An ancient story tells of how the newly appointed city keeper/Mandarin of a Chinese province was on his way to visit the fields surrounding his future territory, disguised as a silk-merchant. He wanted to get acquainted with the lay of the land incognito, before commencing with his Duties. Whilst being ferried over a river, to continue his journey upon yonder shore, he noticed the bright and finely cut facial features of the Ferryman. In the conversation to follow, he asked the Ferryman why he had not aspired to greater things in life. The Ferryman answered that his father was a simple fisherman, that he therefore led a simple life, and that this prospect, him being 48 years of age, would continue to be. Then you are the same age as me, said the Mandarin. When he started to inquire as to his ancestry of birth-signs, it was revealed that they not only shared the same year of birth, but also month, day, ever hour of birth! On arrival at the other shore, as they were talking the aftermath of this chance-meeting in a teahouse, a Seer came to their table to offer his services. As he overlooked the supposed silk-merchants hand and face, he exclaimed: "You are not the man you claim to be, you must hold a high office!" "Not at all" said the Mandarin-in-disguise, I am but a humble silk-merchant. You are wrong. I am what my robes make of me." "Give me your Time of birth" replied the Seer. As he took in the signs of birth, he started to finger-calculate and declared that he stuck to his earlier remark. "You must be a man of high office, even this month you shall be appointed to higher duties". The Mandarin smiled and said: "Take this Ferryman, whose exact hour of birth is equal to that of mine; should not HE be equally so appointed to higher office?" The Seer, who knew the Ferryman vaguely, relapsed into ponder, and eventually gathered his belongings together. He called out that his craft was wrong, and that he, without knowing so, had wronged his fellow man, and then left.
The first thing the Mandarin did upon his taking office was to summon the Ferryman, who, to his great surprise, was given a new post in local government. He also summoned the Seer, who was eventually located and brought to court. In my case you spoke the pure Truth said the Mandarin. How come you could make such a mistake about the Ferryman? He probably gave me the wrong hour of birth, replied the Seer. For this, the Mandarin had his mother summoned, who confirmed the hour of birth. She even remembered how her husband came into the cabin, and told her which stars were to be seen in the Hour of the Tiger. "Did you give birth in the boat?" the Seer asked her. "Yes" replied the mother, we were out fishing upon the lake. "That explains it all" said the Seer. He who is born on water cannot have the same fate as those born upon solid land. This makes a difference in the Palace (extra sign on behalf of month/hour calculus). Now it was clear to the Mandarin, and he offered the Seer his coveted appointment.
The quintessence of Chinese astrology lies in the interpretation of the horoscope, based upon the revolving of but five planets, which can be seen with the bare eye. Remarkable is that not the month, as is the case in Western astrology, is responsible for one's fate, but the very day of birth. The game derived from such insights is not only fascinating; it also underlines the high level of intelligence in this era. A Chinese horoscope has as many as 8 signs, comprised of 4 colours, and 4 animals. The colours that represent the "mobile" planets you could consider "trains" and the animals, which represent the months, might be considered the stations. Furthermore, the colours, like the animals, are divided into masculine and feminine characters. Tiger, Horse, Dog, Ape, Rat and Dragon only host the masculine colours Green, Red, Yellow, White and Black, whilst Swine, Rabbit, Sheep, Snake, Cock and Bull harbour the female colours Blue, Purple, Gold, Silver and Grey. This leads to sixty possible variations of colour and animal. Which enrich time with an elemental status, and provide her with character. Sixty possible combinations for year, month/moon, day and hour, and depending upon the relationship that the colour of the day holds towards the other signs, our daily fate is devised. The elements which in Heaven may still be One Unity represent her in their own territory: their very own season, all have their own specific character. The impulsive grow-character of the element "Wood" you will also find in the sound of thunder, in the rising of the sun and in everything short and hefty. This is characteristic of the influence of Jupiter, which is, from a natural perspective, neither positive nor negative. It just "IS" as a natural quality of life, and it gets a positive or negative jolt at the moment we apply it into our own lives. When someone with a force of energy endeavors upon a heavy task, we all praise his effort, durance and (mental) stamina. When this same force of energy results in someone throwing a tantrum and abusing spouse, wife, friend or colleague, we dismiss the act as rash, violent and negative. For the ancient Chinese, this was all water under the bridge. Both situations indicate that the influence is not ESSENTIALLY contained, so that one is driven, like an animal, by the sheer force of it.