When most Westerners think of Chinese Zodiac astrology, the Chinese Zodiac animals come to mind, with the Year of the Rat, Year of the Dragon and so forth. However, Chinese astrology goes much deeper than the 12 animal zodiac signs that can be found on the place mats of Chinese restaurants.
The Planets and the Constellations
When the ancient Chinese first ascribed meanings to the various constellations and planets in the heavens, they identified 5 major planets and 28 constellations. A complicated system of astrology was devised as a way of determining people’s personalities, characteristics and even their destinies based on the position of the planets, constellations and the sun and moon when they were born.
The five planets in Chinese Zodiac astrology are Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn. The 12-year Chinese Zodiac cycle was determined based on the orbit of the planet Jupiter. These 12 years were assigned 12 animal signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each Chinese Zodiac animal sign is ascribed different personality characteristics through astrological readings, both positive and negative.
The Inner Animal
Most westerners don’t realize that there are animal signs and astrological readings linked to the months of a year as well as to different years. An animal is linked to two solar terms, which is roughly equivalent to two weeks each. This is known as the inner animal and has more direct influence on a person’s romantic life as well as their true inner self. Many Chinese astrologists also use the inner animal to identify compatibility with others.
The Elements, Yin and Yang
Chinese zodiac astrology also features 5 elements that are assigned to different parts of a 12-year cycle. The segments are given elemental names: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. Finally, the all-encompassing force that influences lives in Chinese astrology is known as Yin and Yang. Thus, someone born on March 27, 1971, would be Yin Metal Boar. All these aspects are analyzed, mixed and interpreted to result in Chinese astrology, a system that allows followers to pursue the best things in life while being forewarned about certain pitfalls.