Chinese Zodiac Sign Compatibility: Elements, Animals & Polarities
It can be fun and very insightful to compare your compatibility using the different astrological systems. The Chinese Zodiac is divided into 12 animals and 5 elements (Western astrology only includes four elements). It’s exciting to test your compatibility with different systems because you can see the common themes in systems that have developed in separate areas of the world. In many ways, it’s reassuring that there is something very affirming about astrology and that regardless of which one you use, it can be very helpful!
There are actually quite a lot of layers of compatibility within the Chinese Zodiac system. The year you were born and the year your partner was born tells a lot about compatibility. Generally, someone born three years ahead or behind you is not compatible while those that are four years apart are considered to be compatible. To understand why this is the case, we can look at the cycles with Chinese Astrology.
There are 12-year cycles of animals and there are five-year cycles of elements. Additionally, each year will alternate between Yin or Yang.
Before you give up on trying to figure this out, you can start by looking to see which animal you are and which animals you get along with.
- Rat: 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
- Ox: 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
- Tiger: 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
- Rabbit: 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
- Dragon: 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
- Snake: 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
- Horse: 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2004, 2014, 2026
- Goat: 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
- Monkey: 1944, 1956, 1968, 1992, 2004, 2016
- Rooster: 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
- Dog: 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
- Pig: 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Best Matches for Each Chinese Zodiac Sign:
There is another grouping that is based on the similar characteristics of animals. The animals are divided into four groups based on traits that mesh well together.
- The first group has Rat, Dragon, and Monkey.
- The second group has Ox, Snake, and Rooster.
- The third group has Tiger, Horse, and Dog.
- The final fourth group has Rabbit, Goat, and Pig.
Compatibility Based On Elements
Element compatibility has more than one layer. Each year is linked to an element and each sign has a dominant element. This can help explain why people born three years apart are less compatible while people born four years apart are more compatible.
It’s not an exact science but gives you more layers of a person’s personality so that you can see why not all people with the same animal sign are the same.
For example, a Tiger person born in 1986 has the element of wood as a Tiger and they are a Fire Tiger because it was a Fire Tiger year.
- Metal signs: Monkey and Rooster.
- Wood signs: Tiger and Rabbit.
- Water signs: Rat and Pig.
- Fire signs: Snake and Horse.
- Earth signs: Ox, Dragon, Goat, and Dog.
There are two compatibility characteristics based on the elements in Chinese Astrology and these are either ‘overcoming/destroying’ or ‘generating/creating.’ You can understand the dynamics between two people based on these two categories. See which one you and people you’re are close with fit into, even if you’re not in a romantic relationship.
- Metal chops Wood.
- Water extinguishes Fire.
- Fire melts Metal.
- Earth absorbs Water.
- Wood splits Earth.
- Earth holds Metal.
- Metal holds Water.
- Fire creates Earth.
- Wood fuels Fire.
- Water grows Wood.
Compatibility Based on Yin & Yang
The polarities of Yin and Yang are everywhere in nature. Hot and cold, loud and quiet, anxious and calm or masculine and feminine. Essentially the Yin energy is considered to be receptive, intuitive, and feminine while the Yang energy is considered to be giving, logical, and masculine.
- The Yang signs: Monkey, Tiger, Rat, Horse, Dragon, and Dog.
- The Yin signs: Rooster, Rabbit, Pig, Snake, Ox, and Goat.
The polarities mean that the opposite sign will help support your energy and help you generate energy. It’s the constant push and pull between the two energies that help one grow and develop. While this is not the main determining factor of compatibility it does help to explain the common notion that ‘opposites attract’ because someone of the opposite polarity can help you feel more balanced. This same concept is used in Western astrology. Read more about the masculine and feminine in astrology to understand your own polarity and your partner’s in more depth based on your birth charts.
Read this next: Enemies of the Chinese Zodiac
Just as in Western astrology, there is a lot of layers to compatibility and it can help you find better ways to understand all the people in your life and hopefully, yourself. If you approach compatibility as a map to get along with everyone by seeing how your energies interact, you can use it to improve your interpersonal skills. You can also have a lot of fun guessing someone’s element or animal. However, it’s important not to throw out a relationship just because you’re not listed as compatible but instead use the system to see where you can find common ground and appreciate each other’s uniqueness. Use the information to inform you but know that you can work to overcome the odds with compassion and mutual respect. Alternately, just because two animals are listed as a match, doesn’t always mean it’s ‘meant to be.’
Want to explore more about compatibility? Be sure to check out our fun love compatibility test and see what the stars have to say for you. The more you learn about the zodiac signs, the more in-depth understanding you can get about yourself and your partner from your birth charts.
One final note is that the Chinese Zodiac year starts at the first New Moon between January 21st to February 20th. So if you’re born in January and February, you’ll need to do some digging to ascertain which animal you are for sure!
Related Article: How Your Chinese Zodiac Sign Can Show You Your Dream Career