Throughout the long history of humanity’s presence on Earth, great minds have attempted to reveal the mysteries of life’s origin and its purpose. As curious and penetrating minds gazed outwardly into the vast visible universe, others searched within with the intent to reveal the nature of reality in their own being. These scientists and spiritual seekers discovered and unveiled, in their differing ways, the laws of physics on the one hand and the Dharma on the other.
Our mysterious universe defies the status quo and continually challenges us to find ever-new answers to age-old questions. We are constantly on the threshold of new discoveries, and so it is imperative that we refrain from making final judgments as to the ultimate nature of things. It is a best practice to nurture a flexible, mindful state of awareness so we can always be ready to assimilate the new and unexpected. Astrology can help us identify how we fit into the greater picture of life and how we might measure ourselves adequately through its tenets.
Astrologers look for indications in a natal chart that reflect the realities of a person’s life and what makes them think, feel and respond the way they do. To expand one’s own character, it is advantageous to study the lives and charts of great individuals. One of the most intriguing charts of prominent spiritual leaders alive today is that of the Dalai Lama. How spiritual potentials reveal themselves is a special type of analysis, and the birth chart of the Dalai Lama shows several obvious signs of advanced, personal evolution. The interpretation of the chart of the Dalai Lama will begin with an overall perspective outlined in the Essentials of Astrological Analysis by Dr. Marc Edmund Jones.
THE NATURAL DISPOSITION
The Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935, in what is now, Taktser, China at 4:38 am. The Dalai Lama has planets opposite one other in both fixed and mutable signs. Oppositions draw one’s attention outward and by their quadratures, three specific interests in life are determined. An interest in the welfare of others is revealed by mutable sign oppositions, abstract ideals and the meaning and purpose of life are shown by fixed sign oppositions, and an interest centered in self and its development is determined by oppositions in cardinal signs.
The technique is more complicated in the Dalai Lama’s horoscope because there are two of the three quadratures already active in the Dalai Lama’s mentality. The resolution to the ambivalence then is expressed through the missing quadrature and is considered negative cardinal because of the lack of its presence in the chart. The Dalai Lama is naturally drawn to both people and concepts of import. However, the focus for him has become a personage which is the result of the cardinal attribute that endows the native with a strong sense of self, and in this case, is seen as the actual embodiment of spirituality. The native’s attention is drawn to immediate and pressing issues and is restless and crisis-oriented. Early in life, it revealed itself during the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the very early stages of the Dalai Lama’s political and spiritual leadership of Tibet. Cardinal individuals are politically minded, and for many years it fell upon him to strategize the outcome and governing of his displaced peoples.
The oppositions in two distinct quadratures draw the mind’s focus out towards several interests and can cause the shifting of attention to the varied pull upon the attention. The dilemma of having to choose between several involvements is resolved through the focus on the immediate demands of the present moment which is a Cardinal quadrature characteristic. The Cardinal signs are related to the active 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses. These houses represent the present, with their immediate readiness and opportunistic bent. In the Dalai Lama’s case, this allows him to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to express the principles (Fixed) of Buddhism and to integrate and express the importance of those principles within active relations (Mutable) with others. The excitation of the Cardinal impulse imbues the native with vivacious energy and personal charisma that endears him to all who come in contact with him.
THE TEMPERAMENT TYPE
One’s overall outlook and general response to life as a whole are determined by the Temperament Type, also known as planetary patterns. The planets arrange themselves around the horoscopic wheel into seven basic patterns, three of which have been in use since the British astrologer Charles Carter identified them. They are the Bundle, Bowl, and See-Saw. In the mid-20th century, Marc Edmund Jones added the Bucket, Splash, Locomotive, and Splay. patterns He went on to define each of the seven in far greater detail than had been known previously. The Temperament Types are discussed in depth in Chapter 2 of The Essentials of Astrological Analysis. The Dalai Lama’s horoscope forms a Locomotive Temperament, which along with the Splay is based on a division of the circle by three, making the pattern and characteristics of the native more complex than the patterns based on the division of 360 degrees by two.
The Locomotive temperament builds on the possibility of a Grand Trine in a chart as it encourages a pyramiding development of personality. The soul projects itself through the Cutting or Leading planet and in the Dalai Lama’s chart, it is Saturn. The Dalai Lama is known to follow the strict traditions of a very specific doctrine of Buddhism. Those who claim spirituality by discarding the ridged and tight grip of traditional customs are more likely under the influence of Uranus, the planet of detachment and independence. The Dalai Lama has been true to the nature of Saturn and its rock-solid conservative approach toward enlightenment.
The Locomotive is characteristic of a powerful, driving, personal force that is supported and developed by the ever-spiraling and revolving Grand Trine. The open Trine projects the personality and goals out and onto its environment whether for good or ill. The Dalai Lama’s driving and persistent mission are to help humanity understand more deeply the way of Buddhism with its focus on disciplined meditation and reflective and investigative reason. These attributes closely relate to the meaning of Saturn, and in the sign of Pisces, brings the topic of compassion perpetually into the Dalai Lama’s message to the multitudes.
SELF-DETERMINATION From the Essentials, pg 154.
The ten planets are divided into pairs; the Sun and Moon are the planetary pair of Vitality, Jupiter and Saturn are the pair of Motivation, Mars and Venus are Efficiency, and Uranus and Neptune are the planets of Significance. Mercury and Pluto are supernumerary with Mercury belonging to Efficiency and Pluto to the pair of Significance. It is most favorable to have two of the pairs in major aspect while two are not so that the individual needs only to integrate two prominent modes of interaction in order to have ease in determining the self’s focus in life. The chart of the Dalai Lama has all planetary pairs in major aspects, causing the psyche to become overfilled with possibilities that create a plethora of outer involvements with which to engage and integrate into cohesive activity. There is often a feeling of becoming inept with too much internal and environmental stimulus and opportunity. However, analyzing the pairs and choosing two of the four helps to focus the attention on a specific direction in order to counter any confusion caused by overstimulation. There are special techniques that show how to determine which two are more prominent of the four.
Saturn and Jupiter are the planetary pair of Motivation. The inner stirrings and conscious sensitivity to moral standards make for a very pronounced personal presence as the planets of Motivation form the open trine. Saturn’s role is meditative and reflective, illuminating one’s attitudes and behaviors within one’s own mind. When experiencing conscious pain, it is because the planet Saturn’s energy/intelligence is activated within an individual’s consciousness. Adopting an attitude of acceptance and surrender to this humbling process results in the release of stress and the pressure of conscience. Suppressing the truth about oneself to avoid a painful conscience is escapism. When one accepts one’s limitations, psychological obstacles become stepping stones to future progress. Jupiter as the positive and outward ambassador of the personality works hand-in-hand with Saturn’s double-checking in the continuous correction process of the soul. The Dalai Lama performs spiritual practices that include regular meditation which is synonymous with the meaning of the planet Saturn and characteristic of Tibetan culture itself. Jupiter and Saturn in trine aspect indicate a Loose Destiny. The Dalai Lama has made use of the ease of self-expression without the sometimes lack of moral conscience often observed in individuals with lesser spiritual aspiration.
The keyword for Saturn in normal strength is Sensitiveness, but when emphasized in High Focus, the keyword becomes Shrewd. The Dalai Lama has had to use his subjective ingenuity toward Chinese officials who oppose his birthright. His Holiness has had to be shrewd in the way he approaches his “enemies,” and applies the Buddhist principles of forgiveness, non-violence and compassion toward those who have violently infringed upon his domain. True to the nature of the expanding water element, the Dalai Lama’s exile has worked to the world’s advantage. Had he only been able to rule and lead in his own remote country, without interference from outside forces, he would not have become an overwhelming influence for the good of the world. His philosophical beliefs are supported by his most tolerant and gracious host and adopted country India, and have brought spiritual progress to an otherwise limited outreach. The Dalai Lama also has expanded his understanding of spirituality through exposure to Hinduism which has made him even more capable of being considered a world leader, as opposed to simply a leader of the limited community of Tibetans.
THE MODE OF SELF-INTEGRATION
When a chart has all planetary pairs in major aspects, the determination of the Self-Integration is chosen through symmetry and weight within the planetary Gestalt. The Dalai Lama’s chart shows that Jupiter and Saturn and Uranus and Neptune pairs are forming interesting symmetrical patterning. Both pairs are in trine with their “partners” and cross over the north and south hemispheres. Mars and Venus and the Sun and Moon pairs also create symmetry but do not integrate the two separate segments of the horoscope. All four pairs form major aspect relationships to create a complex and extremely interesting configuration. However, it is essential to discard two of the four pairs in order to influence a native to draw their conscious attention to the two that will assist in bringing a satisfactory mode of self-integration within easy reach. Out of the six possible Modes of Integration, the Dalai Lama is categorized as Subjective Function. This means that the Dalai Lama is a person who ultimately follows his own counsel. He turns within to confer with his own conscience and responds to external challenges with a comprehension based on his own wisdom and experience. A person with the opposite mode is considered Objective Function can easily follow the direction of others and is often content with bonding with their work and projects. To be subjective in function is very fitting for one who must play a leadership role in the guidance of others.
The Grand Trine is a Focal Determinator that has very tight orbs in the chart of the Dalai Lama. The free-flowing water sign element encourages the native to expand his presence outwardly to embrace and be embraced by all with whom he comes in contact – that is the nature of water, to permeate, absorb and expand. When a Grand Trine is present in a Locomotive pattern it gives the Leading or Cutting planet the power to project the message/meaning of the entire configuration of planets into the open space of the empty trine. The result is an ability possessed by the native to project their will, character, and purpose onto others. Saturn leads all the planetary energies into the empty trine and so becomes High Focus and therefore the most important Focal Determinator in the chart. The highly focused, superpowered Saturn amplifies its archetypal nature in terms of self-awareness and self-control, accompanied by an ultra-reflective personal consciousness. Moral standards take residence in life and rigorous discipline is the way to hold to his beliefs. The Grand Trine offers the pyramiding and ever-increasing powers which assures that the native will have little resistance in the projection of his psychic onto all who are touched by his grace.
Often astrologers believe that the Grand Trine can be a detriment because of its nature to groove into patterns of negativity in contrast to the equal possibility of creating positive habitual behavior. What the Grand Trine actually represents is a degree of harmony achieved from past incarnations. With the Dalai Lama’s practice and deep understanding, this Focal Determinator gives him an outlet for the continuous manifestation of enlightening reason as the first response to daily challenges that the opposition from Saturn to Moon and Neptune present.
The Grand Trine endows flowing ease and approachability and creates a driving force of personality, backed by the power of the Locomotive pattern, and the caution of Saturn at the helm allows for precise dissemination of wisdom. The water signs are permeable, receptive, and sensitive to feeling and compassion, especially when in the sign of Pisces. As the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people in exile, he must remain strong in his beliefs and practices and present a message that encourages his people to adhere to their ancient roots. If the birth time is correct, then the placement of the Leading planet and sign are in the all-important 10th house of Authority among men and a truly inspiring leader of mankind.
THE HISTORICAL LAMA
The Dalai Lama was recognized and enthroned when he was just five years old The event corresponds to the progressed Jupiter station-direct, shown in the ephemeris of July 1935 – five days after birth. Each day after birth is equal to each year of life. The planets in the ephemeris for age five are calculating the planets’ movement for the 5th year of life, and so on. The station of Jupiter symbolically represents the laying of responsibility as a leader on the mere child; the paternal benefactor-to-be. Progressed Stationary Jupiter proclaimed the coming stewardship of a man who would shine light and good fortune, and profess compassion for all people everywhere. Jupiter is the guru, the teacher on a scale of holy possibility.
Progressed stations represent a pause in time and space to rearrange things, within and without, in the greater journey of continuous personal growth. The official enthronement ceremony, however, as the spiritual and political leader of Tibet took place on November 17, 1950, in Lhasa when Lhamo Thondup was to become the Dalai Lama. The progressed Saturn at the time was completing its opposition to the birth Moon as foreseen in the natal potentials. The exact aspect brought the leader into his responsibilities at the tender age of fifteen.
Marc Edmund Jones, in his Scope of Astrological Prediction states:
Planetary Stations are established when a planet in secondary progression appears to come to a rest in the zodiac and begins to move retrograde instead of direct or vice versa. . . . The phenomenon in progressions always identifies a subtle or psychological shift in the fundamental course of life such as requires a critical regrasp of experience and often proves to be an adjustment over an appreciable span of time whether marked by some single sharp event of easy identification or by a complex syndrome of changes of less obvious interrelation.
THE SABIAN SYMBOLS
The Sabian Symbol for the High Focus Saturn Leading in the Locomotive pattern of the Dalai Lama’s chart is Men seeking illumination. This is a remarkable example of how the symbols can at times manifest in literal fashion. A portion of the symbol from Sabian Symbols in Astrology states:
Pisces 11 Men Seeking illumination This is the symbol of the immortality of man as dramatized in some form of an apostolic succession, or living tradition of spiritual achievement. The divine spirit is fundamentally a matrix of itself, since its continuance depends on its unswerving maintenance of the purity of motive and expression it has contributed to the humanity it has created in its own image. . . . When positive, the degree is high accomplishment in an effective alignment with ultimate reality.
The “apostolic succession” mentioned in the symbol’s definition gives confirmation to the way in which Dalai Lamas are chosen. They are assigned their lofty position directly from descending spiritual forbearers. It is truly stunning how the symbol describes Tibetan culture’s lineage procedure.
July 17, 1989, was the year representing the culmination of a life’s work when the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Prize for Peace. This was a very special year for the Dalai Lama in that the very important Progressed Lunation is at its exact point in time and very close to the following Progressed Lunar Return. These aspects also include the Part of Fortune at 5 degrees Virgo, A man dreaming of fairies.
According to Marc Edmund Jones, “The Part of Fortune is your special horizon of success and it will give a significant insight into the potentials of accomplishment through the sign, house, and symbolical degree where it is found.”
5 degrees Virgo is unique in the 360-degree possibilities, as this particular one is a member of a handful of degrees that reflect an air of other-worldliness because they are represented by images of imaginative creatures such as fairies, elves, and the like. They are referred to as Elfin degrees by Marc Edmund Jones, and in this case, the symbol describes the incarnation of a special soul, not able to live for himself alone, but as the manifestation of something greater than himself.
Nativities with these degrees are often obligated to be of service to others just as the Dalai Lama exemplifies a great candidate and representative of that purpose. Not all individuals understand the calling when possessing these degrees, and instead may fall short of the required capacity for sacrifice. However, the Dalai Lama is not only qualified to be a leader in the furthering of human development, but as the symbol implies, his character is ever imagining and dreaming of the perfect world of compassionate understanding.
There are subtle vibrations associated with “fairy” degrees. It is like the difference between standard broadcasting and cable connections. The cable can tune into higher frequencies, as people with fairy degrees can tune into higher electromagnetic vibrations. The degree should always refer to the planet or point that coordinates with it, and if it is a Focal Determinator or simply a random point in the horoscope it will be strengthened or weakened respectively.
A Progressed Lunation is a powerful Aspect with powerful consequences for good or difficult times. There is usually a period of 3 years where there is a closing of old ways and an opening of new opportunities. There is also the tendency for a crisis to arise during this time, because the ego wants to hold on to the past, and the Progressed Lunation is a time of rebirth and new cycles. A new seed of life is being planted. Here in the chart of the Dalai Lama, there is an epic and rewarding moment, and it is further enhanced by the Progressed Lunation taking place in one of the very few Elfin degrees.
The Dalai Lama was also awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary service in the George W. Bush administration on October 17, 2007. The aspects of import at the time were progressed Venus conjunct natal Moon and transit Saturn opposite natal Saturn.
When reviewing the chart of the Dalai Lama, it is apparent that he was born for a special purpose. The native of the horoscope has well expressed the profound potentials revealed by the unique configurations analyzed in this astrological report.
*For an example where the laws of the physical world do not apply concerning the retrograde motion of planets, see blog post: Retrograde Planets Prove Universe is Mind
From NobelPrize.org: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1989/lama-facts.html
From his exile in India, the religious and political leader the Dalai Lama has since 1959 stood at the head of the nonviolent opposition to China’s occupation of Tibet.
When the Nobel Committee chose the Dalai Lama, it emphasized that he based his Buddhist peace philosophy on reverence for all living things and the idea of a universal responsibility that embraces both man and nature. It weighed heavily in the Tibetan leader’s favor that he had shown a willingness to compromise and seek reconciliation despite brutal violations.
The award of the Peace Prize gave the Dalai Lama the opportunity to present a plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet. In the plan, he recommended that the country be turned into an ecologically stable and demilitarized zone that might serve as a buffer between major Asian powers. The object was to set in motion serious negotiations on the future status of Tibet, but this was rejected by the Chinese government.