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Astrology for Tibetan New Year 2011

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The lunar year 2011 into 2012 is the Year of the Female Iron Rabbit (lcags-mo yos-lo), and is generally considered one of the most fortunate of all possible years. Often, the Chinese and Tibetan lunar calendars differ in the first day of the first month. Thus, in Chinese and Vietnamese practice, this lunar year commences on February 3, 2011, corresponding to the first day of the 12th Kalachakra month. This is primarily because 2010 had a duplicated eleventh month in Tibetan practice. The first day of the Tibetan New Year falls on March 5, 2011, or Losar 2138.

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?

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. I imagine that 2010 will already be too familiar for many of you. Nevertheless, if there are terms or concepts in the following that are strange to you, consult my comments for 2009.

Be all that as it may, let us begin with the geomantic indicators. This year, the opportune passageway is not observed, 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 Rus-sbal)
2) Queen Hang-ne - East
3) Queen Mother The-khyem - Northeast
4) Crown Prince Te-so - South
5) Royal Minister Tsang-kun - North
6) Royal Astrologer Se-ba bla-mkhyen - West (also inner at East, secretly at East)
7) Royal Dog Walker Hang-phan ser-po bya-ra-ba - Southwest
8) Royal Treasurer Se-byi - Northeast
9) Royal Bodyguard-Assassin Se-shar - Northwest
10) Royal Horse Se-ba rang-rta - North
11) Royal Groom Se'u rta-khrid - North
12) Royal Timekeeper Se-bya - East
13) Royal Upholsterer Sa-bdag se-bu gdan-'ding - East
14) Royal Policeman Se-lo sa-'chag kungs-myul - Southeast
15) Royal Sweeper Se-lo sa-'phyag - South
16) Royal Dog Hal-khyi nag-po - West
17) Princess dKar-sham - West
18) Prince sBal-te (her husband - the royal son-in-law) - West
19) General Vang-ging dmarpo - North
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 - Northeast
24) Scorpion-head Zin 'phung - West
25) Venomous Pi-ling - Southwest
26) Chief of the Eleven Ministers of the King (symbolizing them) - West

The containing note for 2011 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 (fire), and the khyams-nyid, or actual luck (fire). To get a bit more technical, the zla-klung-gi gza'gnyis are Moon and Water Snake, and the destiny/vitality relationship is 'dun-khur.


Our magic numbers are skye-me, or natal, as White 1 (upper metreng); srog-sme, or vitality, as Green 4 (middle metreng); dbang-sme, or destiny, as Red 7 (lower metreng).

If Rabbit ladies wish to get married this year, they should do so in the Monkey month. Rabbit grooms should not permit Dragon bridesmaids at the wedding. This is traditionally considered a superb year to have children.

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 Rabbit. Anyone who tells you they can is deceiving you. For example: there is a traditional notion that the Rabbit, Rat, Rooster, and Dragon may experience challenges this year. You will see statements like this everywhere, but you cannot always accept them as valid.

Why is this?
Astrology 9236.jpg

There are twelve animals and five elements, for a total of sixty possibilities. Each of these sixty possibilities must be evaluated in terms of five elements, for a total of 300 possibilities. Each of these 300 possibilities has five possibilities, for a total of 1,500 possibilities. Therefore, anybody who says, "Oh, the Dragon will be lucky this year," is engaging in crass generalization. What they should be saying is "Oh, the Fire Dragon exhibits the following five relationships in this, the year of the Iron Rabbit."

Somebody has actually worked all of the finer details out for 2011, and posted it online, so you can pick your birth year and then see how it relates to the Iron Rabbit in each of five areas. I haven't checked it for accuracy yet, but give it a shot if you like that sort of thing. Nevertheless, instead of relying on that overmuch, I would counsel you to take your clue from the energies of 2011 as set forth herein. 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 Rabbit? Well, you would never want a better friend, nor could you ever find a better candidate for successfully managing delicate tasks. Indeed, Rabbits personify what we might consider all positive qualities. Trungpa Rinpoche was born in the year of the Rabbit, as was Confucius, and Albert Einstein. Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, Supreme Head of the Nyingmapa School, is a Rabbit. Very good company, yes? Rabbits are also great entertainers: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Drew Barrymore, and Frank Sinatra provide handy examples.

The folk astrology of Tibet indicates that Rabbits in general are warm-hearted, affectionate, kind, extremely intelligent, and can get along with just about anyone. On the negative side, they can be lazy, with a tendency toward sentimentality, and superficiality. Their ideal careers are found in law, diplomacy, and politics, or in the arts as actors or dancers. In business, they are suited to accounting. The ideal companions are those born in the year of the Sheep or Pig. They will wish to avoid significant relationships with the Bird, Horse, Rat, Snake, or Ox.

In particular, Iron Rabbits are loving, generous, and broad-minded, with sharp wit and endurance. They are usually well-educated, solid citizens of the middle-class, well able to care for themselves and others. They are also masters of detail.

Iron Rabbits often experience chronic pain, and are susceptible to accidents. This can extend to accidental death, or even death by weapons. They are to some extent vulnerable to internecine feuding, earth spirits, and bsen-mo found at temples proximate to forts, or overlooking fortress-like terrain. They will have five children. Their average lifespan is sixty-one years. They will face five major obstacles. Rabbit dharma practitioners frequently take ordination, and follow conventional practices.


For 2011, I would recommend that Rabbits pay attention to their families and friends, work at cooperative projects with others, and cause at least one statue of Avalokitesvara to be made. Extensive nyungne is highly recommended for everyone, regardless of your year of birth. In this regard, I want to particularly recommend Wangchen Rinpoche's book, Buddhist Fasting Practice: The Nyungne Method of Thousand-Armed Chenrezig, which you can find almost everywhere. Indeed, 2011 should be devoted to the practices of Avalokitesvara, such as those found in the Mani Kabum, and elsewhere. If you are associated with a center, please entreat your lama, or any visiting lama, to offer at least one program devoted to this.

For the year just passed, 2010, I wrote:

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.

In many, many ways, 2011 is an entire year of coping with that which came into being during 2010.

I am hopeful, albeit less than sanguine, that we will see some strides in resolving the Karmapa's issues. I am also hopeful that proximate political instability in the Nyingma School will finally be resolved, as new leadership makes itself felt.

In the matter of religious extremism, and with particular reference to the war in Uddiyana, it is doubtful whether the year's traditionally peaceful energies will make themselves known in any tangible fashion. Terrorism is still very much a worldwide problem, and the United States in particular must remain extremely vigilant this year. I hate to say this, but there is a strong astrological indication of an outrage on U.S. soil.

Indeed, we must strive to limit armed conflict in all regions, if not on political grounds, then at the very least on humanitarian grounds. The people in Afghanistan and Pakistan have suffered to the breaking point. The same could also be said for North Korea and Iran. Young people the world over may mount significant demonstrations or reactions to the status quo.

You see that the Tiger is a warlike general, while the Rabbit is a smooth diplomat. Indeed, Rabbit years are regarded as generally peaceful, stable, "lucky" years, much like a civilized summer afternoon's diplomatic luncheon, out on the lawn. Nevertheless, please read my comments relating to this, embedded in Weekly Tibetan Astrology: December 20 - 26, 2010, wherein I discuss the possible effects of that week's total lunar eclipse on the year 2011.

Finance will be a constant theme throughout the year. Comfortable circumstances may return for some, while at the highest reaches of the financial world there will significant events associated with currency and precious metals. Indeed, precious metals will be one of 2011's top financial stories. Oil will also figure prominently in the year's events. Since matters concerning oil have significant political, financial, and environmental repercussions, we need to watch this area very carefully. This is a year when fortunes can be made.


Mining will be in the news, as strategic political relationships develop proximate to the exploitation of natural resources. Exciting new discoveries are probable. However, we must be extremely careful to limit insults to the earth, as the earth spirits this year will give absolutely no quarter. Rituals specific to the issue are strongly indicated. I would advise everyone who reads this to bury at least one earth vase, and to engage in works that restore or otherwise benefit the environment. In one's immediate area, one should avoid disturbing the earth by digging, grading, and so forth.

"Treasure" is actually a sub-text to the year, with exciting possibilities for the translation or publication of previously revealed termas, and even the revelation of new termas.

This is actually a great year to get into the stock market, futures trading, or currency trading. If you've thought about starting a new business, this is the year for you. If you want to enlarge an existing business, this is the year for you. If you want the green light for your movie, this is the year for you. Actually, the motion picture and entertainment industries are particularly favored this year, and fortunes will be made by individual stars. Look for box office blockbusters.

On the downside, this year can see protracted litigation related to securities, and issues with the pharmaceutical industry. News-gathering, communications, and information-sharing will experience what amounts to upheaval. The malefic, or perverse aspect of a Rabbit year is expressed in coarse legal process, which is doomed to failure, because it runs contrary to the energy of the time. To take the legal metaphor: this is the year for negotiated settlements. This is not the year for trials.

Traditional Chinese astrologers tend to associate Rabbit years with youth, renewal, and -- of course -- sexual excess. Thus, you may expect to see news related to youth movements, student causes, and sex scandals.

In the natural world, I would be very surprised if we do not see major earthquakes, with a general uptick in earthquake activity across the board. Landslides and flooding are also indicated. A tsunami is even possible. Be particularly wary of the tides.

By the way -- I am noticing that the popular Nitartha or Nalandabodhi calendar is giving February 3rd as Losar, with the notation that this is the Tsurluk and Phukluk date. This is the Chinese date, and their notation contradicts the internal evidence of their own calendar itself, which clearly lists February 3rd as the first day of the 12th month in the Phukluk system, and March 5th -- the true Losar -- as the first day of the first month.