One of the perks of worldbuilding is creating a zodiac, or set of birth signs, for your particular setting.
The Western Zodiac* is the most familiar model and is named for the path the sun, moon, and planets take through the constellations on their journey through the sky. The constellation the sun is in when it rises becomes the birth sign for those born on that day, but the constellations other heavenly bodies reside in have an influence too. Such influences, in ancient times, affected all aspects of civilized life: when to plant and harvest, get married, wage war.
But there are other systems. Asian cultures have birth signs delineated by year instead of month, as everyone who eats at a Chinese restaurant with a paper placemat knows. They also come in a cycle of 12, each year named after animals, and each year also receives an elemental designation from a list of five (earth, water, fire, metal, wood) so the whole forms a cycle of 60 years. A Fire Monkey person is likely to be dying as new Fire Monkeys are being born.
Mesoamerican birth signs are a little more complicated, based on four interlocking cycles, one a year cycle of 365 days, the other a 260 day sacred cycle in which each day has a unique name, a number from 1 – 13 and a day sign from a roster of twenty. The cycle repeats every 52 years, so in that period, the only people sharing the same birth sign are those born on the same day.
But, back to the birth signs. The fun thing about them is creating correlations. My Western Zodiac sign, Virgo, has as its gemstone the sapphire, the aster as its flower, the hummingbird as its bird, and the maiden as its symbol. According to various memes, my Disney princess is Belle, my bread is whole wheat, and my wakeup time is 3 AM, “but then goes back to sleep and wakes up at 12.”
Whatever system you design, it’s easy to create a bunch of correlations for its birth signs through random generation or the roll of some die. Here’s some samples.
Semutal the Boar
|Item of clothing:||Stockings|
|Part of body:||Feet, ankles, calves|
|Foods:||Salmon, figs, parsley|
|Time of day:||Dawn|
|Symbol:||Three crossed spears|
|Characteristics:||Confidant, teasing, fortunate, generous, self-indulgent|
Goiox the Key
|Item of clothing:||Gloves|
|Part of body:||Hands|
|Foods:||Chicken, turnip, onion, anise|
|Time of day:||Evening|
|Characteristics:||Bold, righteous, energetic, stubborn|
Acas the Young Doctor
|Item of clothing:||Wig|
|Part of body:||Hair and scalp|
|Foods:||Lobster, bananas, lovage, nutmeg|
|Time of day:||Midnight|
|Symbol:||Three interlocked cubes|
|Characteristics:||Wise, faithful, inquisitive, detached|
Shaajot the Wolf
|Item of clothing:||Ribbons|
|Part of body:||Neck|
|Foods:||Eel, truffles, lemon|
|Time of day:||Evening|
|Symbol:||A fang above a quarter moon|
|Characteristics:||Determined, mysterious, passionate, intellectual|
One could go on and on with this, including chord, state of matter, sexual position, drug, type of literature, compatability with other birth signs, etc.
* Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. To make things complicated, some consider Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer, a Zodiac sign also, bringing the count to 13.