Chinese Astrology

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It is not possible in a short article such as this to look at Chinese astrology in any depth but the intention is to outline the structure of the system as a basis for further study.  You can find your sign in the accompanying tables;  I am an Earth Rat, which as you can see makes me no spring chicken.

For further study we would recommend The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau, published by Souvenir Press.

The Chinese lunar calendar was instigated in 2637 BC by the emperor Huang Ti in the sixty first year of his reign.  This makes it the longest continuous chronological record in history.  A complete cycle takes sixty years and consists of five cycles, each of twelve years.  Each of the twelve years in a cycle is represented by an animal, said to be the animals which came to bid farewell to the Lord Buddha before he departed from this earth:

 

   Rat     Ox   Tiger Rabbit Dragon Snake  Horse  Sheep  Monkey  Rooster  Dog and Boar

 

The Chinese signs for these animals are shown below:

 

 

 

The twelve animal signs are divided into six positive and active signs and six negative and passive signs.

The positive/active signs are:

Rat, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Monkey and Dog

The negative/passive signs are:

Ox, Rabbit, Snake, Sheep, Rooster, and Boar.

 

Here is a table of the years represented by each sign:

 

Lunar signs from 1900 to 2019

 

 

Rat

1900

1912

1924

1936

1948

1960

1972

1984

1996

2008

Ox

1901

1913

1925

1937

1949

1961

1973

1985

1997

2009

Tiger

1902

1914

1926

1938

1950

1962

1974

1986

1998

2010

Rabbit

1903

1915

1927

1939

1951

1963

1975

1987

1999

2011

Dragon

1904

1916

1928

1940

1952

1964

1976

1988

2000

2012

Snake

1905

1917

1929

1941

1953

1965

1977

1989

2001

2013

Horse

1906

1918

1930

1942

1954

1966

1978

1990

2002

2014

Sheep

1907

1919

1931

1943

1955

1967

1979

1991

2003

2015

Monkey

1908

1920

1932

1944

1956

1968

1980

1992

2004

2016

Rooster

1909

1921

1933

1945

1957

1969

1981

1993

2005

2017

Dog

1910

1922

1934

1946

1958

1970

1982

1994

2006

2018

Boar

1911

1923

1935

1947

1959

1971

1983

1995

2007

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note, however, that the lunar years on which Chinese astrology is based do not correspond exactly to calendar years.  For instance, 1900 runs from 31/1/1900 to 18/2/1901.  1980 runs from 16/2/1980 to 4/2/1981.  If your birth date is in the middle of the year or towards the end there is no problem but if your birth date is close to the start of the year you need to check the exact dates from this table:

 

Exact Lunar Years 1900 to 1995

YEAR

SIGN

FROM

TO

YEAR

SIGN

FROM

TO

YEAR

SIGN

FROM

TO

1900

Rat

31/01/1900

18/02/1901

1936

Rat

24/01/1936

10/02/1937

1972

Rat

16/01/1972

02/02/1973

1901

Ox

19/02/1901

07/02/1902

1937

Ox

11/02/1937

30/01/1938

1973

Ox

03/02/1973

22/01/1974

1902

Tiger

08/02/1902

28/01/1903

1938

Tiger

31/01/1938

18/02/1939

1974

Tiger

23/01/1974

10/02/1975

1903

Rabbit

29/01/2003

15/02/1904

1939

Rabbit

19/02/1939

07/02/1940

1975

Rabbit

11/02/1975

30/01/1976

1904

Dragon

16/02/1904

03/02/1905

1940

Dragon

08/02/1940

26/01/1941

1976

Dragon

31/01/1976

17/02/1977

1905

Snake

04/02/1905

24/01/1906

1941

Snake

27/01/1941

14/02/1942

1977

Snake

18/02/1977

06/02/1978

1906

Horse

25/01/1906

12/02/1907

1942

Horse

15/02/1942

04/02/1943

1978

Horse

07/02/1978

27/01/1979

1907

Sheep

13/02/1907

01/02/1908

1943

Sheep

05/02/1943

24/01/1944

1979

Sheep

28/01/1979

15/02/1980

1908

Monkey

02/02/1908

21/01/1909

1944

Monkey

25/01/1944

12/02/1945

1980

Monkey

16/02/1980

04/02/1981

1909

Rooster

22/01/1909

09/02/1910

1945

Rooster

13/02/1945

01/02/1946

1981

Rooster

05/02/1981

24/01/1982

1910

Dog

10/02/1910

29/01/1911

1946

Dog

02/02/1946

21/01/1947

1982

Dog

25/01/1982

12/02/1983

1911

Boar

30/01/1911

17/02/1912

1947

Boar

22/01/1947

09/02/1948

1983

Boar

13/02/1983

01/02/1984

1912

Rat

18/02/1912

05/02/1913

1948

Rat

10/02/1948

28/01/1949

1984

Rat

02/02/1984

19/02/1985

1913

Ox

06/02/1913

25/01/1914

1949

Ox

29/01/1949

16/02/1950

1985

Ox

20/02/1985

08/02/1986

1914

Tiger

26/01/1914

13/02/1915

1950

Tiger

17/02/1950

05/02/1951

1986

Tiger

09/02/1986

28/01/1987

1915

Rabbit

14/02/1915

02/02/1916

1951

Rabbit

06/02/1951

26/01/1952

1987

Rabbit

29/01/1987

16/02/1988

1916

Dragon

03/02/1916

22/01/1917

1952

Dragon

27/01/1952

13/02/1953

1988

Dragon

17/02/1988

05/02/1989

1917

Snake

23/01/1917

10/02/1918

1953

Snake

14/02/1953

02/02/1954

1989

Snake

06/02/1989

26/01/1990

1918

Horse

11/02/1918

31/01/1919

1954

Horse

03/02/1954

23/01/1955

1990

Horse

27/01/1990

14/02/1991

1919

Sheep

01/02/1919

19/02/1920

1955

Sheep

24/01/1955

11/02/1956

1991

Sheep

15/02/1991

03/02/1992

1920

Monkey

20/02/1920

07/02/2021

1956

Monkey

12/02/1956

30/01/1957

1992

Monkey

04/02/1992

22/01/1993

1921

Rooster

08/02/2021

27/01/1922

1957

Rooster

31/01/1957

17/02/1958

1993

Rooster

23/01/1993

09/02/1994

1922

Dog

28/01/1922

15/02/2023

1958

Dog

18/02/1958

07/02/1959

1994

Dog

10/02/1994

30/01/1995

1923

Boar

16/02/2023

04/02/1924

1959

Boar

08/02/1959

27/01/1960

1995

Boar

31/01/1995

18/02/1996

1924

Rat

05/02/1924

24/01/1925

1960

Rat

01/01/1900

14/02/1961

1925

Ox

25/01/1925

12/02/1926

1961

Ox

15/02/1961

04/02/1962

1926

Tiger

13/02/1926

01/02/1927

1962

Tiger

05/02/1962

24/01/1963

1927

Rabbit

02/02/1927

22/01/1928

1963

Rabbit

25/01/1963

12/02/1964

1928

Dragon

23/01/1928

09/02/1929

1964

Dragon

13/02/1964

01/02/1965

1929

Snake

10/02/1929

29/01/1930

1965

Snake

02/02/1965

20/01/1966

1930

Horse

30/01/1930

16/02/1931

1966

Horse

21/01/1966

08/02/1967

1931

Sheep

17/02/1931

05/02/1932

1967

Sheep

09/02/1967

29/01/1968

1932

Monkey

06/02/1932

25/01/1933

1968

Monkey

30/01/1968

16/02/1969

1933

Rooster

26/01/1933

13/02/1934

1969

Rooster

17/02/1969

05/02/1970

1934

Dog

14/02/1934

03/02/1935

1970

Dog

06/02/1970

26/01/1971

1935

Boar

04/02/1935

23/01/1936

1971

Boar

27/01/1971

15/01/1972

 

Each of the five cycles is represented by an element:

                                        Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

 

Here is a copy of the table of years shown above, showing the associated elements. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rat

1900

Metal

+

1912

Water

+

1924

Wood

+

1936

Fire

+

1948

Earth

+

Ox

1901

Metal

-

1913

Water

-

1925

Wood

-

1937

Fire

-

1949

Earth

-

Tiger

1902

Water

+

1914

Wood

+

1926

Fire

+

1938

Earth

+

1950

Metal

+

Rabbit

1903

Water

-

1915

Wood

-

1927

Fire

-

1939

Earth

-

1951

Metal

-

Dragon

1904

Wood

+

1916

Fire

+

1928

Earth

+

1940

Metal

+

1952

Water

+

Snake

1905

Wood

-

1917

Fire

-

1929

Earth

-

1941

Metal

-

1953

Water

-

Horse

1906

Fire

+

1918

Earth

+

1930

Metal

+

1942

Water

+

1954

Wood

+

Sheep

1907

Fire

-

1919

Earth

-

1931

Metal

-

1943

Water

-

1955

Wood

-

Monkey

1908

Earth

-

1920

Metal

-

1932

Water

-

1944

Wood

-

1956

Fire

-

Rooster

1909

Earth

+

1921

Metal

+

1933

Water

+

1945

Wood

+

1957

Fire

+

Dog

1910

Metal

-

1922

Water

-

1934

Wood

-

1946

Fire

-

1958

Earth

-

Boar

1911

Metal

+

1923

Water

+

1935

Wood

+

1947

Fire

+

1959

Earth

+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rat

1960

Metal

+

1972

Water

+

1984

Wood

+

1996

Fire

+

2008

Earth

+

Ox

1961

Metal

-

1973

Water

-

1985

Wood

-

1997

Fire

-

2009

Earth

-

Tiger

1962

Water

+

1974

Wood

+

1986

Fire

+

1998

Earth

+

2010

Metal

+

Rabbit

1963

Water

-

1975

Wood

-

1987

Fire

-

1999

Earth

-

2011

Metal

-

Dragon

1964

Wood

+

1976

Fire

+

1988

Earth

+

2000

Metal

+

2012

Water

+

Snake

1965

Wood

-

1977

Fire

-

1989

Earth

-

2001

Metal

-

2013

Water

-

Horse

1966

Fire

+

1978

Earth

+

1990

Metal

+

2002

Water

+

2014

Wood

+

Sheep

1967

Fire

-

1979

Earth

-

1991

Metal

-

2003

Water

-

2015

Wood

-

Monkey

1968

Earth

-

1980

Metal

-

1992

Water

-

2004

Wood

-

2016

Fire

-

Rooster

1969

Earth

+

1981

Metal

+

1993

Water

+

2005

Wood

+

2017

Fire

+

Dog

1970

Metal

-

1982

Water

-

1994

Wood

-

2006

Fire

-

2018

Earth

-

Boar

1971

Metal

+

1983

Water

+

1995

Wood

+

2007

Fire

+

2019

Earth

+

 

 

Each of the elements is ruled by a planet.  Also, a critical part of Chinese astrology is the interrelationships between the elements.  These are divided into Conducive and Controlling interrelationships:

 

Element

Ruling Planet

Conducive

Controlling

Wood

Jupiter

Fire

Metal

Fire

Mars

Earth

Water

Earth

Saturn

Metal

Wood

Metal

Venus

Water

Fire

Water

Mercury

Wood

Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No element can be called strong or weak.  Each is controlled by one of the others and each is conducive to one of the others.  In Chinese medicine and acupuncture, Fire is linked to the heart, Water to the kidneys, Earth to the spleen and pancreas, Wood to the liver and Metal to the lungs.

 

The day begins at 11 PM and consists of a twenty four hour clock divided into twelve two hour segments.  Each of these is ruled by one of the animal signs.  The sign which rules the time of birth is the ascendant.

Here is a table of the two hour segments and their signs:

 

The signs and their Hours

Rat

11:00 PM

to

1:00 AM

 Ox

1:00 AM

to

3:00 AM

 Tiger

3:00 AM

to

5:00 AM

 Rabbit

5:00 AM

to

7:00 AM

 Dragon

7:00 AM

to

9:00 AM

 Snake

9:00 AM

to

11:00 AM

 Horse

11:00 AM

to

1:00 PM

 Sheep

1:00 PM

to

3:00 PM

 Monkey

3:00 PM

to

5:00 PM

 Rooster

5:00 PM

to

7:00 PM

 Dog

7:00 PM

to

9:00 PM

Boar

9:00 PM

to

11:00 PM

 

The influence of the elements in your life depends on the following scale, in descending order of importance:

1.  The element of your year of birth

2. The element of your animal sign

3. The element of your hour of birth

4. The element of your month of birth

5. The element of your country of birth

 

 

To discover how your fortunes will fare in a particular year it is necessary to see how the element and animal for the year relates to the animal of your year of birth and the elements relating to you as in the above table.  The way that the elements interrelate in this context is shown below:

 

Element

MINOR CONFLICT

Some
conflict

No
Conflict

Successful

Wood

Fire

Earth

Metal

Water, Wood

Fire

Water

Earth

Fire

Wood, Metal

Earth

Earth

Metal

Water

Fire, Wood

Metal

Wood

Fire

Earth

Water, Metal

Water

Metal

Fire

Wood

Earth, Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next consideration is how the twelve signs relate to each other.  Each is assigned a compass point and from this, form a set of four equilateral triangles.  The signs which form a particular triangle are most compatible with each other.  Signs which are directly opposite each other are the most incompatible and are in direct conflict:

 

 

 

 

 

The first triangle, Rat, Dragon and Monkey, are the positive doers.  Ruled by dynamic energy and ambition they push ahead, have loads of initiative and innovation but are restless and short tempered when hindered.  This triangle is BLUE on my diagram but the colours have no significance except to make the diagram clearer, I just randomly selected various colours.

The second triangle– YELLOW on my diagram – consists of the Ox, Snake and Rooster.  Steadfast, solid and reliable they are slow and sure-footed but are also the most intellectual of the signs.

The third triangle – RED – the Tiger, Horse and Dog – serve humanity and their strongest qualities are communication and understanding.  Honest, open and motivated by idealism.

The fourth triangle – GREEN – are the emotionally guided signs led by the senses, Rabbit, Sheep and Boar.  They are diplomatic and compassionate, have calm natures and are aesthetic and artistic.

It is necessary to appreciate the qualities of both the elements and the animals in much more depth than I can present here.  However, again purely as an overview to get you started, here is a list of how the animals correspond to the signs in Western astrology:

 

Chinese Sign

Western Sign

Chinese Name

 

Rat

Sagittarius

SHU

Ox

Capricorn

NIU

Tiger

Aquarius

HU

Rabbit

Pisces

TU

Dragon

Aries

LONG

Snake

Taurus

SHE

Horse

Gemini

MA

Sheep

Cancer

YANG

Monkey

Leo

HOU

Rooster

Virgo

JI

Dog

Libra

GOU

Boar

Scorpio

ZHU

 

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© Ken James 2008