Karma (Sanskrit: "action, work, deed; fate," related to krnoti, Avestan kerenaoiti "makes," Old Persian kunautiy "he makes;" from PIE root *kwer- "to make, form, cause, effect". Karma is the action and reaction that is a consequence of that action. Many think of karma as only bad consequences but it is both consequence and reward for each of our actions, a source of shame or pride. Intent is also important. We can accidentally do what was not intended.
Action results in motion. Newton stated, "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts...For, as the motions are equally changed, the changes of the velocities made toward contrary parts are reciprocally proportional to the bodies. This law takes place also in attractions, as will be proved in the next scholium..." Newton showed that these laws of motion, combined with the laws of universal gravitation, explained Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Thus, when a person pushes against the water, the water is displaced backwards or down, while pushing back against the person, who is propelled forward or up, as when floating on the surface.
The moon and earth revolve together around their common center of mass, or gravity, which acts as an attractive force which keeps them together. At the same time, they are simultaneously kept apart by an equal and opposite centrifugal force produced by their individual revolutions around that center of gravity. Each month, the Moon crosses the equator heading North and South in declination. The point where this happens can be measured relative to any point in time and is called the lunar node. Their cycle is 18.6 years in duration. The vast majority of the world recognizes a person as an adult when they've completed one nodal cycle. The Lunar North and South node, also called the dragon's head and tail, propels us forward toward the head, as the tail points the way to the familiar past we have left behind, but that acts as a foundation for where we are going. But, it can be more complicated than that.
Well navigated nodes are much like a swimmer. He uses his arms to push against the waters of the South node tail and those same waters act as a springboard to push his head forward. It is commonly said that the tail is what we have overdone and shows our bad karma. I don't believe that is true unless we have neglected the other side of the axis. For example, if the tail is in Cancer and we have built in to our nature to be overly dependent then we might bring in some uncomfortable reactions as we are propelled toward the head in Capricorn, where self sufficiency rules. But we can also naturally gravitate toward the head and bring in the earned blessings of the past, represented by the dragon's tail. Think of a beloved pet wagging his tail. He never does that if he is about to bite. Perhaps these complications can be seem more clearly by thinking of tides. There is equilibrium at the center of gravity but on the earth's surface, there is an imbalance and water is drawn up by the gravity of the Moon. This is further complicated by land masses and the declination of the Moon, as well as it's relation to the Sun. Newton had the wrong Earth:Moon ratio but he was correct in identifying the forces that create the tides. The tides and other climatological and geophysical events can be calculated, based on the 18.6 year cycle of the lunar nodes. At the time that Moon is in her most extreme declination during this cycle, when the New Moon coincides with the Vernal equinox, the nodes reach the critical Aries point and we have more extreme events. This is also true when that extreme for the month is at a minimum, which happens about half way through the cycle. The last maximum was in June 2006, May 1988 before that and 1969 before that.
1969 is a very interesting year to review events surrounding the Major Lunar Standstill and passage of the nodes into the critical Aries point. The Beatles made their last public performance, ironically from the roof, another extreme. It marked the beginning of the EPA, the gay rights movement, withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, man walks on the Moon, Woodstock, Category 5 Hurricane Camille hits land, Manson serial killings, 1st ATM machine, to name a few events. Not all of these extreme years are quite so eventful though. There were some other planetary activities going on too, such as the beginning of the current Uranus-Pluto cycle. But, there are more than a few notable people born that year, as evidence that the nodes at the ending and beginning of the cycle bring the above average. We are now approaching the minimum part of the nodal cycle and we are experiencing extreme weather. The extreme minimum, midpoint of the cycle occurs in October 2015. I suspect we can expect extreme high temps this summer, to match the extreme lows this winter, with a repeat next year. The Lunar minimum occurs midway through the cycle, when ascending at the autumnal equinox node and descending at the vernal equinox node. The declination only reaches 18° 24' North and South before turning around and heading the other way. In January of this year, it reached nearly 19.5°. During 69, unusual extremes were born, like Marilyn Manson, sports extremes like Nancy Kerigan, extreme entertainers such as Jack Black, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube and a couple of the Back Street Boys. The last extreme minimum in 1997 coincided with some major disasters, mystery Phoenix Lights, huge rise in the Dow, the announcement of the first clone and banning of such in the US by Clinton. It was a year of many massacres and the death of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa. If one is born during such extremes, it would make sense they might be more intense in the way they relate to the outer world, and the world to them. The lifetime might be more eventful than average and may resonate to times in history with the nodes were at the same part of the cycle.
Planets that appear to be moving backwards from our earthly perspective, are said to be retrograde, written with the symbol Rx, the same symbol as that used to represent a prescription. Indeed, during retrograde times, what was written before, what has taken place in the past comes up for review, repentance and rebirth into a better way of using the energy. When one is born during a time of retrograde, it can seem like we're going back to the future. The planet has already been at this position while we were gestating within the womb. In fact, it is possible it was even before conception, if we are looking at Pluto or the birth is premature. (See this study that shows gestation varies and is unique for each woman.)
When a planet is Rx, the focus and energy is directed inward, rather than toward the outer world. The native is more introspective when using the energy represented by the Rx planet. Issues that come up under that planet's domain will be connected to the past and our natural inclination will be to assess it from a subjective point of view, how that past event or inheritance is affecting us. If there is a genetic dis-ease involved, we might seek a way to prevent or eliminate it from our future genetic pool. What ever it represented as it crossed that degree for the first time, may come up again, history repeating itself in some way.
The best example of this I can share is a personal experience. None of my major planets are Rx but I was born during a time that Chiron, a maverick shapeshifting Centaur, was retrograde. This is a very important comet/asteroid for me because he is in the house of health (he's called the wounded healer) and he seems to have an affinity to Virgo, my Sun and Mercury sign. I looked back to see when he was at the same degree as my birth and it just happened to be on my dad's 19th birthday, coming during the first month of my gestation period. I found no major history events upon a Google search so I have to assume that the importance of this degree is connected to my father. He doesn't recall anything special about that birthday. He'd been married to my mom for a short time and they split the week just before my birth. He met my step mom at a movie theater, the night my mom went into labor. He never saw me until a few days later. If I look at the progression to that time, it fits with when he left my mom. Now, Chiron had a similar story. He was abandoned by his father who only wanted his mom for sex. Chiron reminded her so much of his dad that she abandoned him too. That kind of resentment fell to my brother, born 1 year and 10 days later. Both his appearance and personality are much like our father's. They got together for one last fling, I guess. Mom probably hoped he would stay but I know they would never have gotten along well. The way I repeated this history connected to Chiron Rx is by being alone to give birth to my first son, some 20 years later. My husband had been given a job that was several hours away. When my step mom called to tell him I was in labor, he left to come home in a truck that had a headlight out (read that as symbolic of Sun-light-father significator). He was pulled over by police (Chiron in Capricorn, sign of authority figures like the father or police) and told he couldn't leave until he replaced it (Capricorn represents physical limitations or restrictions). So, he didn't see his son until many hours after birth. History does repeat itself with Rx planets.
Saturn is known as satan in Hebrew.
The word isn't used as a proper name, it is a word meaning, accuser or taskmaster. This accuser came to be known as the devil, the evil one that rules over the world. The glyph is an image of a sickle, used to ruthlessly reap the harvest. The cross was added in the 16th century, likely to adopt the symbol into Christianity, just like Saturnalia was turned into Christmas. In astrology he has much the same meaning as satan, as well as being our disciplinarian parent, the father, the elders, the boss. Saturn can show how evolved one is when it comes to taking responsibility, being self sufficient, hard working. When we have mastered these things we no longer need a boss or other types of authorities that punish us if we do bad. Saturn also represents our conscience or guilt, limitations and restrictions. Most astrologers follow the idea that Saturn shows where we have missed the mark and where we will be most tested. The house position can show where he will be our tester or accuser, perhaps where we will be falsely accused or unfairly and too harshly disciplined. It shows in which areas we will have to work harder but can reap the greatest rewards too. A well placed Saturn, shows the ability to meet challenges successfully.
The story of Job always comes to mind when I think of Saturn. Job was faithful and had good karma. But, he was tested to the extreme, to whom much is given, much is required. Even after everything important to him was taken away for no apparent reason, he didn't blame G_d or give up, even though his friends said he must have done something to deserve such a horrible fate. His only apparent sin (missing the mark) was perhaps thinking that he could figure out why all that happened to him. G-d's response was to ask him if he was there when he placed the serpent in the heavens, perhaps also meaning the Lunar nodes. This could be taken in more than one way. It could mean that many lifetimes ago Job took something from someone else and the time had come to pay his dues. But, if that were the case, it doesn't make sense all would be returned to him so easily. It makes more sense that he was being taught and tested on his ability to resist assigning blame or resentment unfairly, as well as how well he stands up to false accusations and punishment. Job had obviously learned the elementary Saturn lessons, being self sufficient, disciplined, developed ability to focus on accomplishing what needs to be done for success. His wealth and children were testimony to that fact. But, the great taskmaster isn't finished with us simply because we are self controlled and successful. He is the accuser and the final lesson must be false accusations. So, Saturn represents where we've missed the mark and what lessons we still have to learn. In the end, Job received everything back he had lost. He passed this blessing on as an inheritance to his children. This is the only story I recall of daughters receiving an inheritance along with the sons. They are even named. His name, ironically, means 'howler or complainer'. You know what they say, the squeaky wheel gets turned. Who knows! If he had suffered in silence maybe his children and possessions would never have been returned. Be sure to hover over the image of the devil turned upside down, reversed or Rx. If you look carefully at his face, you can see this scary accuser turn into a little sly elf with a knowing grin. Adam and Eve can easily slip their chains of bondage off.
Newton derived the law of conservation of momentum from his 3rd law of karma. But, in fact, this law is the more fundamental one and is demonstrated in the animation above. This law explains what is going on when the 3rd law or law of karma fails (read that as there is no obvious or direct cause), for instance when force fields as well as particles carry momentum, and within quantum mechanics.
I've seen the validity of what is presented by Mary Devlin in Astrology & Past Lives. Even if you aren't open to the idea of reincarnation, this is still very valid information because there is no denying that we do inherit karma, if only from our family genetics and society at large. But, please also consider that even if one doesn't believe something, that won't erase the affects of anything that is true. The lack of belief only alters perception of reality, not the reality itself. Ms Devlin names a karmic configuration as consisting of at least two inner planets within a sign axis with at least one karmic indicator, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Lunar nodes or the Moon. Notice the planet of action, Mars, isn't included in the karmic group, even though he is refereed to as the lesser malefic in traditional astrology. I'm thinking the inner planets show the person’s personal place in the scheme of things while the outer planets show the generational karma, attitudes and customs that need to be addressed. Now, this can be what we think of as negative karma but couldn't it stand up to reason that it could also be an indication of good karma? For example, if someone had built spiritual muscles to handle confrontation in a positive way, might that be shown through this type of configuration and be his karmic tool to fight for change?
The story of Job shows that good karma can be passed on. There is a controversial idea in Buddhism that there can be a transference of karma. Although most religions strongly disagree with this notion, Christianity teaches this principle by professing that Jesus can take on and pay for the karma of anyone who believes in him. If one receives an inheritance, they are receiving good karma transferred to them from their benefactor. If one inherits a disease, that is also a transference of karma, just like inheriting disease resistance or longevity. A mother gives good karma to her child through breast milk, including certain disease resistance. It makes sense to me that reincarnation is real, that there is more than this few short lives, required for us to learn all that we must learn on the earth plane. But, whether real or not, there is no denying we pass on our good and not so good karma to others and receive the same from our parents and from society as a whole.
Transference happens in the heavens too, through collections and translations of light. We are quite aware of the influence the Moon has on our tides, emotions and cycles of life. But everything that acts on another body has some sort of influence. These transferences can be considered both negative and positive, but I believe the intent is always positive, in the big picture scheme of things. Most of the time, when there is a karmic configuration, there is also some transference going on too. The following chart belongs to Mahatma Gandhi, civil rights warrior who suffered greatly for his cause. Hover over to see it enlarged.
The karmic configuration spans houses 1 and 7. The personal planets involved are Mercury, Venus and Mars in the 1st house of self, with Jupiter, the mediator and greater benefic, in the 7th, with the karmic indicator, Pluto. When ever attempting to interpret a chart or being the recipient of that reading, it is important to understand that there are many things any given configuration can represent. There are 12 houses, 12 signs, 10 solar system bodies and the varying angles they make to each other, used to describe all of the many nouns, adjectives and verbs that make our our earthly living. It would take a small to large volume to list all of the potentialities of any given planet, sign, house or aspect. Often there can be layers or multiple manifestations of various sorts that fit the description possibilities too. Take Jupiter, for example. This could signify a priest, guru or spiritual leader, teacher, foreigners, law or attorney. Gandhi was both an attorney and spiritual leader of sorts. The name, Mahatma, was given to him and means, "high-souled", "venerable". He was born into the merchant caste, a domain ruled by Mercury. It also included money lending, belonging to the Taurus/Scorpio axis. Using non violent civil disobedience, he fought for civil rights and led India into independence from Britain. This is a very good example of Mars not being used for violence. For any kind of movement, Mars is necessary, as he is the initiator and action. Anger can be used righteously as wrath, to maintain energy and fuel. He ended untouchability, fought for women's rights and religious pluralism. Here we see both Venus and Jupiter active. But, the fight for religious freedom and tolerance led not only to violence carried out by others, but to his assassination by one of his own,3 (Jupiter) bullets (Mars) to his chest (Mercury) at point blank range. His assassin thought he was too passive.
This karmic configuration is in masculine, outgoing houses but the nature/signs are feminine, receptive and passive. He didn't do well in the court room because he was too shy or passive to speak up when he needed too. Non violence at all costs and even being a strict vegetarian is extremely passive. Withholding food from himself to make a statement is also passive to an extreme that could lead to death. During his years in South Africa he did build some Martian muscle, learning to stand up for himself but still refused to be assertive enough, for example, to seek justice in court for a wrong done to him. When he encouraged people to violate a law, that included passively taking the punishment too. Pluto represents needed change but is also extremism, compulsiveness, use or misuse of power and lord of death, taking over Saturn's traditional role, at least in part. This house span describes perfectly, his fight for independence and equality. The Taurus/Scorpio axis involves the value system and also shared values. It is the axis of generation and regeneration. The value system can be taught (inherited) or self determined and includes our sense of self worth. Taurus wants to acquire for the sake of the acquisition and the pleasure it brings. Scorpio wants to share what is acquired with others, to bring deeper meaning to life. Taurus enjoys sex for personal reasons but Scorpio uses it to constructively build the next generation. The stubborn will of the bull uses his power to create a pleasurable environment but Scorpio wields power for it's own sake, when each side acts independently from the other and have not been integrated. The bull can't be pushed but he can be led. The serpent or scorpion will bully his way through life, if used negatively. Also, when out of balance, he will hurt himself rather than give up that power to sting altogether. He was so not acquisitive or possessive that he was willing to starved himself rather than take up arms (Mars). But he contradicted this by recruiting his people to enlist in the army as combatants, yet secretly (Scorpio) said that he would never do harm to another person. Hypocrisy can be a part of this karmic axis. He compromised his original beliefs of non violence but wanted others to do the violence instead of participating himself. Fasting as a form of protest could be read as not valuing his own physical needs. But, pushing others to do what he wouldn't do himself is valuing himself more than others. He refused to use violence under any circumstances and violence took his life. He valued peace with Muslims more than he valued safety for Hindus. He valued non violence more than his own life.
Mercury in Scorpio can give depth to the mind and understanding but also can describe one that is secretive and shrewd. Venus is in her detriment here and can add secrecy and jealousy to the love nature, but this position can be used to value others as or even more than oneself. This may be the crux of his karma to be worked out. We can love another and not want any violence. But, if we favor the non violence to the extreme that we sit by and watch violence imposed on someone else by those that we refuse to fight, then our love is misplaced or misused. That is loving the abuser more than the abused. He also stated that he believed the "white race" should be the predominant race in Africa. So, right there shows he didn't completely believe in the equality of all humans. He saw himself and fellow Indians as inferior. This is a misguided Venus. Pluto can signify an abuser, also use or failing to use and the misuse of power. Mars is the vehicle that represents the energy needed to use power, as well as courage. If he were afraid of the consequences of violence, of using his own power, that could also explain the karmic imbalance. Jupiter, I'm sure, represents some lucky breaks along the way. He can act like a guardian angle but also supplies faith.
This axis is complicated by the fact that Moon is at the apex of a t-square. Fixed aspects are the most stubborn and difficult to change. But when it is a t-square, it shows a very stubborn imbalance. If something is in the seed planting, early stages, there will be an emphasis on the cardinal signs. If one is still able to change, is flexible and adaptable then the mutable signs will be shown. But, when something has become habitual, the fixed signs take over. Moon is acting as the translation of light. She is carrying the light of Mars and translating that to Jupiter. If we saw Moon as his mother, this would fit her making him promise to stand by the strict vegetarian diet when he went to England for his education. Mars would represent animal foodstuff and the square could represent abstinence. Of course, the opposition and square to Jupiter could involve doing so for religious purposes. Jupiter in Taurus would clearly represent the status of the cow in India. Moon is translating aggressive Martian energy or issues as a religious issue. At the risk of upsetting all my vegetarian friends out there, I must say that we are what we eat and if we refuse to eat any meat, might that make us more passive, assuming meat would be the most masculine type of food?
Before Moon squared Mars, she perfected a square to Venus (ruler of Taurus, the bull, also the value system) and translated that to Mars, speeding up the potential union of Venus and Mars. He was married at only 13 years old and the marriage may have been in the works even before he was born. I believe his wife was a year older than him. Mars, masculine assertiveness, makes no major aspect at all to the planet of ideals, Neptune. This would make it rather hard to do what he did but, Moon collected their lights and brought them together, explaining his deep commitment to his ideals. Moon involves what is needed to feel emotionally secure. She needed Mars' action and assertiveness to bring change so she collected all the Mars types, as well as women, then used that light collected to bring his ideal into reality. It wasn't enough to make him step into the front lines to physically fight for his ideal, but enough to make him a major influence over others to do just that.
The key to finding balance here, is by filling in the quality of the missing sign, in this case, Aquarius. He likely was too personally invested in self sacrifice (Sun in the 12th in Libra, in fall) when he needed to be more detached and objective. He wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo in some ways, which is just what Aquarius does best, but he wasn't objective enough to see that when one side is committing violence, more than just asking nicely is required to put a stop to it. The dragon's tail in Aquarius is a strong hint that in past lifetimes he was involved in some way, or wanted to be, in a humanitarian cause and needed social change but may not have had the courage to do it himself. But, I have to wonder if the value system underlying this imbalance is what is rooted in the caste system. Moon and node in Leo can think of themselves as above others, as royalty. Leo's pride can be egotistical, doesn't like to get their hands dirty in Scorpio's stagnant waters. But, in this case, I think it is just the opposite. Merchants are below the military and police. Yet, he stepped up into that caste, which also included politicians. Still, even though he fought for the end of the dalit or untouchable status, he also fought against them as late as 1925, not wanting them to have the freedom to worship in the temples. But in 1946 he fought for the unity of Hindus, Muslims and Christians, while also fighting for the emancipation of the untouchables (Scorpio?). The mentality behind the caste system was deeply ingrained, for at least the last 1900 years, surely a fixed and habitual problem to overcome. But, I have to believe he likely fulfilled his goal or at least made great accomplishment in balancing this karmic axis.
Consider the lasting gift of an astrological reading. The natal chart image would even be attractive framed.