Chinese astrology is the divination of the future and an understanding of self, others, and our surroundings based on the Chinese calendar and its own 12 year cycle of animals called the Chinese zodiac. Chinese astrology also incorporates the positioning and movements of the five big planets, each connected with a pure element. The combination of these animals’ features with those of these components is what guides the astrologer in divination.
According to Chinese astrology, a individual’s fate can be determined by the position of the largest planets in relation to the Sun, Moon, and comets, this place serving as a modifier to the features of the zodiac sign associated with the individual’s date and time of birth. This system originated from observations of the orbit of Jupiter, known in Chinese as the “year celebrity”. After the orbit of Jupiter around sunlight, Chinese astronomers identified 12 segments to its whole circle, thus the 12 year cycle.
The practice of divination is comprised of many elements, but can be simplified by knowing the interaction of two distinct cycles and their influences on each other. First is that the cycle of the celestial stems – Jupiter (wood); Venus (steel); Mercury (water); Mars (fire); and Saturn (earth). Second, the Earthly Branches, is the cycle of the planet through all its seasons that we know in terms of one full year.
Yin and yang is a historical idea of the balance of two opposing, yet complementary areas of any 1 phenomenon. Yin-yang doctrine implies that everything has opposing aspects and only when both sides are found, is any happening complete. Each of the five components of the celestial stems has a yin and a yang quality. Traditionally, the cycle starts with the rat (yang) and ends with the pig (yin). This cycle generates a perfect balance of yin and yang.
The balance of yin and yang and the five elements in a individual’s make-up has a significant bearing on the characteristics of the zodiac sign below which a person was born. These are the key factors considered in the divination of future in Chinese philosophy.