We’re staying firmly on the farm as we move from the Horse to the eighth animal in the Chinese zodiac: the humble and gentle Sheep (or Goat). The Chinese character of “羊” (Yáng) can refer to both sheep and goats, so no one knows exactly which one this zodiac animal is meant to be! During the Jade Emperor’s great race to determine the animals of the zodiac, the Sheep struck up an unlikely bargain with the Monkey and the Rooster.
The Sheep swam steadily with the Monkey and the Rooster on its back, the Monkey cleared away the reeds with its hands, and the Rooster kept time with its mighty voice. Since it was the Sheep that arguably did the most work, it was granted the eighth place in the race and is thus the eighth animal in the zodiac.
Years of the Sheep
If you were born in the year 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, or 2027 then you belong to the sign of the Sheep. It’s important to note that the Chinese zodiac follows the Chinese lunar calendar, which begins in late-January or early-February. For example, Chinese New Year fell on February 15th in 1991, so anyone born before that date actually belongs to the Year of the Horse and not the Year of the Sheep/Goat. At the very least, you’ll be saved from having an identity crisis!
Lucky Signs and Symbols
If you were born in the Year of the Sheep, be on the lookout for the numbers 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Two, three, and seven will bring you good tidings, but six, eight, and nine are sure to be bad omens! Green, red, and purple are your lucky colours, while gold, brown, and black should be avoided at all costs.
Characteristics of the Sheep
While they might rank quite low on the food chain, Sheep people enjoy a reputation as one of the kindest and most likeable signs in the Chinese zodiac! Those born under the sign of the Sheep are celebrated as gentle, mild-mannered, stable, sympathetic, amicable, creative, clever, thrifty, persistent, and wise individuals with a strong sense of justice. Much like their animal sign, they prefer to work and socialise in groups, but by no means wish to be the centre of attention.
That being said, Sheep people should be careful not to let their shyness and timidity get the best of them. Their tendency to be indecisive, moody, pessimistic, and weak-willed means that they can often lose out on valuable opportunities.
When it comes to love, the Sheep will find the perfect partner in the Rabbit, the Horse, or the Pig, but can still form a pleasant match with the Monkey and other Sheep. The Rat represents a dangerous prospect, as they can either end up madly in love or the worst of enemies! Matches with the Rooster will be average at best, while they’re better off remaining just friends with the Tiger. Romantic encounters with the Ox, the Dragon, the Snake, or the Dog, however, are certain to end in heartache.
The Sheep’s humility, creativity, and capacity to care for others means they are well-suited for careers in health-care, music, acting, editing, illustration, teaching, interior design, hair and beauty, and flower arrangement.
How to Manage Your Relationship with the Sheep
While those born under the sign of the Sheep are renowned for their kind and gentle nature, they are also incredibly private individuals. This means you’ll have to invest a lot of time and effort into getting to know them, although it will all be worth it in the long run. Friendships and romantic relationships with the Sheep are peaceful and fulfilling. In short, those born in the Year of the Sheep will do anything for the ones they love, making them ideal friends and partners.
The Elemental Cycle
As we mentioned in our introductory article, the 12-year animal cycle is part of a much wider 60-year elemental cycle, meaning that each year of the zodiac is also assigned an element. People born in 1955 or 2015 belong to the Year of the Wood Sheep, meaning they are extremely amicable, gentle, and compassionate. The Fire Sheep, who were born in 1967 or 2027, are known for being especially good-natured, frank, and honest, with a penchant for keeping things clean and tidy.
Anyone born in 1979 is an Earth Sheep, making them righteous, honest, straightforward, and enduringly loyal to their friends. Those born in 1931 or 1991 are Metal Sheep, who are ambitious, kind-hearted, and incredibly responsible in their careers, although they can be quite stubborn at times. Finally, the Water Sheep of 1943 and 2003 are always willing to help and will sacrifice their own interests for the benefit of others.
In short, why be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, when being a Sheep is so much better?