Many of you are familiar with the twelve zodiac signs in a yearly cycle and there are a number of animals in the Western horoscope, beginning with the Ram, a.k.a Aries.
In Chinese astrology, there are twelve animal signs, beginning with Rat, followed by Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Money, Rooster, Dog and Pig, repeating this cycle every twelve years. Unlike Western astrology which has four elements, the Chinese have five, representing the five visible planets: Water ruled by Mercury; Metal (Gold) by Venus; Fire by Mars, Wood by Jupiter and Earth by Saturn. The Sun and the Moon are considered to be primal forces of Yin and Yang. Given that the 12 animal signs are governed by five different elements, the Chinese lunar calendar is based on a 60-year cycle.
On Friday, 16th February 2018, we welcome the Year of Dog. The Chinese character is 狗, pronouncing as ‘Gou’, like ‘Go’.
Do you ever wonder what it means to be born under a particular sign?
There are a number of legends regarding the origin of Chinese animal signs, and one of them goes like this: Once upon a time, the Jade Emperor ordered the animals to participate in a race and 12 winners would be picked.
It was said that the cat and the rat were good pals back then. When they heard the news of the contest, the cat said to the rat: ‘We should arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late.’ ‘No problem,’ The rat assured his mate that he would wake him up to go together . However, the rat was so excited that he forgot his promise and went alone.
On the way, the rat bumped into the goat, horse, ox and other animals, all faster than him. So he convinced the ox to carry him on his back , on the condition that the rat sang on the way.
The ox was the first to arrive, but the rat sneaked in front of him hence occupied the first lucky spot. By the time the cat arrived, the selection was over. Apparently this is why the cat hates the rat and will always try to chase and kill him.
In a slightly different version, it was said that the cat and the rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of the ox. The ox, being naïve and good-natured, agreed to carry them. During the crossing, the crafty rat decided that he had to do something in order to win, so he pushed the cat into the river. As a result, the cat had never forgiven the rat, and that friendship was therefore history.
I am an Ox, the kind of person who would be happy to carry others and come second place despite getting there first :). Oxen people are also supposed to be hardworking, reliable yet somewhat stubborn, excelling in endurance and discipline, happy with the familiar and not too keen on change. Well, I am not sure how accurate these generalisations are. Personally I like adventures and I embrace change – After all, I uprooted myself from the Middle Kingdom in the East, settling in a foreign country in the West. What would you call that if not change?
Anyway, let us focus on the Dog instead.
The Dog Personality: Helpful, Honest, Loyal and Smart with a Strong Sense of Responsibility
People born in the year of the Dog are considered to be very honest and direct, who dislike any kind of psychological games or ‘beating about the bush’. Dog people like to know the facts of a situation and in return, will respect others by being straight with them. In the Chinese cycle, this is the sign that is most concerned with justice for all, demonstrating that it is not only done but also it be seen to be done. Dogs are also active philanthropists always trying to ensure a sense of fair play and equality.
According to Chinese astrologers, in the world of the Dog, there is right and wrong and no shades of grey in between. So if they are on your side, they will support you in any way possible, and if they are against you, they will treat you with the distain they believe that you deserve. Their lively mind and even livelier tongue will be used efficiently to support their good causes and criticise people/issues they disagree with. Dog people are loyal to a fault and they command a healthy respect for their principled approach to life.
I know a Dog or two, and I think that they display a lot of the fine qualities mentioned above and more. I have never met a person who is more helpful and loyal, with a strong sense of integrity and fair play.
If you are a dog and know people who are, take a look at the pictures to find out in more detail their associated qualities with different elements. Apparently, 2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog. It is advised that Dog people should take caution in their own birth year.
Some of the famous people born in the Year of Dog: David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Isaac Newton, Leonard Cohen, Michael Jackson, Mother Teresa, Steven Spielberg, Winston Churchill, Prince William and his wife, Her Royal Highness Kate Middleton.
On a cheerful and practical note: How are you celebrating the Year of Dog? Although in the UK, not many people make a big fuss about Chinese New Year, I am organising a get-together with my family and a small circle of friends, in order to indulge in one of my hobbies: cooking and entertaining. That’s two actually ;).
I am no astrologer or fortune teller, Chinese or otherwise, however I do believe in educating people and sharing knowledge where possible. So if you find this post informative and interesting, do pass it on. Thank you!
Below are some of the beloved pet dogs provided by friends and family.
I wish you all a great Year of Dog, blessed with everything you wish for!