Daoism is a spiritual and philosophical tradition of Chinese origin and is the world’s fifth largest religion. Daoism originated approximately 2,500 years ago based on the teachings of Lao Tzu, the author of Daoism’s central text, the Daode Jing, translated as "The Way and It's Power". Daoism emphasizes achieving "perfection" by living in harmony with the natural rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "Dao". The Dao may be roughly defined as the flow of reality - the primal energy or force behind the natural universe. For those of you familiar with Star Wars, the Dao is quite similar to the way "The Force" is described in the Star Wars universe.

Daoism proposes that the universe works harmoniously according to its own ways. When someone exerts their will in a manner that is out of rhythm with this flow, they may disrupt that harmony and unintended consequences may result instead of the desired outcome. Daoists believe that people must harness their will and efforts to be in harmony with the natural universe.

Daoism’s "Ba-Zi" tradition, in particular, attempts to analyze how humans fit into this flow of the universe by examining how a person’s life correlates to the movement of the stars. In Ba-Zi tradition, time is divided into 60-year cycles, where each cycle corresponds to a 12-year pattern that repeats 5 times, one time for each of the five traditional Chinese elements (water, earth, wood, fire, and metal).

The 12-year pattern is comprised of twelve animals or signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig

Each animal sign is either yin (dark) or yang (light), and varies depending on which element is influencing it within the cycle. In Daoist tradition, when you are born within this cycle - the year, month, day, and hour - is believed to influence your relationship to the universe and to also influence your personal characteristics.

It is estimated that approximately 80% of China’s population (over 1 billion people) practice Daoism’s Ba-Zi tradition, and Daoist philosophy is the basis and inspiration for many other Chinese traditions as well, including Zen Buddhism, several martial arts such as Kung Fu, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong.