Chinese Zodiac Signs and Meanings

Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Chinese New Year


Chinese Zodiac Animals and
Their Influence on the Chinese New Year

At the time of this writing, the Chinese New Year is approaching in just a few days. In light of this upcoming occasion, I thought it would be fun to take a look at Chinese zodiac signs, and give a symbolic summary according to the Chinese zodiac animal ruling over each year.

To explain, each year is associated with a unique animal in the annual procession of time in China. A different animal governs a particular year and imbues its attributes for that year. In other words, a Chinese zodiac animal energizes, characterizes and flavors the year in which it is featured.

For example, I'm a Rat, and 2008 (a year of the Rat) was an electric time for me. Lots of shifting, lots of activity, and lots of corollaries in my life that matched up with the personality of my governing Chinese zodiac sign.

Your Chinese zodiac sign is determined according to the year you were born. So, if you were born in 1990 - you're sign is the Horse - that's the year of the Horse in the Chinese lunar calendar. As it happens, this upcoming Chinese New year (2014) celebrates the year of the Horse. So, effectually, this year - the year of the Horse - will have some major equine influences upon your life and experiences this year.

Chinese zodiac animals will also express global influences. To wit, 2001, the year of the Snake, was an extraordinarily tough year for a lot of people. Some characteristics of the Snake were highly evident on a global scale. That's not to say the Snake is a bad omen - but it's good to have an understanding of each animal and their potential behaviors within their featured year.

So how do you know what your Chinese zodiac sign is, or which animal is overseeing a current year?

Easy. I've got a handy-dandy chart for you. Just look up the year you were born (or the current year), and follow it to your Chinese zodiac animal. Whammo! Now you're in the know.

Chinese Zodiac Animal Chart for Each Year

Rat 1900 1912 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008 2020
Ox 1901 1913 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009 2021
Tiger 1902 1914 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010 2022
Rabbit 1903 1915 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011 2023
Dragon 1904 1916 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012 2024
Snake 1905 1917 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013 2025
Horse 1906 1918 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014 2026
Sheep 1907 1919 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015 2027
Monkey 1908 1920 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016 2028
Rooster 1909 1921 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017 2029
Dog 1910 1922 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018 2030
Boar 1911 1923 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019 2031

Now that you know your Chinese zodiac animal - or the animal sign that rules the current year, let's take a look at the various influences this zodiac sign has over the course of its annual governance.

Note: You can read each sign to gain insight about your own personality -or- refer to each sign for the feel and flavor that's injected into the current year. Remember, each Chinese animal zodiac sign will greatly influence the year in which it governs.

Chinese Zodiac Animal Meanings and How They Relate to the Chinese New Year

Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Rat

Rat:
The year of the Rat is all about discovery and exploration. Just as the rat is inquisitive and curious - so too will this year present a slew of nooks and crannies to investigate. This year, expect surprises and new opportunity for personal development. When a chance for growth comes your way - be sure to embrace it - even if it may seem scary. Denying the challenge to change or develop will lead to irritability and anti-social behavior.

The year of the Rat is also a time of creativity, ingenuity and "thinking outside the box". This is a great time to start a new artistic project, or learn a new craft. This can range from music, painting, poetry - the sky is the limit. The Rat is symbolic of agility of mind. This means the year of the Rat is saturated with cartwheels of creative potential.

This Chinese zodiac animal is incredibly resourceful and adaptable. The Rat can find a way forward - no matter how many roadblocks it may encounter. The Rat also adapts to its environment with aplomb. These are great symbolic lessons we can learn in the year of the Rat. This will be a time of accepting the things we cannot change, changing the things we can, and learning to know the difference.

Rat signs are quite intelligent. They have a quick wit, quick tongue, and an even quicker ability to mentally sum up a situation. They have a gift for working out ingenious solutions to the most irritating problems. And they have an extraordinary way of multi-tasking. At any given time, the Rat can be solving the riddles of quantum physics, while making a pot of tea and telling you a joke over the phone. As an aside...I am not one of these kinds of Rats...oh how I wish I were! I'm more like a Templeton in Charlotte's Web...bumbling about carnivals looking for tasty bits of food. :)~

Some things to look out for: Being overly shrewd and/or cynical. Even though the Rat can be adventurous and have a zeal for exploration - they can be very critical. This is a character trait of which to be aware. Don't let negativity cloud your vision in the year of the Rat. Rather, keep to that opportunistic attitude the Rat is known for.

Another thing to watch out for is hoarding. There's a reason for the term "pack-rat". I challenge you to do a massive spring cleaning during the year of the Rat. I mean...a major overhaul. This counteracts unhealthy, cloistered, clingy energy. Doing a clearing on your environment during the year of the Rat is a great way to thwart the habit of getting into negative ruts.

Keep in mind, this hoarding tendency isn't necessarily confined to your physical environment. It could mean hoarding grudges. Take an internal inventory. If you sense you have a bunch of pent-up emotions that aren't serving you, the year of the Rat is a great time to cleanse and release all that bad juju.

More about the year of the Rat meanings here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Ox

Ox:
This Chinese zodiac animal is all about industry. The theme is hard work, progress and planning. If you think on it - this makes sense. The powerful ox has been utilized for centuries by man to build, plant, grow and carve out a better life. The year of the Ox will present opportunities for expansion in business and potential for increased wealth. This is done through methodical plodding and patiently moving through the motions to reach personal/global goals.

The Ox is also about acceptance. People with this sign have an extraordinary ability to "bite their tongues" or "roll with the punches". But more than being able to overlook irritants, the sign of the Ox is a great grace-giver. As such, the year of the Ox is a time of forgiveness and "turning the other cheek." This is a time to bury the hatchet, and release old hang-ups. Even if the Ox isn't your sign, you can take advantage of the qualities of mercy within the year of the Ox. Use this time to forgive, forget, live and let live.

The Ox is a conservative sign. Very sensible. As a result, the year of the Ox encourages thriftiness, tact and practicality. Excesses and indulgences should be minimized within this year. Consider this a "nose to the grindstone" year. Eliminate superfluous, unnecessary fluff - it's just going to get in the way of your progress. Instead, get practical and get to work on making your dreams a reality.

Luckily, the Ox sign is incredibly patient. You'll find you have the wherewithal to obtain your goals as well as the patience to deal with conflict in the year of the Ox.

Some things to look out for: Because the Ox sign is such a hard worker, there may be a propensity to take this to the extreme. You know what they say..."all work and no play makes for dull, dull, dull!" Not only that - it makes for a fast burn-out. Don't burn your candles at both ends. Take time to appreciate the pleasures of life - but do so with moderation. Keep on track with your goals - keep plodding - but stop to smell the roses occasionally.

The Ox can also be quite set-in-its-ways. Possessive too. It has to do with creature-comforts. Ox signs (like the Taurus in Western astrology) loves to robe themselves in comfy, homey environments. So much so, there's a tendency to get complacent. Be aware there is a potential to get wedged into a comfort zone. Once wedged, that stubborn Ox energy can keep you in a crack for the whole year. Granted, you may be comfortable - but your growth will be stunted, which will leave you behind in progress for what awaits you in the year of the Tiger (next year).

More about Ox and Bull Symbolism here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Tiger

Tiger:
This is a grrrreat year to be on the prowl for that which you desire. Tigers are full of vim and vigor. Obtaining what you want shouldn't be difficult in the year of the Tiger. Passion and fire are big themes for this sign and year. If previous years saw you in a slump, or unmotivated...then watch out...this year is going to see you ignited and ready to rock n' roll.

This is all well and good, but there may be a drawback. You know that old rhyme: "eeny meeny miny moe...catch a tiger by the toe"? It applies to the year of the Tiger. Why? Because you may find yourself so inspired that you might be scattered in all directions. Which endeavor to pursue? Which adventure to track down? This conflict of focus often leaves Tiger signs fed up and overwhelmed to the point where they just say, "hang it...why even bother starting the project!?!" Just keep this in mind. Be like the great cat, and smartly track down one path at a time.

The good thing about all this is that you'll experience a resurgence of confidence throughout the year. Even if you get confused about your direction - or even have set-backs, the year of the Tiger will see you pushing through it with gusto. Bravery, self-belief and victory are the watchwords for this sign and year.

This is also a great year to solidify personal and business relationships. This Chinese zodiac animal is so magnetic! Talk about animal attraction! There's something about Tiger signs that makes people gravitate to them. Same goes for the year of the Tiger. Even if you're not a Tiger sign, take advantage of the year of the Tiger to attract good, beneficial people in your life. It's a great time to do so.

Some things to watch out for: The zest and zeal of the Tiger sign is truly an asset, and attractive in so many ways. However, there is a propensity to overdo and overindulge. Tigers can get so caught up in the moment, they lose sight of priorities. It's like watching a cat playing with a ball of yarn...they get so involved, they don't see the ledge they're about to fall off. Don't get so caught up in your passion that you fall off the edge of reality.

Further, Tiger's can get very content with the way things are. Complacency in the year of the Tiger is something of which to be wary. Here again...it's like watching a cat...uber-content to stay in her sunny spot and sleep the day away.

Part-and-parcel with enthusiastic personalities, the Tiger might be in danger of becoming overemotional at times. The year of the Tiger may kick up some emotional dust that may cause you to be overwrought or overcome with feeling. This could lead to mania or depression if overlooked. Just be aware of your emotional levels. Strive for homeostasis with your energy, emotion and outlook.

More about symbolism of the Chinese Tiger here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Rabbit

Rabbit/Hare:
The year of the Rabbit, and those who have this Chinese zodiac sign are quite unique. Perhaps out of all the signs, this one has the most potential. On the one hand, we have symbolic themes of caution, regulation and meekness (but not in terms of weakness). Then on the other hand - we see themes of tremendous courage. This courage is expressed in terms of mending fences. Philanthropy, forgiveness, peace, empathy...these are all watch words for the sign and year of the Rabbit.

This is the year to love and appreciate the simple things in life. You'll find this intense appreciation will be infectious. Others around you will observe your love for life. They'll also pick up on your inner calm. So powerful will your aura of peace be - that others will be compelled to follow suit. This is an incredible asset. If all Rabbit signs put their mind to it - I'm convinced they could bring about world peace....especially if they did so during the year of the Rabbit. I'm not kidding! Rabbits have powerful influence to spread intense love, calm, peace and security across the scope of humankind.

Their only stumbling block is a bit of shyness. Actually...it's not even shyness...it's more like the need to be 100% positive that all signs say "go" before they make a move toward peaceful progress. Rabbits have to feel secure in their environment before hopping out in new directions. If something is the slightest bit wonky - forget it - Rabbits will burrow back in the den.

The year of the Rabbit has the potential for warmth, growth and connection. This is a great time to start a family, or increase the one you've got (whether planning for an additional family member, or enlarging your social circle). Rabbits are symbolic of fertility and increase. This expanse might come in the form of wealth as well as expanded family and social circles. Rabbits are the friends of the Chinese zodiac. Generous, thoughtful and understanding are keywords for Rabbits.

Some things to look out for: It's that element of caution I mentioned earlier. A Rabbit is so sensitive to her environment. Overly sensitive, in fact. So much so, that the Rabbit may invent, or imagine threats looming about that aren't even there. This will cause the Rabbit to never come out of her hole. This is quite tragic, really, because the Rabbit has so much to offer the world. To avoid this "head in the hole" mentality - Rabbits must make every effort to establish a safe-haven for themselves (physically and emotionally). Create a "happy place" - a space in which you can always feel safe - no matter what perceived dangers are out there. That way, when things get scary, you've always got a buffer of comfort and security upon which to revert if needed.

More about Rabbit symbolism here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Dragon

Dragon:
A truly auspicious Chinese zodiac animal - the Dragon is replete with unstoppable charisma. This sign is a recipe for success - that is, if all the ingredients are balanced.

The year of the Dragon is infused with charm, enchantment and potential. This is a time when the unthinkable becomes a reality. Quite magical, really. If you've ever dared to "dream the impossible dream" (as Sinatra so eloquently put it) - then this is the year for you. There's no better time to coax those fluffy bits and pipe-dreams into real-life. Dragons are all about knitting the immaterial into material. These zodiac signs (and the year) have an uncanny ability to create skyscrapers out of sand. They're like the MacGyver's of the metaphysical realm. I don't know how they do it - I just know these signs have enormous ability to manifest. Likewise, the year of the Dragon facilitates a much easier environment in which to turn fool's gold into sure 'nuf, authentic nuggets of value.

What's more, the sign and year of the Dragon is high-voltage. I'm talking full-on energy here. Where this ceaseless energy comes from, I have no idea - I just know Dragons are super-charged. This is a great time to take advantage of that energetic octane. If you've been a sloth about projects around the house, or undertakings you've put off - this is the time to hitch a ride on the Dragon's back and "get 'er done".

This Chinese zodiac animal is endearing in terms of candor. Honest to a fault, the Dragon tells it like it is. This can be incredibly refreshing. If stuff has being weighing on your chest, this is the year to spill the beans, come clean and be honest. This also means being honest with yourself. Too often we dupe ourselves into false beliefs. The Dragon has a knack for setting those false beliefs on fire. Sometimes this is really awesome. For example, perhaps you're wrestling with a false belief of unworthiness - the Dragon will blow that nonsense right out of your sails. Conversely, the Dragon's penchant for honesty can easily go south. Meaning, these signs can be tactless, and less than diplomatic with their delivery. Just be aware of this if you're a Dragon (or get the honesty-bug during the year of the Dragon). Honesty is indeed the best policy - but there's a right and wrong way to get your candid message across.

Some things to be wary of: Aside from brutal honesty, there's an issue of balance to consider. As mentioned, the Dragon is utterly magical and charming. Sometimes this charm can get out of hand. Prone to whimsy, active imagination, and lofty ideas...the Dragon can get lost in the land of dreams. Even though they have a remarkable ability to turn fluff into real stuff - it's a fine line Dragon's walk. They straddle two worlds: Fantasy vs Reality. The key is balance.

Dragon's require tempering and moderation. They also need a clear goal or focus to keep them balanced on the high-wire between what's real and what's not. If regulation and structure is not put into play - Dragon's become erratic, petulant, impatient, and overly impulsive...not to mention cranky. Just keep this in mind if you are a Dragon sign.

Also be aware of this in the year of the Dragon. This year tends to be very shifty in terms of upturning tradition and conformity. Therefore, it's a good idea to keep honed on your end-game through the Dragon year.

More about Chinese Dragon meanings here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Snake

Snake:
Oh my, this Chinese zodiac animal is a slippery one. So many awesome attributes, but often hard to pin down. You never quite know where you stand with a Snake, and the same goes for the year of the Snake. One minute everything is copacetic, and the next minute you find yourself flummoxed - asking "what just happened!?".

The key to Snake signs is realizing they live and perceive the world in very unique, personal ways. They see the world through a totally different lens than the other zodiac signs. It's actually quite endearing. They have the ability to see the best in people...high-quality assets that most people would completely overlook. There's nothing better than having a positive Snake sign as a buddy. They're full of optimism and encouragement. They're like Willy Nelson's song: "Insisting that the world keeps turning our way." This is a positive Snake sign. A negative-thinking Snake can easily pick out the worst in the world. Nevertheless - Snakes are incredibly changeable. They can switch moods in a heartbeat - which is quite a feat in a society that rails against change.

Does it sound like I'm nay-saying the Snake? Hardly. Some of my best mates are Snake signs. And, some of my most revolutionary moments have been in the year of the Snake. It has to do with the alacrity in which the Snake deals with change and transition. These signs can slip out of the stickiest wickets on the planet, and come out fresh as a daisy. To quote my Snake pal Bill...they "fall up" instead of falling down in times of challenge.

I credit this "falling up" knack to intellect, cunning and a keen sense of knowing. The Snake just knows stuff. Call it intuition, or just "seeing the big picture" - to be sure, the Snake has a sharp eye for detail. They also know how all the pieces of the puzzle work together to create the whole masterpiece. The year of the Snake is an opportune time to work on stuff that confounds us. Have you got a nagging problem? Use the year of the Snake to noodle around pesky issues. The snake seamlessly slithers through complex issues. There's seemingly no obstacle that keeps them from moving forward. What an incredible asset.

Snake signs are also quite elegant. They have a sense of style and taste that few in the zodiac can match. They adore refinery and like to surround themselves in opulence. Even so - they never overdo it. They can't stand flash, glam or gaudy. Nope - snakes appreciate the adage: "Simpler is better" - but they incorporate simplicity in a way that screams finesse. Here again...I don't know how they do it - but they do!

Another great Snake feature is sensuality. Snake signs and Snake years can be replete with amorousness and passion plays. Sultry, sexy and sensual...these are watchwords for the Snake.

Some things to look out for: As mentioned, Snakes can be utterly unpredictable - and so are Snake years. You may find yourself ambling along through life - and whammo - that Snake energy strikes without warning. I'm not implying that you always have to be on your guard with these signs, or within this year. But I am encouraging awareness to this propensity.

There's also a coldness inherent to the Snake. I'm not talking cold-hearted, necessarily (are you kidding? With their sensual passion - Snakes are far from frigid). It's more like insensitivity. Here again - the Snake has its own world, its own unique perspective. This means Snake energy won't always have the emotional insight to see things the way other signs do. It's not like this sign lacks compassion - they just express empathy differently than others.

More about symbolic Snake meanings here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Horse

Horse:
This Chinese zodiac animal is all about participation. This sign engages, activates and pursues. These qualities are often highlighted in social settings. The Horse is gregarious and easily approachable. They make quick friends, and always seem to be willing to offer a helping hand to their pals. Horse signs are natural leaders, and they excel on the political scene. Perhaps it's their bounding energy or their enthusiasm...whatever it is they exude, they are certainly magnanimous personalities. This is true for the year of the Horse too. Those of us who find it challenging to mingle or connect with others in society will find those restraints loosened in Horse years. Likewise, those who are quite content to blend in the background, might have the urge to come forward in a leadership capacity in the year of the Horse.

The Horse sign is cooperative. They know all about compromise. They easily give and take without being taken advantage of. This is a great keynote for the year of the Horse. This is a time when our skills of communication and negotiation are at their highest point.

In that same vein, Horses are natural teachers. They innately know how to mentor and show people the ropes in the most inoffensive ways. There are some people who teach for the simple joy of imparting wisdom - this is Horse energy at work. Not only that, Horses guide others with a goal to offer improvement and progress to their students and colleagues. They see a better life for those around them, and they want to help people attain that better way of living.

Teamwork is a big watchword for the Horse. The year of the Horse typically offers opportunities in which we can gallop our way through projects with ease thanks to vital assistance from others.

Horse signs have a distinct brand of wisdom. Their philosophy about life is down-to-earth, and matter-of-fact. This grounded, stable energy is both refreshing and calming. It's also a balancing, wholesome energy that will be evident in the year of the Horse.

Although not overly ambitious, the Horse absolutely knows where he's going, and how to get there. As a Horse, you're not quite as plodding as the Ox, but to be sure, you exert tireless determination in getting to your destination. This is a great underscore for the year of the Horse. It speaks of consistency and persistence in obtaining desires.

The Horse sign is also symbolic of trust, faithfulness and reliability. It seems Horse signs can always be counted upon in times of trouble or need. This sign is true and faithful. This is a beautiful sentiment for the year of the Horse. Keep the beatitudes of kindness, faithfulness and trust in your psyche as you go through this year. It will augment those Horse qualities, and therefore enhance your life.

Some things to watch out for: Horses love to share perspective, opinions and wisdom. But no matter how well-intentioned, they can get overly exuberant sometimes. It's as if they get ahead of themselves (horse before the cart syndrome) - far overreaching the potential of their students or audience. When a Horse stretches to get folks up to speed, it is done with high enthusiasm. However, when the Horse's charges won't (or can't) follow in the their footsteps, it can cause crushing disappointment. The Horse's ability to share and give is linked to personal identity. Understandably, when Horse wisdom gets a kick in the teeth - it's going to lead to reactions like withdrawal, sulking or even anger.

Thankfully, these reactions don't last long, and the Horse sign is back in the saddle again. They don't give up a challenge easily, and will keep endeavoring to follow the path of their choosing. This is noteworthy for the year of the Horse. You may find yourself in a situation in which you aren't gaining support, or attention from your colleagues. The persistent energy of the Horse will counteract your temptation to give up the good fight. Horse energy will keep you buoyed and focused on your end-goal for the year.

More about symbolic Horse meanings here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Goat

Goat/Sheep:
There is a distinct polarity in personality types with this sign. Some Goats are the most easy-going signs you'll ever encounter. Others can be quite immovable. As with all the signs, it boils down to the month and hour you are born - but that's another article altogether.

The easy-going Goat relishes simple pleasures, and takes great joy in being with friends and family. A good glass of wine, a comfy home, surrounded by good friends and family is the high-life for the Goat.

These Chinese zodiac animal signs also relish the outdoors. They thrive on fresh air and nature walks. In fact, Goat people could spend their whole lives outside, and they would be perfectly content. This is a neat aspect concerning the year of the Goat. This is a time to appreciate Mother Nature. It's a perfect year to start a garden, get outdoors more, or take up a hobby that gets you outside.

Goats love to move, and sports are great fun for these signs. In addition to getting outdoors more, make the year of the Goat a time of fitness. Move your body more, get into a sport, or go camping. This is the perfect time to wander into the great outdoors, work your body and soak up the sunshine.

The other type of Goat - the stubborn kind - loves sports too. But, they love them for the competitive aspect. These Goat signs are willful and love overcoming obstacles. This can be a very good thing - especially in the year of the Goat. It marks a time in which you will not be deterred from your mission. It also denotes strategy and healthy competition. Everybody knows a little competition is often just the thing needed to kick start a great plan. The year of the Goat might see you compelled to outrun, outwit, or outdo your opposition in business or any other area of life.

No matter if you are an easy-going Goat, or a stubborn Goat...one thing is for sure...you've got a good heart. You always mean well, and you do your best to put people at ease. You have a caring nature, and simply cannot tolerate seeing people or animals suffer. This quality is imbued in the year of the Goat too. This year will experience a level of compassion that most year's don't have the luxury of experiencing.

Some things to be wary of: Goats like things a certain way. When things are amiss or not going according to a Goat's idea - then the bucking starts. This is true in Goat years too - when we encounter hiccups in a Goat year - the most flexible among us may tend to balk, complain and kick to get our way. Just be aware of this tendency, and do your best to establish more flow and fluidity in your attitude.

Goat years aren't the most productive years. Although this time (and the sign) is highly creative - don't expect to go anywhere with your high designs. I'm not saying you won't accomplish anything in a Goat year. However, I am saying the Goat is more content to create for the sake of creating - not necessarily for producing and presenting to the world at large.

More about symbolic Goat meaning here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Monkey

Monkey:
This Chinese zodiac animal is one of the most versatile in the whole line-up of signs. These are the types of people you can toss on the moon with only a toothpick and a handkerchief, and they'll figure out a way to build a shopping center. The Monkey is wildly inventive, imaginative and resourceful. They're also extremely lucky - especially in money matters.

Consequently, the year of the Monkey lends itself to luck in fortune. It's also an opportunistic time, particularly in building and business growth. Maybe you have an invention you've always dreamed of patenting...the year of the Monkey is the time to do it. Say you have a hunch about investments, or business mergers - you guessed it - year of the Monkey is a prime time to take action.

Lucky Monkey's tend to know they're lucky. They just have a undercurrent of bubbliness about them. It's as if they're cares and tribulations are far, far away (maybe on the moon, tucked in the shopping center they built, lol). Perhaps knowing they're lucky gives them a carefree attitude. Perhaps they know - even in the yuckiest of times, they're luck will change for the better. If that isn't optimistic, I don't know what is. And Monkey's are optimistic. So is the year of the Monkey. This is a time to resurrect old hopes, dreams and opportunities. Dust off the ideas you cast aside, swing on the Monkey's tail and make your desires work for you once more. This is the perfect time to make it happen.

Maybe that undercurrent of giddiness comes from having a tight-knit family. Monkey signs are extremely social. Even if they don't have a biological family, they will likely have a large circle of friends that serve as family. Communication dovetails with this. If you're a Monkey sign, you can attest that most of you can talk your way out of almost anything. You've got the gift of gab. What's most important, is that you typically don't talk just to flap your lips - you usually have something valid to contribute. You often speak on behalf of the community. You feel communication is a key function of sharing, loving and giving. This is character feature in the year of the Monkey too. You will find communication is clearer and easier in these years than most. You'll also experience re-connection to family, community and social circles in the year of the Monkey.

Monkey signs are also very inquisitive. It seems almost everything holds some modicum of interest for them. As a result, these signs often have an impressive array of skills and education. With such curiosity about practically anything - it's no wonder Monkey's know a little something about everything. Word to the wise. Do not play Trivia Pursuit with a Monkey - unless you want your bum handed to you on a platter. lol. Kidding aside, the year of the Monkey is a great time to pursue new knowledge. Have you been thinking about going back to school? The year of the Monkey is the time to do it. Considering a change in vocation? The versatile, information-absorbing energy of the Monkey year can help you make the switch.

Some things to watch for: Monkey signs are so playful and so loveable - but they need to know their boundaries. Due to their penchant for luck, their gift for gab, and their intelligence...Monkey's might think they can get away with anything. In fact, a common and beloved Monkey talent is "pushing buttons". Yep, they seem to know what irks people, and if it serves their purpose, they'll push those buttons just to get a rise. But as they have such a good sense of humor, Monkey's are quite okay with being put in their place (if done in a nice way).

The year of the Monkey will have a similar flavor. You'll likely experience irritants throughout the year. Little jabby things that just won't leave you be. Perhaps you'll encounter a boss or a friend who keeps pushing the envelope, and you're just not sure how much you should allow him or her to get away with. Take a cue from the Monkey. Communicate, be intelligent about your response to these irritants, and try to have a playful attitude when finding solutions.

More about the symbolism of the Monkey here


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Rooster

Rooster:
Ever heard of the term "cock of the walk"? That's a good description of the Rooster year and sign. It's not that the Rooster is necessarily cocky (although they can be) - it merely means this sign has got a lot of self-confidence. If you've felt a little insecure in previous years - don't sweat it - the year of the Rooster will inject the boost of confidence you need.

Part of this confidence comes from a strong streak of independence and self-reliance. Roosters are "can do" people. They figure things out on their own, and execute a plan for success on the solo too. They have faith in their abilities, skills and accomplishments. They typically have a track record of doing well, and usually don't have a problem telling you about it. The year of the Rooster is a time to cockadoodle-do about your accomplishments. If you're normally tentative about tooting your own horn, the year of the Rooster will bolster your bravado.

Rooster signs take a lot of pride in themselves, their community - and particularly their territory. In fact, they can be quite possessive, and tend to get aggressive if they feel their space or property is threatened. This is a good thing to know in the year of the Rooster. This is a time to think about insuring valuables. It's a time to appreciate what you have gained in life, and see the value in your successes. It's also a time to be proud of who you are. Take pride in your family, your children, and the investments you've made in friendships and community.

Even though Roosters tend to strut their stuff, they're not all braggadocio. They actually have a soft spot, and can be surprisingly sentimental. They are also extremely protective. They'll tear down the veils of heaven and hell to protect the ones they love. Do not ever mess with a Rooster who is protecting a loved one. This fiercely protective attitude bleeds into the year of the Rooster too. I've observed this year to be one of vengeance and justice. On several occasions I've seen balance restored in righteousness established in prior wrong-doings. Justice is often served in the year of the Rooster.

More symbolic Rooster meanings here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Dog

Dog:
This Chinese zodiac animal takes trust and companionship to a whole new level. Consequently, the year of the Dog is one of understanding, faith and devotion. Dog signs see the best in people, and they take great effort in coaxing those good highlights out of people. They are always up for a good time, and enjoy making people laugh. This makes them super-fun to be with. They make excellent friends, and they are the go-to pal when you need a supportive hug or just someone to listen to your woes.

You may note that Dogs and Horses have similar attributes (friendliness, faithfulness, etc). The Dog distinguishes himself by his willingness to serve. Where the Horse is a teacher, the Dog is a servant. Now, in our modern, independent way of thinking - the idea of "servitude" may not sound all that glamorous - but let me tell you - it is. Without the tender-hearted, thoughtful nature of Dog signs, we would not have hospice, charities, soup kitchens, fund-raisers, homeless shelters...you get the idea. The world needs more compassionate Dog signs. Thankfully, the year of the Dog interjects a quality of empathy at a level that is seldom seen in other years.

I want to touch on that word "willingness". Dogs are ever-willing to fight for a cause. Dog signs act on their impulse - not because they think they should - not because it's the "right thing to do" - but because they know it's the right thing to do. They are willing to put themselves on the line for what they feel is decent, humane and honorable. Dogs often sacrifice a lot in order to stand up for their beliefs. They'll do this even when the odds seem insurmountable. Hence the term "underdog". Of all the signs in the Chinese zodiac, the Dog is the last one to compromise his morals or values. This sign will fight 'doggedly' for what he believes in.

Dog signs are also natural-born guardians. They don't take on this role in an aggressive way though. They just keep a weather eye out for their loved ones. They tend to watch from a distance...just making sure all is well...just keeping watch - like a sentinel. Of course, they can be on the attack if their loved ones are threatened, but they usually try to resolve conflict in well-mannered, intelligent ways. Dogs are slow to anger - but when they do get mad (especially on a loved one's behalf) - katy bar the door, because that dogfight's gonna get intense.

Here again - it's that "underdog" mentality. Dog signs will fight for the defenseless, the underprivileged, the misunderstood. So, it's a good thing Dogs are so even-tempered, and a very good thing they handle mistreatment with diplomacy rather than aggression.

The year of the Dog will have that same kind of advocate feel to it. Those who have no voice to speak are somehow able to get their point across in the year of the Dog. Those who cannot stand on their own, will somehow have the support they need. This year is all about acknowledging those we have forgotten, and paying mindful respect to the unspoken heroes who deserve it.

Things to watch out for: Because the Dog is super-sensitive, and ultra-concerned for the well being of others, the Dog contends with a constant element of worry. In fact, Dogs can worry so much, they'll imagine the most impossible scenarios of threat to their loved ones of areas of value. This behavior may crop up in the year of the Dog too. Be aware of nervousness or excessive worry throughout this year. If you experience that noodling concern - cull examples from your past that prove how things can work out just fine. Remind yourself that your daughter has driven that Volvo a million times, and she's come home just fine. Remind yourself that thousands of people undergo surgery every day, and they come out just fine. Remind yourself of all the times people have pulled themselves out from adversity - only to become better and stronger for the experience. You get the idea.

More Dog symbolism and meaning here.


Chinese Zodiac Animal Meaning and Year of the Boar

Pig/Boar:
This Chinese zodiac animal is renowned for sincerity and honesty. In fact, some of my Boar pals will admit - they simply can't tell a lie. They're completely transparent. The minute they try to embark on a mistruth, their facial expression gives them away, or they pour rivers of sweat, or the start fidgeting...you get the idea. They just can't mislead to save their lives. This, of course, if a very good thing.

With their sincerity, also comes a lack of ulterior motive. If you want an honest day's work, hire a Boar contractor. If you want a fair trial - pray for a Boar judge. These people walk the straight line. They have a moral compass that is unwavering in the direction of good intentions and sincerity. This transparency is distinctly seen in the year of the Boar. This is a time when long-kept secrets are revealed. This isn't a bad thing. Under the governance of the Boar, these uncovered truths are cathartic and healing.

Boars also have an element of innocence that is both charming and captivating. They see the world with childlike wonder. They have a hard time conceiving the idea there are bad people out there who enjoy doing bad things. Although they intellectually know bad people and bad stuff happens in the world - on some level, the whole idea is completely foreign to them. The cannot relate to people who or mean, or people who treat others with disrespect. In fact, they avoid these people like the plague. Good on you, Boar, good on you.

Boars are also unpretentious. They couldn't give a hoot about status, fame or accomplishments. The Boar can dress up to the nine's at a fancy dinner party - but if they run into someone who is constantly touting about their achievements - the Boar will quietly scoot away from the conversation. This action comes from a place of not requiring confirmation from others. Consequently, the Boar doesn't readily give a pat on the back to those who expect it. They just don't care about the Mazaratti in the Jones' garage. They could care less that their sister's cousin won a Grammy award. They don't care that their brother is a hot-shot Stock Market guru. To the Boar, these things are inconsequential. They don't need to prove themselves to others, and so they don't expect other people to prove themselves either.

Family and home-life, however, is huge for the Boar. Give the Boar a home and piglets to nurture, and that sign is in 'hog-heaven'. Of course, every Boar is different. Sometimes friends and co-workers are stand-in's for a family unit. What's most important to a Boar is a sense of belonging. A Boar needs to know she has a place in the world, that she is loved. Equally vital to the Boar is the ability to express love to others in an unconditional, no-strings-attached way. Because the Boar has no ulterior motive, they must have free reign to love like a child. They love fully, and with innocence. They love from a place of purity and generosity. These beautiful expression of love influence the year of the Boar. This is a time to get back in touch with the concept of unadulterated, untainted, pure love. It's a time to experience virtue, and wonder. A time to reconnect with the child within - erupt in giggles, play in the sandbox, and love with all our hearts.

Some things to be wary of: That childlike innocence is such an amazing quality. It can also be a hindrance if not balanced properly in life. The Boar can be extraordinarily sensitive. They can also be remarkably gullible. They really want to believe the best, and they invest in things with the best intentions. This quick-to-trust position often gets them in a snag with people who are eager to take advantage. This may also be a prevalent scenario in the year of the Boar. Be wary if something sounds too good to be true. Use the innate intelligence that is associated with the Boar. You have the skills to discern the truth. But sometimes you may find you want so badly to believe in the best of a person (or investment or product or whatever). Be open, retain your childlike wonder - but not to the extent you get duped.

More about symbolic Boar meaning here. And Pig symbolism can be found here.


Well, in the immortal words of Porky Pig..."Tttthat's all folks!" Actually, that's not all. There's a lot more to Chinese zodiac animals and how they influence the Chinese New Year than what I've written here. In fact, there's tons more intricacies to Chinese astrology. I highly encourage you to do more research into this fascinating realm of wisdom. You can kick off your research by checking out the links at the end of this page. You'll find related articles there, including an ancillary page on Chinese zodiac animals, yin yang meanings, and more.

Thanks for reading, and may all of your Chinese New Year's be prosperous ones.

Brightly,

Avia



An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings

Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.

This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."

Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)

As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!



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