The Five Lunar Mansions

black tortoise button

Black Tortoise (Mercury)

white tiger button

White Tiger (Venus)

vermilion bird button

Vermilion Bird (Mars)

azure dragon button

Azure Dragon (Jupiter)

yellow dragon button

Yellow Dragon (Saturn)

The Seven

Constellations of

The Black Tortoise

Roof Top


Interesting Links:


The Black Tortoise of the North

Steven L. Renshaw, Ph.D.

Kanda University, Japan


The Lunar Mansions

Vivian E. Robson


The Black Tortoise

Cultural China


What Is An Asterism?

button Arabic Star Names


Snake and Black Tortoise

Ella Traver | ElderThink | 07.24.10


Early Chinese images of the Black Tortoise often include a snake. Chinese stories and mythologies also include both a black tortoise and a snake with great powers.


Various legends equate the tortoise and snake with organs inside the body which Asian heros were required to remove from themselves in order to be gods.

chinese astrology workbook

The Chinese Astrology Workbook: How to Calculate and Interpret A Chinese Horoscope

Derek Walters

The Secrets of

Chinese Astrology

Derek Walters


The Black Tortoise

In Ancient Astrology



The Black Tortoise of Winter


Sometimes called the Black Warrior of the North, the black tortoise was chosen by the earliest Chinese astronomers to represent the planet Mercury, and seven positions of the moon against certain stars in the northern sky. The seven positions or stations of the Black Tortoise are known as "mansions" and they represent groupings or asterisms of stars. These are called Dipper, Ox, Girl, Emptiness, Roof Top, Encampment and Wall.


These seven collections of stars all together look like a tortoise with a snake riding on his back.


The Black Tortoise also is a symbol of longevity and represented the element "water" to Ancient Chinese Astrologers. Ancient Astrologers from Arabia and India developed their own interpretations. There are many similarities and some interesting differences. We have presented examples of all three interpretations.


black tortoise star chart

Black Tortoise Star Chart by Steven Renshaw and Saori Ihara


8=Dipper, 9=Ox, 10=Girl, 11=Emptiness,

12=Roof Top, 13=Encampment, 14=Wall



Black Tortoise Encompases Seven Positions of the Moon


The seven positions or stations of the Black Tortoise are known as "mansions" or "palaces" because they represent groupings or asterisms of stars.


The Moon's Position At A Person's Birth Is Related To A Fortune


Derek Walters, a European scholar and author on Chinese Astrology, writes:


"The dark colour of the tortois's shell, and its strange markings caused the tortoise to be held in reverential awe on account of the fact that the shell appeared to be a mystic map....other beliefs concern ing the tortoise were that it led a celibate life (hence tortoises never new their father, and 'son of a tortoise' became a euphemism for someone who did not know who their father was), their extreme longevity gave them a reputation for sagacity; they were also considered to be heliotropic, always turning to face the Sun, which therefore, they were believed to worship."


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Black Tortoise


Black Tortoise



White Tiger


White Tiger



Vermilion Bird


Vermilion Bird



Azure Dragon


Azure Dragon



Yellow Dragon


Yellow Dragon