There is a legend that Buddha called all the animals to come before him, but only twelve arrived. The rat was the first to arrive followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster (cock), dog and finally the pig. In return, one year was named after each of them.
The year, month, day and time of birth denotes one of these animals and its characteristics. The interplay between the different animals, together with the five elements, is the key to your personality.
The Rat, for instance, is divided into Metal Rat, Fire Rat, Earth Rat, Water Rat and Wood Rat. A further division into Yin and Yang, at a more complex level, divides the people in 120 categories.
The predictions in this column, despite their famed accuracy, therefore, are generalized. For a more detailed and exclusive analysis and predictions, the exact date and time of birth is necessary.
Note: The Chinese year doesn't coincide with the Western calendar. Those born before the 18th February of any year are advised to find out their exact Chinese year by visiting http://www.fengshuimiracle.com.
In the legend, the Rat was the first animal to answer the call of the Buddha, and that's a good clue to the Rat. Don't think of it as the creature we all dislike. The Rat in the Chinese calendar has ingenuity, intelligence, independence and is something of a magician. Rats like to win. If you're a Rat, you know how to get what you want, and you're inventive and original. You'll be very friendly and generous to your friends and those you love, but your enemies should steer clear! A complicated person with quick, nervous energy, you worry about tomorrow and push yourself to your limits, yet you are quick to criticize others. You need time to be yourself, and to be on your own.
If you were born in the Year of the Rat, you will get on very well with people born in the Years of the Ox, Dragon and Dog, and probably hardly at all with those born in the Years of the Rabbit, Horse and Monkey.
Famous Rats: Atal Behari Vajpayee, Govinda, Gulzar, Hema Malini, J Jayalalitha and Raj Kapoor.
Legend has it that Lao-Tse, the great Chinese philosopher, rode astride an Ox on his journey to the mountains to seek immortality. If you were born in the Year of the Ox, you are stoical and patient, can endure great hardships and will never give up. You love to toil. Work is something you take pride in and you just get on with the job without fuss, doing the best you can. It is quite possible that friends consider you a workaholic and your spouse may accuse you of being married to your profession. But you don't care. You are cool and don't get worked up easily. You may also seem peace loving to some until provoked too far, but then, watch out! The might of an enraged Ox is not to be trifled with. You save money rather than spend it, and are resolutely ambitious.
If you were born in the Year of the Ox, you will probably be good friends with those born in the Years of the Rat, Rabbit, Dragon (especially in business), Rooster and Dog, but, in fact, the Ox will get on well with most people.
Famous Oxen: Aishwarya Rai, Guru Dutt, Pramod Mahajan and Mahesh Bhatt.
The King of the Jungle, the Tiger is fierce and courageous. His stripes symbolize both Yin and Yang, making him complete. He represents luck, power and royalty. If you were born in the Year of the Tiger, you are enthusiastic, impulsive, loyal and honourable. You are not an easy boss to have or an easygoing father (or husband) to live with, but your courage and generosity make up for the deficiency in other departments. You're respected and feared. Admiration and love comes when people recognize your true personality. You will like taking risks and thrive on danger; routine is not for you. You like the open road, freedom, and the chance of something around the corner. You despise treachery and falsehood, and you can be very generous, but you like your authority to be acknowledged and you are not the easiest animal to live with.
If you were born in the Year of the Tiger, you will find that you get on reasonably well with most people up to a certain point, but less well with other Tigers, and not very well at all with those born in the Years of the Snake and Rooster.
Famous Tigers: Shabana Azmi and Tabu.
If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit, you are imaginative and sensitive, you like a quiet and peaceful life and don't like changes. But paradoxically, you need freedom. Security is important and you hate arguments; if there is a quarrel in the air, you probably try to defuse it and negotiate between those involved. You won't rush into anything, and you tread cautiously, always making sure there's a Plan B, but if backed into a corner you can be ferocious and even dangerous. On the surface, you might look weak, but there is an inner strength in you.
If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit, you especially like the company of people born in the Years of the Ox, Snake, Sheep, and Pig, but have great difficulty with those born in the Years of the Rat and Rooster.
Famous Rabbit: Zeenat Aman.
Powerful, courageous, determined, enthusiastic and always lucky, for the persons born in the Year of the Dragon, nothing is impossible. Nothing is beyond you, but you're not easy to live with. You can be cranky and demanding, and upset others with your blunt way of speaking, but you're scrupulously honest and genuinely very charming. The Dragon in Chinese mythology was a creature of high mountains or underground caves, breathing flames and ready for combat. The Dragon is a symbol of deep desire, of wisdom and of luck, and has often been used to ward off evil spirits.
If you were born in the Year of the Dragon, you enjoy the company of those born in the Years of the Rat, Snake and Rooster, but there could be problems with those born in the Year of the Dog, as well as with other Dragons!
Famous Dragons: Sanjeev Kumar, Raj Babbar and Sushma Swaraj.
In Chinese mythology, from the mouth of the Snake, Nu-Wa, came the first human being, who was the ancestor of the Emperors of China. Symbolically, the Snake was the instrument of temptation in the Garden of Eden and the symbol of eternity when depicted as the Snake biting his own tail. If you were born in the Year of the Snake, you have a charismatic personality, poise and elegance. You almost certainly love reading and learning, enjoy deep conversations, dislike arguments unless they are abstract and philosophical, and have an almost telepathic intuition. You don't like making any more effort than you absolutely have to, but when you decide on a course of action, you are unstoppable. You probably remember wrongs done to you for a long time and nurse grudges for life. However, a sincere apology goes a long way in cooling you down and the Snake is known to have forgiven his enemies when they were down, out and apologetic.
If you were born in the Year of the Snake you will get on well with most people, especially those born in the Years of the Dragon and Rooster, but there may be difficulties with those born in the Year of the Tiger.
Famous Snakes: Shah Rukh Khan, Sunil Dutt, Arun Shourie and Vasundhara Raje.
The mythical Centaur, half-horse and half-man, symbolizes the bond between man and horse, and if you were born in the Year of the Horse you will be popular and likeable. You are known for your repartee and quick wit, which makes you popular. You are always a welcome guest at parties and being sociable, you do horse around. However, deep inside you're a private person and do not easily share your inner thoughts and feelings with others. Above everything, you are proud and independent.
If you were born in the Year of the Horse, you get on well with almost everybody, but especially well with those born in the Year of the Tiger, and only with difficulty with those born in the Year of the Rooster.
Famous Horses: Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Rekha and George Fernandes.
If you were born in the Year of the Sheep (Goat, Ram) you would be more like those bohemian painters and poets whose world is full of creative activities and philosophical thoughts. `Mundane` things like making money don't figure on your priority list. Money is essential and you too welcome it, but you will prefer if it `just arrived` effortlessly. Any activity that you know will help to make money, seems so dull to you that you prefer to go without money rather than spend a lifetime doing something you abhor. Often, you are fortunate to be able to make a pile doing something that you love to do. Often, a person born under this sing loves attention. You can get upset at first if people insist on trying to steal your thunder. But trying to avoid a fallout with people, you may take a backseat to keep things pleasant.
If you were born in the Year of the Sheep, you won't have much trouble getting on with anyone, but you will particularly like the company of those born in the Years of the Rabbit, Monkey and the Ox, and will have little in common with those born in the Year of the Rooster.
Famous Sheep: Juhi Chawla, Mamta Banerjee and V. P. Singh.
Highly intelligent and ingenious, people born in the Year of the Monkey are known as the jokers and pranksters of the Chinese Zodiac. If you're born in this year, you can do almost anything you set your mind to. The Monkey is the most versatile among all the signs. You're original in thinking. You dislike routine, love acting and playing a part, and love to talk and exchange news and ideas. You can be very generous and sensitive to the needs of others, but often misunderstood. Sometimes, your confidence can appear to be aggressiveness and your desire to help may seem patronizing and big brotherly.
If you were born in the Year of the Monkey, you will get on well with almost everyone, but especially well with those born under the sign of the Sheep, and other Monkeys.
Famous monkeys: Maneka Gandhi, Mithun Chakraborty and Dimple Kapadia.
If you were born under the sign of the Rooster (Cock), you will know the hypnotic effect you have on other people. Heads turn when you walk into a room, because you have a magnetic personality and carry yourself well. Always looking your best, you have a charm that goes beyond exteriors. You stand up for your rights, and maintain your own space like a fortress, and you never depend on anybody, but you will go out of your way to help others provided they don't intrude on your privacy. You are aggressive, forthright, honest and brave, and love to protect anyone weaker than yourself. You make an exciting friend, but you keep part of yourself always private. In some cases persons born under this sign may develop a complex about their looks and outer appearance.
If you were born in the Year of the Rooster, you get on well with those born in the Years of the Ox, Dragon, Snake and Pig, but less well with those born in the Years of the Tiger, Rabbit, Horse and Sheep.
Famous Roosters: Shekhar Kapur, Meena Kumari and Madhavrao Scindia.
If you were born under the sign of the Dog, above all else, you brood. Whatever your circumstances, you are always anxiously trying to do better, worrying in case you have forgotten something, and doing your very best to excel. Meticulous to a fault, you never abandon your duty, and you are always loyal and honest. But you do tend to see the black side of everything, and wear an air of melancholy. You are not a person to enjoy social occasions and parties but if you find yourself in a social gathering, you will not let anyone know your true feelings. You like everything to be safe and secure, the way you've always known it. An undisclosed aspect of your personality is that you always want to be the top dog and will do anything to stay there. If you don't reach the top, you either get frustrated or confused.
If you were born in the Year of the Dog, you will get on well with those born in the Years of the Rat, Ox, Snake and Pig, and may have difficulty with people born under the signs of the Dragon and Horse.
Famous Dogs: Sonia Gandhi, Murli Manohar Joshi and Dilip Kumar,
If you were born in the Year of the Pig, you don't worry about things: you let life take its course. You're calm and laid back. Your philosophy is to enjoy life to the full and live for today. A trusting soul, you give people the benefit of the doubt. Kind and generous, you are always pleased to help the needy. As a person, you have a presence, which gets you second look wherever you go and attention for whatever you do. In some cases, those born under this sign have a tendency to be utterly selfish and self-centered.
If you were born in the Year of the Pig, you will get on well with those born in the Years of the Tiger, Rabbit, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster and Dog, and may have difficulty with those born in the Year of the Dragon.
Famous Pigs: Dharmendra, Anil Kapoor, Ramesh Sippy, Sanjay Dutt and Uma Bharati.
(Mohan Deep, author of `Feng Shui for Bold & Beautiful, Rich & Famous` and several other books, is an authority on the oriental science of geomancy, Feng Shui. He counts among his clients prominent personalities from the world of politics and films. He also provides Feng Shui advice to corporate sector and his Feng Shui advice has been responsible for the turnaround in the fortunes of several companies. Based in Mumbai, he also has a website devoted to Feng Shui (http://www.fengshuimiracle.com) and his e-mail address is: email@example.com.)