The Earth Dog        


I became a student of Chögyam Trungpa, a siddha (master) of the Kagyu Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism in 1973. We use the Tibetan lunar calendar to calculate the new year and renaming it “Shambhala Day.” I became interested in the animals in 2005 (year of the Wood Rooster) when I realized I had a really nice image of a Rooster and could make cards, prints, and fridge magnets.  I got a table at Pier 21 In Halifax where Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche was giving an abhisheka (empowerment) for a Vajrakilya practice. I ended up making $1,500 in sales in the month of January.  This, needless to say, was highly motivating and so began my career in Shambhala Day (Chinese/Tibetan New Year) cards. To be clear, I do not consider myself an astrologer (so don’t expect that of me).  I’m mainly interested in the animals and how they can reflect the essence of a particular combination of element and animal, which is why I pick animals with character.

I am working on discovering seminal events in two 60-year cycles for each animal so that you can make up your own mind as to what that year or animal might signify. So, for example, 2016 was the year of the Fire Dog, 2017, the year of the Fire Rooster.  Guess what the main event was for those two years. I’m thinking of turning that into either a “coffee table book or a colouring book.

Discover your inner animal

The Chinese/Tibetan system is very sophisticated and, as you may imagine, given the number of people born in a birth year, you can safely assume that they would share only very general, perhaps primarily historical/generational, characteristics in common. The sign that characterizes an individual best is said to be reflected by the day in the particular year you were born (discovered by including the hour, day, month, year, sex, and the longitude of your birthplace (as in western astrology)  in the calculation). For example I am an Earth (or brown) Dragon), born in the hour of the Water Boar, in the month of the Metal Tiger, in the year of the Fire Dog.
     For a free calculation of these signs and from that, a projection of the rise and fall of your “luck” through the timeline of your life, go to: Chinese Horoscope Online site. This site also gives a decent explanation of Chinese astrology. For a quick check of what animal/element was in force in your birth year, check out link below (don’t forget the lunar calendar new year variation between early January and early march). 

 The cycle of years

IThe Chinese lunar calendar dates from 2637 B.C. and comprises five cycles of twelve years each, with a complete cycle lasting sixty years. In chronological order, there are 12 animals: rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Bird, Dog, and Pig, combined with the elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. See below for a link to a chart of the Chinese-Tibetan Zodiac Calendar.

Because Tibetans and Chinese use the lunar calendar, he the “New Year” can fall  sometime between between early January and early March in the “Julian” (western) calendar.

Click on the titles below for further reading:

The Legendary origins of the astrology animals

A Short History of Tibetan Astrology

Chinese Zodiac Calendar from 1927 to 2046

Remember: Don’t transfer the Ox’s load to the Cow, nor forget your grain of salt.