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Astrology for Tibetan New Year 2010

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The year 2010 is the Year of the Male Iron Tiger (lcags-pho stag-lo). The first day falls on February 14, 2010, or Tibetan New Year 2137 (some scholars will argue it is 2136). Often, the Chinese and Tibetan lunar calendars differ in the first day of the first month, but in this case they do not. In Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tibetan practice, there is the same Lunar New Year Day in 2010.

I gave what I regard as a suitable explanation and introduction to the detailed nuances of yearly astrology, and the relative meanings, in our remarks for 2009. Rather than repeat myself, I would suggest that you click back to 2009, read the post, and then click back here to discover what has changed.

The chief value of the following post lies in the calculations. Ordinarily, these calculations are the result of a laborious process, but here you have them at your fingertips, already done for you. Is it better or worse if you don't have to work for it?

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Be all that as it may, you came here for the astrology, not philosophy. I quite understand, so why not begin with the geomantic indicators? This year, the opportune passageway is White West, and here are the positions occupied by our sa-bdag friends, from rje-blon nyer-drug ma-bu 'khor:

1) King The-se - East (also hidden spirit Bya-khyung ka-ru)
2) Queen Hang-phan - East
3) Queen Mother The-khyem - North
4) Crown Prince Te-so - West
5) Royal Minister Tsang-kun - North
6) Royal Astrologer Se-ba bla-mkhyen - West (also inner at South, secretly at East)
7) Royal Dog Walker Hang-phan ser-po bya-ra-ba - Northwest
8) Royal Treasurer Se-byi - Southeast
9) Royal Bodyguard-Assassin Se-shar - Northeast
10) Royal Horse Se-ba rang-rta - Northwest
11) Royal Groom Se'u rta-khrid - Northwest
12) Royal Timekeeper Se-bya - Northeast
13) Royal Upholsterer Sa-bdag se-bu gdan-'ding - East
14) Royal Policeman Se-lo sa-'chag kungs-myul - Northeast
15) Royal Sweeper Se-lo sa-'phyag - South
16) Royal Dog Hal-khyi nag-po - North
17) Princess dKar-sham - North
18) Prince sBal-te (her husband - the royal son-in-law) - North
19) General Vang-ging dmarpo - East
20) General Tsang-kun - Northeast
21) Adjutant Tsang-kun 'phye'o - Northwest
22) Dog-headed Assistant Tsang-kun khyi-mgo - North
23) Advisor Bla-mkhyen phe'u - Southeast
24) Scorpion-head Zin 'phung - Southwest
25) Venomous Pi-ling - East
26) Chief of the Eleven Ministers of the King (symbolizing them) - Southwest

The containing note for 2010 is wood of the juniper (alternatively, wood of the pine). The body element (lus: basically the same thing) originates from the blood vessels of the turtle's lungs and liver. The other basics of the year are its srog, or vitality (wood); the dbang-thang, or destiny (iron); the rlung-ta, or luck (iron), and the khyams-nyid, or actual luck (iron). To get a bit more technical, the zla-klung-gi gza'gnyis are Saturn and Iron Dragon, and the destiny/vitality relationship is 'dun-khur.

Our magic numbers are skye-me, or natal, as Black 2 (upper metreng); srog-sme, or vitality, as Yellow 5 (middle metreng); dbang-sme, or destiny, as White 8 (lower metreng).


Because I favor elemental astrology, it is difficult for me to make general predictions about how the various "animals" will fare in this Year of the Iron Tiger, beyond saying that it seems particularly good for Rabbits born in 1987 and 1963. You can find more of that commonly enough from Chinese sources. However, instead of relying on that overmuch, I would counsel you to take your clue from the energies of 2010 as set forth herein.

Nothing is carved in stone except stone carvings. However, we are dealing with a corpus of lessons learned that arguably stretches back 3,500 years, and usefully stretches back 2,500 years. Please take note that as a general rule, astrological indications are rendered highly flexible by Dharma practice.

So, what is the conventional wisdom about the Iron Tiger?

The folk astrology of Tibet indicates that Tigers in general are brave, daring, ferocious, intelligent, and often audacious, with a tendency toward harsh speech and risk taking, i.e. gambling and business adventures. The ideal companions are those born in the year of the Dog, Horse, and Pig. Those to avoid are born in the year of Ox, Monkey, and to a lesser degree, Snake. Many people will try to have sons this year.

In particular, Iron Tiger's are generous to the poor, and protective of the underdog, but can become wrathful and bloody minded, and without moral instruction may become fond of killing. Somebody better tell Jamgon Kongtrul II, and Orgyen Thinley Dorje -- to give but two examples-- both Tigers, but neither of whom were or are bloody minded and fond of killing, as far as anyone knows.

Iron Tigers greatly enjoy meat, alcohol, the opposite sex, and comfortable living circumstances. They speak directly, with an authoritarian air of command. They are to some extent vulnerable to haunting spirits (bstan) and gyalpos, particularly those gyalpos associated with knives and other weapons. They will have two to four children. Their average lifespan is sixty years. They will face five major obstacles.

Iron Tiger dharma practitioners are known to be highly stable and extremely faithful, with unusual powers that are expressed in unconventional ways. As such, their actions are often liable to misinterpretation. They have the potential to exist in this lifetime as reborn spirits, i.e. they were not precisely human in their immediately previous lifetime. In the lifetimes prior to that, they were kings or princes, and in most lifetimes previous to that, they were siddhas, acharya's, or wandering yogis. In this lifetime, they are often characterized by wide learning and extreme intelligence. However, they may be prone to procrastination, and indecision brought on by physical ailments.

HeadPIC astrology.jpg

As 2010 is the fourth of a five year run of inauspicious element combinations for Tigers, (2011 will be incredibly troublesome) one is advised to take practice to heart. Speaking very personally, I would recommend that Tigers vigorously save the lives of beings otherwise marked for death. I would also recommend the creation of images, printing of dharma books, and other good works. In particular, and at all costs, one should cause at least one statue of Shakyamuni Buddha to be made. If conditions permit, Tigers should seriously consider going into retreat until 2012 at the earliest. What is wrong with that?

If you are born in the Year of the Iron Tiger, you are in the closing chapters of an extremely troublesome Mercury-Ketu transit, but if you survive, you are at the threshold of an extremely auspicious run of good luck. The operative word in that last sentence is "if." In Tibetan astrology, the Mercury-Ketu transit is described as "certain death." Of course, as an Iron Tiger, you don't care, but let me say the beginning of the transit, circa 2006, while no picnic, had the elements showing mercy. For the end of the transit, which begins now, the elements show no mercy. Are you impressed yet? Again and again, I want to emphasize that spiritual practice throws all astrological indications to the winds. This is why even very great lamas go into retreat for obstacle years, and live to tell the tale.

You should also be aware that people who have formerly been good friends may turn into bitter enemies. I hate to say this, but Iron Tigers have an astrological propensity to fall victim to murder. Stay away from weapons of all kinds: indeed, be extremely careful of sharp instruments such as knives, axes, saws, and so forth. Taking this energy as a clue, all persons should beware of accidents, misadventure, assault, robbery, and so forth in this wild year of sudden surprises.

Every astrologer in Hong Kong, Lhasa, and Saigon will tell you to avoid cutting wood -- even symbolically -- and thus, to avoid carpentry projects, splitting firewood, and so forth. Some may advise you to plant trees. This is not precisely correct. Earth is the missing element of this year, and wood exhausts earth. Things need to stay in relative balance, you know? There is also a significant risk of disturbance in the fire element this year.


One of the peculiar paradoxes of Tibetan astrology is that Iron Tiger years are known for incidents of accidental drowning. This is drowning in the bathtub, or drowning in a puddle type drowning, as distinct from the more common sort. Iron Tiger years are also known for war, particularly at the sixty year return, or the so-called complete cycle of time. The year 2010 is the sixty year return of the Iron Tiger year 1950, and you will recall this is when China invaded Tibet. You will also remember the Korean War. Other Iron Tiger years are 1590 (Battle of Ivry), 1650 (Third English Civil War), 1710 (Battle of Helsingborg), 1770 (Russo-Turkish War), 1830 (July Revolution, Belgian Revolution, Polish Revolution), and 1890 (Wounded Knee Massacre).

There is a particular danger of extreme turmoil arising from grudges, and there is a definite indicator of provocation from a spirit. This may degenerate into spiritual warfare of the most destructive sort. Therefore, if someone has done you an injury -- even a great injury -- do not respond, no matter the provocation. Those who seek to provoke are in fact demons, no matter what disguise they wear. This is a dark age.

Pay particular attention to dreams (and nightmares) this year. You might go so far as to keep a dream journal. Greatly disturbed dreams will indicate developments in the spirit world.

The "spiritual warfare" concept as applied to 2010 should not be taken lightly. There will be extreme activity involving gyalpos -- some very, very powerful forces will come to life -- and unprecedented agitation or activity among energetically wrathful spirits of all classes.

Make no mistake about this. This Tiger year can see ruthlessness on outer, inner, and secret levels. It will come suddenly, without warning.

Zodiac clock.JPG

The last Iron Tiger year, 1950, saw the beginning of the end of Tibetan Buddhism as it had been known for centuries prior. To a certain extent, this became possible because of degeneration and fighting in the Tibetan Buddhist institutions themselves. The year 2010 will witness extreme tension between unorthodox expressions of Tibetan Buddhism -- those which are against the grain, permissive or culturally diluted -- and the ancient energies that have been offended by such extreme views. Again, please remember what I have told you: that which provokes you to anger in 2010 aims to bring about your destruction. As difficult as it may be, you must withdraw from such provocations.

Iron Tiger years are years of spies, agents provocateurs, and behind the scenes intrigue that unexpectedly boils over. They are years where the greatest dangers lie in excess, hasty action, hot headed plots, and sudden violence. We must all work together to counteract such energies, and the solution to doing so lies in practice, practice, practice, and more practice.

It is not outside the realm of possibility that we may see some cross-border excursions of the most hostile sort in 2010. Already, China is building or repairing as many as twenty-seven airstrips near the Indian border. There may be episodes of unusual violence or catastrophic events inside China itself. There is also most definitely some very serious trouble in Pakistan on the horizon. North Korea in particular should be watched with great care, as well as Iran. Dangerous demagogues in both nations will dare to dream martial dreams.

This year may witness terrible cruelty to animals, so it is important to see to animal welfare as much as possible. There may also be food shortages, and an upswing in armed robbery, banditry, and so forth. In the natural realm, beware of volcanoes. In the financial realm, the arms industry will profit. Billions will be spent on missiles.

And now, here is some "newspaper" astrology:

In general, Tigers make brilliant authors, musicians, actors, philosophers, leaders, generals, and explorers. Some examples are Marco Polo (lived 70 years), Beethoven (lived 57 years), Karl Marx (lived 65 years), Emily Jane Bronte (lived 30 years), Oscar Wilde (lived 46 years), Beatrix Potter (lived 77 years, loved rabbits), H.G. Wells (lived 80 years), Agatha Christie (lived 86 years), President Eisenhower (lived 79 years), General De Gaulle (lived 80 years), John Steinbeck (lived 66 years), Sir Alec Guinness (lived 86 years), Dylan Thomas (lived 39 years), Rudolph Nureyev (lived 55 years).

Just using these as a guide, the average age is 65 years. Some other examples are Queen Elizabeth II, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, William Hurt, Jodie Foster, Bill Murray, Tom Cruise, Garth Brooks, Demi Moore, Leonardo DiCaprio.

At this stage in my life, one year is like another, and all astrology aside, it is best not to have too many expectations. I just write these things for people who enjoy them.