As 1.4 billion people on the planet get ready to welcome the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Lunar calendar, we asked local expert in Chinese astrology, Jill Lander of Golden Elements Consulting, about the origin and meaning of the Chinese Zodiac and what to expect from all the sweet new babies being born in the Year of the Rooster. 

What is Feng Shui and how is it related to the Chinese Zodiac?

Feng Shui is the art of ‘harnessing’ Earth's luck. It is based on the Five Elements theory, how we are all made up of the five elements of FIRE – EARTH – METAL – WATER & WOOD. What we have too much or too little of at any stage will determine the productive and disruptive periods of our lives.

The Chinese Zodiac is based on the Yin-Yang and the Five Elements theory. The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac likely developed in the early stage of Chinese civilisation over hundreds of years until it become the current edition. It’s very hard to investigate the real origin of the Zodiac. One clue on which most historians agree is that the Cat is not in the list of 12 animals because the Chinese Zodiac was formed before cats were introduced to China from India through Buddhism.

What inspired you to study Feng Shui? 

Dragons, mountains, rivers and castles have been a part of my life since birth, having been born and raised in one of England’s most historic medieval towns on the Shropshire Welsh border. So its not surprising I was attracted to similar powerful energies once I moved to Hong Kong where I have lived for 40 years. I trained with some of the greatest and most generous Feng Shui masters for over 4 years of intense study and feel blessed to be able to live a lifestyle that balances my Western roots and Eastern life.


 How is the Chinese Zodiac organized? Can you give us the basics? 

There are a variety of folk stories which tells of how the Chinese zodiac came into being, the most famous being that of the Jade Emperor. The Jade Emperor decreed that the years of the calendar would be named for each animal in the order they arrived to the meeting. Cat and Rat decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of Ox. Being naïve and good-natured, the Ox agreed to carry them both across. Midway across the river, the Rat pushed the Cat into the water. Then as the Ox neared the other side of the river, the Rat jumped off and reached the shore first. So he claimed first place in the competition and the zodiac. Following closely behind was the strong Ox who was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac.



After the Ox, came the Tiger, panting, while explaining to the Jade Emperor how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with its powerful strength, the Tiger made it to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle. Suddenly from a distance came a thumping sound and the Rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race, but the Rabbit was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the 4th animal in the Zodiac cycle.

In 5th place was the Flying Dragon. Of course, the Jade Emperor was deeply curious as to why a swift flying creature such as the Dragon should fail to reach first place. The mighty Dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, and therefore he was held back. Then, on his way to the finish, he saw a little helpless Rabbit clinging onto a log so he did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Jade Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the Dragon, and he was added into the zodiac cycle. As soon as he had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the Horse appeared. Hidden on the Horse's hoof was the Snake, whose sudden appearance gave the Horse a fright making it fall back and giving the Snake the 6th spot. The Horse was placed 7th. Not long after that, a little distance away, the Goat, Monkey, and Rooster came to the shore. These three creatures helped each other to get to the shore through a calculated strategy of mutual benefit. The Rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the Goat and the Monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore.  This awesome threesome are strong astrological allies, even in today’s forecasts. Because of their combined efforts, the Emperor was very pleased and promptly named the Goat as the 8th creature, the Monkey as the 9th, and the Rooster the 10th.

The 11th animal was the Dog. Although he was supposed to be the best swimmer, he could not resist the temptation to play a little longer in the river. His explanation for being late was because he needed a good bath, for that reason, he almost didn't make it to the finish line. Just as the Jade Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little Pig.

The Pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the Pig continued the race and was so named the 12th animal of the zodiac cycle. The Cat being pushed off the Ox’s back by the rat finally made it to shore in 13th place, thus not making it into the zodiac and making the cat and mouse rivals in many stories to this day!

What year is this in the Chinese Zodiac calendar?

2017 will be the Fire Rooster Year. The Rooster is the 10th sign of the Chinese zodiac and Fire is the Element. It is meant to be a year of favourable wealth and romance luck. As long as you are willing to strive, you will be presented with abundant opportunities. However as in all things in life, there are two sides to every coin, resulting in "money-traps" and a lust for power and fame. As the saying goes: "if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is" so stay alert and discerning of what is legitimate and that what is not. To quote an ancient proverb that I feel is very appropriate for the energy of 2017: "Stand like the pine, sit like a bell, move like the wind, sleep like a bow" which illustrates the righteous way to live life. We should aim to conduct ourselves in an upright, dignified and abiding manner. 

No matter what your animal sign, if you want wealth luck in 2017 you should activate and enhance the fire element. Do this by placing a light at your main entrance and make sure it is very bright. This will help increase prosperity luck for everyone in the household! 

What kind of personality traits are Rooster babies known to have?

A child’s astrological sign determines their general personality and determines their compatibility and interaction with others.

Rooster babes are considered self–starters. They become good students and are fast learners so rooster babies pick things up super-quick. They love the sense of touch and have a high vibration to sound and light. As they develop, they will become fast learners and industrious little souls, loving to be busy and able to multi task with self-generated zeal. They are a joy to be around and to teach as they will be alert and intelligent. Attention to detail is all important to them. They will love to read and to be read to with an amazing imagination which could interrupt the best of bed time stories. They will like order and as such be generally neat and tidy little individuals.

When considering decorating a child’s room using Feng Shui principles, it is important to determine the child’s personal element (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water or Wood) which can have a great impact on what choice of colours and murals to use. One of my clients created an ocean themed room (water element) for her son only to find he wouldn’t sleep well and was constantly disturbed. After engaging in a Feng Shui consultation she gradually changed the room to a jungle theme (wood element) which was much more conducive for the child and he now sleeps well and enjoys spending more time with his friends in his room rather than turning the lounge into the playroom!

When aligning a babes crib or child’s bed, the most important factor is to align the head towards their most supportive direction, which is determined by the gender and birth year. In some cases this has been an easy solution to help calm an anxious child who doesn’t sleep through the night using their special Feng Shui birth chart.

What advice would you give to parents of Rooster babies?

    Your rooster babe will be demanding, so patience will be required – but in return you will receive an abundance of love and joy. Their demands will be necessary as they will not be one to cry for nothing so if they do react to anything, take note as there will be a reason for them attracting attention. Rooster babes love to sleep so you may look forward to being able to set a good routine soon after being home. As your child develops, you may have to witness them setting their own levels of safety as their determination to explore (usually with some element of risk) will be difficult to control. They will be stubborn and need to set their own boundaries of safety. Rooster children develop quicker by a few falls and grazes as only then do they learn and develop a sense of danger.

    Did you enjoy this blog? You'd also enjoy subscribing to our newsletter! We send 2-3 interesting and helpful articles a month about raising children to be global citizens. Join us!