|Chinese Astrology Characteristics
Are you a Pig, a Dog or perhaps even a Rat? Determining your Chinese
astrological sign begins with the year of your birth, but that doesn't tell
the entire story of who you are, what you're like and what destiny holds in
store for you. Let's take a closer look at the other components that unite
to make you unique.
Your Birth Year Animal Sign
Chinese astrology operates on the concept of twelve animal signs and five
elements that pair up on a rotating basis to form a complete sixty year
cycle. Each animal of the Chinese zodiac represents specific years within
this sixty year cycle, and each carries distinct characteristics that
influence the personalities of people born within a given year.
For example, if you happen to have been born between January 25, 1963 and
February 12, 1964, you would belong to the Rabbit zodiac sign. As such, you
would have a tendency to be quiet yet confident and care a great deal about
others. You might feel quite sensitive to what goes on in the world around
you, and also display a certain level of creativity.
Your birth year zodiac sign is considered your outer animal, the way the
world perceives you.
Now, let's talk about the elements. According to the Chinese astrological
system, there are five elements that also contribute certain extra
characteristics that add more dimension to your personality.
Basic characteristics of each element include:
* Water: Strong communication skills and intuition
* Wood: Strong nurturing instincts coupled with imagination and
* Fire: Passionate by nature, intelligent and also ready to spring into
* Metal: Very dependable and useful to have around, especially in a pinch
* Earth: Very grounded and reliable; a balanced personality
Using our previous example of a Rabbit born between 1963 and 1964, the
element assigned to that year in the sixty year cycle was Water, making
these people Water Rabbits. The Water element intensifies the Rabbit's
ability to communicate, as well as his powers of intuition. Pair these
characteristics with Rabbit's caring nature and you have a good listener who
is very understanding of other people's issues.
Yin and Yang Animals
In addition to the basic characteristics of each sign, colored by the
influence of an element, every Chinese astrological sign is further governed
by an energy force that is either Yin or Yang. Yang is male energy and
closely associated with the sun, while Yin energy is distinctly feminine and
associated with the moon. Together, these two forces complete each other and
bring balance to the universe.
People born in odd years are Yin, and people born in even years are Yang.
For this reason two Water Rabbits can still have slightly different natures
depending on whether their birth date falls in 1963 or 1964.
Monthly and Hourly Animal Signs
Stay with us, we're not finished yet. In addition to all we've learned
above, your Chinese astrological characteristics are also influenced by the
month and hour in which you were born. The following chart shows how each
month and certain hours of the day are also ruled by a particular animal
sign that contributes it's own characteristics to your overall personality.
Chinese Astrological Signs by Month and Hour Sign Month Hours
Ox January 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.
Tiger February 3:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Rabbit March 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Dragon April 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Snake May 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Horse June 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sheep July 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Monkey August 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Rooster September 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Dog October 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pig November 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Rat December 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
If you happen to be born on the exact hour that marks the cusp between
two signs, you could drawn on characteristics from both. Note that the
zodiac sign attributed to the month you were born represents your inner
animal, the way you perceive yourself. The zodiac sign of your birth hour
represents the qualities you secretly aspire to develop.
The Big Picture
As you can see, there really is so much more to your Chinese astrology
characteristics than your basic animal zodiac sign. When you consider all of
the possible combinations, there are over 8,640 unique horoscope
personalities possible. Color that combination with your own life
experience, and there really is no one exactly like you!
Animals of the Chinese Astrology
The Chinese lunar calendar dates back to the second millennium BC. Unlike our calendar, which numbers the years progressively from a given time (the birth of Christ), the Chinese calendar is cyclical. Each cycle is made up of 12 years; after the 12th year, the cycle is repeated. The Chinese associate each year of a 12-year cycle with an animal, and they refer to the years as "the year of the dragon," "the year of the ox," and so forth. The 12 animals and the years associated with them are often represented on a circular chart, and for this reason they are known as animals of the astrology.
The use of the animal names in the calendar led to the development of Chinese astrology. Astrology can be defined as a pseudo-science linking human destinies to charts associated with heavenly bodies or the recording of time. The Chinese believed the characteristics of a given astrology animal influenced the personality of every person born in that year. They used this information to create horoscopes, daily predictions based upon the year of one's birth. Although the reading of horoscopes is popular in modern Chinese culture, few people take the predictions seriously.
In this lesson plan, students will learn about the 12 animals of the Chinese astrology. In the introductory first lesson, they will see how animals are often used as symbols. In the second lesson, they will hear one of several versions of how the 12 animals were chosen. They will then focus upon a few of the animals in the story and see how they can be used as symbols of certain human characteristics. In the third lesson, they will be introduced to the other animals of the astrology, and they will be given a chart on which they will assign traits to each animal. Then they will consult a number of websites to find the traits traditionally associated with the animals, which they will add to their list. Then, they will come up with a number of ways to compare and contrast the animals in the list. In the third lesson, they will focus upon the animal associated with the year of their birth, learning about its traits and discussing whether or not these apply to themselves and their peers. Finally, each student will make an acrostic, combining the letters of his or her first name with adjectives that relate to his or her astrology sign.
# know what a symbol is
# understand that the Chinese calendar is divided into cycles of 12-years, in which each year is represented by an animal
# be familiar with the story explaining the choice of the 12 astrology animals
# understand that each animal of the calendar symbolizes certain character traits
# know that the Chinese associate the traits of each astrology animal with people born in that year
# know their own signs within the Chinese astrology