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Chinese Zodiac Definitions

Characteristics of the twelve animals

Here is a rough guide to the nature of the twelve animals that are the symbols of the Chinese Zodiac. In Chinese astrology, each year is joined to one of the five Elements, Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, Earth, and so Rat/Water will be rather different from Rat/Fire and so on. These pages will be expanded to cover these and other matters, as time permits, for, just as in Western astrology, one does not share one's entire nature with one twelfth of the world's population! For the time being, enjoy this rough guide!

 

Rat

Ox
Tiger
Rabbit
Dragon
Snake
Horse
Sheep
Monkey
Rooster
Dog
Pig

Remember, if you are born towards the end of January or up to the middle of February, you will not know which of two signs you are. As a free service, we will tell you which animal you are if your birthday falls between those dates. Just contact us with your birth date. Take a look at these Chinese Zodiac Seals! You can have one depicting your own animal.

Click here to obtain your own Personal Chinese Astrology report.

Rat

In the legend, the Rat was the first animal to answer the call of the Buddha, and that's a good clue to the Rat. Don't think of him as being the creature we all dislike. The Rat in the Chinese calendar has ingenuity, intelligence, independence and is something of a magician. Rats like to win. If you're a Rat, you know how to get what you want, and you're inventive and original. You'll be very friendly, and generous to your friends and those you love, but your enemies should steer clear! A complicated person with quick nervous energy, you worry about tomorrow, and push yourself to your limits, yet you are quick to criticize others. You need time to be yourself, and to be on your own.

If you were born in the Year of the Rat, you will get on very well with people born in the Year of the Ox, Dragon, and Dog, and probably hardly at all with those born in the Years of the Rabbit, Horse and Monkey.

Ox

In Chinese mythology, Lao-Tse, the great philosopher, rode astride the Ox on his journey to the mountains to seek immortality. If you were born in the Year of the Ox, you are stoical and patient, can endure great hardship and will never give up. Work is something you take pride in, and you just get on with the job without fuss, doing the best you can. You don't rush about and get worked up, and you're laid back until provoked too far, but then watch out! The might of an enraged Ox is not to be trifled with. You save money rather than spend it, and are resolutely ambitious.

If you were born in the Year of the Ox, you will probably be good friends with those born in the Years of the Rat, Rabbit, Dragon (especially in business), Rooster and Dog, but, in fact, the Ox will get on well with most people.

Tiger

The King of the Jungle, the Tiger is fierce and courageous , his stripes an enchanted armour, symbol of both Yin and Yang. He represents luck, power and royalty. If you were born in the Year of the Tiger, you are enthusiastic, impulsive, loyal and honourable. Just as the Tiger is both revered and feared, a Tiger can be savage or wise. You will like taking risks and thrive on danger; routine is not for you. You like the open road, freedom, and the chance of something around the corner. You despise treachery and falsehood, and you can be very generous, but you like your authority to be acknowledged and you are not the easiest animal to live with.

If you were born in the Year of the Tiger, you will find that you get on reasonably well with most people up to a certain point, but less well with other Tigers, and not very well at all with those born in the Years of the Snake and Rooster.

Rabbit

If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit, you are imaginative and sensitive, like a quiet and peaceful life and don't like change, but paradoxically, you need freedom. Security is important, and you hate arguments; if there is a quarrel in the air, you probably try to defuse it and negotiate between those involved. You won't rush into anything, and you tread cautiously, always making sure there's a Plan B, but if backed into a corner you can be menacing and ferocious. You're not as weak as you sometimes seem.

If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit, you especially like the company of people born in the Years of the Ox, Snake, Sheep, and Pig, but have great difficulty with those born in the Years of the Rat and Rooster.

Dragon

The Dragon of mythology was a creature of inaccessible places, high mountains or underground caves, breathing fire and ready for battle. The Dragon has been a symbol of deep desire, of wisdom and of luck, and has often been used to ward off evil spirits. Powerful, brave, obstinate, enthusiastic and always lucky, if you were born in the Year of the Dragon you can accomplish things that others consider impossible. Nothing is beyond you, but you're not easy to live with. You can be cranky and demanding, and upset others with your blunt way of speaking, but you're scrupulously honest, and genuinely very charming.

If you were born in the Year of the Dragon, you enjoy the company of those born in the Years of the Rat, Snake, and Rooster, but there could be problems with those born in the Year of the Dog, as well as other Dragons!

Snake

In Chinese mythology, from the mouth of the Snake, Nu-Wa, came the first human being, who was the ancestor of the Emperors of China. Rich in symbolism, the Snake is both the instrument of temptation in the Garden of Eden, and the symbol of eternity when depicted as the snake biting his tail. If you were born in the Year of the Snake, you have a magnetic personality, with poise and elegance, however you dress. You almost certainly love reading and learning, enjoy deep conversations, dislike arguments unless they are abstract and philosophical, and have an almost telepathic intuition. You don't like making any more effort than you absolutely have to, but when you decide on a course of action you are unstoppable. You probably remember wrongs done to you for a long time, yet you are wise, and much sought after for your good advice.

If you were born in the Year of the Snake you will get on well with most people, especially those born in the Years of the Dragon and Rooster, but there may be difficulties with those born in the Year of the Tiger.

Horse

The mythical centaur, half horse and half man, symbolizes the bond between man and horse, and if you were born in the Year of the Horse you will be popular and likeable. With your sparkling wit, you love the company of your friends, and you're impulsive and enthusiastic, and can't wait to get on with the next thing. Yet, sociable, as you are, you like to do your own thing, and deep inside you are a very private person. Above everything, you are proud and independent.

If you were born in the Year of the Horse you get on well with almost everybody, but especially well with the those born in the Year of the Tiger, and only with difficulty with those born in the Year of the Rooster.

Sheep

All manner of creative and artistic activities will probably be what you like most, if you were born in the Year of the Sheep. You are just not bothered with the essentials of life like making money...you need it, definitely, but it would be nicer if it just arrived! You are peaceable and calm, imaginative and inventive, and you never bear a grudge. You'll do anything to avoid falling out with people, even giving up your own wishes to keep things pleasant. You may be very skilled in your profession, but will never work for the sake of it, only if you enjoy it. You can get upset at first if people insist on trying to make you do things you don't really want to, but at the end of the day you will dig in your heels.

If you were born in the Year of the Sheep, you won't have much trouble in getting on with anyone, but you will particularly like the company of those born in the Years of the Rabbit, Monkey and the very different Ox, and will have little in common with those born in the year of the Rooster.

In some versions of the Chinese Zodiac, you may see a Goat instead of a Sheep.

Monkey

Highly intelligent and ingenious, people born in the Year of the Monkey are known as the jokers and pranksters of the Chinese Zodiac. If this is you, you can do almost anything you set your mind to, for of all the signs, the Monkey is the most versatile. You are original, independent and articulate, with a gift for persuading others to your own way of thinking. You dislike routine, love acting and playing a part, and love to talk and exchange news and ideas. You can be very generous, and sensitive to the needs of others, but at times people misunderstand your waywardness and think you dishonest, which you find very hurtful.

If you were born in the Year of the Monkey, you will get on well with almost everyone, but especially well with those born under the sign of the Sheep, and other Monkeys.

Rooster

If you were born under the sign of the Rooster, you will know the effect you have on other people. Heads turn when you walk into a room, because you have charisma and style. Always looking your best, you have a charm that goes beyond mere clothes. You stand up for your rights, and maintain your own space like a fortress, and you never depend on anybody, but you will go out of your way to help others provided they don't intrude on your privacy. You are forthright, honest and brave, and love to protect anyone weaker than yourself. You make an exciting friend, but keep part of yourself always private.

If you were born in the Year of the Rooster, you get on well with those born in the Years of the Ox, Dragon, Snake and Pig, but less well with those born in the Years of the Tiger, Rabbit, Horse and Sheep.

Dog

If you were born under the sign of the Dog, above all else, you worry. Whatever your circumstances, you are always anxiously trying to do better, worrying in case you have forgotten something, and doing your very best to live up to your responsibilities. Conscientious to a fault, you never abandon your duty, and you are always loyal and honest, but you do tend to see the black side of everything, and wear an air of melancholy. You don't really enjoy social occasions, but if it is required of you, you will go to a party and put on such a good front that no-one will ever know your true feelings. You like everything to be safe and secure, the way you've always known it. You will help your friends at all times.

If you were born in the Year of the Dog, you will get on well with those born in the Years of the Rat, Ox, Snake, and Pig, and may have difficulty with people born under the signs of the Dragon and Horse.

Pig

If you were born in a Year of the Pig, you probably think well of everyone. You don't worry about things, you let life take its course, and you're calm and laid back. Your philosophy is to enjoy life to the full, and you are sure that all will be well in this best of all worlds. You'll give people the benefit of the doubt. Kind and generous, always pleased to help others, especially those in real need, you will still look after number one, and if someone pushes you beyond the limit, your temper is fearful.

If you were born in a Year of the Pig, you will get on well with those born in the Years of the Tiger, Rabbit, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster and Dog, and may have difficulty with those born in the Year of the Dragon.

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