Chinese Zodiac Sign and Five Element

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The Chinese zodiac, also known as Shengxiao (生肖), is a 12-year cycle, each year associated with an animal sign. This cycle starts with Rat and ends with Pig: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The Shengxiao system originates from the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) and is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and philosophy.

The Five Elements, also known as Wuxing (五行), is a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy and is often used to explain a wide array of phenomena. The five elements are Wood (木), Fire (火), Earth (土), Metal (金), and Water (水). These elements are believed to be the basic components of everything in the universe and govern the life and destiny of humans.

The Chinese zodiac and the Five Elements are intrinsically linked. Each year of the Chinese Zodiac is associated with one of the five elements, creating a cycle of 60 years (12 animal signs x 5 elements). For instance, the year 2022 is the Year of the Water Tiger, with ‘Water’ representing the element, and ‘Tiger’ being the zodiac sign. The element of a person’s birth year can affect their personality traits and destiny in Chinese belief.

The combination of the Chinese Zodiac and five elements is a complex system that showcases the intricacies of Chinese philosophy and cultural belief, offering interpretations and guidance on life, relationships, and personal development.

Five Elements Theory

Five Elements Theory

The theory of the Five Elements first appeared in Taoist teachings. It emphasizes a holistic view, depicting the structural relationships and movement forms of things. If the “Yin-Yang Theory” is considered as the ancient theory of the unity of opposites, then the “Five Elements Theory” would be the primary theory of systemic circulation.

The Five Elements Theory asserts that the universe is composed of five elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. Each of them possesses distinctive properties, respectively corresponding to five planets in the solar system: Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn; as well as to the five virtues in the human world: righteousness, benevolence, wisdom, courtesy, and faithfulness. Ancient people believed that these five types of things form mapping relationships among Heaven, Earth, and Humans. For instance, if there is a change in Jupiter in the sky, the wood-related things on Earth, and the human virtue of “benevolence” would also undergo corresponding changes.

There exist relationships of generation, overcoming, multiplication, and insult among the Five Elements. The “generating” and “overcoming” relationships of the Five Elements can explain the interconnectedness of things, while the “multiplication” and “insult” relationships can be used to represent the mutual impact when the balance between things is disrupted.

Characteristics of the Five Elements

The Five Elements, represented as five symbols, correspond to five different states of things. Even though the characteristics of the Five Elements come from Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, their meanings have far exceeded these five physical substances themselves and carry more extensive and universal significance.

  1. Characteristics of Metal: Metal represents justice, characterized by toughness and intensity. Anything with purifying, solemn, and constrictive qualities can be classified under Metal. Metal is described as “compliant and transformative,” with compliance being a manifestation of Metal’s “soft” qualities, and transformation expressing the “toughness” of Metal.
  2. Characteristics of Wood: Wood represents benevolence, characterized by straightforwardness and peace. Anything with growth and integrity qualities can be classified under Wood. Wood is described as “flexible yet straight,” which means it has the ability to bend and stretch. Stretching expresses its integrity, while bending returns to its soft quality. Wood can absorb the energy of Water and Earth. Tree trunks grow straight up, branches extend and bend outwards, growing abundantly, swaying with the wind.
  3. Characteristics of Water: Water represents wisdom, characterized by intelligence and kindness. Anything with cool, moistening, and downward qualities can be classified under Water. Water is described as “moistening downwards,” which means it has the characteristics of moisturizing coolness, soft nature, and a tendency to flow downward.
  4. Characteristics of Fire: Fire represents propriety, characterized by urgency and respectfulness. Anything with warm and rising qualities can be classified under Fire. Fire is described as “burning upwards,” which means it has the characteristics of emitting heat and rising. Fire, while burning, can generate light and heat, and the flame floats upwards, with light and heat dispersing outwardly. Therefore, Fire has the function of dispelling cold and preserving warmth, and the ability to forge metals.
  5. Characteristics of Earth: Earth represents trust, characterized by weightiness and thickness. Anything with bearing, transformation, and receptiveness qualities can be classified under Earth. Earth is described as “sowing and reaping,” which means it has the role of sowing crops, reaping grains, and fostering all living things. This is further understood as having the characteristics of growth, bearing, transformation, and nurturing. Therefore, Earth supports all directions and is considered the mother of all things.

The Origin of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals

The movement and position of the sun, moon, stars, and the Earth itself will cause changes in the Earth’s Five Movements and Six Qi (traditional Chinese cosmological concepts). These changes will have a direct impact on everything.

As is widely known, the celestial bodies with the greatest influence on the organisms on Earth are the Sun, the Moon, and the five major planets. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, excluding the Sun, with a volume more than 1300 times that of Earth and more than 2.5 times the combined volumes of the other seven major planets. Additionally, Jupiter is the largest planet by mass in the solar system and is not very far from Earth, making it the planet with the greatest influence on Earth’s organisms. It is also known as the “岁 (Sui) ” star.

The 12 Chinese Zodiac signs originated from Jupiter’s movement, which revolves around the sun once every 12 years. Ancient people used the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs to represent the 12 different positions in Jupiter’s orbit around the sun. In other words, as Jupiter orbits the sun, its different positions in the solar system have different impacts on the creatures on Earth. People born in different years receive different energies, and thus their destinies naturally differ.

Sexagenary Cycle: The 60-Year Cycle

Five elements and five planets

While Jupiter’s position has the greatest impact on Earth’s creatures, the positions of other planets also have certain influences.

The positions of the five major planets repeat every 60 years. In order to subtly reflect the differences in each year within these 60 years, ancient people introduced the concept of a 60-year combination of the five elements and the 12 zodiac signs (known as the Sexagenary Cycle).

People with the same zodiac attributes can have differing personalities and destinies due to the different elements of their birth years.

Chinese Zodiac Sign Years and Elements

Chinese Zodiac Elements

1960 – 1971 Chinese Zodiac Years & Elements

The YearBirth DateZodiac Element
1960From January 28, 1960 to February 14, 1961Metal Rat
1961From February 15, 1961 to February 4, 1962Metal Ox
1962From February 5, 1962 to January 24, 1963Water Tiger
1963From January 25, 1963 to February 12, 1964Water Rabbit
1964From February 14, 1964 to February 1 , 1965Wood Dragon
1965From February 2, 1965 to January 20, 1966Wood Snake
1966From January 21, 1966 to February 8, 1967Fire Horse
1967From February 9, 1967 to January 30, 1968Fire Goat
1968From January 30, 1968 to February 16, 1969Earth Monkey
1969From February 17, 1969 to February 5, 1970Earth Rooster
1970From February 6, 1970 to January 26, 1971Metal Dog
1971From January 27, 1971 to February 14, 1972Metal Pig

1972 – 1983 Chinese Zodiac Years & Elements

The YearBirth DateZodiac Element
1972From February 15, 1972 to February 2, 1973Water Rat
1973From February 3, 1973 to January 22, 1974Water Ox
1974From January 23, 1974 to February 10, 1975Wood Tiger
1975From February 11, 1975 to January 30, 1976Wood Rabbit
1976From January 31, 1976 to February 17, 1977Fire Dragon
1977From February 18, 1977 to February 6, 1978Fire Snake
1978From February 7, 1978 to January 27, 1979Earth Horse
1979From January 28, 1979 to February 15, 1980Earth Goat
1980From February 16, 1980 to February 4, 1981Metal Monkey
1981From February 5, 1981 to January 24, 1982Gold rooster
1982From January 25, 1982 to February 12, 1983Water Dog
1983From February 13, 1983 to February 1, 1984Water Pig

Click to view more years of Chinese Zodiac and Five Elements Charts

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Horse Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

For those born in the Year of the Horse, the fortunate hues of 2024 are yellow and blue. Should you aspire to amplify your financial fortunes, it is advised to incorporate elements of gold and pale yellow into your daily attire, as these tones may bolster the vibrancy of your wealth energy field.

Pig Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

For those born in the Year of the Pig, the auspicious hues of 2024 are resplendent white and verdant green. The utilization of these fortunate colors in attire can be an effective instrument to maneuver smoothly throughout the year.

Snake Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

Individuals born in the year of the Snake, could look forward to an advantageous 2024, favouring shades of umber and subtle violet as their auspicious colours. Experimenting with these hues in outfits could potentially manifest good fortune, bolstering prosperity and well-being.

Goat Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

Those born in the year of the Goat will find the hues of alabaster, apricot, and tangerine to be particularly fortuitous in the year 2024. Alabaster and apricot hues serve to enhance the natural allure and magnetism of Goat natives.

Dragon Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

Persons born in the Year of the Dragon are to regard teal, forest green, and crimson as the fortunate hues of 2024. In the ensuing year, those associated with the Dragon should adopt an affirmative mental state, striving to shed the negativity spawned by the adversity experienced.

Rabbit Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

For those born in the Year of the Rabbit, silver, apricot, and white are your lucky colors in 2024. Silver is a lucky color in career aspects, believed to enhance thinking, intuition, and insight, helping to raise your professional image.

Tiger Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

The year 2024, for those born in the Year of the Tiger, necessitates an enhancement of personal prowess and wealth, making the selection of auspicious colours and numbers pivotal factors in boosting fortune. The fortunate hues for Tiger zodiac individuals in 2024 are gold and blue.

Monkey Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

People born in the year of the monkey are fortunate, for in 2024, their auspicious colours are resplendent golden and regal purple. These two hues promise to attract different forms of good fortune.

Rat Horoscope 2024 & Monthly Predictions

The individuals associated with the Year of the Rat will find white, black, and yellow to be their auspicious hues in the year 2024. In professional and social settings, it would be beneficial for you to incorporate more garments of black or white, which is likely to enhance your fortunes in the realm of your career.