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CHINESE ASTROLOGY - The Basic Concepts

Updated on September 26, 2010

The Basic Concepts of CHINESE ASTROLOGY

Chinese Astrology is concerned with the person as a whole, rather than the West's Astrological system, which deals with mapping possible events of the future.

Some of the earliest recorded documents co-relate to natural events such as floods and droughts. A flood may occur during an eclipse of the Moon - a drought may hit when one or other can be seen in a certain position in the sky. As more and more events were recorded over the centuries, a vast body of knowledge about the cyclical nature of the Universe was perceived.

Between 1500 and 1100 BC, the sages and philosophers of the time decreed that in a 'perfect world', the known Universe was influenced by recognisable cycles, then by extension, so too was the nature of man. In their view, everyone would/should live for sixty years, which were divided into the five Transformative Process or Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water - resulting in twelve earthly 'branches', which would then evolve into twelve years each of which was assigned an animal. Each animal sign was then divided into lunar months, each of which in turn was ascribed specific attributes. The twelve year cycle of animals repeats itself continually.

The Chinese system of the Zodiac orbits within its own system of symbols. The Chinese system connects with astronomical observations at a few key points: the phases of the Moon and the solar solstices and equinoxes.

This system of symbols is the twelve emblematic animals that correspond to the Twelve Earthly Branches.

The combination of an animal and an Element gives the character of a year and of all the people born in that year, while the birth-hour animal makes the characterization more subtle. (The hour of birth provides another animal that is your 'secret partner' or hidden influence that assists you.)

The primary and most popular use of the animals is to determine compatibility in emotional relationships.

The Elements and their Influences


People born with the energies of Metal, tend to be rigid and stubborn and do not give in easily.

Metal people insist on honesty and expect a great deal from their prospective partners. They are most often known for their remarkable strength, but used negatively they tend to dominate all proceedings.


Water is an element of compassion and love. Water people tend to be very creative. Water makes lovers yielding and easily influenced by their partners.


Wood is an element of consideration and kindness. It encourages generosity, warmth and co-operation. Wood people strive to view everything from all angles.


Fire is a dynamic element that encourages a sense of honour. On the downside, Fire can have an inflexible and selfish temperament.


Earth is the element of hard work. They strive to make others see their points of view. They are particularly patient, but can have a tendency to be stubborn.

Joanne Sacred Scribes


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