A form of Eastern divination based on a 12 year cycle involving 12 animals, the characteristics of which are thought to influence individual personality and to govern the nature of years themselves. Unlike the signs of the zodiac use in western astrology (Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc) the animals unique to Chinese astrology do not rely on the configuration or movement of planets.
History of Chinese Astrology
Legend has it that Buddha invited all the animals to celebrate the New Year with him but only 12 came – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. As a reward for their attendance, Buddha named a year after each animal, according to the order in which they arrived in his presence. Chinese astrology is therefore based on a 12 year cycle. The ancient Chinese consulted a horoscope disk known as the lo-king, using it to predict the future. On the lo-king, the stars and planets are in the center with the 12 animal signs around the outside. Note: In Vietnam, the year of the rabbit is known as the year of the cat. Every 60 years is a special year for the horse and is known as the year of the fire horse.
Chinese astrology has been the same for many hundreds of years. In the same way that many people in the West know their sun sign, many people in the East know the animal that rules their date of birth. Each of the 12 animal years in the Chinese 12 year cycle is a lunar year and therefore begins on a different date according to the Western calendar – anytime between January 21st and February 21st.
To find out your animal sign you need to know the date of your birth. Consult the table of years provided below to find which animal governs the year of your birth. Chinese astrology is complex and it is impossible to give a full explination or course here. More detailed information about all 12 animal signs can be found in the very well written book Chinese Astrology: Exploring the Eastern Zodiac.
Briefly, the 12 animals have the following traits:
Those born of the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rat are clever, charming, sharp, quick-witted, and funny. Motivated by money, can be greedy, is ever curious, seeks knowledge and welcomes challenges. They generally have excellent taste, they are a good friend and are generous and loyal to others considered part of their pack.
Compatible with Dragon or Monkey.
A powerful Chinese Zodiac sign, the Ox is steadfast, solid, detail-oriented, hard-working, a goal-oriented leader, often stubborn, serious and introverted though they can feel lonely and insecure. They take comfort in friends and family and are reliable, protective and strong companions.
Compatible with Snake or Rooster.
The Chinese Zodiac sign of the Tiger share traits as authoritative, ambitious, self-possessed, strong leadership qualities, charming, courageous, warm hearted, highly seductive, moody, intense, and ready to pounce at any time.
Compatible with Dog or Horse.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rabbit enjoy being surrounded by family and friends. Rabbits enjoy home and entertaining at home. They are popular, compassionate, sincere, and Rabbits like to avoid conflict yet are sometimes seen as a pushover.
Compatible with Goat or Pig.
A truly powerful sign, those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Dragon are energetic, charismatic, and warm hearted, lucky at love and egotistic. They’re natural born leaders, as one could imagine as they are good at giving orders and doing what’s necessary to remain on top.
Compatible with Monkey and Rat.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Snake are seductive, gregarious, charming, introverted, generous, good with their money as well as that of others, analytical, insecure, smart, they rely on gut feelings, jealous, slightly dangerous. They are hard-working and intelligent.
Compatible with Rooster or Ox.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Horse love to roam free. They are self-reliant, energetic, money-wise, and they like to travel, love and intimacy. They are great at seduction, are sharp-witted, impatient and sometimes even seen as a drifter.
Compatible with Dog or Tiger.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Goat enjoy being alone in their thoughts. They need lots of love, support and reassurance. They are creative, thinkers, high-strung and insecure, wanderers, unorganized and can be anxiety-ridden. Appearance is important to the Goat.
Compatible with Pig or Rabbit.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Monkey thrive on having fun. They are energetic, upbeat, and good at listening but lack self-control. They are heart breakers, not good at long-term relationships, and their morals are often weak. They like being active and stimulated and enjoy pleasing self before pleasing others.
Compatible with Rat or Dragon.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rooster are practical, observant, resourceful, analytical, trusting, honest, straightforward, perfectionists, neat and conservative.
Compatible with Ox or Snake.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Dog are loyal, faithful, honest, distrustful as they often guilty of telling white lies, temperamental, subject to mood swings, dogmatic, and rather sensitive. Dogs excel in various forms of business but have trouble finding mates.
Compatible with Tiger or Horse.
Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Pig are exceptionally kind, good-mannered and tasteful. They enjoy helping others and are good companions until someone close crosses them, then watch out! They are perfectionists who enjoy the finer things but are not perceived as being snobby. They are intelligent, as they are always seeking more knowledge, and exclusive.
Compatible with Rabbit or Goat.