What Astrology Can Tell You About Your Past Lives and the Karmic Lessons You’re Destined To Learn in This Lifetime

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Regardless of whether you believe in a past life, it’s often thought that we have karmic lessons to learn, reflecting the kinds of situations we may have mishandled in the past. They may relate to such distinct realms of life as our relationships, career, or sense of self-worth—but in any case, you'll be able to identify that a karmic lesson is at play whenever you find yourself continually caught in the same negative cycle; until you learn the lesson, the pattern is bound to repeat.

While introspection can help you unpack the kinds of patterns you’re confronting and how you might break them, you may need to consult more spiritual means to understand exactly where your past life karma is coming from. Enter: past life astrology, a tool we can use to better understand the karmic lessons we may be facing as a result of actions or behaviors in a past life.

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Can astrology tell you about your past life?

In certain schools of astrology, it’s thought that your birth chart “holds insight about who you were and where you came from before entering into this world,” says astrologer and tarot reader Clarisse Monahan. “Past life astrology points to what lessons and strengths we come into this life with and also where we have some learning to undertake."

Getting a birth chart reading with an astrologer who specializes in past life astrology can help illuminate the karmic baggage you may have carried into this life and why certain behaviors come more naturally than others.

“The reason you were born at that exact moment in time is because your soul chose to express your past life karma in this life.” —Maria Sofia Marmanides, astrologer

Evolutionary astrology and Hellenistic astrology take the view that all aspects of the natal chart offer karmic lessons from the past for the present-day self to learn. “The reason you were born at that exact moment in time is because your soul chose to express your past life karma in this life, and that’s why you have these particular natal-chart placements,” says astrologer Maria Sofia Marmanides.

Vedic astrology, which is linked to the Hindu belief system that includes reincarnation, also references past lives. “Our accumulated karmas of past [lives] get manifested in this present life,” says Kamlesh Trivedi, a Vedic astrologer for the Nebula astrology app. “[Vedic astrology] strongly believes that a soul waits for the right [zodiac] constellation or star to be born on Earth.”

What is karma in past life astrology?

Karma in past life astrology doesn’t necessarily match the definition we toss around casually, as something referring to fate; it has more to do with the specific gifts, baggage, values, and insights carried over from past lives into this one. “Your current chart is an accrual of all your past lives,” says Marmanides. “It’s various life experiences both positive and challenging that bring us to the manifestation of our current lives and [the karma] we’re trying to work through.”

How past life astrology can help you in this lifetime

Examining your birth chart in terms of your past life provides yet another dimension to understand yourself in the present. “Our soul holds the imprint of every emotional experience and every deep spiritual lesson learned,” says astrologer Rachel Lang, author of Modern Day Magic. “It remembers things that we might not have context for in this life—seemingly unexplained aversions or interests we may have—and it goes deeper than we often understand.”

“The soul remembers things that we might not have context for in this life, and it goes deeper than we often understand.” —Rachel Lang, astrologer

By diving into past life astrology (including learning how to read astrocartography, which can provide even more insight into your past lives), we can unpack those pieces of our soul’s journey that may have gotten buried or lost over time. Taking a closer look at the kinds of past life karma we’re working with can also illuminate patterns and habits that aren’t serving us in the present, says Monahan, giving us the awareness needed to begin changing certain habitual responses.

Trivedi adds that all karma gets rolled over into our present lifetime—the good and the bad. So if we did negative things or deeds in past lives, it becomes Rinanu-Bandhan, meaning past life debt, which we can rectify in this lifetime. “By understanding this concept, we can make necessary changes to boost our happiness and well-being in the present day,” he says. For example, better alignment with the 12 laws of karma can bring more good karma in your life.

How do I find connections from my past life?

If you’re eager to figure out whether someone in your life right now may have been connected to you, perhaps romantically, in a past life, it’s essential to look at both your chart and their chart, says Marmanides.

In broad terms, you’ll want to look out for conjunctions between either the north node or the south node (invisible points in the sky that fall at the intersections of the moon’s orbit and the Earth’s) and the sun, the moon, Venus, Pluto, or Mars, adds Marmanides. The nodes are associated with karma, fate, and destiny, so any conjunctions between either of the nodes in your chart and the above relationship-oriented planets in another person’s chart (meaning, they’re located in the same sign) could signify that you two have harmonious energy and had a connection in a past life that was “intensely positive and consuming, [or] also intensely dramatic,” says Marmanides.

In particular, a conjunction between love-planet Venus and the south node across your two charts could mean you were married or otherwise committed in a past life, says Marmanides. (This means you’re looking for their Venus to be located in the same sign as your south node, or vice versa.)

Strong astrological aspects between transformative Pluto—the planet of death and rebirth—in your chart and in someone else's could also point to an intense or all-consuming love, perhaps one that existed in a past life. Look for a conjunction (meaning your Pluto sign is the same as theirs), or a square, which means your Pluto sign is at a 90-degree or opposing angle from theirs on the zodiac wheel—or, in any other sign of the same modality (e.g., your Pluto is in Leo and theirs is in Taurus, Scorpio, or Aquarius).

“These aspects have a sort of forbidden fruit energy, like they were someone whom you couldn’t have,” says Marmanides. “That’s going to stir up some sort of power dynamic or some level of control or obsession.”

4 zodiac signs that are particularly attuned to past lives

While people of any sign can gain insight into their past life based on their specific chart characteristics, Lang says there are certain signs that are particularly attuned toward “understanding the soul as it relates to our personal development.”

The water signs (Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio) are known to be especially in touch with their feelings and inner world, which lends them a gift for the introspection required to tap into past life astrology, says Lang. “[The water signs] are like the memory-holders for their families and for our culture, so they hold a deep connection to the psyche,” she says.

Capricorn, which is associated with tradition, time, and the past (and ruled by the karmic planet of Saturn), is also particularly well-suited to connecting with the past life. “These four signs—Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio, and Capricorn—are really rooted in the experience of ascertaining the meaning of why we’re all here,” adds Lang.

3 birth chart placements to look at for karmic lessons

12th house

The 12th astrological house (aka realm of your birth chart) is the house of past lives and karmic lessons. "The 12th house allows us a glimpse into realms that existed before we came into this world," Monahan says. "It holds a kind of existentially uncanny shimmer for us to develop stories about where we came from."

Specifically, Monahan says looking at the sign of the 12th house and what planets may be located in this house can help us get a sense of our prenatal life (meaning, what it was like when we were in the womb).

"Certain planets in the 12th house can point to how happy our mother's pregnancy may have been," says Monahan. "The benefics (Jupiter and Venus) in the 12th usually show a very happy pregnancy and that the baby was much wanted. The malefics (Mars and Saturn) can show some danger or stress with the former and restrictions or burdens with the latter."

According to Lang, having a personal planet (the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars) in the 12th house can be a particular marker of an active connection to your past life. The moon here is an especially strong placement, she says, because it’s all about memory and the subconscious.

Although it’s an outer planet, Neptune in the 12th house can also be a strong indication of a connection to a past life because it’s the planet of dreams and illusions, “as well as the spiritual aspect of ourselves that’s nonlinear,” says Lang.


In Vedic astrology, the planet Saturn is referred to as "Shani," which means judge. "Saturn is the judge of our karma, whether it is past, present, or future," Trivedi says. "Whatever we do in our life, it is rewarded or punished by the planet Saturn." This makes it an important planet to examine for past life astrology.

Lang suggests looking at the sign and house Saturn occupies in your chart. “Both of these Saturn placements can shed light on your work in this lifetime, or the karmic lessons you are here to work through,” she says.

For example, if your Saturn is in Pisces, your past life may have been very rule-oriented, practical, and rigid; your task now, then, is to lean into the Piscean realms of creativity and dreams, and cultivate your imagination and mysticism instead. If your Saturn is in the fourth house of familial roots and foundations, your past life may have included limiting beliefs or circumstances put on you by your family or formative experiences, so in this life, your work is to redefine what it means to succeed and to do so on your own terms.

South node

As noted above, the south node is an invisible point in the sky at which the moon’s orbit intersects the Earth’s orbit around the sun—in this case, in the southern hemisphere. "The south node reflects what we come into this world with and what we may naturally lean toward with our actions and habits," Monahan says. Think about the south node as reflecting your comfort zone in a past life—the overly familiar tendencies you're destined to learn from and move past in this lifetime.

"You can start to build the story around the past life by looking at the planets and signs that are integrated with the south node in your chart," says Monahan.

For instance, is the south node touching a personal planet (the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars)? That could point to unresolved issues from a past life in the realms over which that planet rules. Take for example, a conjunction between the south node and Mercury. Because Mercury is the planet of communication, this aspect could point to karmic issues with speaking your mind, suggesting that your work in this life will revolve around breaking that pattern and learning to convey an important message.

If you notice that your south node has multiple aspects to personal planets—like conjunctions, oppositions, or squares—you may have particular trouble getting over certain habits or patterns associated with your past life, says Monahan. Whereas, if your south node has few strong aspects, you may be largely detached from your past life and able to pursue new activities or ideas with ease.

Looking at the sign of your south node can offer similar insights: The traits of that sign are ones with which you may have been particularly comfortable—perhaps too comfortable—in a past life and with which you’ll need to reckon in order to grow in this life. For example, a south node in Capricorn would point to a past life marked by an overabundance of dedication to work or duty; and your work in the here and now would be to turn your attention to your inner life, relationships, and family instead.

In direct opposition to the south node is the north node, which illuminates what we must work toward achieving. "The north and the south nodes are always opposites and work as a natural remedy to each other,” says Monahan. For example, Aries, which is opposite Libra, teaches Libra how to be autonomous and self-sufficient, while Libra teaches Aries the power of partnership and collaboration, she says.

Whichever sign pairing occupies your north and south nodes will help you determine what you’re bringing into this life (south node) and also what you’re destined to integrate throughout this lifetime (north node).

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