The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve animals of the Earthly Branches. These animals do not represent planetary constellations as in western astrology, but rather the movement of earthly Qi. As part of the Compass School, one of the two ancient traditions in Feng Shui, they express the energy qualities within repeating cycles and with that the essence of time itself.
The legend goes that the Jade Emperor, the creator and ruler of Heaven, had invited the twelve most interesting animals to come and present themselves in terms of intelligence and their ability to serve humanity. There are many anectodes of how the different characters made it to where they stand today, e.g. how the rat outsmarted the cat, who, in the end, did not get a spot, how he took a ride on the ox and finished first in the list of all chosen animals. Each of the twelve animals had a specific quality to offer and were chosen for their virtues, intelligence and strength.
The Chinese Zodiac
The Popular Rat
A very charming and charismatic sign. Rats are intelligent, happy, social and have many friends. With good business instincts, detail-oriented and hard working, they are sometimes overly ambitious. They are apt to gain wealth easily. On the negative side they can tend to self-obsession and greed.
Rats are compatible with dragons and monkeys. They clash with horses, their opposite sign in the Zodiac.
The Methodical Ox
Oxen like routines and tradition. They are hardworking and stay on task until their job is done. This makes them loyal and valuable employees. At home they take care of their family and provide strong support. It is important for the ox to practice tolerance and spontaneity to counteract their sometimes intimidating and over-disciplinary manner.
Oxen go well with snakes and roosters. They clash with sheep.
The Unpredictable Tiger
A person born in the year of the tiger is said to be magnetic, independent and courageous, but also lovable and romantic. He loves life, but by seeking adventure his intense spirit can disregard the feelings of those around him.
Tigers do well with horses and dogs. There might be some problems with monkeys.
The Lucky Rabbit
The rabbit is discrete, well-mannered and gracious. Among all the twelve signs, it is the most fortunate one. Rabbits are well-respected in the business world for their good judgement and negotiating skills. They love the comfort of a beautiful home but can become self indulgent. They are also very caring but can become overly caring and superficial.
Rabbits get along well with pigs and sheep, however not with roosters.
The Charismatic Dragon
Dragons show enthusiasm, energy and passion whatever they do. They love to organize and make things happen. They also want things done their way, which sometimes leads to conflict. This can also create perfectionism and fanatism. However, their open and friendly nature helps them to be well-liked, despite their obsessiveness.
Dragons are compatible with rats and monkeys, yet they don’t go that well with dogs.
The Wise Snake
A person under the sign of the snake is considered a thinker who always examines both sides before forming an opinion. Snakes rarely make the same mistake twice. They learn fast, love books and arts, have sophisticated tastes and enjoy the luxuries of life. The dark side is a growing scepticism which might lead to suspiciousness and some neurotic behaviour with age. Forgiving is not easy for a snake.
Good matches are roosters and oxen. Snakes clash with pigs.
The Freedom loving Horse
Horses need their space, they are attractive, friendly and outgoing. Don’t try to keep them on a short rope. As the strongest of the fire signs, they spread their charm and sex appeal, but might overwhelm people. Considered headstrong, they need to be aware of their manipulative and sometimes intolerant behavior with others.
Horses go well with tigers and dogs, less well with rats.
The Sensitive Sheep
Sheep are creative, eccentric, multi-talented, gentle and romantic. They make a great parent and a generous, loving partner. On the other hand, the sheep does not like to be pushed and may become resistant if forced to do something he doesn‘t like. Sheep are considered lucky and always have a friend to rely on for support.
Sheep are compatible with rabbits and pigs. They clash with oxen.
The Curious Monkey
Monkeys like to learn new skills and persevere until they master them. They are ambitious, failure is not on their list. Extremely clever and intelligent they want to be at the top of their field. This can sometimes make them feel overly-competitive and even self-centered.
Monkeys like rats and dragons; they might have some issues with tigers.
The Meticulous Rooster
Roosters love to show their feathers. They are perfectionists who like details and do their work precisely. They handle money well, love to travel around the world, but often are too direct and critical instead of diplomatic. A weak point is their pride, which can lead them into isolation and loneliness.
Roosters match well with oxen and snakes; they clash with rabbits.
The Loyal Dog
A dog person has many positive attributes like the animal itself: trustworthy, warm-hearted and honest. They stand up for their principles and make excellent leaders. Friendships are built slowly, but hold forever. These attributes taken to an extreme can develop into self righteousness.
Dogs are compatible with horses and tigers; but do not get along so easily with dragons.
The Nurturing Pig
Last, but not least, is the pig. Brought in by the Jade Emperor when the cat, who was originally invited, did not show up. The pig brings sincerity and loyalty to the table. Patient, excellent listeners, pigs make strong, lasting friends. Their generosity leaves them little wealth left for themselves. A danger is their naivity. They just can’t say "no."
Pigs do well with rabbit and sheep, but not snakes.
2008 – The Year of The Earth Rat:
Each of the twelve animals can, in addition, be combined with the five elemental energies (phases) to characterize them in more detail and to describe additional qualities. There is, for example, a wood rat, a fire rat, an earth rat, a metal rat and a water rat. The same with all the other signs.You can find books with more in-depth information on this topic at the end of the article.
The year of 2008 is an earth-rat year. The rat being the first of the whole cycle represents new beginnings, excellent relationships and good business in general. In this specific year the earth element is in control of the water quality of the rat. This balances the overly hectic activity of the rat and provides groundedness and stability, helpful with achieving results and increasing profits. A great year for entrepreneurs, especially when they are born in a metal year themselves. (metal energy being supported by earth quality in the five element cycle).
Werner Brandmaier Dipl.Ing., a medical engineer and a citizen of Austria, studied with prominent international Feng Shui masters and trained in Germany to practice dowsing and geopathology. Werner offers consultations for homes and businesses and teaches workshops and seminars. He is a member of the