The word "Zodiac" literally means animals, but the 12 Astrological signs we're familiar with refer to patterns or constellations of animals as seen in the evening skies. Thought of as 'celestial events,' Astrology is a pseudo-science that attempts to draw correlations between these signs and our pattern of behavior on Earth.

Since Astrology is not a true science it's remained highly controversial down through the ages and is used more as a topic of conversation or an "ice-breaker" by males and females in social settings.

Most recently, "The Native American Zodiac" [according to the Algonquins] has come to light as an alternative to the Zodiac we grew up with -- but instead of drawing correlations to constellations, Native Americans have designed their Zodiac [using the same date ranges] to provide you with your specific animal counterpart and the personality traits associated with each.

It's the Algonquin belief that the date of our birth is the "first drum beat of a fantastical ceremonial dance we all pass through during our lifetimes."

So, in my case, while my astrological sign is "Gemini," my animal sign is the deer, which is described as a "Daydreamer." Skeptical as I am, I initially put as much weight into this association as I have with the astrological breakdowns of the past. However after closer scrutiny, oddly enough the description came fairly close to my personality make-up.

In essence, Native Americans believe we all make our way through life in-step with our animal 'partner.' The two of us dance a dance that weaves together our various life experiences. These birth animals are always available to share wisdom and assist us with our spirtual, emotional and physical growth over the course of our life here on Earth.

For those who want to learn what behavioral patterns are associated with your assigned animal counterpart, click on the links below to find out.

Time to throw away those old astrological charts? Can't say replacing them with Indian lore will hit the nail on the proverbial head for each and every one of you -- but if nothing else, it definitely provides you with a new response the next time someone asks you: "What's your sign?"