Blog Archives

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Rabbit

rabbit

 

 

 

In Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements takes sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal is associated with a specific element for its life-force as well as a specific direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

2011 was the year of the RabbitTherefore, people born during this year would be a Rabbit and would have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with Rabbit.  (It is important to remember that this year corresponds with the Tibetan lunar calendar which begins somewhere between February and mid-March each year.)  2011 was also governed by the element of Metal and was a female year.  So, people born during this year would be a Female Metal Rabbit.  The element which governs the life-force of the Rabbit is Wood and its direction is East.  So, if a Rabbit person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of Wood internally and externally.  Although called ‘Wood’ in the astrological context, the element of Wood corresponds to the element Wind.  The positive direction is East.  So, facing this direction while meditating, doing healing rituals or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general, the Rabbit is considered to be peaceful and calm, virtuous and sensible.  The Rabbit has a natural skill for diplomacy and is kind and polite in its interactions.  The Rabbit enjoys elegance and comfort and will protect its peaceful environment from disruption.   Preferring harmony, it will make an effort to avoid conflict and confusion perhaps giving the impression of indifference and aloofness. However, if the Rabbit feels directly threatened, its anger is expressed through subtlety and cleverness rather than outbursts.

The Rabbit’s soul day is Thursday and the life-force day is Saturday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Friday.  This day is best for cleansing and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new things.

Rabbit years include: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Tiger

Tiger sketchIn Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements takes sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal has an associated element for its life-force and a direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

2010 was the year of the Tiger.  Therefore, people born during this year would be a Tiger and would have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with Tiger.  (It is important to remember that this year corresponds with the Tibetan lunar calendar which begins somewhere between February and mid-March each year.)  2010 was also governed by the element of Metal and was a male year.  So, people born during this year would be Male Metal Tigers.  The element which governs the life-force of the Tiger is Wood and its direction is East.  So, if a Tiger person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of Wood internally and externally.  Their positive direction is East.  So, facing this direction while meditating, doing healing rituals or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general, the Tiger is considered to be courageous, independent, unpredictable, artistic and passionate.  The Tiger tends to go after life with passion and daring.  Making its own path, it tends to gravitate towards unconventional lifestyles and avoids following traditions or social conventions simply because they are ‘supposed to’.  The Tiger is a fierce and determined leader that can be quick-tempered and protective of its ego.  The Tiger wants to live life to the fullest in its own way, and without being told what to do.

The Tiger‘s soul day is Thursday and the life-force day is Saturday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Friday.  This day is best for cleansing and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new things.

Tiger years include: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, and 2010

 

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Elephant

elephantThe 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 an associated element for its life-force and a direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

For example, 2009 was the year of the Elephant.  Therefore, people born during this year would be a Elephant and would have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with the Elephant.  (It is important to remember that this year corresponds with the Tibetan lunar calendar which begins somewhere between February and mid-March each year.)  2009 was also governed by the element of Earth and was a female year.  So, people born during this year would be Female Earth Elephants.  The element which 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 would focus upon strengthening the element of Earth internally and externally.  Their positive direction is Northeast.  So, facing this direction while meditating, doing healing rituals or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

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 that are meant to grow and increase.  The obstacle day is Thursday.  This day is best for cleansing and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new things.

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

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Horse

horse image

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 an associated element for its life-force and a direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

The year 2014 is the year of the Wood Horse.  Therefore, all people born on or after March 2, 2014 until the next lunar Tibetan New Year are Wood Horse people.  These individuals will have a vitality that is governed by the element Fire, a physical body that is governed by the element Metal (which corresponds with the element of Space), personal power that is governed by the element of Wood (which corresponds to the element of Air), Lungta or luck that is governed by the element of Metal and soul energy that is governed by the element of Wood.

In general, the Horse is very energetic with an active mind.  It is inspired, motivated and charming.  It wants adventure and exploration rather than to stay at home.  It is always on the move and in excess this can become a kind of instability or an inability to stick with things long enough to complete them.  This life of excitement can sometimes give way to impatience.  The Horse can be quite charming, likes to talk, and therefore finds it difficult to keep secrets.  Although it appears independent, because of the fear of failure the Horse relies upon the validation and support of friends and family. 

The Horse’s direction is South.

The Horse’s soul day is Tuesday and the life-force day is Friday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to grow and increase.  The obstacle day is Wednesday.  This day is best for cleansing and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new things.

Horse years include: 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, and 2002

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Rat

RatIn Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements takes sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal has an associated element for its life-force and a direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

2008 was the year of the Rat.  Therefore, people born during this year would be a Rat and would have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with Rat.  (It is important to remember that this year corresponds with the Tibetan lunar calendar which begins somewhere between February and mid-March each year.)  2008 was also governed by the element of Earth and was a male year.  So, people born during this year would be Male Earth Rats.  The element which governs the life-force of the Rat is water and its direction is North.  So, if a Rat person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of water internally and externally.  Their positive direction is North.  So, facing this direction while meditating, doing healing rituals or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general, the Rat is considered to be charming, extroverted, friendly and generous.  The Rat is attracted to money, luxury, and success and often uses its extensive social contacts as a way to further these interests.  Because it is independent, clever, discreet and potentially selfish, it finds ways to turn situations to its advantage.  Therefore, the Rat often finds success in its endeavors as long as it does not over extend and become scattered.  Although a Rat who feels betrayed in some way can become manipulative, vengeful, and aggressive, they are generally sentimental and generous to their loved ones.

The Rat’s soul day is Wednesday and the life-force day is Tuesday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Saturday.  This day is best for cleansing and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new things.

Rat years include: 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, and 2020

The Five Elements: Space

ah-w-watermark  The element of Space is called namkha in Tibetan.  It is symbolized by the shape of a circle and the color white.  The unique vibration of this element is the sound ‘AH’.  It is associated with the center.  In general, Space allows  for the many varied manifestations of the other elements without interfering or being damaged in any way.

Environmentally, the sky allows the manifestation of many types of weather, planets, stars, animals, etc.  Everything that exists, exists within Space.  Everything that has ever happened, that is happening right now, or that will happen in the future, happens within the element of Space.  Among the five elements, Space is the strongest because it is indestructible.  Although anything can happen in Space, nothing diminishes or damages it in any way.

Within our bodies, the element of Space is associated with our awareness.   It is also associated with the heart.  When the element of Space is balanced within us, we are aware of ourselves and our surroundings without losing ourselves or being overwhelmed by events or experiences.  Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, we do not lose ourselves or feel constricted with worry.  We are open to experience without being vulnerable to it.

However, if the element of Space is in excess, we are literally ‘spacey’.  Rather than being grounded in Space, we drift from one thing to another without connecting to anything.  We lose track of ourselves and our purpose.  We become lost in Space and easily distracted.

If the Space element is deficient, we feel as if we are being suffocated by life.  We feel as though there are too many demands, too many obligations, too much ‘out there’ and not enough of ‘us’.  We begin to say to ourselves and to others, “I need some space!”  We have lost contact with the Space within ourselves.

In order to bring the element of Space back into balance, there are specific yogic exercises within the Yungdrung Bön tradition which use the focus of the mind together with the breath and movement of the physical body to balance and strengthen each of the elements within us.  To learn more about these yogic exercises see Healing with Form, Energy and Light by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

As the other four elements are brought into balance, the Space element naturally becomes balanced as well.  Allowing Space for experiences rather than struggling with them develops the relationship with the indestructible quality of the element of Space.

In the more advanced teachings of Yungdrung Bön, Space is the most important element.  Recognizing and becoming familiar with the pure, luminous, boundless Space of the mind is the practice of wisdom.  This Space is the basis for all things that arise, including all of the phenomena of the other four elements.  Many people are uncomfortable with too much Space.  This is clear by the seemingly endless things that we use to distract and entertain ourselves.  However, we can develop more comfort and familiarity with the Space element by minimizing these distractions and developing our capacity to relax into the stillness of our body, the silence of not talking, and the spaciousness of our mind that has taken a break from worry and emotional upset.  This kind of taking a break from constant movement and thought is the best medicine for physical, emotional and spiritual well being.

The Five Elements: Wind

yang-w-watermark         The element of Wind or Air is called lung in Tibetan.  It is symbolized by the shape of a rectangle and the color green.  The unique vibration of this element is the sound ‘YANG’.  It is associated with the direction North.  In general, Wind gives the ability to move, change, and transform.  Even within popular culture, the phrase ‘Winds of Change’ is commonly used in songs, poems, and even political speeches to express a time of change and transformation.

Historically, Wind has played a large part in affecting the course of events by determining the ability of war ships to attack, or not.  By allowing explorers to reach their destinations, or not.  And through calm or violent weather, determining the success or failure of many ventures.

Environmentally, Wind has often been seen as an expression of the supernatural or the divine.  In many cultures, a gentle Wind that arises at the conclusion of  a ceremony is a sign of its success.   In Greek mythology, there are twelve different gods associated with each of the winds of the twelve directions. Ecologically, the Wind’s quality of movement is important as a source of seed and pollen dispersal for plants as well as having a profound effect upon weather and climate.   It can be beneficial such as being used as a power source for transportation, energy or recreational activities.  Or it can be indescribably destructive through the force of tornadoes and hurricanes.

Within our bodies, the element of Wind is associated with our breath and is responsible for providing the ability for things to move.   It is specifically associated with the lungs.  When the element of Wind is balanced within us, we can be flexible.  We move from worry and anxiety to a solution.  We are able to let go of our point of view and see the perspective of others.  If the Wind element is developed, we easily move from anger to love, fear to peacefulness and from feeling blocked to feeling unblocked.  Even in the midst of a problem, we remain aware of all of the things that are going right.  Wind is also associated with communication and verbal expression.  Well developed Wind can also give the ability to communicate or receive information psychically and to perform acts that are beyond the limitations of the physical world.

In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, it is believed that the mind is effected by the movement of subtle wind.  Therefore, if the element of Wind is in excess, one of the effects is that the mind is unable to concentrate because it is constantly moving from one thing to another.  We are impatient.  There is an almost constant need to talk or ask questions.  But this kind of talking has little depth and we are thinking of our next question even before the first one is answered.  We are unable to meditate because of the constant movement of the mind which often prompts the body to begin moving.  To the extreme, an excess of Wind can cause severe headaches or even madness.

If the Wind element is deficient, we feel blocked.  There is an inability to progress in our outward activities or our inner growth and spiritual practice.  We are stuck.  Things become stagnant and stale.  There is no freshness.  Our mind is still, but there is no clarity or sharpness to our awareness.

In order to bring the element of Wind back into balance, there are specific yogic exercises within the Yungdrung Bön tradition which use the focus of the mind together with the breath and movement of the physical body to balance and strengthen each of the elements within us.  To learn more about these yogic exercises see Healing with Form, Energy and Light by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

Also, the simple act of inhaling and exhaling with awareness can be quite helpful.  Imagine inhaling pure, fresh Wind or Air and then exhaling all impure, stale Wind.  Imagine this Wind traveling throughout the body.  Similarly, imagine a ‘Wind of Change’ gently blowing into any area of your life that feels stuck.  If the Wind Element feels disturbed and there is too much erratic movement, then focus more on the Element of Earth and imagine the Wind becoming calm and stable.

A Time for Increasing Luck

raising lungta with flags and paper

The Full Moon is a time when energies are naturally rising.  This is an auspicious time to perform virtue such as spiritual practice, making sacred offerings, visiting sacred places, giving to charity, or protecting the lives of other beings.  It is also an ideal time to engage in activities that will strengthen and increase one’s positive qualities and good luck such as raising prayer flags, bringing sacred or precious things into the home, or performing smoke offerings.  Here, a group in Tibet uses wind-horse papers which are printed with mantra and prayers for good luck and good health.  By tossing them into the sky, it is believed that the energy of the mantras and prayers are activated and will lift one’s energy of luck, vitality, personal power and prosperity.

Flag of the Yungdrung Bon

Bon flag 2

The flag of the Yungdrung Bön with each of the colors of the five elements and the golden chakshing with 2 turquoise-colored yungdrungs as held by Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche

%d bloggers like this: