An Introduction to Tibetan Astrology


The Tibetan Astrology has the connection to the ancient lineages of Bon, India, China, and European Middle-East and for this reason possess a very rich and precious treasure of knowledge and wisdom in the ancient thought of astrology and astronomy. The modern system of tibetan astrology is mainly divided into two different categories: Jung Tsi (tib: ‘byung rtsis) and Kar Tsi (tib: skar rtsis).


The first category, Jung Tsi (“calculation of the elements”), according to Desi Sangye Gyatso, the regent of Tibet during the V. Dalai Lama, Jung Tsi was primarly bestowed from Manjushri to the Golden Turtle (Sipaho) in the Sacred Land of Wu Tai Shan (the actual Shǎnxī shěng province of China) for the benefit of all sentient beings.


This lineage arrived in Tibet in the VII century, brought by the Wencheng princess, future wife of Songtsen Gampo the 2nd King of Tibet. This school is very similar to the Daoist Astrological system and include similar use of symbology as Trigrams, the Nine Magic Numbers and the 12 Animals of Zodiac.


The second school, Kar Tsi (“stars calculation”), is related to the Kalachakra Tantra. The Kalachakra and its commentaries in this school are used to define the concept of Tibetan Calendar, while the indigenous tradition of the elements taken from Bon and other scientific methods are used to calculate the divinatory predictions. According to the told tradition, Kalachakra was brought in Tibet in 1027 a.d. with its commentary Vimalaprabha but was not welcomed by Lama Tsongkhapa, founder of Gelug School, but later thanks to the efforts of Buton Rinchen Drup, Kalachakra became a foundation of social and religious tradition of the Tibetan People. Kalachakra study the cycle of time and the development of the outer universe which are mainly elaborated into four stages: formation (chak), stability (né), decline (jik) and emptiness (tongpanyi).


As all the sexagenarian systems, the Jung Tsi analize the particular characteristics of the animal-element combinations during 60 years which counts 5 possible manifestations for each of the 12 zodiacal animals. These combinations are assigned for each year, month, day and period of time. This system of 12 animals is calculated according to the transits of Jupiter in 12 years.


There are five components associated to the zodiacal sexagenarian combinations, strictly related to the ancient pre-buddhist tradition of Bon. These components are: Sok (tib: srog; Energy of the Vital Force), Lue (tib: lus; Energy of the Body), Wangthang (tib: dbang thang; Energy of Power), Lung Ta (tib: rlung rta; Energy of the Wind Horse) and La (tib: bla; Energy of Soul).


Furthermore in Jung Tsi there is the tradition to calculate Parkha (tib: spar kha; Trigrams of Hand Palm) and Me wa (tib: sme ba; Born Signs) of the Nine Magic Squares.


In total in Tibetan Astrology there are nine techniques of prediction:

1) the 5 constitutive kinds based on five external elements
2) the 12 animal cycles in the sexagenarian system
3) the 9 Me wa or the Birth Signs of the 9 Magic Squares
4) the 8 Par kha or Trigrams
5) the 12 lunar months
6) the 28 lunar days
7) the 12 periods of 2 hours (during the day)
8) the 7 planets of the days of the week
9) the 28 constellations or lunar houses (tib: rgyu-skar)


Written by Alessandro Pincin Yungdrung Dawa
Edited by Geshe Nyima Woser Choekhortshang Rinpoche
Available for the use of Ligmincha International