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Astrology Articles
Article Title: The Tibetan Calendar: The 12 Months of the Year
Date Published: 11/14/2002
- by Michael  Erlewine
The months always start with the dragon month, which is the first month or Losar (Tibetan New Year), no matter what the year. Each month has an element which is calculated by taking the son of the year's element and making that element go with the first month's sign, Thus, 1988 is the earth dragon year, and the son of earth is iron, therefore the first month is the iron dragon month. Elements are used twice each, so the second month of the year will also be an iron month, and then two water months, and so on in rotation: Iron, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth... Iron, Water, etc. The beginning of the next year does not continue the rotation, but starts afresh.

It is interesting to note that in the earlier Tibetan system, which is still observed for certain calculations, the year started with the New Moon prior to the Winter Solstice rather than Losar. That moment began the first month, which always took the sign of the Tiger, with the other signs following in normal rotation. The elements also start (if I get this right) with the calculation of power element for the element of the current year. That power element is then used.

Keep in mind that male signs are Mouse, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Monkey and Dog, while female signs are Ox, Hare, Snake, Sheep, Bird and Pig.

The Day of the Month's Sign and Element

Each day of the month depends on whether the month is a male (animal sign) or female month. For all months that are under a male sign, take the tiger for the first day of the month and proceed in strict sign rotation to the end of month. For female months, take the Monkey and precede is sign rotation. Either way, the rotation ends at the end of the month, and the next month's first day takes either the Tiger or Monkey as a starting point. The first day of the next month depends on the gender of animal sign, etc. As regards the element for each day, this is derived by taking the Son of the month's Element (as described above). However, in the case of days, elements are used singly and not by twos (as in the case of the months).

The Hour of the Day's Sign and Element

Start at sunrise and go for 12 hours by 2-hour sections. The first two hours after sunrise belong to the hare and each two-hour section follows in strict animal sign rotation. As for the 2-hour elements, take the son of the element for the day (described above) and use the elements in single rotation (one only, and not two each).

Sunrise: Sunrise is determined, when there are no exact calculations, as the moment when you can see the lines on the palm of your hand.

The I-Ching Parkhas

Taken from the I-Ching or Chinese Book of Changes, each day has a morning and evening parkha or trigram. Combined, these parkhas give a complete hexagram for that day that can be used to consult the I-Ching. There are eight Parkhas as part of Jung-tsi:

The Eight Parkhas (Trigrams from the I-Ching)

LI Fire and South.
KHON Earth (South-West)
DHA Iron and West
KHEN Sky and Earth (North-West)
KHAM Water and North (Earth)
GIN Mountain & Earth(North-East)
ZIN Wood and East (Earth)
ZON Wind and Earth (South-East)

Parkhas: Month's Direction

The triangle of Tiger, Horse and Dog start first day of month with LI. The triangle of Mouse, Dragon, and Monkey start first day of month with Kham. The triangle of Bird, Ox, and Snake start first day of month with Dha. The triangle of Pig, Sheep and Hare start first day of month with Zin. The Parkhas then follow in strict order, one for each day of the month.

Animal Signs for Month Parkha for 1st Day of Month
Tiger, Horse, Dog LI, then KHON, DHA, etc.
Mouse, Dragon, Monkey KHAM, then GIN, ZIN, etc.
Bird, Ox, Snake DHA, then KHEN, KHAM, etc.
Pig, sheep, Hare ZIN, then ZON, LI, etc.

Descending Parkha (BAP-PAR)

The descending Parkha for the current year is counted differently for male and female persons. For males, start with the parkha LI and count clockwise, while for females start with the parkha KHAM and go counter-clockwise.

The count, in either case, is to what we will call the 'agesign' which means the number of years from birth to the current year, starting with the birth year as one. Thus my (Michael Erlewine born in 1941) agesign for 1988 is 48, and so on. Once the Descending parkha for the current year is determined, refer to the table below to determine the good and bad directions for that year. A look at the parkha for the current year gives us an idea as to what are the good and bad directions.

Note: The descending parkha is counted from solstice to solstice of a given year. For example, I am 46 years old in 1988, so my parkha is Gin until solstice of 1987 at which time it turns into Zin.

The Eight Parkhas and the Directions

CHA- LÖN PAL- KEY DRE- GNA PAL- KEY CHA- LÖN LÜ- CHEY DRE- GNA LÜ- CHEY CHA- LÖN
NAM- MEN ZÖN LÜ- CHEY SOG- TSO LI DRE- GNA NÖ- PA KHÖN PAL- KEY
DÜ- CHÖ SOG- TSO NÖ- PA NÖ- PA NAM- MEN DÜ- CHÖ SOG- TSO DÜ- CHÖ NAM- MEN
NAM- MEN SOG- TSO NÖ- PA SOUTH FIRE LÜ- CHEY DRE- GNA PAL- KEY
CHA- LÖN ZIN DÜ- CHÖ EAST WOOD WEST IRON DÜ- CHÖ DHA CHA- LÖN
LÜ- CHEY PAL-KEY DRE- GNA WATER NORTH NAM-MEN NÖ- PA SOG- TSO
DÜ- CHÖ NÖ- PA SOG- TSO SOG- TSO NAM- MEN DÜ- CHÖ NÖ- PA DÜ- CHÖ NAM- MEN
LÜ- CHEY GIN NAM- MEN PAL- KEY KHAM NÖ- PA DRE- GNA KHEN SOG- TSO
CHA- LÖN DRE- GNA PAL- KEY DRE- GNA CHA- LÖN LÜ- CHEY PAL- KEY LÜ- CHEY CHA- LÖN

Directions

Four Good Directions:

  • NAM-MEN (sky healer) -- the best one. Good for doctors.
  • SOG-TSO (healthy life) -- next best. Good for sleeping, point the head in this direction.
  • PAL-KEY (generating, glorious) -- 3rd best, but a lower good. It is good to buy or obtain things from this direction.
  • CHA-LÖN (bringing auspiciousness, prosperity) -- 4th good, least. Good for traveling.

Four Bad Directions:

  • NÖ-PA (evil spirit) -- least bad.
  • DRE-GNA (five ghosts) -- more bad.
  • DÜ-CHÖ (devil-cutting) -- even worse, strong negativity, cuts us.
  • LU-CHEY (body destroying) -- worst one (avoid this direction)

The four good directions are the good side or Zan-shi, while the bad side or four bad ones are Gnen-shi.

Birth Parkha

Also important is the birth parkha. To find the birth parkha, it is necessary to calculate the descending parkha for the mother of the individual for the year of the individual's birth. For example, my mother was born in 1917. Using the method described above, calculate her descending parkha for the year 1941... and that is my birth parkha which is said to give space directions for the entire life.

GU-MIK (9th Spot)

GU-MIK. The GU-MIK or 9th-eye spot is calculated as follows: From the birth sign, every 9th sign is GU-MIK. Thus with my birth sign as the snake, the year of the Ox will be my GU-MIK -- not so good.

Parkha GU-MIK or 9th spot. With male persons, LI is the 9th spot or not so good for that year -- marks a transition. With females, the same is true for KHAM.

In addition, Mewa GU-MIK is when the birth mewa is same as current year's mewa. Again, not so good.

DUR-MIK (Death Spot)

DUR-MIK or "death spot" is not as strong as the name suggests. Still, however, it portends a bad year, and is calculated as follows:

Signs Tiger and Hare, use descending Parkha KHON.
Signs Horse and Snake, use descending Parkha KHEN.
Signs Bird and Monkey, use descending Parkha GIN.
Signs Mouse, Pig, Ox, Sheep, Dog and Dragon, use descending Parkha ZON.

If the descending Parkha of the current year is any of the above for the particular signs, then those signs have a year that is DUR-MIK -- not so good.

The Nine Mewa

Mewa means "mole" or birth mark and the nine mewa stem from a system of numerology used for centuries by the Chinese. It indicates a karmic relation from life to life. There are 9 mewas, and they are often arranged in a so-called magic square that gives totals of 15, whichever way they are totaled up.

The Magic Square:

South East South South West
4 9 2
East 3 5 7 West
8 1 6
North East North North West

Nine Mewas Elements
1 White Iron
2 Black Water
3 Indigo Water
4 Green Wood
5 Yellow Earth
6 White Iron
7 Red Fire
8 White Iron
9 Maroon Fire

These nine mewa are counted backwards starting with the Wood-Mouse year (1,9,8,7,6, etc.). An entire circle consists of three 60-year cycles. The current major cycle began in 1864 and will end in 2044 ... (1924 and 1984 were turning points). The 180 year cycle counts backwards until the year before the Wood-Mouse year in the third cycle ... which is the Water Pig year. At that point, the mewa for that year is made to be (2) Black ... thus making ready for the following year to be (1) White and the start of a new major cycle.

Any number can be put in the center of this diagram and the ascending numbers placed in the corresponding order.

The Nine Magic Squares

846 492 624
792 357 579
351 816 138
 
735 957 279
681 813 135
249 462 684
 
381 513 168
246 468 924
795 927 573

ZON LI
South
KHON
492
ZIN East357West DHA
816
GIN North
KHAM
KHEN

Birth Mewa

The birth mewa is calculated by counting backward using the current year's mewa in the center up to your agesign. For convenience, please refer to table (large table of years, Mewa, etc.) to determine your birth year mewa. Please remember that birth year here means the year as measured from the Tibetan New Year, which is (approximately) the New Moon nearest February 1st of the year. The result is the birth mewa. For example, I am (1941 birth) '5 Yellow'.

Current Year Mewa = Birth Mewa -- If the current year's mewa is the same as your birth mewa, that is said to cause the current year to be a little difficult. This is also true for birth mewa and current year's descending mewa -- if the same, then that year is not-so-good.

Descending Mewa

Another much used calculation is the Descending Mewa. To calculate your descending mewa, place your birth mewa in the center of the magic square and count from the center to the East (left) one number. Then, count counter-clockwise if your birth zodiac animal is a male sign and count clockwise if your birth zodiac animal is female Animal Zodiac sign. I am a Snake Animal Sign (Female), so I would count clockwise. Count to your Agesign with the first count (the center) counting as #1. The result is your descending mewa. When counting, always remember that in the Tibetan system you are one year of age at birth. So, always take your Western age and add one, and then count.

The meanings of the descending mewa for the current year are:

1, 8 Iron, Good
2 Black, Bad (worst one)
3 Blue (not-so-good)
4,5 Medium (5 is the astrologer)
7,9 Almost good

Good (in descending order of goodness): 1,8,6,4,5 (1 being best)

Bad (in descending order of badness): 2,3,9,7 (2 being worst)

Mewa Daily

You can also calculate a mewa for each day of the lunar month. The following refers to the first day of the zodiac animal month. For example, the first day of the snake month:

The mewa 2, 5 and 8 are ruled by the Tiger, Monkey, Pig and Snake. Start counting from (1) White.

The mewa 1, 4, and 7 are ruled by the Mouse, Horse, Bird and Hare. Start counting from (4) Green.

The mewa 3, 6 and 9 are ruled by the Ox, Sheep, Dog and Dragon. Start counting from (7) red.

These above mewa always occur with these signs. For the above signs, start counting with the indicated mewa... and count each day of the lunar month in a forward (1,2,3) direction. For example, the first day of a snake month would start with 1-White, and move forward.

The Nine Mewas (Karmic Relationships)

Here are some very rough translations as to the general meaning of the nine mewa. It is traditional that there is some birthmark associated with each mewa, a probable length of life, a specific dharma practice, and mantra for that mewa.

1 White

Length of life: 71 years. There will be four difficult times during the life.
Birthmark: Has a birth-mark or mole on the right side. Is left-handed.
Practice: The practice involves obtaining a Chenresik statue (loving kindness, compassion) and practice this sadhana.
Mantra: OM MANI PADME HUM

Either an only child, or only one child turns out useful and carries on the generation. He travels a lot. Good in social work, where others are benefited. If a male, then brave. If female then a strong one. Could have three children. Likes to move about here and there. Snakes are their protector. Difficult with children, meaning: not so good for the kids -- things happen to them. Possessions and jobs are very unstable. He is bad tempered, but has a good mind. A difficult early life, but the longer the life the better it gets. He is a clean person physically and likes white things like milk, butter, etc.

2 Black

Length of life: 61 years. There will be three bad periods.
Birthmark: There is a birthmark on the right-hand or arm, the heartside or the neck.
Practice: The practice is that of Vajrapani, which is strength and the clearing of obstacles. Become like the vajra -- indestructible. Get a statue of Vajrapani or a stupa.
Mantra: OM VAJRA PANI HUM

If the child is first born, it will be easy to care for him, an easy child. Is often sick when a child. He has nice speech, but a bad mind. He has a dark appearance, mean and horrible. Always sad. He tries to do good things, but no one likes him. If a monk or a member of the Bon religion, then he is a very strong practitioner. He likes meat and alcohol. He has many friends, which he loves but seldom has an opportunity to be with them -- and thus no result. If sick when an adult, will be hard to cure.

3 Blue

Length of life: 50 years with three difficult periods.
Birthmark: On the calf of the left leg.
Practice: The suggested practice is that of Vajrasattva (dorje-sempa) practice. Vajrasattva purifies and removes the limitations, obstacles and imperfections of the mind.
Mantra: OM VAJRA SATTVA HUM

He likes to sleep. He has a strong mind, but there is much instability in his life. He is a little bit greedy. At work, he is not able to concentrate, and tends to skip around. If male, he will talk less and if female will tend to be sad. He is difficult to change. Blame comes even if he does good things for others. He may have many wives (husbands) but no children. He will go to and die in another country. He may have paralysis.

4 Green

Length of Life: 65 years. There are four difficult periods.
Birthmark: On either thigh is a black circle birthmark.
Practice: The practice is that of Vajrapani, which is strength and the clearing of obstacles. Become like the vajra -- indestructible. Get a statue of Vajrapani or a stupa.
Mantra: OM VAJRA PANI HUM

He should avoid funerals. Cleanliness is very important, else the nagas (snakes) give a bad disease. He likes to travel. He has a deep mind, but is sometimes bad. Perhaps difficulty having children. If he has property, then farmland. The life is unstable, with a lot of ups and downs. There is sadness sometimes. People gossip about him. He does good things but others get the credit. He does not like to be lower than others, but finds little opportunity to rise. Whatever he has inside, stays with him. The nagas(snakes)are his protector. He is a vegetarian with 4 children. No wedding.

5 Yellow

Length of Life: 50 years. There will be two difficult periods.
Birthmark: His birthmark is a certain nervousness.
Practice: The suggested practice is that of Shakyamuni Buddha called the diamond vehicle (Dorje Chopa) (Prajnaparamita), cutting the vajra.
Mantra: TADYATA OM MUNE MUNE MAHAMUNI SHAKYAMUNAYE SWAHA

This is a dharma person. This is also the astrologer's mewa. A monk's monk. He was a monk in the last life, reborn into a noble family in this life. Here is a very devoted person, with a stable mind. Very intelligent and religious. Obedient to his parents, he follows their customs or carries on their traditions. He does not travel much, or go far from his birthplace. He has a protector coming from his ancestors, whom he has ignored, and who is thus a little bit angry. He has strong dreams because his protector is angry. He is hard to please. Before becoming a monk, he was a saint, also a normal dharma teacher. He talks a lot, but often misses the point. He is very smart, a quick thinker. Should be a religious person in this life. He is restless, moving here and there. He has very high expectations of others. He always helps others, but they become his enemies. They gossip about him. He has five children. He has wealth in the form of property, houses, land. He will live long if he is religious. He is virtuous and educated. His possessions can be somewhat unstable. If female, he gets more gossip from others. If he is angry, it is difficult to please him. He has a good and stable mind. Tends to diseases of the gall-bladder, heart attack.

6 White

Length of life: 70 years. There will be five difficult periods.
Birthmark: Calf of the left leg.
Practice: The practice suggested is that of the long-life (and purification) deity Vijaya Vsnisa (Tsuk Tor Nam Gyal Ma).
Mantra: OM AMRITA A YUR DADE SWAHA

He is intelligent. His mood and appearance are always changing. He travels a lot. If female, then will have nice speech, but the mind is not good. Receives protection from his own local deities. Possibly, he could be very poor. He will not be living near his birthplace, but instead, elsewhere. He will be able to build himself up greater than his parents. He is seldom sick, but if sick, he will be hard to cure. He has many relatives, none of whom offer him much help. There will be many enemies. He does good for others, but is still blamed. He will have 3 to five children. Children possibly handicapped. There is not much power in the family, but wife is powerful. He is quite bad-tempered.

7 Red

Length of Life: 80 years and there will be 4 difficult periods.
Birthmark: On the backside or chest.
Practice: The practice is that of tara (green Tara), and thus healing, protection, wealth and a good birth.
Mantra: OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SWAHA

If female, then she likes to sleep. If married, it will not last long. He likes to fight, has a strong body and a ruddy complexion. Possibly may succumb from a sudden disease. Could die from his love of meat and similar things. His generation always shows suicide and murder. Seven children. The life very unstable.

8 white

Length of Life: 50 years and there are 3 difficult periods.
Birthmark: On right cheek.
Practice: The suggested practice is that of Shakyamuni Buddha called the diamond vehicle (Dorje Chopa) (Prajnaparamita), cutting the vajra.
Mantra: TADYATA OM MUNE MUNE MAHAMUNI SHAKYAMUNAYE SWAHA

He should avoid dirty things, stay clean. There is protection by local deities. He could go to another place from where born. Pleasant but proud. Good hands for arts and crafts. Older life will be better than younger life. He is religious and virtuous. Could have 4-6 children. Elegant people like him. The bad people don't like him. Could have a tendency to gossip, causing bad relations.

9 Maroon

Length of Life: 73 years with five difficult periods.
Birthmark: On face, neck or left-leg.
Practice: Suggested practice is that of Manjushri, the development of the mind and intellect.
Mantra: OM ARA PATSA NA DHI

An image of one holding 7 glorious flowers in hands. If he keeps flowers well, then will be a very rich man. Could be proud or greedy. His older life will be better than young life. Very brave. He may well live other than where born. Wealth includes cows, animals, livestock in general. Has to keep his wealth with care or obstacles could destroy it. This is a good mewa for females, but not for monks or Bon.

LOG-MEN (not turning back)

A term meaning not-turning-back or not-coming-back. Here again, this is calculated differently for male and female persons. For male persons, always start with the sign of the tiger and for the element, take the son of the birth Power element. For me the son of iron (my power element) is water, so start with tiger water and count up from there in the ascending order to the current agesign.

Remember each element is counted twice. So we have Tiger Water, Tiger Hare, and so on. The sign and element combination that corresponds to your agesign is the Log-men.

Female persons start with the Monkey sign and use the mother of their birth power element and count in reverse direction to the current agesign. That sign and element is their LOG-MEN.

For male persons, if LOG-MEN is the sign Dog then it is called NAM-GO (Door of the Sky), while if the sign is Pig then it is called SA-GO (Door of the Earth). If NAM-GO, then it is important to avoid climbing, high places, etc. for that year. If SA-GO, then avoid digging, foundation work, under ground and the like for that year.

For female persons, the sign of the Dragon marks NAM-GO and the sign of the Snake marks a SA-GO year.

Deu

This is a very integral part of the Tibetan astrology system, a means of awarding zeros "0" (good marks) or X's (bad marks) for the current year to your major elements: Life force, power, bodily health, luck and soul. This is also part of KEG-TSI which is the yearly calculation of the life obstacles.

It is somewhat complex, but well worth working out. To begin, compare your Major birth elements and those of the current year elements as follows. For example, using the power element as example:

If the current year's power element is:

Mother of my birth power mark 000 (best rating)
Friend of my birth power mark 00 (2nd best)
Son of my birth power mark 0X (4th best)
Enemy of my birth power mark XX (6th best/Least good)

If it is the same as my birth power then:

Water or Earth Mark 0 (3rd best)
Fire, Iron or Wood Mark X (5th best)

It is important to calculate these for all of the major elements for each year.

Days of Week

Sun Sunday Fire South
Moon Monday Water North
Mars Tuesday Fire South
Mercury Wednesday Water North
Jupiter Thursday Wood East
Venus Friday Iron West
Saturn Saturday Earth S.E.,N.W.,S.W., N.E.
Rahu All Days All Elements all directions

The day after the New Moon is the 1st day of the month and whatever day of the week it is colors the whole month with the tone or quality of the planet of that day (Sun for Sunday, etc.). Also, the son of the 1st day's element is equally powerful for that whole month. The mother of that element is medium powerful, and the friend or enemy is bad for that entire month.

Example: if Sunday is the first day of the month (as above) then every Sunday in that month is very powerful, but if Sunday is friend or enemy (or otherwise not very good), then it dampens the best day of the month.

Further, if the first day of the month falls on a Sunday, then the planet is Sun, and the element Fire. Therefore, the son of Fire is Earth. Earth is powerful for the month. The Mother of Fire is Wood, so Wood is medium powerful that month. The friend of Fire is Iron, and the enemy of Fire is Water. Fire and Water are bad for that month.

Day-of-the-Week Cycles

Depending upon the animal sign for the year of your birth, three days of the week will have a special significance for you. According to John Reynolds in his 1978 Tibetan Astrological Calendar, "Days which are best and good are considered to be auspicious for undertaking projects, for doing business and similar activities; while days which are bad are considered inauspicious for any activity at all. In addition, birth on a good or best day indicates long life, while birth on a bad day portends an early death."

Using the animal sign for the year of your birth, enter the following table:

Sign Best Good Bad
Snake Tues Fri Mon
Horse Tues Fri Wed
Sheep Fri Mon Thur
Monkey Fri Mon Thurs
Bird Fri Thurs Tues
Dog Mon Wed Thurs
Pig Wed Tue Sat
Mouse Wed Tue Sat
Ox Sat Wes Thurs
Tiger Thurs Sat Fri
Hare Thurs Sat Fri
Dragon Sun Wed Thurs

Lunar Days of the Month

Certain days of the month are auspicious and inauspicious for a given person. There are three favorable days each month, called foundation days, power days, and success days. There are also three unfavorable days, called obstacle days, disturbance days, and enemy days. In general, it is advised to begin things and take care of important business on the favorable days, and avoid such enterprise on the unfavorable days. The numbers in this table refer to the lunar days of the month for each sign.

F=Foundation, P=Power, S=Success,

O=Obstacles, D=Disturbance, E=Enemy

Animal F P S O D E
Snake 13 12 6 8 9 9
Horse 17 12 6 20 5 27
Sheep 8 1 2 20 5 27
Monkey 8 1 2 9 10 17
Bird 14 7 25 3 11 24
Dog 9 27 5 11 3 12
Pig 2 8 11 26 3 12
Mouse 20 6 3 26 10 23
Ox 17 14 12 12 18 5
Tiger 5 27 9 14 12 3
Hare 7 27 12 26 25 18
Dragon 3 12 17 8 9 11

According to John Reynolds in his 1978 Tibetan Astrological Calendar, "When the monthly and weekly cycles oppose each other on the same day, the former is the more powerful due to the planetary energies, but nonetheless, they act together. If, during the monthly cycle, opposing forces manifest on the same lunar day, these two complement each other."

Lunar Days 1, 2, 26 -- Good for making offerings, requests of high personages, taking vows, religious practices, and in general, the obtaining of something desired.

Lunar Days 3, 11, 20, 23 -- Excellent days for strong, firm actions; good for beginning construction or obtaining high offices.

Lunar Days 4, 13, 16, 25 -- Days of quickness, clarity, skill and cleverness; indicative of success in competitions.

Lunar Days 5, 8, 17, 18 -- Very bad reaction days; unethical activities will succeed, moral action will not.

Lunar Days 1, 9, 10, 19, 24 -- Generally good for activities such as marriages, large purchases, collections, teaching, initiation, blessings, building and ceremonies in general.

Lunar Days 2, 15 -- Barren. Many events will not occur. Neither good or bad for building, meditation practice and certain ceremonies. Nothing should be undertaken between midnight and 3 AM.

Lunar Days for Travel

According to John Reynolds in his 1978 Tibetan Astrological Calendar, certain lunar days are good (or not) for travel. Here is a list that John Reynolds offers:

1, 2, 3, 16, 17, 18 Generally Good
4, 19 Unsuccessful
5, 20 Good for business
6, 21 One should not travel.
7, 22 Fine for travel
8, 23 Disturbing for emotions
9, 24 Success in covering long distances.
10, 25 Fruitful travel.
11, 26 Spiritual
12, 27 Wisdom
13, 29 Activity benefits one.
15, 30 One should not travel

Tibetan New Year: LO-SAR

Losar (Tibetan New Year) is the nearest New Moon to February 1st. If there are two New Moons, then take the 2nd one. Losar is the first sunrise after the New Moon... the next day.

DAR-GHE (going up, increasing)

X Worst (best of) 1) Ug-len (first breath)
X Worst (best of) 2) Gnal-ney (conception)
0 Good (worst of) 3) Lue-Dzog (Body Complete, full term)
0 Good (worst of) 4) Tse-Pa (Birth)
00 Good (Medium) 5) True-Jay (Bathing the baby)
00 Good (Medium) 6) Goe-Gon (Putting on clothers)
000 Good (Best of) 7) Ley-Jey (Working)
000 Good (best of) 8) Gar-wa (Prime, full-filled)
XX Bad (Medium) 9) Gue-Pa (Decaying)
XX Bad (Medium) 10) Na-wa (Sick)
XXX Worst (worst of) 11) Shi-wa (Death)
XXX Worst (Worst of)12) Dur-shug (Burial)

In the above, numbers 3 through 8 are the good ones and 9-12 and 1-2 are the bad ones. Numbers 3 & 4 are the worst of the good ones, 5 & 6 are medium good and 7 & 8 are the best of the good. Likewise, numbers 1 & 2 are the best of the worst, 9 & 10 are medium bad and 11 & 12 are the worst of the worst.

Notes: Father's death year sign, if same as current year, then not-so-good. If descending Parkha is the same for both husband and wife, not so good. This is true of family members in general.

LO-KHAK

You might expect that a year which has the same sign as your birth year would be luck or auspicious. Not in the Tibetan system. If your birth sign and the current year sign are the same (every 12 years) then this is an example of LO-KHAK, which is very inauspicious. For men, the year before a LO-KHAK (termed NANG-KHAK) is a little more difficult than the LO-KHAK itself, for women, it is the year after LO-KHAK (termed CHI-KHAK) that is difficult.

Birth and one year
12 to 13 years age
24 to 25 years of age
36 to 37 years of age
48 to 49 years of age
60 to 61 years of age
72 to 73 years of age
84 to 85 years of age
96 to 97 years of age

During a Lo-khak year, there are reputedly six months of particular danger when you are most vulnerable:

Bird Month 2nd half very bad
Dog Month 1st half very bad
Pig Month Passable
Mouse Month 2nd half very bad
Ox Month 1st half very bad
Tiger Month passable
Hare Month2nd half very bad
Dragon Month entire month very bad
Snake Month 1st half very bad
Horse Month Passable
Sheep Month 2nd half very bad
Monkey Month Entire month very bad
Bird Month 1st half very bad

If the current year sign is the 7th or opposite of the birth sign, this is called Dun-zur and is also bad. If the current year is the 5th sign (i.e. Dragon-Monkey), then this is also not good. If the current year is same element as the birth element, then this too is not-so-good.

SHI-SHEY

SHI-SHEY refers to the signs that are four up and back from the birth-year sign. For example, my birth in 1941 in the year of the snake makes the Tiger and the Monkey signs fit this description (always counting from the birth sign as one). If the current year is either of these signs, then it is called SHI-SHEY -- which is not so good.

Also, for the current year sign ... count four up and four back and the months of that year with the same sign are called "black months." If these months are Tiger, Monkey, Pig or Snake then the whole month is black, but the first ten days are the worst, the 2nd ten days a little better, and the last ten days better still.

If the month signs are the Mouse, Horse, Bird and Hare, then the days of the month from 10th-20th are the bad ones. If the month signs are Ox, Sheep, Dog or Dragon, then the last 10 days of the month are bad. All days being calculated from the New Moon.

If the current year is Tiger, Monkey, Pig or Snake and if the year's mewa is 2-Black, then the whole year is a black year.

The Seven Obstacles

Quite a bit is made of the so-called seven obstacles. Each of these eventualities affects the entire current year, from Losar to Losar. In the following list, the term Current Year Sign refers to the Animal Zodiac Sign for the current year.

  • If Current Year Sign = Your Birth Year Sign

  • If Current Year Sign = Opposite Your Birth Year Sign

  • If Current Year Sign = Animal Sign Adjacent(either side) your Birth Year Animal sign PLUS the same element as your birth year element. For example, Snake has Dragon and Horse on either side.

  • If Current Year Sign = One of three Destroyers (Friends) (see tables given earlier)

  • If Wife & Husband have same descending Parkha for the current year.

  • If Current Year Animal Sign = Sign for the year Father or Grandfather Died

  • If Descending Parkha = Birth Parkha

Four Mewa Obstacles

  • Descending Mewa = Current Year Mewa
  • Descending Mewa = Birth Mewa
  • Descending Mewa = Two Black
  • The Element of the Descending Mewa = Element of the Enemy of the Birth Mewa

Appendix A

Some References

Some material in this article is the result of personal discussions with a number of high lamas in the Karma Kagyu Lineage, including H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche, H.E. Shamar Rinpoche, Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche, Ven. Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso, Rinpoche, Ven. Bardor Tulku, Rinpoche and, in particular, Ven. Khenpo Karthar, Rinpoche.

N.P. Subramania Iyer, Kalaprakasika, Ranjan Publications, 1982

Ven. Khenpo Karthar, Rinpoche. From a teaching on Buddhist Festivals, given Big Rapids, MI in min 1980s

D. Bahadur L.D. Swamikannuu Pillai, Panchang and Horoscope, Asian Educational Services, 1985.

Michael Erlewine, The Vision of the Eclipse, AFA/Circle Books Calendar, 1980s

Michael Erlewine, Lunar Gaps, Matrix Journal, 1990

Michael Erlewine, Science and the Lunation Cycle, Matrix Journal, 1990

Michael Erlewine, Yearly Lunar Practice Calendar, from KTD Dharma Goods, 315 Marion Avenue, Big Rapids, MI 49307

D. Bahadur L.D. Swamikannuu Pillai, Indian Chronology, Asian Educational Services, 1982.

Swami Prakashananda, personal communication.

Shyam Sundar Das, personal communication.

Sange Wangchug, personal communication, teaching, and translation of Tibetan texts.

John Reynolds, From personal discussions, seminars, calendar, papers.

Reynolds, John (aka Acharya Vajranatha) Tibetan Astrology, article

Reynolds, John, Tibetan Astrology, NCGR Newsletter

John Reynolds, 1978 Tibetan Astrolical Calendar & Almanac, Kalachakra Publications, Katmandu, Nepal

Note to Appendix A -- Tables for 1900 - 2025 of the main Tibetan astrological factors. Please note the following gives main factors for everyone, except where the calculation requires the use of an individual. In that case, Michael Erlewine (July 18, 1941) has been used, so that you have some example:

Year: Year
Element: Year Element for Everyone
Zodiac: Zodiac for Everyone
Parkha: Descending Parkha for M. Erlewine
Mewa: Mewa for Everyone
Life Force: Life Force for Everyone, Deu for M. Erlewine
Health: Health for Everyone, Deu for M. Erlewine
Power: Power for Everyone, Deu for M. Erlewine
Luck: Luck for Everyone, Deu for M. Erlewine
Soul: Soul for Everyone, Deu for M. Erlewine


Copyright: Michael Erlewine


Other articles by Michael Erlewine:

Astro*Map Hi-Res 1988   11/14/2002
Astrological Signs   11/14/2002
Burn Rate: The Retrograde Phenomenon   9/17/2001
Galaxy: Circles, Cycles, Circulation   11/14/2002
Galaxy: Higher Order Structuring   11/14/2002
Heliocentrics   11/14/2002
Interface: Planetary Nodes - Part I   11/14/2002
Interface: Planetary Nodes - Part II   11/14/2002
Local Space Astrology -- Relocation   11/14/2002
Lunar Gaps: Taking Advantage of the Lunar Cycle   11/14/2002
Our Roots in the Sun   11/14/2002
Outline of Major Tibetan Techniques   11/14/2002
Saturn: the Sequencer   
Science and the Lunation Cycle   11/14/2002
The Astrology of Local Space   
The Counselor: Midwife of the Psyche   6/20/2001
The Galactic Nucleus   11/14/2002
The Lunation Cycle: East and West   11/14/2002
The Planets, Signs, & Houses   11/14/2002
The Uranian Signs   11/14/2002
The Value of the Heliocentric/Geocentric Comparison   
Tibetan Astrology   11/14/2002
Tibetan Astrology: Appendix A   11/14/2002
Tidal Vector Forces: Lunar Phenoma   7/20/2001
Zodiac Cycles and Signs   11/14/2002

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