The Chinese lunar calendar is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2637 B.C. when the first cycle of the zodiac was introduced. One complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five simple cycles of 12 years each. The 78th cycle started on February 1984, and will end on February 2044. Twelve animals were assigned to each of the 12 years when, according to legend, the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from Earth. Only twelve animals came to bid him farewell. As a reward he named a year after each one in the order that it arrived. First came the mouse, then the Ox, the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Thus, we have the twelve animal signs of today. The animal ruling the year in which you were born exercises a profound influence on your life. "This is the animal that hides in your heart".
In order to apply the art of Chinese horoscopes one must study the animal of the year in which he/she was born, the lunar sign that ruled the hour of birth, the moon sign that corresponds to the sun sign, the element of the year of birth and the fixed element of his/her animal sign. By integrating these factors, their attributes and the effects of positive and negative forces and all the possible combinations and variations, you will discover - if you don't already know - what hides in your heart, and the heart of others. Not only will you then understand your own total self, but you should be able to predict what you can expect from your personal and professional relationships, as well as from a given year.
It may shed light on why you dislike certain people, while with others you have an almost instant rapport. You will find signs you will be most or least likely to be compatible with. But, please bear in mind that there are bound to be exceptions depending on the sign that influences the time of your birth and the sign governing the month of your birth, too.
The section on how each sign fares in different years, as well as the marriage combinations and compatibility tables, serves as a general guide, with the supposition that we are dealing with pure of strongly dominant lunar signs. A Snake born during the hours of the Snake is a "pure" sign. A Dragon born during the hours of the Rabbit will most likely maintain his more "dominant" Dragon characteristics. But a Sheep born during the hours of the Tiger may display the "stronger" Tiger traits of his ascendant sign, and be compatible with a Dog, which would normally not be the case according to the compatibility tables. As a result, when consulting the marriage combinations and compatibility tables, it is important to keep in mind that other factors in the horoscope may affect the relationship between two signs. For instance, most people display a strong affinity for persons born in their ascendant sign, even if it is the sign most incompatible with their own birth sign. Thus, a Pig lady born during the hours of the Snake may get along very well with Snake persons, who would otherwise be anathema to a Pig.
When a person is born during the hours of the sign most incompatible with his birth sign, it is often very difficult to predict what traits will be most likely to come to the fore in him. Take, for instance, a Rooster born during the hours of the Rabbit. He may turn out to be an extremely shy Rooster secretly harboring grand designs and lofty ambitions, or a loquacious one who is shrewd, diplomatic and strictly noncommittal in spite of all the noise he makes. Needless to say, such people are usually complicated in nature and volatile in temperament. A sure way to determine which sign dominates such a person is to observe the lunar signs of the people he prefers to work with or finds himself attracted to.