Age of Light for the world for the following 20 years. We are all a collective part of global energy. Be a part of continued benevolent change collective by amplifying the goodwill and the optimal vitality mentality of the Rabbits’ drive to survive and thrive into a kind and inspiring world.

May you have good Qi flow and many blessings to you all!
  • Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM, RAc, RTCMP

Seasonal Balance Dates from Shifu Tan

For those that have learned Balance in the Seasons (Level 6) & Chinese Astrology…

YEAR: GuǐMǎo

BEGINS: 立春Lì Chūn – Springs Stands – February 4, 2023, 10:47
Jia 甲 Yin 寅 


驚蟄 (惊蛰) Jīng Zhé – Insects Awaken – March 6, 04:31

Yi 乙 Mao 卯


清明 Qīng Míng – Clear Brightness – April 5, 09:14

Bing 丙 Chen 辰


立夏 Lì Xià – Summer Stands – May 6, 02:33

Ding 丁 Si 巳


芒種 (芒种) Máng Zhòng – Feather Seed – June 6, 06:46

Wu 戊 Wu 午


小暑 Xiǎo Shǔ – Lesser Heat – July 7, 18:10

Ji 己 Wei 未


立秋 Lì Qiū – Autumn Stands – August 8, 03:16

Geng 庚 Shen 申


白露 Bái Lù – White Dew – September 8, 06:38

Xin 辛 Yo 酉


寒露 Hán Lù – Cold Dew – October 8, 22:41

Ren 壬 Xu 戌


立冬 Lì Dōng – Winter Stands – November 8, 02:00

Gui 癸 Hai 亥


大雪 Dà Xuě – Great Snow – December 7, 18:38

Jia 甲 Zi 子


小寒 Xiǎo Hán – Lesser Cold – January 6, 05:25

Yi 乙 Cho 丑


Be Well,

Dr. Sonia F. Tan, BA, BA(H), DAOM, RAc, RTCMP




Whether you are new to Balance, or Balance Acupuncture is your home, we look forward to getting to know you more. 



We are moving this year to a small private school, with more focus on small cohorts and mentorship programs with hybrid learning and payment options. Let us know what you would like to learn more about, learning options, or any other questions you have for the team. Feel free to reach out to us and the rest of us on the TAB Hub!

See you on the on the waves of your journey, 
The Tan Academy of Balance team – Adam, Suzanne, Alex, Dr. Chen and Shifu Tan.


Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Certificate Program

Cohort 4 entry begins February 10, 2023
Visit for more or email hello(at) for the Info and Registration form.

Continuing Education Credits:

Eligible for 75 CEU Hours
  • 43 Lecture hours, 24 clinical hours & 7 Exam Hours
Approved by: CTCMA & CNPBC

Continuing Education Credits:

Eligible for 75 CEU Hours
  • 43 Lecture hours, 24 clinical hours & 7 Exam Hours
Approved by: CTCMA & CNPBC
For more program info or for any questions.
Students must have BSA (Balance System Acupuncture) Foundations OR Equivalency course completion + Exam + Practical Refresher course 1).
This can be achieved by various methods:
1) BSA Foundations Levels 1+2 – In-Person Classes
  • Vancouver & Victoria, BC classes offered in Aug 2022
2) Webinar & Refresher Classes:
Level 1 – Single Balance & Level 2 – Multiple & Global Balance courses through Net of Knowledge
3) Completing the Level 1 & 2 Equivalency Exams
  • Dates are January 22 & 29, 2023
* Or other approved Balance System classes


I was able to learn a fantastic system of acupuncture but more than that BSA has given me the opportunity get to know acupuncturists in my neighbourhood, throughout Canada and around the world. 

Cohort 2 Alumni Testimonial

The Balance System Acupuncture Certificate Program includes all Advanced levels of Balance Acupuncture and Grand Rounds classes of adjunct topics, cases and guest lecturers. The program explores many strategies to effectively deliver more immediate, lasting results.
Based on a long lineage of ancient, authentic teachings and applied channel theory, the Balance Acupuncture Certificate Program bring Balance Acupuncture to life.

Things to know:

  • TAB/Shifu teaches in a clear, systematic way so that students know how build a treatment plan using the strategies taught
  • Customization and refinement – this is the golden nugget for practitioners who have been practicing Balance but haven’t studied with Shifu before. It takes treatments to another level
  • There is breathing room in class to ensure students really absorb and understand the advanced concepts so they know how to apply them

Hybrid Program: 

The Balance System Acupuncture Certificate program has been transformed to a hybrid style.

Presented with a combination of online and in-person learning, providing more flexible learning options, especially for individuals living outside of Vancouver’s Lower Mainland.

Study Balance Acupuncture from
Near & Far!

In-Person Practicum:

The in-person weekend of hands-on learning, demonstrations and practice allow you to organically learn and cultivate relationships with your classmates, Tan Academy of Balance Certified BSA Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Shifu Sonia Tan. (Scheduled at the end of the program (exceptions for online attendance may be possible).


Learning is fun when it’s done together!

About the Course:

Lecture Weekend Dates:

Lectures are held on Saturdays & Sundays, and exams are online on Sundays

  • Live in the Greater Vancouver area? Classes are held come in-person for enhanced learning.
  • Online option is available for those outside of area and in cases of illness.
  • One practical weekend required at the end of the program in the fall (exceptions for online attendance may be possible) to anchor your hands-on skills.
Optional TA Study Labs: – 
  • 1 hour on Sunday mornings between the class & exam (Online)
Final Exam:
  • Final Exam (online)
Earn a recognized certificate in this highly specialized area of acupuncture.
  • At the end of the Program, you will have earned a certificate from Tan Academy of Balance
  • You will be able to say you are a Certified Balance System Acupuncture Practitioner from the Tan Academy of Balance lineage.
How do you know if this is the right program for you?
The Tan Academy of Balance Balance Acupuncture Certification is:
  • A layered advanced level 10 month program
  • An opportunity to learn channel theory acupuncture
  • A place to fill your gaps of knowledge
  • A higher quality of teaching focusing on:
  • Academic Teaching
  • Classroom Collaboration & Case Studies
  • Grand Rounds Cases & Adjunct topics
  • Real World Stories & Experiences
  • Optional Online 1 hour Study Labs with a Teaching Assistant
  • Fostering & grows your community
  • Adjunct lectures by guest speakers and TA support
  • A place to grow your proficiency and feel more confident


What’s Coming

BSA Refresher & Practical – Jan 15/23 – LIVESTREAM
Get practising with your hands-on practical skills you didn’t get to verify from the webinar, or fill the gaps of your skills by live with Dr. Tan! Attend by livestream with a volunteer patient.

Prior approval required, email:

Become Certified- Equivalency Tests – Jan 22 & 29/23

Hosted at Langara College. Prior approval required, email: or

Winter Season Learning Lab – Jan 18/23
Seasonal blues got your patients down? Join Adam and Suzanne as they review one of the most common patterns affecting patients with dips in mood through the watery winter months. They will discuss how to treat the affected channels using a Seasonal Balance approach that will give your patients support through the winter blues.
See Register Here! Button Below

Exciting Mentorship Opportunities Mentorship Opportunities in 2023

– 1.5 years, 4 meetings per year, in-person only, Vancouver, Canada.
With Dr. Yvonne Farrell, DAOM
Inquire with  for more information.

Certified Chinese Astrology Practitioner  2.5 year mentorship, 3 meetings per year, beginning June 2023, hybrid delivery (in-person & online), by application only. Inquire with  for more information.

Payment plan options are available.

Webinars & Online Learning

It’s a great way to start learning a new topic. It can be completed on your own schedule
Lifelong Course Access = Review Materials When You Want
  • Please remember that while webinars do discuss the basic principles being taught, they can lack the normal exchange of energy and/or ideas that case studies and classroom Q&A’s can bring.
  • Unless otherwise noted, webinars are offered through Net of Knowledge, and purchases are automatically redirected to your host country’s provider.

Books and Writing

The Foundations of Balance Acupuncture Dr. Sonia Tan continues to write!
  • Dr. Sonia Tan wrote this book with the intention that it be a reference textbook to Levels 1+2: Single + Multiple Balance. It is an essential clinical reference.
  • Updates to new writings are also available on the page on the website.
The International French Version of The Foundations of Balance Acupuncture is Now Available! 


Did you know as a member of the HUB, we maintain an up-to-date practitioner list on the  website?
  • If you are a member and your office locations and/or contact information has changed, please update this in your member profile and notify us through email or the TAB HUB.
*Note: An Office address is required for Google Maps
Sonia Tan
Author: Sonia Tan

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