The calculation of energy which is karma and the influence of Chinese astrology make up Tibetan astrology. The relationship between the human being and Nature is also present in this form of astrology. Questions then arise about the origin and components of Tibetan astrology.
The historical origins of Tibetan astrology
China is the first historical source of Tibetan astrology because the Tibetan emperor Songtsen-gampo had married a Chinese princess who brought with her various Chinese texts on astrology. Thus, the Tibetan imperial court began to use the names of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac to designate the years. The Indian part of Tibetan astrology arrived with the introduction of the Tantra of Kalachakra which makes use of the 60-year Jupiter cycle . There are therefore two Tibetan astrologies: one of Chinese origin called Jungtsi or astrology of the Elements such as earth, wood and fire, and one of Indian origin called Kartsi or astrology of the stars which refers to the planets of the solar system such as Mars and Jupiter.
Components of Tibetan Astrology
5 elements make up Tibetan astrology, here is a list of them and their meanings
– Wood is the symbol of vitality, creation and harmony.
– Fire which describes the joy of life and idealism Earth which symbolises wisdom, importance for material achievements.
– Metal or iron which highlights the severity and the dilemma of the choice between morality and material pleasures.
– Water which refers to rest, calm, and patience.
These different elements highlight the traits that characterise the human personality in general. Tibetan astrology is composed of 12 signs, each representing an animal: the hare, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the sign, the bird, the dog, the pig, the rat, the ox and finally the tiger. Differences between western astrology and Indo-Tibetan astrology can be found mainly in the calculation of the zodiac. Western astrology refers to the tropical zodiac, which is based on the different phases of the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth, unlike Tibetan astrology which refers to the sidereal zodiac, based on the groupings of stars in the background of the solar course. Common points exist between these two astrologies such as the use of the elements (fire, earth) or the rotation of the planets to determine the ascendants or signs which complement each other.
The role of the astrologer in Tibetan society
To know his future, the Tibetan called upon the tsipa or astrologer who was most of the time a lama or a religious man. He thus holds an important place in Tibetan society, especially today in rural areas. Thus, the tsipa established the calendars of religious festivals, and the dates for the celebration of a particular event in the monastery. The Tibetan lama-astrologist calculated and interpreted the birth horoscopes of newborn babies, and studied the compatibility of the horoscopes of the future spouses. Magical powers were attributed to him to ward off evil spirits or the harmful influence of certain stars. Rituals and talismans can be used by the astrologer for this purpose. The tsipa also has the mission of consulting the stars to determine the day, hour or date on which a family should proceed to the burial of a deceased person and which magical practices were necessary to purify his soul and thus allow him a better reincarnation. Until today, astrology has been assimilated by Tibetans to a true medicine. Tibetan astrology is then intimately linked to Buddhism, and among the Dalai Lama’s closest advisers are astrologers. Schools of astrology were opened in Tibetan exile towns in India.