top of page
  • Writer's pictureC. M. Ramsburg

Basics of Chinese Astrology

Today we will learn the basics of Chinese Astrology! Chinese Astrology dates back to the 5th Century BCE. The Chinese use a lunar calendar to calculate a 60-year cycle with 12 rotating Zodiac animals and 5 rotating elements. Below we will delve into the origins of Chinese Astrology and the animal signs and elements that go with it!

Welcome to Ramstrology, the astrology blog written by Aries Ram, C. M. Ramsburg! Ramstrology delves into various Zodiac systems to highlight their diverse cultural influences. In this blog series, you'll learn the basic principles of astrology that are found in my YA Fantasy, SON OF THE SUN.

History of the Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Astrology was born around the 5th Century BCE and was officially recognized by the Han Dynasty around 200 BCE. The Chinese use a lunar calendar to calculate a 60-year cycle with 12 rotating Zodiac animals and 5 rotating elements (12x5=60). Chinese Astrology has two components: the Celestial Stem and the Terrestrial Branch. The Zodiac was used to keep track of time. Each of the 12 animal signs represent a year in a 12-year cycle, a day in a 12-day cycle, and 2 hours of the 24-hour day. The Chinese lunar calendar follows the cycles of the moon and implements the principle of yinandyang. To this day, the animal of the year is celebrated during the Chinese New Year. Everyone is assigned an animal sign and element at birth. Below you will find which sign and element correspond to your birth and their meanings!

What Animal Sign are You in the Chinese Zodiac?

The Chinese Zodiac consists of 12 animals that rotate in order by year. Those born during the year of a given animal is assigned that animal for life. This Zodiac Year of Birth is called "Ben Ming Nian". There are 12 Zodiac Signs based on the principle of Yin and Yang, with each alternating animal sign being either a Yin or a Yang. Each animal has characteristics and attributes that are associated with it. The Chinese Zodiac begins with the Rat and ends with the Pig. The animals chosen for the Zodiac were likely the animals most closely associated to the ancient Chinese.

Rat (1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032):

As the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac, it is said the Rat won the race to be first by riding on the Ox's back and jumping off right before the Ox could cross the finish line, making the Ox second. As seen in this story, the Rat is known for being resourceful and quick-witted. While intelligent and observant, the Rat lacks courage. Those born of this sign are curious and skillful.

Ox (1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033):

Those born of this sign are determined, strong, and ambitious. They are often dependable, honest, and patriotic. The Ox is persistent and stays true to its ideals. They may lack in communication and are often stubborn. The Ox embodies hard work, often finding great success in their careers.

Tiger (1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034):

The Tiger is known for being confident, brave, and competitive. Those born during the year of the Tiger are likable and charming. However, they can be selfish, irritable, and unpredictable. The Tiger is bold and demands the attention of others. The Tiger is considered the king of animals in China, being viewed as natural leaders.

Rabbit (1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035):

Similar to rabbits in the wild, the Rabbit is known for being gentle and quiet. They are always alert and looking for threats. Those born during the year of the Rabbit are skillful, responsible, and patient. While they are often polite, they can be seen as sad and stubborn. Their cautiousness may cause them to miss out on opportunities.

Dragon (1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036):

The Dragon is seen as the most important and sacred animal in the Chinese Zodiac. While it is the only sign with an imaginary animal, those born during the year of the Dragon are powerful and respected. In ancient civilizations, they believed Dragons made the best world leaders. They are known for being ambitious, courageous, intelligent, confident, dominant, and risk-taking. However, they can also be impulsive, arrogant, and aggressive.

Snake (1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037):

The Snake represents wisdom in the Chinese Zodiac. They are seen as wise and philosophical. They are intuitive and often follow their gut. However, they may be materialistic and easily stressed. They are creative but often keep their ideas to themselves. Those born during the year of the Snake are problem-solvers and are easily bored.

Horse (1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038):

The Horse is known to be highly active and energetic. Those born during the year of the horse are always on the go. They love being around people and attending events. They have a great sense of humor and love being the center of attention. However, they can be self-centered and hard to teach. Despite this, they are often popular and easy to get along with.

Sheep (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039):

The Sheep is known to be shy and gentle. They are sympathetic and have a strong sense of justice. They are creative and delicate but have a strong relationship with themselves. While they often live inside their own thoughts, they love being in groups. They are defensive and instinctive, persevering through any hardship.

Monkey (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040):

The Monkey is viewed as mischievous, curious, and witty. They use their intelligence and cleverness toward pranks and practical jokes that may or may not hurt others. Some believe those born during the year of the monkey are sly and untrustworthy. However, they are creative and adaptable. Those born of this sign can bring fun and excitement to others.

Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041):

The Rooster is resourceful, observant, and talented. They have a lot of confidence in their abilities because they are hardworking. They are honest and outspoken, never turning down an opportunity to talk. Their loyalty and charm makes them popular and attractive to others. They may come off as vain or conceited at times. They seek attention and often get it.

Dog (1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042):

The Dog is known for its loyalty and honesty. They are kind to others and are willing to do anything for the ones they love. They are cautious and sometimes struggle to communicate their thoughts and ideas to others. They may hold a pessimistic view of the world. Those born during the year of the Dog are easygoing and selfless, aiming to serve others.

Pig (1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043):

The Pig is known for its concentration and focus. They set out to achieve their goals and don't stop until they do.Those born during the year of the Pig do not like asking for help but are quick to help others. Sometimes they may be taken advantage of or fooled. They are calm under pressure and don't shy away from their responsibilities.

Son of the Sun, C. M. Ramsburg

“The tiger’s eyes gazed into his own. Dian felt a mystical aura radiating from the beast. He could spot the cosmos in the tiger’s beautiful, yellow irises.”

The Five Elements (Wu Xing) of the Chinese Zodiac

The Five Elements of the Chinese Zodiac, known as Wu Xing, build the foundation of all life in the universe. The Wu Xing Theory is used in many aspects of Chinese society and disciplines, including medicine, fortune-telling, and martial arts. While everyone has an animal sign based on their birth year, their element may differ based on the last number of their birth year. For example, someone born in 1997 would be a Fire Ox while someone born in 1985 would be an Earth Ox. Therefore, there are 5 variations of each animal. The difference between each element and their creation and destruction are discussed below!

Wood (years ending in 4 or 5): This element represents nobility and kindness. Those born during a wood year often enjoy luxury and comfort. They may rely too much on others and crack under pressure. Those born of this element are generous, adaptable, patient, and practical.

Fire (years ending in 6 or 7): This element represents power, courage, bravery, influence, and intensity. Like fire, those born of this element burn brightly for everyone to see. They may be competitive, impatient, aggressive, and impulsive. However, those born during a fire year are passionate, charismatic, spontaneous, determined, and creative.

Metal (years ending in 0 or 1): This element is associated with minimalism and respect. Those born during a metal year have a strong moral compass and hold themselves to a high standard. They can be judgemental, merciless, jaded, and stubborn. However, those born of this element are courageous, independent, ambitious, and disciplined.

Water (years ending in 2 or 3): This element represents wisdom. Those born during a water year are exceptionally gifted and intelligent. They may be overly anxious, indecisive, and passive. However, those born of this element are observant, intuitive, diplomatic, persistent, and empathetic.

Earth (years ending in 8 or 9): This element is associated with stability and peace. Those born during an earth year are as nurturing and overprotective as Mother Earth. They may often be stubborn, hesitant, and reserved. However, those born of this element are practical, strong, compassionate, loyal, and responsible.

Creation and Destruction of Elements

It is important to note that elements can either create or destroy one another. This is also referred to as a generating (positive) or overcoming (negative) interaction. For example, water nourishes earth but quenches fire. This principle can be used to predict the interaction between two people of differing elements. Below you will find a visual chart and the explanations behind these positive and negative interactions!

Creation: Fire creates earth/ash. Earth produces metal. Metal carries water. Water replenishes wood. Wood fuels fire.

Destruction: Fire melts metal. Earth absorbs water. Metal chops wood. Water quenches fire. Wood separates earth.

Son of the Sun, C. M. Ramsburg

“The unforgiving water swallowed the flames without remorse — as it had since the dawn of time. These two opposing elements achieved perfect balance, painting the image before him. Jason knew such peaceful harmony was a lie. Fire would never bend its will to water.”

Keep the Magic Alive by following C. M. Ramsburg on social media and subscribing to her author mailing list! Comment below if there's an astrology topic you'd like to read more about.


bottom of page