Chinese astrology

From ArticleWorld

Chinese astrology is the ancient art of divination, followed even today, of foretelling by observing the positions and movements of planetary bodies. The Chinese have a separate calendar for this purpose which consists of twelve year cycles denoted by animals. Chinese astrology follows the binary concept and lays stress on mathematics.

The twelve animals

There are twelve animals in Chinese astrology. Each animal is attributed certain qualities, which a person born in that year, is also believed to possess. The list of animals, given in order, are as follows :

  1. Rat
  2. Ox
  3. Tiger
  4. Rabbit
  5. Dragon
  6. Snake
  7. Horse
  8. Goat (or sheep)
  9. Monkey
  10. Rooster
  11. Dog
  12. Pig (or boar)

There are several legends surrounding the reasons for such an order. A popular one is given below :

The order of animals in the Chinese calendar was to be decided by a specific task. All the animals had to cross over from one bank of the river to the other. The ox was worried because of his poor vision and the cat was scared of water. The rat cunningly suggested that he and the cat should piggy ride on the ox’s back and simultaneously steer him in the correct direction. Being naïve and diligent, the ox did not realize what was going on. In the midst of the river the rat pushed the cat into the water. As soon as the ox approached the bank, the rat jumped off his back, finished first and hence won himself the first position in the Chinese calendar. The ox got second place and the sluggish pig came twelfth and secured his position too, albeit the last one. Being delayed by the rat’s actions, the cat unfortunately finished thirteenth and was left out of the calendar. Enraged, he swore eternal enmity with the rat, which is evident even today.

The five elements

The Chinese calendar also consists of a Yin – Yang sixty year cycle. The odd years are yin and the even, yang. The yin and yang are further sub-divided into the five elements :

  • Water – This signifies communication, intuition and sensitivity. It governs the rat, ox and monkey.
  • Wood – This signifies creativity, nurturing and growth. It governs the tiger, rabbit and dragon.
  • Fire – This signifies passion, intellect and movement. It governs the snake, horse and goat.
  • Metal (Gold) – This signifies use, dependability and strength. It governs the pig, rooster and dog.
  • Earth – This signifies balance, foundations and reliability. It is central to all the elements but does not govern any animals. However, it can lend qualities to all animals.