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Who is my Lucky Star?

Thursday, June 19, 2003
By: Joey Yap
"Are Dragons really luckier than the other animal signs?", a concerned parent asked me the other day. She explained that her son born in the year 2000 was 'unfortunately' a January born and missed coming under the Dragon Chinese zodiac.

"He's a Rabbit", she said. I immediately had visions of a small furry creature with very prominent front teeth. She was worried and asked me what she should do.

As parents, there is a natural tendency to ensure that our children are either born with or given the best possible advantages in life. So, I am not surprised when I hear of parents wanting their child to be born in the Dragon Year.

Chinese myths and legends may have something to do with this as Dragons are always described as being symbols of power and benevolence. In ancient China, the Dragon was a symbol of the emperor and used only by those in very high positions in the Imperial Court. Although the times may have changed, it seems culture has not and popular hearsay always places those born in the year of the Dragon as being 'luckier' than others.

To solve this riddle, we need to understand Chinese Astrology a little bit more. I will be using a BaZi Chart for this purpose and assuming that you are familiar with at least the basic structure of the chart. I have provided a sample chart below that may prove useful. The Animal branch (which is where you get the yearly animal signs) is but one of the Eight Characters in a person's Natal Chart.

In BaZi, a person's Natal chart is made up of 'Eight Characters' as follows:

Hour Day Month Year
* Your animal sign is here

As you can see, a person's Natal chart is made up of Year, Month, Day and Hour. Each of the columns is known as a 'Pillar'. Hence why BaZi is often called the Four Pillars of Destiny. Each Pillar is made up two characters, a top character known as the Heavenly Stem' and the bottom one referred to as the 'Earthly Branch.'

It is these earthly branches that are known as 'Animal Signs', so to speak.

If we look at it from a mathematical perspective, the animal sign makes up less than 12.5% of a person's destiny chart. And yet, so much importance is placed on this one factor. In actual fact, the animal signs are really a layman's term for the Earthly Branches in a person's destiny chart. In the olden days, when not everyone had the benefit of a formal education, such symbolic references were the only way to explain complicated astrological terms to the simple masses; made up mostly of farmers and laborers.

I reassured this lady that it was not necessarily negative in any way if her son was born in the year of the Rabbit. A person's characteristics, attitudes and outlook in life are not based solely on the animal signs of their year of birth. Just because you are born in the year of the Dragon, it does not guarantee any success.

These personality attributes you see tied in to your animal sign are a more recent invention, more for "entertainment purposes" rather than to provide any accurate astrological information. Authentic Chinese astrology is not read based on these 'animal signs.' People born in the year of the Dog are not more 'loyal' than those born in the year of the Goat or Snake, likewise, people born in the year of Rabbit do not regard carrots as their favorite food ¨C I often joke to my students. Animal signs are only references of the 12 Earthly Branches, nothing more.

"How about compatibility then?" the boy's parent asked. "A friend told me that my Rabbit son would get along well with a Pig and a Goat".

A good question, which often comes up in compatibility analysis. For the benefit of my readers, I will explain what this 'combination' theory is all about. This lady was referring to the '3 Combinations' of the Earthly Branches in BaZi terminology. To make it simpler, I've made it into a simple chart below:

Water Frame Monkey Rat Dragon
Wood Frame Pig Rabbit Goat
Fire Frame Tiger Horse Dog
Metal Frame Snake Rooster Ox

The three combinations are ELEMENTAL relationships between one branch and another. They are used in BaZi (Four Pillars of Destiny) Analysis to determine how the branches react with each other (be it the Year, Month, Day, Hour) or whom a branch reacts to based on the Luck Cycle and Year cycles.

Many people who are unaware of this concept immediately assume that this is the 'secret helpful people' that each animal sign supposedly has. This is not true.

When analyzing a person's BaZi chart, the 'helpful people' are not calculated based on the animal sign alone. It is crucial that references are also made to the Day of birth; the year sign or branch is but one of the related factors we need to look at.

In any compatibility analysis, the WHOLE destiny chart of each person needs to be read and compared with particular emphasis being placed on the Day stem. Any comparison made using solely animal signs will be guess work, at best.

By the same token, there is nothing wrong with having friends who may be of the 'opposite signs'. Some people misconstrue the fact that certain Earthly Branch clashes; the rabbit and rooster for example, will have a negative effect on them. And they stay away from friends born in that particular year when in reality, these people are not considered as being 'incompatible'.

Earthly Branch 6 Clashes Table

Rat - Horse
Ox - Goat
Tiger - Monkey
Rabbit - Rooster
Dragon - Dog
Snake - Pig

I hope this article will serve to clarify this issue and spare prospective parents needless worrying about what year their children are born in. Just as every person is unique, so is their year, day, month and hour of birth.

Because I now told this lady that the 3 Combinations are not the real 'secret assistants' or 'lucky people' for her son, I was now faced with the question of HOW this is now determined. A topic I will be discussing in my next upcoming issue. Stay tuned¡­..

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