Astrologers generally take the idea that each of us has lived before for granted.
Astrology is the study of time, and time consists of the past, present and future. We know the birth chart is a snapshot of the moment when we are born, and we know it can be used to see the patterns of the future. But what can the birth chart reveal about our possible past lives?
Traditionally, certain areas of the birth chart have been viewed as especially karmic in nature. Here are nine keys that can open your understanding of what issues you may have struggled with in past lives—issues that may still be haunting you today.
Key one: The karmic lesson. Each sign has a karmic lesson. By paying special attention to the signs that are emphasized in your chart, you can get some hints as to what sort of experiences (resulting in karmic lessons) you might have had in a past life. Signs are emphasized if they are the ascendant sign, sun sign or moon sign. If you have many planets in a sign, that can also mean you are learning the karmic lesson of that sign.
Let’s suppose that Leo is emphasized in your chart. The karmic lesson of Leo is to learn humility. A person with Leo strongly emphasized in their chart might have spent past lives in positions of power and authority, and in this life they might have to adjust to playing a more low-key role. But they will struggle with a need for recognition, stemming from their past life experiences.
Here are some suggestions for the karmic lesson of each of the other signs. Aries, patience and how to control the passions Taurus, detachment from the material world and the five senses. Gemini, to control thoughts and words. Cancer, discernment. Leo, humility. Virgo, tolerance and the realization that we are living in an imperfect world. Libra, to be decisive. Scorpio, to be more forgiving and less judgmental. Sagittarius, restraint. Capricorn, to be more sociable. Aquarius, to be more attached. Pisces, perseverance instead of escapism.
Key two is Saturn. Saturn is known as the Lord of Time, and is the planet that most clearly symbolizes karma in the chart. When examining your Saturn for clues to your past lives, you will want to look at its sign placement, house placement, and the aspects it makes. You will also want to consider the house with Capricorn on its cusp, since Saturn rules that house.
Suppose, for example, that you have Saturn in the ninth house. You may find that you fear long distance travel in this life, or that you have a strong dislike for a particular country for no good reason. These fears may be rooted in a past life where you were injured while traveling, or ran into trouble in that country.
Key three: The moon. The lunar archetype is the key to our emotional past. The moon clearly shows the emotional predisposition we bring to this lifetime, and it is not a great leap to suppose that these predispositions are a result of events in past lives. Again, with the moon, you will want to consider its sign, its house, and the aspects it makes, as well as the house ruled by Cancer.
Key four: The 12th house. This most mysterious house of the chart has long been viewed by astrologers as the repository of past life knowledge. The 12th house represents the subconscious mind and the subconscious contains the memories all of our past lives. The 12th house is also sometimes known as the house of hidden enemies or the house of self-undoing. These terms all refer to our human tendency to trip ourselves up when we are in denial or unaware of something important about ourselves. The 12th house shows us what we may be suppressing, or where we may feel guilty—in this lifetime and beyond.
When analyzing the 12th house of your chart, you will want to consider the planets located in that house, as well as their aspects. Is your 12th house empty? You can still deduce a lot by studying the ruler of the 12th by sign, house and aspect.
Key five: The nodes. Like the moon itself, the nodes of the moon have long been thought to be karmic in nature. The south node, especially, is said to show information about our past lives, by sign, house and aspect.
The sign on the south node shows the essence of hundreds of lives, of experiences lived again and again until that knowledge becomes an ingrained part of your soul. For instance, the south node in Scorpio indicates that you have gone through many lifetimes of intense experiences centered on self-transformation through learning about power and control. The scenario in each life may have been different, but the underlying lesson has been the same.
You should also consider any planets that aspect your nodes. I know of a woman who remembers being murdered in a past life by someone close to her. Significantly, her south node in Libra is conjunct Mars and square Uranus (unexpected violence).
Key six: Your prenatal eclipses. Eclipses have always heralded a turning point. The prenatal eclipse of both the sun and the moon reveals the evolutionary path your soul has chosen for this life. Jan Spiller and Karen McCoy, who pioneered this study in their book, “Spiritual Astrology,” say that the solar eclipse shows a universal energy or the energy you have agreed to share with others, while the prenatal lunar eclipse reveals the lessons you have agreed to learn in this lifetime.
Key seven: The aspects. Both the challenging and the easy aspects in your chart can provide you with some tantalizing clues about your past lives. The challenging aspects are indications of developing karmic problems. The easy aspects show areas we have mastered in past lives.
Astrologers generally believe that cardinal and mutable challenging aspects show problems that are just developing. So theoretically, they would relate to more recent lives. Challenging aspects in fixed signs, on the other hand, show stresses that have been encountered in life after life, so that poor responses have become deeply ingrained. The challenge is to learn to deal with these energies in a more positive manner.
Key eight: Retrograde planets. Retrograde planets also reveal karmic blockages. A retrograde planet can reflect an area where we failed to learn a lesson. This experience can be so negative that we refuse to use the energy of this planet in this lifetime. A person with Uranus retrograde, for example, can appear quite conventional outwardly, but inwardly they will be quite unconventional. They will hide their uniqueness, however, unconsciously afraid (as a result of past life experiences) that it will get them into trouble.
Key nine: Interceptions. Finally, interceptions can provide insight into past life challenges. The energy of an intercepted sign tends to be suppressed. Like a retrograde planet, this can indicate an area where you encountered problems in a past life. Intercepted planets can indicate a karmic debt or lesson to be learned.
When there is an interception in a chart, there are also two signs that cover more than one house. Look to the first place where a sign covers two houses (counting from the ascendant) for clues to problems in a previous lifetime that are being carried over into this lifetime. Look to the second dual set for ways to approach solving these problems. For instance, if Aries is on two houses first, there have been problems expressing the self. With Libra on two house cusps next, the answer may be found through learning to work cooperatively with others.
There is much more to say about karmic astrology beyond these nine keys, of course. These are just a place to begin. As you look over these keys in your own chart, you will want to be watching for repeated themes. For instance, do you have Sagittarius rising, Jupiter in difficult aspect to Pluto, and a stellium in your ninth house? The karmic lesson of restraint is probably a big one for you. If Mercury is challenged, you may have had problems with mental or verbal restraint in past lives. With the moon challenged, your difficulties might have been more emotional. The deeper you journey into your chart, the more clues you will find.
May the Sun, Moon and Stars shelter you and energize you with love and peace,