The Chinese Zodiac

According to the Chinese system of Astrology, the year of birth indicates a certain phase or aspect of a sixty-year cycle of time.

Three systems are used for counting and classifying the years:
The ten Heavenly Stems, the twelve Earthly Branches and the twelve Animals. The exact origins of the twelve animal system remain unknown. However, legend has it that, once upon a time, the Jade King was bored, having nothing to do in Heaven. He did not see what was happening on Earth, as he had servants satiating his every wish and desire.
He decided that he wanted to see the animals that inhabited the earth so he sent word to his advisors to bring him twelve animals (which he considered to be a good sampling.) The advisor first sent an invitation to the rat, telling him to also bring the cat.
The rat's jealousy prevented the cat from actually receiving the invitation.
Further invitations were sent on to the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the ram, the monkey, the rooster and the dog, asking for their presence at the palace the following day.
When they lined up in front of the king, he found that they numbered only eleven, instead of twelve as he had requested. The king sent his servant down to Earth to retrieve a twelfth animal.
The servant ran into a man carrying a pig, and he hastily grabbed it and delivered it to the king.
The animals stood in front of the king in no particular order. The rat, being smaller than the rest, hopped on the ox's back and proceeded to play the flute.
The king was very impressed by this display. He gave the rat first place. Second place was given to the ox for its good sportsmanship, and third was given to the tiger, who appeared so courageous.
The rabbit was given fourth place, the dragon fifth, the snake sixth, the horse seventh, the ram eighth, the monkey ninth, the rooster tenth and the dog eleventh. By default, and due to the king's just nature, twelfth place went to the pig.
After the ceremony concluded, the cat (who missed the invitation) begged the king to reconsider. but he was told it was too late.

RAT
The Chinese Zodiac The Rat

Ranking order : First
Hours ruled by the RAT : 11pm - 1am
Direction of its sign : Directly North
Season and principal month : Winter December
Corresponds to Western sign : Sagittarius
Fixed Element : Water
Stem : Positive

OX
The Chinese Zodiac The Ox

Ranking order : Second
Hours ruled by the OX : 1 am - 3 am
Direction of its sign : North-Northeast
Season and principal month : Winter-January
Corresponds to Western sign : Capricorn
Fixed Element : Water
Stem : Negative

TIGER
The Chinese Zodiac The Tiger

Ranking order : Third
Hours ruled by the TIGER : 3 am - 5 am
Direction of its sign : East-Northeast
Season and principal month : Winter-February
Corresponds to Western sign : Aquarius
Fixed Element : Wood
Stem : Positive

RABBIT
Chinese Zodiac Rabbit

Ranking order : Fourth
Hours ruled by the RABBIT : 5 am - 7 am
Direction of its sign : Directly East
Season and principal month : Spring - March
Corresponds to Western sign : Pisces
Fixed Element : Wood
Stem : Negative

DRAGON
The Chinese Zodiac The Dragon

Ranking order : Fifth
Hours ruled by the DRAGON : 7 am - 9 am
Direction of its sign : East-Southeast
Season and principal month : Spring - April
Corresponds to Western sign : Aries
Fixed Element : Wood
Stem : Positive

SNAKE
The Chinese Zodiac The Snake

Ranking order : Sixth
Hours ruled by the SNAKE : 9 am - 11 am
Direction of its sign : South - Southeast
Season and principal month : Spring - May
Corresponds to Western sign : Taurus
Fixed Element : Fire
Stem : Negative

HORSE
The Chinese Zodiac The Horse

Ranking order : Seventh
Hours ruled by the HORSE : 11 am - 1 pm
Direction of its sign : Directly South
Season and principal month : Summer - June
Corresponds to Western sign : Gemini
Fixed Element : Fire
Stem : Positive

GOAT
The Chinese Zodiac The Goat

Ranking order : Eighth
Hours ruled by the GOAT : 1 pm - 3 pm
Direction of its sign : South - Southwest
Season and principal month : Summer - July
Corresponds to Western sign : Cancer
Fixed Element : Fire
Stem : Negative

MONKEY
The Chinese Zodiac The Monkey

Ranking order : Ninth
Hours ruled by the MONKEY : 3 pm - 5 pm
Direction of its sign : West - Southwest
Season and principal month : Summer - August
Corresponds to Western sign : Leo
Fixed Element : Metal
Stem : Positive

ROOSTER / CHICKEN
The Chinese Zodiac The Rooster

Ranking order : Tenth
Hours ruled by the ROOSTER : 5 pm - 7 pm
Direction of its sign : Directly West
Season and principal month : Autumn - September
Corresponds to Western sign : Virgo
Fixed Element : Metal
Stem : Negative

DOG
The Chinese Zodiac The Dog

Ranking order : Eleventh
Hours ruled by the DOG : 7 pm - 9 pm
Direction of its sign : West - Northwest
Season and principal month : Autumn - October
Corresponds to Western sign : Libra
Fixed Element : Metal
Stem : Positive

PIG
The Chinese Zodiac The Pig

Ranking order : Twelfth
Hours ruled by the PIG : 9 pm - 11 pm
Direction of its sign : North -Northwest
Season and principal month : Autumn - November
Corresponds to Western sign : Scorpio
Fixed Element : Water
Stem : Negative