For the past six years I have been working with the astrological chart in conjunction with past life regression therapy. As a student of Evolutionary Astrology, a karmic astrologer, past life therapist and chief trainer in a leading international training program for regression therapists, I have accumulated several hundred cases of regressions I have performed, and also those from students working with each other and other practitioners working with clients. I have been able to correlate these past life stories back to the natal charts of subjects, and have found that these cases vividly illustrate both the dynamics of past life psychology and its application to Evolutionary Astrology.
In my own working with charts, I found that the system, the methods and the underlying philosophy of Evolutionary Astrology are the most comprehensive astrological understanding of these past life dynamics. It happened quite by coincidence that I started to notice what was taught in Evolutionary Astrology was what I had seen in past life regression and that the charts of clients substantiated these observations. What will be shown in this article, from a case study is how the past life stories that arise in regression therapy relate to the natal chart.
Regression therapy in the way we practice and teach it is a cathartic model of therapy designed to get to the core karmic complexes rapidly and thoroughly so that they may be revealed and healed. Coincidently this is also the basic tenant of Evolutionary Astrology, which aims to understand the individual expression of the soul’s experiences through its previous incarnations, the kinds of karmas it is conditioned by, the types of wounds it reincarnates with in order to heal, and the evolutionary intention in the current life. This is why the paradigm of Evolutionary Astrology and this style of past life therapy – Deep Memory Process – dovetail so perfectly. What they both work with directly are these core complexes and the evolution beyond them, as intended by the soul.
The symbols that are primary in Evolutionary Astrology for understanding this history of the soul are Pluto and the south node (by house and sign). The ruler of the south node (SN) is also included by planet, house and sign, and aspects to all these symbols combined make up the ‘karmic axis’ or karmic signature in the chart. There are other rules of particular aspects to the nodes, such as squares that modify the way they have acted as past life symbols. Some of this is briefly visited in the case study, but cannot be covered in depth here. What I have noted in the many cases I have, is that with consistency, the past life memories of the clients do confine themselves to the symbols and archetypes in the natal chart that are ascribed to the ‘karmic axis’ by Evolutionary Astrology.
Over the years, I have been able to make correlations from the stories to the charts which has given me quite a database of past life imprints and circumstances organized by archetype. I am working on a book based on this research. Some of the correlations I make in the presented stories here are based on the knowledge of how that archetype has acted for several cases, not just this one individual. But anyone with a basic knowledge of how the archetypes are represented, even in current life circumstances, will see the logic of the correlations. What I have also found interesting is that regardless of the manner of induction of the past life memory, the stories that arise also confine themselves to the karmic axis in the chart.
In Deep Memory Process there are a variety of ways past life memories are accessed. Some of these methods use current life affect as a starting point (usually irrational fears, repeating emotional and mental patterns, stuck points, illness or body symptoms to name a few) and follow it backwards to possible past life origins. Other methods are quite freeform and allow past life memories to surface at random, without an individualized induction at all. Quite frequently a past life memory may be accessed through a simple exercise that has no relevance to the person’s current life, yet the story that emerges contains a complex past life character and scenario that are symbolized by the karmic axis in the chart. For example a client with a Gemini south node in the ninth house was taken through a meditative exercise that we call an “around the world induction” where she visualized herself traveling around the world noting countries or places that she felt either drawn to or repelled by. One of these places that had a strong resonance for her was chosen to focus on, and a past life character emerged. What was notable was this story became a complex and detailed portrayal of her as a man in a past life writing papers/books that had become banned by the church. Subsequently she/he suffered greatly in this past life because of this philosophical message she/he had tried to express. In her chart no other planets were in Gemini or the third house or Sagittarius and the ninth house, so these archetypes were not highly emphasized, yet this story is a very literal illustration of both those archetypes.
What is also notable from a therapist’s perspective is that even without guiding a client to explore their karmic themes through questioning them, they often come into therapy immediately discussing the exact themes of the karmic axis regardless of the rest of the natal chart. Of course coming to a regression session would stimulate that part of the psyche, but this is happening often without clients’ conscious knowledge of anything about their personal karma or astrological karmic axis. Because of this, I have also been able to categorize certain statements clients make, prior to any regression work that relate to the various archetypes. For example some common Capricorn south node (SN); or tenth house Pluto or SN; or Saturn aspects to the SN or Pluto will quite often begin a session saying very Capricornian things before regression work, such as: “I always feel like it’s all my fault;” “I feel like (or fear) being a failure;” “ I feel like I sabotage myself;” “I have always had this feeling of deep grief;” “It’s all my responsibility,” to name just a few. In past life work we would say these conscious thoughts and statements are the voice of the subconscious inner past life selves. One of the main ideas of past life work is that you are living your past lives right now, as much as you are living the conditioning of your childhood, if you have conscious memories of it or not. Thus these inner past life characters are as relevant to your current life as your childhood is to your adult self.
I don’t intend to make a case for reincarnation, the validity of past lives or such related topics in this article. These are not simple topics and would take many more pages and move in a different direction than what will be illustrated here. For further elucidation on whether the question of the memories that arise in regression are ‘actual’ past lives, I refer the reader to Dr. Roger Woolger’s book Other Lives, Other Selves (Pgs 39-77)1 where this is covered in depth. Or for more immediate reading, click the resources section of the website www.rogerwoolger.com , ‘How is it Possible to Remember Past Lives; A Reply to Skeptics’ or ‘Beyond the Brain: The Presence of Other Worlds.’.
It should be understood that the field of reincarnational astrology is relatively new, at least to the western world. The parameters of measurement of what represents a past life in a chart have varied from one approach to another. I suspect that eventually, as more research and knowledge is added to the field of reincarnational astrology, hopefully it will also settle into its own ontology. But astrology itself as a ‘science’ can be quite confusing to the outsider for similar reasons. How is it possible for one astrologer to use a chart for medical astrology; another for financial astrology; another for relocation astrology; another for psychological and another for predictions, if they are all using the same symbols and archetypes? Further, why do different astrologers, studying the same person, produce different information? Answering these questions is not the context of this article, but it is essential to understand that each archetype has a broad spectrum of meaning that can be looked at through any lens. Because the spectrum of meanings that can be ascribed to even a single archetype are that multidimensional, looking at it through one lens does not mitigate the meaning that might be perceived through another. The archetypes appear a certain way to a predictive astrologer and another way from a reincarnational perspective. The slices of the archetypes that are touched upon here are from this karmic/past life perspective. In the words of Lao-Tzu “A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist has freed his mind of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is.”2 Astrology itself is a science of observation and correlation, and it is in that spirit that we can now start to look at some cases.
I did not facilitate any of these regressions; they were told to me by a practicing hypnotherapist that came into our training program for further learning. In the past she had already worked with many of her past lives in other styles of regression therapy. I asked her to summarize several of her past lives and, in brief, these were the stories and themes she had identified in her own words. With some she had less recall of the details, just the highlights, because she had done the regression over 20 years ago. One of the stories here was facilitated through the Deep Memory Process technique in a workshop and is noted as such.
Since her South Node is in Taurus in the second house it is a double signature of Taurus relative to her past life experiences. What is also apparent is the absence of Taurus highly emphasized anywhere else in her chart, yet her stories are all very Taurean with the addition of the other aspects of the ‘karmic axis.’
“Many lives of poverty, of being alone and isolated”
The main memory of one of these past lives is as a very poor, older woman who doesn’t have anything. She says “I lived a simple life; I grow my own food.” Her husband had died a while ago and she lived most of her whole life alone. People from the town felt she was weird “no charitable acts…people talked about me;” “No one ever comes to check on me, I died alone;” “I felt I was different in some way, I couldn’t fit in, and so it suited me fine they left me alone even though I was lonely.”
In this brief story a few of the aspects of the archetype of Taurus are clear. The natural self-containment of the Taurus archetype often becomes isolation in past lives. In other Taurus archetype past lives I have also seen most frequently: simple lives; living close to the land; pastoral lives such as farmers and shepherds; living away from society or alone out in nature. In this chart the issue of isolation is further compounded by the fact that the nodes are squared by Uranus and Chiron in Aquarius. This resonance is represented by her being viewed as weird and feeling outcast and alienated (Uranus / Aquarius).
In another of her poverty lives she is a small child who she says was like “the matchstick girl without the matchsticks,” “I remembered being always cold, hungry and dirty.” She was an orphan whose main goal in life was “to be able to survive long enough to be able to work in some kind of servitude, like a scullery maid or house servant” (Survival of Taurus and Pluto in Virgo-servitude.) “It was a simple goal but one I desperately wanted.” (A simple (Taurus) goal (Sagittarius), ruler of SN in Sagittarius in the ninth). She is aware that she has this constant rash on her arms and body which must make her repulsive to others as they avoid her (again, the alienation, outcast theme). She said it was very painful as she was just a small child and wanted someone to hold her but no one would come near. She died very young of what she identified as a plague with influenza type symptoms. (Neptune is in Scorpio in the eighth house opposing, her SN).
In another lifetime she said “I chose isolation for religious reasons” ( Taurus SN ruler, Venus in Sagittarius in ninth house also Neptune oppose SN). “I wasn’t a monk; more like a mystic (Neptune) but I chose a vow of silence and poverty.” “I lived like a hermit” “I didn’t speak to anyone …but people left food for me” (The nicer side of Taurus – simple abundance). “I didn’t have contact with others but I felt happy in that life”. She had a memory of having had a family but had made a choice to leave that. “I had visions… of deities speaking to me and felt at one with nature (Neptune, Taurus and Sagittarius) “I was also quite aware of the heavens and order of the stars, like I had an inner knowledge of the cosmic order through the stars (Sagittarius / Uranus/ Aquarius).” “It was a simple yet profound life” (Taurus/ Sagittarius)
Other correlations I can add are that wounded child past lives most often occur within the Cancer and Leo archetypes. Here her Pluto is in the fifth house and also squares the moon. The result of such poverty past lives left her with the subconscious imprint of “not being good enough (Pluto in Virgo), feeling unlovable (Pluto in the fifth and ‘unworthiness’ often attributed to Taurus). Wounds to the giving and receiving of love are also common in the Leo/ 5th house archetype as it relates to past lives, in this chart (Uranus is also in Leo in the fifth squaring the nodal axis). Further the ruler of the SN (Venus) is conjunct and Pluto is square Saturn. The coldness and deprivation, repressive and oppressive type of past lives is also inherent in the Capricorn/ Saturn archetype.
“Many throat wounds” (Taurus ruling the throat)
In one of these past life stories she is a young child captured by pirate type men who slit her throat and throw her overboard.
And in another past life story she is a destitute Asian child living in a very muddy, dirty place who dies by choking on a piece of scrounged food.
In another past life story she is a very young child who dies in a mudslide; she chokes on the mud caught in her throat.
In almost all these past lives we see an emphasis on the ability and difficulties to survive (Survival –Taurus) this is often a highlighted theme in the Taurus archetype. In this following story the emphasis on survival and the stubbornness of Taurus in that regard is highly emphasized. This is a past life she did in our training program with another student guiding her.
The first scene of the past life was that she was aware that she is aware that she is cold, and confused. Slowly she starts to feel as if she has been drugged and is beginning to feel nausea, she feels like retching. She is aware that her primary thought at this point is wanting to stand. As she tries this as the past life character, she then feels intense pain in her back and is aware that she has been shot there and falls to the ground. An interesting side note here is the point where the bullet was in her back corresponds to several present life birth mark moles that she had removed and they grew back; she had this realization after the regression.
A prominent past life researcher Dr. Ian Stevenson researching children’s spontaneous past life memories, found that current day birth markings on the body such as moles can often relate to past life wounds, particularly fatal ones 3. In this case, also because of the strong Taurus signature, it illustrates further the embodying (somaticizing) of wounds from past lives that are carried life to life in the etheric body and recreated in the physical body. The stubbornness of her mole in the current life (no matter how it was removed it was going to grow back) echoes the exact energy of her ‘Taurean’ past life character. By now in the story she is aware that she is a man, he has been shot, drugged and possibly poisoned (Neptune in Scorpio opposing SN) and is crawling painfully away from attackers. She is aware of her thoughts during this process and is verbalizing them “I will survive (Taurus).” “I have utter faith I will not die,” (Neptune and Sagittarius – Faith).” “Why did I eat that poison, I should have known they were out to get me,” “I was betrayed, I trusted them (Neptune in Scorpio- betrayal).”
Now bound hand and foot, he is dragged through the snow and thrown into a freezing body of water and left to die. It took a long time for him to die and he is aware of the time that he is lying helpless in the water and is starting to freeze, still convincing himself (Sagittarius) that he will survive (Taurus). He struggles until the end, even succeeds in getting one hand free, but at that point he slipped under the ice and everything went dark.
Furthermore when he dies as a spirit, he doesn’t leave his body. This is also quite common within the Taurus archetype as the attachment and identification with the physical nature and body is quite strong. During the entire death experience, which took quite some time (typical in the Taurus archetype), the past life character is speaking his thoughts aloud. He is quite convinced that this is not happening to him, he keeps trying to walk, crawl whatever movement he can make and keeps saying “I can get through this.” Very much like the scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail where the character gets his arms chopped off and keeps on fighting then his legs and he incredulously says “It’s just a flesh wound”. During this past life story it was also revealed that she/he was also a mystic type. He was a psychic counselor and seer (Neptune in Scorpio) and a priest (Ruler of SN in Sagittarius in the ninth) in some esoteric order. She recounts that she was born a natural psychic/intuitive in this past life.
Also associations with past life esoteric societies are correlated most frequently to the archetypes of Scorpio (secrecy), Pisces (mysticism) and Aquarius (fringe groups). To this regard, she said an underlying attitude during the entire past life ordeal was that “ I had total faith that I was connected with something universal, something magical, I had utter faith I would not die.” The ruler of the SN in Sagittarius here blends the survival of Taurus and faith of Sagittarius. Of course this isn’t what happened, and another aspect of Neptune and Sagittarius was revealed in her past life death imprint – disillusionment and questioning of faith, which she worked with further in the session. The betrayal by others (the ones who caused her death), who in the past life story turned on him, is represented by the Neptune in Scorpio opposing her SN.
The Scorpio archetype that enters into her past lives, besides the Neptune in Scorpio opposing the SN, underscores another unique rule taught in Evolutionary Astrology. When the nodes are squared, the archetypes of the squaring planets (planet, house and sign) and the archetypes of the NN all become part of the past life karmic experience. This is referred to as a skipped step, indicating that the soul has been fluctuating between the archetypes represented by the SN, NN and squaring planet and is still seeking a more balanced and equalized integration of these. Thus the Scorpio themes would also be represented by this rule. As in the case in current life astrology, themes are often repeated by different symbols or understandings of the chart.
In another of her past life stories the Sagittarius, Taurus and Scorpio themes are continued. She was a teenage girl who was the wife of a preacher, who ran a snake handler revivalist type church.( Preacher / Church – Sagittarius and venomous snakes quite literally Scorpio). She was only 14 years old as his wife and again also fairly poor and describes her environment as “Appalachia – like”. She has been promised to this preacher for marriage since she was 12 and actually finds him quite repulsive. (Arranged marriages in past lives are also commonly associated with Scorpio) She describes herself as quite simple (Taurus). She doesn’t have any formal learning, but her inner knowing is at odds with the faith and beliefs this church teaches, and she has no context to express or validate that. (Her own inner knowing is part of the Sagittarius archetype – natural intuition at odds with established religion or dogma) During a church service she gets bit by a snake several times… they won’t do anything for her, they are praying. They tell her she will be delivered from it if she is faithful. Again it takes her quite a while to die as the venom kills her slowly. She pleads for her life and begs them to help her.
During this time she experiences utter panic, fear, powerlessness and the feeling of being betrayed by her own Mother who is present ( Pluto squares the moon-Mother, in Scorpio) and the members of the congregation. All the time they tell her “ You need to be faithful, pray and trust God; if you are faithful you will be delivered from your own evil.” She dies with these very Scorpio / Sagittarius and Neptune imprints. Relating back to the Pluto in Virgo, her dying feeling is again one of not being good enough, “Who I am, what I believe (Sagittarius) is wrong.” “ I am an evil person “ (Scorpio). This is a classic masochistic type karmic imprint (pervasive guilt feelings about oneself, coupled with the feeling of needing to atone for them) that is ascribed to the Pluto in Virgo or sixth house by Jeffrey Wolf Green in Pluto, the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul (pgs. 118-119)4. Healing this underlying ‘masochism’ was/ is a large part of what she gained through doing regression work which facilitated her ability to reach for evolutionary opportunities.
In other past life stories I did not include here, there were also reversals in themes as she had a few lives of seeking and having wealth and power but was driven by a tremendous fear in those lives of losing it all, and also in one story went to quite manipulative ends to get it (also thematic with Taurus/Scorpio).
So we can see from these stories that, through a series of past lives, the stories contain several layers of the archetypes involved in the karmic axis, from the literal to the circumstantial and the psychological meanings. What also is demonstrated is that even if we took away some of the extraneous aspects included in the karmic axis, and boiled each story down to its inherent imprints and themes, with consistency, all of her past life memories refer back to the SN, its ruler and Pluto as the ‘bottom line’ intention. I have found that often a series of regressions will illuminate more fully how Pluto acts as this ‘bottom line’ intention.
Put into the context of her current life she was born into a poor but not destitute family, but she said as long as she could remember she was convinced she was not going to remain poor. “That was not going to be my lot in life.” She had this attitude long before she had the conscious recall of her past lives, so it would seem her soul’s urge to experience the healing of those wounded aspects of the Taurus archetype (from her past lives) was already inherent in her consciousness. This inborn attitude also shows some of the strengths that she learned from these past lives of the combined archetypes of Taurus/Sagittarius; the self reliance and stubborn determination of Taurus and optimism of Sagittarius. What she found, as she grew up and started doing inner work on herself, was that she did have a subconscious fear of poverty, of there not being enough and losing what she did have despite her conscious thinking. This was the voice, fears and experiences of her inner past life selves. She also said that these fears were closely tied into a fear of “not being able to work, and not being of useful service.” This would be represented by the Pluto in Virgo. Through her work on herself she did heal these subconscious fears and manifested abundance in her life.
She also has had to learn to identify her own unique talents from deep within (Pluto in the fifth and the Uranus /Aquarius aspects to the nodes, and the SN in Taurus ). She did do stage performance at one point in her life (Leo). But to get to that point she also had to overcome her fears of “not being good enough or feeling deserving” – her own self- worth, Taurus, especially as it relates to her bringing her talents out into the world. She did have to clear the past lifetime(s) of religious and dogmatic conditioning to overcome her self doubts (Pluto Virgo) about her own truth and inner knowing and how to express them (ruler of the SN in Sagittarius in the ninth). To this end she currently is working as a therapist and psychic/intuitive counselor through which she says her main interest “is to help others accept their own selves, find self love and their inherent worth.” This is a lovely expression of the effect of the healing of her Taurus SN wounds, leading her to the NN in Scorpio in the eight, conjunct Neptune and the NN’s ruler, Pluto in Virgo (in service to others).
Because many of the archetypes in this chart are involved in the karmic axis, with the exception of the Libra archetype represented by Mars and Jupiter in Libra in the seventh, one could think that her past lives are simply extensions of her current natal chat. What is notable in this regard, is that none of her past lives had the characteristic Libran themes that I have correlated when Libra is a part of the karmic axis, such as: lives that primarily have to do with the subtleties and complications in relationships (where this is the main theme of the past life); lives of trying to living up to others expectations; lives of difficult decision making or lives of imbalance and extremity, to name only a few themes. To give you a feeling of a very literal Libran type past life, an example comes to mind of a woman with a Libra SN in the first house; this represents the combined archetypes of Libra/Aries and also is a paradoxal combination. In one of her past lives she was a young man in a Greek society who was part of a very peaceful and harmonious school of refined, cultural learning (all of this is very Libran). At one point a war breaks out on the edges of their territory and the choice (Libra) comes down to war (Aries) or diplomacy (Libra). He advocates very strongly for diplomacy (Libra) amongst his peers as a way to solve this potential danger.
Because of his position at this school, he becomes involved in active negotiations (Libra) with the potential invader (Aries), but as it turns out they invade anyway. He is left with a crushing feeling of having made the wrong choice (Libra). This is carried over into her current life as a karmic wound manifesting around issues of decision making, which is often ascribed as a common characteristic of the Libra archetype.
It is an amazing thought that only 50 years ago in the US and most of the Western world the idea of reincarnation, much less the ability to access one’s own past life memories, was relatively unheard. Speaking of evolution, isn’t this an astounding leap in consciousness that has occurred in such a short amount of time? Certainly the systems that attempt to describe the human psyche must also evolve at an equal if not greater rate.
Evolutionary Astrology, in my view, is an example of one of these newer systems that serve to evolve and revolutionize an ancient one. Since this article is too brief to convey the richness and depth of any of the systems or techniques referred to in it, I would encourage the reader to seek out further information on these for you, I have provided web addresses at the end. As you continue in your own growth, some of the best advice on evolution I’ve heard comes from Anthony J. D’Angelo (creator of the Inspiration book series) “Promise yourself to live your life as a revolution and not just a process of evolution.”
- 1 Woolger, R. (1988) Other Lives, Other Selves : A Jungian psychotherapist discovers past lives, NY.,NY : Bantam Books
- 2 Mitchell, Stephen.(1989) The Enlightened Heart. pg. 16 Harper, New York,
- 3 Stevenson, I. (1987). Children who remember previous lives. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia
- Stevenson, I (1993) Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol 7, No.4, pp 403-410, 1993. Copyright © 1993 Society for Scientific Exploration.
- 4 Green, J. (1993). Pluto : the evolutionary journey of the soul, pp 118-119. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications
- Information for Patricia Walsh
- Information on Deep Memory Process
- Information on Evolutionary Astrology and also Steven Forrest Astrology
Patricia L. Walsh is a karmic astrologer who works with the astrological chart as a map of the psyche, including the soul’s past experience and present intention. She has been working for the past 6 years in combining the astrological chart with past life therapy. She studied with Jeffrey Wolf Green in the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm. She is the chief U.S. trainer and co- director for Woolger Training International and is a certified practitioner in Deep Memory Process (a unique form of past life regression therapy founded by Dr. Roger Woolger, author of “Other Lives, Other selves”). She also co-teaches in the US and internationally with Dr. Woolger in their jointly developed form of working with ‘Ancestral Spirit Complexes’. She currently teaches, a professional certification workshop designed specifically for astrologers wishing to learn regression to enhance work with clients. For the past 10 years she has also been a hands-on intuitive healer, synthesizing energetic, therapeutic and shamanic approaches, specializing in soul retrieval, healing soul fragmentation caused by present and past life trauma, spirit possession and ancestral healing.