Far from being a mere horoscope, this astrology draws from the most ancient Chinese traditions. It is a tool for astral projection into the future (as is the case for occidental astrology) but it is most of all a tool meant to help you know yourself.
Differences between Chinese and occidental astrology
Chinese astrology comes from Asia, where it is widespread, but it is also beginning to gain ground in occidental countries. It is an ancestral tradition, a complex discipline bringing astronomy and numerology together.
The main difference with occidental astrology, which remains the most popular in Europe, is that the latter is based on the solar system. It follows a 12-month cycle, with 12 zodiac signs.
Chinese astrology, by contrast, is based on the lunar system; it is based on a 12-year cycle. Each year corresponds to a Chinese zodiac sign. You should not forget that Chinese years do not begin on January 1, but at the end of January or at the beginning of February.
The origins of Chinese astrology
It is really hard to clearly state where and how this astrology was born. We know that it probably saw the light of day in the reign of Emperor Huangdi, around 2600 B.C.
As soon as it emerged, this science made use of very complex calculations and has become increasingly reliable.
Chinese astrologers studied 111 celestial bodies, some of which are extremely well known (like Jupiter, Mars or Saturn), and some stars coming from Chinese mythology.
Chinese astrology was extremely respected, even feared, to the point that Emperor Huangdi and his successors forbid the practice of astrology, except for the court! Indeed, astrological information was so precious that the court feared it might be used by state enemies if its use were to spread.
Chinese astrological signs
Chinese astrology being based on a 12-year cycle, each zodiac sign comes back every 12 years. Signs bear the names of animals. Here they are:
The sheep (or goat)
The pig (or boar)
In certain regions of Asia, but also in different Chinese astrology interpretations, the Rabbit is sometimes replaced with the Cat.
Why these 12 animals as astrological signs?
The explanation can be found in the Chinese tradition. According to legend, Buddha gathered the animals to bless them shortly before he died. The first 12 animals to arrive received the title of "elect" and each one of them was designated to govern a year.
Each animal lends the characteristics of its personality, its main traits, to the year in question.
For instance, speed and strength are attributed to the Horse.
But it should be kept in mind that these animals are often perceived in a different fashion, depending on the cultures. Thus, in our occidental culture, we perceive the snake as a danger. It is the symbol of trickery, infidelity or treachery. By contrast, in China, the snake represents intuition and wisdom.
Take that into account before you draw conclusions in regard to the characteristics of any of the Chinese astrological signs.
Chinese astrology is a millennia-old art, one that is highly sophisticated and cannot be improvised. Many years of practice are needed to master it. But, through the Chinese horoscope, you will open the door to a new world, full of symbolism and wisdom.