What Is Chinese Astrology?

Chinese astrology and constellations were mostly used for divination. Chinese astrology is perhaps the oldest known horoscope system in the world. Ancient writings have been dated as far as the written records of China itself, many of which have been well-preserved and can be found in the monasteries in China, and all across South-East Asia.

Chinese astrology is based on astronomy and traditional calendars. Using information gathered from the time and date of your birth, a Chinese astrologer is then able to draw up a map of your karma and life and advise you accordingly. When you receive a Chinese Astrology reading you are thus benefiting from a tradition that is thousands of years old. Chinese astrology is the divination of the future from the Chinese calendar, which is based on astronomy, and ancient Chinese philosophy. In ancient China, the astrologers primarily served the emperor and his court and were responsible for the stability, well-being and the health of the population. The roots of the Chinese astrological system are planted deeply in the classical philosophies of Kongzi 孔子(Confucius) and Laozi 老子(Lao Tse). Ancient astrologers could correctly predict when tides, seasons, the proper time to plant and harvest crops, to avoid or make wars.

According to Chinese Astrology, a person's destiny can be determined by the position of the major planets, along with the positions of the Sun, Moon and comets and the person's time of birth and Zodiac Sign. The system of the twelve-year cycle of animal signs was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter.

Chinese astrology is built upon foundations of principle, order, and the spiritual laws of synchronicity. It is the journey of the spirit through the physical dimension. We are each born with a certain destiny in life. The Chinese consider fate be an individual’s life purpose. Fate occurs when events happen as intended. Our destiny is when our fate is in harmony with our personality.

Chinese separate three types of luck.

  • Heaven luck is our fate or spiritual roadmap of our life.

  • Man luck is our destiny, the choices that we make, and the effort we put forth working within our intrinsic framework.

  • Earth luck is the manipulation of our luck via the arranging of our environment using tools such as feng shui.

We are spiritual creatures contained within a physical body. When heaven and Earth combine Qi, this is called life. All living things need Qi to survive and to run their life cycles. Qi brings both good and bad fortunes.

Each year, month, day, and hour has its own energy or qi. The qi that surrounds you as you take your first breath is your destiny. These complex energy patterns, stacked on top of each other, are what form the four pillars.

It is said that we have the characteristics of our personality and determine the purpose of our present existence. Truly, our character reflects the intent of our spirit.

There are two faces that make up our personality.

  • The first is our original inherent temperament. These are the spiritual attributes that we came into this life with—our personality from the beginning.

  • The second is our acquired character. This is determined by our choices and conduct.

Chinese people strongly believe that the time of a person's birth is the primary factor in determining that person's personality.

Five is a preferred number in Chinese thought, such as: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. This grouping and the Five Element doctrine itself first appeared in the literature about 2,300 years ago.

The four pillars are the cornerstones of Chinese astrology. Each year, month, day, and 2-hour period of each day is assigned a combination of one of the 12 animal signs (branches) and one of the 5 elements. Ba Zi 八字 means "eight words" or "eight characters," and denotes the one element and one animal sign in each of the four "pillars." The elements thus have an equal say in chart construction. Four Pillars reading uses many combinations of elements to determine luck at various times as well as to make other conclusions. In fact the balance of elements in a Chinese Four Pillars chart has traditionally been considered more important than the qualities of the signs themselves.

According to legend, the order of the 12 signs of Chinese astrology was determined by Buddha. Upon the celebration of the Chinese New Year, all the animals in the kingdom were invited, but only 12 creatures attended.

The first animal to arrive was the intellectual, talkative Rat, who was aggressive enough to jump off the back of the Ox, and thus the first to arrive. The next to come was the hardworking Ox, followed by the active Tiger, and the detached Rabbit (or Cat). The outspoken Dragon joined the others, as did the wise and philosophical Snake. The physically active Horse trotted in with his good friend the artistic Goat.

The irrepressible Monkey and the candid Rooster arrived as well. The last to join the others were the watchful Dog and the resigned Pig. The legend continues that each animal acquired a year of its own, bestowing their symbolic nature and characteristics to those born in that animal’s year. It is the untamed force concealed within you— your inner self from the beginning.

In China by habit most people know which animal sign they are born under. That is because it has been implicitly agreed that no important steps of life should be taken without consulting first the Chinese Zodiac. Most of Chinese truly believe that the signs reveal the hidden secrets of a person's character.

In determine someone’s fate, the most important factor is probably not what is your element, but, rather, what does your overall element balance look like. If you are balanced, you have plenty of capability and no vulnerability. If not, you will have great strengths as well as significant weaknesses.

Then there is the importance of the Chinese place on Geomancy or Feng Shui. It is almost a necessary complement to other forms of Chinese astrology, especially Ming Shu or Ba Zi (Four Pillars) systems. Using Feng Shui charts the Chinese Astrologer integrates information about a person's environment with that of a Ba Zi chart. In fact, many Asians really do not make that great a distinction between Astrology and fortune telling in general. Below are some characteristics of 12 animal signs:

  • Rat. Talkative, creative, and a natural critic, curious, resourceful, and ever alert to its environment.

  • Tiger. Courageous, enthusiastic, and optimistic, the passionate, unconventional yet humanitarian soul who resists day-to-day routines in favor of a new adventure. Possessing a deep, almost old-fashioned sense of self-sacrifice, specialize in protecting those weaker than themselves. They make first-rate friends as well as the frankest of enemies.

  • Ox. Hardworking, serious, and opinionated, the Ox is a determined, strong, and conservative personality. The gift bequeathed from your ancestors is manual dexterity, nimbleness, and a proclivity for working with your hands. Family, country and duty are of utmost importance to those born into this year pillar.

  • Rabbit. Rabbits are amazing business partners and supportive friends. Sensitive and easily hurt, these private souls keep their own council but are highly sought after for their advice.

  • Dragon. Outspoken, impatient, and self-assured, it is said that the lucky Dragon will have boundless energy and strength. You are the proudest of the 12 branches and do not like to be challenged. Your unpredictability assures that others are either your friends or your rivals.

  • Snake. Unusually gifted with deep intuition, Snakes are also uncommonly sexually attractive. Insight, compassion, subtlety, and discretion are their sum and substance.

  • Horse. Elegant, witty, and talkative, you are difficult to defeat in a dispute and can always argue a persuasive case.

  • Goat. Polite, decent, and gentle, Goats desire a peaceful spot to exist undisturbed and unhurried. Creative, sensitive, and kind, those souls with Goat year pillars are also dependent, disorganized, and extremely vulnerable.

  • Monkey. Monkeys are quick, restless, enterprising, and irrepressible. Mischievous and high-spirited, those with this year pillar are social, active, convincing, and blessed with an entertaining sense of humor.

  • Rooster. Roosters prefer to give orders rather than take them. Roosters love to socialize and are at their best in a crowd.

  • Dog. Anxiety, loyalty, and protectiveness characterize the magnanimous Dog personality. Devotion, generosity, and perseverance are the cornerstones of the anxious Dog's temperament.

  • Pig. Companionship, physical love, and emotional security are a must. These souls need an easy-going mate who talks out problems instead of shouting.