The Eastern zodiac uses a set of 12 animals and is a multi-dimensional system composed of three intertwining layers. The first, or outermost layer, is a twelve year cycle that is based on the orbit of Jupiter, which is known as the “year star” in the Eastern traditions and has an orbit of precisely 11.82 years. This macro-dimensional feature of the Eastern zodiac is also the most popular aspect of Oriental astrology and is often used as cultural garnishment on numerous products in numerous venues. In this outer layer of the Eastern zodiac, each animal is representative of one year in the orbit of Jupiter. This use of animals in the Eastern zodiac’s macro-dimensional layer is often referred to as the “outer animal” and is supposedly indicative of an individual’s social behavioral patterns. A person’s outer animal is determined by year of birth. Thus, the position of Jupiter along the ecliptic longitude would be the actual scientific factor brought into play when dealing with this outermost layer of the Eastern astrological system. This grouping of twelve animals is also commonly referred to as the “twelve earthly branches.” The order of the twelve animals is rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
There are two popular ancient folktales describing the origin of this ordering of animals. Both tales have numerous versions that are filled with many discrepancies in detail; however, there is a basic essence and structure that seems to permeate most of the renderings. In the first tale, the Jade Emperor (the ruler of heaven and earth) holds a banquet and asks the animals of the earth to visit him in heaven, so he can observe all of the various traits of each one. The Jade Emperor was pleased with the animals and gave each one of them their place in the heavens. However, the rat misinformed the cat as to the actual time that the preethi zodiac mg 218 mixer grinder banquet was to be held, and the cat was late. Therefore, the rabbit was chosen instead.
In another similar tale, the Jade Emperor holds a race in order to decide the order and placement of the animals in the heavenly zodiac. The animals were required to cross a river in order to finish the race; however, some versions of the ancient folktale involve numerous other aspects, as far as the overall length and breadth of the contest are concerned. The ox (water buffalo) was the first to cross, but the rat rode upon its back and finished first. Some versions of the tale have the cat and the rat riding on the back of the ox with the rat pushing the cat into the river, while some versions are similar to the first tale with the rat not informing the cat about when the race was to be held. The ox finished in second place. The tiger placed third thanks to its powerful strength, while the rabbit jumped from stone to stone in order to cross the mighty river. The rabbit fell into the river but grabbed a floating log and was washed ashore thanks to the assistance of the dragon, who would have finished the race sooner, but instead chose to assist the rabbit and thus received fifth place. The horse finished sixth, but the snake was wrapped around the horse’s hoof and startled the beast when they came ashore, so the snake was given sixth place and the horse took seventh. The goat, monkey, and rooster took eighth, ninth, and tenth places, respectively, because the rooster spotted a raft and the three animals crossed the river together. The goat and monkey cleared some weeds and finally pulled the raft ashore. The dog, who was one of the best swimmers in the group, decided to take a bath in the river as he was crossing and finished in eleventh place. The pig was lazy and finished last.