In my line of work, in addition to Feng Shui, I do get asked a lot of questions of Chinese astrology. Most are related to the Chinese 12 Animal Zodiac and Ba Zi or the Eight Characters. On the 12 Animal Zodiac side many especially those born in January and February are often confused over their animal sign.
On the Ba Zi side, the most common confusion is over their element. The birth time can also be a real cracker especially if the birth time is very close to on direction on the boundary between two birth hours. Which birth hour should you use to plot your birth chart? Find out how practitioners tackle this problem.
Am I a Cat or a Rat?
The Cat is not a member of the Chinese 12 Animal Zodiac. The closest resemblance to the Cat is the Tiger. However the Tiger is a couple of years apart from the Rat and it is unlikely you will mix them up. Confusion can arises between animals of the consecutive Zodiac e.g. between the Rat and the Ox or between the Rooster and the Dog, if you are born in January or February.
Let me explain. The Chinese Lunar New Year does not begin on the 1st Jan. Instead it begins sometime between late January and late February. For example, the Chinese Lunar year began on the 31st Jan in 2014. In the previous year, 2013, it began on the 10 February.
This year 2014 is the year of the Horse. However you are a Horse only if you are born on the 31st January or later. If you are born earlier say on the 28th January 2014, your Chinese Zodiac sign is Snake, the previous animal in the Chinese Zodiac.
To find out your real animal sign, you need to find out the day the Chinese Lunar year began on your year of birth. You can do this by using a 10000 year calendar or one of the tools on the Internet.
My mother tells me that I am Metal element person but now you tell me that I am Wood element. Which one of you is right?
We both are! There is an element associated with your year of birth. For example 2014 is known as the year of the Wood Horse. Your mother is most likely referring to this element (of the year).
Likewise there is an element associated with your day of birth and it is commonly known as the Day Master. The element may or may not be the same as the element of the year.
In the Chinese Astrology system Ba Zi, much of the analysis is done centered around the element of the Day Master. So if you speak to a Chinese astrologer he is most likely refer to this element (of the day).
And that is why you get two different answers.
Is the exact time of birth important in Chinese Astrology?
Most systems of Chinese Astrology such as Ba Zi or Zi Wei Dou Shu, uses your birth hour or “Shi Shen” to draw your birth chart. For example the hours between 11 AM and 1 PM is known as “Zi” hour, the hours between 1 PM and 3 PM as “Chou” hour and so on.
Therefore your birth chart and the subsequent reading is the same whether you are born at 11:28 PM or 12:46 AM. Both the times are within the same birth hour or “Shi Shen”.
The problem comes when you are born at the interval or very close to the interval between two birth hours. For example at 12.58 PM or 1:02 PM. Which do you use? How certain are you that the doctor who delivered you, wrote your birth time correctly. Maybe his watch was fast and you were actually born at 12:58 PM!
The solution is quite simple actually. Print both the charts and figure out which by asking questions and mapping real events to the chart.
When exactly does the Chinese New Year begins?
There are two Chinese Calendars.
The more popular one is the Chinese Lunar Calendar that marks the start of the Chinese New Year. This calendar is based on the moon’s movement and the start date every year varies between late January and late February.
The other Chinese calendar is the Chinese Solar Calendar which is based on the sun’s movement. It is also known as the Farmers Calendar as it was first used to regulate farming activities. Like the Western calendar is has 365 days more or less in a year but unlike the Western calendar it starts on or around the 4th Feb every year. The start of the Chinese Solar year is also known as “Li Cun” of Start of Spring.
Chinese Astrology systems such as the 12 Animal Zodiac and Zi Wei Dou Shu employs the Chinese Lunar Calendar while Ba Zi and Feng Shui systems tend to use the Chinese Solar Calendar.
The Lunar Calendar is also known as the Yin Calendar while the Solar Calendar is also known as the Yang Calendar. Together they are often referred to as the Yin Yang or Luni-solar Calendar.
In the next segment, I will touch on questions related to “Sha” or “killing energy”.