A Brief Guide to Understanding Chinese Astrology

Chinese astrology owes a debt of allegiance to the religion of Taoism. Taoism is, of course, one of the many branches of religions that developed in ancient Asia. The foundation of the Tao is based upon balance and the extension of the concept of duality. These dualities, such as lightness and darkness or male and female, are seen as complementary to each other and not as being in competition. Also vital is the understanding that these dualities are constantly in a state of flux; change is imperative, but never permanent.

Central to understanding Chinese astrology is the well known conception of the Yin and Yang. These are dualities in opposition to each other, of course. The Yin is the female partner and the Yang is the male. You are doubtlessly familiar with the symbolic representation of the divided circle with a white half with a black hole within it and a black half with a white hole within it. This symbol is intended to convey the idea that the Yin contains within it a tiny seed of the Yang and vice versa. There is simple elegance in the fact that both sides are equally distributed, meaning that each is essential to providing balance and completion.

Also important in grasping the underpinning of the foundation of Chinese astrology is knowledge of the five elements. The five elements of vital significance to the Chinese zodiac are water, fire, wood, metal and the earth itself. The Chinese zodiac, as you may be familiar with, is dominated by animal symbols and each of those animals is presided over by one of the elements. These animals are actually divided among four of the five elements. For instance, there are water animals like the rat and the pig, wood animals like the tiger and dragon, and so on. The only element that doesn’t rule over an animal is earth, but it does contribute through having an impact on specific years.

Chinese astrologers originally created the central concept of the 60 year cycle. Half of these cycles are considered to belong to the Yin and the other half to the Yang. The true significance of these 60 year cycles is that they impact each individual year, endowing it with its own special brand of value and importance. In other words, you may have been born in the Year of the Dragon, but when all the individual aspects are brought into play you would actually be considered a yang water Dragon. This means that your personality and life will be markedly different from someone born in a yin wood Dragon year. By the time you calculate the variations involving the Chinese astrological division of the 12 months and the further 12 divisions of the time of the day in which you could be born, Chinese astrologers have no less than 8640 different and unique combinations with which to work to develop an astrological chart for any person.

Before (or after) you go to making fun of fundamentalist Christians who deny scientific evidence in their insistence that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, consider that ancient Chinese astrologers were convinced that the age of the planet was roughly 3600 years old. Taking this knowledge, they proceeded to divide the age of the Earth evenly into 300 different 60 year-long cycles. The number 60 was chosen because the Chinese believed that this age was the perfect length of time for the human lifespan. (Consider it a kind of Logan’s Run x 2.) In turn, each of these cycles of life are further subdivided according to the five elements to produce what are known as the Twelve Earthly Branches. Over time these twelve branches came to be symbolized by animals. The legend is that the particular animals were chosen by none of than Buddha himself. Whether that is true or not, it does appear the animals for the Chinese zodiac originated not in China itself, but as an import from Central Asia.

The really fun part is in watching a person raised on the western zodiac confront the animal that symbolizes the year in which they were born. Almost invariably, when one finds they were born in the Year of the Rat there is a visible expression of disgust. In fact, there is absolutely no inherent negative quality associated with the Rat. From the perspective of Chinese astrology the rat is much more closely aligned to Remy from Ratatouille than Elia Kazan from the communist witch hunt of the 1940’s and 50’s. To be born under the Year of the Rat is to be industrious and loyal, not to mention being a terrific mom or dad. Another animal in the Chinese zodiac that westerners often have trouble with is the Snake. Rather than being a snake like Elia Kazan, the Chinese astrologers chose the slithery serpent because of traits like wisdom and organizational skills. I don’t know much about snakes, but I feel you’ve pretty much got be good at problem-solving when you have no hands or feel.

Still, the animal of the year you were born is only half the story in Chinese astrology. Each animal is also allotted its own month and time of day, so therefore you might well have been born in the Year of the Tiger, during the month of the Goat at the time of day that belongs to the Dragon. That is why all if you and another person were both born in the Year of the Dog you might notice that you fit its descriptions related to loyalty more so than your friend. To judge the Chinese Zodiac strictly in terms of everybody in the same year acting exactly alike is to misunderstand the vital significance of month and time of birth. It is the introduction of these elements that contributes to the variations of personality among all millions born in the, for instance, Year of the Monkey. That is also why if you plan on visiting a trained Chinese astrologer you should discover the exact time of your birth.

How to Foretell the Future using Dice

Forget tea leaves, astrology and the Tarot—and by the way, I can tell you from personal experience that those Tarot guys are a touchy sort—if you want a quick method for divining your future, pick up a pair of dice and go to town. The great thing about using dice to tell your future is that you don’t need to pick up the local paper or go to a professional. In fact, all you need are those dice and a nice even surface. Shake the dice in your hands and toss away. The method for divining what will happen in your future depends on the combination that comes up.

You roll:

One and One. This is the simplest kind of fortune. If you get this result, simply make any decision of import and it is guaranteed—according to those who follow these kinds of things—to come to a successful completion.

Two and One. Keep your eyes on that music box your grandmother left you. If you roll this combo, you are going to lose something that has great sentimental value to you. The good news is that it will turn up; but there’s no guarantee how long it will be lost.

Two and Two. Now is the time to become sharp-eyed toward the opposite (or the same, depending on which you team you’re on) sex. You are about to find someone with whom you can spend a long, happy relationship with.

Three and One. Be alert to the bad news of others that could benefit your goals.

Three and Two. Make sure this was the only time you rolled dice today. If this combination comes up, the one thing you don’t want to is head to a casino or play a friendly game of poker.

Three and Three. Maybe you should either separate from your loved one entirely or not let them out of your site. This combination signals the onslaught of a romantic rival and the appearance of the ugly green monster.

Four and One. Sorry, but your bank account will take a beating. Don’t despair; it’s a short term thing.

Four and Two. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous he or she is, don’t be taken in by flattery after rolling this.

Four and Three. Trivial matters are deemed so for a reason. Be aware of the important things and don’t let the small stuff work work you into a sweat.

Four and Four. There’s a party going on somewhere that you weren’t invited to. Don’t get too upset about it. Maybe, like the Skipper on that Gilligan’s Island episode, your invite just got lost when the mailman tripped.

Five and One. Sure, things have been going hot and heavy, but passion that burns too bright tends to burn out too soon.

Five and Two. Gotta admit, if this was for real I’d start using dice every day. If you get a five and two, one of your friends (a female one, mostly likely) is going to have twins.

Five and Three. Unless you want to see some old friends or family that you haven’t been with in years, don’t open that door.

Five and Four. If someone comes a-calling to ask for a small amount for investment in a start-up company, think in terms of eBay and not all those internet sites that went broke. You are going to make serious money, my friend.

Five and Five. Considering a move? Now’s the time. It’s not only time that you moved to a new place, but maybe it’s time for a new set of friends.

Six and One. It’s been a tough time for you emotionally, but stick it out because things are going to get better soon.

Six and Two. At first that present you got may seem outlandish or even ridiculous. But give it a while and you will be surprised at just how indispensable to your life it turns out to be.

Six and Three. You will be taking a trip. But it will be short. Unfortunately, that could mean anything from a trip to the mailbox to a trip to a trip to the next state. Clouded the future is, but one thing is for sure: the result will be a very happy surprise.

Six and Four. Wow. You do not want to get this one. Getting this combination means a trip to the da judge. At least that problem you have that got you into court will finally be decided.

Six and Five. All that time and money you spent helping out those less fortunate than you will finally result in recognition of your tireless efforts.

Six and Six. You are about to launch a time of life in which you will experience more success than failure, and all due to the fact that you received an unexpected bonus.