Actual date of origin of Chinese Astrology is not known. Some of the scholars place its origin between 4000 and 2000 BC.Needless to say in the course of millennia a number of different systems have been used. There are two main types, those that rely on birth data alone, and those that use birth data but rely primarily on positioning of stars and planets. Most use the lunar calendar which bases its calculations on the cycles of the moon. That is why Chinese New Year falls on a different date every year. Some Chinese systems use the solar year as Western astrology does. Both, however, make use of Chinese five element theory.
The five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, always being given in that order. It is said to be a productive cycle, that is Wood produces Fire; Fire produces Earth; Earth produces Metal, Metal produces Water, and Water produces Wood, thus continuing the cycle. The balance of these elements and their positioning in a Chinese chart enable the astrologer to tell many things about a person’s personality and life.
Chinese astrology has 12 primary signs, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. There are variations in the names. Some people, for example, use Buffalo for Ox or Boar for Pig.
It’s interesting to think about why Chinese astrologers have used these particular animal names. Unfortunately, Chinese astrology is so old that we just don’t have any ancient texts describing the process. Most likely it was done empirically, that is, astrologers looked at human behavior, came up with twelve types (to match their 12 year calendar cycle) and thought about which animal best exemplified each. Chinese animal stereotypes sometimes approximate Western, e.g., the loyal Dog. For the Chinese, however, Rat and Snake do not have the negative connotations characteristic of Western perceptions. In fact, they are two of the most prestigious signs.
Already it can be seen there are both similarities (both have 12 basic signs) and differences (solar and lunar calendar) between Chinese and Western astrology. It is important to understand them to avoid confusion.
Chinese astrologers base their calculations on the moon and its cycles, that is, on the lunar year. Western astrologers base theirs on the solar year. Thus, Western signs are called sun signs. In Western astrology the month sign, for example, Leo, is the primary influence, while in Chinese astrology it is the year sign. Chinese astrology also has month signs. Chinese months are not named (just numbered) and use the same names as year signs. So, there is such a thing as a Wood Sheep year and a Wood Sheep month.
Western signs are usually designated by one word, for example, Aquarius, and change from month to month. Chinese signs are designated by two Chinese characters and change from year to year. One character designates the year’s element and the other its animal sign, for example, Earth Tiger. The Chinese have used both decimal based calendars as in the West as well as a twelve year based calendar. The two are both used simultaneously by Chinese astrologers, thus resulting in the compound signs.
Actually, Chinese astrology has four signs, one for the year, the month, the day and the hour of birth. In texts these are often referred to as “the four pillars.” This may sound different, but even here there is a similarity with Western astrology. That system, for example, uses hour signs as well, calling them “ascendants.”
If it’s starting to sound like Chinese astrology is complicated, that’s because it is. When you put together the 12 animal signs with the five elements, you get 60 total signs. Then you have to consider that each person has four of these. The practical effect of this is you could be in a high school graduating class of over 8,000 people, all born in the same year, yet no two having exactly the same “four pillars” chart. And, we haven’t even talked about star charts, which use additional factors. Each of us truly is an individual, as no two people on the planet born in the same year have the same Chinese star chart.
There is one more very important thing to know about Chinese astrology. Chinese astrologers are not strict determinists. In other words they do not believe a person’s fate is sealed in stone at the moment of birth. What they do believe is that a person’s time and place of birth set parameters, boundaries within which a person has more or less freedom. What happens within these boundaries is influenced not only by “free will” but also by external factors such as financial status of the family, the culture, and the local economy.
In one way this is just common sense, not unlike what people in the West already believe. If your adult height is five feet one inch, you’re not likely to be a professional basketball player. If your IQ is less than 100, you’re not likely to be a chemical engineer.
There is of course a whole body of Chinese philosophy and culture underlying the precepts and findings of Chinese astrology. The subject of Chinese studies, as fascinating as it is however, is well beyond the scope of this basic introduction.
One point worth mentioning, though, is that balance plays a central role in Chinese thought. Even this idea has Western counterparts, Aristotle’s “golden mean” for example. In Chinese thought a star athlete who flunks Algebra is still weak. True strength comes from balance. A strong chart will be balanced in terms of both signs and elements. Ideally a person will have, for example, a mix of strong and gentle signs as well as of elements. And, if a person has a variety of signs as opposed to, say, two Monkey and two Pig signs, so much the better. That means the person has a wider range of capabilities.
Much of the above discussion has been about personality and abilities. Originally, however, the primary purpose of Chinese astrology was fortune telling. The focus is usually on what will happen to people in various stages of their lives/a specific duration of time or on what people should do on a particular day or in a certain month or year .
1 at least compatible - 10 most compatible
According to Chinese Astrology, the twelve zodiac animal signs have been segregated into four groups. The purpose behind the grouping is the three group animals have identical thinking according to Chinese schlars. Despite the variable facets of the individual animals, the style of understanding and thinking is aligned. The four groups are:
First Group- Rat, Dragon, Monkey
All these animals are action oriented ones, they have positive thinking and are high class competitors and are true to their core and character. Rat is timid and a coward, Dragon is full of courage and self-confidence and of high thinking. He has the ability to understand the intelligence of the Rat and the cunningness of the Monkey. Monkey needs the intelligence of the Rat and the courage of the Dragon. Due to the above said factors they are complementary to each other. Here Rat represents the water element, Dragon the water element and Monkey, the metal element.
Second Group- Ox, Snake, Rooster
These are deep thinking animals who continue to dwell upon one aspect or the other. They are always conscious about attaining their objective. Ox is strong and sturdy, but desires to possess the diplomacy of the Snake. The Cock aspires to possess Snake’s alertness and Ox strength. Here the element of Ox is earth, element of Snake is fire and that of Cock is metal.
Third group- Tiger, Horse, Dog
They love freedom and hassle free movement. All these animals are quadrupeds and believe firmly in situations of personal ego. Horse requires Tiger’s excitability and Dog’s transparency, Tiger needs Dog’s sense of duty towards its master and the transparency and it also needs continuous mobility of the Horse.
Fourth Group- Rabbit, Goat, Pig
These are all peace loving animals and believe in mutual co-operation. They are neither too zealous and active nor intelligent and also do not believe in accepting challenges and risks as they are highly sensitive animals. They also have great ability to elicit and seek sympathy, hence they are considerate, love and sympathies with each other. Pig requires Cat’s crafty cunningness and Goat’s civility and humility.
For an outline of your character based on your animal sign and element, choose your year of birth below. For Birthdays between 1st January and 19th February you should also check the year before your year of birth