2021: Year of the Metal Elephant

Thangkha depicting the Tibetan astrological symbols and their relationships. Private collection: Raven Cypress Wood

The twelve animals of Tibetan astrology according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal has a specific element associated with its life-force and a direction that is determined by that element.  Each year one of these twelve animals is associated with one of the five elements of: metal or iron, wood, fire, water, and earth. In other contexts, metal is referred to as space, and wood is referred to as wind or air. It takes sixty years for all twelve animals to be associated with each of the five elements. This is one complete cycle that repeats again and again.

February 12, 2021 is the Tibetan New Year and begins the year of the Metal Elephant. (Astrological texts outside the Yungdrung Bön tradition use the symbolic animal of the ox or cow.) Therefore, people born on or after February 12th will be a Metal Elephant and will have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with the Elephant.

Depiction of elephant in the Northeast corner of a Yungdrung Bön astrology thangkha. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

In general, the Elephant is stable, steadfast, and practical.  It can express itself well and is rather independent.  It prefers to approach things logically and without the cloud of emotion.  It is competent and trustworthy, preferring to lead rather than to follow.  It values tradition but can be resistant to change, rigid and authoritarian.  Although it can have a temper, the elephant is generally patient and loyal.

The Elephant’s soul day is Saturday and the life-force day is Wednesday. These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities, signing contracts or making commitments, beginning a pilgrimage or other important travel, and so on.  The obstacle day is Thursday.  This day is best for cleansing, letting go of grievances and discontentment, and practices of purification. It is especially important on this day to not take risks or speak mindlessly, and It is not recommended as a favorable day for beginning new projects such as fundraising, signing contracts, groundbreaking for construction, and so on.

Elephant years include: 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, and 2021

Life-force is one of the five natal constituents that are associated with one of the five elements for each individual. The other four individual constituents are: bodily health, personal power or charisma, lungta or the force of good fortune, and the soul. For individuals born as a Metal Elephant their constituents and associated elements are:

  • Life-force=Earth
  • Bodily Health=Earth
  • Personal Power or Charisma=Metal
  • Lungta=Water
  • Soul=Fire

The element that governs the life-force of the Elephant is earth and its direction is northeast.  So, if an Elephant person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they could focus upon strengthening the element of earth internally and externally. Their positive direction is northeast. Facing this direction while meditating, doing healing rituals or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

Each year it is helpful to calculate the relationship between the elements governing the constituents of the year and an individual’s natal constituents. There are six possible types of relationships. They are: excellent, very good, good, neutral, bad, or very bad. If any of the natal forces have a challenging relationship with the element of the year and need to be strengthened, this can be done by reinforcing the associated element. For example, the life-force element of a Rabbit person has a very bad relationship with the life-force element of the Metal Elephant year of 2021. For this, a simple but effective way of increasing the strength of their life-force would be by raising prayer flags. Bön and Buddhist prayer flags are printed on material representing the colors of each of the five elements and contain prayers and mantra to strengthen and protect the natal constituents.

Prayer flags at Menri Monastery in India. Photo credit: Unknown

If you were born during a previous year of the Elephant, 2021, as well as other Elephant years, is considered an obstacle year and a time when there is a greater possibility of misfortune, missed opportunities, accidents, and so on. This same astrological principal applies for all of the other eleven animal signs during their associated year. Therefore, it is recommended to engage in practices that support good fortune and spiritual merit such as engaging in any kind of virtuous activity, hanging prayer flags, saving or protecting the life of other living beings, repairing any broken spiritual commitments or damaged relationship with one’s spiritual brothers and sisters, and/or performing prayers and rituals to remove obstacles.

Although the associated elements to four of the five natal forces change according to the birth year, the element of the life-force is determined by the animal and remains the same. Therefore, it is possible to calculate the relationship of the year of the Metal Elephant upon the life-force of each of the natal animals without having knowledge of the birth year or the other element of the other four natal forces.

The relationship of the natal animal’s life-force to that of the Metal Elephant of 2021:

Rat: Excellent

Elephant: Neutral

Tiger: Very bad

Rabbit: Very bad

Dragon: Neutral

Snake: Very good

Horse: Very good

Sheep: Neutral

Monkey: Bad

Garuda: bad

Dog: Neutral

Pig: Excellent

For each of these animals, there remains the four other natal constituents to consider in order to have a better idea of the potential influence that 2021 will have upon the individual. For example, although the life-force calculation could be bad, the lungta calculation could be excellent. Because lungta is the natal force that has the power to raise the other forces, it could have the effect of strengthening the life-force. Traditionally, these calculations are done yearly. If the yearly horoscope calculations result in any challenging aspects, preventive measures are taken in order to remove or decrease the potential for any problems to manifest.

According to the words of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché, the practice of developing sincere, unbiased and unlimited compassion is the greatest of all protections, and engaging less with non-virtue and more with virtue supports all the forces of our vitality, health, and good fortune.

A common prayer within the Yungdrung Bön tradition that is used to remove obstacles is the Bar Che Lam Sel, The Spontaneous Wish-fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path. The English, Spanish and Portuguese translations of this prayer are offered by Raven Cypress Wood for the personal use of any sincere practitioner. Click on the Publications tab above and scroll down to the download links for the prayer.

Geshe Yongdong Losar. Photo: Courtesy of Sherab Chamma Ling.

For those interested in a traditional Tibetan astrological horoscope to calculate the influence of 2021 on their natal constituents of life-force, bodily health, personal power, lungta and soul, Geshe Yongdong Losar of Sherab Chamma Ling in Canada offers Tibetan astrological horoscopes through his website. Additionally, he offers life horoscopes, partnership horoscopes and horoscopes for the deceased which are traditionally used in order to determine how to best remove obstacles for the deceased and support conditions for their positive rebirth. Follow this link for more information about Geshe Yongdong and his astrological calculations: https://sherabchammaling.com/product/astrology-reading/

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Posted on January 23, 2021, in Five Elements, Tibetan Astrology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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