The Secrets of Chinese Astrology
By Derek Walters

Animal Signs for the Year

(for b-days after 21 Feb in any year)

1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 Rat
1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 Ox
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1996, 1998, 2010 Tiger
1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 Rabbit
1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012 Dragon
1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013 Snake
1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014 Horse
1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015 Sheep
1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016 Monkey
1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017 Rooster
1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 Dog
1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019 Pig

The Animal Sign for the Month

From To Animal
7 Dec 5 Jan Rat
6 Jan 3 Feb Ox
4 Feb 5 March Tiger
6 March 4 April Rabbit
5 April 5 May Dragon
6 May 5 June Snake
6 June 6 July Horse
7 July 7 Aug Sheep
8 Aug 7 Sept Monkey
8 Sept 7 Oct Rooster
8 Oct 7 Nov Dog
8 Nov 6 Dec Pig

Signs and Seasons

Date Animal
7 Dec
Rat Winter
6 Jan
Ox Earth
4 Feb
Tiger Approach of Spring
6 March
Rabbit Spring
5 April
Dragon Earth
6 May
Snake Approach of Summer
6 June
Horse Summer
7 July
Sheep Earth
8 Aug Monkey
Approach of Autumn
8 Sept
Rooster Autumn
8 Oct
Dog Earth
8 Nov
Pig Approach of Winter

The Double-hours and Animal Sign

Time Animal

Animals Seasons, and Elements

Animal Season Direction
Degrees Element
Rat Winter
North 350-10 Water
20-40 Earth
Tiger Approach of Spring
50-70 Wood
Rabbit Spring
East 80-100 Wood
110-130 Wood
Snake Approach of Summer
140-160 Fire
Horse Summer
South 170-190 Fire
200-220 Earth
Monkey Approach of Autumn
230-250 Metal
Rooster Autumn
West 260-280 Metal
290-310 Earth
Pig Approach of
Winter 320-340 Water

Unfavorable Alliances

Animal Hostile Adverse
Rat Horse
Rabbit Rooster
Ox Sheep
Dragon Dog
Tiger Monkey
Snake Pig
Rabbit Rooster
Horse Rat
Dragon Dog
Sheep Ox
Snake Pig
Monkey Tiger
Horse Rat
Rooster Rabbit
Sheep Ox
Dog Dragon
Monkey Tiger
Pig Snake
Rooster Rabbit
Rat Horse
Dog Dragon
Ox Sheep
Pig Snake
Tiger Monkey

Complementary Signs

Polarity Mansion
Yang inventiveness

Yin determination
Yang authority

Yin diplomacy
Yang excitement

Yin discretion
Yang comradeship

Yin partnership
Yang craftsmanship

Yin artistry
Yang exterior

Yin interior

The Animals and their meaning
The Rat

Long before the animal names were invented, the original Chinese character for the first sign also meant a baby, representing the birth of a new period of time. It stands at the point when the Greatest Yin begins to give way to the Yang force and so signifies creation, inspiration and the generation of ideas or activities.

Because the Rat hour is midnight, it suggests a thinker poring over difficult books late into the night. Given a complex problem or enigma, the Rat will work away into the small hours until the solution is found. While the Rat is good at unraveling complex projects on paper, it shies away from the practical aspects, often leaving others to bring the concepts to fruition. These helpful souls, however, are unlikely to be other Rats, since all Rat people like to be in at the beginning rather than the end. As such they are sociable and mutually supportive, can be wonderfully encouraging and have the contacts to make things happen.

A wry sense of humor means that Rats are sometimes taken too literally and misunderstood, and many a valuable argument is lost through the Rat not putting its point of view in a concise and comprehensible way. But, curiously, they are equally guilty of failing to detect irony when it is used by others.

Rat people tend to be erratic where the household budget is concerned. Certainly they are able to handle it astutely, but their naturally creative nature sometimes allows an inspirational turn of mind to over rule common sense. From time to time the Rat’s finances will lurch through some precarious straits, but eventually a safe haven will be reached. It will be a long time before the Rat learns that lean years often follow years of plenty, and that is the wisest to ensure that there is always a store of resources.

Family ties are important for the Rat, but not paramount. Being of independent mind, the Rat is the one member of the family who is likely to set up home away from established roots. In a domestic crisis the Rat’s opinions will carry most weight.

Rats are able to follow any career or profession that allows them to use their creative skills. They are good at dealing with people, and with their convincing and possibly manipulative manner they are equally adept at being teachers or counselors. Since they crave freedom of movement and flexibility of working hours, when they are given positions where they are free to set their own schedules they will work assiduously and give far more of their time to the task than if they were obliged to work within specified limits.

Although unconcerned about their appearance, believing that others should be able to perceive the real person underneath the surface, Rats rise to the occasion and make a good impression.

Ideal Companion

The Rat’s ideal partner would be either the Dragon or the Monkey, both of whom share the Rat’s appreciation of the novel and exotic. Other Rats can be supportive at home, in the work place, or in a social life, but because their interests are so similar they are unable to add an extra dimension to the Rat’s experience. If the Rat is willing to take a secondary role in a relationship (although this is unlikely) then either the Dog or the Tiger might prove an amenable and stimulating companion.

The Ox

People born in the Ox years are developers and perfecters, the ones with the foresight and patience to plant an acorn and nurture it until it grows into an oak. They are not afraid of routine activity, and prefer the trusted and established to the novel and uncertain. Their solidity responsible qualities with many admirers in a turbulent world, and thus they can rise to the high positions of management and political office. By being resolute in dedicated direction, they can effortlessly take on the most antagonistic opponents. Of course, their intransigence is likely to win them enemies too, but these are unlikely to be successful in any contest of power. As the Chinese proverb puts it ‘one Ox can fight two Tigers.’ Danger is likely to come from the most unexpected source, a friend neglected through an oversight may take offense at some imagined affront, and prove treacherous.

The Ox belongs to a trio (the others are the Rooster and the Snake) who, in combination, are shrewd financiers and investors. Without the other two, however, the Ox prefers saving to investment.

The Ox naturally gravitates to any professional work connected with the land. Real estate, more particularly the land on which buildings stand, farming land, mining and large-scale engineering works, road and bridges, are all career areas for the Ox. The Ox would be a valuable asset to any organization for by its careful and systematic management, the company’s finances will improve steadily.

Though the Ox may give the impression of being staid and formal, there is at heart a traditionally romantic streak which will be disclosed only to the intimate circle of friends. The Ox’s love of the finer things in literature and the arts will be discreetly hidden, and the occasional revealing flashes of an inner culture will often astonish people who thought they knew every side of the Ox’s person’s character.

In family matters the Ox is likely to try to impose an adherence to old fashioned values on family members who would prefer to throw off the heavy shackles of domestic restraint. An understanding of both sides of the argument would be beneficial.

The Ox will make a show of not being particularly interested in making a fashion statement, but will always be appropriately dressed for the occasion. Choosing a classic line that could not possibly be faulted.

Ideal Companion

The Ox is likely to find a partner close to its working environment, but in an entirely different department. It might be the Rooster from the world of commerce, or the Snake from the legal profession. Despite their opposite outlooks, the Ox and the Rooster are magnetically attracted and a strong link is welded between them; the Ox attracted to the Rooster’s looks and bearing, and the Rooster to the honest pretentiousness of the Ox. Similarly, the match of intellectual and physical qualities in the Ox and Snake makes these a perfect couple, too.

The Tiger

Kingship symbolizes luxury and dominion, and Tiger people exude confidence, resolutely refusing to accept the possibility that they could be inferior to anyone else. Of course, they are well aware that whatever their misgivings and reluctance, it is their life’s duty to take on the responsibilities of leadership, and in this role they are determined to fulfill their obligations whatever it takes to get to a position of authority-hard work, money or influence- the Tiger will strive to achieve this aim. Even the quietest and most retiring of Tiger personalities will see to it that it attains some position of privilege where it can exercise its discretionary judgmental powers, no matter how trivial these might be. But most Tigers will reach for the highest post. In doing so, of course, they can make enemies, and they should remember that success always engenders envy and spite in others. In the rush to get to the top, the Tiger needs to be careful who gets pushed aside.

The Tiger’s nemesis is always close by. In the Chinese calendar, the Ox marks the end of the old year, the Tiger the beginning of the new one. The obstacles faced by the Tiger do not come from new challenges, but from the impossibility of changing the old order. The Tiger need not fear new faces, no matter how imposing. Dangers arise when it tries to hack away traditional values and established regimes, symbolized by the entrenched Ox. This is when the Tiger fails to achieve its aim.

As a companion, the Tiger is wonderfully stimulating, and those Tigers who are not drawn to physical sporting activities will exercise their wits in mind games, enjoying humorous but kindly banter in debates or verbal competition. To less privileged people the Tiger is benign and encouraging without being condescending, able to listen sympathetically, offering constructive advice. Tigers like to keep up with the latest news, from international cries to celebrity chatter.

In financial matters, the Tiger succeeds best when it is able to direct other people along the path to fortune. By shrewdly helping others, the Tiger can make spectacular gains.

Home life will be stable and disciplinarian without being harsh and oppressive. The family will be close knit, with strong loyalties between the siblings, but if the Tiger is the youngest member of the family the child will have a rebellious streak and disappoint the parents.

Many Tigers are drawn to the uniformed professions because of the formality and discipline. Thus Tigers will be found in the ranks and staff of the nursing profession, police, fire service and, of course, the armed forces, all careers that give the continued prospect of upward promotion.

In their dress Tigers will be fastidious, turned out in an expensive but refined and sophisticated fashion.

Ideal companion

Because the Tiger is such a strongly masculine symbol, Chinese parents of old were loath to let their sons marry girls born in the year of the Tiger. “Never bring a Tigress into the house,” was a common admonishment from parents who feared the prospective husband’s authority. But if both partners are Tigers, the problem does not arise. The Tiger shares many qualities with the Dog and the Horse, and a mutual respect will from strong ties in a partnership with either of these signs.

The Rabbit

Choosing a Rabbit (or hare: the word is the same in Chinese) to be the fourth sign of the Chinese Zodiac was an easy decision for the astrologers of old. It represents sunrise, a time when rabbits emerge from their warrens. The Rabbit month always includes the Spring Equinox. Thus the sign of the Rabbit is associated directly with the Spring and all its joys, the dawn and all its promises, freshness, resurgence, and renewed hopes for the future.

Rabbits have all the tender caring qualities of those who love children and animals. They are also fond of flowers and herbs, and other horticultural pursuits, but they are rarely drawn to large-scale farm management which is less aesthetically pleasing. Another close affinity between the Rabbit and plant care is found in a celebrated Chinese folk tale. The myth tells of a Rabbit that flew to the moon where it stays to this day, stirring a cauldron of magical potions to prepare the Elixir of Immortality. When Chinese children see the full moon, instead of the man in the moon they see a picture of the Rabbit busy at its task. Thus the Rabbit is also associated with the healing arts and the preparation of medicines and remedies. It is drawn to any profession that involves tending the sick and the disadvantaged. Money is less important to it than its social responsibilities.

The Rabbit needs company and develops firm friendships. It is probably the least extrovert of the 12 Animals, and is likely to turn away from confrontation. Yet the Rabbit will be stirred to righteous anger if it senses that harm is being done to someone else.

The Rabbit is a well-loved member of the family with a natural inclination to help parents and siblings in whatever way it can. It rarely troubles others with its own problems.

The natural Rabbit’s brilliant eyesight translates into acute discernment when applied to the Zodiacal Rabbit, which has an innate ability to distinguish false from genuine.

The typical Rabbit would prefer to be an earlier riser, but its inclination to follow an active social life is likely to put a strain on its physical well-being. Similarly, if professional duties involve irregular hours, the Rabbit will find it stressful to comply efficiently.

In dress the Rabbit tends toward natural colors and ethnic designs, preferring to blend in with its surroundings.

Ideal companion

The Rabbit would make an ideal and compliant companion for just about any member of the Chinese Zodiac. But who would be the perfect partner for the Rabbit? Of course other Rabbits, with their many shared interests, would form strong bonds, while the two signs closer to the Rabbit’s fondness for children and family life are the home-loving and comfort-seeking Pig and the Sheep with its unwavering devotion. Since the powerful Tiger is the Yang counterpart to the Rabbit’s Yin they would make a remarkable but compatible couple. At all lasts, however, the Rabbit should spurn the glamorous Dragon, whose magic would soon wear thin.

The Dragon

Chinese dragons, unlike their western counterparts, do not have wings, though they are often depicted flying through the sky. The preferred home of the Chinese dragon, however, is in the water, its lair revealed by the turbulence of whirlpools and maelstrom.

In China the dragon has been the symbol of imperial authority for millennia. It has always been held as the ultimate symbol of good fortune, with pearls issuing from its mouth and gold coins form its nether regions.

The Dragon personality reveals a truly flamboyant character with a love of the exotic, a highly extrovert personality that tends towards the bizarre, eccentric and often outrageous. The Dragon character will make heads turn in astonishment before a word is uttered. In speech, there are never moments of hesitation- only meaningful pauses. When the Dragon commands, others must obey, not out of fear or servility, but out of stupefaction at the Dragon’s sheer effrontery.

The Dragon always manages to display wealth. There is never a shortage of cash, although it may not always be in the Dragon’s pocket. Indeed, the greatest danger for the Dragon is the need to make extravagant gestures, and in some amazing ways these unbelievable risks nearly always repay their investor handsomely.

Dragon people have agile minds, and in conversation their quick thinking is both mesmerizing and disconcerting. They attract many friends and admirers, but the most devoted of these are frequently driven to despair by the Dragon’s apparent lack of stability and direction. To outsiders, it seems that the Dragon’s decisions last only as long as it takes to utter the words. It often seems that the Dragon will change its mind on a whim, but this is usually because it finds it difficult to accommodate the slightest changes to already established plans, which it will abandon wholesale rather than alter, no matter how difficult the consequences may be.

In the family the Dragon will offer controversial views. On the issues of the moment whether these are taken on board or rejected is of no consequence, as long as the water is thrashed around.

Since the Dragon thrives on adulation, and craves recognition for its skills and schemes, it is ideally suited to any career that places it in the public eye. The theater is its ideal medium, though Dragons will be drawn to the bright lights wherever they shine. They will also be drawn to work on financial institutions for the clink of gold and the glitter of jewels are the Dragon’s spiritual food.

Always unconventional, the Dragon is never afraid to wear what it deems suitable, no matter if this raises an eyebrow or two.

Ideal companion

The Dragon’s special capabilities will be best understood by the studious Rat or the artful Monkey. But under no circumstances should the Dragon allow itself to become involved with the gentle imploring Rabbit- “when the Rabbit appears, all the Dragon’s fortunes disappear,” says an old Chinese adage. Other suitable companions for the Dragon would be the Tiger or the Horse, while understanding and supportive.

The Snake

This is when snakes make their first appearance to bask in the mild sunshine. Should they appear at the wrong time, however, they are said to forewarn of impending earthquakes, possibly because, in their dwellings in the ground, they are able to detect the onset of tremors. Snake years are often marked by a series of earthquakes, sometimes devastatingly so.

Just as the Dragon is associated with gold and jade, the Snake is said to be the guardian of buried treasure: perhaps because in digging a hole to hide the treasure, the hoarders were unwittingly preparing a comfortable nest where a tired serpent could curl up in comfort. Although many people experience a frisson of horror when they caught sight of a snake- possibly because of the primeval instinct to avoid a deadly bite- its association with buried treasure means that many Chinese have a tendency to regard the Snake as a harbinger of good fortune.

The Chinese associate the Snake with secrets and intrigue. Eavesdropping and espionage are associated with the Snake, and those born in the Snake year are good information gatherers. Intrigues, stratagems, and scandals rarely pass by the Snake without being noted for future benefit. Unlike their more garrulous neighbors, however, Snake people like to keep such tidbits of trivia to themselves, salting away snippets of information until a more fruitful opportunity arrives when they can be revealed in all their alarming intensity.

By their careful manipulation of circumstances, Snake people can rise to high positions of power, not through any outward displays of ambition and self-promotion, but by being able to be imprecisely the right place at a time when their unparalleled skills are most needed. Facts and figures fall naturally into the Snake’s understanding, and they make excellent researchers.

Snake people have a strict sense of morality and ethics. They are basically truthful, but if forced into revealing a confidence, they use their verbal dexterity to present facts with cosmetic adjustment. They can also give the impression that they know far more about something they can comfortably be divulged. Certainly a useful ability during tricky commercial negotiations.

The Snake is an astute money manager, and will always be able to account for the last penny.

The Snake is essentially a private person, and its home is unlikely to be an open house. There may be a number of surprising treasures such as paintings that are not for general appreciation. The Snake is very sensuous, and will often indulge in luxuries which it considers to be of no concern to any one else.

Snakes like to dress expensively but discreetly, for they dress not to impress others, but to remain as unobtrusive as possible.

Ideal companion

The Snake is very selective, and its partner has to offer something lacking in the Snake’s life: earthly robustness, or exotic dazzle- it does not matter which. The Ox would provide the former quality, while the Rooster, or even the Dragon, would tingle the Snake with a frisson of illicit but glamorous intrigue. A Chinese proverb adds yet another prospective partner: “When the Snake and Rabbit meet, there is true happiness.”

The Horse

Thus the Horse represents all things masculine, attitudes as well as attributes. Socializing, sport and macho banter are the typical signs of the Horse influence. For this reason, Chinese parents looking for a prospective daughter-in-law would feel uncomfortable about choosing a bride born in a Horse year as they would feel that such a girl would be the dominant partner in a marriage.

The male Horse likes to think that two genders should lead distinctly separate lives, following their traditionally allocated tasks: the man working in the fields and bringing home the harvest, the woman laboring indoors as housewife and mother to his children. On the other hand, the female Horse is a champion of her sex, and holds the contrary view: as far as she is concerned, both partners in a relationship should share the responsibilities and duties of managing a household and, in return, receive the same remuneration and recognition for their contributions to it.

The Horse character is fundamentally both sociable and competitive, but inclined to be part of a team rather than an individual. The Horse may well be a fanatic or revolutionary, but only if everyone else is too, although with its qualities of leadership and forthright speaking, there will no problem in finding followers for its cause. Holding firm and entrenched views, the Horse is unlikely to dissuaded from its opinions, the negative side of this being that the typical Horse can be prejudiced.

Horses and credit cards are not a good combination. Believing that its first priority is to create a positive impression, the Horse tends to behave rashly when managing its finances. It usually manages to balance its budget, even though it many mean cutting back on what others might regard as essentials.

Female Horses make good committee people, and are dedicated organizers. Whether it is an office outing to the countryside, a trade conference, or a family occasion, the female Horse is the right person to get the job done to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Although the superficial characteristics of the Horse personality relate to sport and physical activities, the underlying qualities will still be found in Horse people who are more cerebral or intellectual. They too enjoy the stimulation of mental challenges and the company of like-minded fellow puzzle-solvers, and are to be found occupying leading places in bridge, quiz and similar contests.

Although not a slavish follower of fashion, the Horse does not want to seem out of touch, and will opt for styles that are in vogue without being too distinctive.

Ideal companion

The best match for a lifelong relationship is the Sheep, since Horse and Sheep represent the opposite qualities and the two sides of a partnership. Other favorable companions (provided that they do not get in the way) would be the Tiger, especially if the Horse is female, and the Dog, who would share the Horse’s love of the outdoor or sporting life. Partners to avoid would be the Rat or Rabbit, while the Rooster would distract attention from the Horse, much to its chagrin. According to a Chinese proverb: “The Ox and Horse cannot share the same stall.”

The Sheep

The Sheep therefore represents a wide range of symbolic qualities. Some people share its crowd-following nature. Others take after the less gregarious goat, preferring the company of just one or two chosen friends. But there are many qualities that are shared by all the Sheep types. One is the love of art forms such as singing or dancing, where the performer can be either part of a band or group, or a soloist. In the visual arts, the Sheep is more likely to be fond of drawings and pastels and muted shades rather than neo-modernist works in primary colors, and this taste will be reflected in the Sheep’s home furnishings.

In close personal relationships, the Sheep symbolizes the forging of permanent bonds, particularly marriage. Not every Sheep get drawn into the ideal relationship, however, and while the lone Sheep may appear self-sufficient and philosophical about its plight, it does not regard being single as a blessing. Family life has an important role, out it is the attached Sheep who is most likely to have strong family bonds.

Any career in which the Sheep can operate within a team framework suits the Sheep personality; a life in music or dancing may be the Sheep’s secret choice, bit a profession dealing with people, such as welfare or human resources, would seem the natural route for the Sheep to take.

The spirit of company and fellowship is so strong in the Sheep personality that they have an unfortunate disregard for the individuality of other people. The Sheep, seeing everyone else, whoever they are, as other Sheep, refuses to believe that colleagues and friends do not share the same enthusiasm, cheer the same team, or enjoy the same type of pizza. The first time they are faced with the revelation can be an upsetting experience for them, but the sooner this happens, the greater will their understanding of people outside the close family circle.

Conversely, however, the Sheep suffers this same fate at the hands of more emphatic colleagues, especially those who hold any position of authority. Such people may regard the Sheep as naive and pliable, taking their acquiescence for granted. However, to underestimate the Sheep’s integrity is to invite disaster; pushed to extremes, the gentle Sheep becomes the hostile ram, with calamitous consequences.

The Sheep tends to look only at the surface of a situation, assuming that the details will sort themselves out. In business they succeed best when they are able to deal with people and things and leave the intangibles in the capable hands of experts.

The Sheep’s appearance is both reassuring and friendly, for it will always plump for an outfit that is both comfortable and attractive, which can be worn confidently straight for a business meeting to an evening engagement.

Ideal companion

The strong family qualities associated with the Sheep show that its ideal partners are the domestic Pig or the caring Rabbit. Either of these will bring the Sheep the happiness of the companionship for which it yearns, however, secretly. If the Sheep is happy to maintain a secondary position in a relationship, then the fiery Horse would be a fine stable-mate. The Rooster may hold some magnetic attraction for the Sheep, as would the Snake, but an Ox for a companion would lead to heartache and upset.

The Monkey

On the Chinese clock the Monkey hour is the last working hour of the day, just before sunset. The ancient sign showed a leather hide stretched on a frame, signifying someone stretching wearily.

The Monkey is a popular figure of Chinese legend, the mischievous hero of a classic tale who accompanied the Monk Xuan Zang on his perilous journey to the West. In the epic, the Monkey embodies the essence of human nature and its frailties, which can, however, be redeemed through good works.

The astrological symbolism of the Monkey is a facility with words as well as deeds superficially, the Monkey represents the ability to fashion metal, from the minutest detail in the pain staking assembly of jewelry or watches, to the huge constructions of engines and bridges. The Monkey person who does not have gifted fingers will have a glib tongue, and some Monkey personalities will use their undoubted abilities in the law courts.

But the Monkey’s skills, verbal or palpable, must be put to good use. The hands of one Monkey may be employed to perform delicate surgery; the hands of another will silently turn the tumbles of a bank safe. And an unsuspecting lawyer may be baffled to bewilderment by the crafty Monkey in the dock. As inventive as the Monkey is, its creations have to be considered with awe, for what may have began as a way to improve life may turn out to be a complete catastrophe when it is misused.

The Monkey’s finances are apt to be erratic. But there will be times of affluence: the secret lies in holding onto any gains.

When the Monkey is head of the household it is difficult to maintain a calm atmosphere since the younger members of the family follow the lead of their hyperactive parent. But there will usually be one member of the family who will act a buttress during the occasional crisis.

When teamed up with the right people, with sufficient resources to hand, and a definite objective to follow, the Monkey sparkles into creative activity, throwing itself enthusiastically into ambitious schemes that gain admiration from all quarters. If the Monkey is wiser after all its experiences, it will refuse to allow the acclaim and good fortune it has attracted to overshadow its intrinsic nature but will, once a gain, begin to build the foundations of a scheme that will ultimately be of benefit to all.

In a crowd, the Monkey may give itself away by its penchant for the small and intricate, eschewing bold strokes or large expanses of color. The small patterns, fine textures and delicate jewelry worn by the Monkey all reveal the basic traits of this complex character.

Ideal companion

With the Rat and the Dragon as companions, one as its partner in life, and the other as a friend or close family member, the Monkey can achieve phenomenal personal success and reach the heights of human happiness. Finding these two companions is the Monkey’s quest. For a more modest life, the Horse will provide friendship, comfort and security for all its days, while a merry time can be had with the Dog. The Tiger is unlikely to rove an amenable companion.

The Rooster

So it is that the Rooster is associated with evening activities. Thus all kinds of artistic pursuits and entertainments-music, painting, reading, theater, concerts, and the like- fall under the influence of the Rooster.

Although the Rooster is Yin or feminine sign, it is the most aggressively assertive of all the Yin signs, and has many of the Yang qualities of the authoritative Tiger. Roosters are talkers rather than conversationalists, and do not condescend to smooth the edges of their pronouncements. Their frank and outspoken manner can seem unnecessarily abrasive to others and is often misunderstood as rudeness.

In the home, this outspokenness means that there is no doubt who is in charge, pity the person who steps out of line. The Rooster may not be the titular head of the family, but is certainly the effective one.

Astrologically, the Rooster and money are almost synonymous. Although Roosters have a shrewd business sense, and are careful hoarders, they occasionally flout accepted budgeting conventions with shows of flagrant extravagance. The female Rooster is more likely to bring money in the; the male is more adept at disposing of it.

Anxious to be the first to hear or relay the latest news, Roosters have all the qualities needed to make good journalists and magazine writers. Whatever career the Rooster is drawn to, those aspects of their work that have a feminine slant to them will be more prosperous.

Like the farmyard Rooster, those born under this astrological sign are early risers, active and alert long before the rest of the household and can usually manage with less sleep than the average person. They may express an anxiety about this, thinking perhaps that their metabolism is a wry, but it is not a problem if they are able to adjust their daily lives accordingly. Yet there is one factor of their daily life that does have to be watched carefully, it is revealed by the ancient symbol of the wine bottle. The appearance of one Rooster is the over all horoscope is not an unfavorable sign, but when a second or third appears, in the hour, day, or month, it can be warning against becoming reliant on alcohol, drugs or other substances, whether for medical reasons or for recreation.

Rooster people are proud, and always like to create a good impression. They need to be fashionable, following the latest styles and keen to be familiar with the latest trends, yet they will shun anything that is outrageously daring, or that would draw attention for the wrong reasons. They require admiration, not amazement fastidious to the point of obsession, if they perceive the slightest flaw in their appearance, dress or make-up, no matter how insignificant, it is not merely an embarrassment for them, it actually evokes a frigid horror which less sensitive people may fail to understand.

Ideal companion

Who would take on such an unpredictable but stimulating personality? It has to be someone who lacks the qualities it most admires in the Rooster even though others may find these the least attractive sides of the Rooster’s character. The steady, trustworthy Ox is one such partner, the quiet and reserved Snake another. The Sheep or the Pig would provide a comfortable home. The Tiger, the Horse or another Rooster would provide too much competition, and neither would know who is the star.

The Dog

Together, the Dog and the Pig are the companion signs ruling over the house and home- the Dog being in charge of the security of the outside walls, the Pig the comforts within. Thus the Dog is concerned not just with the security and safety of the home, but with the material construction of the house itself.

In some Dog personalities, this is revealed by an interest in buildings, not as homes so much as investments. The Dog prefers not to rent, but to buy, being inclined to move frequently, always into larger properties with greater potential for improvement.

The Dog month is the End of Summer, when the harvest is gathered. The Dog is inclined to be a saver, and can make sacrifices when there is something to be achieved, perhaps through having already experienced a lean time in the past. Being a hard worker and used to making the best of the prevailing circumstances, the Dog can tolerate conditions that would cause others to flinch.

The defensive nature of the Dog makes a faithful and trusted friend. Such people are inherently suspicious of strangers, but once an attachment is made, will stay loyal no matter what difficulties or strains are put on the friendship. They will always lend a hand, quietly and without fuss. They like to volunteer their services, either to help a friend, or in the service of some good cause. It is not surprising that they make friends easily, but they can be too trusting at times. Unscrupulous acquaintances or even family members all too often take advantage of their good nature. When the Dog is warned about the behavior and questionable activities of people who are supposed to be close, such advice is shrugged off with unconcern. But although usually affable and casual, Dog people can be stirred to sudden anger when faced with an unpardonable affront.

Dogs like the home to be a haven, clean and tidy. In the family things are likely to be directed from the top, with fragile links between parents and children.

Dogs love the out doors, and are fond of country pursuits and sporting activities. It is important to choose a partner who is inclined to share this fondness for fresh air or is willing to let the Dog follow its own agenda.

In choosing a career, military service and security roles are alluded to in the old sign of the hand and spear. Property dealing and building and restoration work are also very chose to the Dog’s inherent nature, but there should always be opportunities for outdoor work; being shut in a confined factory or office setting would eventually lead to depression.

There is a touch of the sensible and practical in the Dog’s appearance, the female is likely to prefer a power-dressing style, while the name flavors a playful touch. In either case the aim is to present an air of business like camaraderie.

Ideal companion

The Dog feels a close alliance with the Tiger and the Horse, and since they have many interests in common, either will form a lasting and sociable friendship with the Dog. The Pig is the more domestic counterpart to the Dog’s outgoing nature, but both will have to learn to understand the needs of the other. The Ox is likely to provide cantankerous and sullen in time, while the Dragon may run off with all the Dog’s money!

The Pig

Some newcomers to Chinese astrology, having learnt that the Animal Zodiac includes such exotic creatures as the Tiger and the Dragon, might feel deflated if they were told they were humble Pigs. But the true Pig character wouldn’t mind at all. For Pig personalities belong to one of the pleasantest types of people it is possible to meet. They are friendly, warm, generous and jovial.

Far from living in squalor, as might be thought from the derogatory meaning of “pigsty,” the Pig personality’s home is comfortable, often even luxurious, and welcoming. Although the Pig is not assertive by nature and may have a subordinate role in the family hierarchy, the household will yield to its unspoken authority on domestic arrangements. There is always a comfortable chair to sit on, and though the house may be scrupulously clean, visitors are never so intimidated by orderliness that they feel afraid to put a foot down in the wrong place.

But comfort costs, and to finance the lifestyle to which the Pig would like to be accustomed requires lots of hard work. Those outside the Pig’s close circle may think the Pig to be exceptionally lucky where money is concerned, but although there will be the occasional welcome windfall apples, the Pig’s agreeable environment is really due to sheer industrious. When the Pig happens to be in the right place at the right times, this is not through happy chance, but careful planning.

But the Pig’s friendliness and apparent carefree attitude do have their drawbacks, in trying to please everyone the Pig should bear in mind the old proverb’ it is hard enough to be charitable, but even harder to stop. The Pig may often be deceived, especially in money matters. When the Pig loses money, is it not through failed business ventures, but in trying to support causes that were lost from the outset.

The careers that suit the Pig personality therefore tend to be associated with the service industries: home furnishings, interior design, hotel management and anything that has a five-star quality about it. Other professions in which the Pig’s natural aptitudes are likely to find fulfillment are the welfare services and caring for the aged or infirm.

The Pig likes to dress as fashionably as its budget allows, and although comfort and practicality are its first considerations, there will always be a notable element of stylishness that others may envy, but would be reluctant to copy too closely.

Ideal companion

Sadly, the Pig is not a good judge of character, and is often drawn to unlikely partnerships with the wrong people. The Pig’s ideal partner would be either the Rabbit or the Sheep, both of whom share the same commitment to home and family. When the Pig is female, a Dog would be an ideal match as someone having a similar interest in home improvements. If the Pig is male, he might be attracted to the flamboyant Rooster, though the Rooster’s expensive tastes could make an unwelcome incursion into his budget!

The Animals and the Seasons

Rat (Winter)

“The ice thickens and the dawn herald no longer crows.”

The Rat month includes the shortest day when we become aware that winter is upon us, with worse to come. There is still time for last-minute merry making before the cold months ahead demand a period of economy and strict budgeting. The parents are not without a sense of humor, but many appear to be moralistic and disciplinarian. The attitude towards employers is one of friendly respect.

Ox (Earth)

“Wild geese travel northwards and birds of prey become ferocious.”

The Ox month is in deepest winter, when many animals are hibernating and plants are sleeping and waiting for the spring. Although it is a period of restraint and watchfulness, there are better days ahead. The subject’s parents may seem cold and distant, but there is much love even if it not always expressed openly. People in authority or management seem to be distant and unapproachable.

Tiger (Approach of Spring)

“The wind warms the frost, and sleeping insects begin to move.”

At once there is a spirit of optimism, plants are made for the coming year. Parents are enthusiastic and ambitious. The subject enjoys working for people when grand ideas for expansion and development. The first signs of a thaw and the green shouts of snowdrops pushing their way through the melting snow herald the Approach of Spring.

Rabbit (Spring)

“Peace tress blossom and the oriole sings.”

Spring is already here, and there is much to be done. It is time to cast away the old and worn, and to rebuild with vigor. It is a sign of revolutionary ideas. Parents are energetic and vital, restless and constantly wanting to change. The subject will aim to work for people who strive for the new and have no time for old-established traditions.

Dragon (Earth)

“Rainbows are seen, and duckweed begins to cover the water.”

The rain may be uncomfortable, but it is needed to water the coming crops. Yet when too much rain falls, floods can be disastrous. Thus there are material benefits to be had, but greed will bring grief. The attitude towards parents is that they seem to be too busy making money to realize that they are losing touch with the things that really matter.

Snake (Approach of Summer)

“Green frogs croak and melons ripen.”

There is much to enjoy in life, but to enjoy leisure it is necessary to work hard. It signifies a busy life spent acquiring wealth, but little time to enjoy it. The subject may envy his parents’ sound financial position without appreciating the amount of hard work and sacrifice that has gone into getting there.

Horse (Summer)

“The mantis appears and the magpie cries.”

In the hot summer days, it seems that nature has bestowed its blessings copiously, and there is little to do but enjoy its burgeoning abundance. It is a sign of a carefree, easy lifestyle, with few responsibilities, or perhaps a disregard of them. (Exceptionally it is unfavorable when the Horse passes these qualities to an earth season animal, other than the Dog.)

Sheep (Earth)

“The cricket sits in the walls, and the glow-worm shine.”

The cricket’s chirp is a warning that it is time to look to the future. Despite the apparent prosperity of the moment, it is wise to remember that there have been and perhaps will be hard times. For the subject who has not experienced the tribulations of the past, the carefree parent appears to be over-anxious. Such subjects tend to criticize their employer’s apparent meanness.

Monkey (Approach of Autumn)

“A cool wind blows and white frost forms.”

Summer days are coming to an end. Preparations must be made to gather the harvest before the frosts begin to bite. Houses must be repaired and made secure while the days are still warm enough to work outside. The Monkey month denotes people who are industrious and busy, and who like to be constructively occupied. Such parents are admired by their children.

Rooster (Autumn)

“On stormy winds the wild geese come, and swallows return south.”

As one arrives, another one goes. The children may recall changes in family circumstances, such as a parent’s second marriage, or moving house. The Autumn Equinox marks the time of lengthening nights, indicating that the changes are not always happy. At work, the subject will be encumbered by constant reorganization of management and policy.

Dog (Earth)

“Geese on their way home, and the yellow leaves fall.”

There is an urgency to depart, the benefits of the present situation have been exhausted. This signifies a parent who is often away from the house, for business commitments or other reasons. Nevertheless, it results in a sense of loss or loneliness. The subject is likely to be drawn into a profession that demands long periods of absence from home.

Pig (Approach of Winter)

“Water freezes and there are no more rainbows.”

The Approach of Winter reveals a frugal side which closely borders on pessimism. The good things in life either belong to the past or the future, but certainly not the present. The subject may look back on childhood with some regret at not having been able to enjoy the things that today’s children take for granted. Employers will be regarded as parsimonious.

Animal signs for the hour

Rat (2300-0100)

At midnight most of the household will be asleep, but there will still be some people active at this hour; watchmen are alert, scholars study their books, astronomers gaze at the sky, misers count their hoards. People born at the midnight hour have a disposition to follow nocturnal occupations. To others, these people may seem distant or secretive, but wise.

Ox (0100-0300)

Those born in the darkest hours before the dawn want to reach out to the light. They dislike seeing grim faces and unhappiness around them and try to bring laughter into people’s lives. They are fond of making jokes but these are not always appreciated. For this reason, they are seldom taken seriously, which may put them at a disadvantage at critical moments.

Tiger (0300-0500)

The sky begins to lighten though the sun has not yet appeared. The early risers prepare for the coming day, to have everything ready before dawn breaks. Such people are always first to take advantage of whatever opportunities arise, and their success is due to alertness rather than luck. Others may regard them as pushy and over-ambitious.

Rabbit (0500-0700)

As dawn the working day begins, and people go about their daily tasks. Those born at the Rabbit hour are industrious, caring for themselves and their families. They appreciate the advantages of a well-regulated life, and the importance of strong family bonds. They are perceived as caring and responsible.

Dragon (0700-0900)

Those who rise late must hurry to get everything finished in time. Instead of tasks being performed with care, they are done in haste, and the results are rarely the better for it. A great deal may be achieved in life, but it would be more satisfactory if everything were to move at a more sedate pace. Employees working under pressure are liable to make mistakes.

Snake (0900-1100)

The morning’s work is finished, and it is time to rest and review what needs to be done next. It is satisfying to look back over what has been done, but those who are wisest take time to see whether it could have been done better or more efficiently. Achievement brings contentment, but a desire for continuing improvement may lead to a reputation for being a perfectionist.

Horse (1100-1300)

At noon when the sun is highest, there is must to do out of doors. At work or play, those born at the Horse hour dislike the claustrophobic confines of enclosed spaces. The school boy may play truant, the worker may look for occupations in the open air, for either way, there is much to do and much to see in the bigger world outside.

Sheep (1300-1500)

After the midday meal, work begins again. It is time to return to the chores and tasks of the day; not something to be enjoyed, but something that has to be done. Those born during the Sheep hour take their duties seriously, and attend to their responsibilities assiduously. Children or employees may find the constraints of every day discipline dull and restrictive.

Monkey (1500-1700)

The end of the working day approaches, though there is still much to do. Stretching out to ease a creaking back, the worker returns to the job in hand, secure in the knowledge that it will be finished soon. The symbolism shows someone who is beginning to tire of the present situation, and is considering how it might be changed.

Rooster (1700-1900)

Those born at the Rooster hour enter the world at the end of the day, when preparations are being made for the evening meal, and whatever entertainment follows. Their first perception of daily life is one of leisure and pleasure. For the rest of their years they dream of a sybaritic existence in which all their desires are fulfilled.

Dog (1900-2100)

This is the hour when the city gates are locked, and the night watch goes on duty. It signifies defense and suspicion of strangers. In every day dealings with people, skepticism and mistrust often become a barrier to understanding and, although not necessarily showing aggression, such people may be regarded as defensive and difficult to know.

Pig (2100-2300)

The subject of the horoscope was born when everyone was asleep. In quiet, comfortable solitude, the child was reared with care and love, and this peaceful tranquility is the gift that those born in the Pig hour would most sincerely like to bequeath to those who follow. Healing processes are accelerated with gentle contemplation.

Patterns of Harmony

The North Triangle


Taken on its own, the Rat qualities are intuition, innovation and creativity. But without any practical support or stimulus, the Rat’s creative ideas tend to exist merely as a few marks jotted on paper, or at worst, remain unformed. The Dragon has an effusive and spectacular personality and lifestyle, but needs material to work with, a wonderful actor, maybe, with plenty of flair, but nonetheless the Dragon always needs a script. The Monkey has plenty of technical ability and an inquiring, indeed inquisitive mind, coupled with a manual dexterity that the other two members of the Water Triangle may lack. Yet it often feels frustrated by a restrictive environment, with the result that its undoubted skills are wasted aimlessly or put to the wrong use.

If you put the Rat, the Dragon and the Monkey together you have all the ingredients for a creative genius who has a well-developed talent for finding opportunities and exploiting them, and the ability to make things work. Thus, from this North Triangle springs the raw material for a successful inventor, or manufacturer, or an innovative designer. Yet there is more to consider. The north, signifying winter, influences the areas of media, communication and correspondence. So when these three factors which make the Water Triangle are together in a person’s horoscope they stimulate a restless undercurrent that urges travel, change and spontaneous action.

The East Triangle


These three animals all have a Yin or feminine quality. The Rabbit shows a caring personality, caring for children, animals or the under-privileged. The Sheep is the animal that looks after female interests in particular, partnerships and marriage. The Pig is concerned with the comforts of the home and its interior furnishings. Assembled together, they form a group with strong home and family ties, suggesting happy partnerships, a welcoming hearth, a table laden with good food, many children and grandchildren.

The east is represented by the Wood Element, which itself is a sign of growth, nutrition and good health. It shows peace, gentleness and tranquility. These three signs in a horoscope reveal someone who yearns to settle down and raise a family.

The East Triangle person may be drawn to nursing, medicine or child welfare as a career. Those without families may seek to find other ways that they can substitute for not having children of their own, perhaps through teaching or looking after animals.

The South Triangle


The South Triangle joins together three animals that are all connected with hunting. The south represents summer, the Element Fire and masculine attributes: the very opposite of the gentle, feminine East Triangle. The three animals combine to create an ambitious and competitive individual, determined to succeed at whatever cost. The Element Fire is also associated with intelligence, so while obvious result of the influence of the South Triangle may be a ruthless streak, or someone dedicated to competitive sports, the strong Fire influence may be directed in another positive way, producing a brilliant mind.

The South Triangle person will pursue any career in which there is the stimulus of rivalry and the need to succeed, any may be drawn to the contentious world of politics.

The West Triangle


This trio may seem unlikely company, but together they form a startlingly effective business team. The west is associated with the autumn and the Element Metal, which itself suggests the clink of coins rattling into the till. In this group, it is the flamboyant Rooster that is the public face of the business venture, in charge of promotion and the product image. But no matter how successful the advertising, or how great the demand, there has to be something to sell. The hard-working and dedicated Ox turns to the production side, and so keeps the partnership on a sound practical footing. Meanwhile, the account books and legal matters will be managed efficiently by the analytical Snake.

A business partnership comprised of these three people will make a very successful team, while those individuals who have these three signs in their horoscope charts will prove to be very shrewd and astute when handling the financial side of their professional lives.

The Three Crosses

The four compass directions, or flowers of love

When the four animal signs in the horoscope chart are the Rat, Rabbit, Horse and Rooster, marking the compass points, it symbolizes the Emperor at the Center, ruling over the four directions. Together, they denote power and fame, and someone whose name is destined to be remembered. Collectively they are also known by the rather misleading name of the Four Flowers of Love, the implication being that someone who has riches and power will never be short of love. The “flowers of love” signify a person’s numerous children or grandchildren.

The Four Approaches to the Seasons, or Coaching Posts

The Tiger, Snake, Monkey and Pig represent the four Approaches to the Seasons, even though only one of the Animal Signs will actually belong to the month. The poetic name for the four signs is the Four Coaching Posts, that is, the halting places on a journey. Long ago it would have meant a change of horses, or an overnight stop at an inn, in today’s world it could imply a change of planes at an airport. These four signs together in a horoscope signify an obligation to travel long distances, and often.

The Four Earths, or Literary Merit

The cross known as the Literary Merit comprises the four “Earth” Animals: Ox, Dragon, Sheep and Dog. Appearing in a horoscope, it is a sign of creative talent revealed by artistic and literary gifts, such as the writing of serious fiction or poetry, by musical ability, especially in composition and interpretation, or by expressive painting. The Earth Element, representing contemplation, reveals that the created works have a meditative quality.

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