Chinese Zodiac Sign— The 12-year Cycle of Animals

Chinese astrology is related to the Chinese calendar, particularly its 12-year cycle of animals or Chinese Zodiac, and the fortune-telling aspects according to movement of heavenly bodies across the Chinese constellations in the sky.

The Chinese Zodiac animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep or goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. There is also a cycle of the five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal (gold) and water over and above the cycle of animals. A person’s year sign can be a gold dragon, a wood rooster and so on.

In ancient matchmaking practice in China, couples were brought together according to their compatible signs. For example, according to the Chinese Zodiac compatibility, a dog cannot get along with a dog, but a dog will do well with a pig and so on.

The zodiac love match is based on the mutual interaction of the Chinese five elements. These elements are associated with colors, the traditional correspondence being green to Wood, red to Fire, brown to Earth, white to Metal, and black to Water. The elements are combined with the binary Yin Yang cycle, which enlarges the element cycle to a cycle of ten. Even years are yang and odd years are yin. Since the Chinese zodiac animal cycle of 12 is divisible by two, every zodiac can only occur in either yin or yang. For instance, the dragon is always yang and the snake is always yin, and so on.

Chinese tattoo, called Wen Shen is closely related to Chinese zodiac signs since the tattoos depict animals. Wen Shen literally means to puncture the body. The Chinese have known and practiced tattoo in China for many years. But it was never considered to be something artistic, desirable, or even acceptable. A commonly held notion is that one’s body is a precious gift from the parent and therefore should never be abused or defaced by a tattoo.


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