I get asked a lot about Chinese astrology, mostly because I always intended to include it on my website, but haven’t done it yet. There is a good reason for this and it is the simple fact that Chinese astrology is complex, whereas web pages must be simple and quickly assimilated. A single Chinese astrology web page quickly turns into multiple pages with fine details. It is also very different from Western astrology, using different points of reference both astronomical and cultural. Most of us will be able to say “I am a dragon / tiger / rat, etc.” and we will have a broad idea of the very general characteristics of that sign, but few of us will have a clear understanding of its Chinese star signature and how it is determined. Here, then, when we begin the Year of the Rabbit (Metal, Yin), Cycle 78 (or 79, depending on the version of the calendar to which it is attached) is a potted summary …
Western astrology is based on a simple repeating cycle of twelve months: the Zodiac. Chinese astrology has a 12-sign zodiac, the terrestrial branches, but is based on a cycle of sixty years. The mechanics of this are quite simple: Chinese astrology developed in conjunction with astronomy that originally recognized five main planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Astrology attributed key elements to these planets: water (Mercury), metal (Venus), fire (Mars), wood (Jupiter), earth (Saturn). Each of the twelve signs spans one year – this was derived from the orbit of Jupiter (11.86 years) – and each sign comes in five elemental varieties (e.g., water rat, metal rat, fire rat, rat wood, earth rat). 5 x 12 = 60. Single? Up to a point, yes. But the sixty year cycle is also derived from two separate but interacting cycles: the terrestrial branches, as mentioned above, the twelve signs of the zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit (aka cat), dragon, snake, horse, sheep (also known as ram or goat). ), monkey, rooster, dog and pig (also known as wild boar), and in that order; and the ten celestial stems – these are the five elements mentioned above, each in their ying and yang forms – 5×2 = 10. As the 12 terrestrial branches, which give us the animal signs, are divisible by two, each of the signs animals is a Yin year or a Yang year and this is known as the polarity of the sign. Yin years end in odd numbers, Yang years in even numbers. While each animal sign is Yin or Yang (rats are always Yang, oxen are always Yin, for example), this is tempered by the celestial stem adding the element. From 0 to 9, the order is metal, metal; water water; wood, wood; fire Fire; Earth Earth. And Yang and Yin, in that order:
0 Metal Yang
1 Metal Yin
2 Yang Water
3 Yin water
4 Yang Wood
5 Yin Wood
6 Yang Fire
7 Yin Fire
8 Earth Yang
9 Yin Earth
Therefore, the years ending in 0 are Metal, the Yang years, the years ending in 1 are Metal Yin years – 2010 was a Yang Metal Tiger year, while 2011 is a Yin Metal Rabbit. It will not be a Tiger year again until 2022, when it will be a Yang Water Tiger. Tiger is always Yang. Rabbit is always Yin and the next Rabbit year will be a Water Rabbit in 2023. It won’t be a Metal Tiger year again until 2060.
In its true order, the cycle actually begins with Metal Rat (Yang) and ends with Earth Pig (Yin). Today we are 28 years away from the current 60-year cycle (cycle 78 or 79, depending on the calendar used). Chinese astrology uses a lunisolar calendar that begins with lichun, literally the beginning of spring, around February 4, which is what we call the Chinese New Year. It is necessary to bear in mind that someone born, for example, in January 2011, for the purposes of Chinese astrology, is born in a year ending in 0, that is, Metal Tiger and not Metal Rabbit. This applies, of course, to all years.
The five elements are of crucial importance in Chinese astrology, at least equal in importance to the animal sign, and the emphasis added by the Yin or Yang factor shows the importance of the trinity in Chinese astrology: the earth, the water and the heavens. . Those familiar with the I Ching will not be surprised to learn that the elements of Chinese astrology are considered transformative agents of change or transformative energies, not very different from the I Ching concept of “ moving lines ”, but very different from the elements of Western astrology, which look like building blocks.
Just when you realize the importance of how different a metal tiger can be to a wood tiger or a water tiger, a greater degree of complexity appears. Placing a person within the Chinese astrological system requires a calculation involving the day of birth, the season / month of birth, and the time of birth. In addition to the year of birth, this means that a person’s stellar signature in Chinese astrology consists of kiln signs. Three of these are the key elements for anyone: –
1. The year of birth is related to a person’s family background and position in society, strongly linked to family ancestry, grandparents, which is a much more marked cultural emphasis in Chinese society. Starting today (February 4, 2011) is a year of the Rabbit (Metal); Remember, the order of the signs as above is rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. Next February comes The Year of the Dragon.
2. The month or season of birth (note that the months are different according to the Chinese calendar) determines the “inner animal”; This indicates early childhood education, a transformative influence on character and behavior that manifests itself in adult life.
El Tigre from February 4 to March 5, El Conejo from March 6 to April 4 and El Dragon from April 5 to May 4.
La Serpiente from May 5 to June 5, El Caballo from June 6 to July 6 and La Oveja from July 7 to August 6.
El Mono from August 7 to September 7, El Gallo from September 8 to October 7, El Perro from October 8 to November 7.
El Cerdo from November 7 to December 6, La Rata from December 7 to January 5 and The ox from January 6 to February 3.
3. The birth hour determines a person’s ‘animal secret’: the real person inside often only revealed under stress:
11 p. M. – 1 a. M. Rat,
1 a. M. – 3 a. M. Ox,
3 a. M. – 5 a. M. Tiger,
5 a. M. – 7 a. M. Rabbit,
7 a. M. – 9 a. M. Continue,
9 a. M. – 11 a. M. Snake,
11 a. M. – 1 p. M. Horse,
1 p. M. – 3 p. M. Sheep,
3 p. M. – 5 p. M. monkey,
5 p. M. – 7 p. M. Rooster,
7 p. M. – 9 p. M. Dog,
9 p. M. – 11 p. M. Pork
The day of birth also has something to do with it: each animal sign rules a day, but that works on the basis of 5 elements x 12 signs, each type of elemental animal, and this makes it a base of 60 days and the things get complicated … this is more of a feature of day-to-day horoscopic forecasting than natal charts and is beyond the scope of this article.
Yet curiously, just when the two astrologies appear to be at their most diverse moments, the essential similarities become apparent. Western subjects often focus on the sun sign without considering the importance, meaning and contribution of the moon sign and the Ascendant in the birth chart. Good Western astrology also divides each sun sign into four ‘secondary signs’ and can be further focused for fine detail by looking at the actual day.
Chinese astrology focuses on temperament and character and the interactions and stress between these two facets, the first is that of predisposition, inclination and tendency, while the second is that of actual behavior, habits and the learned disposition (current). It tries to identify the natural and innate person as opposed to the personality that has been mutated and transformed by the experience of life, to find nature before nurturing and to help us understand our lives by looking at them. backward, as Kierkegaard suggested, while living them forward.