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In a nation with a strong spiritual heritage, you will discover that the people of Bhutan, particularly the Buddhists, use astrology to predict important life events. Important aspects of Bhutanese life include auspicious dates, days, signs, years, and times. One finds a fascinating belief associated with the inauspicious day known as Ta Shi Ga Chak. This Bhutanese term, translating to “horse dies,” reflects a traditional conviction that initiating a journey on this particular day brings about ominous consequences, including the foretelling of a horse’s demise and the breaking of a saddle—an especially dire outcome in times when horses were the primary mode of transportation.

Ta Shi Ga Chak days, occurring on the 2nd, 8th, 14th, 20th, and 26th of the lunar month, are deemed highly inauspicious. The 6th, 12th, 18th, 24th, and 30th are considered less unfavorable but still pose risks for those embarking on journeys. The belief holds that individuals commencing their travels on Ta Shi Ga Chak days are destined to encounter life-threatening obstacles and suffer significant losses. Long ago, the great Tibetan saint Jetsun Milarepa desired to relocate to a different cave on a specific day while meditating in a mountain cave.

He was aware that the day was unlucky to start the journey. However, he believed that auspicious or inauspicious had no meaning for a yogi like him who had transcended the ordinary. So he took his most valuable item, a clay pot, and left his cave for the others. Legends have it that, even the great Yogi Jetsun Milarepa lost his one and only material possession, an earthen pot, when he set out on a journey at this inauspicious time.

Bhutanese people often resort to traditional remedies to mitigate risks during Ta Shi Ga Chak days, a period of auspicious travel. The Lamgyü ritual, a symbolic departure from home, is a common antidote, allowing individuals to carry their belongings outside and leave them in the care of friends or neighbors. This ritual is believed to divert negative energies associated with Tashi Ga Chak. Another potent remedy is the Lhabsang ritual, which incorporates spiritual elements to ward off malevolent forces.

By seeking blessings and mantra prayers from lamas, individuals purify the environment and create a protective spiritual barrier. This ritual is believed to counteract any adverse influences that may arise from embarking on a journey during Tashi Ga Chak days. These practices not only demonstrate the resilience of cultural beliefs amidst superstition but also highlight the profound connection between spirituality and the everyday lives of the Bhutanese people.

In contrast to the inauspicious days, Bhutanese culture designates specific days as particularly auspicious for commencing journeys. The 1st, 7th, 13th, 19th, and 25th of the lunar month are considered highly favorable, while the 5th, 11th, 17th, 23rd, and 29th offer a moderate level of auspiciousness. These days serve as the preferred time for embarking on travel, aligning with the cultural belief in positive outcomes when journeys commence under propitious cosmic influences. Bhutanese beliefs extend beyond calendar dates, incorporating omens and signs encountered at the outset of journeys. A funeral procession encountered at the beginning of a journey is seen as a positive sign, indicating a potentially fruitful expedition.

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