Presented in Honor of the Lunar New Year by Nergal-Sharezer the Rabmag.

WESTERN ASTROLOGY IS based on the idea that the date of one’s birth, which comes about once a year in an unending cycle, determines one’s destiny. Chinese astrology, on the other hand, postulates that the year of one’s birth is the determining element.

Nergal-Sharezer the Rabmag has great respect for the ancient wisdom of the Celestial Empire, and believes that the mere fact that these two systems are mutually exclusive should not be taken as evidence that they are not both true.

The twelve years of the Chinese astrological cycle are named for various animals. After twelve years, the cycle repeats, on the assumption that most people have short memories and will not notice. To determine the name of the year in which you were born, simply divide the current year by the year of your birth, and then look up the result in Nergal-Sharezer the Rabmag’s Handy Chinese Astrology Reference Book, available for $19.95 from better booksellers everywhere.

Ox. For your whole life you will carry the stigma of an irregular plural. Marry a Lion late in life. We mean a person born in the year of the lion, not that you should marry an actual lion, which the surgeon general has determined could lead to serious injury.

Dragon. You are noble and beautiful. Generous by nature, you show fearless courage in every undertaking. You are trusted and admired by every living being. You are entirely mythological, which explains your other attributes.

Lion. You are immoderately proud, with a tendency to lick yourself for hours.

Snake. Sly, somewhat sinister but seldom slimy, slightly short. A sucker for sibilant sounds.

Marmoset. You have an aptitude for repetitive clerical work. Marry a snake early in life. Not a person born in the year of the snake, but an actual reptile.

Cockroach. You will live a short and miserable life and no one will love you. Enemies are the Ox, the Dragon, the Lion, the Snake, the Marmoset, the Spotted Phalanger, the Peccary, the Gnu, the Ocelot, the Tapir, the Squirrel, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Spotted Phalanger. You are a nocturnal marsupial, carrying your young in your pouch and hanging from tree limbs by your prehensile tail. You feed on fruit, buds, meat, and eggs.

Peccary. You have a placid disposition and are inclined to melancholy. Your artistic side is wisely repressed most of the time. The ox is your friend, but he never calls anymore.

Gnu. Your parents are to blame for most of what will happen to you.

Ocelot. Your fine moral sense will keep you unemployed most of your life. Beware of the Spotted Phalanger, because if you see one you are in New Guinea and therefore lost.

Tapir. Resilience is your best quality, and it is indeed just as well for you that you have great reserves of it to call upon.

Squirrel. Your innate intelligence and good sense render you impervious to all forms of quackery and nonsense, and Nergal-Sharezer the Rabmag wants nothing to do with you.