Sunday, February 10, 2013

Animal Combinations

Today is the start of the Chinese New Year (well not really since official New Year time is Beijing CST which was yesterday).  We did celebrate last night (on the official Beijing day) with the Issets (a tradition) at Sichuan Bistro in Mason.  You know it's close to authentic when the menu is written in Chinese.

This is the year of the snake.  As I researched the Chinese Zodiac, I discovered all kinds of interesting facts and fables.  The fable of the "Great Race" and hence the precise order of the Chinese animals (Snake is #6 of 12) is fascinating - see wikipedia Chinese Zodiac.

Also I discovered that the year is only one pillar of four that is meaningful in the Feng Shui of Chinese Zodiac mystery.  The other three pillars with the relevant animals assigned are month, day, and precise hour of birth.  The assignment of these animals becomes complicated by a different order, the lunar calendar, and time of birth must be Beijing CST.  Why four pillars? The first pillar animal (year of birth) denotes your Outer Animal, lineage of grandparents and how you are viewed by society. The second pillar animal (month of birth and the most important in determining your adult life) denotes your Inner Animal, your parents and business talents.  The third pillar animal (day of birth) denotes your True Animal or your inner self and marriage. The four pillar animal (hour of birth) denotes the Secret Animal thought to be a person's truest representation. 

Curious now?   Go to to find out your four animals. 

The real benefit of four pillars is creating a perceived uniqueness about you - after all how many people could possibly be born on the same day and hour as you?   Now I could launch into the Statistician's Birthday Problem (see my previous blogs - Erroneous Company; A Statistician's Birthday) or just give an estimate of from various Internet answers to number of births worldwide per second - 4.17 (of course that is a moving target since as population grows so does the number of births per second and it is an average). 

And since Chinese Zodiac is only precise to the two hour increment (24 hrs divided by 12 animals) that means 30,024 people have your same combination of four pillar animals. Not very unique - is it.

So next time you read your detailed Chinese horoscope (all four pillars) remember over thirty thousand people lives are mirroring yours. 

[Errata-  Actually the 30,024 was underestimated.  Since the animal cycle repeats after 12 years - the same combination of animals will occur in the twelfth year.  So to avoid that potential redundancy the Chinese Zodiac adds one of five fixed elements (Metal, Water,Wood, Fire and Earth) to the animal and that creates uniqueness for another five twelve year cycles.  Example - My birth year (1954) is Yang, Wood Horse and is not repeated until 2015 (the 60 year sexagenary cycle - 5 times 12).   That means after 60 years there could be as many as 60,048 people with the same combination of four pillar animals and exact fixed element.  Even less unique.] 

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