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Science & Art in the Tibetan Astrological Calendar Sidpaho

August 22, 2017 3 min read

Predicting the future and fortunes of an individual based on the movement of the planets across the reference matrix of the constellations, presupposes knowledge of astronomy.

With very few instruments available, astronomical calculations were already in place and one just had to refer to the charts to predict which planet could be sighted in a certain constellation at a certain time from the vantage point of the earth.

These were then juxtaposed with the favorable and unfavorable factors of the individual’s life that were determined by the coordinates of his birth i.e. latitude, longitude and time – also known as  ‘space time coordinates’ in physics.

And with this unique combination of individual factors and the paradigm a recipe is drawn up for life choices that will result in least unfavorable and most favorable outcomes as per the standard metrics of life. The recommended recipe acts s a gudieline for important life decisions.

Is it accurate? Is it reliable?

No idea.No one can have an idea.

For even though one might be able to determine the success of the path taken, no one will ever be able to determine the success on the paths not taken.  so we do not know whether the recommendation is the “best” possible one.

We do know however, that everyone is at least a little unsure when taking important decisions and so having such an affirmation from someone else – whosoever it might be – eases the burden on the mind. The amount of confidence one gets from another’s affirmation depends on who the ‘other’ is. And if the other is seen as a beloved or a respected or a powerful member of one’s life then the confidence drawn from his affirmation can become the bedrock of confidence.

With this psychological working behind it, these charts thrived and became a part of the culture that is a living tradition in many parts of Asia even today.

For, managing the mind is e v e r y t h i n g.


Coming back to the original idea – I am in awe that thousands of years ago, without any high tech instruments the people that lived then that we call primitive had figured out the skies quite accurately.

Further, mathematical concepts of ‘Prime Numbers’ was known to them. (Actually it is a pretty simply concept that every child could independently discover soon enough  if she were allowed to play through her discoveries rather than be fed this knowledge – so there is no need for me to be feeling awe. But then I had felt wonder when I was introduced to this magical set of numbers that are also present in nature… hence my awe at those who arrived at this concept on their own)

Both these constructs are present in the Tibetan Astrological calendars – the Sidpaho – a visualisation of the influences of the universe.


Antique Tibetan Astrological Manuscript Calendar Painting Thangka

In any Sidpaho diagram we see

  • The animals that represent each of the years of 12 year cycle
  • The “Mewa,” or the nine prime numbers.
  • The  “Parkha,” or eight Trigrams.

And above all of these are the deities ruling the 7 planets and the 7 days of the week.


Learning about and undertsanding the complexities of Tibetan Astrology is a degree course in Buddhist universities so it is unlikely that I shall learn even the basics in one afternoon!

All that I have learnt for now is that the system is a complex one, that combines astronomy, numerology, elementology and other subjects to arrive at a predictive system of charts and numbers.

Here are some links to explore:

Link 1

Link 2

Will write more when I have learnt more …



Aug 2017



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