Do we live in a universe of complete randomness? Neither scientists, nor astrologists believe so. Working out a ‘Theory of Everything’ is one of science’s great challenges and one of the late Stephen Hawking’s greatest ambitions. A ‘Theory of Everything’ will help us to explain why the big bang took place, what existed before the singularity and what lies beyond the visible cosmos. Why I mention this in the context of reincarnation and rebirth is because if we are able to answer such questions about the universe, matters such as reincarnation may not seem so far-fetched, scientifically. Until then, things that we can’t explain will seem like acts of randomness.
Past Life Karma in the Natal Chart
Abrahamic religions do not recognise reincarnation and rebirth, but these were strong beliefs amongst the ancient Egyptians and are central to ancient religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
‘Karma’ is a Sanskrit word that has been absorbed into modern English and is a concept of Hinduism that essentially teaches us that, ‘As we sow, so shall we reap’. In very simple terms, this holds that we create ‘Karma’ through our thoughts and deeds and we are born and reborn in accordance with our ‘Karmic’ balance.
In astrology, things mostly happen for a reason. The natal chart we are born with, the positions of the planets in this chart and the transits that we pass through, are all the result of predetermined reasons. Vedic astrology is derived from the beliefs and mythology described in ancient Hindu scriptures according to which, the horoscope we inherit is essentially a representation of our deeds from previous births. This is why there is no such thing as the ‘Perfect Horoscope’, because no person can be absolutely good.
Of course, some people are better than others. It is possible for a person to work off their ‘Karmic’ balance, lifetime over lifetime, through a process of adopting good, or the ‘Right’ deeds. If this is achieved, the birth – rebirth cycle can be broken and the soul can attain ‘Nirvana’ or enlightenment and eternal bliss, at God’s feet.
Having said that, the world is full of examples of bad people who are being richly rewarded for their efforts. This is because ‘Karmic’ pay back is usually not immediate and ‘Karma’ is also a reference to the core traits and characteristics that we are destined to inherit from birth to birth. The butterfly effect of each person’s ‘Karma’ on every other soul, is a scheme only known to the Almighty. It is up to this higher power to decide how the ‘Karmic’ books are to be balanced.
The philosophy of ‘Karma’ is partnered by the concept of ‘Dharma’ or duty, but then that’s another story, well beyond the scope of this article and one that is best left to experts of this complex subject. In astrological terms, ‘Dharma’ is our destiny and ‘Karma’ is the reason behind this destiny.
Astrology and Spirituality
Despite this connection between previous lives and horoscopes, there are many practicing astrologers who do not have any belief in reincarnation. In fact, there are many different forms of astrology and you don’t necessarily have to be predisposed to spirituality in order to practice any one of these. Admittedly, it would not be common to find an astrologer who is completely detached from spirituality, but if you do, he or she will be well within their rights to practice astrology in accordance with their own beliefs.
If we go back to the Hindu concept, one of the reasons why God gave people the knowledge of astrology was to bring them closer to divinity. That is, astrology is a lower form of spirituality that can help man understand the workings of the divine and prepare the mind for more advanced spiritual concepts.
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The Astrology of Birth and Rebirth
Your horoscope is a map of your life, supposedly drawn out in accordance with the cause and effects of previous lives. It is also believed that your birth chart represents unfulfilled desires and responsibilities carried forward from these lives.
There are however, many specific characteristics within a birth chart that can describe the nature of your last birth. There are also certain characteristics that might even suggest what the onward journey for your soul might be. It must however be remembered that these are conclusions that are based on the inferences drawn from a horoscope.
No matter how strong an astrological inference may be, no astrologer can claim that it is conclusive. It is also important to mention that the guiding rule of Vedic astrology is that our deeds and free will supersede all other factors. That is, even if a horoscope suggests an event is imminent, we possess the ability to defy the consequences of that event through our decisions. This again underlines the importance of ‘Karma’ and can cut both ways, as this applies to both favourable and unfavourable events alike. Hence, a lack of action can lead to good times passing us by, whereas sheer determination can lead to misfortune being minimised or even averted. Just like God helps those who help themselves, so do the planets.
Past & Future Life Characteristics in a Horoscope
The VIth house of the natal chart represents the evil influences in our lives and possible debts to deceased ancestors, among other things. This house also directly alludes to prominent events from your last life. This is perhaps more pronounced in the case of adverse influences, as a favourable ‘Karmic’ balance is usually also reflected through the conditions of the remaining houses of the chart.
A malefic influence such as ‘Rahu’, on the VIth house can suggest that a person’s past lifetime was a sinful one and many of the hardships of their present life are on this account. The presence of Venus or ‘Ketu’ in the VIth house can indicate that a person may have psychic abilities passed over from their previous birth.
The XIIth house is directly opposite the VIth house. This house also has a connection with reincarnation. One school of thought holds that if ‘Ketu’, also known as the 'Southern Lunar Node', occupies the XIIth house, the soul of the owner of this birth chart will ultimately be destined for ‘Nirvana’, after it leaves its body.
The Moon represents our emotions. Astrology suggests that at the time of death, we lose all knowledge of the factual, intellectual part of our being and all that is left is our emotions. Therefore, the Moon also represents our emotions from our previous lifetime. If the soul achieves ‘Nirvana’, these emotions also disappear and we thus attain eternal bliss and enlightenment.
Saturn is the harsh judge of our past deeds and Saturn’s placement in your birth chart indicates how you have been found. In Greek mythology Saturn is known as the cruel god, Cronus or Kronos. Cronus means time and Saturn is the personification of time. Cronus was father to Zeus and ate two of his other children, perhaps a reference that time shows no mercy.
Although this planet represents the result of our deeds from previous lives, this also teaches us about our duties for this life. The house that Saturn occupies indicates your unfinished business from your previous birth. You will be required to fulfil your obligations in relation to the sphere of influence of this house, in this lifetime. This is even more so, if Saturn is in retrograde. Saturn demands effort and persistence and rewards these traits.
If Saturn occupies the ascendant’s house, your purpose in life is self-improvement or working on making a better you. If this planet occupies the VIth house, depending on the zodiac sign of this house, this can mean that you will not receive all the accumulated good ‘Karma’ of your previous birth.
The malefic Vedic planet, ‘Rahu’ is the northern lunar node. This planet does not have a physical form, nor does this have a day of the week after which it is named. However, ‘Rahu’ has been accorded about one-and-a-half hours everyday, during which it will rule.
‘Rahu’ and Saturn share a close relationship and similar natures. ‘Rahu’ represents obsessions, illusions and escapism. This planet tries to prevent us from fulfilling our desires in life, so that we are left with pending ‘Karma’ to be completed in a next birth. Likewise, this planet indicates what our pending desires from our previous life may have been. That is, if ‘Rahu’ occupies your IInd house, you may have strong unfulfilled financial desires. If this occupies your VIIth house, you may have been wanting for love and if this is in the Xth house, your previous career may have been decidedly unsatisfactory. This is all relative and your strongest wants are those that will be reflected in your chart.
Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, there is no denying that the concept is fascinating. Perhaps the great Stephen Hawking has now been able to formulate his theory and answer to everything. We just have to wait for him to be reborn, so that the rest of mankind can be updated. Some argue that reincarnation is just an idea that religion came up with to keep us all in check. Maybe, but I guess we’re all going to come to know either way, soon enough. The question is, will there be any point by then?
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