Reincarnation is the theory that each individual soul progressively incarnates in a succession of different bodies. Belief in reincarnation usually carries with it certain other, related notions, such as the idea that one is learning from one lifetime to another and that, in time, every soul will become perfected and consequently no longer need to return to corporeal form. Another idea often associated with reincarna
tion is the notion of karma, which is the moral law of cause and effect formulated by Hindu and Buddhist thinkers. For example, if one steals money from another person, the thief will eventually have money stolen from her or him, either later in this life or in a future lifetime.
The notions of reincarnation and karma together explain why some people are born into lucky circumstances while other people are born into unfortunate conditions. For astrologers concerned with the issue of why some people come into this life with hardship written large across their natal charts and other people seem to be born under a lucky star, reincarnation and karma provide an important explanatory tool. Reincarnation also provides a framework for explaining why a person should have certain personality traits—they are carryovers from "past lifetimes."
There are different approaches for determining which factors in a chart indicate information about the native's karma and past lifetimes. Planets in intercepted signs and in the twelfth house, for example, are often said to provide insight into one's past lives. The branch of astrology especially concerned with these issues is esoteric astrology.
Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New
York: New American Library, 1980. Gettings, Fred. Dictionary of Astrology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987.
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