There basically three types of calendars being actively used around the world – solar, lunar and lunisolar/solilunar calendars. A solar calendar is concerned with the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. Lunar calendars are based on the rotation of the Moon around Earth and are used mainly for religious purposes, Lunisolar or Solilunar calendars combine the two kinds and are basically solar calendars with dates indicating the moon phase.
The Chinese calendar is an example of a solilunar calendar with 12-year cycles, each related to a specific animal, with 12 months in each year and an intercalary month every two to three years.
In Chinese, the word 羊 (yáng) is a generic term, and can refer to a sheep (绵羊), goat (山羊), ram/buck (公羊 male sheep or goat), 羚羊 (antelope), etc. However, most Chinese people and experts on folklore believe that the Chinese zodiac animal is the Goat, not the Sheep.
In addition to the twelve year cycle corresponding to each of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac, there are Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) which are associated with their own "life force" or "chi". This energy blends with the corresponding animal to determine that year's fortune.
In 2015, the corresponding element is Wood. Wood by its very nature, is the element associated with all living things, the "spring" or life renewal process. Wood relates to trees which relate to the color green. The Year of the Goat is therefore also known as the Year of the Green or Wood Goat.
In Chinese astrology Goats are described as loving-peace, kind and popular. With the addition of the wood element, the Goat characteristic is thought to symbolize peace, helpfullness and trust - all great qualities which the world could certainly use lots of right now.
Wednesday afternoon Feb 18th was also the second Aquarius new moon in a row this year (the first, a supermoon, was on Jan. 20). Normally there is only one new moon per zodiac sign each year. Both Aquarius moons represent purification, letting go of objects/people/jobs/ that are no longer serving you, and making space for new energies that resonate more with who you really are...
As im sure many will realize, we are all connected to each other and all things in this immense cosmos, and as such the emanations of nature that affect our lives are simultaneously both simple and complex. Some may hesitate to accept signs of nature as meaningful in any way and choose instead to say that we meerely empower our own concepts with magic and mystery, but I would counter that the very language of symbols and symbolism that we express these terms in and through is itself the result of nature observed.
To quote Albert Einstein:.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free from this prison by widening our circle of compassion (and understanding) to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.”