It has to be said that Karmic Astrology has a bad press! If it wasn't bad enough that normal astrology is criticised and finds difficulty to gain acceptance. But, oh boy, anything that implies that there are no choices in life and it is all pre-destined, mapped out by some higher agency. Well, that simply cannot be given credence.
Joking apart, any aspect of astrology invites criticism from those involved in organised religion and the scientific establishment. Curious, then, that those that criticise cannot come up with a reason why they are interested in a particular subject. What is it in a person's psyche that drives them to become a member of the clergy or a scientist?
Normally a birth chart, when interpreted, provides a character analysis of a person. However, any birth chart can be interpreted in a number of ways focussing on different areas and/or indicators as appropriate to the type of interpretation required. The primary indicators involved in Karmic Astrology are: -
* The Moon's Nodes (hence the title of this web page) * Retrograde Planets
Be wary of any karmic astrological interpretation that is either confusing or gives rise to wild and/or outrageous speculations!
You can easily tell if an Astrologer is accurate with an ordinary character profile, they would be telling you things about which you can give a definitive 'Yes' or 'No'. It is unlikely that the configuration of any single birth chart can give rise to an interpretation that a person was either the Queen of Sheba or King of Ireland in a previous life.
So Why Karmic Astrology?
Astrology, and the production of a birth chart, merely provides a guide to a person's life. Much like travelling from A to B, you could take the direct route or the scenic route - both will get you to your required destination but with differing experiences along the way. THIS is the art of the astrologer - to provide a guide to the available options rather than a strict set of directives.
The Karmic Birth Chart
Love it or loathe it, the past is always there. Misty-eyed romanticism or abject horror, optimist or pessimist, there's something for everybody. Not only that, but our roots lie in the past with our parents, grandparents, and so on. History tells the stories of heroes and villains, martyrs and saints, murderers and Samaritans. There's also the folklore and mythology - the stories within history that were told of former times, reinterpreting concepts in was that were easier for the populous to understand. Eventually, the fact and myth become entwined and it is difficult to tell them apart - nowhere more so than in the current era of 'virtual reality' and increased computer power. The past provides points of reference and valuable lessons for us to draw on, rather than identifying with an historic individual or mythological character. It is all too easy to see ourselves as Arthur or Robin Hood rather than one of the unnamed followers!
What are The Nodes?
The North and South Nodes are the points where the Moon's Orbit crosses the Earth's orbit around the Sun (commonly called the Ecliptic). So they're not planets and, until recently, largely ignored as a means to interpreting a birth chart. They are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky and are always retrograde, possibly why they are considered the primary karmic indicators. As they are always in 'opposition' they are considered as axes, when the North Node is in the First House the South Node is in the Seventh. Similarly, when the North Node is in Aries, the South Node is in Libra
The South Node indicates what we are comfortable with, the lessons previously learnt and brought into this incarnation to help overcome the challenges we are to face. The ruling planet of the sign occupied by the South Node is an indicator of what we did to learn these lessons.
The North Node indicates the challenges that we are to face during our spell on Earth. Alternatively, it will indicate lessons to learn (since they may not be challenges and a quite enjoyable experience). The ruling planet of the sign occupied by the North Node is an indicator of the ideal way to face the challenges or lessons during this life.
So, for example, if the North Node is in Aries look for Mars in the birth chart, take particular attention of it's sign and house placement and any aspects (especially to retrograde planets). If the ruling planet is itself retrograde, this is a likely indication that the lessons in this life are likely to be particularly challenging!
...and the Retrograde Planets?
Imagine sitting on a train in a station looking out of the window at the stationary train next to yours. The guard on the platform blows a whistle and your train begins to pull out of the station. However, the train being left behind appears to be moving backward rather than yours being the one that is in motion. This apparent motion amply illustrates the 'retrograde' movement of a planet in the sky against the background of stars.
However, at some point the planet resumes it's forward (direct) motion. Now imagine that you and a friend have arrived at the railway station to catch two different trains. You are to catch a relatively slow local train while your friend is using a fast express. The trains are adjacent to each other and you both get seats so you can see each other. Your slow local train is first to leave and, as it pulls away from the platform, your friend appears to be going backwards in his train (as described in the above paragraph). Anyway, the fast express leaves the station shortly after your train. Its superior speed means it soon catches up with your train on the adjacent track and, before too long, you see your friend as his carriage catches up with yours. For a moment or two, the trains travel side by side then the express increases acceleration to pull away and your friend overtakes you.
At certain times, planets appear to move in the same way. The planets in a birth chart represent facets of the personality of the individual. Perhaps it easier to consider birth charts as a graphical or symbolic portrayal of the psychology of the person with the direct or retrograde motion of the planet being of powerful meaning. Apart from the apparent backward motion, retrograde also implies a return to a former state. In astrology it also implies a blockage or a reluctance to proceed. For example, Mercury is the planet of communication and intelligence or learning. So a retrograde Mercury could indicate a shy person, someone afraid to speak or, alternatively, someone with learning difficulties depending on where the planet lies in the birth chart (in terms of sign and house placement). The person has difficulties coming to terms with the planets significance and imply an urgency to work out the challenges with more urgency.
Often, people with retrograde planets look to the past in an attempt to find solutions to current problems and, sometimes, it is not easy to let go of these past issues. Forgiveness of self and others is another hard trait to live with particularly if (like me) the individual has a retrograde Chiron (the planet of self-healing). The healing process usually involves some level of commitment to others or, in extreme cases, a lifetime of selfless service to mankind. Ironically, the retrograde planets limit this ability by making the individual reserved and cautious.