Tips and Tricks for Working With Past Lives and Path of Soul Growth

By Marguerite Hafeman, © 2010 Dell Horoscope Magazine

Part II: The Houses, Natal Planets, Stars and Asteroids

Part I of the prior issue featured a discussion and demonstration of geocentric planetary nodes, as useful for work with karmic themes in a natal horoscope chart. In Part II certain planetary patterns, houses, asteroids and dwarf planets will be discussed as features that may be useful for gleaning more information about karmic lessons, life purpose and path of soul growth. Some astrologers assert that a soul works on one particular evolutionary theme for a number of "primary lifetimes" which are designated by major hard aspects natal Moon may be making to the Sun and the position of Pluto relative to the nodes of the Moon. Surely numerous other lives are spent exploring various subthemes or taking a rest of sorts.

The House Immediately After the One Holding the South Node of the Moon: This house plus any planets located within holds many clues as to what area of life the native is at greatest disadvantage, allegedly due to a lack of experience in accessing and practically utilizing the potential energies described within. Here is located a particularly sensitive Achilles heel of existence, where an ongoing struggle for mastery over challenges presented both by personal shortcomings and the external environment must occur cyclically throughout the lifetime.

For example, take an individual born with Taurus south node in the eighth house of other people's money, sex, intimacy, death, power and control issues. The next house over is the ninth of higher mind, including the functions of honesty and integrity; it is empty of planets and has two-faced Gemini ruling on the cusp. Mercury, planetary ruler of Gemini is located in the eleventh house and Leo as part of a powerful stellium including Moon, Venus, Pluto and Mars. This individual is well-married and lives a high-status life, however keeps a secret lover twenty years her junior on the side. She seeks to control him quite completely, as he has no permanent legal status in her country and no regular employment to fall back on. They fight over money she must give to keep him around. He retaliates when not funded by going back home, thereby placing himself out of range.

Cusp Ruler of the Ninth House: Add to this the position and aspects made by the planetary ruler of the sign. The ninth house is associated with established, traditional structures of society including organized religion, higher education, philosophy and ideology. These points hold clues as to what the native might have done for occupation and the social focus of energy within the most recent round of past lives. Taken another way, the ninth house ruler and planets within refer to the social background, status and social behavior of the ancestors that has been passed down to the individual in this life.

The Fourth, Eighth and Twelfth Houses: Examine the signs and any planets placed within these houses; especially connections between these particular houses or these houses and the first house of basic persona and vitality, as they can be symbolic of deeply held, unconscious but powerful patterning in the individual. The fourth house contains information about behavioral traits and unconscious function inherited from the immediate family; it represents the psyche as molded by early childhood conditions. The fourth is a composter and rejuvenator for the soul, digesting and eliminating worn-out aspects of self, or it can be the cupboard for major mental disorders such as bi-polar behavior and schizophrenia. Sun, Moon, Saturn or any of the outer planets in the fourth house and in hard aspect points to one or both parents looming overly large as a motivational force, whether by their presence or absence. The fourth can also give clues towards the nature of death in this life time, as it is the horary house of endings.

The eighth house contains genetic and psychological inheritance from the ancestors, including physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual components. Here also is found indications of psychic/intuitive contact with the dead and other inter-dimensional entities. The eighth house tends to function as the grenade hidden under a blanket; primal survival tactics, compulsions and inherited health issues can be triggered by a hard transit involving the eighth house or house ruler, even if the visitor is Venus, Jupiter or the progressed Moon. Under the floorboards, this house deals with basic survival issues of sex, money and intimacy issues as relates to power, control, and victimization, the need to manipulate others or be manipulated. Major transits to the natal eighth house can correlate with the deaths of family or friends, also transformations in one's own career, heath and intimate relations.

The twelfth house contains inheritance from the social/tribal group and the collective at large. It also can provide information on access and personal interface with Spirit, consciously or otherwise. At some point in soul development a person will find it imperative to integrate an individuated concept of self with cosmic, social and natural elements surrounding him. The greatest potential for self-mastery, expression of genius and true profession comes out of the twelfth house, but only after the karma of self-imprisonment and bondage due to unconscious motivations has surfaced and been resolved. Some individuals with "loaded" twelfth houses are strange creatures reflective of collective dreams and ambitions, as can be the case with a powerful political leader, rock star or guru. The twelfth house also contains information about karma needing resolution in this lifetime, and gives indications of new seeds being sown for future life work.

A Difficult Star Zone: This author has noticed a common thread of great challenge and difficulty associated with natal planets placed in a particular polarity region of the zodiac, specifically in Taurus from about 26° through to 5° Gemini; corresponding with an area running from 28° Scorpio through 3° Sagittarius. In Taurus this region is home to the star Algol Caput and the star group Pleiades; all of these stars have become associated with violence and tragedy, however they also symbolize the disowned sacred feminine; therefore it is suggested that the ruin associated with this grouping originates in blatant disregard or exploitation of the sacred in nature and one's own body. In Gemini the culprits are Mirfak, associated with being bold, adventurous and somewhat dishonest; also Hyades, associated with scandal, violence, disgrace and imprisonment.

Across the heavens we have Toliman at about 29° Scorpio, good for occult and philosophical learning but stubborn and cruel; followed by Iklil al Jabhab, the Crown of the Scorpion formed by the stars Acrab, Dschubba and Jabbah in early Sagittarius. The Crown is considered fortunate or unfortunate, depending on how one views the martial qualities of aggression, mercilessness and malice. It aptly symbolizes the patriarchal hierarchy that has dominated most cultures for the last several thousand years. The Taurus and Scorpio axis specifically has to do with survival and reproduction, the fundamental basics of being on earth in material form. Gemini and Sagittarius have to do with the process of socialization and associated ethics, attitude and behavior. These zones in general represent a difficult area of integration, between natural drives and desires which have to coordinate with development of ego and social cooperation. Natal emphasis there may indicate someone more challenged in balancing drive and sexuality and by extension, natural inclinations versus social strictures and expectations.

Personal planets in Major Aspect to Transpersonal planets: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus or Mars in close major aspect to Neptune, Uranus and/or Pluto, also complex aspect patterns involving one or more personal planets in combination with transpersonal planets can indicate a lifetime fraught with extra challenge and opportunities for growth. All such aspects indicate the past or present experience of trauma of some sort, physical, mental or spiritual. The native is forced to gain in conscious awareness and hone survival skills through direct experience, otherwise events outside of conscious control conspire to bring about visits to the brink of an abyss. A lifetime of primary importance may be delineated by hard aspects made by Pluto to the Nodes of the Moon, and/or many aspects made by Pluto to other planets. (1) Sun in conjunction with Pluto certainly may lend energy to someone needing to believe they are always right, however all Pluto aspects including the soft ones indicate engagement in a periodic dance with the lord of death and regeneration.

Hard aspects made to Uranus and Neptune by personal planets can be equally reflective of one whose life is fraught with trauma and subject to forces of fate and destiny seemingly outside of personal control. The involvement of Neptune can indicate past or future associations with victimhood, ideals, substance abuse, chronic ill health, mysticism, artistry or the occult. Uranus can stand for the position of rebel or iconoclast in society or conversely, someone nursing a dictatorial attitude. Uranus in hard aspect with the Moon's nodes or the Moon can stand for an ongoing soul need to break free of all social conditioning, past or present. The energies represented by all three planets have enormous influence on determining the soul's literal place in society and degree of conscious participation in tapping into creativity or expanding into cosmic consciousness. (2)(3)

Planetary Stelliums and the See-Saw Pattern: Astrologer Marc Edmund Jones identified seven basic planetary patterns or pictures, by which some inferences about the general character of the natal horoscope can be drawn. (4) No pattern should be considered as belonging to a soul of greater or lesser age or stage of evolution, however a couple do stand out as cumulative energy "cells" that express as extreme imbalance in the life. A concentration of planets within one to three houses of the horoscope or a stellium (multiple conjunction of at least three planets) plus a Node of the Moon close by or in square, qualifies for this designation; as does planets clustered into a dualistic see-saw formation around the Nodes of the Moon. The karmic implication is that considerable time, effort and repetition must have gone into forming these concentrated foci of expression. Perhaps even more lifetimes have gone into forming a splay pattern, for example, wherein natal planets form a more even grid of energy amongst which transit energy can be channeled more efficiently.

In the case of tight natal groupings, the individual tends to be extremely focused and driven in one or two areas of life, commonly directed onto self, career, romance, travel, murder or parenting. These individuals enjoy cycles of great success alternating with periods of great tragedy having a karmic flavor; the on-off switch is triggered by transits from the outer planets or progressed planets. The extremity of challenge can take on the drama of life-or-death, especially when the planetary group in question is located in the sixth, eighth or twelfth houses. By their own admission, an ingrained, obsessive-compulsive component operates in these peoples' activities, accompanied by a corresponding difficulty with achieving balance in other areas of experience. Life can spiral ‘specially over the top for an individual with a tight natal stellium, for example, opposed only by the Moon.

Individuals with a see-saw natal pattern get caught up in a dramatically bi-polar, denial-oriented experience of life, most frequently played out in relationships wherein one or both are busy projecting upon the other. Again, the inference is that this clustering of energies might have taken a greater number of lifetimes to coagulate. In my experience, tales of passion and tragedy routinely emerge out of synestry charts between two people, one of whose inner planets and/or luminaries closely align with the see-saw or stellium of another in hard aspects commonly involving the Nodes, Saturn or Mars. A further macabre twist on this theme can involve the majority of one person's natal planets and Nodes arranged in a see-saw or T-square pattern, which is then completed into a T-square or Grand Cross by another's natal stellium.

Natal Planets Retrograde: These indicate issues carried over from past lives that are being worked on again in this lifetime. (5) They can also figure in unconscious behavior motivations, with roots in the mythology of the collective. The individual can find themselves acting out a social role that they first identify with and later desperately wish to leave. For example, an individual with Neptune retrograde in Libra and the sixth house, in grand trine to Jupiter (beliefs) and the Moon (the past), Pisces ruling the twelfth house, realized one day that they had made a career out of being a scapegoat and sacrifice for others in the workplace.

A retrograde planet going direct by secondary progression, or a planet direct natally stationing retrograde by progression brings focus to bear on karmic challenges. These stations correlate to major events and turning points in a person's life; a strange twist of fate tends to meander in during and immediately after the station is in effect. Surely Mars going direct after several years of a rather narrow life should translate into a sudden acceleration of growth, progress and achievement in the native's life, but the station can actually express as a loose cannon; everything material can be lost before one develops some boundaries. Station retrograde of any planet should not be interpreted as the individual simply turning within or slowing down in exterior activities; intensification, refinement or expansion in the principle symbolized by the planetary placement is just as likely. For example, an individual whose twelfth house natal Mercury moved by progression into conjunction with natal Uranus, Part of Fortune and South Node, was finally able to put latent writing skills to good use in becoming a free lance writer, during the long station to Mercury retrograde.

The Oriental Connection: The planet that rises most immediately before the Sun in a natal chart was thought by classical astrologers to have a very powerful influence over the native's affairs, in anything from personal appearance and special talents, on through to difficult personal traits. The inference here would be that many lifetimes have been spent either exploring or ignoring the dynamics represented by the planet in question. The Sun, Moon, Mars or Pluto placed close by an angle of the chart and any planet oriental to them, seems to carry particularly poignant karmic themes, especially with regards to self-definition (near or on the Ascendant) and status with others (near or on the Descendant).

Black Moon Lilith and the Transneptunian Hades: Examine the sign, house and any aspects made to the Black Moon for indications of concisely what tasks the individual is struggling with in this time, in terms of integrating self with spirit, nature and other beings. Black Moon can represent both where our nexus of redemptive enlightenment is and the nature of our hell. This because the Black Moon perhaps serves as a foci for the incorporation of spirit and soul into matter. Where it is refers back to self-delusion, rooted in collective and ancestral patterns generated since the times God and spirit was claimed to be separate from nature and patriarchal rule came to dominate. It represents what we want the most but where we tend to experience our most poignant failures.

Transneptunian body Hades indicates an inheritance from great antiquity; especially where and when the native wielded power and abused it in past lives, also whatever karmic debris remains that may still need to be composted and transmuted in this lifetime. When behaving badly, Hades becomes a primary indicator for evil, debauchery and great destructive potential in the current life. At the transcendent level, a strong Hades lends support to someone who must walk in the darkness, carrying a torch of healing light for others. Either calculated point can express positively or extremely negatively; both have a direct relation to current life conditions of mental stability, ethical constitution, creative ability and overall health.

Key Asteroids and Dwarf Planets: The placement and aspects of certain asteroids in the natal chart can also provide specific information relative to issues inherited from the family, ancestors or collective, which are being worked on in this lifetime. The asteroid Chiron has received the most attention in astrological circles; consider these other bodies as valuable additions to the natal planetary picture. (6)(7)

Atlantis: Abuse of trust; feeling guilt and needing to be punished for past deeds and/or poor treatment of others, brought forward from other lifetimes or as atonement for sins in the family. A sense of superior status and privilege bestowed as a birthright. Pride in serving as a sacrificial victim. A conscious sense of needing to persist in difficult or abusive situations in lieu of completing a karmic mandate.

Athena: The name for this goddess does not originate with the Greeks or Romans; she issues from the hidden legacy of Old Europe thousands of years before. She always was the patroness of wisdom and sound reason, but was also a powerful warrior goddess long before the she was made to emerge full-formed from the forehead of Zeus. She is an ancient wellspring for active, militant reason coupled with compassion.

Ceres: The feminine inheritance, mothering and nurturing issues; eating and hygiene disorders.

Dionysus: The original sacrificial god who is born in springtime, becomes consort to the Goddess, then is sacrificed in autumn and resurrected into spiritual life, before rebirth into physical form. Ancient indicator for the masculine principle of ecstatic surrender in the act of cosmic creativity.

Juno: Definition, attitude and ethics in the conduct of formal contracts such as in marriage and business. Relationship dynamics, as learned from the parents. As Hera, she also originates from Old Europe, long before the Romans or Greeks yoked her under male dominion. Since that time she has become associated with scorekeeping, jealousy, manipulation and revenge.

Nessus: Ancestral inheritance related to the abuse of power. Understanding abusive family patterns in order to release deep patterns of helplessness. Being taken advantage of, oppressed or made the scapegoat.

Nemesis: A place where circumstances tend lead to one's own self undoing through temptation or indiscretion. Inherited habits in thought, emotional affect, vice or virtue that can sabotage otherwise promising opportunities.

Orpheus: Death in all its forms, figurative or literal. A loss of some kind that impacts the whole life path.

Persephone: Standing between two worlds; becoming aware of the activity and causal relationship between the realms of inner self and outer expression. Cycles of going within to process and work on one's "hell", alternating with worldly social interaction. A child not allowed to separate from the parent, grow up and achieve autonomy.

Phollus: Inherited patterns of carelessness, emotional mania or impulsive behavior that tend to cause a "domino effect" of events spiraling out of control.

Psyche: A nexus of ancient pain; a psychological wound or trauma from which one never recovers. Repressed psychological issues that resist coming into consciousness. Where the field of unconditional love can be discovered and activated.

Sedna: Artistic or intuitive gifts inherited through the family, however emotional maturation is needed in order to bring these gifts into useable form. The violence associated with unconscious infantile frustration.

Siva: Cyclic destruction and rebirth, especially in the sexual and creative sense. Fixations, obsessions and compulsions arising from the father figure. Transits to this point can cut the cords to destructive old behavior patterns or reinforce them further.

Varuna: Righteousness, believing one has the right to judge the actions of others. Born to rule; if in prominent aspect to the Sun or Ascendant, indicates many lifetimes in positions of religious power or the nobility; a messianic complex. Vesta: In hard aspect can be involved with sexual dysfunction, also difficulties with balancing intimacy with a need for freedom and self-sufficiency. A past-life or ancestral source of spiritual-religious inclination, as expressed through profession.

-In Part III the natal phases of the Moon will be discussed as an indicator for the karma of experience, relative to a soul cycle of several lifetimes spent working on a particular evolutionary theme.


(1) Pluto, The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, by Jeffrey Wolf Green, Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, Minnesota 1966.

(2) Neptune, The 12th House and Pisces, by Maurice Fernandez, Trafford Publishing. Victoria BC, Canada, 2004.

(3) "Astrology and Reincarnation," by Stephen Forrest, Mountain Astrologer magazine, issue #122, Aug/Sept 2005.

(4) The Guide to Horoscope Interpretation, by Marc Edmund Jones, David McKay publishers. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1941.

(5) Karmic Astrology, Retrogrades and Reincarnation, by Martin Schulman, Samuel Weiser, Inc. York, Maine, 1977.

(6) Patterns of Behavior: Asteroids, by Martha Lang-Wescott, Treehouse Mountain. Conway, Mass, 2001.

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