Like many people, I’ve soured on bankers’ predictions and politicians’ promises. Too many stupid mistakes have been made by so called experts. When times get tough, the powerful look to alternate powers. So what does a feng shui master say about the current state of economic woe?

Portland’s Gwynne Warner, who consults with clients through her company Ten Thousand Blessings, isn’t the kind of feng shui master who moves furniture. "It’s been a long time since someone’s asked me to move a sofa." Rather, she looks at leaders’ animal natures and what these natures portend for luck and prosperity according to Chinese astrology.

Oddly, the US is now in the hands of a team of Oxen in the Year of the Ox. Both Obama and Biden were born in the Year of the Ox. No wonder things are moving so slowly.

Gwynne noticed that “Obama demonstrated the ox qualities in his recent address to congress. He used the phrase ‘slow and steady.’ That’s an ox speaking. There will not be as much movement as in the year of the tiger, 2010. The good news: Oxen and cow and yaks are wish-fulfilling animals. I like to think of this year as the wish fulfilling ox. If you use the energy of Ox, you are in a time that focuses on routine and systems rather than ill informed actions or political reactions without careful analysis. Oxen perform rituals like putting money aside each week into your savings account, or everyday checking Craig’s list for job leads. If you do this in a disciplined and steady way in the year of the ox, you’ll be richly rewarded. People in the year of the Ox who use the Ox qualities come out ahead.”

"We’re at the very young point in the Chinese cycle, which began last year with the year of the rat. There are twelve animals. Chi in nature grows and mature, builds momentum and maturity.

"An ox year is a year about saving money. I liked that Obama said, I’m going to go through the budget line by line. This is a very ox thing to say. 2010, a tiger year, will be a year of recover Ben Bernacke says. We’re early in the animal cycle. The first year, last year, was the year of the rat. It’s followed by a tiger year, then a rabbit year, then a dragon year.

Get your systems together, get your budget together, be disciplined. I like it. The ox is an earth element.

“Oxen represent hard work, different from our last President. Economy stagnant and slow. It’s a good reminder not to blame other people for misfortune. When you practice feng shui, you take responsibility for your chi and your fortune.”

Feng shui masters are looking with dread at the period from June 6 until July 7. Some say there will be an act of financial terrorism. Gwynne’s almanac says, “‘Beware of scoundrels plotting against you, it’s advisable to avoid harmful people Do ten good deeds everyday,’ my master says, to help resolve disasters.

Portland mayor Sam Adams, born in 1963, is very un-ox-like. He’s a rabbit. Gwynne consults her almanac to read Sam’s possible future: "There is good luck for rabbits in the year of the ox. But there are some unlucky stars, like lawsuits. Beware of scoundrels causing problems behind your back. Stay put, know your place, stick to your duties. Be realistic, maintain stability. Abstain from impulsive and careless actions."

Tom Potter was a Dragon (energetic but arrogant and impatient) and Vera was a Rooster (hardworking, shrewd, definite in decision making and a dreamer as well).

Might Portland be exempt from the economic free fall? This city seems less about shopping and excess than most places. Not so, says Gwynne. “I work with a lot of realtors, and I’ve seen a lot of homes where two people live in 6,000 square feet; we call it ghost chi. The chi gets so stagnant and empty and cold.”

Gwynne was trained by His Holieness Grandmaster Lin Yun

People worrying themselves sick has been good for the profession of feng shui. “I have a waiting list about a month out.”

Read more about Gwynne’s work at Ten Thousand Blessings and, for free tips on how the spirit can find its way in this recession, check out Gwynne’s blog.