The 12 Animals of the Chinese Zodiac: 2012 Year of the Dragon


Happy Chinese New Year!  As of January 23, 2012 we are entering The Year of the Dragon which ends on February 9, 2013.  More specifically, this is The Year of The Black Water Dragon.

What does this mean?

Dragon contains Earth, Water and Wood. It is also called Water Dam in Chinese astrology. Water Dam is the source of Water. That means the Water of Black Water Dragon will never dry.

This is the year for innovative ideas, great deeds, and big projects.  People who are dealing with finances, in particular, will see successes.  Hope this bodes well for the current world economies.  This will be the year to begin new business or social ventures.

The Year of the Dragon will usher in a roller coaster ride as it twists, turns, dives and soars in our lives.  But only if we adjust our balance will we be able to pick the most beautiful fruits.

Dragon gives happiness and success to all good and honest people and those who have great talent. 2012 will be favorable for the establishment of family and during this time we should be bold and not humble.

The Dragon is a karmic animal.  Our deeds and actions towards others this year will also be returned to us.  It might not be a bad idea to give love and compassion this year more than ever.

What is the Chinese Zodiac?

The Shēngxiào ( 生肖 in Chinese) is known in English as the Chinese Zodiac.   It’s a 12-year mathematical calendar that relates the aspects or characteristics of an animal to each specific year in the cycle.  What sets the Chinese zodiac apart from the western zodiac, aside from the fact each sign spans a full year rather than a month, is that it attributes only earthly animals to each phase.

The Chinese Zodiac Calendar

Below is a delightful video rendition of the story behind the Chinese Zodiac and how the Jade Emperor chose the 12 animals to represent the months of the year.

Chinese Zodiac Story:  Video

The Personalities of the Chinese Zodiac

The cycle begins with the Year of the Rat.  Below is a comprehensive list of the Zodiac years in order, with thanks to Wikipedia.

  1. Rat –  () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water): Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, intellectual, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, and shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, enviousmendacious,venal, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, and scheming.
  2. Ox –  () (Water buffalo in Vietnam) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water): Dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, and tenacious. Can be stubborn, dogmatic, hot-tempered, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, and demanding.
  3. Tiger –  () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, and generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, and moody.
  4. Rabbit –  or  () (Cat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, and flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, and stubborn.
  5. Dragon –  /  () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, and loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, and brash.
  6. Snake –  () (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, and purposeful. Can be a loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, and cold.
  7. Horse –  /  () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, and open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, and stubborn.
  8. Goat (aka Ram or Sheep) –  () (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, observant, artistic, intellectual, ingenious, innovative, creative, mothering, peaceful, and generous. Can be indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, sensitive, shy, and weak-willed.
  9. Monkey –  () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, and factual. Can be egotistical, vain, arrogant, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious, and stubborn.
  10. Rooster –  /  () (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, and responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, proud, opinionated, and gives into empty bravado.
  11. Dog –  /  () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, and easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, and quarrelsome.
  12. Pig –  /  () (Boar in Japan and Elephant in Northern Thailand) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water): Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, and intelligent. Can be naïve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, and materialistic.

These “yearly” animals represent how you present yourself to the world and are said to be an indication of how people perceive you.  The Chinese don’t just draw on this yearly zodiac though.  They also use animal signs for a monthly zodiac which are called “inner animals,”  to the specific day called “true animals,” and to the hours called “secret animals.”  All aspects are considered critical in figuring proper Chinese astrology.

For even more detailed information regarding the Chinese calendar, click here.

Want to know what your Chinese Zodiac sign is?  Click here.

I’m the Tiger.

9 thoughts on “The 12 Animals of the Chinese Zodiac: 2012 Year of the Dragon

    • I’m glad you liked it. Sometimes I want to know things so I go snooping. By the time I find out what I want to know, I figure I might as well share it with all of you too. Thanks for reading!

  1. Pingback: “What’s the word that means ‘careful’ that starts with ‘reck’?” | CATERPICKLES

  2. Pingback: Eastern Astrology ~ Overview ~ And Year of the Dragon {me} Highlighted « apanache

  3. Very interesting and good to know different views on the zodiac and how others are different. Thanks for the good enjoyable web site.

Would you like to share a comment or thought?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s