Swancon Thirty Six: A Chinese horoscope

As part of our ongoing series on retro-futurism and fandom, please welcome Bill Wright. Bill is the awards administrator of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation. He will be on deck in that capacity at Swancon Thirty Six | Natcon Fifty to introduce presenters of the 2011 A. Bertram Chandler and Norma K. Hemming Awards. Visit: the ASFF site for details.

2011 is the Year of the Rabbit beginning on 3rd February 2011 and ending on 22nd January 2012. The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animals signs. The diagram below doesn’t go past the year 2005 but, since the cycle of 12 animal signs repeats itself every 12 years, it’s easy enough to calculate which sign relates to 2011. The last Year of the Rabbit was in 1999 so, logically, 1999 + 12 = 2011 is also the Year of the Rabbit.

Here’s why it happens…
Five thousand years ago, Buddha summoned all the animals to him before departing the Earth. When only twelve came to bid him farewell they were rewarded by having a year named after them in order of their arrival. And that is why the animals of the Chinese zodiac are, in serial progression: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog & Pig. A person’s ruling animal is the one which presided over their year of birth and, according to the Chinese, the animal which hides in that person’s heart.

For civil purposes modern China uses the Gregorian calendar established by the Catholic Church in 1582 and based solely on the Sun’s movements (see page 7 of the fanzine linked (pdf)). It has, however, retained the traditional Chinese calendar dating from the reign of Emperor Huang Ti in 2637 BC to determine the timing of its festivals. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, being based on the movement of the longitude of the Sun and the phases of the Moon. It is the most ancient chronological record in history.

Swancon Thirty Six horoscope
If you are a Rabbit, the Astrological Divination of Heaven (ADH) decrees that you are articulate, talented, ambitious, virtuous, reserved, and known to have excellent taste.

But most Rabbit people are overly fond of gossip, clever at business and lucky at gambling – traits that can often lead to a lack of trust. It you are conscientious, tactful, generally kind, can keep your temper, never back out of a contract and moderate your gambling, you can win praise for being conservative and wise.

These traits constitute both your weaknesses and your strengths and are central to your innermost being.