Tibetan Astrology

An Introduction

Tibetan Astrology is an important part of Tibetan culture. It is interwoven into daily life and provides guidance for major decisions. It is also the complement to Tibetan Medicine; astrology provides the wisdom, while medicine provides the method. Tibetans have used astrology for thousands of years as a tool to better understand both themselves—including their health and fortune—as well as external factors in their lives. The word of astrology in Tibetan is “Tsi” and astrologers are called “Tsi-Pa, those who practice Tsi. In Tibet to learn something about astrology is to learn something about the Dharma and Buddhism, and usually vice versa. Tibetan Buddhist monks all use astrology.

What is Tibetan Astrology?

What is Tibetan Astrology? Tibetan astrology is one of the 5 minor sciences of Tibet. As a result, Tibetan astronomy and astrology is one of the disciplines taught at the university in Tibet. Among the topics covered in its teaching are astrological calculations, the genesis of the universe and the earth, the inner cycles of the human body in correlation with those of the planets, the subtle bodies and the relations between the body and the spirit.

Tibetan astrology is a blend of both Chinese and Indian astrological traditions but is uniquely Buddhist as it is based on the Kalachakra Tantra. By the words Kar-Tsi and Jung-Tsi, which translate to “white astrology” and “black astrology.” Kar-Tsi (white astrology) comes from India and represents the Dharma, the actual teachings of the Buddha, and things mostly having to do with the calculation of ephemerides, and so forth, while Jung-Tsi (black astrology) comes from China and includes the geomantic and divinatory aspects of the Tibetan tradition, the trigrams, the five elements, and so forth. Black and white here refers to colors only and carries no suggestion of good and evil. The Chinese divinatory sciences, astrology in particular,

Chinese astrology Tibetan astrology takes the same cycle of 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac associated with the 5 elements of Chinese cosmology (Wu Xing), the 12 Chinese zodiac animals themselves most probably taking their roots in Turkish Astrology and the 5 Chinese elements in Taoism.

The Tibetan calendar is therefore, like the Chinese calendar, a lunisolar calendar, which is based on a combination of the lunar and solar cycle, although the dates of the Tibetan and Chinese New Year are not necessarily in agreement each year.

How it Functions

Tibetan Astrology functions on the principle of interdependent logic. Nothing in this universe functions independently. We exist 100% in interdependence. This means that things are not random. From one thing, it is possible to discover everything.

In general speaking, the basis of Tibetan Astrology is the five elements. All the elements conclude in time and move in predictable ways. Time is like the sixth element. So, if you know the basics of time, then it is possible to catch the elements. With time, it is possible to discover when and where something will happen, what time it will occur and what elements are involved. We completely depend on the elements. We don’t have control over them ourselves. However, the elements move, we move. Therefore, if we know when the elements will be a certain way, we also know how we will be at that time.

The shifting of the elements according to the astrological cycles affects our bodies and the functioning of the organs. A good doctor needs to understand this, especially when doing a pulse diagnosis. Otherwise, since the person’s pulse changes according to seasonal changes, this could result in a misdiagnosis.

Tibetan Astrology teaches us that we are part of universal cycles. We may think we act independently, but this is only illusion and ignorance. We are completely dependent on these cycles and affected by them—mentally, physically and energetically. It is wise to understand this and harmonize ourselves with these changes. This will help us to be happy and healthy.

Our Other Post on Tibetan Culture & Customs

Tibetan Poeple

Tibetan People: The racial origins of the Tibetans are little known and remain a matter of scientific speculations. The written history of Tibet started 1400 years ago. 

Tibetan Language

Tibetan Language: Language is considered the very important aspect of Tibetan culture & custom. Tibetan language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman group of languages and is spoken by around eight million people.

Traditional Clothing in Tibetan Culture

Tibetan traditional clothing has a strong connection with the people and the climate of the Tibetan plateau.  They tend to be conservative in their dress, and though some have taken to wearing western clothes, traditional styles still abound, especially in rural and nomadic villages. 

Tibetan Cuisine

In Tibetan culture, cuisine includes the culinary traditions and practices of Tibet and its peoples. It reflects the Tibetan landscape of mountains and plateaus and includes influences from neighbors

Tibetan Architecture

Tibetan architecture contains Chinese and Indian influences but has many unique features brought about by its adaptation to the cold, generally arid, high-altitude climate of the Tibetan plateau.

Tibetan Song and Dance

Tibetan song and dance:  Singing and dancing are an integral part of every Tibetan’s life. Tibetan people sing and dance for nearly every event: weddings, social gatherings, and just for fun.

Tibetan Opera

Tibetan opera, Ache Lhamo, which means Fairy in Tibetan, is the traditional opera of Tibet. The first opera troupe in Tibet was founded in the Ngamring area during the 15th century by Thangtong Gyalpo.

Tibetan Art and Crafts

More than a thousand years, Tibetan artists have played a very important role in the cultural life of Tibet. From designs for painted furniture to elaborate murals in religious buildings, their efforts have permeated virtually every facet of life on the Tibetan plateau.

Tibetan Marriage Custom

In Tibetan culture, Marriage custom is an important part of all the lay people everywhere and likewise, Tibetans also consider it as a very auspicious and important event. 

Traditional Tibetan Medicine

Traditional Tibetan Medicine is commonly known as “Sowa Rigpa” is a very ancient medical system based on Buddhist philosophy and psychology, considered to be one of the oldest, living and well documented medical tradition from the world over.

Sky Burial

Tibetan Funeral Customs: Tibetan Buddhists believe life is not over at death, but merely entering a rebirth. Monks emphasize this cyclical nature of existence to dispel the fear of death in Tibetan society and help people prepare for a new beginning.


A khata is a traditional ceremonial or offering scarf used widely in Tibetan culture and in Tibetan Buddhism for different purposes.

Tibetan Prayer flags

Tibetans hang prayer flags on all passes, bridges and on the roofs of houses. These flags are unique to Tibetan Buddhism and they have a history well over a thousand years old.

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