Astrology is deeply rooted in the culture and tradition of the Chinese during ancient times.
So much so that the compatibility of zodiac signs is a key decisive factor for elders such as parents and grandparent to approve of the union between a couple seeking to marry.
Those who have even deeper beliefs in astrology would consult bazi experts to determine bazi compatibility. But for the most part, as bazi is a sophisticated astrology system that most people would not be able to comprehend, animal zodiac signs of the lovers are most commonly used as a basic screening criteria to approve of a marriage.
Because there are various different systems and schools of though in Chinese metaphysics, it’s understandable that there are various diverse methodologies that are used to determine marriage compatibility in the old days.
Some practices are much more widespread compared to others. But the single factor that aligns with each of them is that these methods focuses on identifying incompatibility instead of compatibility.
So it can be deduced that as long as a couple does not fall into any of these clashes of the zodiacs, then it is fine to go ahead and get married in ancient times.
One of the most well-known zodiac conflicts is that of the personal breaker (大耗). this states that people of a certain zodiac sign should not marry someone who is the direct opposite zodiac.
This is a fundamental clash of the zodiacs that is related to the personal grand duke. There would be constant in-fighting as these pairs of zodiac signs simply don’t get along.
Here is the list of clashing pairs.
- Rat clashes with Horse
- Ox clashes with Goat
- Tiger clashes with Monkey
- Rabbit clashes with Rooster
- Dragon clashes with Dog
- Snake clashes with Pig
Then there’s the bad compatibility chart that is unique to assessing marriages between man and wife.
This is gender specific as well which says that it would bring bad luck for males of certain zodiacs to marry females of certain zodiacs.
It is shown in the list below.
- Male Horse and female Ox
- Male Goat and female Snake
- Male Snake and female Tiger
- Male Rabbit and female dragon
- Male Rooster and female Dog
- Male Dog and female Monkey
While it is generally concurred that couples that belong to the same group in the 3 combinations (三合) of heavenly branches are compatible, it is also culturally believed that zodiacs of certain groups are incompatible in marriage with those of certain groups.
This is in part because of the elements that each specific group forms when combined does not favor a blissful husband and wife relationship. This is also gender specific.
There are essentially 4 groups of:
- Pig and rabbit and goat creating wood
- Tiger and horse and dog creating fire
- Snake and rooster and ox creating metal
- Monkey and rat and dragon creating water
Men with animal zodiacs belonging to the wood group would be incompatible with women of the water group. Men of the fire group would not be a good match for the wood group. Men of the water group would be best in avoiding women from the metal group. And men of the metal group should not marry women of the fire group.
It should be noted that the above does not consist of a group of the earth element. Which says a lot about how the concept is not solely elemental based.
Same age, same zodiac
Another cultural belief that borderlines on superstition which was most prevalent during the Han dynasty was that couple born in the same lunar year, which automatically means that they share the same age and zodiac, should not get married.
It can be viewed that they are each other’s grand duke.
It was said that married couple falling under this category would have find it difficult to conceive.
Special zodiac pairings
Like how there are certain unique relationships between specific earthly branches in bazi, there are also a few unique pairs that should be avoided in marriage.
These are between:
- Goat and tiger
- Tiger and tiger
- Dragon and dragon
This is in part due to taboo and superstition.
It should be noted that the above method of determining marriage incompatibility are considered to cast too wide a net in modern practice.
This is especially so when we consider that the study of bazi is available to the main stream these days.
When one looks into the intricate details that bazi goes into when evaluating the relationship of two individual by analyzing the dynamics of the 4 pillars, it is easy to conclude that just using zodiacs to appraise marriage compatibility.
As such, solely using zodiacs is seen as too old-fashioned by many practitioners.