The Chinese Zodiac consists of 12 animals. (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit or Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep or Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar or Pig) Each animal rules for an entire year and has individual characteristics, along with a season, a direction, a fixed element, a time of day, and male or female, yin or yang, positive or negative and passive or active aspects. Learning everything there is to know about your Zodiac sign could literally take you a lifetime!
When you go into a Chinese restaurant, you are likely to find a place mat with your Chinese Zodiac animal sign, a list of years, and a very brief description of your sign. While this is a lot of fun to read, thereís a little more to your sign than that. Chinese astrology is just as involved and layered as any other form of astrology. There are many other factors at work that need to be considered if you truly want to understand your sign. There are many more characteristics to your sign than a simple description allows.
Elements also play a large role in understanding your sign. You have to take into consideration what element of year it is, what element you were born under, and what fixed element you were born into. When figuring sign compatibility, or when trying to understand your own sign more completely, you have to take all element factors into account. Go to the Chinese Elements
Since the Chinese Zodiac Signs each span an entire year, (unlike the other traditional Western Solar Zodiac Signs that only span about one month) you are definitely going to feel the influences of your Zodiac animal. If you are born in the middle of the Chinese year, you are going to be pretty firm in your signís characteristics, but if you were born in the beginning, or the end, the influences of the signs moving in, and moving out are going to have a larger impact on your character. In addition, your Western Zodiac Sign will also influence and impact your Chinese Zodiac Sign. The characteristics of both mingle together to create the whole picture. Go to corresponding Western Zodiac Signs
Another HUGE factor to consider if your birthday falls in January or early February, is that the traditional Chinese Zodiac follows what is called a lunisolar calendar. (A calendar based on the moon phases and the solar (sun) year.)
That means that the date the signs change is the Chinese New Year, not January 1st as the calendar we all use today does. (Chinese New Year is figured by the second new moon after the winter solstice.)
People born in late January and early February can actually have the previous yearís sign, and not the sign of the actual Gregorian year (the Jan-Dec calendar we currently use) they were born.
Note: All of my calculations were made using Universal Time (UT). Click here to learn more about converting it to your own local time.
The time you were born also plays a role in your signís character. Depending on what animal rules your birth time, it will either add to and enhance some of your characteristics, or mute some of them a little. (It could actually even do both!) The animal that rules your time of birth will have a greater impact on you, than that of the other animals. You will find that you have some of the stronger characteristics of your birth time sign, in addition to those of your own birth year sign. Go to Times Ruled by the Zodiac
If you are trying to figure out what kind of a year you are going to have, you have to look at what your sign is, and what its compatibility is with the current yearís sign. You will also want to take the current yearís element into consideration, as well, along with its compatibility to your own fixed element. Depending on the compatibility of your birth time ruling sign and the current yearís sign, along with the elements assigned to both signs, you could actually find that you may not have the year you first think you will! Go to the Fixed Element of the Zodiac
Itís really not as confusing as it first may seem. It can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Learning the Chinese Zodiac just takes a little time and thought. It is not as straight forward and simple as some would like you to believe. We humans are very complex and complicated beings. We have lots of different aspects to our characters. The Chinese Zodiac is no different, after all, it is trying to unravel and explain the complex character of us!