2008…You Dirty Rat!

For those of you playing along at home, the Chinese New Year is February 7, 2008, and we are about to enter the Year of the Rat.
 
The Chinese lunar calendar is cyclic, with the same 12 representative animals going around and around.  We’re about to leave the Year of the Pig behind us.  Then, it will be all about the Rat, the first in the 12 year cycle of animals.  So, what does it mean to be in the Year of the Rat?
 
According to the anonymous posters at Wikipedia, “Rat is associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities.”  For any expecting parents out there, a child born between February 7, 2008 and January 25, 2009 is a Rat.  Again, according to the folks at Wikipedia, you have the following to look forward to. 
 
“Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiacs, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat’s natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust.
 
Behind the smiles and charm, rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling, insisting on having things their way no matter what the cost. These people tend to have immense control of their emotions, which they may use as a tool to manipulate and exploit others, both emotionally and mentally. Rats are masters of mind games and can be very dangerous, calculative and downright cruel if the need arises. Quick-tempered and aggressive, they will not think twice about exacting revenge on those that hurt them in any way. Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection.
 
Rats consider others before themselves, at least sometimes, and avoid forcing their ideas onto others. Rats are fair in their dealings and expect the same from others in return, and can be deeply affronted if they feel they have been deceived or that their trust has been abused. Sometimes they set their targets too high, whether in relation to their friends or in their career. But as the years pass, they will become more idealistic and tolerant. If they can develop their sense of self and realize it leaves room for others in their life as well, Rats can find true happiness.
 
According to tradition, Rats often carry heavy karma and at some point in life may face an identity crisis or some kind of feeling of guilt. Rats are said to often have to work very long and hard for everything they may earn or have in life. However, a Rat born during the day is said to have things a bit easier than those who are born at night. Traditionally, Rats born during the night may face extreme hardships and suffering throughout life. Rats in general should guard themselves against hedonism, as it may lead to self-destruction. Gambling, alcohol and drugs tend to be great temptations to Rat natives.
 
Professions include espionage, psychiatry, psychology, writing, politics, law, engineering, accounting, detective work, acting, and pathology.”
 
To learn more about the Chinese New Year, check out the Wikipedia entry.  For more ratty details, check out the rat specific entry.