The smallest of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, the rat had only an outside chance in the Jade Emperor’s race to determine the zodiac’s order. Yet its intelligence, agility and quick-thinking enabled it to win the contest and become the first year in the system’s 12-year cycle.
According to ancient Chinese lore, the rodent hitched a ride on the ox to cross a fast-flowing river before sneakily jumping over its head to cross the finish line. The journey is in stark contrast to that of the last animal to finish, the boar, who stopped for a snack and then fell asleep.
The Year of the Boar (2019) was thus fundamentally about completion, self-care and balance, while the Year of the Rat (2020) is expected to be more about progression and starting a new project with great energy, astrologers say.
As a highly perceptive animal that can sense its environment and know when to act, the rat is one of the Chinese zodiac’s most auspicious signs, according to Cathryn Moe. The Hawaii-based, 26-year astrology veteran says 2020 will therefore be a “great relief” overall after a challenging past 12 months. The year will also be particularly good for businesses and entrepreneurs.
“People will develop their skills and move toward things they are aligned with, bringing hopeful ideas into practice,” Moe says. “Obstacles will not be a hindrance and challenges will pull the best out of everyone.”
As the first year of the 12-year cycle, the Year of the Rat is also expected to set the pace, template and direction of the next 12 years, Moe says. As a result, our actions in 2020 are especially significant, but the “universe does assist with changes” during each cycle; our next 12 years is not determined by a single year, she adds.
Of the five elements in the Chinese zodiac — wood, fire, earth, metal and water — 2020’s element is metal, a drastic change from the previous two earth years of 2018 and 2019.
According to Moe, metal can cut through wood, so people will be “sharper and more detail-oriented” in 2020. Although they may have to work hard, metal will help them “make decisions, get going and, therefore, have more satisfaction,” in the same way as an axe cuts down a tree, she says.
For Jessica Adams, an Australian reader of Western, Indian and Chinese astrology, 2020 is focused on Libra. As this sign is represented by the scales, the year ahead is about balance and partnership.
“If you want to make money in 2020, you’ll get into a partnership with another person,” Adams says. “If you want to raise money for charity, you’ll get your other half to help you. Get fit as a pair; don’t do it alone or in a team.”
Although partnerships will bring success in the Year of the Rat, couples will be tested. Some will get stronger as a result, while others will collapse in what she calls “a make-or-break year.”
According to Adams, pairs will lead global change in 2020, as friends, couples and business partners get together inside larger groups to make them more powerful.
“We’re going to see the beginning of power being shared throughout the group rather than from top down and see the climate emergency movement become global and mainstream,” she says.
Moe also sees a year of big changes in society as people’s actions and behavior will start to be discussed and understood in different ways, opening up opportunities for compassion. As the rat represents the shadow psyche, social veneers could be stripped off in 2020, allowing people to better know their true selves and those of others. This could mean that qualities long perceived as weaknesses could be seen as strengths in the coming year. Ultimately, the process can be healing, she says.
In short, astrologers say 2020 will be another year of extensive change as the universe continues in its accelerated transitional period but, given the rat’s traits, the world will be equipped to cope.
Chinese zodiac horoscopes
By calculating our year of birth in terms of the Chinese zodiac calendar, we can understand what lies in store in 2020.
According to Moe, those born in the Year of the Rat will “shine” in their career, experiencing security, stable finances and growing investments.
They will also be highly attractive romantically and enjoy spending time with family and friends, reflecting the rodent’s social skills. Being positive and appreciating these relationships will help them reach personal goals.
Those born in the Year of the Ox will experience a shake-up to their status quo. Although the change will be a surprise, it will allow them to consider what’s truly important. “It’s a passionate year because every choice made will be heartfelt and prioritized,” Moe says. If oxen stop, rest and redirect, Moe believes they will also “walk on firmer ground with loved ones in 2020.”
The Year of the Rat invites tigers to behave like the rat by acting on their instincts for career success, she says. A happier hunting ground will be found in exciting projects, and successful negotiations will be the reward. Those born in the Year of the Tiger will also enjoy smoother relationships with friends and family than in recent years as well as the chance for romance.
It’s also going to be a good year at work — with possible travel opportunities — for those born in the Year of the Rabbit. “Rabbits can achieve steady progress at work, even if it means taking little hops,” Moe says. Outside work, their sweet-natured temperament will see them spend more time with like-minded people who can give them support and validation.
For those born in the Year of the Dragon, 2020 will be about love and friendships. “They can’t help but turn heads this year,” Moe says. “Their social scene delights and friendships expand.”
In recent years, she adds, dragons have worked hard but hit dead ends and have been feeling stale in their career. In 2020, opportunities come along, including a promotion or project close to the heart.
Snakes, too, will see improvements to their situations in the Year of the Rat, according to Moe. After several years of overextending themselves, they will complete their current goals in 2020 and so should plan relaxation into their schedule. In relationships, those born in this year will feel more able to express their feelings and receive both authority and recognition. Moe warns, though, that patience is required.
Those born in the Year of the Horse should not underestimate their ability to make a difference in 2020, Moe says. She advises that they can turn challenges into opportunities and find answers by following a hunch. Doing something unusual will help them be noticed romantically and, in health, they should find balance “instead of galloping through each day.”
A busy, but not uncomfortable, year is predicted for those born in the Year of the Goat. According to Moe, going outside the usual routine will bring new opportunities at work and there’s lots of fun in store as goats reach out more to family and friends. However, Moe also recommends “saying ‘no’ to overwhelm in order to help your nervous system enjoy each day.”
Moe says those born in the Year of the Monkey will enjoy “a lighter, brighter year” that involves being able to restore their energy and receive resources to “nurture their playful side.” In 2019, they had to embrace situations outside of their control but, in 2020, their hard work will pay off and they experience reconciliation in relationships, she says.
Overall, it’s a great year for roosters, with a career boost, security in love, better family connections and stable health in store. “Be sure to preen your feathers as you’ll be noticed and may be advanced to a more public position,” says Moe. “Your demeanor and presence back up your hard work and long-term focus.”
For those born in the Year of the Dog, meanwhile, 2020 will be an easier, more stable year than previous ones, particularly in interpersonal relationships. They will have time to rest and recover from having overextended themselves. Moe says that for dogs, simply being with friends and family when needed will be enough to support them; there is no need to try and fix their problems.
In contrast, those born in the Year of the Boar are in for an exciting year, according to Moe. While 2019 was exhausting, 2020 will involve projects “getting hotter” and financial recognition for hard work. In love, boars should practice self-care and focus on what makes them happy in order to attract admirers. They will also be well-equipped to give friends and family a boost, she says.
Western zodiac horoscopes
The 12 astrological signs of the Western zodiac also hold clues to what people can expect in their career, finances, relationships and luck in 2020.
For people born under Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces, change is in the air, according to Adams.
In 2020, Adams says that individuals born under Libra will “move, spark joy, renovate, reshuffle flat mates or change family rules.”
Scorpio will get help from new technology to complete a “half-started idea to a spectacular level” and find exciting and liberating new partners. Old partnerships, meanwhile, “must change to survive.”
For Capricorn, change will come in the form of looks and career. People born under this sign will undergo an image relaunch that will impact their reputation and profile, Adams says.
Those born under Pisces, meanwhile, will make “new plans for mind, body and spirit” in 2020, she says. They will also “commit to a new friend or group to replace the old faces by January and never look back.”
Relationships will be a key theme for many signs, including Taurus, Cancer and Virgo.
Taurus will consider their relationship with the rest of the world and begin to think more like a global citizen. For them, “everything in 2020 depends on their understanding of people from different countries,” says Adams. They will also draw the line on what they will or will not accept in their partner’s behavior.
Those born under Cancer, meanwhile, should be prepared for a “radically different” relationship with a former, current or potential romantic partner” as 2020 means “more physical, emotional or even geographical distance.” She adds that friends will be key to the success of this partnership.
In 2020, a new baby or child will come into Virgo’s life via a connection with family, friends or work, which will become the top consideration in love, she says.
Both Leo and Aquarius will be thinking about their health in 2020. People born under Leo will finally be “in the right time and place” for food, fitness and surgical or medical changes, while people born under Aquarius will see a big change in their lives via spirituality, yoga, meditation or religion. Aquarius will also get much-awaited clarity on their partner.
In terms of work and finances, Aries, Gemini and Sagittarius are expected to have a positive 2020.
According to Adams, those born under Aries will have their most important career year in 248 years, with a promotion or a new role as a result of headhunting in store. The year will be “all about getting to the top or finding a different way to achieve,” she says.
Gemini, on the other hand, will be able to sort out their debts and credits with family, friends or a partner. Once they receive this financial balance, they will have more free time and be able to spend money on something they have long needed to do.
Lastly, those born under Sagittarius will “make and save money in 2020 after drastic changes in January,” says Adams. Further changes will come in May when they enjoy a food, healing or fitness revolution, she adds.
People born in the Year of the Rat
• Richard Nixon (Jan. 9, 1913)
• Rosa Parks (Feb. 4, 1913)
• Marlon Brando (April 3, 1924)
• Buddy Holly (Sept. 7, 1936)
• Kathy Bates (June 28, 1948)
• Haruki Murakami (Jan. 12, 1949)
• Jean-Claude Van Damme (Oct. 18, 1960)
• Eminem (Oct. 17, 1972)
• Prince Harry (Sept. 15, 1984)
• Scarlett Johansson (Nov. 22, 1984)