Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

year of the rat

Today's the first day of the year of the rat, the first of the twelve animal symbols in the Chinese horoscope. Not that I put much faith in these things, but I do like that the Chinese named their signs after animals, not deities. I learned this horoscope when my father was stationed in Japan, and we military brats took required courses in Japanese Culture, which included Chinese astrology.

Being the first sign, the RAT reportedly likes to be first in everything, so she is a natural leader and innovator. She has energy and charm, but tends to seek control, to manipulate others, and to exploit situations for everything they're worth. The rat year is usually associated with both material prosperity and war or other atrocities, so it's safe to say most of 2008 is going to be a mixed bag.

As one might guess, the OX is a strong, hard worker, ever dependable, ever sincere. Unfortunately, he is slow to try new things and tends to have little imagination and hardly any sense of irony, though these deficiencies do not mean the ox is necessarily dumb, cliche notwithstanding.

The TIGER is magnetic and authoritative, with a penchant for spontaneity and adventure. Her enthusiasm can be a bit exhausting to those around her, and she can unintentionally maul you while merely wanting to play--so let the weak beware. Needless to say, you most definitely will not want to push her into a corner.

The RABBIT is detail-oriented and conservative, with a tendency towards perfectionism. He avoids risks and always chooses to be safe rather than sorry. Fairly conventional in his tastes and traditional in his life style, he is a sentimentalist, who likes everything to be "just so."

The DRAGON is flamboyant and charismatic. Supremely self-confident, she is also a caring, generous friend, in a time of need. However, she has little patience with ineptitude or weakness. And her natural megalomania inhibits her ability to comprehend why everyone is not exactly as she is.

The SNAKE, my own sign (born 1953), is a lover of provocative conversation, but easily bored with small talk. He is a bon vivant, a lover of beauty and luxury, who either attracts money or doesn't need it and either attracts friends or doesn't want them. His mind is analytical, but he is easily distracted and stubbornly resistant to criticism.

The HORSE is independent and intuitive. She is someone people like to confide in, even though she cannot keep a secret--not out of malice, but out of sheer enthusiasm and high spirits. She likes being center of attention. Her rambunctious nature too often leads her to fall in love (repeatedly) with the worst person for her.

The SHEEP is artistic or mechanical and naturally fashionable (wool is always "in"). He seeks approval from others, so he is sheepishly unwilling to break from the herd and stand up for an unpopular position which may alienate him from others. He also tends to control the conversation and overstay his welcome as a guest.

The MONKEY, unsurprisingly, is witty and mischievous. She goes with the flow and is flexible to the point of being unprincipled. She knows how to keep a secret, though. But she is vengeful and petty--a difficult pet to domesticate, she throws an awful lot of shit around.

The ROOSTER is feisty and obsessed with keeping up his appearance. He is romantic, extroverted, and courageous, a real party animal. Flattery is his Achilles' heel, as he never tires of hearing how great he is, and his admirers may find it fairly easy to manipulate him.

The DOG is a frisky and loyal friend. She is generous, affectionate, and straightforward. She does not hide her feelings. Unfortunately, she can be a bitch, too, quick tempered, self righteous, and territorial. She also tends to worry too much, and she seems to thrive on her own neuroses and anxieties.

The PIG is honest and straightforward, too. A bit shy, he makes friends slowly, but he gets acquainted with you, he is easy going and quietly affectionate. He tends to be materialistic, though, and spends money like there's no tomorrow. He's also a bit naive and simple, so sophisticated humor usually goes right over his head.

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