There are many systems of Chinese Astrology that is used to tell a person’s character and traits as well as luck throughout his or her lifetime.
The most commonly known one is the 12 Animals Zodiac where you may be a pig, dog, rooster etc depending on your year of birth.
Under this system, your character is somewhat similar to the animal sign. For example, if you are born in the year of the rat, then you may be smart and cunning. If you are born in the year of the Ox then you may be hard working and stubborn like the ox and so on. In addition your fortune will fluctuate for better or for worst depending on the animal sign of the current year. For example the ox forms a combination with the snake and rooster as well as the rat. Hence Snake, Rooster and Rat are supposedly good for you.
If you carry out a study you will realize that this system is not always accurate. The primary reason is that this system is highly simplified as it only takes the animal (or earthly branch) sign into consideration.
More advanced systems of Chinese Astrology such as Ba Zi (Eight Characters or Four Pillars of Destiny) and Zi Wei Dou Shu (Purple Star Astrology or Emperor Astrology) takes into consideration the month, day and time of birth as well and yield a much more accurate and individualized reading!
There are other comparable systems of Chinese Astrology but they are not as well known as Ba Zi of Zi Wei.
In addition to the 12 Animals Zodiac, there are two other simplified systems of Chinese Astrology that is found in the Tong Shu or Chinese Almanac. They are the Emperor’s Poem of the Four Season and Weight of Bones.
The Emperor’s Poem takes the season and hour of birth to give a reading in the form of a Poem. The Weight of Bones system assigns a weight to each of the year, month, day and hour of birth. The individual weights are added together and a reading is given for the combined weight. Heavier is better!
There are two popular Chinese Calendar system, one based on the moon called the Lunar Calendar and the other based on the sun, knows as the solar or Hsia Calendar. The systems mentioned above uses one of the above calendar system and you must be careful not be mix them up. For example Ba Zi and Emperor’s Poem uses the Chinese Solar Calendar while Zi Wei and Weight of Bones uses the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
What about the 12 Animals Zodiac? There is some disagreement but most practitioners use the Chinese Solar Calendar.