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The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes

The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes

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by Theodora Lau, Laura Lau

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“This book has stood the test of time”
Prediction Magazine


The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes remains the definitive, classic work on this fascinating subject, artfully combining the Eastern lunar calendar with Western solar-based astrology. Written by renowned astrologers Theodora Lau and Laura Lau, co-authors of


“This book has stood the test of time”
Prediction Magazine


The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes remains the definitive, classic work on this fascinating subject, artfully combining the Eastern lunar calendar with Western solar-based astrology. Written by renowned astrologers Theodora Lau and Laura Lau, co-authors of Wedding Feng Shui, this seventh edition of The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes has been fully revised and updated, offering readers a fascinating and unique melding of Eastern and Western philosophies.

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“This book has stood the test of time”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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9.42(w) x 11.34(h) x 1.11(d)

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Read an Excerpt

The First Signof the Lunar Cycle

The Rat

I am the self-proclaimed acquisitor.

I am a link yet I function as

a complete unit.

I aim at encompassing heights

and strike my target,

sure and steady.

Life is one joyous journey for me.

Each search must end with a new quest.

I am progress, exploration and insight.

I am the womb of activity.

I Am the Rat.

If you were born on the day before the start of the lunar year of the Rat, e.g., 27th January 1960, your animal sign is the one before the Rat, the Boar, the twelfth lunar sign.

If you were born on the day after the last day of lunar year of the Rat, e.g., 15th February l961, then your sign is the one after Rat, the Ox, the second lunar sign.

The sign of the Rat rules the two-hour segment of the day from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. This period of time closes the day at midnight as well as heralds in a new day. Persons born during this two-hour segment are said to have the Rat sign as their ascendant and will display many of the characteristics peculiar to this sign and have great affinity for persons born under this sign.

The direction appointed to the Rat is directly north; its season is winter and its principle month, December. The Rat corresponds to the Western astrological sign of Sagittarius which rules winter from November 22nd to December 21st. Water is its fixed element and the Rat has a positive stem or is considered a yang or male sign.

The Rat Personality

The charm and innovative personality of the Rat is legendary. He did not become the first sign of the cycle without good reason. I have woven a tale about how this might have come topass. According to my story, when the Lord Buddha gave out the summons for all the animals to come to him before he departed the Earth, he entrusted the rat with the mission to get the word around. It is entirely possible that the Rooster was also chosen to announce the same message and both did their utmost to reach as many of their fellow beasts as possible. The Rooster worked days and did most of its crowing during the sunlight hours while the Rat worked during the night. In its intense diligence to round up as many animals as possible, the Rooster was delayed and the 10th animal to arrive. After the Rooster came the Dog and lastly, the Boar.

One can imagine the Rat rushing about with the good news. He went from place to place, encouraging all the other animals to meet the Buddha at the appointed time and place. However, being the resourceful and practical animal that it is, the Rat decided to save energy by asking for a ride from other animals since it was tired from running about conveying the Great Sage's invitation. And, he certainly did not want to be late.

Knowing the Horse was the swiftest of the lot, the Rat tried to get a free ride from it. But the temperamental Horse would have none of it. Fiercely independent and proud, the Horse decided that no one could tell it what to do and when to do it. There was plenty of time to trot to the appointment when it was ready. It told the Rat to get a ride somewhere else. From that time on, the Rat and the Horse never got along. The Rat thought the Horse was selfish and thoughtless while the Horse felt that the clever Rat was too manipulative and demanding.

Nonetheless, the Rat was too intelligent to be discouraged for long and used its wits again. This time it approached the sturdy and kind-hearted Ox who was more than happy to carry the little Rat on its back. Furthermore, the dutiful Ox was early for the appointment and therefore the first animal to arrive on the scene. But, when the Lord Buddha said he was going to honor the Ox by naming it the first sign of the lunar cycle, the Rat jumped down from the Ox's back and claimed that privilege. The Ox did not oppose the Rat as it felt the Rat had done more than its fair share by bringing the news to all the animals. So the Buddha justly conferred the esteemed first place and leadership of the lunar cycle to the crafty Rat. This was how the Rat got its free ride and also got to be number one.

The Rat can be forthright, inquisitive and intrusive but always in such a disarmingly honest way that we find ourselves at a disadvantage. It is in business that this sign really excels. I remember seeing a young man in the streets of London one summer promoting some security or time-saving gadget. He presented quite a novel image of himself and his wares, but above all else, everyone noticed the T-shirt he had on. It read: "Be Alert! England needs Lerts!" That sense of humor combined with keen business acumen summarizes the Rat's inborn entrepreneurial sense. Yes, the Rat is always alert to any opportunity for making money.

Remarkably easy to get along with, hard working and thrifty, he will be generous only to those he is inordinately fond of, so if you get an expensive gift from him, you know he holds you in high esteem. Yet, in spite of his penny-pinching ways, the Rat will never be found wanting for admirers as he emits such fantastic appeal.

On the surface, some Rats may appear reserved, even placid, but they are never as quiet as they may seem. Something is always going on inside that sharp mind. Actually, the Rat is easily agitated but able to maintain self-control, which explains why he is so popular and has such a multitude of friends.

The Rat person is usually a bright, fun-loving and sociable character. Occasionally, you may come across a supercritical or grouchy, fault-finding one. But on the whole, he enjoys parties and other large gatherings. He will endeavor to join exclusive clubs and as a rule can be found in a close circle of friends or fellow conspirators. He is very outgoing and likes getting involved. How else is he going to be in the thick of things and amass all that information he has about everyone?

The Rat really cherishes his friends, associates and family relations; at times he gets hopelessly tangled in other people's affairs because he cannot easily rid himself of strong emotional attachments once he makes them. His capacity to love can only be overruled by his shrewdness and love of money.

A Rat boss may demonstrate great concern about whether his employees are getting enough exercise or eating a balanced diet. In his heart, he sincerely cares about their welfare; he will visit them when they are sick and make their problems his problems. Yet when it comes to giving them that well-deserved raise, he will hedge and be a little stingy. A lot of arm twisting and collective bargaining is needed when it comes to parting a Rat from his money.

The Rat lady may continually amaze you by being a model of frugality. She is forever distributing old clothes, recycling toys, buying or selling secondhand items, and stretching meals, leftovers and the budget until the family could scream. However, she may not care to apply these same penny-pinching standards when dealing with her precious offspring. If her children know how to get around her, she will find it hard to deny them anything. Rat people are rarely tightwads where their loved ones are concerned. Strange how every time a Rat mother cuts a cake, her child will get the largest slice, no matter whose birthday it is. Rat females are also voted most likely to recycle a Christmas gift, which gives new meaning to the saying: What goes around, comes around.

Rats are by nature decidedly clannish. Maybe there is some truth about safety in numbers. The Rat never worries about having another mouth to feed and will allow his relatives, in-laws and friends to stick around his house and live off him. Why? Because the crafty Rat will always find something for them to do to earn their keep. Laggards, professional bums and freeloaders will all get put to work swiftly in his household. Charity has its limits. Trust the efficient and practical Rat.

The Rat native keeps his own secrets well but he can be an expert at weeding other people's gardens. He has few qualms about using vital confidential information or capitalizing on the mistakes of others. Trust him to investigate stock tips and follow through on privileged information. What do you mean, insider trading? That couldn't possibly apply to him. After all, one certainly cannot expect the Rat to ignore opportunity's knock, especially when his ear is glued to the door so much of the time! A wink, a nod, or the tiniest move of an eyebrow is all you need to signal the Rat that something's afoot. He will track it all the way to its source.

As much as the Rat likes to camouflage or hide his feelings, one can always tell when he is upset. He becomes edgy, curt and impertinent. Some may even become absolute nags. Inefficiency, idleness, waste and tardiness go against his active and industrious nature and cause him to harp at the subject of his displeasure until things are done right. The Rat loves to run the show and everyone and everything had better look sharp under his stewardship. The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, 4th Edition. Copyright © by Theodora Lau. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Theodora Lau, a leading authority on Chinese horoscopes, is the author of The Chinese Horoscopes Guide to Relationships and Chinese Horoscopes for Your Child. She is also the coauthor of The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes and Best-Loved Chinese Proverbs.

Laura Lau is the coauthor of The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes and Best-Loved Chinese Proverbs. She is the daughter of Kenneth and Theodora Lau, and she earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley. Laura splits her time between Asia and California with her husband.

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