Namkha explained

Namkha is a tool to harmonize the Five Elements that constitute a person.

There are 9 psycho-physical aspects in a person’s energetic make-up, each ruled by one of the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Elemental conflicts between these aspects can be harmonized, altering the way these aspects manifest and so the way they affect us in our lives.

How the pattern is calculated

The namkha of the birth year takes into consideration 9 aspects of the individual calculated on the basis of Element – Animal – Mewa number of the year of birth, as per Tibetan Astrology.

From the result of these calculations, we can designate an element and colour to each aspect (green Wood, red Fire, yellow Earth, white Metal, blue Water).

How harmonization is achieved

The central colours of the 8 rhombi represent 8 aspects of the individual, the coloured bands around them are the “harmonization bands”.

If the four aspects surrounding the central SOG aspect (i.e. LA, WANGTHANG, LUNGTA, and LIFE MEWA) are in a harmonious, mother-son relationship with it, harmonization bands are wound in mother-son sequence. If they’re in a conflicting, friend-enemy relationship, the harmonization bands are wound in the friend-enemy sequence, until harmonization between them is achieved. A conflict between the SOG and Life Mewa is considered particularly important to harmonize.

The namkha is started by writing the seed syllable of the SOG element at the central notch. The central rhombus is formed. Harmonization bands are added as per calculation, going around three times until reaching the mother element, which also represents an important, 9th aspect of the Namkha, the LA (protection). Each colour is tied by a knot to the following one, the last thread is left hanging loose. In the end, when all rhombi have been completed, the loose threads are all joined by the Harmonizing Thread that goes around the whole namkha. In effect, if the namkha were to be unwound, you’d get a single unbroken thread.


Finished namkha then needs to be “brought to life” by performing the Namkha Authentication, in other words empowement or blessing. During the ritual, the Five Elements are brought to reside on the prepared namkha, the namkha is joined with its owner, and the harmonization function is turned on through meditation and mantra. For the ritual to be effective, it must be performed by a practitioner who received a transmission from a qualified master, in this case, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. An authenticated namkha is then kept by its owner on a shrine or in a room, preferably near the person. It will work steadily on harmonizing the conflicting aspects of the individual, as described, as well as harmonizing environmental conflicts, including astrological influences, for the rest of its owner’s life.

Example of a well-balanced pattern: Namkha of the Metal Dog year (1970)

In this namkha, the Body, Capacity, Lungta and Life Mewa are in harmony with the Life Force (Sog). The aspects all happen to be Metal; Metal is in mother-son relationship with Earth, which rules Sog in the centre.

The only conflict to be harmonized is the Fire in Capacity Mewa against the Life Mewa, which is Metal. Otherwise all the other aspects in that pattern are in harmony.

An example of an unbalanced namkha: Water Snake year (2013)

In this namkha, all the aspects surrounding Sog are in elemental conflict with it (Water x Fire, Metal x Fire). The worry here in particular is the conflict between the Sog (Fire) and Life Mewa (Metal).

When left untreated, conflicts between the various aspects and the Life Force (Sog) in the pattern may sooner or later manifest as various problems in life, physical, emotional, material, relationship, health problems and issues relating to success and achievement. Namkha also serves an important protection function by minimizing health and accident risk, removing obstacles in all aspects of life.

Read more on the subject > How Namkha Heals

Here, I have aimed at a brief summary of how Namkha is calculated and how it functions in practice. Namkha is a vast subject that brings together several fields, from Tibetan Astrology to Buddhist ritual and meditation. I am by no means an expert in all of those. My knowledge about Namkha is based on the teachings of Namkhai Norbu collected in his book Namkha and my personal journey with Namkha. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me to inquire about having a namkha made for yourself or your dear one(s).