Zodiac or star signs have become part and parcel of our culture and we’re all familiar with the traditional Western zodiac signs that relate to the four elements:
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.
Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.
Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.
Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.
But these are just one of a myriad of zodiac signs that are recognised around the world, and by different cultures.
The Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese Zodiac is probably the most well-known “alternative” zodiac sign, which, instead of relating to the month you were born, assigns you a sign based on the year you were born. The twelve zodiacs are made up of twelve different animals which correspond with specific years. You can see a few examples below (you can find your specific Chinese Zodiac animal by having a quick look online):
Rat: 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Ox: 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
Tiger: 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Rabbit: 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Dragon: 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Snake: 1977, 1989, 2001
Horse: 1978, 1990, 2002
Goat: 1979, 1991, 2003
Monkey: 1980, 1992, 2004
Rooster: 1981, 1993, 2005
Dog: 1982, 1994, 2006
Pig: 1983, 1995, 2007
Like our Western zodiac, different signs in the Chinese zodiac are associated with particular personality traits but it is also a lot more complicated than ours. Each year alternates between a yin and yang year whilst simultaneously cycling through the five elements: earth, metal, water, wood and fire.
So for example, a horse sign may be a yin earth horse or a yang fire horse.
One thing the Chinese zodiac is said to represent is love compatibility. Two peoples signs can determine whether or not they are a good love match and whether their relationship will last. A person with a horse sign for example, is best matched with a tiger, goat or dog but should stay away from a rat, ox, rabbit or another horse.
Another trait of the Chinese zodiac is that it is bad luck when your year comes around. However, you can ward off this bad luck by receiving something red from a relative.
The Hindu Zodiac
The Hindu Zodiac is the mainstream zodiac in India and is actually quite close to our own Western zodiac. For example, Meṣa is the ram and falls within the fire element which would correspond with Aries.
However, the Hindus have very different, and very specific meanings and attributes to each sign:
Meṣa (ram) – round eyes, mysterious, sexy
Vṛṣabha (bull) – strong thighs, happier in mid life, selfless
Mithuna (twins) – dancer, indulgent, indoor person
Karkaṭa (girl) – opportunist, drooping shoulders
Tulā (balance) – argumentative, brave
Vṛścika (scorpion) – honourable, sickly child, lotus marks on feet
Dhanus (bow) – short, hardworking, kind
Makara (sea monster) – lucky, shameless, sometimes lazy
Kumbha (pitcher) – voracious, eager, not great with money, lover of perfume
Mīna (fish) – bookish, loyal to spouse, lucky, intakes a lot of water
The zodiac is referred to as Jyotish in Indian which translates as “science of light.” It is named this because it is the science of observing celestial bodies which influence us and events due to the light and energy which is reflected upon the earth.
There are three factions of the Hindu Zodiac:
Siddhānta – refers to astronomy
Saṁhitā – used to predict events and details the best times to undertake certain activities such as moving jobs or building a house
Horā – detailed predictions
The Celtic Zodiac
The format of the Celtic Zodiac is the same as ours in that every sign is associated with your date of birth. However, the Celtic Zodiac assigns trees to each sign. It is based on the studying Robert Graves did on the ancient Celtic text called Ogham and it is said that you can tap into the knowledge of your specific tree which can help form your personality.
Which tree sign are you?
Birch – The Achiever (24 Dec – 20 Jan)
Commander, motivator of others, ambitious, tough
Rowan – The Thinker (21 Jan – 17 Feb)
Philosophical, visionary, cool demeanor, creative, influential
Ash – The Enchanter (18 Feb – 17 Mar)
Free-thinking, imaginative, highly artistic, quietly confident
Alder – The Trailblazer (18 Mar – 14 Apr)
Passionate, confident, doer, focused, hates wastefulness
Willow – The Observer (15 Apr – 12 May)
Highly creative, intuitive, realistic, patient, perceptive, reserved
Hawthorn – The Illusionist (13 May – 9 June)
Creative, adaptable, curious, humorous, listener
Oak – The Stabiliser (10 June – 7 July)
Strong, social, nurturing, knowledgeable
Holly – The Ruler (8 July – 4 Aug)
Regal, noble, high-minded, intelligent, confident, generous
Hazel – The Knower (5 Aug – 1 Sept)
Highly intelligent, organized, efficient, detail oriented, controlling
Vine – The Equaliser (2 Sept – 29 Sept)
Unpredictable, charming, refined, indecisive
Ivy – The Superior (30 Sept – 27 Oct)
Sharp intellect, witty, enduring, charismatic, soulful
Reed – The Inquisitor (28 Oct – 24 Nov)
Story-lover, honourable, truthfinder, talkative
Elder – The Seeker (25 Nov – 23 Dec)
Wild, thoughtful, thrill-seeker, honest, considerate
Who knew there were so many star signs and zodiacs to consider?