Chinese Zodiac Astrology
Chinese zodiac astrology is one of the best zodiac systems to analyze a person’s personality. It is very scientific and logical approach of classifying the personalities among 12 animals in which an animal is assigned to each year which relates to all the attribute of that animal with the person born in that particular year and represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is very popular in East Asian countries including China, Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Mongolia.
‘Western zodiac’ system is classified according to months, whereas ‘Chinese zodiac’ system is classified according to years. Animals in the Chinese zodiac are not associated with the ‘constellation’.
These 12 animals are:
Chinese 60 year calendar classifying these 12 animals range from 1924–2043 as follows:
Four Pillars of Chinese Astrology:
There are four pillars of the Chinese astrology i.e. year, month, day and hour of birth. The animals in Chinese zodiac system are used to represent years, months, day and even hours. Animal signs assigned by month called inner animals, by day called true animals, and hours called secret animals.
Further, going into more detail, the pillar of year provides the information about one’s ancestor or early age, the pillar of month provides the information about one’s parents or growing age, the pillar of day provides the information about oneself and spouse or adult age, and the last pillar of hour provides the information about children or later age.
Four Trines of Animals:
Just as Western astrology has divided the zodiacs into 4 categories; these 12 animals have been further divided into four sections:
First Trine: Rat, Dragon and Monkey
Second Trine: Ox, Snake and Rooster
Third Trine: Tiger, Horse and Dog
Fourth Trine: Rabbit, Goat and Pig
Folklore behind Chinese Zodiac:
As per one version Jade Emperor called all the animals in his meeting, a Chinese year will be named after each animal in the order they arrived to the meeting. However, in order to reach the meeting place every animal has to cross the river. Cat and Rat were the worst swimmer and smaller in size too; so Rat played a trick and convinced Ox to carry them on his back, Ox agreed. In the midway, Rat pushed Cat into the river and jumped ahead of Ox when he reached the shore. So, it was the first animal and that is whey first year and first zodiac starts with Rat, the reached Ox and then in orderly manner reached Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
Since Cat drowned in the river, Cat does not have any place in the Chinese zodiac. That is why cats always chase Rats to revenge for what they have done.
Another version suggests that on registration day the Rat met with the Ox and asked the Ox if he would like to listen a song. The Rat opened his mouth but said nothing, to which Ox said ‘I didn’t hear you.’ The Rat said since he was small so Ox should let him sit onto his back so that he could listen to him, Ox agreed. After a while Ox was walking to the signing post without knowing that Rat is on his back. When Ox reached there, the Rat jumped off and claimed first place.
One more version talks about Buddha calling all the animals to bid him farewell before he is departed from the earth. To reward the animals who came he named a year after each of them.
The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac must have been developed in the early stages of Chinese civilization over hundreds of years before it became the current edition; and it’s very hard to investigate the real origin. Most historians agree that Cat is not in the list since the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac were formed before cats were introduced to China from India with Buddhism.
Another story tells that God called the animals to a banquet. The Rat played a trick on his neighbor Cat and told the Cat that the banquet was on the day after tomorrow. The Cat believed him and slept. The next day, the Rat arrived first at the banquet followed by the Ox, the Tiger and the rest of the animals. The Cat vowed that he would always hate the Rat and that is why cats chase Rats.
Perhaps, best use of the Chinese zodiac is to provide a detailed personal or compatibility analysis of two different signs based on their attributes, traits, and nature. Its interpretation is based on the ‘Five Elements’ theory of wood, water, air, earth, and fire. Different people born in different year have different personalities, Chinese astrology use the attributes of the particular animal, traditional details of five elements and compatibility to provide advisory assistance for life, and related events i.e. love, marriage etc.