February 14th, 2010

Happy Valentines Day, Happy Lunar New Year! Happy is Me with Thee...

I suppose you know of St. Valentine the Roman Monk who passed notes from his prison cell....So Learn to Remember this 14th of Februrary 2010, 2nd day of the 21st Winter Olympiad. THE:

Chinese zodiac


I am a Goat, or Sheep (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, determined, peaceful, generous, seeks security. Can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed.  Born on the Cusp of the Monkey on Jan 10, 1980....
  1. Monkey (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. Can be egotistical, vain, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious.
56 Jan 28 1979–Feb 15 1980 Yin Earth Goat

Winter 10th–亥(hai) Pig Water 224° 立冬 lìdōng Nov 07–Nov 21
244° 小雪 xiǎoxuě Nov 22–Dec 06
11th–子(zi) Rat Water 251° 大雪 dàxuě Dec 07–Dec 21
271° 冬至 dōngzhì Dec 22–Jan 05
12th–丑(chou) Ox Earth 284° 小寒 xiǎohán Jan 06–Jan 19


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Stone carving of Chinese zodiac

The Sheng xiao (Chinese: 生肖pinyin: shēngxiào), better known in English as the Chinese Zodiac, is a scheme that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle. It has wide currency in several East Asian countries besides China and Taiwan.

Identifying this scheme using the term "zodiac" reflects several similarities to the Western zodiac: both have time cycles divided into 12 parts, each labels at least the majority of those parts with names of animals, and each is widely associated with a culture of attributing influence of a person's relationship to the cycle upon their personality and/or events in their life. Nevertheless, there are major differences: the "Chinese" 12-part cycle is divided into years rather than months; contrary to the association with animals implied in the Greek etymology of "zodiac", actually four of the Western "signs" or "houses" are represented by humans (one such sign being the twins "Gemini") and one is the inanimate balance scale "Libra"; the animals of the Chinese zodiac are not associated with constellations, let alone those spanned by the ecliptic plane.

Contents

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[edit] Personalities

Chinese zodiac signs represent twelve different types of personalities. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and there are many stories about the origins of the Chinese Zodiac which explain why this is so (see below). The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order and their characteristics.[1]

  1. Rat (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water): Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, hardworking, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, mendacious, venal, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming.
  2. Ox (Water buffalo in Vietnam) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water): Dependable, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
  3. Tiger (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. Can be cold, restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, ruthless, selfish, aggressive, unpredictable, moody.
  4. Rabbit (Cat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood): ambitious, gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.
  5. Dragon (Snail in Kazakhstan) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, jealous, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.
  6. Snake (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. Can be loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, cold.
  7. Horse (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile - mentally and physically, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn.
  8. Goat, or Sheep (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, determined, peaceful, generous, seeks security. Can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed.
  9. Monkey (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. Can be egotistical, vain, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious.
  10. Rooster (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, opinionated, given to empty bravado.
  11. Dog (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome.
  12. Pig (Wild boar in Japan and Elephant in Northern Thailand) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water): Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent. Can be naïve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic.

In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs, and many western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called inner animals) and hours of the day (called secret animals).

To sum it up, while a person might appear to be a dragon because they were born in the year of the dragon, they might also be a snake internally and an ox secretively. In total, this makes for 8,640 possible combinations (60 year cycle (5 elements x 12 animals) x 12 months x 12 times of day) that a person might be. These are all considered critical for the proper use of Chinese astrology[citation needed].

[edit] Problems with English translation

Due to confusion with synonyms during translation, some of the animals depicted by the English words did not exist in ancient China. For example, 羊 can mean both goat and sheep, but goat is the species that existed in central China before sheep, and goat is the species seen in illustrations, not sheep. Similarly, 鼠 (rat) can also be translated as mouse, as there are no distinctive words for the two genera in Chinese. Further, 豬 (pig) is sometimes translated to boar after its Japanese name, and 牛 (water buffalo) is commonly thought to be ox.

[edit] In the Chinese calendar

Main article: Chinese calendar

[edit] Years

Main article: Sexagenary cycle

Within the Four Pillars, the year is the pillar representing information about the person's ancestry or early age.

The following table shows the 60-year cycle matched up to the Western calendar for the years 1924–2043 (see Sexagenary cycle article for years 1804–1923).

  Year Associated
Element
Heavenly
Stem
Earthly
Branch
Associated
Animal
Year
1924–1983 1984–2043
1 Feb 05 1924–Jan 23 1925 Yang Wood Rat Feb 02 1984–Feb 19 1985
2 Jan 24 1925–Feb 12 1926 Yin Wood Ox Feb 20 1985–Feb 08 1986
3 Feb 13 1926–Feb 01 1927 Yang Fire Tiger Feb 09 1986–Jan 28 1987
4 Feb 02 1927–Jan 22 1928 Yin Fire Rabbit Jan 29 1987–Feb 16 1988
5 Jan 23 1928–Feb 09 1929 Yang Earth Dragon Feb 17 1988–Feb 05 1989
6 Feb 10 1929–Jan 29 1930 Yin Earth Snake Feb 06 1989–Jan 26 1990
7 Jan 30 1930–Feb 16 1931 Yang Metal Horse Jan 27 1990–Feb 14 1991
8 Feb 17 1931–Feb 05 1932 Yin Metal Goat Feb 15 1991–Feb 03 1992
9 Feb 06 1932–Jan 25 1933 Yang Water Monkey Feb 04 1992–Jan 22 1993
10 Jan 26 1933–Feb 13 1934 Yin Water Rooster Jan 23 1993– Feb 09 1994
11 Feb 14 1934–Feb 03 1935 Yang Wood Dog Feb 10 1994–Jan 30 1995
12 Feb 04 1935–Jan 23 1936 Yin Wood Boar Jan 31 1995–Feb 18 1996
13 Jan 24 1936–Feb 10 1937 Yang Fire Rat Feb 19 1996–Feb 06 1997
14 Feb 11 1937–Jan 30 1938 Yin Fire Ox Feb 07 1997–Jan 27 1998
15 Jan 31 1938–Feb 18 1939 Yang Earth Tiger Jan 28 1998–Feb 15 1999
16 Feb 19 1939–Feb 07 1940 Yin Earth Rabbit Feb 16 1999–Feb 04 2000
17 Feb 08 1940–Jan 26 1941 Yang Metal Dragon Feb 05 2000–Jan 23 2001
18 Jan 27 1941–Feb 14 1942 Yin Metal Snake Jan 24 2001–Feb 11 2002
19 Feb 15 1942–Feb 04 1943 Yang Water Horse Feb 12 2002–Jan 31 2003
20 Feb 05 1943–Jan 24 1944 Yin Water Goat Feb 01 2003–Jan 21 2004
21 Jan 25 1944–Feb 12 1945 Yang Wood Monkey Jan 22 2004–Feb 08 2005
22 Feb 13 1945–Feb 01 1946 Yin Wood Rooster Feb 09 2005–Jan 28 2006
23 Feb 02 1946–Jan 21 1947 Yang Fire Dog Jan 29 2006–Feb 17 2007
24 Jan 22 1947–Feb 09 1948 Yin Fire Boar Feb 18 2007–Feb 06 2008
25 Feb 10 1948–Jan 28 1949 Yang Earth Rat Feb 07 2008–Jan 25 2009
26 Jan 29 1949–Feb 16 1950 Yin Earth Ox Jan 26 2009–Feb 13 2010
27 Feb 17 1950–Feb 05 1951 Yang Metal Tiger Feb 14 2010–Feb 02 2011
28 Feb 06 1951–Jan 26 1952 Yin Metal Rabbit Feb 03 2011–Jan 22 2012
29 Jan 27 1952–Feb 13 1953 Yang Water Dragon Jan 23 2012–Feb 09 2013
30 Feb 14 1953–Feb 02 1954 Yin Water Snake Feb 10 2013–Jan 30 2014
31 Feb 03 1954–Jan 23 1955 Yang Wood Horse Jan 31 2014–Feb 18 2015
32 Jan 24 1955–Feb 11 1956 Yin Wood Goat Feb 19 2015–Feb 07 2016
33 Feb 12 1956–Jan 30 1957 Yang Fire Monkey Feb 08 2016–Jan 27 2017
34 Jan 31 1957–Feb 17 1958 Yin Fire Rooster Jan 28 2017–Feb 18 2018
35 Feb 18 1958–Feb 07 1959 Yang Earth Dog Feb 19 2018–Feb 04 2019
36 Feb 08 1959–Jan 27 1960 Yin Earth Boar Feb 05 2019–Jan 24 2020
37 Jan 28 1960–Feb 14 1961 Yang Metal Rat Jan 25 2020–Feb. 11 2021
38 Feb 15 1961–Feb 04 1962 Yin Metal Ox Feb 12 2021–Jan 31 2022
39 Feb 05 1962–Jan 24 1963 Yang Water Tiger Feb 01 2022–Jan 21 2023
40 Jan 25 1963–Feb 12 1964 Yin Water Rabbit Jan 22 2023–Feb 09 2024
41 Feb 13 1964–Feb 01 1965 Yang Wood Dragon Feb 10 2024–Jan 28 2025
42 Feb 02 1965–Jan 20 1966 Yin Wood Snake Jan 29 2025–Feb 16 2026
43 Jan 21 1966–Feb 08 1967 Yang Fire Horse Feb 17 2026–Feb 05 2027
44 Feb 09 1967–Jan 29 1968 Yin Fire Goat Feb 06 2027–Jan 25 2028
45 Jan 30 1968–Feb 16 1969 Yang Earth Monkey Jan 26 2028–Feb 12 2029
46 Feb 17 1969–Feb 05 1970 Yin Earth Rooster Feb 13 2029–Feb 02 2030
47 Feb 06 1970–Jan 26 1971 Yang Metal Dog Feb 03 2030–Jan 22 2031
48 Jan 27 1971–Feb 14 1972 Yin Metal Boar Jan 23 2031–Feb 10 2032
49 Feb 15 1972–Feb 02 1973 Yang Water Rat Feb 11 2032–Jan 30 2033
50 Feb 03 1973–Jan 22 1974 Yin Water Ox Jan 31 2033–Feb 18 2034
51 Jan 23 1974–Feb 10 1975 Yang Wood Tiger Feb 19 2034–Feb 07 2035
52 Feb 11 1975–Jan 30 1976 Yin Wood Rabbit Feb 08 2035–Jan 27 2036
53 Jan 31 1976–Feb 17 1977 Yang Fire Dragon Jan 28 2036–Feb 14 2037
54 Feb 18 1977–Feb 06 1978 Yin Fire Snake Feb 15 2037–Feb 03 2038
55 Feb 07 1978–Jan 27 1979 Yang Earth Horse Feb 04 2038–Jan 23 2039
56 Jan 28 1979–Feb 15 1980 Yin Earth Goat Jan 24 2039–Feb 11 2040
57 Feb 16 1980–Feb 04 1981 Yang Metal Monkey Feb 12 2040–Jan 31 2041
58 Feb 05 1981–Jan 24 1982 Yin Metal Rooster Feb 01 2041–Jan 21 2042
59 Jan 25 1982–Feb 12 1983 Yang Water Dog Jan 22 2042–Feb 09 2043
60 Feb 13 1983–Feb 01 1984 Yin Water Boar Feb 10 2043–Jan 29 2044

[edit] Months and solar terms

Main article: Solar term

Within the Four Pillars, the month is the pillar representing information about the person's parents or later years in life. Many Chinese astrologers consider the month pillar to be the most important one in determining the circumstances of one's adult life.

The 12 animals are also linked to the traditional Chinese agricultural calendar, which runs alongside the better known lunar calendar. Instead of months, this calendar is divided into 24 two week segments known as Solar Terms. Each animal is linked to two of these solar terms for a period similar to the Western month. Unlike the 60 year lunar calendar, which can vary by as much as a month in relation to the Western calendar, the agricultural calendar varies by only one day, beginning on the Western February 3 or 4 every year. Again unlike the cycle of the lunar years, which begins with the Rat, the agricultural calendar begins with the Tiger as it is the first animal of spring.

As each sign is linked to a month of the solar year, it is thereby also linked to a season. Each of the elements is also linked to a season (see above), and the element that shares a season with a sign is known as that sign's fixed element. In other words, that element is believed to impart some of its characteristics to the sign concerned. The fixed element of each sign applies also to the year and hour signs, and not just the monthly sign. It is important to note that the fixed element is separate from the cycle of elements which interact with the signs in the 60 year cycle.

Season Lunar Month Fixed Element Solar Longitude Solar Term Western Date
Spring 1st–寅(yin) Tiger Wood 314° 立春 lìchūn Feb 04–Feb 18
329° 雨水 yǔshuǐ Feb 19–Mar 05
2nd–卯(mao) Rabbit Wood 344° 啓蟄 qǐzhé (驚蟄 jīngzhé) Mar 06–Mar 20
春分 chūnfēn Mar 21–Apr 04
3rd–辰(chen) Dragon Earth 14° 清明 qīngmíng Apr 05–Apr 19
29° 穀雨 gǔyǔ Apr 20–May 4
Summer 4th–巳(si) Snake Fire 44° 立夏 lìxià May 5–May 20
59° 小滿 xiǎomǎn May 21–June 5
5th–午(wu) Horse Fire 74° 芒種 mángzhòng Jun 06–Jun 20
89° 夏至 xiàzhì Jun 21–Jul 06
6th–未(wei) Goat Earth 104° 小暑 xiǎoshǔ Jul 07–Jul 22
119° 大暑 dàshǔ Jul 23–Aug 06
Autumn 7th–申(shen) Monkey Metal 134° 立秋 lìqiū Aug 07–Aug 22
149° 處暑 chùshǔ Aug 23–Sep 07
8th–酉(you) Rooster Metal 164° 白露 báilù Sep 08–Sep 22
181° 秋分 qiūfēn Sep 23–Oct 07
9th–戌(xu) Dog Earth 194° 寒露 hánlù Oct 08–Oct 22
211° 霜降 shuāngjiàng Oct 23–Nov 06
Winter 10th–亥(hai) Pig Water 224° 立冬 lìdōng Nov 07–Nov 21
244° 小雪 xiǎoxuě Nov 22–Dec 06
11th–子(zi) Rat Water 251° 大雪 dàxuě Dec 07–Dec 21
271° 冬至 dōngzhì Dec 22–Jan 05
12th–丑(chou) Ox Earth 284° 小寒 xiǎohán Jan 06–Jan 19
301° 大寒 dàhán Jan 20–Feb 03

[edit] Days

A different animal rules each day. Within the Four Pillars, the day is the pillar representing information about the person him/herself - his/her adult and married life.[citation needed].

[edit] Hours

The Chinese zodiac is also used to label times of day, with each sign corresponding to a "large-hour" or shichen (時辰), which is a two-hour period (24 divided by 12 animals). It is therefore important to know the exact time of birth to determine it. The secret animal is thought to be a person’s truest representation, since this animal is determined by the smallest denominator: a person’s birth hour. As this sign is based on the position of the sun in the sky and not the time of your local clock, it is important to compensate for daylight saving time. However, some online systems already compensate for daylight saving time, and astrologers may compensate your time for you oblivious to the fact that you've compensated it yourself, leading to an inaccurate reading.

Within the Four Pillars, the hour is the pillar representing information about one's kids or late age.

  • 23:00–01:00: 子 rat
  • 01:00–03:00: 丑 ox
  • 03:00–05:00: 寅 tiger
  • 05:00–07:00: 卯 rabbit
  • 07:00–09:00: 辰 dragon
  • 09:00–11:00: 巳 snake
  • 11:00–13:00: 午 horse
  • 13:00–15:00: 未 goat
  • 15:00–17:00: 申 monkey
  • 17:00–19:00: 酉 rooster
  • 19:00–21:00: 戌 dog
  • 21:00–23:00: 亥 pig

[edit] Four Pillars

The Four Pillars method can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), and is still much used in Feng Shui astrology and general analysis today. The Four Pillars or Columns chart is called such as the Chinese writing causes it to fall into columns. Each pillar or column contains a stem and a branch - and each column relates to the year, month, day and hour of birth. The first column refers to the year animal and element, the second to the month animal and element, the third to the day animal and element, and the last to the hour animal and element. Within the 'Four Pillars', the Year column is the information about your ancestor or early age. The Month column is the information about your parents or growing age. The Day column is the information about you (upper character) and your spouse (lower character) or adult age. The Hour column is the information about kids or late age.[2]

[edit] Four Animal Trines

[edit] First Trine

The first trine consists of the Rat, Dragon, and Monkey. These three signs are intense and powerful individuals, capable of great good or great evil. They make great leaders, but the three may have different approaches. Frustrated when hampered, these signs are ruled by highly potent energy and unpredictability. At their worst, Rats are ruthlessly power-hungry, vindictive, and Machiavellian; Dragons are inflexible megalomaniacs and narcissists; and Monkeys are destructive manipulators and hedonists. They are intelligent, magnanimous, charismatic, charming, authoritative, confident, eloquent and artistic. They can also be tyrannical, bombastic, prejudiced, deceitful, imperious, and ruthless.

[edit] Second Trine

The second trine consists of the Ox, Snake, and Rooster. These three soul mates conquer life through endurance, application, and slow accumulation of energy. Although each sign is fixed and rigid in opinions and views, they are geniuses in the art of meticulous planning. They are hardworking, discreet, modest, industrious, charitable, loyal, punctual, philosophical, patient, and good-hearted individuals with high moral standards. They can also be self-righteous, vain, critical, judgmental, myopic, narrow-minded, and petty. They are also natural leaders, but are better natured than the first trine.

[edit] Third Trine

The third trine consists of the Tiger, Horse, and Dog. These three signs seek a true lover, and are like-minded in their pursuit of humanitarian causes. Each is a gifted orator and excels at verbal communication. Relationships and personal contact are of highest priority and each one seeks their intimate soul mate. Idealistic and impulsive, the Tiger, Horse and Dog follow the beat of their own drummer. Defiant against injustice, these three signs wilt without large amounts of physical affection and loyal support for causes. They are productive, enthusiastic, independent, engaging, dynamic and honorable. They can also be rash, rebellious, quarrelsome, hot-headed, reckless, anxious, moody, disagreeable, and stubborn. Although these three signs are loyal, they can be very protective when lied to. The three signs do not enjoy being told what to do, but will listen when it is a person they love or trust whole-kindheartedly.

[edit] Fourth Trine

The fourth trine consists of the Rabbit, Goat and Pig. The quest for these three signs is the aesthetic and beautiful in life. Their calm nature gives them great leadership abilities. They are artistic, refined, intuitive, and well-mannered. These souls love the preliminaries in love, and are fine artists in their lovemaking. The Rabbit, Goat (or Sheep) and Pig have been bestowed with calmer natures than the other 9 signs. These three are compassionately aware, yet detached and resigned to their condition. They seek beauty and a sensitive lover. They are caring, unique, self-sacrificing, obliging, sensible, creative, empathic, tactful, and prudent. They can also be naive, pedantic, insecure, cunning, indecisive, and pessimistic.

[edit] Zodiac origin stories

This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this section if you can. (July 2009)

The 12 Zodiac animal signs (生肖 shengxiao) are, in order, the rat, ox (or cow), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat (or sheep), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig (or boar). There are many legends to explain the beginning of the zodiac. One of the most popular reads, in summarised form, as follows:

The rat was given the task of inviting the animals to report to the Jade Emperor for a banquet to be selected for the zodiac signs. The cat was a good friend of the rat, but the rat tricked him into believing that the banquet was the next day. The cat slept through the banquet, thinking that it was the next day. When he found out, the cat vowed to be the rat's natural enemy for ages to come.

A variation tells that the cat had asked the rat to wake him up the day of the Race. The rat agreed, but on the said day, he did not wake the cat in his greed to win. When the cat finally woke up and got to the racing ground, he found the race to be over. The cat then swore revenge upon the rat.

Interestingly, the cat does make it into the Vietnamese Zodiac, in place of the rabbit (see below).

Another popular legend has it that a race was used to decide the animals to report to the Jade Emperor.

The cat and the rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although bad swimmers, they were both intelligent. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of the ox. The ox, being a naïve and good-natured animal, agreed to carry them across. However, overcome with a fierce competitiveness, the rat decided that in order to win, it must do something and promptly pushed the cat into the river. Because of this, the cat has never forgiven the rat, and hates the water as well. After the ox had crossed the river, the rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, and it claimed first place in the competition.

Following closely behind was the strong ox, and it was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After the ox, came the tiger, panting, while explaining to the Jade Emperor just how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with powerful strength, it made to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle.

Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound, and the rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race but the rabbit was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the 4th animal in the zodiac cycle. Coming in 5th place was the dragon, flying. Of course, the Jade Emperor was deeply curious as to why a strong and flying creature such as the dragon should fail to reach first. The mighty dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, and therefore he was held back a little. Then, on his way to the finish line, he saw a little helpless rabbit clinging onto a log so he did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Jade Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the dragon, and he was added into the zodiac cycle. As soon as he had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the horse appeared. Hidden on the horse's hoof is the snake, whose sudden appearance gave the horse a fright, thus making it fall back and giving the snake the 6th spot, while the horse placed 7th.

Not long after that, a little distance away, the sheep, monkey, and rooster came to the shore. These three creatures helped each other to get to where they are. The rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the goat and the monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore. Because of their combined efforts, the Emperor was very pleased and promptly named the goat as the 8th creature, the monkey as the 9th, and the rooster the 10th.

The 11th animal is the dog. His explanation for being late—although he was supposed to be the best swimmer amongst the rest—was that he needed a good bath after a long spell, and the fresh water from the river was too big a temptation. For that, he almost didn't make it to finish line. Just as the Jade Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little pig. The pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the pig continued the race and was named the 12th and last animal of the zodiac cycle. The cat finished too late (thirteenth) to win any place in the calendar, and vowed to be the enemy of the rat forevermore.

Another popular story was when the Jade Emperor told the animals that he would be using animals to represent the years. So when the rat heard about this, he went straight to his best friend the cat. At once the cat thought" I should have a rest so that would be in my best form to run to the signing post." So the cat asked the rat to wake him up when the day came. So he agreed. When the day came, the rat realized that he probably wouldn't get to the signing post as fast as the others so instead of waking the cat he left him sleeping.

Whilst going running, the rat met up with the ox. He thought to himself" Ox is the fastest, strongest animal!" So the little mouse played a trick on the ox. He asked the ox if he would like to listen to him sing. The rat opened his mouth but he said nothing. "How was that?" he asked the ox and of course he replied " Sorry little rat,I didn't hear you." The rat told the ox to let him jump onto his back so that he could sing it more clearly, and the ox agreed. Soon without knowing, the ox was walking to the signing post, forgetting the rat on his back. When they reached there, the mouse jumped off and claimed first place. The ox following and the rest.

When the cat woke up and found out about this, he was furious. He swore that he would always hate the rat. They were enemies from then on.

In Buddhism, legend has it that Buddha summoned all of the animals of the earth to come before him before his departure from this earth, but only twelve animals actually came to bid him farewell. To reward the animals who came to him, he named a year after each of them. The years were given to them in the order they had arrived.

The legend of the Zodiac Race, of course, is by far the least credible of all explanations of the origin of the Chinese zodiac. Because the "twelve earthly branches" which correspond with the zodiac, was already in existence as early as the Zhou era, long before the advent of Buddhism. A parallel decimal set of symbols called "ten heavenly stems", corresponding with yin-yang dualism and the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) was in existence in the Shang dynasty as the stems were part of Shang rulers' names. The order of 12 Chinese zodiac animals was based on the number of toes/hooves, alternating between even and odd numbers. Rat was the first because unlike other animals of the Chinese zodiac which all had the same number of toes/hooves on each leg, rat has four toes on the front legs and five on the rear legs, so it was selected to be number one. Ox is second with four hooves on each leg, and tiger is the third three with five toes, hare is the fourth with four toes, dragon is next in line with five fingers on its claw, while snake ranks number six because it lacked any legs and zero is an even number, etc.

The Zodiac, or the "twelve earthly branches" is probably devised together with the ten heavenly stems. However, according to Derek Walters, British scholar and author of several related books, there is no historical evidence for the 12 animals correlation with the Earthly Branches prior to the late Tang or early Song eras. Susan Whitfield asserts that it was not until the Qin Dynasty that the 12 animal cycle was imported along the Silk Road from Buddhist peoples in Khotan, Sogdiana, and India.[3]

As a duodecimal numeral system, the twelve earthly branches is probably evidence for trade between early tribes that later contributed to the Chinese civilization on the one hand, and the Mesopotamian civilization, which perfected duodecimal arithmetics, on the other.

The Chinese zodiac, though not entirely identical with the Greek zodiac, nonetheless shares with it the duodecimal system and the idea of using animals as numerical symbols. This is a hint for the triangular relations between early Chinese, Mesopotamian and Greek cultures.

When the Bulgars, an early Turkic tribe within the Hun tribal federation that invaded Europe at the end of the Roman Empire, brought with them the very same Chinese zodiac. This is a probability that the Chinese zodiac is of northern Chinese origin, commonly shared among Altaic and northern Chinese tribes.

Currently, the Thai and Tibetans use the same zodiac with slight modification, probably due to millennia of contact with the Chinese civilization.






"Chances" Lyrics

DateThursday, October 1, 2009
Chances are when said and done
Who'll be the lucky ones
Who make it all the way
Though you say I could be your answer
Nothing lasts forever
No matter how it feels today

Chances are we'll find a new equation
Chances roll away from me
Chances are all they hope to be

Don't get me wrong, I'd never say never
'Cause though Love can't change the weather
No act of God could pull me away from you
I'm just a realistic man
A bottle filled with shells and sand
Afraid to look beyond what I could lose
When it comes to you
And though I'd see us through

Chances are we'll find two destinations
Chances roll away from me
Still chances are more than expectations
But possibilities over me

8 to 5 we're 2 to 1
Lay your money on the sun
Until you crash what have you done
Is there a better bet than love
What you are is what you bring
You gotta cry before you sing

Chances

Chances lost are hopes torn out pages
And maybe this time

Chances are we'll be the combination
Chances come and carry me
Chances are waiting to be taken
And I can see

Chances are the fascination
Chances won't escape from me
Chances are only what we make them
And all I need...