Ox Divination for the Wood Dragon Year

A talk given by Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo at Dzamling Gar, Tenerife, during Losar New Year celebrations, February 2024

First of all, I want to say Happy Losar – in Tibetan, Losar Tashi Deleg – to all. Today I’d like to share with you a little bit of what is coming this year based on Tibetan astrology.

The purpose of consulting astrology is so that we can prepare and thus avoid problems in our own condition and also in our environment. While astrology is a huge topic to study, today I will present something very simple, in order to make it a little easier.

The Ox Divination for the year is represented by an ox and a cowherd. The ox represents the general universe while the cowherd represents the beings within it. We have the outer dimension, where we live, and within that dimension we have humans and other beings: the outer nature and inner nature. 

Both the ox and the cowherd have different elements and colors each year, such as the color of the body, the mouth, the ears. The body of the ox represents a universal continent and the eight or ten directions. The eight directions are East, West, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, North, South, and with the sky and the earth, there are ten directions. The ox represents the earth, the dragon [in the sky] represents the water [amount of rain] while the oxherd represents humans, their lives, their economic situation, health, and so on.

To explain the astrology of this year using the ten directions, different parts of the body of the ox represent the global continents. The change in colors of the ox happens every year and the colors indicate bad, good or neutral conditions depending on the individual region and individual humans. 

We also have to consider the “mother” cycle, “son” cycle, “friend” cycle, and “enemy” cycle. The mother cycle means protection; a mother has the capacity to protect her child. The son cycle means that the mother and son agree and get along. The friendship cycle is supportive in the way that a friend is a support especially when you have a problem. The enemy cycle tends to harm or manipulate you. 

Those are four different aspects and when we consider our relatives, our friends and others we may see aspects that we consider to be enemies. For that reason, a certain part of the body of the ox has a certain color which refers to the year and certain parts of the continent that may not be gentle. The same is also true of the oxherd who represents the inner nature or sentient beings. 

As I said, the ox represents the outer nature, therefore, that which is produced in nature, which is external. Nothing is produced within our body. Everything we rely on is external: food, [air for] breathing, and so on. The position of the ox lets us know if the natural resources for the year are more than enough, enough, or not enough. 

Then there are different aspects of the oxherd such as certain types of clothing and his age: he may be old, or young, or middle aged. An old oxherd means that in that year the element of the wind [lung] is more predominant, middle-aged means the fire element is stronger, while the younger oxherd means the earth and water element are predominant. Depending on the age of the oxherd, the water element has different meanings. The whip the oxherd carries represents a weapon and depending on how he is holding it, what material it is made of, indicates whether there will be a lot of movement, or a war. This year the whip is made of silk and it is facing down, meaning that the year will not be difficult. A gun ready to shoot means that an enemy is expected and something is about to happen. 

This year, the color of the ox is yellow meaning there will be good crops and natural resources. People will be relatively satisfied with the quantity of food produced. Yellow represents the earth element that holds everything together. 

We may have certain issues, like chronic disease. The head of the ox is green. In the first month of spring, summer, autumn, and winter we will have more wind. The effect of this wind movement is that things will grow better. 

The abdomen of the ox is red. In this case, the middle of the continents will have more obstacles, more activities, and more anger particularly in the middle of the summer and the middle of the autumn. The last month of each season will be more challenging, and there will be dryness and less rain in the autumn, especially the second month of the autumn.

The tail is yellow, which generally indicates calmness, but the four legs of the ox are also yellow which may mean desertlike conditions and the lower valley regions will have more challenges or more dryness. The mouth of the ox is open and the tail goes from left to right and is a bit crooked. This means that the year is not so good for animals. If you are nomadic, like the herders in Tibet, your animals will have some obstacles. 

It is a good year for human beings. There will be more new children, and also more animal births. The oxherd for this year is young, like the children. This is positive for children, but not for middle aged people, and particularly not good for seniors because the element of lung is very high. 

The color of the oxherd’s clothes is a little greenish meaning that in general the economy is not very productive. The oxherd is wearing a belt, similar to traditional Tibetan attire, and it is white so there is some concern about enemies. The hair of the oxherd is in two braids behind the ears which means that things are generally fine. 

The oxherd’s shoes are red. He is not wearing the left shoe and it is tied to the right side of the belt. This means that men may be busier than women. The oxherd is running in front of the ox meaning that spring arrives a little earlier, animals will be able to feed earlier and are therefore happier. The number of the ox is ten, which means that there is more than enough production and that we will have a good autumn and good crops. In the sky we have one dragon, which means the rain may not be sufficient. This year the dragon represents the water element. 

The other day I was listening to Rinpoche’s teaching about the Garuda, and he said that while in Tibetan Medicine there are the five elements, in the Bön tradition the five elements are symbolized by four animals: the dragon, the lion, the garuda and the tiger, the four animals that we find today on the prayer flags. 

Why do they represent the five elements with four animals? The animal is like life and has its full potential. When we talk about the five elements, each element has its own energy, its own active, healthy element. Rinpoche said that the dragon represents that water element so if there’s one dragon it means that this year is not going to have a lot of rain. 

In conclusion, the Ox prediction for the year is generally good. The food crops are fine, although there is a wind element of disturbance. The outer nature, the ox, is yellow representing the earth. The head is green representing wind. The abdomen is red showing the fire element, the middle regions, not too high or low, will have a drier climate. Particularly the summer and autumn and the second month of every season will have problems of drought. The horns, ears, and tail of the ox are yellow so relatively everything is quite balanced. The four feet of the ox are yellow which is good for lands at lower altitude. The mouth of the ox is open and looking to the left which is not very positive for animals so milk for young animals is not so good.

The color of the oxherd’s clothes is green indicating wind so this year looks like we’re going to have a lot of wind. If that is the case, if you are already a “wind” personality or if you have difficulty sleeping or concentrating, or if you like to talk a lot, to move a lot, your mind is not able to relax, if you already have a tendency to restlessness or abnormal mental energy, then you need to be careful. To be careful does not mean to stay in a room with a locked door. It means we should be careful with what we do. We should eat good food, move well, not discuss heavy topics, not go where people are fighting, not drink alcohol. We should try not to drink a lot of ginger tea or hot spicy tea or do a lot of heavy exercise. And in particular, we should be more careful in late spring and or middle autumn. If you follow these indications it will help to prevent problems. 

Instead of drinking ginger tea, you can drink some saffron tea. Instead of staying under the sun, maybe you can stay in a shady place. Instead of staying late at a party, you can stay peacefully at home, drink some tea with a good companion. Any kind of discussions, like fighting, arguments, heavy things will be harmful.

For those born in the year of the Dragon – there are Fire Dragons, Water Dragons, Wood Dragons, Earth Dragons [depending on the year of birth] – this year is positive if you are a Water Dragon. If you are an Earth Dragon, you need to be a little careful especially for your health because this year is the Wood Dragon and the Wood element is enemy to the Earth element. If you are a Fire Dragon, then the year should be all right although you should not initiate fighting. 

If you were born in the year of the Dragon, this year is your keg [skeg lo] year [the return of the animal of the year of birth which is less favorable]. Therefore it’s good to do your best. You can hang a number of prayer flags equivalent to your age. It is also good to save the lives of animals. If you don’t find animals to save you can give to charities, animal charities, homeless charities, refuge charities, cancer charities, and so on. It would also be positive to fix or help to fix something that the Dzogchen Community needs. 

You can also wear something that corresponds to the Earth element since the Dragon’s element is Earth. For that reason this year it will be better not to wear bright colors or the color green. It will be better to wear blue, something related to the water element. White is good, blue is good, dark blue is good, but even if you don’t have clothes in these colors, it would be good to put on something symbolic. Changing the element does not require huge changes. What we need is something symbolic to harmonize.

The year is not only a little heavy for those born in the Dragon year, but also for those born in the year of three other animals. For those born in the year of the Dog the year is a little heavy because the Dog is like the second home of the Dragon. If you are a Dog, you need to be careful, especially if someone is accusing you, blaming you, or taking you to court. It’s not necessarily that you have done something wrong, but someone is blaming you. The Dragon and Dog are loud, so if they are yelling at each other no one listens. Hence if these two are in disagreement, it’s good to do, for example, Odser Jenma practice, in order to open the path. 

There are two other animals who will have some issues of health – the Ox and the Sheep. The Ox and the Sheep are the fourth animals, counter clockwise and clockwise, from the Dragon. For them it would be good to do some Medicine Buddha practice or long-life practice. In particular, if you know which personality you belong to, if you know which element is more predominant for you, based on this you can drink a different tea, wear different clothes, do something different, but simply you can also do practice. 

In conclusion, those born in the year of the Dragon need to be careful and try to do more practice connected to your life. If you are born in the year of the Dog, it is good to do Odser Jenma practice to strengthen your energy and also to put up prayer flags. If you are an Ox or a Sheep your health is more of an issue, so make sure you have a good diet and if there’s something wrong, consult a doctor early so illness can be prevented. As Rinpoche always said, working with circumstances is important.  Another thing Rinpoche said many times is that the best practice is Guruyoga, so that is the best. 

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