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Chinese Astrology

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Johannes Ehvass

Welcome, dear reader! My Chinese background has provided me a unique lens through which I’ve come to appreciate the intricacies of Chinese astrology. As a child, the dinner table was abuzz with mentions of zodiac signs — be it the diligent Ox, the vibrant Dragon, or the intuitive Rabbit. These symbols were more than just annual markers; they were integral threads of our identity, influencing decisions, relationships, and often, our hopes for the future. Dive with me into this article, as we explore the rich nuances of Chinese astrology, where ancient traditions meld with individual narratives, offering insights into destiny and character.

Chinese Astrology: The Zodiac, Elements, and Cosmic Cycles


Chinese astrology pagodas

China, with its sprawling history and myriad cultural practices, offers an astrological system as profound and complex as its ancient civilization.

Chinese astrology, distinct from its Western counterpart, intertwines with philosophy, the changing seasons, and the principles of Yin and Yang.

Rooted in astronomical observations and age-old traditions, this system offers insights into personality, destiny, and the very fabric of time itself.

The Lunar Calendar and Chinese New Year

The bedrock of Chinese astrology is its lunisolar calendar. Unlike the solar calendar prevalent in the West, the Chinese calendar is based primarily on the moon’s cycles, with necessary adjustments to align with the solar year. This results in a year that starts on a different day than January 1st. The commencement of the Chinese New Year, often falling between January 21st and February 20th, marks the beginning of a new zodiac sign’s reign.

The 12 Animal Zodiac

Central to Chinese astrology is the cycle of 12 animals, which many in the West might be familiar with: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. These animals recur in a fixed sequence, each ruling for a year. Much like sun signs in Western astrology, the zodiac animal of one’s birth year offers insights into their character, destiny, and potential challenges.

Rat (鼠, Shǔ)

Individuals born under the sign of the Rat are astute, quick-witted, and resourceful. Their acute intelligence allows them to adapt swiftly to changing circumstances. Sociable and outgoing, they often surround themselves with various friends and admirers.

  • Metal Rat: 1960, 2020 – Determined and principled, Metal Rats are highly driven. They stand firm in their beliefs and can be both formidable allies and challenging adversaries.
  • Water Rat: 1972, 2032 – Adaptable and observant, Water Rats possess a keen intuition. They’re diplomatic in nature and often act as mediators in conflicts.
  • Wood Rat: 1984, 2044 – Optimistic and cooperative, Wood Rats are known for their benevolence. They seek harmony and are more community-oriented.
  • Fire Rat: 1996, 2056 – Bold and adventurous, Fire Rats are filled with boundless energy. They are natural leaders and often take charge of situations.
  • Earth Rat: 1948, 2008 – Grounded and practical, Earth Rats value stability. They are methodical in their approach and highly reliable.

Ox (牛, Niú)

Oxen symbolize perseverance and diligence. Steady and resilient, they represent reliability. Those born under this sign are often considered pillars of their communities, radiating both strength and calm.

  • Metal Ox: 1961, 2021 – With unyielding determination, Metal Oxen are individuals of action. They prioritize efficiency and can be very single-minded in achieving their goals.
  • Water Ox: 1973, 2033 – Thoughtful and open, Water Oxen are more receptive to the opinions of others. They have a nurturing nature and often take on caregiving roles.
  • Wood Ox: 1985, 2045 – Sociable and team-driven, Wood Oxen have an inclusive nature. They believe in the strength of unity and often work towards community betterment.
  • Fire Ox: 1997, 2057 – Passionate and dynamic, Fire Oxen are motivated by their ideals. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they have a knack for rallying those around them towards a common goal.
  • Earth Ox: 1949, 2009 – Grounded and methodical, Earth Oxen are the epitome of stability. With a no-nonsense approach, they are trusted for their logical thinking and consistent actions.

Tiger (虎, Hǔ)

Tigers are known for their bravery and vigor. Those born under this sign exude confidence and often take on leadership roles. They are adventurous, seeking new experiences, and are always ready to leap into action.

  • Metal Tiger: 1950, 2010 – Driven by ambition, Metal Tigers are not afraid to stand out from the crowd. They pursue their goals with a fierce intensity and are unafraid of challenges.
  • Water Tiger: 1962, 2022 – Intuitive and adaptable, Water Tigers have a deeper sense of empathy. They can be strategic thinkers and often demonstrate great diplomacy.
  • Wood Tiger: 1974, 2034 – Generous and broad-minded, Wood Tigers believe in collective growth. They seek harmony and balance in their surroundings.
  • Fire Tiger: 1986, 2046 – Charismatic and energetic, Fire Tigers are natural leaders. They inspire others with their passion and often wear their emotions on their sleeves.
  • Earth Tiger: 1998, 2058 – Practical and grounded, Earth Tigers value consistency. They are calculated in their decisions and always think of the long-term consequences.

Rabbit (兔, Tù)

Rabbits are symbols of grace and kindness. Gentle and quiet in their demeanor, those born under this sign possess a natural elegance. They are great listeners and have a knack for making those around them feel at ease.

  • Metal Rabbit: 1951, 2011 – Poised and refined, Metal Rabbits have a natural charm. They often gravitate towards artistic pursuits and have an impeccable sense of style and aesthetics.
  • Water Rabbit: 1963, 2023 – Intuitive and perceptive, Water Rabbits possess an innate ability to understand others. They are empathetic, making them excellent counselors and friends.
  • Wood Rabbit: 1975, 2035 – Gentle and compassionate, Wood Rabbits prioritize harmony. They are environmentalists at heart and often engage in activities to protect nature.
  • Fire Rabbit: 1987, 2047 – Energetic and bright, Fire Rabbits exude enthusiasm. They are great communicators and often attract a wide circle of friends.
  • Earth Rabbit: 1999, 2059 – Grounded and practical, Earth Rabbits are very reliable. They approach challenges with a calm demeanor and provide stability to those around them.

Dragon (龍, Lóng)

Dragons symbolize power, strength, and good luck. Those born under this sign are often seen as dynamic and charismatic, with a natural ability to inspire and lead.

  • Metal Dragon: 1940, 2000 – Assertive and ambitious, Metal Dragons are natural leaders. They chase their dreams with vigor and are not afraid of challenges.
  • Water Dragon: 1952, 2012 – Adaptable and reflective, Water Dragons are deep thinkers. Their philosophical nature makes them intriguing conversationalists.
  • Wood Dragon: 1964, 2024 – Cooperative and kind-hearted, Wood Dragons believe in collective progress. They are more diplomatic and less domineering than their counterparts.
  • Fire Dragon: 1976, 2036 – Energetic and fearless, Fire Dragons are never afraid to take risks. They are passionate, with a flair for the dramatic.
  • Earth Dragon: 1988, 2048 – Grounded and analytical, Earth Dragons are the strategists. They plan meticulously and are often sought after for their wisdom.

Snake (蛇, Shé)

Snakes are often associated with wisdom, mystery, and elegance. Those born under this sign are deep thinkers, often possessing an analytical mind and a keen intuition. They are observant, often noticing details that others may overlook.

  • Metal Snake: 1941, 2001 – Focused and driven, Metal Snakes have an intense determination. They pursue their goals with single-mindedness and often achieve great success due to their persistence.
  • Water Snake: 1953, 2013 – Fluid and adaptable, Water Snakes have a heightened sense of intuition. They are skilled at understanding the feelings and motivations of others.
  • Wood Snake: 1965, 2025 – Cooperative and open-minded, Wood Snakes approach challenges with creativity. They are more team-oriented and value harmony in relationships.
  • Fire Snake: 1977, 2037 – Passionate and energetic, Fire Snakes are dynamic individuals who often take the lead. Their charisma makes them influential and captivating.
  • Earth Snake: 1989, 2049 – Practical and grounded, Earth Snakes are dependable. Their methodical approach ensures that they excel in tasks requiring attention to detail.

Horse (馬, Mǎ)

Horses symbolize freedom, energy, and travel. Those born under this sign are spirited and have an insatiable zest for life. Their adventurous nature often leads them to explore new horizons and seek out novel experiences.

  • Metal Horse: 1990, 2050 – Assertive and dynamic, Metal Horses are individuals of action. They are confident in their abilities and often take the initiative.
  • Water Horse: 2002, 2062 – Adaptive and intuitive, Water Horses have a go-with-the-flow attitude. They are resourceful and often find innovative solutions to problems.
  • Wood Horse: 1954, 2014 – Sociable and optimistic, Wood Horses have a natural ability to bring people together. They are community-oriented and often engage in group activities.
  • Fire Horse: 1966, 2026 – Vivacious and spirited, Fire Horses are filled with boundless energy. They have a magnetic charm that draws others towards them and are often the life of the party.
  • Earth Horse: 1978, 2038 – Stable and dependable, Earth Horses have a grounded nature. They are methodical in their approach and highly valued for their practical insights.

Goat (羊, Yáng)

Goats are symbols of peace, kindness, and creativity. Those born under this sign are often imaginative and have a strong artistic flair. They are sensitive to their surroundings and possess a deep empathy for others.

  • Metal Goat: 1991, 2051 – Elegant and refined, Metal Goats have a keen sense of aesthetics. They often gravitate towards artistic pursuits and value beauty in all forms.
  • Water Goat: 1943, 2003 – Intuitive and flexible, Water Goats have a fluid nature. Their empathetic nature makes them excellent mediators and counselors.
  • Wood Goat: 1955, 2015 – Collaborative and community-minded, Wood Goats believe in collective efforts. They are environmentally conscious and often advocate for nature and sustainability.
  • Fire Goat: 1967, 2027 – Passionate and dramatic, Fire Goats wear their heart on their sleeves. They have an infectious enthusiasm that can inspire those around them.
  • Earth Goat: 1979, 2039 – Grounded and nurturing, Earth Goats value security. They provide a comforting presence and are often the ones others turn to for support.

Monkey (猴, Hóu)

Monkeys are symbols of wit, intelligence, and playfulness. Those born under this sign are quick thinkers and possess a natural curiosity. Their agile minds allow them to solve problems with creativity and flair.

  • Metal Monkey: 1980, 2040 – Sharp and strategic, Metal Monkeys are innovative thinkers. They are ambitious and often rise to leadership positions due to their clever insights.
  • Water Monkey: 1992, 2052 – Adaptable and sociable, Water Monkeys have a fluid nature. They are excellent communicators and can easily bridge gaps between different groups.
  • Wood Monkey: 1944, 2004 – Collaborative and growth-oriented, Wood Monkeys value community and shared progress. They are resourceful and have a keen ability to see the bigger picture.
  • Fire Monkey: 1956, 2016 – Energetic and audacious, Fire Monkeys are full of zest. Their vibrant personality often puts them in the spotlight, and they’re not afraid to take risks.
  • Earth Monkey: 1968, 2028 – Practical and stable, Earth Monkeys are the planners. Their analytical skills combined with a grounded nature make them excellent problem solvers.

Rooster (雞, Jī)

Roosters symbolize hard work, diligence, and punctuality. Those born under this sign are often straightforward, honest, and possess a high degree of professionalism. They take pride in their work and are always up for a challenge.

  • Metal Rooster: 1981, 2041 – Precise and methodical, Metal Roosters have an impeccable attention to detail. They strive for perfection in everything they do and set high standards for themselves and others.
  • Water Rooster: 1993, 2053 – Observant and perceptive, Water Roosters have a natural ability to understand complex situations. Their diplomatic nature makes them skilled negotiators.
  • Wood Rooster: 1945, 2005 – Cooperative and community-minded, Wood Roosters are team players. They believe in collective efforts and often rally those around them towards a common goal.
  • Fire Rooster: 1957, 2017 – Passionate and dynamic, Fire Roosters are natural leaders. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they inspire others with their vision.
  • Earth Rooster: 1969, 2029 – Grounded and methodical, Earth Roosters are the epitome of reliability. They approach challenges with a practical mindset and are known for their consistency.

Dog (狗, Gǒu)

Dogs symbolize loyalty, honesty, and justice. Those born under this sign are known for their integrity and are often seen as trustworthy companions. They value relationships and have a strong sense of duty towards their loved ones.

  • Metal Dog: 1970, 2030 – Determined and resilient, Metal Dogs stand firm in their beliefs. They are principled and often fight for causes they believe in.
  • Water Dog: 1982, 2042 – Adaptable and understanding, Water Dogs are great listeners. Their empathetic nature allows them to connect deeply with others and provide emotional support.
  • Wood Dog: 1934, 1994, 2054 – Community-oriented and fair, Wood Dogs value harmony and collective well-being. They are often involved in social causes and work towards the betterment of society.
  • Fire Dog: 1946, 2006 – Dynamic and passionate, Fire Dogs have a zest for life. They are courageous and will stand up for what they believe in, often rallying others to their cause.
  • Earth Dog: 1958, 2018 – Loyal and pragmatic, Earth Dogs are the pillars of stability. They are trustworthy and their word is their bond, making them excellent confidants.

Pig (豬, Zhū)

Pigs symbolize prosperity, generosity, and abundance. Those born under this sign are known for their kind-hearted nature and their tendency to enjoy the finer things in life. They are sincere, tolerant, and often possess a jovial disposition.

  • Metal Pig: 1971, 2031 – Ambitious and resilient, Metal Pigs are determined to create a life of abundance. They are hard-working and often achieve prosperity through their efforts.
  • Water Pig: 1983, 2043 – Intuitive and sociable, Water Pigs possess a natural charm. They have a vast circle of friends and often find joy in social gatherings and celebrations.
  • Wood Pig: 1935, 1995, 2055 – Altruistic and optimistic, Wood Pigs are driven by a genuine desire to help others. They are generous and often engage in philanthropic endeavors.
  • Fire Pig: 1947, 2007 – Passionate and vibrant, Fire Pigs are the life of the party. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and they have a natural ability to uplift those around them.
  • Earth Pig: 1959, 2019 – Grounded and practical, Earth Pigs have a methodical approach to life. They value security and often build a stable foundation for themselves and their loved ones.

The Five Elements

Beyond the animal zodiac, Chinese astrology introduces another layer of complexity: the Five Elements — Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. These elements are believed to influence the zodiac animals, imbuing them with additional characteristics. For instance, in the cycle, one might be born in the year of the Metal Rat or the Wood Horse. Each element reigns for two consecutive years, making a complete 60-year cycle when combined with the 12-animal zodiac.

Yin and Yang: The Cosmic Balance

The concepts of Yin and Yang are pivotal in Chinese thought, and astrology is no exception. Every zodiac animal is associated with either Yin or Yang, and this alternates yearly. Yin, representing darkness, cold, and passivity, contrasts with Yang, symbolizing light, warmth, and activity. This duality, present in every aspect of life and the cosmos, brings about balance and harmony, influencing the character traits of the zodiac animals.

Monthly and Hourly Zodiac Signs

While the yearly animal sign is the most commonly known, Chinese astrology also dedicates animals to months and hours. The monthly animals align closely with solar terms and seasons, offering additional depth to an individual’s astrological reading. Similarly, the time of day one is born introduces yet another animal sign, with two-hour intervals dedicated to each zodiac creature. Thus, an individual could be a Dragon by year, a Snake by month, and a Tiger by the hour, each contributing nuances to their astrological profile.

The Historical Roots and Evolution

Chinese astrology’s origins trace back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), a period of flourishing cultural, scientific, and philosophical advancements. Early Chinese astronomers meticulously observed celestial patterns, gradually codifying their insights into the zodiac system. Over time, as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism intersected, the astrological system absorbed various elements, resulting in the multifaceted practice we recognize today.

Astrology in Daily Life

For centuries, Chinese astrology has influenced daily life, governance, and even medical practices. Emperors would consult astrologers for auspicious dates to commence constructions or hold ceremonies. Families would refer to the zodiac compatibility to arrange marriages. Furthermore, Chinese medicine, intertwined with astrological principles, would use one’s birth details to diagnose and prescribe remedies, highlighting the system’s holistic approach.

Comparisons with Western and Other Astrological Systems

While Chinese astrology, with its unique symbols and cycles, stands apart, parallels can be drawn to other systems:
Yearly Zodiac Cycles: Much like the Western zodiac’s monthly sun signs, the Chinese zodiac assigns animals to years, offering broad personality traits and predictions.

Lunar Influence: Both Vedic and Chinese astrology place significant emphasis on the moon’s cycles and their impact on human life.

Elemental Associations: Just as Western astrology associates signs with Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, Chinese astrology integrates the Five Elements into its framework.

Compatibility Assessments: Both systems offer insights into relationships and compatibility, guiding partnerships and marriages.

However, the cyclic nature of Chinese astrology, its intertwining with philosophy, and the depth of its animal-element combinations make it a distinct and rich system of celestial interpretation.


Chinese astrology, with its intricate dance of animals, elements, and Yin-Yang dynamics, provides a fascinating lens to view human nature and destiny. Beyond mere fortune-telling, it reflects China’s profound understanding of time, nature, and the cosmos. As modern individuals explore this ancient wisdom, they discover not just predictions, but also a philosophical guide to life’s rhythms and mysteries.

Johannes & Estel: Renowned authorities in Numerology, Astrology, and the esoteric arts. As the founders of Scandinavia's premier Numerology school, we're delighted to share our insights through this curated series on astrology. Dive in and discover the stars.

The Worlds Most Advanced Numerology Report

Your birthdate reveals your unique life purpose, potentials, talents, weaknesses, and karma in this life.
Your names show what you attract into your life regarding your career, relationships, happiness, money, and success.

Introduction to Astrology

The history of Astrology
Moving beyond deterministic astrology
Foundation of Astrology: Planets, Signs and Houses

Astrology and the Holographic Universe

The Holographic Universe
The Human Psyche as a Mirror to The Solar System
The Human Body as a Mirror to The Star Signs

Astrology Background

Egyptian Astrology
Mayan Astrology
Chinese Astrology
Indian Astrology - Jyotish
Celtic Astrology
Tibetan Astrology

Mesopotamian Astrology

Early Mesopotamian Astrology: The Dawn of Celestial Divination
Enuma Anu Enlil: The Epicenter of Babylonian Celestial Omen Interpretation

Babylonian and Chaldean Astrology

Babylonian and Chaldean Astrology
Chaldean influence and evolution
Chaldean Wisdom: Safeguarding and Transmitting Astrological Knowledge

Hellenistic Astrology

Hellenistic Astrology background
Claudius Ptolemy and Tetrabiblos
Vettius Valens
Dorotheus of Sidon

Persian Astrology

Persian Astrology background
Sassanian Astrology

Late Antiquity and The Transition Period

Late Antiquity and The Transition Period
Hellenistic to Islamic Transition: The Torchbearers of Astrological Wisdom

Islamic Golden Age

Arabian Astrology Background
Arabian Astrology Contributions

Medieval Astrology

Introduction: The Medieval Cosmos
Monastic Preservers: Astrological Knowledge in the Dark Ages
Astrology in Medieval Medicine
Kings, Queens, and Constellations: Astrology in the Medieval Court
The Church and the Stars: A Contentious Relationship
Universities and Scholastic Pursuits: Academic Astrology
Astronomy & Astrology: Tools of the Trade
Medieval Astrological Houses and the Synthesis of Traditions
Transition to the Renaissance: Humanism and the Celestial Arts
Reflections: Medieval Astrology's Echoes in Modern Practice
Astrological Art of the Middle Ages
Famous Medieval Astrologers
Medieval Astrological Texts

Renaissance Astrology

Renaissance Humanism and Astrology
Scientific Advancements and Astrology
The Social Fabric: Astrology in Everyday Renaissance Life
Court Astrologers of the Renaissance
Controversies and Conflicts: Astrology Under Scrutiny
Renaissance Texts and Authors: Continuation of a Tradition
Astrology and Art: Celestial Imagery in the Renaissance
Renaissance Astrological Practices: Evolutions and Innovations
End of the Renaissance: The Gradual Decline of Astrological Influence
Renaissance Astrology's Echo in the Modern World

Enlightenment Astrology

Introduction: The Enlightenment and Astrology
Challenging the Stars: Astrology's Critics during the Enlightenment
Astrology and the New World
Astrology in the 19th Century
The Dawn of Psychological Astrology
Astrology in the 20th Century: A Modern Renaissance
Astrological Associations and Schools
Modern Controversies and Astrology
Astrology and Popular Culture
Astrology and Technology
Current Trends and Future Directions in Astrology
Conclusion: Reflecting on Astrology's Evolution

The Planet Significances

The Sun in Astrology
The Moon in Astrology
Mercury in Astrology
Venus in Astrology
Mars in Astrology
Jupiter in Astrology
Saturn in Astrology
Uranus in Astrology
Neptune in Astrology
Pluto in Astrology
Chiron in Astrology
Black Moon Lilith in Astrology
Pars Fortuna in Astrology
Ceres in Astrology

Houses in Astrology

Introduction to Astrological Houses
The Angular Houses
The Succedent Houses
The Cadent Houses
The 1st House
The 2nd House
The 3rd House
The 4th House
The 5th House
The 6th House
The 7th House
The 8th House
The 9th House
The 10th House
The 11th House
The 12th House
Interaction Between Houses
Derived Houses, House Rulers, and Interceptions
Conclusion: Synthesizing House Knowledge

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