If you've only read about your Chinese zodiac sign on mass-produced place mats at Chinese restaurants, you might not know that Chinese astrology has actually been around for over 5,000 years. It's an important element of traditional Chinese culture, governing views on how one should optimally interact with the world, Chinese traditional medicine, and Feng Shui — the Chinese art of design. You might also be surprised to hear that according to some astrologers, your Chinese Zodiac sign is considered more accurate than your astrological zodiac sign, for a variety of reasons.
At a basic level, Chinese and western astrology seem pretty similar. the Feng Shui Institute explains that like western astrology, the Chinese zodiac — Sheng Xiao — includes 12 main signs, also called earthly branches, which are each represented by an animal — Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Travel China notes that rather than being based on your month of birth, your Chinese zodiac sign is based on your year of birth on the Chinese calendar, and predicts everything from your personality to how well you get along with other people.
The Chinese zodiac includes five earthly elements which interplay with each other to make up a cycle of ups and downs for each sign, and also your birth date, month and time, which makes it so much more complex than Western astrology. Unlike Western astrology however, your Chinese horoscope is not set in stone, the website Your Chinese Astrology notes. Rather, it's up to you to use its insights to change your future luck for the better. For more on your Chinese zodiac sign, and how it might be even more accurate than your astrological zodiac sign, read on:
It's Way Older
Chinese astrology came from the ancient traditions of Babylon and Sumeria, and dates back more than 5,000 years, per the Feng Shui Institute. As the American Federation of Astrologers explains, the Western zodiac as we know it, also came from the Babylonians, but not for another 3,000 years, when adopted by Greek philosophers like Plato, and Aristotle.
It's More Complex
Travel China explains that your Ben Ming Nian or birth year in Chinese astrology will come around every 12 years, bringing with it some seriously bad luck — think mercury in retrograde for an entire year. To ward off bad luck, the Chinese wear red and send red gifts to their family and friends, per the same site.
While it may seem more simplistic, when compared to Western astrology, the same site notes that Chinese zodiac doesn’t stop with the birth year animal and description you may have read at a Chinese restaurant. Astrologers divide each year into 12 months, and each day into 12 time periods. Your birth time, and month on the Chinese lunar calendar also impacts your Chinese horoscope and outlook for the year.
It Was Once Reserved For The Royals
The American Federation of Astrologers explains that in the west, astrology was initially used by farmers to predict things like the weather forecast, and annual harvest yields. It wasn't until much later that the "science" of the zodiac was adopted by kings to aid in royal decision-making. In contrast, the Feng Shui Institute notes that Chinese astrology was historically used solely by the emperor to help him rule effectively.
It's About More Than Motivation
Like your Western zodiac sign, your Chinese zodiac sign can tell you a lot about your personality, and what motivates you. It can also tell you when and how you can best find future success, as you navigate a world influenced by other signs and elements, the website Chinesenewyear.net notes. So, if you want to know when to set your wedding date, who to marry, or even the best time of day to schedule the ceremony, you might consult your horoscope.
It Combines Heaven And Earth
According to the Feng Shui Institute, while your Western sign and horoscope are based on the positions of the stars, your Chinese astrology chart will actually consider both your situations here on earth (your birth date, time, and year) and an analysis of heavenly forces at work to determine your destiny and future luck.
It's Constantly Changing
As Your Chinese Astrology explains, like Western astrology, Chinese astrology is based on elements. In the case of the Chinese zodiac there are five elements — Jin (metal), Mu (wood), Shui (water), Huo (fire), and Tu (earth). Rather than staying static, though, they change, following a cycle of creation and control. For example, wood fuels fire, but water can put out fire. Likewise, your life changes and is impacted by everything in the world around you, which just might make your Chinese zodiac more accurate, when it comes to you.
It's More Personal
The Feng Shui Institute explains that while there are only 500 combinations of factors making up horoscopes in the western zodiac, your Chinese astrological profile might end up being one of over 13 million combination of factors, including your birth year, month, and time, making it so much more unique to you than a horoscope based on your Western astrological sign.
You Can Change Your Fate
As reported by Time, Chinese astrologers believe that your year of birth is seriously a big deal — not just a fun predictor of your personality, but a tool you can use to change your future. In fact, they note that many Chinese people still take birth year into consideration when making decisions about relationships, business, and even when to try to conceive.
They believe that in understanding more about your Chinese zodiac sign and horoscope, you can actually can forecast problems in the coming month or year and improve your life, rather than submitting to what fate has in store.
Season 2 of Doula Diaries shares the stories of fearless doulas helping their clients take control of their births and make tough choices that feel right to them. Watch the first episode of the new season Monday, November 26th.