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Uranus as death star in Thai astrology

 
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Bill M. Mak



Joined: 22 Jul 2014
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Location: Kyoto

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:58 am    Post subject: Uranus as death star in Thai astrology Reply with quote

[Apologies for cross-posting as I realized only later that this may be the appropriate forum for the topic]

Recently a French researcher based in Bangkok referred to me the following news article on Uranus worship in a major Thai Buddhist temple:

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/detail.php?newsid=1457332339%C2%A7ion%3D11

Thai horoscopy is basically based on Indian horoscopy (horā) and the planetary system they used is usually the navagraha - the nine planets which include the two pseudoplanets Rāhu and Ketu. It seems that the modern Thai Buddhist astrologers included also the new planets.

I find this new development rather striking and I wonder if any learned astrologers here could give me further insight on the matter before I get to meet the Thai astrologers in the Buddhist temples.

1. Assigning Uranus as the Death Star
The astrologer named Uranus "dao maruet ta yoo" ดาวมฤตยู. The first part is a Thai word meaning "star" and the second part is Sanskrit "mṛtyu" meaning death. Coinage of new words based on Sanskrit and Pāli etymology is a common practice here in Thailand and there is an academy responsible for the work. But assigning Uranus to "death" is unusual, since Uranus is unknown in traditional Indian astrology and it is not exactly the furthest planet which one may associate with death (eg. Pluto). I wonder if this is a Thai invention or influence from any known modern astrological school in the West.

2. Uranus in Aries
According to the article, the entrance of Uranus in Aries marked Jun 1932 coup d'état which marked the end of absolute monarchy in Thailand. The return of Uranus to Aries in 84 years marks another major change. Is there any truth in this astronomically? As far as I can tell, Uranus is still in Pisces. What is the system astrologers use for outer planets? Sidereal or tropical?

3. Outer planet astrology
What is the standard or most common practice among modern astrologers to obtain the planetary longitude? NASA?

Bill M. Mak
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:06 am    Post subject: Re: Uranus as death star in Thai astrology Reply with quote

Thanks for alerting us to this interesting development, Bill. Regarding your second question:

Quote:
2. Uranus in Aries
According to the article, the entrance of Uranus in Aries marked Jun 1932 coup d'état which marked the end of absolute monarchy in Thailand. The return of Uranus to Aries in 84 years marks another major change. Is there any truth in this astronomically? As far as I can tell, Uranus is still in Pisces. What is the system astrologers use for outer planets? Sidereal or tropical?

-- it's clearly a sidereal system. Depending on the precise ayanāṃśa used, Uranus entered sidereal Aries sometime in June, 1932, but retrograded a month later and re-entered Pisces, entering Aries for good around April, 1933. It has now nearly completed an 84-year cycle and will enter Aries this summer and then retrograde again, on more or less the same dates as in 1932.
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill Mak wrote:
Quote:
1. Assigning Uranus as the Death Star
The astrologer named Uranus "dao maruet ta yoo" ดาวมฤตยู. The first part is a Thai word meaning "star" and the second part is Sanskrit "mṛtyu" meaning death. Coinage of new words based on Sanskrit and Pāli etymology is a common practice here in Thailand and there is an academy responsible for the work. But assigning Uranus to "death" is unusual, since Uranus is unknown in traditional Indian astrology and it is not exactly the furthest planet which one may associate with death (eg. Pluto). I wonder if this is a Thai invention or influence from any known modern astrological school in the West.


Thanks Bill. Very interesting. As Martin said there is no doubt they rely on a sidereal zodiac. Like much of SE Asia Thailand still shows influences of an older Hindu-Brahmin influence dating back two millennia. For example the Thai language script is derived from Old Khmer script which is a southern Brahmic style of writing derived from the south Indian Pallava dynasty called Pallava. Even today Hinduism, permeates Thai religion and culture. For the King has his own brahmin priest of Thai ancestry. Traditional Thai Marriages were conducted by a Brahmin Priest since Monks in the Theravada Buddhist tradition cannot do this under their monastic rules and can only offer a blessing to the couple. Although, culturally, most Thais identify as Buddhist this does not prevent many worshiping at Temples that are Hindu in origin.

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=3760

But as you suggest there do seem to to have been some idiosyncratic factors to Thai astrology.

I found this piece on the same story which is more detailed:

http://en.news-4-u.ru/astrologers-warn-that-in-the-sky-of-thailand-appeared-death-star.html

Quote:
We are talking about the heavenly constellations, which, on belief of Thai people, which harms the stability of the signs of the Earth, because with this arrangement of the heavenly bodies, as it is believed, begins to act revolutionary energy of Uranus is the icy planet. During his last appearance in 1932, the Kingdom has been severely tested: the absolute monarchy of the Chakri dynasty that was in power for 150 years, as a result of the uprising was forced to cede most of his powers to the military and civilian government, as well as to endorse the emergence of semi-democratic Constitution, which is regularly suspended due to numerous coups, says the publication.


According to this piece Uranus also seems to have a feminine association in Thai astrology.

Quote:
And because Uranus is associated with the feminine element affecting the signs of the Earth, experts believe that this is another sign of destiny. The crown Prince of Thailand, who was 64 years, may renounce the throne in favor of his eldest daughter, Princess of Bajrakitiyabha. This, according to the Thais, would be all for a revolution


The idea of Uranus as a feminine planet is very odd looking to western astrologers. Shocked And the idea that the icy planet is feminine reveals an interesting view of gender attitudes in Thailand.

Anyway, a couple of snippets you might find of some help in your research into Thai astrology:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Thai_Astrology_Manual

Also an article by the western astrologer Zip Dobyns on her encounter with Thai astrology.

http://www.ccrsdodona.org/m_dilemma/1985/gem/thailand.html

I am not clear if what Zip Dobyns claims were the differences between Thai and Indian horoscopes are a reality or whether the Thai tradition simply borrows on an Indian tradition Zip Dobyns wasn't familiar with? Maybe Martin can take a look and give his view on this? I know there are at least three traditions of arranging traditional Indian square charts.

Finally, a couple of You Tube clips on popular Thai astrology which reveals the cultural importance of astrology and other forms of fortune telling in Thailand:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Ilk7QbcTQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJnN1Qm-rWQ

Mark
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin, do you have any view on the Thai charts I gave the link to above?

In particular:

Quote:
Also an article by the western astrologer Zip Dobyns on her encounter with Thai astrology.

http://www.ccrsdodona.org/m_dilemma/1985/gem/thailand.html

I am not clear if what Zip Dobyns claims were the differences between Thai and Indian horoscopes are a reality or whether the Thai tradition simply borrows on an Indian tradition Zip Dobyns wasn't familiar with? Maybe Martin can take a look and give his view on this? I know there are at least three traditions of arranging traditional Indian square charts.


From my limited understanding the square type charts displayed in the article seem to follow the South Indian tradition of square chart with Aries always at the top of the chart.

Mark
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Martin, do you have any view on the Thai charts I gave the link to above?

Sorry, I missed this earlier. The topmost chart is in the same style as commonly used in eastern India (Bengal and Orissa/Odisha), although in the tropical zodiac, which is obviously a difference. Another difference is that the nine traditional planets of Indian astrology are represented by numbers (in the order of the days of the week, with Rāhu and Ketu tacked on at the end). I haven't seen this before.
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Bill M. Mak



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Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last month in April, I had the opportunity to meet one of the chief astrologers in Thailand, the assistant abbot of the Wat Pho, the main monastery in Bangkok. I was shown different kinds of traditional almanacs and a dial tool for calculating lagna.

About Uranus, I found out that it was King Mongkut (Rama IV) who introduced it to Thai horoscopy. Mongkut was a keen astronomer as well as an astrologer. He combined both western science with traditional Buddhist astral learning he acquired during monkhood.

The curious thing about the Thai horoscope is that it is round and it has the configuration similar to the Byzantine Greek one. I pointed this out in my 2015 article but the mystery remains - how did the horoscope become square in India (two types) and Persia? Johannes Thomann in his 2008 article thought that was Chinese influence. When I met him last year, I was not so convinced by his Chinese sources but found it nonetheless an interesting idea.
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Bill M. Mak



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Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure how to attach image here. But here is a link to a typical Thai horoscope:
https://www.fiverr.com/chevalierz/tell-your-fortune-with-thai-horoscope

The astrologer I met included Neptune and Pluto as well. Obviously they must much later addition after Rama IV.[/img]
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bill,

I had missed your updated posts here. That is very interesting.

Here is the chart you gave the link to:



Bill Mak wrote:
Quote:
The curious thing about the Thai horoscope is that it is round and it has the configuration similar to the Byzantine Greek one. I pointed this out in my 2015 article but the mystery remains - how did the horoscope become square in India (two types) and Persia? Johannes Thomann in his 2008 article thought that was Chinese influence. When I met him last year, I was not so convinced by his Chinese sources but found it nonetheless an interesting idea.


I have been giving some thought to this mystery and have explored a few ideas below. I cant help with the question of why Indian (and European medieval) charts went square. You would be best to raise that with an authority on Perso-Arabic astrology in India like Martin Gansten.

But a second question which I find just as interesting is why did Indian square charts end up circular in Thailand? That is the question I have investigated myself here by looking at various types of astrology that may have influenced Thailand.

In summary:

1 Zi Wei Dou Shu Chinese Astrology
2 Burmese Mahabote Planetary Numerology
3 Burmese 8 Animal Zodiac
4 Circular 12 Sign Zodiacs & Horoscopes from Burma (Myanmar)


Zi Wei Dou Shu (Purple Star Astrology)

The nearest approximation Chinese astrology has to western horoscopic astrology I am aware of as we see in India and the west is what is called Zi Wei Dou Shu (Purple Star Astrology ). Like western astrology there are 12 houses to a Zi Wei Dou Shu chart. But beyond the Moon many of the the so called ''stars'' are hypothetical. Crucially, from what I have seen the charts in Zi Wei Dou Shu are square not circular.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zi_wei_dou_shu

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Empyrean-Matrix-Guide-Purple-Astrology/dp/1490930914/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469047097&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=he+Empyrean+Matrix%3A+A+Guide+to+Purple+Star+Astrology

Burmese Mahabote Planetary Numerology

Another thought I had was that the round chart might come from a Burmese system of planetary numerology called Mahabote. This is used in Thailand too. I am no authority on this but from what I have seen Mahabote 7 house charts are square too.



http://www.jupitersweb.com/mahabote-part-one.html

Burmese Eight Animal Zodiac

Burma appears to have its own unique system of calendrical numerology but rather than use 12 animal signs to tied to hours, days, months and years as used in China and east Asia the Burmese system utilises an 8 animal system. This seems to be a separate indigenous development within a wider tradition of sidereal astrology modelled on the Indian pattern of 12 signs and 27 Lunar Mansions.

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.

Such calendrical numerology based on the number 8 is reminiscent of Chinese systems such as the I Ching, Feng Shui and Nine star Ki. Like these systems the 8 animals/planets in the Burmese zodiac (rahu counts as a planet) are linked to the 8 points of the compass.

The eight animals in this system are:

Garuda (Mythical Hindu/Buddhist bird deity) Planet: (Sun). North East
Tiger (Moon) East
Lion (Mars) South East
Elephant (with tusks) (Mercury) South
Elephant (No tusks) (Rahu) North West
Rat (Jupiter) West
Guinea Pig (Venus) North
Dragon (Saturn) South West

Contemporary representations of the Burmese Animal zodiac I have seen appear to be circular. Of course this could be reflecting the influence of western astrology. However, the circular layout seems to fit older traditional representations too.





Circular 12 Sign Zodiacs & Horoscopes from Burma (Myanmar)

I suspect the answer to this puzzle still probably lies in Myanmar. This country is the cultural filter between India and Thailand. It was unboubtably from Myanmar that Indian astrology came to Thailand.

I have seen examples of old zodiacs presented in Burmese or Myanmar art using the western zodiac which are circular! Whether this is an indigenous Burmese tradition or not I cannot be certain. However, there doesn't seem to be any evidence for this I am aware of in Indian or Chinese astrology.

For example, below is an old historic example of a zodiac from Myanmar (Burma) Mandalay Division in the old capital of Pagan (Bagan) on a sand painting.

The charts are using the 12 sign Indian/Western zodiac and represented in circular chart style.

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-myanmar-burma-mandalay-division-bagan-the-old-historic-capital-horoscope-70381466.html

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-myanmar-burma-mandalay-division-bagan-the-old-historic-capital-horoscope-70381463.html

I have tried to upload these beautiful images here but the resolution is too large.

Even more persuasive for the Burmese style of horoscope being circular is the image of a traditional birth chart (zata) from Burma (Myanmar) in this link:

https://viss.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/part-1-burmese-personal-names-primer/

Image taken from ''Components of the zata (ဇာတာ), as translated in The Burman: His Life and Notions.''

Here is a modern Burmese horoscope from North Burma. I am not familiar with the system this is based on as there seems to be a 16 animal zodiac represented!



I would therefore suggest an alternative theory as an explanation for the tradition of circular horoscopes in Thailand. My theory, which seems to be supported by existing historic horoscopic art, is that a circular horoscope developed in Burma first and was later transmitted to Thailand.

Clearly, this is a fascinating, complex and relatively unexplored subject by scolarship.

This book may provide some of the answers to your questions if you have not already encountered it.



Quote:
The Calendrical Systems of Mainland South-East Asia
by J.C. Eade
Published by Brill Academic Pub, 1995

This Handbook is the first to study comprehensively how the Southeast Asian calendar was constructed and how positions for the sun, moon and planets were determined. It examines the differences that distinguish Burma from Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, and those that distinguish Northern Thailand from the rest of that country. Explanation of such matters as ways of naming the years, differences between the types of lunar year, variations in methods used to mark times of day, constructing horoscopes, determining calendar dates, and many other technical matters are accompanied by worked examples from the literature. The intention of the study is to provide an apparatus whereby scholars will be able to analyse confidently for themselves the dates and other calendrical information to be found in abundance in their sources.

Mark
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