In Chinese Astrology there are twelve animal signs and five elements.
The animal signs are:
The main element for each animal sign, polarity, and hidden element are:
Rat - Water - Yin - no hidden element
Ox - Earth- Yin - hidden element Yin Water, Yin Metal
Tiger - Wood - Yang - hidden element Yang Fire, Yang Earth
Rabbit - Wood - Yin - no hidden element
Dragon - Earth - Yang - hidden element Yin Wood, Yin Water
Snake - Fire- Yang - hidden element Yang Earth, Yang Metal
Horse - Fire - Yin - hidden element Yin Earth
Sheep/ Ram/ Goat - Earth - Yin - hidden element Yin Fire, Yin Wood
Monkey - Metal - Yang - hidden element Yang Earth, Yang Water
Rooster - Metal - Yin - no hidden element
Dog - Earth - Yang - hidden element Yin Metal, Yin Fire
Pig - Water- Yang - hidden element Yang Wood
In Chinese Astrology it takes twelve years for the animal zodiac to cycle back around, and each twelve years the animal zodiac then moves into another element. It takes 60 years for the animal zodiac to cycle back around to the original element. The animal signs express through the main element and polarity, but also have an the added influence of the element and polarity of the year it is transiting through.
Water: North - Dark Blue/ Black - Winter - Cold
Water Element Archetype: The Philosopher and Thinker/Innovation Water is yin/feminine in character, its energy is downward and its motion is stillness and conserving.
In Chinese Taoist thought, water is representative of intelligence and wisdom, flexibility, softness and pliancy; however, an over-abundance of the element is said to cause difficulty in choosing something and sticking to it. In the same way, Water can be fluid and weak, but can also wield great power when it floods and overwhelms the land.
When your Water Element is in balance, you use your resources of energy, time, contacts, and money wisely, neither hoarding nor squandering that which gives you life. Water is also the element of stillness and rest, taking time to rest and rejuvenate yourself. It is in the Water element that all great innovations and ideas are birthed.
Water type people appear a bit reserved, yet are often very creative, sometimes even eccentric. They can appear cool and stoic, yet have the capacities to be still and deeply reflect. The negative emotion associated with water is fear, while the positive emotion is calmness.
Wood: East - Forest Green - Spring - Wind
Wood Element Archetype: The Pioneer and Strategist/Directing It is yang/masculine in character. The predominant attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of generosity and idealism. One quality of the Wood element is leadership. It is the leader within us, that can take charge and determine a plan of action. The wood is one that seeks always to grow and expand. Wood heralds the beginning of life, springtime and buds, sensuality and fecundity.
Wood type people are often aggressive or assertive, direct, and can have a strong temper and a lot of drive. They are usually outgoing and socially conscious and can be insensitive. The Wood element is associated with negative feelings of anger, and positive feelings of patience and altruism.
Fire: South - Red/ Dark Pink- Summer - Heat
Fire Element Archetype: The Wizard and Socializer/Marketing Fire is yang/masculine in character, its direction is upward and its energy is expansive. In Chinese thought Fire is associated with the qualities of dynamism, strength and persistence; however, it is also connected to restlessness. The fire element provides, warmth, enthusiasm and creativity, however an excess of it can bring aggression, impatience and impulsive behavior. In the same way, fire provides heat and warmth, however an excess can also burn. Fire is the Element responsible for the passionate resonance when you are following your life's calling. It is the joy and laughter associated with playfulness. Fire type people are charming, fun, mischievous, easily excitable, and change emotional states rapidly. They love change, bright colors and environments that stimulate.The negative emotion is hate, while its positive emotion is joy.
Earth: Center - Golden Yellow - every third month - Dampness
Earth Element Archetype: The Mediator and Peacemaker/Human Resources Earth is a balance of both yin and yang, the feminine and masculine together. Its motion is inward and centering, and its energy is stabilizing and conserving. It is associated with the turn of each of the seasons and with damp. In Chinese thought Earth is associated with the qualities of patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, hard work and stability. The earth element is also nurturing and seeks to draw all things together with itself, in order to bring harmony, rootedness and stability. Other attributes of the earth element include ambition, stubbornness, responsibility and long-term planning. On the shadow side, the earth element can represent selfishness and self-centeredness. Earth type people are usually warm, kind and supportive. They can be overprotective and tend to merge with their environment, having difficulties with boundaries. The negative emotion of the Earth element is worry and its positive emotion is empathy.
Metal: West - White - Autumn - Dryness
Metal Element Archetype: The Alchemist and Judge/Organizing Metal is yin/feminine in character, its motion is inwards and its energy is contracting.Metal represents the minerals, crystals, and gems of the world. The metal aspect is the diamond found within each one of us. It is similar to the Air Element found in western paradigms. The Metal Element is the breath of life. When you are connected to that experience, you know your own self-worth. You respect others and yourself; you are willing to give and receive acknowledgment for the magnificent being that you are. The qualities associated with metal are unyieldingness, rigidity, persistence, strength and determination. Metal type people like minimalism. They are organized, clean, and contained. They can be controlling, ambitious, forceful and set in their ways as metal is very strong; and they are self-reliant and prefer to handle their problems alone.The negative emotion associated with metal is grief, while the positive emotion is courage.
The Formation of the Theory of Yin and Yang
Yin and yang was originally included in the category of the ancient philosophy of China. At first, yin and yang meant whether a place faces the sun or not. The place being exposed to the sun is yang, whereas the place not having a southern exposure is yin. The southern side of a mountain, for example, is yang, while the northern side of it is yin subsequently, through long-term living, practice and observation of every kind of natural phenomenon, people have come to realize that yin and yang, the two components which oppose each other, exist in all things, and that, furthermore, their interaction promotes the occurrence, development and transformation of things. In consequence yin and yang is used as the means of reasoning things out in analyzing all the phenomena in the natural world. "Lao Zi", a philosophical work written in ancient China, says: "All things on earth carry yin on their backs and hold yang in their arms." That is, each thing contains the two components of yin and yang. "Zhou yi", also an ancient philosophical work, draws from the complicated natural and social phenomena the same two philosophical concepts, yin and yang, whose symbols are (- -) and (-), and advocates yin and yang as the "Dao" (the basic law in the natural world) of the heaven and earth, that is, to consider the transformation of yin and yang into each other as the basic law in the universe. The impact of yin and yang theory on the science of traditioanal Chinese medicine (TCM) has promoted the formation and development of TCM's own theoretical system and, finally it, itself, becomes an important component part of the classic theory of TCM.
The Content of the Theory of Yin and Yang
The content of the theory of yin and yang can be described briefly as follows: opposition, interdependence, relative waxing and waning, and transformation.
1) Opposition and Interdependence of Yin and Yang
By the opposition of yin and yang, we mean all things and phenomena in the natural world contain the two opposite components. For example, the heaven and earth, outside and in-side, movement and stability, coming in and going out, day and night, cold and heat, rising and falling, etc., all these are opposites. In the theory of yin and yang, the heaven is considered as yang, while the earth is yin; outside is yang, while inside is yang; movement is yang, while stability is yin; going out is yang while coming in is yin; day is yang, while night is yin; heat is yang, while cold is yin; rising is yang, while falling is yin; rapid pulse is yang, while slow pulse is yin. These opposite pairs show that yin and yang exist within all things and phenomena. yin and yang not only oppose but also contain each other, without the other, neither can exist. For instance, there would be no earth without heaven1 and vice versa. Without outside, there would be no inside, and vice versa. This relationship of coexistence is known as interdepencence. TCM holds that "functional movement" belongs to yang, "nourishing substance" to yin, and that the one can not exist without the other; for example, if the intestines and other internal organs do not move, "nourishing substance" can not be digested or absorbed; and if over a long period "nourishing substances" are not provided, the organs cease to move. The book, Canon of Medicine (722-221 B.C.), says: "yin in the interior is the guardian of yang, yang in the exterior is the activator of yin". This also shows the relationship of interdependence between yin and yang.
2) The Waxing and Waning of Yin and Yang, and the Transformation between Yin and Yang
What is meant by the waxing and waning of yin and yang? Yin and yang opposing each other and yet depending on each other for existence, are not stagnant but in a dynamic state, i.e., while yin wanes, yang waxes, and vice versa. This dynamic change of succeeding each other between yin and yang is known as the waxing and waning of yin and yang. Take the seasonal climatic variations in the natural world for example. The weather gets warm when winter gives way to spring, and hot when spring gives way to summer, during which time yin wanes, while yang waxes. However, it gets cool when autumn replaces summer, and cold when winter replaces autumn in which time yang wanes, but yin waxes.
By "transformation" we mean yin and yang will transform into each other under certain conditions. For instance, in the course of suffering from a disease, the patient runs a high fever, has a red complexion, feels irritable and restless, and gets into a rapid and strong pulse condition. But all of a sudden, he feels listless, his temperature becomes lower, his face turns pale, and his pulse condition becomes so fine that the pulse is almost cut off. This is an example of transformation between yin and yang. The general law according to which things are distinguished into yin or yang is as follows. All that are hyperfunctional, excited, hot, moving, strong, bright, invisible. Light and clear, up and upwards, out and outwards, and all that have active specific characteristics belong to yang. On the contrary, all that are waning, restricted, cold, weak, dark, visible, heavy and turbid, down and downwards, in and inwards and all that have inactive specific characteristics belong to yin. It should be pointed out that the yin or yang property of things is not absolute but relative. This relativity of yin and yang is shown in the intertransformation between yin and yang mentioned above, i.e., yin may transform into yang and vice versa; it is also shown in the constant divisibility of yin and yang, i.e., either yin or yang can be still divided into another pair of yin and yang. For instance, day is of yang nature and night is of yin nature, but both day and night can be again divided like this: the period from dawn till noon is the yang aspect of yang; the period from noon till dusk is the yin aspect of yang; the period from dusk till midnight is the yin aspect of yin; the period from midnight till dawn is the yang aspect of yin.