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Chinese Astrology

Chinese Astrology

Chinese astrology is based on the astronomy and traditional calendars. The Chinese astrology does not calculate the positions of the sun, moon and planets at the time of birth. Therefore, there is no astrology in the European sense in China.
 
Chinese astrology has a close relation with Chinese philosophy (theory of the harmony of sky, humans and earth) and different "principles" to Western: the wu xing teachings, yin and yang, astronomy: five planet, the 10 Celestial stems, the 12 Earthly Branches, the lunisolare calendar (moon calendar and sun calendar), the time calculation after year, month, day and shiche
 
Chinese astrology is the divination of the future from the Chinese calendar, which is based on astronomy, and ancient Chinese philosophy. In particular, it is based on the sexagenary cycle of 60 years that has been documented since the time of the Shang Dynasty at the latest. This basic cycle has been constructed from two cycles: the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms) and the 12 earthly branches, or the 12-year cycle of animals referred to as the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese animal zodiac also operates on a cycle of months or 'moons' and of hours of the day.
 
The Chinese zodiac refers to a pure calendrical cycle; there are no equivalent constellations like those of the occidental zodiac. In imperial times there were astrologers who watched the sky for heavenly omens that would predict the future of the state, but this was a quite different practice of divination from the popular present-day methods.
 
More than 3,000 years ago, Chinese people invented the 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches for chronological purposes. These signs are used to designate the hours, days, months and years. However, since most people at that time were illiterate, the signs were difficult to use. Later, to make things easier to memorize, people used animals to symbolize the 12 Earthly Branches. The animals in order are the mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
 
Many Chinese people strongly believe that the time of a person's birth is the primary factor in determining that person's personality. Many fortune-tellers, when telling your fortune, say what they need to know is your exact time of birth. Then, whether you are successful in your life and career, or whether you will be happy is clear to the fortune-tellers.
 
There is also a cycle of the Five Elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal (Gold), Water) on top of the cycle of animals. A person's year sign can be a gold dragon, a wood rooster etc. In ancient match-making practice in China, couples were brought together according to their compatible signs. For example, it is believed that dog and dog don't get along, but dog and pig do; a water dog supports a wood pig but dominates a fire pig in their relationship because water benefits wood, but controls fire according to the Chinese five elements' interaction. In Japan, completion of an entire sixty year cycle of twelve animals and five elements is celebrated in a special birthday for sixty-year olds called kanreki.
 
The elements are also associated with colors, the traditional correspondence being green to Wood, red to Fire, brown to Earth, white to Metal, and black to Water. Some websites denote the years by the color and zodiac sign (as opposed to animal sign and element). (Notice the title "Green (Wooden) Chicken Year".)
 
The elements are combined with the binary Yin Yang cycle, which enlarges the element cyle to a cycle of ten. Even years are yang, odd years are yin. Since the zodiac animal cycle of 12 is divisible by two, every zodiac can only occur in either yin or yang: the dragon is always yang, the snake is always yin, etc. This combination creates a 60-year cycle, starting with Wood Rat and ending with Water Pig. The current cycle began in the year 1984.
 
When trying to traverse the lunisolar calendar, an easy rule to follow is that years that end in an even number are yang, those that end with an odd number are yin. The cycle proceeds as follows:
 
If the year ends in 0 it is Yang Metal.
 
If the year ends in 1 it is Yin Metal.
 
If the year ends in 2 it is Yang Water.
 
If the year ends in 3 it is Yin Water.
 
If the year ends in 4 it is Yang Wood.
 
If the year ends in 5 it is Yin Wood.
 
If the year ends in 6 it is Yang Fire.
 
If the year ends in 7 it is Yin Fire.
 
If the year ends in 8 it is Yang Earth.
 
If the year ends in 9 it is Yin Earth.
 
However, since the (traditional) Chinese zodiac follows the (lunisolar) Chinese calendar, the switch-over date is the Chinese New Year, not January 1 as in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, a person who was born in January or early February may have the sign of the previous year.
 
The start of a new zodiac is also celebrated on Chinese New Year along with many other customs.