How to Find Your Sign in Chinese Astrology

While most of us are familiar with our star sign in Western astrology such as Aries or Sagittarius, it isn’t the only system around the world.  Chinese astrology is a comprehensive system that allocates a sign for the year as well as the month and uses animals rather than the symbols that western astrology uses.  But how do you find your sign in Chinese astrology?

Understanding Chinese astrology signs

Like western astrology, the Chinese zodiac is made up from 12 signs but that’s pretty much where the similarities end!  In Chinese astrology, there are 12 signs that are associated with a year on a 12-year repeating cycle.  They are also assigned to the month, known as inner animals, the day of the month, known as true animals and even the hours, known as secret animals.

sign in chinese astrology
By Jakub Hałun (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The twelve animals are:

  • Rat – Yang, 1st Trine, Water
  • Ox – Yin, 2nd Trine, Earth
  • Tiger – Yang, 3rd Trine Wood
  • Rabbit – Yin, 4th Trine, Wood
  • Dragon – Yang, 1st Trine, Earth
  • Snake – Yin, 2nd Trine, Fire
  • Horse – Yang, 3rd Trine, Fire
  • Goat – Yin, 4th Trine, Earth
  • Monkey – Yang, 1st Trine, Metal
  • Rooster – Yin, 2nd Trine, Metal
  • Dog – Yang, 3rd Trine, Earth
  • Pig – Yin, 4th Trine, Water

The four animal trines

Most of us will have encountered the idea of Yin and Yang, the opposites of the world.  But what about trines?  Another element of the Chinese astrology chart is the four animal trines – each of these having a set of characteristics associated with them.

The 1st Trine is that of the rat, dragon and monkey.  People born under these signs are intense and powerful characters who make great leaders but can also be a bit unpredictable.  Their good traits including being intelligent and magnanimous, charming and confident with artistic skills and great eloquence.  Their negative traits can be that they can be manipulative, jealous, aggressive or deceitful.

The 2nd Trine is that of the ox, snake and rooster and are people who have endurance and application in their life, meticulous planners who can sometimes be held back by fixed ideas.  They are hard-working and modest people who are very loyal, patients and morally strong but can fall into being self-righteous, narrow minded or vain.

The 3rd Trine is of the tiger, horse and dog and are those who are very idealistic but also impulsive.  They are very dynamic and honourable, loyal and protective or others but this can lead to being rash and quarrelsome, anxious or stubborn.

The 4th Trine contains the rabbit, goat and pig and these are the calmest people who take an intellectual approach to matters.  They tend to be compassionate and well-mannered but can become detached and resigned to their lives.  They are caring, obliging, creative and empathetic as well as tactful but this can also lead to being naïve, pedantic, insecure or indecisive.

Finding your sign in Chinese astrology

As you can see, the Chinese astrology chart is a bit more complicated than the western one.  To start with, you need to know the year you were born in to find your animal for your year.  As the cycle goes over 12 years, it is easy to work out or there is a full chart here.  Recent examples include:

  • Feb 8th 2016 – Jan 27th 2017 = Monkey
  • Feb 19th 2015 – Feb 7th 2016 = Goat
  • Jan 31st 2014 – Feb 18th 2015 = Horse
  • Feb 10th 2013 – Jan 30th 2014 = Snake
  • Jan 23rd 2012 – Feb 9th 2013 = Dragon
signs in chinese astrology

Next up is finding out the month and its animal, probably the nearest the system has the western astrology signs.  However, the months don’t quite line up with our months:

Lunar monthsElementGregorian date (Western calendar)Approximate Western sign (overlaps with next sign)
1st TigerWoodFeb 4th– Mar 5thAquarius
2nd RabbitWoodMar 6th –Apr 4thPisces
3rd DragonEarthApr 5th –May 4thAries
4th SnakeFireMay 5th –Jun 5thTaurus
5th HorseFireJun 6th –Jul 6thGemini
6th GoatEarthJul 7th – Aug 6thCancer
7th MonkeyMetalAug 7th – Sept 7thLeo
8th RoosterMetalSept 8th – Oct 7thVirgo
9th DogEarthOct 8th – Nov 6thLibra
10th PigWaterNov 7th – Dec 6thScorpio
11th RatWaterDec 7th – Jan 5thSagittarius
12th OxEarthJan 6th – Feb 3rdCapricorn

For me, I was born on April 9th 1980 so my Chinese zodiac animal for the year is Monkey and the animal for the month would be the Dragon.  You can go further and work out by the hours as well, if you know the hours of your birth.

Chinese astrology gemstones

Like our own months and zodiac signs in the west, there are Chinese astrology gemstones that associated a particular stone with each of the signs.  This means if you want to buy someone a piece of jewellery that is associated with their birth sign under Chinese astrology, then these would be the ones to focus on:

  • Rat – emerald, diamond, amethyst, garnet
  • Horse – topaz, amethyst, turquoise, onyx, obsidian, garnet, emerald
  • Ox – lapis lazuli, jadeite, emerald, moss agate, moonstone, cat’s eye
  • Goat – moonstone, sapphire, jadeite, amber, carnelian
  • Tiger – ruby, diamond, cat’s eye, amethyst, topaz
  • Monkey – tiger’s eye, rock crystal, aquamarine, ruby, garnet, heliotrope, topaz, agate
  • Rabbit – sapphire, rock crystal, emerald, topaz, nephrite, pearl
  • Rooster – topaz, diamond, ruby, amethyst, alexandrite, tourmaline, agate
  • Dragon – ruby, opal, sapphire, amber
  • Dog – moonstone, carnelian, jasper, pearl, amber, sapphire
  • Snake – opal, topaz, turquoise, jasper, bloodstone
  • Pig – moonstone, lapis lazuli, coral, beryl

As you can see there are lots of different ideas – some of these perhaps have come from overlaps with other astrology systems as stones not native to China were brought to the country.  But you can use the gemstone to associated with the year or the month the person was born.  So, someone born in 1988 would be a Dragon and you could pick one of those stones or if they were born on November 22nd, they would be a Pig month sign and you could go with one of those.


There’s a lot more to finding your sign in Chinese astrology than in western systems but also a lot more layers to include.  There is also the whole matter of Chinese astrology compatibility but as we are more into jewellery here than dating advice, we won’t go into that!

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