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The Tibetan Almanac

The Tibetan Almanac or Lo-tho is published each year and is the Tibetan equivalent to the emphemeris.  However there are many other features in the almanac which do not apear in a western ephemieris.  Currently the official almanac is produced by astrologers at TMAI, but there are others produced by various monasteries.  For example Sherab-ling has recently produced an almanac of very high standards under the direction of Tsipa Tsewang Namgyal-la.  The almanac is the all important book in Tibetan astrology as it contains much useful information as well as the being the official source of the Tibetan calendar.  The calculation of one full years lo-tho is the task of the Tibetan astrologer in training and may take four years to complete.

Sections of the Lo-tho

  • 1. The First Section is called Chronology (bstan rtsis).



    This section includes a list of astro scholars from the past and how many years since their works appeared. 
    This is a tradition to include this. 


  • 2.  Lo bshad.

  • A general explantion of the year in question which makes comments on the year with considerations such as the position of the five planets, the (India) explanation of the starting positions for the year, Yang-char wheels for Tortoise, Umbrella, Lions Mattress.  There is a section called rgya nag (China) in which three explantions are given in three categories as well as the animal element of the year, its Me-wa  (sMeba) etc.

  •    3.  The Chinese Ox Calculation (rgya nag glang rtsis).

  • From this calculation we can determine the weather and fortune of countries and general health of the population.  This calculation keys in from how the ox and its herdsman appear. eg his hat shoes the ox’s tail etc al of which give different meanings.
  •    4.  Bsod nam ‘khor lo.

  • The explanation of the Wheel of Agriculture (from yangchar).
    This section shows times for the different dates favourbale for the various agricultural activities such as sowing seed, fertilisation, making irrigation channels. etc.

        5.      Solar and Lunar eclipses.  'Zin: Nyi ‘zin zla ‘zin.
    This gives the dates and times and direction of eclipses in the year.  During these times deeds have manifold effects more powerful than on other days.

        6.   The yearly calculation of Kek Tsee..  Keg rtsis.
    This gives the Sol Lu etc white stones black stones for easy reference in regard to amy birth year in the previous hundred.   describes the remedies for black stones occuring for each birth year to be applied in that particular year.

    7.  Table of good and bad days for each animal sign -
    this remains the same for each animal sign.

    8.  The yangchar wheels for that year.

    9.  bzang bzhi, ngan bzhi.  The table of directional geomantic influences for each yearly changeable parkha of any person.  Each Pharka had four good and four bad energies and directions.

    10.  bdud rtsis mthun mtsham.
    This table shows the auspicious and iauaspicious for the setting of prayer flags, changing residence.  each hour each day has a specific infuence and there are some days at some hours specially ausp and other that must be avoided.

    11.  Wheel of zing phung.  This is used to calculate the times of zing phung.
    At these times one must avoid sending brides etc.

    12.  The wheel of Accomplishment.  don ‘grub ‘khor lo
    This compares birth constellation of moon and moving mons constellations and shows whether it is nang (inside) rtse (top) or phyi (outside).  this shows on which days you be successful in work. [nang is best, chi will make one feel uncomfortable and rtse you will face enemies regrets and offences.]

    13.  rgyal blon.
    This gives the figures for the planets and constellations for the first day of the year.

    14.  Lo sa bdag.
    Shows the directions of the various classes of spirits for the current and the follwoing year.  Eg is used in death claculation to find which directio to send the corpse for burial. [usually a clear direction of harmless spirit direction is chosen.]

    15.  This tables show the position of planets of the solar day ie the position when the sun enters Aries.

    16.  Zla bai sa bdag.
    The monthly spirit directions. [one page diagram for each month]

    17.   zla bshad.
    Explanation of the month.  The god and bad featuers fo each month and what will happen during that time.  the dates of summer and winter solstice etc.

    18.  The main body:
    Provides the data of the planets etc for each month on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 30th days.  For each from 1st to 30th the key figures, as well as the monthly position directions of the spirits.

    19. The remedies for the direction of the bad spirits.
    These diagrams are ancient forms that evoke or banish the different type of sadak that may cause problems for one or another during the course of the year.

    The eleven types of remedy (sa bdag lto phye) [spirit foods] to be given to the directions.

    mda’ dar - Da dar- like an folded prayer flags with an arrow.
    byang bu dgu mig- metsal of nine holes.
    ‘gron bu- cowries  cowry shell.
    rma byai’ sgro - peacokc feather.
    melong - mirror
    rus sbal snag brnyan - body of tortoise
    mtshon gyi dru bu - ball of elemental threads
    byi thur sgro - poprcupine quill
    sba- lcag- whip
    lug gi gyang gzhi- sheep skin with head
    stag ral - tigers skin
    gyag ngo- head of yak