Gregory N. Nalbandian
Yesterday Walter P. Clark's life was drastically changed. He awoke to a phone call that his younger troubled brother was critically hurt in a car accident. On the way to the hospital he hotly discussed why and what for with his wife. She kept replying, "What comes around, Goes around. Your brother isn't the nicest of people. Karma will get ya...." Though they were harsh words, I couldn't help agreeing, "Karma was the issue..."
The concept of Karma is a widely discussed about topic within the metaphysical and spiritual world. Even in the media the word is bantered around with meaningless context. In Astrology, the concept of Karma is tied to several specific positions and placements within the chart. Would a chart point out the "Karma" of a person like the one above, and could it tell us of his fate? This type of question seems to come out of most people I meet in my business. To be able to understand the Karmic implications in a chart we have to look right at the subject itself.
To start to understand the concept of Karma, and how it is expressed in Astrology, we have to add a few words to the vocabulary. The one word that is always hiding in the wings of the stage show called Karma, is it's expression counterpart, Dharma (pronounced with a silent "h"). Dharma is most easily summed up in the phrase, "the Law." It points out the way in which Karma expresses itself fully, almost to the point that this "law" could become a credo sounding, self-proclaimed motto. The way in which a person reaches the Karmic answers is through the Dharma. The major road block for most western minds is the application of the moralistic right and wrong into the picture. This leads people to want to know about the good Karma and fear bad Karma, much like the Christian sin/salvation cycle of good vs. evil. The best way to look at Karma is not as a rising and falling on the cosmic ladder of ascension, but as a universal property of energy seeking balance. You take on too much energy , then you must balance it out by giving up some energy. This is the way of Karma, to play out the never ending cycle of entropy/syntropy, the coming together, and the falling away. From this point, who are we to predict or judge someone else's Karma unless we are in their shoes, seeing through their eyes? Does this make trying to understand Karma a personal process and how does Astrology relate to this?
Plenty. There are many indicators of Karma in the birth chart. Looking at the chart as a whole, synthesizing all the positions into one image, gives a person the ability to glimpse at the symbols of a persons Karma/Dharma. There are several specific points that we can look at first that will help bring the image together. The Nodes of the Moon are two of the most potent positions in a chart to help an individual understand the Karmic picture, and the Dharma in which to play it out. The Nodes, which are comprised of two exactly opposite points on the ecliptic designated as South and North, are analyzed along with several other points in the chart to help form a picture of the Karmic intent. This intent is, in many ways, the "purpose" behind our life. The South Node and the position of the planet Pluto within the natal birth chart, as well as the ruling planet of the sign the South Node is in, can be synthesized into a Karmic picture of what the direction a soul is taking. The South Node traditionally is linked to the "past" and the North Node is linked to the "future." It's more helpful to look at the North Node as the indicator of the Dharma and the South Node in the above combination with Pluto as the Karmic picture for the Dharma to apply to.
What is a Karmic picture? Since the nature of Karma is so personal, we try to form a picture or more accurately, an archetypal symbolic image that will help us relate to Karma. We have to use archetypes to describe Karma because of their universal nature and ability to help explain personal information. This is like forming a mythological story using the astrological archetypes of the South Node combination of sign and house it's in, along with the Pluto position and ruler of the South Node. For example, let's take a South Node in Aquarius in the second house, along with Pluto in the Ninth, and the ruler of Aquarius (Uranus) in the Ninth also. This paints a story of Second House issues (value fulfillment) that was constantly being broken down (Aquarius), caused by the seeking of Universal Truths (Ninth House Pluto) through traveling a lot, either through actual wandering, or bouncing around through beliefs (Uranus in the Ninth). If we were to form a mythos, the one of the wandering con man seeking the real truth comes to mind. In the past, this soul may have done what ever it wanted, setting it's own values in spite of social mores, so that it might carry both a Karmic need for responsibility, as well as atonement to guilt. But this is half of the picture, it only points out the Karmic intent or lesson needed. The South Node has it's counterpoint, the North Node, the indicator of Dharma.
The North Node shows us the path that an individual may take to help deal with the Karmic lessons presented. This indicator can be linked up with several other planetary placements in the chart to describe various ways to deal with the Karma. During a Saturn Return for instance, the North Node is the astrological archetype you want to follow to help you deal with the intense Karmic release that is found with the return. The North Node's position is exactly opposite to the South, so the issue of the South Node is mirrored by the North Node. The paradigm of opposite energies balancing each other applies to this situation as does with many astrological polarity issues. The Karma that is found from the South Node is dealt with in the polar opposite position of the North Node. With the above formation, the North Node would be in Leo in the Eighth. The wandering con man soul lesson is dealt with through the Eighth House issue of commitment. The North Node in Leo needs to find the will power to not run (South in Aquarius). It may set up a tendency to feel sorry for oneself, but these feelings are because of the Karma of wanting to be free of responsibility while trying to fall back on selfish values. The North in the Eight House requires the individual to give up selfishness for the Eight House issue of trust and commitment.
To relate an event to only Karma is to take a lesson and remove the concept of freewill. To look at the Dharma along with the Karma is a way of empowering the individual in a non-fatalistic way. In Astrology, the use of Karma/Dharma will lend a greater amount of insight to the expression of any planet and the way in which Planetary Returns and transits will manifest. The personal nature can be dealt with through the use of the Karmic picture and the application of archetypes to paint it. This way judgment falls away and growth in all directions is found.
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