Although Chinese astrology is not my area of expertise, I did learn the basics from a friend of mine’s mother who was an astrologer using the Chinese animal system. The animal system isn’t just the year one is born in, as we westerners are taught, it is also the month, day and hour one which all play their part. In reality the day of birth is considered to be the actual person, where as the year is considered to be representational of the ancestors, the hour – one’s children. But as in all things astrological, it’s not quite that simple. Here’s a link to find out you and your loved ones animals. It’s a very informative and interesting website, by far the best for real Chinese Astrology: http://chinesehoroscopeonline.com/ChineseHoroscope.htm
Some basic things to know about Chinese astrology are: there are 2 different systems, one that uses the animals and the other that uses fixed stars and is referred to as the four pillars or four pillars of destiny. The later I know very little about, the former I know enough to give a basic reading although the nuances of the system I’m sure are lost on my very western mind. Over the years of studying the Chinese animal system, I’ve come to realize that the animal system has a lot in common with western tropical astrology, although it appears to take the same information and come from the earth side or shadow side of the self. By this I mean that western astrology uses the sun as it’s center, so when the sun is going through the sign of Capricorn (the constellation) it is said the person is a Capricorn. However at that same time the earth is opposing the Sun and going through the sign of Cancer. This is often why people who are opposites are kind of two sides of the same coin and often have extreme conflicts which, with maturity can be balanced and resolved in a way that isn’t possible with a square (which have similar properties to an opposition in that a square is made up of two planets that are either, cardinal, or two that are fixed or 2 that are mutable – this is true also of an opposition). So astrologers refer to the sign the earth in at birth (example I’m an Aquarius, my earth therefore is in Leo) as the shadow side of the personality, the part that is hidden by and from the individual which is why opposites find one another annoying, they see the dark side of themselves in the other. However, as one makes peace with the darker or ego nature of themselves, the opposition becomes about balance and both the earth side and the sun side find equilibrium in the personality.
But back to Chinese astrology. Interestingly, the Chinese seem to have taken the side of the earth as the main part of the personality. So for example I’m an Aquarius which corresponds (in terms of the western month system) with Tiger and of course in western astrology Leo (the opposite of Aquarius) is a lion. The Leo month corresponds to Monkey in Chinese astrology, the closest thing the Chinese have to the human form (Aquarius is one of the rare human only figures of the zodiac). So chances are good if you are a Capricorn you were born in the month of the Ox in Chinese astrology, if an Aquarius = a Tiger, a Pisces = Rabbit, Aries = Dragon, Taurus = Snake, Gemini = Horse, Cancer = Sheep, Leo = Monkey, Virgo = Rooster, Libra = Dog, Scorpio = Pig, Sagittarius = Rat. The only discrepancy will come if one is born within the first six degrees or last 25 degrees of a sign. This is because they use what is called the sideral system which accounts for the change or shift in the poll over the past 2000 years.
Although I am born in the year of the fire sheep/goat I’m actually a wood Dragon due to my day. Check out the link, it will definitely make a lot more sense and is an intriguing system to learn about.
Best wishes and many blessings,