The cat was fond of sleeping but did not want to miss the banquet, so he asked his friend the rat to be sure to wake him on the day of the banquet. The rat, however, was jealous of the cat's beauty and was afraid of being judged ugly by the Jade Emperor, so he let the cat sleep. As the animals arrived in heaven, the Jade Emperor was so impressed with them that he decided to give each one their own year, arranged by the order they had arrived. The cat, of course, had missed the banquet and was furious with the rat for letting him sleep, and that is why rats and cats are enemies to this day.
Just the like Western zodiac, the Chinese zodiac attributes personality qualities to each of the 12 animal signs.
These are often derived from observations about how animals behave and also come from the story of how the animals traveled to the Jade Emperor's banquet. The dragon, for example, could have been the first to arrive at the banquet, since he could fly.
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But he stopped to help some villagers and then helped the rabbit on his way. So those born in the year of the dragon are described as being interested in the world and willing to give a helping hand. The rat, on the other hand, arrived at the banquet by hitching a ride on the ox.
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Just as the ox arrived at the palace, the rat stuck his nose forward, so was the first to arrive. Those born in the year of the rat are described as shrewd and manipulative, traits which can also be drawn from the story of the rat and the cat. As it turns out, it is so easy. We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season of which we are born.
Astrology does not lay claim to anything more. Astrology: do we make a hullabaloo among the stars, or do they make a hullabaloo down here? A wise man shall overrule his stars, and have a greater influence upon his own content than all the constellations and planets of the firmament. About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities.
They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm. A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma.
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All anyone can see in a birthchart are tendencies that will become facts if he does not do something to alter them. Astrology is one of the earliest attempts made by man to find the order hidden behind or within the confusing and apparent chaos that exists in the world.
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We need not feel ashamed of flirting with the zodiac. The zodiac is well worth flirting with. The signs of the zodiac are karmic patterns; the planets are the looms; the will is the weaver. There is no better boat than a horoscope to help a man cross over the sea of life. I have been told that one of the reasons the astronomers of the world cooperate is the fact that there is no one nation from which the entire sphere of the sky can be seen. Perhaps there is in that fact a parable for national statesmen, whose political horizons are all too often limited by national horizons.
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves; we are underlings. I find my zenith doth depend upon A most auspicious star, whose influence If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes Will ever after droop. The only stars I can blame for my failures are those that walk about the stage.
Figure-flingers and star-gazers pretend to foretell the fortunes of kingdoms, and have no foresight in what concerns themselves. Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the mad daughter of a wise mother. Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune often the surfeits of our own behaviour we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars: as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on.
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