Lì Xì Cats
Every year, right around this time, I buy red lì xì money envelopes that have the corresponding animal to the year I’m in and give them out to all the little kids I know.
Before you think that is extremely wasteful, I will hasten to assure you that the envelopes only contain a few lucky dollars. I also have no children and personally only know a few kids (children of friends), so this is all quite inexpensive.
This year, I’m on my usual roll, go to my usual Asian grocery store and look for the pretty envelopes and I was hit with a huge plethora of rabbit envelopes.
Two stores later, I finally find envelopes that have a cat on the front and I grabbed a handful, thanking my lucky stars that I had found them.
Here they are, taken in front of my fake cherry blossom tree decorated with all the red new year tchotchkes (those small decorative ornaments hanging on the branches).
There are two patterns, one for boys (the one with the square sign) and one for girls (the one with the round sign, flowers in front, and an orange on her head). Super cute, huh?
They are not that expensive if you buy them from the store ($1.50/pack) so I grabbed a few for this year and enough to last me through two or three more cat years. I would count myself lucky if I make it to the third cat year since it would be 36 years into the future.
This brings me to the real point of this post. WHY. Why do I have to run to three different stores just to find some cat envelopes? Makes me think I’m shopping at the wrong stores.
I have posted this before in one of my posts, The Original Asian Horoscope, regarding the year of the cat. I will add to this tiny dissertation regarding the cat’s vital role in our horoscope to once again, state the obvious.
There were no rabbits in the original Asian Zodiac.
The character for Mèo is the same as the Chinese character, but we pronounce it a bit differently. The zodiac pronunciation is a more ancient sound, Mẹo, but still close enough so that we can draw a direct connective line between the ancient word and the modern word.
The real reason why the Chinese zodiac got changed to rabbit was because the word for cat and rabbit sounds the same, so when the Han Chinese adapted the Việt calendar, they adopted the rabbit to replace the cat; hence the mix-up.
They tried to flip the blame back to the Vietnamese, for mistaking the word rabbit for the cat. We simply shrugged our shoulders and continued with our original ancient zodiac. It is too important to make these sorts of zodiological changes for very good reasons, which I will make clear in a bit.
For those of you who are born in the year of Mẹo, I understand that you may have thought you were born under the rabbit sign because that has been the popular headlines for a very long time now. And that’s okay. But understand that you cannot be a rabbit, no matter how hard you try. Eventually, your inner feline instincts will overtake and you will exhibit those cat tendencies.
Since you cats have been so short-changed all these years, I will spend a little more time to correct that mistake, and return to you, your rightful zodiac.
Cat & Rabbit Domestication
Cats have always been important. Even the Egyptians knew this. They worshiped the cat as a deity more than 10,000 years ago, so it has been around for a long time. Compared that to the genealogy of rabbits and it is clear.
All of today’s breeds of rabbit are derived from the wild rabbit, which originated in the Western Mediterranean region. It is probable that the Romans started to domesticate them during the third century B.C. 
This means that the domesticated cat has been around for 10,000 years, as opposed to the rabbit’s paltry 3,000 years.
The few native rabbits scattered around the Asian areas are in far-flung spots like Japan and the Himalayas. One native rabbit species is located along the border between Laos and Vietnam, but hardly populous enough for us to include it into the zodiac.
When you consider that the Asian Lunar Calendar is already into its 4721 year, there is no way that a rabbit could have made it into the Lunar calendar any earlier than 3000 years ago. Prior to that, it was CATS ALL THE WAY, BABY.
Here is the Calendar Conversion app which gives you all the information, including what the actual lunar year is. (2)
With such a short time span, the rabbit could not possibly have been a part of such an ancient calendric system. Far from being early to see the Jade Emperor, the rabbit wouldn’t even have made a showing on the earthly realm for at least another 1500 years. We are most certainly entering into the year of the cat.
For the Việt people, cats have always been important. They were domesticated, just as dogs had been, and they played a crucial role in keeping the food stores safe from vermin such as rats, worms, and birds which allowed the people to retain their harvest. This is in direct contrast to rabbits who are known to damage fields and destroy crops.
For the Việt people, rabbits are not a good luck sign. The only thing we ever did with them was to hunt them as an added source of protein and to keep them out of our fields so we could retain as much of the harvest as possible.
The Gold-Platinum Cat of 4721
This year, 2023 corresponds with the Lunar Calendar year of 4721. It is the year of the Quý Mẹo (Lake-Gold-Platinum Cat). There are three things we need to take into consideration.
- The Heavenly Stems Can: Quý*
- The Earthly Branches Chi: Cat
- The Five Elements of the I Ching: metal (Sandia alloy – gold-platinum alloy) (3)
*As a quick reminder for those who are not familiar with the I Ching: Quý is the number ten – ☱. It is a deep and placid Lake (Đoài). It is the yin sign of young water, ergo youngest water sister.
As I stated in a previous posting, The Original Asian Zodiac 5: The Twelve Earth Branches, each of the twelve animals correspond to a I Ching hexagram. The Cat’s specific Hexagram is number 46: Pushing Upward.
Hexagram 46 • Pushing Upward
Has supreme success.
One must see the great man.
Departure toward the south
Brings good fortune.
I Ching Insights:
Those lucky people born this year (2023 solar/4721 lunar) will be under the sign of the Quý Mẹo: Lake-Gold-Platinum Cat. They will have, in varying measure, the ability to have prescience and foresight. Some stronger Quý Mẹo will even be able to predict the future with varying degrees of accuracy. The most psychic of them will be seers and oracles of the future.
This ability is due to the fact that they were born with the ability to ‘read the waters’ using a combination of wind and wood which brings about grace and strength. When wind and wood is combined with water, the Quý Mẹo can utilize this unique combination to sail along the river of life safely and knowledgeably.
Young water is water that comes from precipitation. It is not the ancient water that already resides within the depths of the Earth. The benefit of young water is that it is imbued and charged with kinetic energy from the action of falling from the sky and rushing along the mountain creeks. Once the young water reaches the Lake, those who are Quý Mẹo can use Wind and wood to build a craft which can sail upon that deep and placid Lak (Đoài).
Success will require that you continue to exert that pushing upward and forward in order to achieve what you wish, but you will reach supreme success as long as you do not give up or give in to fear of the unknown. Moving southward means moving forward, as in ancient times, south is akin to forward and north is akin to backwards. You must guide your boat forward, towards growth and the warmth of the light.
Standard personality characteristics:
If anyone has ever owned both a cat and a rabbit as pets, they would know the unique behaviors of these disparate animals. Rabbits and cats are not interchangeable. They are not comparable, and they cannot stand proxy for each other.
You are a carnivore, and a predator, NOT an herbivore and prey. In the wild, rabbits run and hide when predators appear because they have little in the way of protection.
Cats on the other hand, are first and foremost, carnivores with that ancient hunter instincts and sharp, cunning reflexes. When domesticated, they will laze about all day and nap on the window sill, but in the wild, they survive by hunting and taking down their prey with deadly accuracy.
You, the domesticated Cat, are creative, passionate, generous, warm-hearted, cheerful, and humorous. But don’t get too cocky because you also have a wild streak within and can also be arrogant, stubborn, self-centered, lazy, inflexible, and you have a sliver of a mean streak.
Just like the Tiger, you’re a natural born leader, but far more dramatic and sly. You often have many friends due to your generosity, and loyalty, and your creative self, combined with your self-confidence makes you extremely difficult to resist. You are able to achieve anything you want, in any area of life you commit yourself to. You go, cats.