His Holiness the Dalai Lama – an Astrological Profile

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets an audience before his religious speech in Tokyo, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. The Dalai Lama is in Japan for a 12-day visit to deliver speeches.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

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. Some curious and penetrating minds gazed outwardly into the vast visible universe while others turned their focus inward to discover the nature of reality within their own being. The enigmatic universe consistently challenges us to seek answers to timeless inquiries. Astrology offers a lens through which we can discern our place within the vast mosaic of life and provides guidance on how to align ourselves with the discoveries of those who have unveiled life’s mysteries from both within and without.

Astrologers look for indications in a natal horoscope that reflect the realities of a person’s life and what makes them think, feel, and respond the way they do. To understand and expand one’s character, it is often advantageous to study the lives and horoscopes of accomplished individuals who can act as role models. One of the most intriguing charts of prominent world leaders alive today is that of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, born at 4:38 am on July 6, 1935, in what is now Taktser, China. 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 basic elements of a horoscope are the houses, signs, and planets, but it is the planets that bring the chart to life as they tie the houses and signs together through what are known as major aspects. The five fundamental aspects are based on geometry. In astrological terms, the geometric relationships are called conjunction when they are positioned together within 10 degrees for planets, 12.5 when the Moon is involved, and 17 degrees with the Sun. Planets are in sextile when 60 degrees apart with the same orb allowances as the conjunction. The same follows for the square at a basic 90-degree separation, the trine at a 120-degree separation, and the opposition at a 180-degree separation. Among the five aspects, it is the opposition of planetary energies in cooperation or confrontation with each other that stands out to draw one’s focus of attention outward into the world of experience. This direct planetary stress propels the individual toward a characteristic interest defined by the quadrature of the sign wherein the planets in opposition lie.

Three quadratures define the psychological lean of interest a person is inclined to entertain. This technique, called the Natural Disposition,1 is the first of several that are described in detail in the Essentials of Astrological Analysis by Marc Edmund Jones.2 An opposition of planets in the mutable sign quadrature encourages interest and involvement with people in general, with a concern for their wellbeing before one’s own. Oppositions in the cardinal sign quadrature create a focus of attention upon one’s benefit with attention to immediate issues in anticipation of opportunities primarily for self-advancement. With an opposition in the fixed sign quadrature, remote or abstract interests take precedence above and beyond the need to help others or for concern for one’s advantage. Mutable signs support humanitarianism, the cardinal signs influence charismatic leadership, and the fixed signs promote a philosophical approach to life.

The chart of the Dalai Lama contains two active oppositions that vie for dominance in the direction of interest. The mutable opposition gives him a keen concern and dedicated involvement with the welfare of the Tibetan people and for all of humanity. The fixed sign opposition reveals a pressing curiosity and interest in the concepts of religion, psychology, philosophy, and science.

To resolve these conflicting interests the attention must give precedence to the characteristics of the absent cardinal opposition, known as negative cardinal. Here lies the necessity for the Dalai Lama to focus primarily on his development as a world leader. He was born to be an example of spiritual achievement and to take the lead in the political situations in which he continuously found himself. Cardinal signs are associated with the angular houses and therefore issues of the moment are dramatically played out in the immediateness of the political crises that plagued his early years.

He is regarded as His Holiness because he plays the role of the most elevated devotee of Mahayana Buddhism and is tirelessly working toward the betterment of the people he was born to lead. The immediacy and excitation of the cardinal influence endows the native with a charisma that has a profound effect on all who are fortunate to encounter him personally. He has become a beacon of liberation as a result of the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the embodiment of compassion that is more important than his concern and involvement with people, and even more pressing than the spreading of the ideals and values of Buddhism. This is the power of the negative cardinal dynamic at work in his life and chart.

Cardinal individuals are politically minded, and for most of the Dalai Lama’s life, the weight has been on his shoulders to strategize the outcome and governance of his displaced people. More than for his dedication to the Tibetan cause or his primary Buddhist teachings he will be remembered in history as a personification of compassion in his own person.


One’s overall response to life in general is determined by the Temperament Type,3 defined by the planetary patterns the planets form when viewed geocentrically. The planets arrange themselves into seven basic patterns around the horoscopic wheel, with the pattern formed at the moment of one’s first breath determining the overall temperament of an individual. The patterns first used by the British astrologer Charles Carter were called the Bundle, Bowl, and See-Saw. In the mid-20th century, Marc Edmund Jones expanded the number to seven to include what he named the Bucket, Splash, Locomotive, and Splay. He went on to define each of the seven in far greater detail than had been explained previously. 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 five patterns based on a 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 that planet is Saturn, which becomes High Focus.  Saturn’s powerful conservative influence in the profound focus of a Locomotive urges the Dalai Lama to follow the strict traditions of Buddhism.

The Locomotive is characterized by a driving force that is spurred on and further developed by the ever-spiraling and revolving Grand Trine, given thrust by the High Focus leading planet in an opposition aspect with any other planet. In the Dalai Lama’s chart, Saturn moves in the direction of the open trine to project the personality onto its environment. The Dalai Lama’s driving and persistent mission is to help humanity deeply understand the way of Buddhism through compassion and kindness toward others. Saturn’s keyword is Sensitiveness, and it is associated with the practice of meditation that leads to the spiritual attributes of self-awareness and patience.

The specifics of the pattern show a well-constructed Grand Trine in fairly tight orb that strengthens its thrust through Leading Saturn and its opposition with the Moon and Neptune. The opposition does not have a squaring planet and so leaves the High Focus planet uncontested by any Point Focus planet of a possible T Cross.


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 the pair of Efficiency and Pluto to the pair of Significance. It is most favorable to have two of the pairs in major aspect and two not so that the individual needs only to integrate two prominent modes of interaction 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 out of the four to be prominent helps to focus the attention on a specific direction to counter any confusion caused by overstimulation. There are special techniques found in the chapter on Self-Ordering in the Essentials of Astrological Analysis that show how to determine which two are the more prominent of the four.

Saturn and Jupiter are the planetary pair of Motivation. Conscious sensitivity to high moral standards becomes a prominent motivation when this pair stands out over the other pairs. Saturn forms a trine to Jupiter and is in High Focus as the Leading planet. Saturn’s role is meditative and reflective, illuminating one’s attitudes and behaviors within one’s own mind. When experiencing conscious pain, it is due to Saturn’s pressure to face unsuspected errors in behavior needing correction through recognition of personal shortcomings. Adopting an attitude of acceptance and surrender to this humbling process results in the release of 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 spiritual expansion. 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 a 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 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.


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. The Grand water trine is a sign of advanced spiritual achievement expressing itself in the present incarnation.

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.

Age 6 Dalai Lama's Jupiter Stations Direct - corresponds to enthronement ceremony held in Lhasa
At age 6, progressed Jupiter stationed direct, corresponding to the enthronement ceremony held in Lhasa.


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 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.

DLPeacePrize2 July 17, 1989, was the year representing the high point 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 symbolized by a new seed of life is being planted. Here in the chart and life of the Dalai Lama is an epic and rewarding moment, and it is further enhanced by the Progressed Lunation taking place at one of the very few Elfin degrees.

The Dalai Lama was also awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor on October 17, 2007 for extraordinary service during the George W. Bush administration. 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.

Jupiter, SCORPIO 14 Telephone linemen at work This is a symbol of the interconnection which links all phases of existence with all others, and of man’s special genius for expanding the relationship between the most widely separated and distinctive aspects of experience. Implicit in the symbolism is a responsibility on the part of all higher life for all lower, and a faithfulness of all lesser things to the requirements of the greater. Here is emphasis on self-specialization as the root mode of all individual being. The keyword is AITACHMENT. When positive, the degree is an effective penetration of human competence into each pertinent complex of everyday living, and when negative, unnecessary concern over the affairs of others.

Mars, LIBRA 19 A gang of robbers in hiding This is a symbol of the periodic exercise of man’s freedom of spirit and soul in a complete if often unhappy deviation from his normal impulses or attitudes, dramatized here on the side of a practical or everyday self-fulfillment. Emphasis is on every person’s disturbing capacity for antisocial or even self-perverted practices, or for self-involvement in potentials which may have imaginative but hardly intelligent sustainment in his consciousness. The reversed symbolism reveals his need for initiative, and for a more challenging perspective. The keyword is DIVERGENCE. When positive, the degree is alertness to every threat against a true
individuality, and when negative, abnormal mistrust of everything worthwhile.

Neptune, Virgo 13 A strong hand supplanting political hysteria This is a
symbol of the real weight of human personality as emphasized
here by the direct intervention of outstanding individuals in
the affairs of their follows. They must provide an over-all
ordering for each moment of history if it is to count for much
in the lives of the others around them, since there is always a
counsel of confusion to take over when events are allowed to
drift or when the immediate leadership proves deficient. The
greatest opportunity for self-discovery lies in the transient
crises of everyday living. The keyword is POWER. When positive, the degree is consistent effectiveness in dramatizing personal potentials, and when negative, loss of all opportunity by
timid action.

Moon, VIRGO 11 A boy molded in his mother’s aspiration for him This is a
symbol of the immortality of man as dramatized in his physical
heredity, or in a succession of tangible achievements and
possessions down through a family line. The soul is
fundamentally a matrix of itself, since in a sense the ideals it
holds create its outer habiliments among its kind and contribute
to its embodiment on some congenial plane of human affairs.
The coming of the self into experience is always in response to
these inner and almost irrevocable compulsions. The keyword
is EXACTION. When positive, the degree is personal excellence
sustained in its own creative consciousness, and when negative,
insensitive conformity to superficialities.

Venus, LEO 29 A mermaid This is a symbol of humanity’s insatiable
appetite for experience on the side of psychological selfassurance, and of the nascent eagerness of the soul for a
private and personal participation in every possible facet of
self-fulfillment. There is an ineradicable purity of man’s makeup at core, and inconsequence an ultimate repudiation of all
the compromises which seem to be demanded in everyday
relationships. The individual forever seeks and responds to the
creative needs of life itself. The keyword is IMPORTUNITY. When
positive, the degree is a completeness of quickening to inner
instincts of the being and a real willingness to trust them, and
when negative, a lack of discrimination and an awkward insensitivity.

Sun, CANCER 13 One hand slightly flexed with a very prominent thumb This
is a symbol of that belief in his inherent supremacy over all
other orders of nature by which man is characterized most
fundamentally, dramatized by his quite normal confidence in
his ability to deal with every eventuality of day-by-day activity
and relationship. Any individual must rule his environment or
surrender his own potentialities forever. Here is practicality
brought to the point of ruthlessness. The keyword is
DETERMINATION. When positive, the degree is exceptional
steadiness and a high sense of self-responsibility in every issue
of the moment, and when negative, unnecessary
aggressiveness and a self-defeating shortsightedness.

Pluto, CANCER 26 Contentment and happiness in luxury, people
reading on davenports This is a symbol of a pure mastery of
experience in its outer aspect, and of a full capitalization on the
potentials of all being in a personal and ultimately immortal
realization. The static symbolism is a warning against idle selfindulgence, and an emphasis on the fact that any lessening of
practical responsibility is primarily a can to self-strengthening
and a prelude to some greater outreaching. The keyword is
REPOSE. When positive, the degree is a relaxation valuable for
the momentary sustainment of human aspiration whenever it is
strained beyond its powers of self-regeneration, and when
negative, the loss of all reality in a needless softness of living.

Mercury, GEMINI 26 Winter frost in the woods This is a symbol of the
cosmic significance in any momentary cancellation of the
more immediate interests and private concerns, and the emphasis is on the supremacy of the needs and powers of nature
over the aspirations and conveniences of man. Implicit in the
static symbolism is the call for a reorientation in the individual’s point of view, and for some further discovery of the
self’s potentials. Normal life is brought to a point of sharp
suspension so that the larger magic may be manifest. The keyword is SPLENDOR. When positive, the degree is the
creative transformation by which older cycles give way to
newer ones, and when negative, a reduction of the useless to a
total annihilation.

Uranus, TAURUS 5 A widow at an open grave This is a symbol of the
impermanence of physical things whenever man permits reality to come to center in the static representation, and thus
neglects the creative contribution through which he has
responsibility for the larger whole. Implicit in the reversed
symbolism is the need for an inner and constant return to
every enduring value achieved by the self, and for a complete
and immediate release from all outworn elements of
experience. The keyword is REORIENTATION. When positive,
the degree is man’s genius for personal aplomb or an effective
transcendence of disappointment and delay in an ever-spiraling self-discovery, and when negative, surrender to
frustration or descent to ineptitude.

Saturn, PISCES 11 Men seeking illumination This is a symbol of the
immortality of man as dramatized in some form of an apostolic
succession, or a 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
in motive and expression which it has contributed to the humanity it has created in its own image. The emergence of the
human self into experience is similarly a manifestation of the
potentialities to which it must devote itself to be itself. The
keyword is DEDICATION. When positive, the degree is high accomplishment in an effective alignment with ultimate reality,
and when negative, obvious hypocrisy.

*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.

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