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Year of the Dog

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"The ancient art of Chinese astrology, which predates the Western zodiac, is a detailed system of divination that has been used in the Orient for thousands of years. The depth of its wisdom, and the accuracy of its character analysis and prediction, have caught the imagination of the West in recent years and led to a rapid rise in its popularity." -from Your Chinese Horoscope 2006

In Chinese Astrology there are 12 signs named after 12 different animals. One legend says that the Buddha invited all the animals of the kingdom before him, and only 12 turned up. In gratitude, he named a year after each of the animals and those born during that year would inherit some of the personality of that animal. The first animal to arrive was the Rat, followed by Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. (In some systems, the Ox is called Buffalo or Bull, the Rabbit is called Hare or Cat, the Goat is called Sheep, and the Pig is called Boar.) Another aspect of Chinese Astrology is the five elements, which modify the traits of an animal sign: Metal, Wood, Fire, Water, and Earth.

2006 is the Year of the Dog, and according to author Neil Somerville, Dog years herald an emphasis on defense. As a result, many countries will tighten their borders and increase their security systems in 2006. Somerville also speculates that the United Nations will play a pivotal role in stabilizing troubled areas and restoring order, especially since the Dog year is a strict defender of both land and property. 2006 will also see an increase in group rallies and protests, environmental activism, and humanitarian outreaches for alleviating and preventing suffering. Materialistic culture will lessen as individuals re-evaluate their values and lifestyles, and the steady focus of the Dog will reward those who are willing to put forth some effort in their endeavors.

Your Chinese Horoscope 2006 features an overview of each primary animal personality and the five sub-personalities based on the elements, as well as their prospects for 2006. For example, the author gives an overview of the Rat, and then describes the five different types of Rat: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. An astrological forecast for both the primary animal and its sub-personalities are also given. He also provides a tip for the year and a list of famous people for each animal. Famous horses would include Harris Ford, Bob Geldof, Janet Jackson, Calvin Klein and Condoleezza Rice, while famous Roosters include Benjamin Franklin, Renee Zellweger, Priscilla Presley, Eric Clapton, and Britney Spears.

In the Appendix, advice is dispensed for each of the animals including general prospects, career prospects, finance, and relationships. There is also a chart for the relationships between the signs. The most interesting aspect of this 367-page book is the section on Ascendants. Although familiar with the Rising Sign (Ascendant) in traditional astrology, I didn't realize Chinese Astrology contained this element, as well. Somerville provides a chart based on your time of birth, and then explains how the Ascendant will modify your animal sign. For example, I'm a Metal Dog who should fare very well in a Dog year, and my Ascendant is that of the Monkey. This means that the Monkey Ascendant imparts humor and fun to the often serious and determined Dog personality-as well as making it more enterprising and outgoing.

I found Your Chinese Horoscope 2006 to be engrossing, informative, and entertaining. I highly recommend this book for those interested in annual horoscopes, as well as those who'd like to learn more about Chinese Astrology and its amazing animals.


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