Overview of the Chinese Zodiac

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Overview of the Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese Zodiac remains one of the most persistent astrological references in existence. Throughout a rotation that lasts 12 years, an animal is used to express each year. Each of the 12 animals reflects a unique personality and set of character traits. While nobody knows for certain how the 12 animals used in the Chinese Zodiac were originally chosen, colorful legends abound. In this article, we’ll explore the legends of the Chinese Zodiac. We’ll also give you an overview of the animals, elements and trines studied by enthusiasts.

Legends Of The Chinese Zodiac
There are several legends that explain how the animals of the Chinese Zodiac were chosen. The first legend tells the story of a race that was sponsored by the Jade Emperor during the 6th century B.C. The emperor sent invitations to the race throughout the animal kingdom, requesting the participation of all animals. Only 12 animals appeared. Those 12 animals became the symbols of the Chinese Zodiac.

Another legend claims that a magnificent feast was given by the Buddha. Every animal was summoned to join the celebration. However, only 12 made an appearance. They were chosen to represent the Chinese Zodiac calendar. There are also myths that explain why some animals (such as the mouse and cat) are such bitter enemies today.


The Animals
The 12 animals that comprise the Chinese Zodiac include the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each of these animals represent different personalities and traits. Those who are born during a given year of the 12-year Zodiac cycle are said to embody the personality and traits of that year’s animal. For example, those born during the year of the tiger are said to be sincere, impulsive and quick-tempered. Others who are born during the year of the rooster are expected to be meticulous, scientific and conservative.

Most people in western cultures are aware of the 12 animals that encompass the Chinese Zodiac (even if they’re unable to name them all). But, they often don’t realize that there are many other animals of the Zodiac. For example the “inner animals” are based upon the 12 months of the Chinese agricultural calendar. Similarly, 12 “secret animals” reflect the hours during the day (1 animal is used to represent each 2-hour block).

Someone who is a rooster because of the year they were born can also be considered a monkey “internally” and a rabbit “secretly” depending upon the month and time of day that person was born.

The Elements
In addition to the animals used to reflect the year, month and time of birth, the Chinese Zodiac also includes the Five Elements (though a more accurate translation is “Five Phases”). These elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. They’re used in conjunction with the 12 animals to reflect further personal character traits. While western societies tend to think of the elements as tangible matter, the Chinese see them as variable forms of energy. Each element reflects a directional and seasonal impact on a person’s character profile.

Animal Trines
There are 4 trines into which the 12 primary animals of the Chinese Zodiac are separated. While the rat, dragon, and monkey comprise the first trine, the second trine includes the snake, rooster and ox. The third trine includes the dog, tiger and horse while the fourth and final trine contains the sheep, pig and rabbit. These 4 trines are used to help people make the most effective life choices given their respective sets of personal strengths and weaknesses.

Following The Chinese Zodiac

Most people don’t realize depth and thoroughness of the study of the Chinese Zodiac. They mistakenly think it’s only governed by a set of animals that reflect personal traits. However, beneath the surface, there’s a larger perspective that includes “inner animals,” “secret animals” and “animal trines” that combine with the elements to construct a profile of each person’s characteristics. While some scoff at the validity of the Chinese Zodiac, others are often surprised to discover its level of accuracy.

If you’re just getting started in learning about the Chinese Zodiac, it’s likely you’ve merely scratched the surface. There’s an exciting world below that awaits you.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 March 2015 19:01 )  


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