Astrology is a very ancient form of divination, Cicero said that the Chaldeans had records of the stars for 370,000 years and that the Babylonians kept the nativities of all births for hundreds of thousands of years. Obviously, over such a vast period, astrology took on many diverse forms. We have already looked at the way in which this ancient art has been handed down to us in the Western world in previous chapter.
The Hindus claim to have the oldest astrology, though this is frequently disputed elsewhere! They use constellations instead of signs but the planets and the houses are comparable to our own. The Hindus use a very precise and complicated astrological system which aims to chart a whole lifetime rather than the moment of birth and is too intricate to detail here, but it will be fun to look at the most popular form of Orential astrology.
Apart from the numerous publication on the subject, there is usually considerable media coverage nowadays of that colourful event, the Chinese New Year, and the animal that ‘rules’ each year. It should be pointed out that many other nations use a similar system to the Chinese, notably Tibetans, Japanese, Vietnamese and Koreans; But for the purposes of these pages we will look at the basics of astrology as practiced by the Chinese.
The Twelve Animals
|1st month approximately equals FEBURARY and is ruled by the TIGER|
|2nd month approximately equals MARCH and is ruled by the HARE|
|3rd month approximately equals APRIL and is ruled by the DRAGON|
|4th month approximately equals MAY and is ruled by the SNAKE|
|5th month approximately equals JUNE and is ruled by the HORSE|
|6th month approximately equals JULY and is ruled by the SHEEP|
|7th month approximately equals AUGUST and is ruled by the MONKEY|
|8th month approximately equals SEPTEMBER and is ruled by the ROOSTER|
|9th month approximately equals OCTOBER and is ruled by the DOG|
|10th month approximately equals NOVEMBER and is ruled by the PIG|
|11th month approximately equals DECEMBER and is ruled by the RAT|
|12th month approximately equals JANUARY and is ruled by the OX|
These 12 animals also have rulership over certain periods in the day. As mentioned earlier, Chinese astrology is based on the principle of duality and this is reflected in the way in which the 24-hour day is divided into 2-hour periods, or double hours, each of which is ‘ruled’ by one of the animals. Thus it can be seen that any astrologer in the Orient will request the time , month and year of birth in exactly the same way as a Western astrologer. There is one other factor that has prime importance in Chinese astrology but has no direct parallel in the Western system; the five elements.
These five elements, which are said to rule over every sphere of human existence, are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Again maintaining the principle of duality, each element has a positive 9Yang) and negative (Yin ) side.
And, in much the same way as each animal has rulership over a double-hour, comprising one Yang hour and one Yin hour, each element is attributed to two consecutive years, one Yang the other Yin, in sequence.
Reference: Predicting Your Future