Continuation from previous entry. From Wikipedia.

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), day, 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 (five elements x 12 animals in the 60 year cycle (12 x 5 = 60) , 12 months, 12 times of day) that a person might be. These are all considered critical for the proper use of Chinese astrology.

The months—the inner animals
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.

An individual’s monthly animal sign is called their inner animal and is concerned with what motivates a person. Since this sign dictates the person’s love life and inner persona, it is critical to a proper understanding of the individual’s compatibility with other signs.

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.

 

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

 

The days
A different animal rules each day. This animal represents the basic personality of the person.

 

The hours—the secret animals
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.

The large-hour in which a person is born is their secret animal. It is a person’s own true sign which their personality is based on. Note that while this chart is quite precise, the exact time at which each animal begins shifts by the day.

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 ram
15:00–17:00: 申 monkey
17:00–19:00: 酉 rooster
19:00–21:00: 戌 dog
21:00–23:00: 亥 pig

 

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 originally 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.

Categorizations of the twelve signs

Power Signs

Rat
Ox
Tiger
Dragon
Snake
Monkey

Romance Signs

Rabbit
Horse
Sheep
Rooster
Dog
Pig

 

The Four Animal Trines

The 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, ruthless, power-hungry, and megalomaniacal.

The 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 genius 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.

The 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 honourable. 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-heartedly.

The Fourth Trine

The fourth trine consists of the Rabbit, Ram 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, Ram (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, emphatic, tactful, and prudent. They can also be naive, pedantic, insecure, cunning, indecisive, and pessimistic.

 

Zodiac origin stories

The 12 Zodiac animal signs (生肖 shengxiao) are, in order, the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (ram or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. There are many legends to explain the beginning of the zodiac (see Origins of the Chinese 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.
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 ram 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 ram 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.

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.

Chinese zodiac in other countries

The Chinese zodiac signs are also used by cultures other than Chinese. For one example, they usually appear on Korean New Year and Japanese New Year’s cards and stamps. The United States Postal Service and those of several other countries issue a “Year of the _____” postage stamp each year to honour this Chinese heritage. However, those unfamiliar with the use of the Chinese lunar calendar usually just assume that the signs switch over on January 1 of each year. Those who are serious about the fortune telling aspect of the signs can consult a table, such as the one above. The Chinese zodiac animals were used also in the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins.

The Chinese zodiac is also used in some other Asian countries that have been under the cultural influence of China. However, some of the animals in the Zodiac may differ by country.

 

East Asia
The Korean zodiac is identical to the Chinese one. The Vietnamese zodiac is almost identical to Chinese zodiac except that the second animal is the water buffalo instead of the ox, the fourth animal is the cat instead of the rabbit and the eighth animal is the Ram instead of the sheep. The Japanese zodiac includes the wild boar instead of the pig. The Thai zodiac includes a naga in place of the dragon.

The Bulgars, Huns and Turkic people
The European Huns used the Chinese Zodiac complete with “dragon”, “pig”. This common Chinese-Turkic Zodiac was in use in Balkan Bulgaria well into the Bulgars’ adoption of Slavic language and Orthodox Christianity. Following is the Hunnish or Turkic Bulgarian Pagan zodiac calendar, distinctive from the Greek zodiac but much in conformity with the Chinese one:

Torè calendar

Names of years

Kuzgé—[Year of] Saravana
Shiger (Syger)—Artom (Taurus)
Kuman (Imén)
Ügur—Tiger Myachè Ügur—Tiger
Taushan—Rabbit
Samar—Dragon Birgün (Bergen, Birig, Baradj)- Dragon
Mcloven—Snake
Tykha—Horse
Téké—Sheep (Ram or Goat)
Bichin, Michin—Monkey
Tavuk—Rooster, Hen (also written tağuk—ğ is pronounced as v in Turk. verbs döğmek and öğmek)
It—Dog
Shushma—Pig (many mistake it as boar though)(Turk., Russ. “Kaban”—Translator’s Note, also cognate of Turkish şişman, “fat”)
In Kazakhstan, an animal cycle similar to the Chinese is used, but the dragon is substituted by a snail (Kazakh: улу), and tiger appears as a leopard (Kazakh: барыс).

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From Wikipedia

The Chinese Zodiac is a 12-year cycle. Each year of the 12-year cycle is named after one of the original 12 animals. Each animal has a different personality and different characteristics. The animal is believed to be the main factor in each person’s life that gives them their traits, success and happiness in their lifetime.

The Chinese zodiac refers to a pure calendrical cycle; there are no equivalent constellations like those of the occidental zodiac. In imperial times there were astrologers who watched the sky for heavenly omens that would predict the future of the state, but this was a quite different practice of divination from the popular present-day methods.

BackgroundThe ancient Chinese astronomers called the 5 major planets by the names of the elements they were associated with: the dragon is the rat’s servant.

NOTE: These are listed in order of the elements and the animals associated with them, not the actual order of the planets from nearest to farthest the sun. In some texts, Wood is placed before Metal.

Venus—Metal (White Tiger)
Jupiter—Wood (Azure Dragon)
Mercury—Water (Black Tortoise)
Mars—Fire (Vermilion Bird)
Saturn—Earth (Yellow Dragon)
According to Chinese mysterious astronomy, a person’s destiny can be determined by the position of the major planets at the person’s birth along with the positions of the Sun, Moon and comets and the person’s time of birth and Zodiac Sign. The system of the twelve-year cycle of animal signs was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter (the Year Star; Chinese: 歳星; pinyin: Suìxīng). Following the orbit of Jupiter around the sun, Chinese astronomers divided the celestial circle into 12 sections, and rounded it to 12 years (from 11.86). Jupiter is associated with the constellation Sheti (Chinese: 攝提- Boötes; symbol:ɳ) and is sometimes called Sheti.

A laborious system of computing one’s fate and destiny based on one’s birthday and birth hours, known as Zi Wei Dou Shu (Chinese: 紫微斗數; pinyin: zǐwēidǒushù) is still used regularly in modern day Chinese astrology to divine one’s fortune. The 28 Chinese constellations, Xiu (Chinese: 宿; pinyin: xìu), are quite different from the 88 Western constellations. For example, the Big Bear (Ursa Major) is known as Dou (Chinese: 斗; pinyin: dǒu); the belt of Orion is known as Shen (Chinese: 參; pinyin: shēn), or the “Happiness, Fortune, Longevity” trio of demigods. The seven northern constellations are referred to as Xuan Wu (Chinese: 玄武; pinyin: xúanwǔ). Xuan Wu is also known as the spirit of the northern sky or the spirit of Water in Taoism belief.

In addition to astrological readings of the heavenly bodies, the stars in the sky form the basis of many fairy tales. For example, the Summer Triangle is the trio of the cowherd (Altair), the weaving maiden fairy (Vega), and the “tai bai” fairy (Deneb). The two forbidden lovers were separated by the silvery river (the Milky Way). Each year on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese calendar, the birds form a bridge across the Milky Way. The cowherd carries their two sons (the two stars on each side of Altair) across the bridge to reunite with their fairy mother. The tai bai fairy acts as the chaperone of these two immortal lovers.

Lunisolar calendar
The 60-year cycle consists of two separate cycles interacting with each other. The first is the cycle of ten heavenly stems, namely the Five Elements (in order Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) in their ip Yin and Yang forms.

The second is the cycle of the twelve Zodiac animal signs (生肖 shēngxiāo) or Earthly Branches . They are in order as follows: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (ram or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and boar.

This combination creates the 60-year cycle due to the least amount of years (least common multiple) it would take to get from Yang Wood Rat to its next iteration, which always starts with Yang Wood Rat and ends with Yin Water Boar. Since the zodiac animal cycle of 12 is divisible by two, every zodiac sign can also only occur in either Yin or Yang: the dragon is always yang, the snake is always yin, etc. The current cycle began in 1984 (as shown in “Table of the sixty year calendar” below).

When trying to traverse the lunisolar calendar, an easy rule to follow is that years that end in an even number are yang, those that end with an odd number are yin. The cycle proceeds as follows:

If the year ends in 0 it is Yang Metal.
If the year ends in 1 it is Yin Metal.
If the year ends in 2 it is Yang Water.
If the year ends in 3 it is Yin Water.
If the year ends in 4 it is Yang Wood.
If the year ends in 5 it is Yin Wood.
If the year ends in 6 it is Yang Fire.
If the year ends in 7 it is Yin Fire.
If the year ends in 8 it is Yang Earth.
If the year ends in 9 it is Yin Earth.
However, since the (traditional) Chinese zodiac follows the (lunisolar) Chinese calendar, the switch-over date is the Chinese New Year, not January 1 as in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, a person who was born in January or early February has the sign of the previous year. For example, if a person was born in January 1970, his or her element would still be Yin Earth, not Yang Metal. Similarly, although 1990 was called the year of the horse, anyone born from January 1 to January 26, 1990, was in fact born in the Year of the Snake (the sign of the previous year), because the 1990 Year of the Horse did not begin until January 27, 1990. For this reason, many online sign calculators (and Chinese restaurant place mats) will give a person the wrong sign if he/she was born in January or early February.

The start of a new Zodiac is also celebrated on Chinese New Year along with many other customs.

Table of the sixty year calendar

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

Note: The Chinese symbols in the table for the elements and animal signs are special ones used only in astrology, not the ordinary symbols used in general writing.

  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 Ram 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 Ram 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 Ram 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 Ram 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 Ram 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

Five elements
The Yin or Yang is broken down into Five Elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) on top of the cycle of animals. These are modifiers and affect the characteristics of each of the 12 animal signs. Thus, each of the 12 animals are governed by an element plus a Yin Yang Direction.

Although it is usually translated as ‘element’ the Chinese word xing literally means something like ‘changing states of being’, ‘permutations’ or ‘metamorphoses of being’. In fact Sinologists cannot agree on one single translation. The Chinese conception of ‘element’ is therefore quite different from the Western one. The Western elements were seen as the basic building blocks of matter. The Chinese ‘elements’, by contrast, were seen as ever changing and moving forces or energies—one translation of xing is simply ‘the five changes’.

The balance of yin and yang and the five elements in a person’s make-up has a major bearing on what is beneficial and effective for them in terms of feng shui, the Chinese form of geomancy. This is because each element is linked to a particular direction and season, and their different kinds of qì or life force.

木 Wood

The East(東)
Spring(春)
Azure Dragon(青龍)
The Planet Jupiter (木星)
The Color Green(緑)
Liver(肝) and gallbladder(胆)
Generous, Warm, Persuasive, Co-operative, Seeks to Expand and Grow.
Idealistic, Ethical, Enthusiastic, Seeks to Explore.
Wood governs the Tiger (strongest wood), Rabbit, Dragon (weakest wood)

火 Fire

The South(南)
Summer(夏)
Vermilion Bird(朱雀)
The Planet Mars(火星)
The Color Red(赤)
Circulatory system & Heart(心)
Dynamic, Humanitarian, Enterprising, Adventurous, Restless
Competitive, Leadership Skills, Strong, Single-minded, Loves a good laugh
Fire governs the Snake, Horse (strongest fire), Ram (weakest fire)

土 Earth

Centre(中)
Three Enclosures, Change of seasons
The Yellow Dragon(黄龙)
The Planet Saturn(土星)
The Color Yellow(意)
Digestive system, Spleen(脾) and stomach(胃)
Powerful, Wise, Patient, Militaristic, Prideful, Prudent, Stable, Reliable, Hard-working, Ambitious, Stubborn, Seeks to Conquer
Disciplined, Rigid, Controlling, Tenacious, Logical, Governed by Service and Duty to Others
Earth governs Dragon, Sheep, Dog and Ox. It is the central balance of the elements and can lend qualities to all 12 animals as well.

金 Metal

The West(西)
Autumn(秋)
White Tiger(白虎)
The Planet Venus(金星)
The Color White(白)
Respiratory system & Lungs(肺)
Determined, Self-reliant, Unyielding, Strong, Tenacious, Forceful
Reserved, Needs Personal Space, Sophisticated, Seeks pleasure, caring, respectful
Metal governs the Monkey (strongest metal), Rooster, Dog (weakest metal)

水 Water

The North (北)
Winter(冬)
Black Tortoise(玄武)
The Planet Mercury(水星)
The Colour Black(黑)
Skeletal(骨)/Excretory System & Lungs
Secretive, Self-destructive, Charming, Intuitive, Deceptive, Passive-Aggressive, Compassionate, Sensitive, Creative
Flexible, Addictive, Manipulative, Compliant, Eloquence, Intellectual, Betrayal
Water governs the Rat (strongest water), Ox, Pig (weakest water)

The 12 zodiac animals
In Chinese astrology the zodiac of twelve animal signs represents twelve different types of personality. 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. Rat (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water):
    Forthright, disciplined, systematic, meticulous, charismatic, hardworking, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, 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, patient, hardworking, ambitious, 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 restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish.
  4. Rabbit (Cat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood):
    Gracious, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, astute, compassionate, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, lazy, horny.
  5. Dragon (Snail in Kazakhstan) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood):
    Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, zealous, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, ambitious, generous, loyal. Can be arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, eccentric, grandiloquent and extremely bombastic, prejudiced, dogmatic, over-bearing, violent, impetuous, brash.
  6. Snake (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire):
    Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, ambitious, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. Can be loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious.
  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, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn.
  8. Ram (Goat in Vietnam) (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, wise.
  9. Monkey (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal):
    Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, 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.
  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, dogged. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome.
  12. Pig (Wild boar in Japan) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water):
    Honest, simple, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent. Can be naive, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic.


Since it’s lunar new year, here’s some 2009 Year of the Ox Predictions.
Credits

honestly, this is like the mildest version i have read so far. this is just one of the versions.
generally, 2009 looks pretty good for zodiacs snake, monkey, tiger and horse.
and not so good for goat, ox, dog and rabbit.

Rat
Beware of burnout this year, dear Rat. You’re such a hard worker, and this year you may feel even more pressured to put your nose to the grindstone. Keep in mind that you’re naturally resourceful, which means you can stretch resources further than most people. By drawing on this talent, you can avoid exhaustion. Your social life may take a back seat to work responsibilities, and it’s possible you will be lonely for friends. When you do get together with your nearest and dearest, let it be casual and inexpensive. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun. In fact, you’ll enjoy yourself much more at informal gatherings when you can let your hair down and put your feet up. Fortunately, this trend sits well with your frugal nature.

This probably isn’t a good year to splurge on fads; sensible, durable items will bring the best value. One thing you will have to guard against is idle chatter. In 2009, actions speak louder than words. The Year of the Earth Ox poses a wonderful opportunity to expand your family. Getting married, having a child or inviting an older relative to come live with you could bring happiness. “The more, the merrier” should be your motto as far as your home life is concerned. What could be nicer for a family-oriented animal like you?

Money for the Rat
Your best bet for making money this year is to acquire valuable skills. The more you know, the more attractive you could be to prospective employers. If you’ve been thinking of going back to school to get an advanced degree, this might be the year to do so. An ambitious animal like you won’t need much prompting to go back to school.

The Earth Ox year favors long-term ventures of all kinds. It may be necessary for you to take a thankless part-time job as a means to work your way through school or up the career ladder, but don’t let that get you down. Although you may not have an impressive position with a huge salary, you will probably be paying your bills. You can likely even put some money into savings with a little thought and planning. Keep the big picture in mind at all times in 2009.

Love for the Rat
If you want to make a good impression on somebody, you need to demonstrate your worth. Bragging will get you nowhere. When you want to strike up a conversation with someone, talk about substantive issues like religion, politics, books and movies. Making a serious commitment is highly favored for Rats this year; getting engaged or married could be in the cards. If you do decide to take the plunge, do it soberly and reverently. Eloping at a Las Vegas chapel could have disastrous results in an Earth Ox year, so opt for a traditional ceremony instead.

In the event you are single, you could meet someone special at work or at a professional gathering. Take things slow, as the Ox frowns on impulsive behavior. If you’re in a relationship, you may decide to start a business with your beloved. That may greatly appeal to you, as Rats enjoy spending every spare moment with the one they love.

Ox
The Year of the Earth Ox invites you to reach for the stars. Love, money and luck are headed your way, and it’s up to you to make the most of these gifts. Your personal life will be especially rewarding. Career demands will likely ease, allowing you to spend more time with friends and family. There’s never been a better year to go on an extended vacation. That’s a relief, as Oxen don’t fare well in stressful, busy times.

You’ll enjoy exuberant health, particularly if you’re well rested. If you’ve ever wanted to go back to school, 2009 could be the year to do so. This is your big chance to become a master craftsman, gourmet chef, organic farmer or professional landscaper. You’ve always been clever with your hands. It will take a while to reach your goals, but if you begin the journey now, your success is virtually guaranteed. Buying your own home is also a possibility, so don’t assume that a dream property is out of reach. By working with a bank or lending institution, you could be living in a beautiful country estate by the end of the year. Your impeccable taste will enable you to create a gorgeous haven from the outside world. Do yourself a favor and consider reducing your work schedule. Your colleagues won’t turn to dust if you’re not on the job 24 hours a day, so take this opportunity to stop and smell the flowers. You’ve earned a break!

Money for the Ox
The Year of the Earth Ox invites you to take a long-term approach to finance. Slow and steady wins the race this year, most likely with regard to jobs involving art and design. If you deal with real estate, consider avoiding get-rich quick schemes; developing a property over a long period of time will probably yield greater profits. Fortunately, you possess enough patience to pace yourself accordingly.

If you want a raise or promotion, think about asking for one between May and July when your boss is likely to be receptive to such requests. Although your wealth probably won’t see a huge spike this year, it can be steady, which is a definite plus in this economy. Count your blessings. In the event you decide to launch a business, look at the idea of starting small — you can always expand as you gain experience. It’s better to do one thing well and efficiently than try to be all things to all people.

Love for the Ox
Things will go swimmingly for you this year, which means you can’t take anything — or anyone — for granted. If you’re in a relationship, take extra pains to attend to your partner’s needs. This may be difficult, as you have a hard time expressing your emotions. In the event you earn lots of money while he or she suffers a career setback, you may want to encourage your mate to spend the year pursuing a cherished dream.

If your marriage is in trouble, you need to either get counseling or break things off altogether. 2009 marks a “make or break” point in your intimate relations. Single? You could meet someone special between September and November. Don’t embark on this relationship lightly — Earth Ox years favor long-term unions. You could meet the love of your life in a cooking, gardening or pottery class.

Tiger
There won’t be much time for fun and games in the Year of the Earth Ox. Instead, you’ll be continually forced to prove yourself to friends, employers and relatives. Assuming more responsibility will open the door for bigger and better things in 2010. The secret to your success will be sticking to a schedule, and although you hate being hemmed in like this, you will gain some valuable skills along the way. Being able to deliver excellent work on schedule will cause your reputation to soar, and increase the appreciation of your loved ones.

Practicing humility is also important in 2009, which won’t be easy for a prideful animal like you. An unassuming person could turn out to be a respected authority in their field. By playing second banana to this person, you can acquire some valuable skills of your own. Keep warm during the winter months, as you could be vulnerable to colds, flus and other viruses. Vitamins, nourishing food, regular exercise and adequate sleep will boost your immune system. Before you throw your paws up in despair, keep in mind that Ox years bestow tremendous creativity on Tigers. If you’re ever going to write that novel, shoot that film or record that album, this is the year to do so!

Money for the Tiger
It’s time to take control of your finances. The Earth Ox year demands that you think about paying off debts, or at least paring them down. If you’re in serious trouble, consider contacting a credit management agency to consolidate your loans and reduce your interest rate. The lavish lifestyle you enjoy will likely have to be scaled back in 2009.

As far as work is concerned, you will probably need to apply yourself to make money. When given a choice between getting a flat salary and earning a commission, think about choosing the latter. You could be especially successful if your career involves entertainment, hospitality or medicine. Alternately, you could yield impressive profits in menswear. It may be necessary to deal with a bossy authority figure this year, realizing that you probably won’t be in the driver’s seat in 2009. Contact sports can provide an outlet for your career frustrations.

Love for the Tiger
If you’re going to experience happiness in your love life, you’ll need to manage your temper. The Year of the Earth Ox emphasizes patience, which is not really your strong suit. Nevertheless, if you learn how to put your needs aside for the sake of your partner, you’ll go a long way toward forging a happy relationship. Getting counseling may be a good move for you, especially if you have trouble coming to terms with anger issues that have dogged you since childhood.

If you’re single, it may be best to play the field this year. You’ll have an interesting array of suitors between February and July. Treat this period as an opportunity to experiment with all different kinds of relationships. By the time 2010 rolls around, you’ll be ready to make a serious commitment.

Rabbit
It’s best for Rabbits to keep a low profile during the Year of the Earth Ox. You won’t see dramatic progress in 2009, rather, you’ll experience a slow but steady series of breakthroughs. Many of the people you work and play with will be brash and outspoken. Cultivating diplomacy will be critical to your professional and personal success. If you play your cards right, you could even land a wonderful creative assignment. Although you won’t get much critical acclaim for this job, you will gain invaluable experience. A high-strung creature like you needs to devise strategies to keep stress at bay. When you worry that you’re out of your depth, lean on friends and family for support. Your loved ones will bolster your courage and enable you to vault over intimidating hurdles.

It may be wise to add lots of fiber to your diet this year, or digestive problems could ensue. As far as exercise is concerned, try activities that increase flexibility: yoga, tai chi and gymnastics are all favored. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for all of your appointments, or you will miss a few golden opportunities. Keep your cell phone charged and check messages frequently, as being in constant contact with the outside world will put you over the top this year.

Money for the Rabbit
This isn’t the best year to switch jobs, so consider staying put in your current position; you can move on to greener pastures in 2010. The Year of the Earth Ox requires you to work hard and pay your dues. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have; it looks as though you’ll have to prove yourself all over again. This can be difficult, as Rabbits are notoriously prideful. The good news is that 2009 will enable you to make some valuable business contacts, and these benefactors will prove useful next year.

If you’re looking for work, you could find it in November. Opportunities related to funeral homes, cemeteries and law enforcement are especially favored. Business related to recycling and renewable energy sources are also worth exploring. Think about taking a conservative approach to finances this year, not playing the market too aggressively and saving as much money as you can.

Love for the Rabbit
You’re bound to receive lots of kindness and understanding from a romantic partner in 2009. The Earth Ox creates an atmosphere of love and acceptance on the home front, which is a welcome trend for a sensitive animal like you. If you’re burnt out at work, your mate may encourage you to quit while you find something better to do. Going back to school or starting your own business could be possible because of your beloved’s support.

In the event you are single, you should take extra pains with your appearance between August and September, when you could meet someone special at a rollicking party. If a friend offers to set you up on a blind date, accept. Otherwise, you could miss a golden opportunity to meet your soul mate.

Dragon
Although you won’t have much opportunity to sparkle and shine during the Year of the Earth Ox, you’ll experience sizable gains. It’s all a matter of pacing yourself — slow and steady wins the race in 2009. Mastering the art of persuasion will help you in every area of life. Cultivate your powers of seduction; learn how to sell ice cubes to Eskimos. Convincing others to do your bidding will be more effective than using brute force. It may be necessary to take orders from others this year. This doesn’t sit well with an authoritative person like you. However, being of service will make you a better employee, friend, parent and lover. Learning how to be a good team player could put you in line for a promotion next year.

Egotistical Dragons, on the other hand, stand a good risk of getting fired. It’s possible you could be accident-prone this year, so drive carefully, avoid contact sports and steer clear of violent people. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to push the envelope in 2010. The Ox year also favors self-improvement ventures of all kinds. Getting a physical trainer, professional guru or life coach can work wonders if you follow this person’s advice to the letter. Never fear; you’ll be able to exhibit your star power next year. For now, however, you need to hide your light under a bushel.

Money for the Dragon
The Year of the Earth Ox doesn’t present many opportunities for you to stand in the career spotlight. You might have to learn to be satisfied with playing an advisory role, which won’t sit well with a natural leader like you. Never fear, dear Dragon; you’ll have bigger fish to fry in 2010.

For the time being, you should think about focusing on gaining experience and being helpful to your boss. If you want to switch jobs, consider setting your sights on March and April, when prospects will be most favorable. This is especially true if you work with the public. Human relations, hospitality and sales are the fields that will likely reap the most fruit. You might want to resist the urge to spend lots of money on a romantic partner and saving your income for a rainy day. It’s likely best to keep gambling totally out of the picture in 2009.

Love for the Dragon
A casual fling could turn into the real deal between May and August. Prepare to be swept off your feet. Passion will flare between you and your lover, especially when your mate decides to challenge your assumptions.

In the past, your partner may have been content for you to take the lead in your relationship — that will change now that the Year of the Earth Ox has arrived. Take the passenger seat from time to time … you may actually learn to enjoy the view! Beware of listening to idle gossip, or jealousy could consume you. Learn to give your partner the benefit of the doubt. If you’re single, you could meet someone special at work. Mixing business with pleasure may prove blissful.

Snake
The Year of the Earth Ox could be one of your best ever, dear Snake. Your special brand of charm will prove very popular this year, and you should have no trouble winning over potential employers, clients and lovers. You’ll even be able to negotiate workable compromises with your enemies. If you don’t take financial risks, you could turn a profit in 2009. Although you’ll be very busy with work, you’ll have a welcome opportunity to kick back and relax in late summer. Take this golden opportunity to shed your skin. You’ll emerge refreshed, energized and ready for new projects.

Don’t be surprised if you discover a hidden talent this fall — this gift will put you in contact with a variety of new people this autumn. Old, outmoded friends will fall by the wayside. You simply can’t make time for people who no longer meet your emotional needs, and fortunately you’ll be able to part ways peacefully. During an Ox year, everybody feels overextended. Treat 2009 as an opportunity to bring your life up to date. As far as your health is concerned, beware of overindulging in rich food and intoxicating drinks. Aerobic exercise like running and swimming will strengthen your heart and improve your circulation.

Money for the Snake
Slow and steady wins the race as far as finances are concerned this year. Your money problems can ease as 2009 progresses, it’s just a matter of being patient. Fortunately, you Snakes are willing to bide your time for the sake of success. If you’re thinking of changing jobs, consider waiting until October or November when a friend could tip you off to a very lucrative career opportunity. You could do especially well in the area of art and design, and you’re one of the few signs that could do well in the stock market.

The Year of the Earth Ox favors investments in nuclear energy, high tech securities and education. You could launch a successful business with a well-connected friend, but if you do, you may make some secret enemies. Be very careful of whom you trust with your bank account and personal information … jealousy can cause people to do some pretty underhanded things.

Love for the Snake
As far as romance is concerned, 2009 may be one of your best years yet. If you haven’t had a serious relationship for a while, that will change between April and June. Keep your ears open for a sensual love interest with a great voice — this person will engage you in the stimulating debates you love so well. Getting married in an Earth Ox year bodes well for sinewy Snakes; go ahead and take the plunge!

In the event you’re already married, devote extra care and attention to your spouse. Go on regular dates together, and be sure to plan one special vacation with your beloved. Leave the kids at home — the Year of the Earth Ox demands plenty of “adults only” time.

Horse
Onward and upward will be the trend during the Year of the Earth Ox. Although your love life may not be stellar, you will make considerable progress toward personal and professional goals. Finding your dream job is a real possibility in 2009, as is getting a diploma, conquering a bad habit or taking up a musical instrument. The secret to your success is that upbeat, can-do attitude that characterizes all Horses. If you’ve ever wanted to make money from your favorite hobby, the possibilities are high this year.

Partnerships aren’t really favored in an Ox year — it’s better to paddle your own canoe. If you’re in a relationship, learn how to become more self-sufficient. Learning how to cook, fix appliances, do yard work or clean the house will take the pressure off an intimate relationship. When it comes to your health, you need to guard against cuts and scrapes, so be careful with sharp knives and pointy instruments. Keep a supply of bandages and disinfectant on hand, just to be on the safe side. Make a point of being kind to children, assistants and service people. Being a generous leader will set a positive tone in your home and workplace, and cause your reputation to soar. You bring out the best in others by having faith in their abilities.

Money for the Horse
Although the Year of the Earth Ox may not bode well financially for most signs, you might prove the exception to the rule. Like the Ox, the Horse is a work animal. You’re not afraid of toiling hard to reach the top. You could achieve brilliant success in politics, public relations or advertising — any job that puts you in the spotlight is favored.

If you’ve ever wanted to be an entertainer, this could be the year to go on auditions. People should immediately respond to your star power. You’ll have to work hard to get to the top, but there’s lots of fun to be had along the way. That’s because you’ll love what you’re doing. If you plan on changing jobs, think about sending out a flurry of resumes between January and March; you could get several tempting offers. Trust your instincts when it comes to investments and other moneymaking opportunities. Your instincts might be right on target this year.

Love for the Horse
Buckle your seatbelt — the Year of the Earth Ox will prove bumpy as far as romance is concerned. Restlessness could threaten a stable relationship. When it comes to love, you Horses have a tendency to bolt for greener pastures, but beware of throwing a good thing away for the sake of a casual fling. If temptation rears its ugly head, find a way to channel your attention back onto your partner. There will be plenty of time for adventure in 2010, but for now you need to be a dependable helpmate.

In the event you are thinking of getting married, wait until next year when dramatic changes will be more strongly favored. Single? You could have a couple of fun flings this year — one in April and another in December — though lasting love may not arrive until next year.

Goat
Friendship is the name of the game in the Year of the Earth Ox. Whatever problems you face — professional, financial, personal or romantic — you’ll get by with a little help from your pals. Making more time for your nearest and dearest is critical. Short trips are favored throughout August and October — this would be a great time to visit loved ones who live nearby. If you don’t spend time with your favorite people, stress can take a toll on your health.

You Goats are sensitive creatures that are easily thrown off balance. Granted, you’ll have plenty of extra responsibilities heaped on your shoulders throughout 2009, but the point is, you don’t have to handle them all by yourself. Be willing to ask friends and neighbors to run errands, baby sit or fix meals when you are pressed for time. They’ll be more than happy to help. If you need to sell your home, launch a legal case or conquer a medical problem, consider hiring a professional. Although their fees may be steep, you can benefit from their expert services. 2009 is definitely not the year when you should tackle jobs all by yourself … it will take a village!

Money for the Goat
It’s time to pay the piper, dear Goat. The Year of the Earth Ox might force you to come to terms with your creditors. When you can no longer push these bills to the bottom of the pile, consider starting with the debt that is incurring the largest interest rate and working your way down. You’ll probably have to cut down on luxuries this year, and it may even be necessary to downsize your living space. This can be difficult for a luxury-loving animal like you. If you meet your obligations, though, you’ll likely reap significant rewards next year.

In the event you have your own business, you might not want to try to expand it in 2009. Maintaining the status quo could be a far better bet. Business opportunities related to tourism, foreign trade and shipping are all favored, but think twice before delving into the stock market!

Love for the Goat
You could feel a lot of pressure on the romance front in 2009. Somebody may try to push you into taking a casual affair a step further. Unfortunately, you’re not ready to take the plunge. It’s better to remain single than to commit yourself to a lackluster relationship, so break ties and focus on having fun. Going solo to parties will feel like a breath of fresh air. Fortunately, an attractive creature like you never lacks for invitations. You’ll have an especially good time between July and September, when you’ll meet a whole variety of interesting people.

If you’re already in a serious relationship, be prepared to take on more responsibilities, or else home life could become stressful. The best gift you can give your mate is the gift of leisure. By showing care and consideration for them, they’ll be more tender and giving toward you.

Monkey
Playing by the rules is key to your success. The Year of the Earth Ox won’t favor any monkeying around when it comes to the law. That being said, your hard work and diligence will reap huge rewards. Just don’t bite off more than you can chew — it’s better to focus on one or two big projects than juggle six or seven little jobs. This runs contrary to your multi-tasking instincts, but try anyway.

If you’ve had a hard time acquiring a skill in past years, that could change in 2009. This is your big chance to learn a foreign language, master a musical instrument or figure out a complicated software program … it’s all a matter of perseverance. Fortunately, annoying distractions will be few and far between. Your health will be robust this year, especially if you drink plenty of water; keeping your kidneys flushed will stave off infections of all kinds. In the event you’ve been experiencing chronic health problems, you could finally find relief for them in 2009. Don’t be adverse to holistic therapies. The Year of the Ox is also ideal for fixing dental problems. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, do yourself a favor and check into rehab. You’ll emerge feeling years younger.

Money for the Monkey
You can turn a tidy profit during the Year of the Earth Ox, provided you stay focused. Instead of doing many jobs at once, consider focusing on one talent you’d really like to develop. Getting a full-time position is favored, even if you’ve done seasonal or freelance work in the past. Thign about resisting your natural urge to chase after new, exciting opportunities before you’ve fulfilled your obligations to an existing employer. Jobs involving courage — like politics, policing or entertaining — are especially favored; they’ll prevent you from getting bored.

You could also make a killing in the stock market. Stocks related to food, telecommunications and show business will be especially profitable. This could be a great time to begin a retirement fund or expand your portfolio. An exciting promotion or job award could fall into your lap in November. Getting an assistant will enable you to focus on big work assignments.

Love for the Monkey
Finding a loving playmate could be in the cards during the Year of the Earth Ox. You could meet your soul mate at a museum, concert, play or art gallery between March and July. The chemistry between you will be immediately evident. There’s never been a better year for you to get engaged.

If you are already married, this would be a great time to conceive or adopt a child; any young person who makes its way into your life this year will be a source of profound joy. Long-term relationships will thrive throughout 2009, too. Be prepared to delegate some responsibilities to your mate so you will have more time for creative pursuits. Even a capable creature like you could use an extra pair of hands, and entrusting your partner with important duties will engender a welcome spirit of cooperation.

Rooster
2009 is poised to shower you with gifts, dear Rooster. You’ll come into your own during the Year of the Earth Ox. People appreciate your wisdom, insight and wit this year. What bliss for an exhibitionist like you! There’s never been a better time to go abroad; consider planning a trip for October. Getting an advanced diploma or certificate is also favored. There is one downside to this year, however: you run the risk of burnout. Although it may pain you to do so, you need to get into the habit of turning off your cell phone after hours, otherwise you’ll never get any rest. Besides, you owe it to your friends and family to be entirely present for them.

As far as your health is concerned, you need to make more time for meditative activities like nature walks, meditation, reading and prayer. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time falling asleep. Make more time for hobbies, too. All work and no play make a cranky Rooster. Don’t worry about falling behind — if there’s one year you can do it all, it’s this one. Be sure to enter as many contests as possible during the Year of the Earth Ox. Luck is on your side, and could be awarded in the form of cash and prizes!

Money for the Rooster
You could enter a new level of career during the Year of the Earth Ox. At long last, you might have the chance to call the shots at your place of work. In the event you are self-employed, think about expanding your business in 2009. Opportunities like this are few and far between, and might be worth pursuing for an independent animal like you. Ventures related to writing, education and media are especially favored.

If you’re thinking of getting a new job, think about sending out resumes and going on interviews between July and September … you could find a plum position that pays well. If you have a choice between taking a flat salary and earning a commission, consider takeing the salary. It might be wise to make a vow to put a set portion of your income into savings each week.

Love for the Rooster
The Year of the Earth Ox invites you to slow down and smell the flowers, especially where romance is concerned. Take this opportunity to cut back your work schedule for the sake of parties, picnics and pleasure trips. If you’re single, you could meet someone special at a book club, political meeting or adult education class. You could also find love while taking a guided tour of an historic city in October. Be aware that an understated approach to love is favored in the Year of the Earth Ox, which is in direct odds with your usual forward manner. Remember, a little subtlety can go a long way in 2009!

In the event you are already in a committed relationship, this would be a lovely time to plan for the future together. Sit down with your partner and discuss your dreams. Together, you can accomplish great things, especially if you give each other unconditional support. Use 2009 as a springboard to start your own business, move abroad or forge an entirely new lifestyle.

Dog
Steer clear of controversy during the Year of the Earth Ox, otherwise you could find yourself in court. A justice-lover like you will do more good working with the system than against it. On the plus side, your financial situation will become much more secure. Your income will be steady, enabling you to pay off debts and put some money into savings. Instead of having to look for work, you’ll be able to spend more time with friends and family.

Resist the urge to isolate yourself when things go wrong. Dogs have a tendency to turn within when the going gets tough, but that won’t do in a sociable Ox year. Surrounding yourself with supportive people will help you withstand any pressure you experience in 2009. If you let the pressure build, you could experience terrible headaches. Practicing relaxation techniques like guided imagery, controlled breathing and meditation can alleviate this pain. Travel is favored this year, especially if you take a trip with someone you love, and visiting a spiritual mecca or holy city will be especially enjoyable. You are bound to make lots of friends in an Ox year. People are impressed by your loyalty and open-minded attitude. You may be especially drawn to rebels, since most people will cling to stodgy traditions this year. Rule-breakers and eccentrics will feel like a breath of fresh air in 2009.

Money for the Dog
This might not be a good year to enter into financial partnerships, dear Dog. An ultra-responsible creature like you may have difficulty finding an associate who is equally diligent. You’re better off going solo. Justice-oriented work can yield decent money, and you should do very well if your job is related to social work, the law or education. Granted, you may not have a stellar financial year, but you might be able to meet your bills and have a little left over for occasional luxuries.

In the Year of the Earth Ox, it behooves us all to linger over life’s small pleasures. You might not want to make any drastic career moves or invest in the stock market, though. If you want to put money toward your retirement, consider treasury bonds. An interesting job offer or two could arrive between October and December, but your current position might be worth sticking out. Bigger and better career opportunities will arrive in 2010.

Love for the Dog
It’s time to put power struggles to rest; the Year of the Earth Ox emphasizes cooperation. Be more vocal about your needs. As a Dog, you have a tendency to keep your thoughts hidden. Unfortunately, this trait could work against you in an ultra-practical Earth Ox year. By clearly stating your desires and concerns, you could achieve a new level of closeness with your partner.

If you’re single, be content with your status. Forming friendships is favored in May and November. One of your new alliances could blossom into romance next year, but until then, just focus on having fun. Whether you are single or committed, you may experience periods of loneliness throughout 2009. Instead of looking for someone else to fill this void, look within yourself for fulfillment. Develop an interest in art, spirituality or science. This is your big chance to forge a love affair with yourself.

Pig
All play and no work could lead to trouble in the Year of the Earth Ox. Therefore, you need to step up your responsibilities in 2009, dear Pig. That’s a bit of a drag for a fun-loving creature like you, but rest assured that your efforts will be rewarded. You could be sent on several glamorous business trips this year, and if you play your cards right, you could even take a loved one along on one of these journeys. Learning to mix business with pleasure will be your main mission.

With regard to your health, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure, but it looks as though this operation will go well. Don’t put it off. Be very attentive to all of your friends this year. If you throw a party, err on the side of inviting more people, not less, lest you offend somebody; you can’t afford to make enemies this year. Keep in mind that lots of people will envy your luck this year, and by sharing the wealth, you’ll maximize your good fortune. Don’t take your assistants for granted, either. Remember, your success is partially the result of their help, so be sure to express your appreciation and reward their efforts on a regular basis. Be praiseworthy of children, too. Constant criticism can break their spirits in 2009.

Money for the Pig
You could travel for business quite a bit during the Year of the Earth Ox. The more mobile you are, the more money you’ll probably make. Business ventures related to travel, transportation and trading will be especially profitable. If you’ve ever wanted to enter the publishing or journalism field, you could have a golden opportunity between August and September. Carry a hefty supply of business cards with you, as you could meet important clients wherever you go.

Although you’re not especially ambitious, you do enjoy work that is varied and stimulating, and that’s just what the Year of the Earth Ox should provide for you. Theft could be a problem in 2009, so lock up your valuables and protect your personal information. Forewarned is forearmed.

Love for the Pig
This will be a pretty upbeat year for romance. If you’re looking for love, you could find someone special between April and July. Although you’ll be very busy with work, you need to attend as many parties and social events as possible throughout this golden period. Fortunately, you Pigs love playing the field. You’re especially attracted to practical, hardworking executives. Marriage is a possibility, but if you’re not ready to take the plunge, focus on building a strong foundation for your relationship instead.

In the event you already have a committed partner, make sure to schedule a romantic vacation. Devoting exclusive time to one another will keep your love alive throughout 2009. You’ll have the most fun if you head to a beautiful, rustic villa. The countryside never fails to get your juices flowing.

(please refer to the next entry for more information on the Zodiac.)

Real life ones this time.


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the photos belong to their respective owners. will credit when i can.





Herta Ware circa as fortune teller in “Skin Of Our Teeth”





what’s with the crystal balls?

Theory of Divination
by Tim Maroney (1990)

“Divination” is the production of information by magical, occult, or supernatural means. Tarot cards, I Ching, astrology, and the other well-known oracles are forms of divination.

Many other forms of divination are known, such as the prophecying of the Pythoness at the ancient shrine of Apollo at Delphi; oneiromancy or dream interpretation; geomancy, divination by making dots in a tray of sand; bibliomancy, flipping randomly to a passage in a book (usually the Bible); chiromancy or palm-reading; necromancy, communing with dead souls; pyromancy or divination by flames; crytallomancy or crystal-gazing; ornithomancy, interpretation of the flights and cries of birds; and, of course, the Tibetan milk-bottle method of Special Agent Dale Cooper.

There are numerous theories of how divination works, or does not work. I will attempt to present a reasonably objective survey of the theories, not neglecting the most skeptical or farfetched.

The discussion is general and need not be taken as applying strictly to the Tarot. Some of the theories apply only to methods of divination which are manually controlled by the diviner, but other theories apply equally well to all methods.

Sub-Topics:

Unconscious Mind
Synchronicity
Order from Chaos
Spirits of Wisdom
Magical Alphabet
Reader & Querent
Telling the Future
Unconscious Mind

Where does the information of divination come from? One answer is that it comes from the unconscious portions of the human mind.

The unconscious mind is composed of all those parts of the mind which are active but which are not apparent to the conscious, speaking parts of the mind. The unconscious was a mainstay of the psychoanalytic theories popular early in the twentieth century, but it has survived the collapse of those pre-scientific theories. It now appears in some modern cognitive and neurological theories of the psyche. After all, it’s obvious that there is a great deal of information processing of which we are unaware.

The theory of divination by the unconscious mind is plainly applicable to some forms of divination, such as dream interpretation and the oracle at Delphi, but the theory is not as clear with respect to manual oracles, such as Tarot cards, the I Ching, and geomancy. How does the information travel from the unconscious mind to the hands, or to the interpretation?

One of the common answers bears on the theory of Order from Chaos. This answer holds that the patterns generated by a manual oracle are truly random. All the information is created by the mind struggling to make order out of the oracular chaos. In this version of “Order from Chaos”, the emerging pattern is assumed to come from the unconscious mind, and so to provide a “window” into the unconscious. A Tarot spread is a sort of Rorschach blot.

Another popular answer says that perhaps the unconscious mind determines the physical result of the oracle. The unconscious is supposed to be watching the diviner’s progress very carefully and controlling the motions of the diviner’s hands so that the oracle takes a particular shape. Whether this can actually happen has not been subjected to rigorous experiment.

Finally, the unconscious mind may use psychic powers of some kind to shape the oracle; for instance, telekinesis, or perhaps the manipulation of probabilities. No such psychic powers have ever been shown to exist, but it is an attractive theory to many people, and in practice it is probably the most popular version of the theory of the unconscious mind.

In the theories of psychic powers or unconscious determination, note the effects of practice. The unconscious mind is no more infallible than the conscious mind, so the more spreads it performs, the less chance it has of flubbing the shuffle.

The question remains of why we would want to contact the unconscious mind at all.

The most common view in occult or parapsychological circles is that the unconscious mind is the repository of immense wisdom, perhaps through contact with divine beings, the ultimate ground of being, the higher self, or psychic powers.

A more mundane psychological justification is that the conscious and unconscious minds can be considered excessively separated, or even at odds. In some psychological theories of transformation the goal is to bring the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind closer to each other, so that the whole mind may function more harmoniously. An oracular practice might be effective in teaching the two minds to work together and to respect each others’ interests.

The most mundane answer says that two heads are better than one. The unconsciousness is no better or worse than the consciousness, and there is no special merit from bringing the two closer as a process of self-transformation. But just as it is valuable to discuss problems with someone else (depending, of course, on the other person — this principle should not encourage you to pester Manuel Noriega or Tammy Faye Bakker with your problems), so it is valuable to see what the unconscious mind thinks about issues. It may be right or wrong, but a more rounded perspective will likely result from hearing its side.

In either of the more mundane answers — perhaps even in the occult one — it is important to note that one is not opening a doorway into Absolute Truth. One is merely learning how the unconscious mind feels about the issue. So, a reading of success or failure would not necessarily show that an endeavor really was so fated. It would show only that the unconscious mind was of an optimistic or pessimistic opinion.

Synchronicity

Synchronicity is a parapsychological concept usually attributed to the psychotherapist Carl Jung. Jung called it “an acausal connecting principle”; that is, apparently separate events are meaningfully connected by synchronicity, outside the normal laws of cause and effect. In Tarot, the seemingly unconnected events linked by synchronicity are the shuffling of the deck of cards on one hand, and the meaning which is incorporated in the fall of those cards on the other.

However, the root idea is far older than Jung. Synchronicity is the mystical idea that there are no accidents, or that every event is an interaction between God and the soul. No matter how arbitrary it may seem to be, each event actually contains spiritual meaning, and wisdom largely consists in unwinding this hidden meaning behind the surface of events.

Synchronicity is a common explanation of random oracles such as the Tarot, I Ching, tea leaves, and ornithomancy, or reading the flights of birds. The appearance of randomness is only an illusion caused by our blindness to ultimate spiritual reality. The “random” fall of Tarot cards actually contains acausally transmitted information, which the diviner unwinds and interprets.

Granting this idea, why is the synchronistic information worth finding? The answer lies in the occult theory of the universe, which ascribes divinity (personal or impersonal) to the invisible acausal world. As the Tarot spread and other quasi-random synchronistic phenomena partake strongly of the nature of this hidden world, they are imbued with its characteristics of wisdom and illumination. In this way they become links to higher intelligence.

Synchronicity has been much in vogue in occultism for several decades. It is easy for anyone to verify that once they accept the principle of acausal connection, the number of apparent synchronicities increases to a remarkable degree.

Believers hold that this increase is a result of the soul becoming more attuned to God, or to its own true nature, or to the ultimate ground of reality, or to platypus people from Pluto (according to one UFO cult in New Jersey).

Skeptics hold that the increase in synchronicities is only a result of the desire to see them, and of practice in ascribing synchronistic meaning to disconnected events.

Synchronicity is practically impossible to put to any kind of formal test , so the impasse between believers and skeptics is likely to persist for quite a while. Neither side can muster a genuinely compelling argument. The believers’ “tests” are far too informal for skeptics. Skeptics can’t prove that the information isn’t there, though — they can only point out that its presence has not been proven. Neither side has the tools to convince the other.

Depending on the details of one’s interpretation of synchronicity, it may or may not be appropriate to use automatic random oracles under a synchronistic interpretation. These are computer programs which shuffle the computerized cards or roll the digital dice themselves, with no opportunity for human intervention or for actual randomness.

Shuffling a physical deck of cards is a good approximation to a truly random process, because shuffling involves millions of variables few of whose values are known. Computers don’t generate truly random numbers; they start with a “seed” number and perform complicated arithmetic transformations which turn it into another number, which becomes the seed for the next pass. The pseudo-random numbers generated by deterministic computer programs are not a good approximation to true randomness.

If your idea of synchronicity implies non-determinism through a chaotic process like shuffling, then automatic oracles are not for you. If your idea is a more all-embracing mystical notion, then complete automation should make no difference.

However, automatic oracles tend to be excessively distancing; the diviner does not feel involved in the process. For that reason, Tarot software should require manual influences on the fall of cards, much like physical shuffling. The user could, for instance, decide where to cut the deck, and the two stacks can then be riffled together. This brings the user into the process, and it should be compatible with any positive theory of divination.

Order From Chaos

The most skeptical assessment of divination holds that there really is no intrinsic meaning in an oracle. The cards just happen to fall a certain way, and no spirits, influences of the unconscious mind, or synchronistic factors put any information into their fall. The diviner is seeing ducks and horses in the clouds.

The straightforward application of this theory removes all motivation to perform divinations. Since there is no information in an oracle, divination is at best a waste of time.

However, skepticism and Tarot reading are not incompatible, though both skeptics and believers often assume otherwise. Modified skeptical positions hold that the process of attributing meaning to chaos can have positive effects, even though the meaning is merely an illusion in the mind.

Storytelling, for example, involves quasi-random factors in decisions on variables such as character attributes, settings, and plot structure. This would only be a problem if we failed to make a coherent story out of these decisions, or confused the story for reality.

A fiction writer might use the Tarot or other oracles for story guidance, while still convinced of the idea that the fall of cards is truly random. Similarly for other artists, but this approach is not confined to the arts. One might try to divine problems in one’s real life under this theory, in hopes that adding information to the spread would lead to insights that would not have arisen through the unassisted thinking process.

Such a skeptical diviner would have total freedom to reject the reading, but believers in unconscious, synchronistic, or spiritualist theories of divination would not. If you believe that the spread really is meaningless, you are not bound to accept what it seems to say.

Another skeptical interpretation is that unconscious factors steer the process of interpretation — not the fall of the cards, but the interpretation of their fall, a psychological process. Just as we do not decide consciously what to see in the clouds or in a Rorschach blot, we do not decide consciously what to see in a Tarot spread, but the outcome reveals something of our unconscious minds. We see patterns that we are unconsciously predisposed to see, and we learn about ourselves by revealing our predispositions.

Spirits of Wisdom

The most occult theory of the workings of divination is that the oracle is manipulated by spirits. The spirits may work through one’s hands, or influence the oracle through more direct magical means such as telekinesis.

This leaves many questions open. What is the nature of the spirits? Are the spirits personal or universal? Why is it valuable to learn what they think about an issue? How do spirits manipulate the oracle? Why do they consent to being used in this fashion? Is there one general spirit per oracle, or a single ruler of all forms of divination, or do different spirits share responsibility over the same oracle, or is there one divinatory spirit per person?

All of these questions have any number of answers, so this entry can only give a shallow survey. Apologies are tendered to any theory which is underrepresented here.

One may take the approach favored by the more intolerant of the monotheistic factions. All spirits of magic are demons, that is, fallen angels. Different demons are delegated to divinations at the convenience of the infernal hierarchy. The oracle is manipulated through the powers which all angels, fallen or not, possess by virtue of their special creation by God. Demons are real spiritual personages having an objective existence in the spiritual world. They consent to being used by the diviner because the practice of divination leads to eternal damnation for the practitioner — as do all magical practices not formally approved by the Bible and one’s church. Demons earnestly desire that the living share the demons’ misery in Hell, and divination is one way of bringing about this foul end.

A person accepting this model of divination would avoid all practices of divination beyond prayer to God and perhaps bibliomancy, the random selection of a verse from the Bible. The idea that angels might manipulate Tarot cards is, of course, damnable heresy.

An equally anti-divinatory theory is the purely skeptical. Discorporate spirits are a traditional fantasy, and assuming their existence is nothing more than self-delusion.

There is a more moderate skeptical view, known to many students of Western Magick, which is really a form of the Unconscious Mind theory. Spiritual beings are viewed as a metaphor for processes of the unconscious mind, which to some extent mimic the structure of the conscious mind and can be seen as “splinter intelligences”. Spirits do exist in a sense, but they are strictly personal and even (after a fashion) mundane, being merely another class of psychological phenomenon. They cooperate in divination either because the conscious mind can compel them to do so, or because they understand that their own interests coincide with the overall interests of the psyche. That is, they are either controllable or benign.

A more occult form of the spirit theory holds that spirits are real entities of the spiritual world, but either benign or controllable in temperament, as above. They may influence the oracle either through control of the magician’s hands, or through magical powers of some sort.

Most occult systems would hold that a single god (albeit with many names and forms) rules all divination, while each individual form of divination (Tarot, geomancy, I Ching, etc.) has its own ruling spirit or a class of related spirits, who are invoked or evoked for each divination. Thoth is a good choice for an overall spiritual patron of all forms of divination, while the spirits specific to each kind of divination usually go without individual names beyond “spirits of geomancy”, etc., and the names of the particular signs of the oracle. Sometimes the classes of spirits are given names or attributes beyond the names and attributes of the system of divination; gnomes are said to rule geomancy, while Mercurial spirits are said to rule the Tarot.

In an alternate occult formula, a specific spirit may be invoked or evoked for a particular act of divination, its identity being harmonious with the nature of the question or problem. A Martial spirit might be evoked to answer a question pertaining to conflict. However, the nature of the spirit must be suited not only to the question but to the oracle. It would do little good to evoke a Mercurial spirit to answer with geomancy, an essentially earthy oracle; nor to evoke an elemental to answer a question through the lofty and abstract I Ching.

Whatever the form of the spirit theory, one should note that it is not without danger. In fact, divination itself is somewhat dangerous, regardless of the theory. For this reason, it is probably wise to perform some simple protective spell (such as the Pentagram Ritual) before any act of divination, to keep out malign spirits and influences and encourage benign ones; or even just to give a feeling of greater security. This is also a useful technique in combination with the theory of the unconscious mind, so as to banish self-destructive influences.

A short prayer to the god of divination (e.g., Tahuti) would be effective, or a casting of the wards as in traditional occult practice. One need not be unskeptical to recognize the psychological benefits of working in a symbolically cleansed environment.

Here is an adaptation of a traditional Golden Dawn preparatory prayer or spell, suited to the use of the electronic diviner. Touch the side of the computer with the left hand, and hold the wand upright in the right, or hold the right hand in the classic gesture of consecration (first and second fingers upright, ring finger and pinky curled lightly toward the palm), and say:

I invoke thee, I A O, that thou wilt send Heru, the great Angel that is set over the operations of this Secret Wisdom, to lay his hand invisibly upon these crystal and copper thought-forms of art, that thereby we may obtain true knowledge of hidden things, to the glory of thine ineffable Name. Amen.

Magical Alphabet

Divination delivers information from some source to the conscious mind. To accomplish this, any oracle must communicate in some more or less intelligible language.

Looked at another way, any systematic oracle is a language in itself. By various combinations of the symbols of this language, all manner of things may be communicated.

This sort of language, such as the language of the Tarot or the Kabala, is sometimes referred to as a magical alphabet.

That a magical alphabet is invariably vague is its chief objection among skeptics. The argument is that since the symbols of various oracles are so diffuse, there is no real evidence that they communicate anything — all the meaning is built up in the mind from the random outcome of the oracle, and various tactics of “cold reading” are used to add a layer of apparent meaning. This theory is addressed under Order from Chaos.

The symbols of a magical alphabet are worthy subjects for meditation. Aleister Crowley held that reading Tarot cards in oracles is a lower method than simple meditation on their meaning. R. G. H. Siu said the same of the I Ching, even declining to give the instructions for divination, which had to be added in a publisher’s preface. However, divination may, as Crowley also suggested, be the best way to learn the alphabet.

Reader & Querent

In traditional Tarot divination, there is a reader and a querent. The reader acts as a consultant on the Tarot, using it to illuminate an issue for the querent. The reader typically charges a small fee for this service. Some sources insist that a reader is necessary; otherwise, the prejudices of the querent will dominate the reading. Cynics might point out that this insistence is of financial value to people who derive income from reading Tarot cards.

The way to structure a two-person reading depends on the theory. In all cases, the querent asks the question and the reader interprets the fall of the cards. The fall of the cards is determined by shuffling, which may be a joint process, or it may be done entirely by the reader or by the querent.

If the theory of unconscious determination is used, then the reader should shuffle the cards, though the querent may cut them to feel more involved with the process. The reader should watch the cut carefully so the necessary information may be transmitted to the unconscious mind. The reader is skilled in determining the fall of the cards; the querent is not.

If the synchronicity theory is used, then the querent or the reader may shuffle the cards. It makes no difference, since the synchronistic meaning comes through purely random factors.

If the theory of spirits is used, then again the reader should shuffle, since ordinary people do not particularly want to channel spirits to get a Tarot reading. If they wanted to get their hands that wet, they would probably do the divination themselves. Again, having the querent cut the deck is a meaningless symbol of involvement, but the spirits arrange the deck after the querent cuts it.

If the theory of order from chaos is used, it makes no difference who or what shuffles, just as with synchronicity.

Telling the Future

The popular view of Tarot cards is that they “tell the future”. That is the meaning of the popular synonym for divination, “fortune-telling”. Any sort of question may be asked of the Tarot cards, which does not exclude telling the future. But that is not the only end to which the cards may be put.

When telling the future, the questions of predestination and psychic powers inevitably arise. If we can accurately read the future, then the future must already exist in some sense, and we must have some way of viewing it.

On the question of predestination, science and philosophy are inconclusive. Modern physics is clear that the world is not deterministic; there are many experiments with physics on a small scale that show nature to be probabilistic. Many things happen on the sub-atomic scale without any real reason, simply because it was more or less likely that they would happen and they wound up happening or not. This would seem to fly in the face of predestination; the future state of the universe depends on truly random and unpredictable events.

But these events may be truly random yet, in a sense, already have happened. Time may be viewed as a fourth dimension like our usual three spatial dimensions. If so, then one may take a static view of the universe’s history, in which the whole of time is a static construct when viewed from without, that is, from a five-dimensional perspective. The exact nature of the “arrow of time” has yet to be clearly determined, and it is impossible to say now whether a higher-dimensional traveller would see the past as still with us and the future as already laid out.

The question of psychic powers is even more difficult. No such powers have ever been shown to exist in any replicable experiment; at best, such experiments barely squeak in under the margin of significance, and then only after averaging thousands of trials which are not individually significant.

Yet many people believe in them regardless, and these people erect theories to explain them. One of the more popular theoretical ideas of psychic powers is that the psyche somehow exists in a higher dimension. From a higher-dimensional viewpoint it might be possible to look out over the four-dimensional history of the world and see what is to come.

This is written in 1990 in San Francisco, and it seems rather telling to this writer that of the great events which have taken place recently — the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the independence of Eastern Europe, the San Francisco earthquake — none were foretold by psychics. One would think such momentous happenings would fairly blaze forth before a psychic eye, yet they didn’t.

It is probably best to use a weaker form of the precognition idea, which does not involve a predestined future or psychic powers. Instead, the unconscious mind is viewed as having the power to perceive more or less where some events are heading, and to present its views on the subject — which may be right or wrong — through a Tarot reading. Of course, the conscious mind can also make some predictions based on its knowledge. The idea is that the unconscious mind is attentive to different factors and will make predictions the conscious mind could not.

Another “weak” form of precognition involves synchronicity. Events and Tarot readings are “riding the same waves”, so one can cast light on the other.

Finally, it is best to take all answers about the future with a grain of salt. It is also wise to phrase questions in such a way that they ask for perspectives on what is happening and what has happened, and for guidance, rather than for outright predictions of the future.

all original work on this web site is copyright © 1980-2002 by tim maroney
http://tim.maroney.org/Essays/Theory_of_Divination.html

How To Make A Cootie Catcher/fortune Teller The best video clips are right here

From Wikipedia

A fortune teller or a cootie catcher (sometimes called a scrunchie and a chatterbox in Australia), is an origami device used in fortune-telling games by children. A player asks a question, and the holder of the device answers using a regular algorithm like the examples below. Usually the questions, answers, colors and/or numbers (depending upon the playing method) are added to the device by or to suit the user.

There are several different methods by which the device can be used, most of which use the following pattern of steps:
The player first asks a question to the person holding the fortune teller. This question will be answered by the device. The holder then asks for a number and/or color. Once the number and/or color has been chosen, the holder uses his/her fingers to switch between the two groups of colors/numbers that occupy the inside area of the device. The holder switches these positions a specific number of times, which can be given by the amount of letters in the color selected, the number originally chosen, or the sum of both. Once the holder has finished switching the positions of the fortune teller, the player chooses one of the flaps that has been revealed. These flaps often have colors and/or numbers on them, and the chosen flap often is the same as the color/number originally chosen. The holder then lifts the flap and reads the fortune that is underneath. Any one of these steps may be repeated to suit the user.

These devices can be “rigged” by the placement of only even numbers on one “position” and only odd numbers on the other, resulting in forced placement to an even position. In this rigged version, bad fortunes are placed under all the even flaps and good fortunes under all the odd ones, so that when an unwitting player complains that they always get bad fortunes, the fortune teller can expose all the fortunes and claim that the high repeat rate is the fault of the player and not the device.

More information can be found here if you want to DIY.

Hm… Apparently, there’s a variety of apples called the fortune apple.

The Fortune apple is sprightly with a slightly spicy flavor. It is a cross between a Red Spy and Empire apple. Crsip with a spicy flavor.


Credit: DeborahB


Credit: jek in the box


Credit: horses and tigers

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Apple Divination

We have all heard and used the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This expression is based on a very old superstition and is one of many associated with apples. I am quite sure that you have all held an apple in one hand and twisted the stem while reciting the alphabet to ascertain the initial of that “special someone” – the apple of our eye. I am equally as certain we have all gotten happy feet and sang along with the Andrew’s Sisters “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me”. In “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, we are moved and touched by the gracious and dignified austerity of Hester Prynne’s declaration “A is for Apple.” There is a very long tradition of prediction and divination with apples. A great many of them, of course, are associated with love and relationships.

Apples were once considered to be the food of the gods – if you cut an apple in half crosswise the centre is revealed as a five pointed star. Merlin carried the orchard of Avalon, the magical “Apple-Land” or “Isle of Apples” which received the dying King Arthur, with him on all his travels. The ignorant were not to eat of this fruit because the apple contained a Pythagorean Pentagram – cut widthways secrets were revealed in the shape of its pips. 

An apple of gold was thrown into a wedding banquet for Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles) which was attended by many of of the gods and goddesses. The apple was thrown by Eris, the Goddess of Discord and a daughter of Night. She had been snubbed and not invited because she was such a troublemaker. The apple had “Kallisti” or “For the Fairest” written on it. Three goddesses, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, claimed it and Paris of Troy had to decide who was the winner. All three goddesses offered him a bribe: Hera offered him political power and Athena promised him great skill in battle. Aphrodite offered him Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Aphrodite was chosen the most beautiful Goddess by Paris. The Apple of Discord and Paris’s choice caused a quarrel among the goddesses and set the course for the Trojan War.

One of the Twelve Labours of Hercules was to obtain The Golden Apples of the Hesperides. The tree where the sacred golden apples of Hera grew was guarded by the serpent Ladon in the garden of the Hesperides in the far west. The Hesperides were three nymphs who were the daughters of Night and Erebus. This garden was close to where the Titan Atlas supported the world on his shoulders. Hercules was able to persuade Atlas to acquire the apples for him, while he supported the world for Atlas. Apples were also sacred to the goddess Venus and symbolized her, she “was worshipped on one half of the apple as the evening star, Hesper,…and as Lucifer, son of morning, on the other.” Apples have their dark side as well, the apples of Sodam were beautiful to look at but ashes inside, and the apples of Istkahor were sweet on one side and bitter on the other. In Snow White, the wicked queen poisons Snow White with an apple.

There is a similar story to The Labours of Hercules in Celtic mythology called The Punishment of the Children of Tuireann. The sons of Tuireann, their mother was Brighid, were assigned seven tasks by Lugh, the Sun-God, to avenge the slaying of his father Cian. The first task was to obtain three apples from the Garden of Hisberna, in the east of the world. The skin of these apples was the colour of honey, the taste could cure a warrior of all his wounds and they could be used as hurling weapons. Nothing could destroy them and they would always return to the thrower when commanded. The King of Hisberna had powerful guards on his garden as it had been prophesied that three young warriors from the west would arrive to steal them. The brothers shapeshifted into the form of hawks, each piercing one apple with his beak. The King had three daughters who shapeshifted into griffins and pursued them. One of the brothers using druidic sorcery turned himself and his brothers into fish and they plummeted into the ocean away from the griffins.

The apple and apple tree are symbolic of the guarantee of immortality in Irish tradition and the apple tree is universally esteemed as a holy tree. The apple tree is another sacred tree to the Druids. In their tradition it is said that you may cut an apple into three pieces, then rub the cut side on warts, saying: “Out warts, into apple.” The pieces are buried and as they decay, the warts disappear. Apple cider is used by modern Wiccan/Pagan practioners as a substitiute in old spells which called for blood or wine. Apples are indicative of choices and are often used for love and healing magic.

Mandrake, a small perennial of the potato family, is called the devil’s apple because of the poisonous golf ball sized fruit they produce at the root. This is a strange plant native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean which has been a source of mystery and superstition for centuries. The fleshy root is said to shriek when pulled from the ground. It was used in ancient Greece to alleviate pain and as an aphrodisiac. American mandrake or May apple is an unrelated plant common to woodlands and meadows.

Mother Goddesses are powerful female figures revered by many cultures. They are often depicted dispensing apples, bread or coins symbolizing wealth and the bounty of nature. In Irish and Welsh stories, apple trees in The Otherworld were magical and always laden with fruit that had magical properties. The story of Mael Duin is the earliest known Celtic travel myth. On his voyage into The Otherworld, three magic apples fed his crew for 120 days. In the story of Conla, a woman from The Otherworld gives him an apple which he eats from for one month. Cullwch, who is the first great hero of Welsh mythology, had golden apples embroidered on the corners of his purple cloak. The apple branch represented the seeking of your heart’s desire. King Cormac was given a branch with nine apples of red gold on it which made a beautiful sound when shaken. When the branch was shaken, no one had a want, a trouble or felt tiredness.

In Norse mythology Idun is the goddess who tends to the apples of eternal youth. Her apples prevent the gods from aging rapidly. The apple has connections with Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit trees. Hallowe’en is derived from the festival for Pomona.

The expression “apple of the eye” has a biblical origin and means the pupil of the eye and something or someone that is very precious and in need of protection, Deuteronomy 32:10, Proverbs 7:2, Lamentations 2:18, Zechariah 2:8.

 

Keep me as the apple of the eye,
hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
Psalm 17:8
Traditional Christianity generally regards the apple as the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge which Satan tempted Eve with in the Garden of Eden. The Adam’s Apple, the projection in the neck formed by the thyroid cartilage, is supposed to have been caused by a piece of the apple caught in Adam’s throat. Since that time, superstition has dictated that to eat an apple without polishing it first is a challenge to Satan. Carl Jung interpreted the same apple as a symbol of life.

To dream of ripe, sweet, red and green apples is a promise of well deserved reward and shows the achievement of harmonious balance in your life. If the apples were green and bitter, it indicates that you could face a loss through your own foolishness and fickle friendships. Red, ripe apples denote true, dependable friendships.

If you dream of an apple which is rotten on the inside, it can indicate a relationship with serious problems even if the surface appears perfect. Eating apples with a friend or other people is a happy omen. Eating alone in a dream generally indicates a need to protect yourself from loss of status and friendships. Apple pie or baked apples in a dream can augur high expectations leading to disappointments. To dream of apple trees in blossom or an orchard can predict unexpected joys and prolonged advancement. A Crabapple tree is an indication of a new experience approaching.

In keeping with the traditions of the Romany, a young lady wishing to dream of her future husband was to obtain an apple from a widow on the Eve of St. Andrew. No thanks were to be given. The young lady consumed half of the apple before midnight and the other half after, which would ensure a dream of her intended.

Another method used to discover the face of your future spouse was to take an apple and a candle into a dark room just before midnight. While standing in front of a mirror cut the apple into small pieces. Throw one piece over your right shoulder and eat the rest while brushing your hair. Don’t look behind you. As midnight strikes, the face of your future spouse will appear in the mirror. There are several variations on this divination method. If you sit in front of a mirror in candlelight and eat the apple while thinking about the boy or girl you like, he/she will return the sentiment.

We have all played the childrens Hallowe’en game of bobbing for apples. Games, such as apple-bobbing, called apple-dookin’ in Scotland, represent the journeys taken across water to obtain the magic apple by Celtic heroes. Traditionally speaking, the girls were to polish, mark and then float an apple in the tub of water. The boy that retrieved her apple with his bite would be her spouse. If you bob for apples it is necessary to concentrate on one so you may enjoy its sweetness in full. There is another apple game for boys called Snap Apple. Apples are hung from the ceiling on strings, the boys leap and try to sink their teeth into them. The first boy to bite into an apple would be the first to marry. Another tradition advises that if you share an apple with the one you love they will love you in return.

Peeling apples for a prediction has been popular for ages. This method was used if someone had a very important question. The apple was peeled very carefully so that the questioner ended up with a long unbroken peel. The question was asked and the peel was thrown over the shoulder. The answer was “No” if it fell in the shape of an “U” or an “O” and it was “Yes” if it was anything else.

Another very popular form of a peeling prediction was one that allowed a girl to find out who her future husband would be. The apple was peeled, again in one long continuous piece, and thrown over her left shoulder. If the peel remained unbroken, it would fall in the shape of the initial of her future spouse. If the peel broke, she would remain unmarried.

Some peeling predictions require the use of a silver knife to peel the apple and others indicate that the divination be performed at midnight on Hallowe’en. If a girl cuts an apple into nine pieces at midnight on Halloween in front of a mirror, then sticks each piece with the knife and holds each piece (one at a time) over her left shoulder, as the ninth piece hits the reflection in the mirror, she will see her future husband. If a girl peels an apple at midnight on Halloween and hangs the peel on a nail by the front door, the initials of the first man to enter will be the same as those of her unknown lover. Apple peeling was also used see how long your life would be. The longer the unbroken apple peel, the longer your life.

 

An Apple Spell for What the Heart Desires

Whatsoever your heart desires
Write it down in words of fire
Cut the Sacred Apple through
Place your wish between the two

Seal with twigs from the Lady’s Tree
Place in a kiln until dried it be
Sleep upon it night or day
Until good fortune comes your way

If you are having difficulty making up your mind between two people, places or situations just take two apple seeds and assign one to each of your choices. Stand in front of a mirror and stick the seeds on your forehead. The one that falls off last is the right choice.

For people desiring to know the initial of the person who will be their next relationship, take an apple seed and stick the seed to your forehead. Recite the alphabet. The letter you are saying when the seed falls is the initial you seek.

Counting the seeds was also a form of divination. To find out what the future held, people would cut an apple in half and count the seeds in the core. If the seeds were even in number, good luck was coming. An odd number indicated a disappointment and cutting one of the seeds in half indicated that the future could hold hard lessons and uncertainty.

In Austria if a girl cut an apple in half on St. Thomas’ Night it was believed she would learn her future. An even number of seeds indicated that she would marry soon but if one or more of the seeds was cut she would have troubles in her future and be widowed.

Another stem twisting divination was used for a basic “Yes” of “No” answer. You would ask your question while holding the apple in your left hand and, with your right, begin twisting the stem. Every time you stwist the stem, say yes or no. The word that you say when the stem twists off is the answer to your question.

 

Many cultures have interesting beliefs and traditions about apples. An apple appearing in the grounds of your tea cup indicates an achievement. In Britain if an apple tree comes into bloom out of season while still bearing fruit it was an augury of a death in the family. In the rest of Europe this same event is viewed as an omen of extremely good fortune. It is also good fortune to find any type of fruit growing double. If you share it with a friend you will both receive a wish. A pregnant woman eating one could have twins.

In Somerset at Congresbury land auctions for single acre plots on two pieces of common land were once held. Each plot was marked and a matching mark was made on an apple. The apples were placed in a bag and were distributed to the commoners to allocate their plot. In Switzerland, William Tell refused to bow in homage to an Austrian nobleman’s hat and was forced to shoot an apple off his son’s head as punishment.

You were never to pick all the apples off the tree at harvest, some were to be left for the birds. If any apples were left on the tree in spring, there would be a death in the family within the year. It is also a good idea and considered lucky to leave a fallen apple or two on the ground in the orchard to keep any spirits who may be wandering through content. In Germany if the first apple on a new tree is picked and eaten by a mother with many children, the tree will be abundantly fertile as well. In Denmark, a fairytale uses an apple as a chastity test, the apple will fade if the owner is unfaithful.

I hope you have some fun with this and don’t worry, only people who have read this article will know how those two little dents in your forehead got there. Only God can count the apples in a seed.

 

‘Moonlit Apples'(1917) 

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder

John Drinkwater(1882 – 1937)

Thank you Wikipedia

Horoscope

In astrology, a horoscope is a chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, the astrological aspects, and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person’s birth. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words meaning “a look at the hours” (horoskopos, pl. horoskopoi, or “marker(s) of the hour.”) Other commonly used names for the horoscope in English include astrological chart, astro-chart, celestial map, sky-map, star-chart, cosmogram, vitasphere, radical chart, radix, chart wheel, or simply chart. It is used as a method of divination regarding events relating to the point in time it represents and forms the basis of the horoscopic traditions of astrology.


In common usage, horoscope often refers to an astrologer’s interpretation, usually through a system of Sun sign astrology or based upon calendar significance of an event, as in Chinese astrology. In particular, many newspapers and magazines carry predictive columns based on celestial influences in relation to the zodiacal placement of the Sun on the day of a person’s birth, identifying the individual’s Sun sign or “star sign.” This system is distinct from horoscopes as traditionally employed, as only the zodiacal placement of the Sun is considered in interpretation. While this modern usage is perhaps the most popular in the colloquial lexicon, this article will focus primarily on the traditional concept.

Introduction

The horoscope serves as a stylized map of the heavens over a specific location at a particular moment in time. In most applications the perspective is geocentric (heliocentric astrology being one exception). The positions of the actual planets (including Sun and Moon) are placed in the chart, along with those of purely calculated factors such as the lunar nodes, the house cusps including the midheaven and the ascendant, zodiac signs, fixed stars and the lots. Angular relationships between the planets themselves and other points, called aspects, are typically determined. Which elements are used or emphasized over others varies by tradition.

Etymology

The word Latin horoscopus, ultimately from Greek ὡρόσκοπος “nativity, horoscope”, literally “observer of the hour [of birth]”, from ὥρα “time, hour” and σκόπος “observer, watcher”. In Middle English texts from the 11th century, the word appears in the Latin form, and is anglicized to horoscope in Early Modern English. The noun horoscopy for “casting of horoscopes” has been in use since the 17th century (OED). In Greek, ὡρόσκοπος in the sense of “ascendant” and ὡροσκοπία “observation of the ascendant” is in use since Ptolemy (Tetrabiblos 33, 75).

Concepts in Western Astrology

The native is the time and place of the event (a birth, for example) being charted, and is considered to be at the centre of the celestial sphere.
The celestial sphere is a sphere of arbitrary radius upon which the items appearing on the regard to their distance from the native.
The plane of the equator is the plane of the earth’s equator projected into space.
The plane of the ecliptic is defined by the orbits of the earth and the sun. For practical purposes the plane of the equator and the plane of the ecliptic maintain a constant inclination to each other of approximately 23.5°.
The plane of the horizon is centred on the native, and is tangential to the earth at that point. In a sphere whose radius is infinitely large, this plane may be treated as nearly equivalent to the parallel plane with its centre at the earth’s center. This greatly simplifies the geometry of the horoscope, but does not take into account that the native is in motion. Some writers on astrology have thus considered the effects of parallax, but most would agree that (apart from that of the moon) they are relatively minor
Angles
There are four primary angles in the horoscope (though the cusps of the houses are often included as important angles by some astrologers). The ascendant is the eastern point where the ecliptic and horizon intersect; the ascendant is generally considered the most important and personalized angle (along with the midheaven) in the horoscope by the vast majority of astrologers and the placement of its ruler, called the chart ruler is considered to be greatly important. Its opposite point in the west is the descendant. In creating a horoscope the ascendant is traditionally placed as the left-hand side point of the chart. During the course of a day, because of the Earth’s rotation, the entire circle of the ecliptic will pass through the ascendant and will be advanced by about 1°. This provides us with the term rising sign, which is the sign of the zodiac that was rising in the point on the ecliptic that is furthest above the plane of the horizon (not to be confused with zenith, which is normal to the horizon and so directly above the horoscope location). Its opposite point is known as the imum coeli (not to be confused with nadir, which is the opposite point of the zenith on the reverse side of the horizon). For events occurring where the planes of the ecliptic and the horizon coincide, the limiting position for these points is located 90° from the ascendant.

The zodiac

The astrological symbols/glyphs used in Western astrology to represent the astrological signs (Zodiac)

The zodiac refers to the 16° wide band on the celestial sphere containing the signs. It is centered on the ecliptic,occurs at the exact moment that the Sun crosses the celestial equator and enters the zodiac sign of Aries. Astrologers in India and some Western astrologers use the more ancient sidereal zodiac, which corresponds to the ancient position of the constellations as they were viewed thousands of years ago. Many people are confused regarding the difference between the sidereal constellations and the tropical zodiac signs. Because of a “wobble” in the earth’s axis of rotation over a period of about 26,000 years (this 26,000 year period is often called a “great year”), the point at which the vernal equinox advances in the sky rate is approximately 0 deg, 0 min, 50.23 seconds a year. Precession of the equinoxes thus occurs at a rate of roughly 5 arc minutes of a degree every 6 years. Sidereal and so the signs relate to the seasons and not the stars. It is also important to note that some astrologers don’t use the signs of the zodiac at all, focusing more instead on the astrological aspects and other features of the horoscope.
The sun sign is the sign of the zodiac in which the sun is located for the native. This is the single astrological fact familiar to most people. If an event occurs at sunrise the ascendant and sun sign will be the same; other rising signs can then be estimated at approximately two hour intervals from there.
A cusp is the boundary between two signs or houses. For some the cusp includes a small portion of the two signs or houses under consideration.

Houses

The houses are a series of twelve divisions of the plane of the ecliptic. Astrologers have devised many systems of calculating these house divisions. In the case of the equal house system the ecliptic is divided into twelve equal houses of 30° each. The first house begins at the ascendant and the others are numbered counterclockwise from that point. The first six are therefore below the horizon, and the other six are above. The positions of these houses remains fixed relative to the native. The signs and planets all move through the twelve houses during the course of a day, and the planets move through the signs over the course of months or years.

Construction of a horoscope in Western Astrology

To create a horoscope, an astrologer first has to ascertain the exact time and place of the subject’s birth, or the initiation of an event. The local standard time (adjusting for any daylight saving time or war time) is then converted into Greenwich Mean Time or Universal Time at that same instant. The astrologer then has to convert this into the local sidereal time at birth in order to be able to calculate the ascendant and midheaven. The astrologer will next consult a set of tables called an ephemeris, which lists the location of the sun, moon and planets for a particular year, date and sidereal time, with respect to the northern hemisphere vernal equinox or the fixed stars (depending on which astrological system is being used). The astrologer then adds or subtracts the difference between the longitude of Greenwich and the longitude of the place in question to determine the true local mean time (LMT) at the place of birth to show where planets would be visible above the horizon at the precise time and place in question. Planets hidden from view beneath the earth are also shown in the horoscope.
The horoscope 12 sectors around the circle of the ecliptic, starting from the eastern horizon with the ascendant or rising sign. These 12 sectors are called the houses and numerous systems for calculating these divisions exist. Tables of houses have been published since the 19th Century to make this otherwise demanding task easier..

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Okie. Information overload.

The next one would be something much lighter and comprehensive.

Horoscopic Astrology

Horoscopic astrology is a system that was developed in the Mediterranean region and specifically Hellenistic Egypt around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE. The tradition deals with two-dimensional diagrams of the heavens, or horoscopes, created for specific moments in time. The diagram is then used to interpret the inherent meaning underlying the alignment of celestial bodies at that moment based on a specific set of rules and guidelines. A horoscope was calculated normally for the moment of an individual’s birth, or at the beginning of an enterprise or event, because the alignments of the heavens at that moment were thought to determine the nature of the subject in question. One of the defining characteristics of this form of astrology that makes it distinct from other traditions is the computation of the degree of the Eastern horizon rising against the backdrop of the ecliptic at the specific moment under examination, otherwise known as the ascendant. Horoscopic astrology has been the most influential and widespread form of astrology across the world, especially in Africa, India, Europe, and the Middle East, and there are several major traditions of horoscopic astrology whose origins are Hellenistic, including Indian, Medieval, and most other modern Western traditions of astrology.

History of astrology

15th century image from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry showing believed relations between areas of the body and the zodiacal signs.

Origins

The origins of much of the astrological doctrine and method that would later develop in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East are found among the ancient Babylonians and their system of celestial omens that began to be compiled around the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE. This system of celestial omens later spread either directly or indirectly through the Babylonians and Assyrians to other areas such as India, Middle East, and Greece where it merged with pre-existing indigenous forms of astrology. This Babylonian astrology came to Greece initially as early as the middle of the 4th century BCE, and then around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE after the Alexandrian conquests, this Babylonian astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of decanic astrology to create horoscopic astrology. This new form of astrology, which appears to have originated in Alexandrian Egypt, quickly spread across the ancient world into Europe, the Middle East and India.

Effects on world culture

Astrology has had a profound influence over the past few thousand years on Western and Eastern cultures. In the Middle Ages, when the educated of the time believed in astrology, the system of heavenly spheres and bodies was believed to reflect on the system of knowledge and the world itself below.
Astrology has had an influence on both language and literature. For example, influenza, from medieval Latin influentia meaning influence, was so named because doctors once believed epidemics to be caused by unfavorable planetary and stellar influences. The word “disaster” comes from the Italian disastro, derived from the negative prefix dis- and from Latin aster “star”, thus meaning “ill-starred”. Adjectives “lunatic” (Luna/Moon), “mercurial” (Mercury), “venereal” (Venus), “martial” (Mars), “jovial” (Jupiter/Jove), and “saturnine” (Saturn) are all old words used to describe personal qualities said to resemble or be highly influenced by the astrological characteristics of the planet, some of which are derived from the attributes of the ancient Roman gods they are named after. In literature, many writers, notably Geoffrey Chaucerand William Shakespeare, used astrological symbolism to add subtlety and nuance to the description of their characters’ motivation(s). More recently, Michael Ward has proposed that C.S. Lewis imbued his Chronicles of Narnia with the characteristics and symbols of the seven heavens. Often, an understanding of astrological symbolism is needed to fully appreciate such literature.
Some modern thinkers, notably Carl Jung, believe in astrology’s descriptive powers regarding the mind without necessarily subscribing to its predictive claims. In education astrology is reflected in the university education of medieval Europe, which was divided into seven distinct areas, each represented by a particular planet and known as the seven liberal arts. Dante Alighieri speculated that these arts, which grew into the sciences we know today, fitted the same structure as the planets. In music the best known example of astrology’s influence is in the orchestral suite called “The Planets” by the British composer Gustav Holst, the framework of which is based upon the astrological symbolism of the planets.

Astrology and science

Pseudoscientific concepts
Claims:
Position of the planets determines personality and human events.
Related scientific disciplines:
Astronomy, Psychology
Year proposed:
antiquity
Original proponents:
ancient priests and astrologers
Current proponents:
Philip Berg, Michel Gauquelin, Linda Goodman, Sydney Omarr, Joan Quigley, Jackie Stallone, Athena Starwoman, Shelley von Strunckel, Richard Tarnas

The Ptolemaic system depicted by Andreas Cellarius, 1660/61
By the time of Francis Bacon and the scientific revolution, newly emerging scientific disciplines acquired a method of systematic empirical induction validated by experimental observations, which led to the scientific revolution. At this point, astrology and astronomy began to diverge; astronomy became one of the central sciences while astrology was increasingly viewed as an occult science or superstition by natural scientists. This separation accelerated through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Astrology is now regarded as unscientific both by scientific bodies and by individual scientists and has been labeled as a pseudoscience. In 1975, the American Humanist Association published one of the most widely known modern criticisms of astrology, characterizing those who continue to have faith in the subject as doing so “in spite of the fact that there is no verified scientific basis for their beliefs, and indeed that there is strong evidence to the contrary”.Astronomer Carl Sagan found himself unable to sign the statement, not because he felt astrology had any validity at all, but because he found the statement’s tone authoritarian.Sagan stated that he would instead have been willing to sign a statement describing and refuting the principal tenets of astrological belief, which he believed would have been far more persuasive and would have produced much less controversy than the circulated statement.
Although astrology has had no scientific standing for some time, it has been the subject of much research among astrologers since the beginning of the twentieth century. In their landmark study of twentieth-century research into natal astrology, astrology critics Geoffrey Dean and coauthors documented this burgeoning research activity, primarily within the astrological community.
Claims about obstacles to research

Astrologers have argued that there are significant obstacles in carrying out scientific research into astrology today, including lack of funding, lack of background in science and statistics by astrologers, and insufficient expertise in astrology by research scientists and skeptics. There are only a handful of journals dealing with scientific research into astrology (i.e. astrological journals directed towards scientific research or scientific journals publishing astrological research). Some astrologers have argued that few practitioners today pursue scientific testing of astrology because they feel that working with clients on a daily basis provides a personal validation for them.
Another argument made by astrologers is that most studies of astrology do not reflect the nature of astrological practice and that the scientific method does not apply to astrology. Some astrology proponents claim that the prevailing attitudes and motives of many opponents of astrology introduce conscious or unconscious bias in the formulation of hypotheses to be tested, the conduct of the tests, and the reporting of results.

Early science, particularly geometry and astronomy/astrology, was connected to the divine for most medieval scholars. The compass in this 13th century manuscript is a symbol of God’s act of creation, as many believed that there was something intrinsically divine or perfect that could be found in circles.
Mechanism

As astrologers have been consistently unable to present physical mechanisms for astrology, few modern astrologers believe in a direct causal relationship between heavenly bodies and earthly events. An editorial published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific reports that they can find no evidence for a scientifically defined mechanism by which celestial objects can influence terrestrial affairs.Some researchers have posited acausal, purely correlative, relationships between astrological observations and events, such as the theory of synchronicity proposed by Carl Jung. Others have posited a basis in divination. Still others have argued that empirical correlations can stand on their own epistemologically, and do not need the support of any theory or mechanism. To some observers, these non-mechanistic concepts raise serious questions about the feasibility of validating astrology through scientific testing, and some have gone so far as to reject the applicability of the scientific method to astrology almost entirely. Some astrologers, on the other hand, believe that astrology is amenable to the scientific method, given sufficiently sophisticated analytical methods, and they cite pilot studies they claim support this view. Consequently, several astrologers have called for or advocated continuing studies of astrology based on statistical validation.

Research

The Mars effect: relative frequency of the diurnal position of Mars in the birth chart of eminent athletes.
Astrology has repeatedly failed to demonstrate its effectiveness in numerous controlled studies. Effect size studies in astrology conclude that the mean accuracy of astrological predictions is no greater than what is expected by chance, and astrology’s perceived performance has disappeared on critical inspection. When testing for cognitive, behavioral, physical and other variables, one study of astrological “time twins” showed that human characteristics are not molded by the influence of the Sun, Moon and planets at the time of birth.  

Skeptics of astrology also suggest that the perceived accuracy of astrological interpretations and descriptions of one’s personality can be accounted for by the fact that people tend to exaggerate positive ‘hits’ and overlook whatever does not fit, especially when vague language is used. 

They also argue that statistical research is often wrongly seen as evidence for astrology due to uncontrolled artifacts. A large-scale study, with a sample size of about 15,000 “astro-twins”, was published in 2006. It examined the relationship between date of birth and individual differences in personality and general intelligence, and found no evidence that a connection existed. It also found no relationship between the zodiacal signs and participants’ personal traits.

French psychologist and statistician Michel Gauquelin claimed to have found correlations between some planetary positions and certain human traits such as vocations. Gauquelin’s most widely known claim is known as the Mars effect, which is said to demonstrate a correlation between the planet Mars occupying certain positions in the sky more often at the birth of eminent sports champions than at the birth of ordinary people. A similar claim is made by Richard Tarnas in his work Cosmos and Psyche, in which he explores correspondences between planetary alignments and historically significant events and individuals.
Since its original publication in 1955, the Mars effect has been the subject of critical studies and skeptical publications which refute it, and studies in fringe journals claiming to support or expand the original claims. Gauquelin’s research has not received mainstream scientific notice.
The Forer effect is seen in astrology when most people simply accept their horoscopes as custom even if, by logic, it would mean that 1/12 of the world would have the exact same day or week.