The Horse and The Ox

Hi everyone!
My name is Diego Nunez-Leon and I am a first-year Environmental Science major. I’m from Mid-City, Los Angeles though my parents are from Oaxaca, Mexico where a variety of animals are eaten depending on the city. I was born in 2002 so my Chinese Zodiac is the Horse. 

While researching more about my Zodiac, I found that I didn’t really match the traits associated with the Horse. Some characteristics are energetic and social, and while I’m not a recluse, I’m not exactly a people person either. I’d much rather be with a close group of friends somewhere peaceful like a picnic at a park. A drawback of horses though is that they have a hard time belonging which I can definitely relate to. Another connection I found is that their diet has a lot of dairy products which I’m a fan of. 

I didn’t really find much about the horse related to the rat or tiger other than that both the rat and horse are social. This was surprising since apparently the horse and rat are opposites which makes them generally a poor match, though they share similar qualities. 

Horses and Ox, on the other hand, could be opposites in that horses are social while oxen aren’t. Also, horses are energetic while oxen are patient.  In Chinese mythology, the Horse and Ox can be related through the two guardians of the underworld known as Ox-Head and Horse-Face. The two were originally domesticated animals who were worked to death by their master but the king of Hell, Yanluo, took pity on them and made them into soldiers. They are the first beings a dead soul encounters upon entering the underworld and in many stories, they escort the newly dead to the underworld. In one such story, the Chinese classic “Journey to the West '' published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty, the two are sent by Yanlou to capture the monkey king, Sun Wokong. 


What I find interesting about these two is how similar their roles are to other characters in mythology such as Charon in Greek mythology and Aken in Egyptian mythology; they all guide souls into the underworld. Despite different cultures being separated by vast time periods and locations they still have similar concepts in their myths such as underworlds and gods/deities.


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