The 12 Animal Signs
The twelve animals represent the Chinese cycle of time, and each represents a year. Events and happenings in a given year are influenced by the nature of that year’s animal. Each person born under a year is likely to possess qualities and characteristics that are characteristic of the animal that represents their year of birth.
The twelve animals are first mentioned in the eighth and ninth centuries, a time when Buddhism flourished in China. But Chinese writings mention how in the past the Chinese characters for the “twelve branches” were used instead of the now known animal names. When the Buddhist astrologers had to spread their science to a larger audience, they tried to make it more understandable and had the excellent idea of replacing the twelve branches with animal names. The idea caught on and the use of these twelve animal names quickly spread throughout Asia.
The principles of astrology were already well known. Now an animal name was chosen according to how well it characterized each of the twelve years. Centuries of observation had, for example, revealed that the fifth year of the cycle was usually characterized by particularly heavy downpours and floods – great for praying in a drought-stricken area, but not so good for those whose crops were lost in the waves. For this reason, the dragon became the symbol, not only of rain and floods, but also of unpredictable fortune of loss and gain, chosen as the animal of the fifth year.
The twelve animal signs are included in many different contexts in Chinese astrology, Chinese wisdom and feng shui. The very central thing in all wisdom and spirituality that originates from the East – and thus also the central thing in the concept of the twelve animal signs – is to relate everything to each other.
For an Easterner, it is important to know your lucky element and your Chinese zodiac sign. These are natural landmarks in a world where you define yourself based on the relationships you enter into – more than you define yourself as a detached individual. For a Chinese, astrology is thus not an independent discipline that can be practiced at will. For a Chinese, astrology is not a hobby activity, but an integral part of Chinese daily life where everything is subject to the goal of creating optimal harmony between yin and yang.
Which, by the way, is not the goal in itself. The state where there is balance and harmony between yin & yang is not the end in itself, but the position that will potentially bring about the greatest progress, happiness, prosperity and luck, for the individual, the group, the village, the community, the nation and the world as a whole.
Since this optimal state of harmony is assumed to be of a fleeting nature, it can hardly be predicted, let alone consciously and purposefully achieved and maintained. And thereby the mindset of constantly seeking towards the optimal state of harmony becomes a way of living, more than it becomes something to deal with separately.
The Rat 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032
The rat is resourceful, charming and generous to those closest to him. Temperamental, restless and pedantic they can also be.
The Taurus 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033
Taurus likes to be a leader. They are inspiring and make people around them feel good. They are hardworking and systematic, but can be strong-willed and stubborn.
The Tiger 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034
Tigers are strong, bold, adventurous, charming and good at taking initiative. They often take risks and easily forget to think ahead.
The Rabbit 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035
Loving, compliant, nice and understanding people who usually have many friends. They are a bit shy and like luxury.
The Dragon 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036
The Dragons are spiritually strong and individualistic. They are active and honest and know what they think!
The Snake 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037
The Snake is an incurable romantic and likes to philosophize, which can make it slow to make decisions.
The Horse 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038
Horses work hard and easily take responsibility for themselves. They are known to be social and friendly.
The Goat 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039
A goat is charming and artistic. They often worry unnecessarily and like to complain about small things.
The Monkey 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040
A monkey is intelligent and popular. Socially competent simply. They usually succeed in most things they do.
The Rooster 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041
A Rooster is very decisive and says what he/she means in all situations. They are sometimes perceived as besserwisser and, like here, are very proud. Appearance is important to a rooster.
The Dog 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042
Honest and faithful, but can be anxious.
The Pig 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043
A pig is honest and tolerant and often makes a good friend, but they can sometimes love the good life a little too much.