Understanding the Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese zodiac is an interesting form of astrology; most people know of the 12 animals that make up the birth signs for each year, but there are many other facets to the Chinese astrological charts such as the heavenly stems which are made up of the Five Elements and Yin and Yang. There are also many stories and legends about the forming of the twelve zodiac animal signs, and each person has a combination of signs that are made up of not only their birth year but also the month, day and time; it is believed that a person’s destiny depends on the location of the planets, comets, sun and moon at the moment of their birth.

Chinese astrology (Shengxiao) has been around since the Zhou dynasty which covered 1046 to 256 BC, but became well known during the Han dynasty which spanned 200 BC to 200 AD. The Han dynasty brought together many traditional Chinese teachings including Yin Yang, Confucian philosophy and the 5 elements of metal, wood, water, earth and fire which are also associated with planets. There are many stories about the forming of the 12 animal signs; historians generally agree that the cat is not included as the zodiac was formed before cats were introduced, but stories of the Great Race tell variations of the cat being tricked by the rat and so finishing the race 13th and therefore not being included in the zodiac. The stories say that this is why cats chase rats to this day.

The Zodiac Cycle
The Chinese zodiac cycle is actually 60 years long as it goes through the Five Elements as well as the 12 animal signs; each animal is associated with each element once during the 60 year cycle. Each year is also either Yin or Yang, but as the 12 animals are divisible by two each animal will only be either Yin or Yang; horses are always Yang and rabbits are always Yin.

The 12 animal signs in order are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Even years are always Yang and odd years are always Yin, so the majority (the Chinese year starts at the Chinese New Year around the end of January) of those born in the year 2013 (after Feb 9th) will be Yin Water Snakes, and those born 12 years later will be Yin Wood Snakes. The order of the elements is wood, fire, earth, metal, water.

The astrological chart for a person gets very complicated as there may be a different zodiac sign associated with their year, month, day and shichen (‘large’ hour, a two hour period) which make up the four pillars of Chinese astrology. The year represents how you are seen by others, or how you represent yourself to the world, the month is your inner animal, the day your true animal and the time your secret animal.

Traits of the Animal Signs

Clairvoyant Arthur

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Each animal sign is associated with personality traits and a level of compatibility with other animal signs. There are four animal trines or groups, each with three signs that have similar characters.

The first trine consists of Rat, Dragon and Monkey, all of whom are said to be powerful, energetic and unpredictable.

The second trine of Snake, Ox and Rooster are hardworking and good hearted but can be judgmental and petty.

The third trine of Dog, Horse and Tiger are idealistic, engaging and hot-headed or reckless.

The fourth trine of Goat, Rabbit and Pig seek aesthetic beauty and are artistic and intellectual but sometimes naïve and pessimistic.

These are just a few traits associated with each trine, and of course a person may have many different signs to their personality making them a combination of many trines.

There are lots of fascinating aspects of Chinese astrology, from the stories of the Great Race to the combination of animals and elements that make up a complex human personality and determine the fate of an individual and how they interact with others; all developed over many thousands of years through wisdom passed down from generation to generation.

Should you enjoy talking with someone who has some familiarity with the Chinese Zodiac, and which Zodiac signs are love compatible, give Spiritual Counselor Arthur a call at 1-866-407-7164 (toll free US and Canada). Arthur is a clairvoyant who has been a psychic life coach to a number of celebrities.

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