Burmese zodiac

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A painted ceiling at Kyauktawgyi Pagoda depicting the Burmese zodiac. 023 The Heavens (8946708460).jpg
A painted ceiling at Kyauktawgyi Pagoda depicting the Burmese zodiac.

The Burmese zodiac (Burmese : ဇာတာ ရာသီခွင် [zàdà jàðì ɡwɪ̀ɰ̃] ) is the traditional Burmese system of astronomy and astrology. While it is still an important component of the Burmese calendar, today, the zodiac is closely identified with Burmese astrology, called Bedin (ဗေဒင်). Largely derived from Hindu astronomy and Vedic astrology, the Burmese zodiac consists of not only the same 12 signs of the Western zodiac but also 27 lunar mansions of the month and eight weekday signs.

Contents

Structure

Seasons

The Burmese zodiac, like the Western zodiac, is divided into 12 signs called yathi (ရာသီ [jàðì] ). The Burmese signs are identical to Indian and Western signs as they were derived from Indian and ultimately Western zodiac. Each yathi is divided into 30 degrees (အင်္သာ [ɪ̀ɰ̃ðà] ); each degree into 60 minutes (လိတ္တာ [leiʔtà] ); and each minute into 60 seconds (ဝိလိတ္တာ [wḭleiʔtà] ). [1]

Longitude
အင်္သာ
Sign
ရာသီ
SanskritLatinRuling planet
ရာသီခွင်
Meittha
မိဿ
Meṣa
मेष
Aries Mars
30°Pyeittha
ပြိဿ
Vṛṣabha
वृषभ
Taurus Venus
60°Mehton
မေထုန်
Mithuna
मिथुन
Gemini Mercury
90°Karakat
ကရကဋ်
Karkaṭa
कर्कट
Cancer Moon
120°Thein
သိဟ်
Siṃha
सिंह
Leo Sun
150°Kan
ကန်
Kanyā
कन्या
Virgo Mercury
180°Tu
တူ
Tulā
तुला
Libra Venus
210°Byeissa
ဗြိစ္ဆာ
Vṛścika
वृश्चिक
Scorpio Mars
240°Danu
ဓနု
Dhanuṣa
धनुष
Sagittarius Jupiter
270°Makara
မကာရ
Makara
मकर
Capricorn Saturn
300°Kon
ကုံ
Kumbha
कुम्भ
Aquarius Saturn
330°Mein
မိန်
Mīna
मीन
Pisces Jupiter

Lunar mansions

The zodiac month consists of 27 days, approximating the mean sidereal month of 27.321661 days. Thus each zodiac day, called nekkhat (နက္ခတ် [nɛʔkʰaʔ] ), represents a lunar mansion, or a segment of the ecliptic along which the moon revolves around the earth. Though the names are Burmese adaptations of Sanskrit names, the Burmese system is not the same as the modern Indian system. The Burmese system uses unequal spaces for each segment (from 5° to 26°), and the first segment, Athawani, begins at 350° longitude. The modern Indian system uses equal segments of 13° 20' (360° divided by 27), and the first segment, Asvini, begins at 0°. [2] (The zodiac also recognizes a lost 28th constellation, called Abizi (အဘိဇိ; Sanskrit: Abhijit), which apparently made one revolution among these stars in 27 to 28 days. [3] )

The nekkhats are usually used to calculate the zata (horoscope) of a person or an event. Many historical dates were represented with the nekkhat position, not with the more common calendrical date. [note 1]

DayBurmeseSanskritExtentRange
1Athawani
အဿဝဏီ
Aśvinī18°350°–8°
2Barani
ဘရဏီ
Bharaṇī10°8°–18°
3Kyattika
ကြတ္တိကာ
Kṛttikā16°18°–34°
4Yawhani
ရောဟဏီ
Rohiṇī12°34°–46°
5Migathi
မိဂသီ
Mṛgaśira14°46°–60°
6Adra
အဒြ
Ārdrā60°–65°
7Ponnahpukshu
ပုဏ္ဏဖုသျှု
Punarvasu27°65°–92°
8Hpusha
ဖုသျှ
Puṣya14°92°–106°
9Athaleiktha
အသလိဿ
Āśleṣā12°106°–118°
10Maga
မာဃ
Māgha11°118°–129°
11Pyobba Baragonni
ပြုဗ္ဗာ ဘရဂုဏ္ဏီ
Pūrva Phālgunī16°129°–145°
12Ottara Baragonni
ဥတ္တရာ ဘရဂုဏ္ဏီ
Uttara Phālgunī145°–154°
13Hathada
ဟဿဒ
Hasta10°154°–164°
14Seiktra
စိတြ
Citra15°164°–179°
15Thwati
သွာတိ
Svāti13°179°–192°
16Withaka
ဝိသာခါ
Viśākhā21°192°–213°
17Anuyada
အနုရာဓ
Anurādha11°213°–224°
18Zehta
ဇေဋ္ဌ
Jyeṣṭha224°–229°
19Mula
မူလ
Mula13°229°–242°
20Pyobba Than
ပြုဗ္ဗာသဠ်
Pūrva Āṣādhā15°242°–257°
21Ottara Than
ဥတ္တရာသဠ်
Uttara Āṣādhā257°–262°
22Tharawun
သရဝဏ်
Śravaṇa13°262°–275°
23Danatheikda
ဓနသိဒ္ဓ
Dhaniṣṭha12°275°–287°
24Thattabeiksha
သတ္တဘိသျှ
Satabhiṣā26°287°–313°
25Pyobba Parabaik
ပြုဗ္ဗာ ပုရပိုက်
Pūrva Bhādrapadā10°313°–323°
26Ottara Parabaik
ဥတ္တရာ ပုရပိုက်
Uttara Bhādrapadā16°323°–339°
27Yewati
ရေဝတီ
Revatī11°339°–350°

Weekdays

The Jupiter planetary post at the Shwedagon Pagoda, with the representative vehicle of the rat underneath IMG Jupiter1723.JPG
The Jupiter planetary post at the Shwedagon Pagoda, with the representative vehicle of the rat underneath

The Burmese zodiac employs eight signs in a seven-day week, with each sign representing its own day, cardinal direction, planet (celestial body) and animal; [note 2] it is known as the "Mahabote zodiac". [4] The zodiacs, with slight variations, are also found in Sri Lanka and Thailand. [5]

Cardinal directionBurmeseSanskritEnglishPlanetSign
(Myanmar)
Sign
(Sri Lanka)
Sign (Thailand)
NortheastTaninganwe
တနင်္ဂနွေ
Āditya Sunday Sun Garuda
ဂဠုန်
Horse

අශ්වයා

குதிரை

Monkey

ลิง [ clarification needed ]

EastTaninla
တနင်္လာ
Candra Monday Moon Tiger
ကျား
Elephant

අලියා

யானை

Horse

ม้า

SoutheastInga
အင်္ဂါ
Angāraka Tuesday Mars Lion
ခြင်္သေ့
Peacock

මොනරා

மயில்

Buffalo

ควาย

SouthBoddahu
ဗုဒ္ဓဟူး
Budha Wednesday a.m. Mercury Tusked elephant
ဆင်
Buffalo

මී හරකෙක්

எருமை

Elephant

ช้าง

NorthwestRahu
ရာဟု
Rāhu Wednesday p.m.Ascending Lunar node Tuskless elephant
ဟိုင်း
Donkey

බූරුවා

கழுதை

Garuda

ครุฑ

WestKyathabade
ကြာသပတေး
Bṛhaspati Thursday Jupiter Rat
ကြွက်
Lion

සිංහයා

சிங்கம்

Deer

กวาง

NorthThaukkya
သောကြာ
Śukra Friday Venus Guinea pig [note 3]
ပူး
Bull

ගොනා

காளை

Ox

วัว

SouthwestSanay
စနေ
Śani Saturday Saturn Nāga
နဂါး
Crow/Raven

කපුට

காகம்

Tiger

เสือ

While the eight signs are the most prevalent in modern Burmese zodiac, the zodiac officially also recognizes a ninth sign called Ketu (ကိတ် [keiʔ] ), which rules over all of the signs[ citation needed ]. The same sign also appears in Sri Lanka and Thailand under the same name. Ketu's sign is a mythical Animal of Five Beauties called pyinsarupa (ပဉ္စရူပ [pjɪ̀ɴsa̰ jùpa̰] ) with the antlers of a deer, the tusks and the trunk of an elephant, the mane of a lion, the body of a naga serpent, and the tail of a fish. Moreover, Rahu and Ketu, while borrowed from Hindu astrology, are different from their original versions. Hindu astrology considers Rahu and Ketu to be the ascending and descending lunar nodes but Burmese astrology considers them distinct planets. [6]

At any rate, the inclusion of Ketu is not due to astronomical necessity but rather cultural. (J.C. Eade points out that "there is no astronomical necessity" for Ketu, whose orbit can be derived from the value of Rahu, and suggests that Ketu was "superfluous to the system, and perhaps even as an entity that owes its origin to a mistake". [7] Htin Aung says the use of Rahu and Ketu in Burmese zodiac and astrology is for cultural, not necessarily astronomical, value, noting that the nine signs neatly fit the Nine Gods of Burmese animist tradition and indeed are an essential part of the "Ceremony of the Nine Gods" usually held when there is sickness in the house. [6] )

The signs can be represented in a nine-square diagram. The exact arrangement is used to place the planetary figurines in the "Ceremony of the Nine Gods", with Ketu in the center, right behind a statue of the Buddha. All the planetary figures face the Buddha (as the animist practice has been absorbed into Burmese Buddhism). [6]

Northwest
Wednesday evening
Rahu
Tuskless elephant
North
Friday
Venus
Guinea pig
Northeast
Sunday
Sun
Garuda
West
Thursday
Jupiter
Rat
Center
Week
Ketu
Pyinsa Rupa
East
Monday
Moon
Tiger
Southwest
Saturday
Saturn
Naga
South
Wednesday morning
Mercury
Tusked elephant
Southeast
Tuesday
Mars
Lion

The Sunday, Tuesday, Saturday and Rahu planets are considered to be Malefics, or planets with an evil influence while the Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday planets are considered Benefics, or planets with benign influence. Ketu is considered to be the most powerful and a Benefic but as the chief planet, it cannot be grouped with any other planet. [8] However, modern Burmese astrology rarely uses Ketu, and tends to use only the other eight planets. [8]

See also

Notes

  1. See the Zatadawbon Yazawin chronicle (Zata 1960) to see how nekkhats are used to represent kings' birthdays and important events.
  2. A group of Burmese alphabets are assigned to these 7 days, which are used to name children accordingly based on the day of the week they are born in
  3. (Htin Aung 1959: 12): In Shan tradition, Friday's sign is the Ox.

Related Research Articles

Hindu astrology

Jyotisha or Jyotishya is the traditional Hindu system of astrology, also known as Hindu astrology, Indian astrology and more recently Vedic astrology. The term Hindu astrology has been in use as the English equivalent of Jyotiṣa since the early 19th century, whereas Vedic astrology is a relatively recent term, entering common usage in the 1970s with self-help publications on Āyurveda or yoga.

Rahu

Rāhu () is one of the nine major celestial bodies (navagraha) in Hindu texts. Unlike most of the others, Rahu is a shadow entity, one that causes eclipses and is the king of meteors. Rahu represents the ascension of the moon in its precessional orbit around the earth.

The Buddhist calendar is a set of lunisolar calendars primarily used in mainland Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and Chinese populations of Malaysia and Singapore for religious or official occasions. While the calendars share a common lineage, they also have minor but important variations such as intercalation schedules, month names and numbering, use of cycles, etc. In Thailand, the name Buddhist Era is a year numbering system shared by the traditional Thai lunisolar calendar and by the Thai solar calendar.

The term ‘benefic’ is derived from the Greek term agathopoios which literally means “good-doer”. According to Ancient Greek culture, planets were believed to have influences and provide guidance to humans, as they lived their lives. The planet's nature determines if it is Benefic or not, based on whether it helps the affected areas, with money problems for example. A planet with negative attributes would be classified as Malefic, from the Greek term kakopoios which literally means “bad-doer”. Planets are naturally Malefic or Benefic, however, a planet can change because of the astrological signs they house. Changes are dependent upon, and specific to each individual person. Horoscopes and their Zodiac sign indicate the goal of the planet for each person, as to which will be Malefic and which will be Benefic. This system is also used in Vedic astrology.

Ketu (mythology) Hindu deity representing descending lunar node

Ketu is the descending lunar node in Vedic, or Hindu astrology. According to accounts in Hinduism, Ketu belongs to Jaimini Gotra, whereas Rahu is from Paiteenasa gotra; hence the two are entirely different entities with distinct characteristics but nonetheless are two parts of a common body. Ketu is generally referred to as a "shadow" planet. It is believed to have a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. In some special circumstances it helps someone achieve the zenith of fame. Ketu is often depicted with a gem or star on his head signifying a mystery light.

Navaratna group of nine gems

Navaratna is a Sanskrit compound word meaning "nine gems" or "ratnas". Jewellery created in this style has important cultural significance in across many southern, and south-eastern Asian cultures as a symbol of wealth, status, and also as having other claimed talismanic benefits to health and wellbeing. The setting of the stones is believed to hold mystical powers, tied to astrology, mythology and intrinsically linked to the Indian religions of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The ancient origin of the significance behind the nine gems has proved impossible to trace but is inherently tied to mythological concepts around cosmology and astrology and the "Navagrahas", or "nine celestial gods".

Babylonian astrology

Babylonian astrology was the first known organized system of astrology, arising in the second millennium BC.

Dasha The dasha pattern shows which planets according to Jyotish will be ruling at particular times.

The Burmese calendar is a lunisolar calendar in which the months are based on lunar months and years are based on sidereal years. The calendar is largely based on an older version of the Hindu calendar, though unlike the Indian systems, it employs a version of the Metonic cycle. The calendar therefore has to reconcile the sidereal years of the Hindu calendar with the Metonic cycle's near tropical years by adding intercalary months and days at irregular intervals.

Planets in astrology

Planets in astrology have a meaning different from the ancient astronomical understanding of what a planet is. Before the age of telescopes, the night sky was thought to consist of two very similar components: fixed stars, which remained motionless in relation to each other, and "wandering stars", which moved relative to the fixed stars over the course of the year.

Yoga (Hindu astrology)

In Hindu astrology, yoga is the relationship between one planet, sign, or house to another by placement, aspect, or conjunction. It is the consideration of the planetary dasha's directional effects, the most important factor which distinguishes Hindu astrology from Western astrology.

Planetary aspects are interchange of energies at great distances; the respective mass of each planet generates and radiates its own specific energy-field. At times these planetary aspects take a lead over planetary conjunctions. Planetary aspects play an important role in predicting future events. However, there are three great differences between Western astrology and Hindu astrology in computing these aspects - (1) in the former system the count is made from degree to degree, in the latter system the count is made from sign to sign, (2) in the former system the aspect will be mutually the same i.e. if Mars and Jupiter are in trine it can be expressed as either Mars Trine Jupiter or Jupiter Trine Mars, in the latter system if Jupiter is in Aries and Mars in Leo, Jupiter will have full aspect on Mars but Mars will have 50% aspect on Jupiter and, (3) in the former system certain aspects such as sextile are good whereas square and opposition are evil, the latter system does not have such classification in which system aspects by benefic planets and those owning trines i.e. the 5th and the 9th, are always good, and by malefic planets and those owning cadent houses i.e. the 6th, 8th or 12th, are always evil; moreover, the aspect of any planet on its own sign strengthens that house and causes no harm to its indications.

Planetary dispositors (Hindu astrology)

Planetary dispositors play an important role in Astrology. The dispositor is a planet in whose sign another planet is located in the natal chart and which resident planet gains strength when its dispositor is also strong.

Akhanda Samrajya yoga

Akhanda Samrajya yoga is a rare and highly fortunate yoga and a powerful Raja yoga that confers rulership.

Balarishta

Balarishta in Hindu astrology is one of the Arishtas. These Arishtas are indicated by certain specific planetary situations or combinations or associations present at the time of one's birth or at the time of query or at a particular muhurta or happening as are revealed by the Natal Chart or the Query Chart or the Muhurta Chart. It is a Dosha.

Navamsa (astrology)

In Vedic astrology a constant reference is made to the Navamsa occupied by planets and the Lagna-point. Both, the Rasi-chart and the Navamsa-chart are deemed equally important and therefore, consulted together. Whereas the Rasi-chart provides overall information regarding the location of planets and sensitive-points such as the Lagna, the latter provides vital information regarding their active quality and strength. A planet may be well-placed in the natal-chart Rasi-wise but its full effects may not materialise if its situation in the navamsa-chart is not supportive.

Bandhana yoga

Bandhana yoga in Hindu astrology basically indicates being placed under restraint, arrest, capture, detention, confinement, imprisonment, bondage, incarceration and the like, on account of circumstances beyond one's control or by opponents or by concerned authorities for no reason or on criminal charges for infringement law or by placing restrictions on freedom for political reasons. A weak lord of the Lagna (ascendant) and a weak Saturn jointly or severally cause suffering and hardships in life including being confined or imprisoned. Rahu is the karaka for being sent to jail.

Muntha (astrology)

In Hindu astrology, Varshaphala or the Progressed Horoscopes are cast according to the Tajika System propounded by Kesava and Neelakantha, which enables the astrologer to forecast events of immediate importance. The Lagna or ascendant of an annual horoscope is cast for the moment the Sun, after making a full round of twelve rasis or zodiacal signs, returns to the same position it occupied at the time of one’s birth. Muntha, which is an imaginary mathematical point, has an important role in this method of prognostication.

Trikonasthanas

Trikonasthanas or trikonas or trines are conventionally the Lagna or the Birth-ascendant, the fifth and the ninth bhava or house counted from the Lagna. They form the Dharma-trikona and are also known as the Lakshmisthanas, these bhavas and their lords signify luck and prosperity. The Lagna is both, a kendrasthana and a trikonasthana.

Sarvatobhadra Chakra

Sarvatobhadra Chakra in Hindu astrology is a unique technique for prediction based on the Nakshatras. It is an ancient system because it takes into account Abhijit nakshatra which is now not referred to in matters pertaining to methods that are generally employed for making astrological predictions. Janardan Harji in his Mansagari has described it as - संप्रवक्ष्यामि चक्रं त्रिलोक्यदीपिकम् - the trust-worthy quickly-revealing Trilokyadeepika Chakra.The term, Sarvatobhadra, derived from Sarva (सर्व) meaning – all, and Bhadra (भद्र)) meaning – good or auspicious, means overall auspiciousness. Abhijit nakshatra is located between Uttarashada and Sravana, it is the last quarter of Uttarashada and the first half of Sravana nakshatra.

References

  1. Irwin 1909: 7–8
  2. Irwin 1909: 10–11
  3. Luce 1970: 333
  4. What's your Myanmar Zodiac sign? This is your Myanmar Zodiac sign
  5. The History and Doctrine of Budhism: Popularly Illustrated: with Notices of the Kappooism, Or Demon Worship, and of the Bali, Or Planetary Incantations, of Ceylon
  6. 1 2 3 Htin Aung 1959: 11–13
  7. Eade 1989: 18–19
  8. 1 2 Htin Aung 1959: 15

Bibliography