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The Death Horoscope: A Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

Tibetan Buddhist astrology is quite fascinating and very different from Western astrology. This branch of Buddhism cast several types of horoscopes some of which include a birth horoscope, a life forecast, an annual horoscope, a marriage horoscope, and a death horoscope.

What exactly is a “death horoscope” and how is it used? Well, the use of death horoscopes in Tibetan Buddhism is an old practice that still has relevance today. When casting the death horoscope, Tibetan Buddhist astrologers place great importance on the corpse, especially within the first three days following a death. There are several purposes for a death horoscope, and carrying out this practice must be done carefully. A death horoscope is intended to be a loving act for the dead, and a precautionary measure for the family of the deceased. They are drawn up for the passage from birth to death, and another for the crossing from death to rebirth. These journeys are known as “bardos,” or between-states.

The death horoscope is intended to help the deceased go forth in the after-death bardo, as well as shed light on what family members can do to protect themselves since it's thought that when someone dies, the surviving relatives may encounter obstacles and demon attacks. So this practice may be considered essential to both the living and the dead. Additionally, Tibetan Buddhists also believe that their deceased loved ones may spend a short period in hell to pay for sins in their past life.

This ancient custom may seem completely foreign to Westerners, especially those who do not subscribe to astrology at all. Alas, the fusion of their spiritual beliefs and the use of the cosmos to guide them, even those beyond the grave, is quite a beautiful thing if you think about it. 🖤

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