The Chinese know twelve zodiac signs. Each of them dominates a whole year so a cycle of all twelve signs envelopes twelve years beginning with Chinese New Year (between January 21st and February 20th). Furthermore, every two years are dominated by an element (metal, water, wood, fire, earth), beginning with the first sign and thus forming a 60-year-cycle. The current 60-year-cycle has begun in 1960. We are now, in 2010, in the year of the tiger in the element metal. To complicate matters further, the Chinese divide each year in twelve months with the respective sign and each day in pairs of two hours with the respective signs, beginning at 11 p. m. the former day.
The Chinese zodiac signs’ sequence is rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, ape, rooster, dog, pig.
Ok, here is an example of this:
I was born October 30th, 1987, at approximately half past five p. m.
1987 has been a year of the rabbit in the element fire. That year began January 29th so October 30th was in the tenth month of the year which means it stands in the sign of the rooster. My hour of birth lies within the tenth pair of hours so that too would be rooster.
Meanings of the signs:
rat – The rat knows how to make money. It is opportunistic, likes good company, has a sharp mind and is hard-working.
ox – The ox is patient, a bit stubborn but with good-will. It has strong principles and is loyal. It can become very disagreeable when angered too much.
tiger – The tiger is a lone wolf. It is very daring, fearing neither arguments nor risks. Either it succeeds or it perishes; there is no compromise.
rabbit – The rabbit is rather quiet, intuitive and with a strong sense of family. It can be uncompromising and follows its plans to the end.
dragon – The dragon is daring and vain. On the other hand, it can be enthusiastic and it loves having guests.
snake – The snake is intelligent. It can be very charming and polite but also loves weaving nets of intrigues.
horse – The horse is very energetic and courageous. It inspires and motivates others, is friendly and hard-working.
goat – The goat is honest. It can adapt well but can be recalcitrant too. Money plays an important role in its life.
ape – The ape loves travelling. It is curious and has a fine sense of humor. Often, apes are good actors.
rooster – The rooster loves the fancy and luxurious. It is proud, hard-working and very communicative but it often wants to give orders to others.
dog – The dog is loyal and needs harmony to be happy. Therefore, it often plays the mediator when others argue.
pig – The pig is tolerant, friendly and helps others in need. It has a strong head and tends to be a bit wasteful.
Meanings of the elements:
metal – weak yin, west, fall, white-silver, Venus
water – strong yin, north, winter, black-blue, Mercury
wood – small yang, east, spring, green, Jupiter
fire – strong yang, south, summer, red, Mars
earth – yin-yang (balance), center, late summer, yellow-orange, Saturn
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