Before Mercury goes retrograde on Thursday, 6th February, the celestial courier reminds me to clarify, as best I can, why the beginning of the Tibetan New Year of the Green Wood Horse 2141, LOSAR is, according to the most widely used Tibetan Calendar, March 2nd, which, by cosmic coincidence, is also around the time that Mercury also goes forward at 18 Aquarius ((28th Feb) and Mars goes retrograde (more on the scarlet planet in due course)).
But just as the Horse year canters
into action, it appears there’s some confusion about this year’s date
for Losar. This is mainly due to several factors – not least the
different schools calculating calendars in Tibetan astro-science. The
two main calendar systems are Tsurbu (Kagyu) and Phugpha (Galugpa).
These two sects generally agree on the starting date for Losar; this
year, however, the (older) Tsurbu system calculated 31st Jan as the
start of the New Year Losar, corresponding with the Chinese New Year and
some Tamang in Nepal. But according to the (newer) Phugpha calendar
and to Dalai Lama’s official office, His Holiness - and therefore most
other Himalayan Buddhists - will celebrate Losar March 2nd. So don't
put away your best party outfit too soon, but get ready to ‘Tashi Delek’
once again March 2nd!
This business of which New Year to
celebrate (or align with) is also further complicated as Tibetan
astro-science also employs various methods of astrology, Kartsi, Nagsi
& Bön elemental; as such, there are even THREE major ‘New Year’s’,
two of which are lunar (Elemental & Losar) and one solar
(Kalachakra), with the Lunar Losar being the most important as most
Tibetans even count his or her age from the Losar of their birth; nearly
everyone also celebrates their birthday at Losar (birthdays are
generally not acclaimed in the same way we do in the West), making Losar
a truly shared experience.
With four planets in fun-loving
Leo, I personally raise a toast and blow the horn to all of these dates,
and will also happily include Western New Year’s, Solstice &
Halloween, as well as Spring Equinox into life’s festivities. Though
from the western astrological view point of view, I find it fascinating
that Chinese New Year is always Aquarian, accenting noble intention, but
with a totalitarian caution; while Tibetan Losar can float between the
fixed Water Bearer and the more fluid and sympathetic sign of the
Fishes. Oceanic Pisces also appertains to humanities’ collective
vastness, so symbolic of the Buddhist ‘Sea of Samsara’ and the different
realms of existence, that I find it fitting, somehow, that Tibet’s New
Year is often celebrated at the beginning of a Pisces Lunation by a
culture whose spiritual leader’s name, Dalai Lama, means ‘Great Ocean of
Wisdom’. Indeed, isn’t such wisdom to be revered, as we course through
all life’s passages, planting and growing the seeds of compassion?
And so, in this promising and dynamic year of the Green Wood Horse, I
wish health & happiness, insight & understanding, whichever
Losar or New Year you celebrate! Losar Tashi Delek ~> with Light
With love thanks to Marco Polo for the wonderful photo of young monks blowing the long-horn. _/♥\_ And to the Jonang tradition for Green Wood Horse illustration.