Sunday, January 22, 2012

Water Dragon Year This Will Be

The Chinese calendar allows one of five elements and one of twelve animals to represent each year. The year that begins on 23 Jan is a water dragon year, which of course appears once in every 60 years.

It's therefore fairly appropriate to use the idiomatic blessing 龍馬精神 (longma jingshen) or 'spirit of the dragon-horse' at this time. It alludes to the virtues of the mythical dragon-horse, normally along the lines of having dynamic strength throughout a long life. But what's even more interesting is the fact that there's a perfectly good Germanic female name which means the same thing, more or less.

That name is 'Rosalind', which has nothing much to do with roses or linden trees. The elements hros and lind are Old English for 'horse' and 'serpent', and allude to the graceful power of the archetypal horse and the wise beauty of the archetypal serpent. It's also the name of a famous Shakespearean female lead: Rosalind from As You Like It, renowned for her wit and beauty, but also for her loyalty to friends.

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