Relationships from the Karmic Perspective – To Be or Not To Be

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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Where to begin? Karma is such a vast subject and there are literally hundreds of thousands of interpretations of what it is and how it affects us. I do not have the space to wax philosophical in this article. My aim is to describe the astrological concepts for karmic relationships. In its simplest terms, the eastern concept of karma is what is called the Law of Cause and Effect in western society. To me life is not a series of random and unconnected moments; life is more like a continuum, with each experience following in a natural sequence. Or… we can be a confused human trying to figure out our experiences. I have managed to experience both awareness and lack of awareness over my lifetime. I am sure you have as well.

Whatever you participate in or set in motion through your personal actions will have natural results that definitely belong to you even when you do not wish to own them. You may take direct action, refuse to participate, attempt to ignore, and the list continues. All these possibilities and more set something in motion which belongs exclusively to you whether you know it or not. Life does not require that you be conscious or accepting, it just needs you to be available. Know now that the common sequence is initiation, process and results, consciously or unconsciously, now or in another lifetime, so that you may not connect the results to the cause every time. Think of life as a circle that is actually a sine-wave in experience. At times you are on top of that curve and at times you are on the bottom. Eastern philosophy sees mankind on the wheel of life, doomed to repeat experiences at the same level until enlightenment removes us from the wheel. Western philosophy is not comfortable with pure fate, so free will must enter the picture. We have a few popular phrases that illustrate this concept:

  • For every action, there is an opposite but equal reaction.
  • That which you sow, so shall you reap.
  • What goes around, comes around.
  • Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you.

Karma is a description of the process of experience. Somehow we set experience in motion and those experiences produce results. Sometimes the response comes quickly. At other times, long passages of time obscure the cause from the effect and we become puzzled and occasionally feel victimized.

Enter another person (and you were having so much fun by yourself). You have your karma and they have their karma and you have both decided to share, hopefully 50/50 or at least fairly, but usually with some surprises. You have not figured out your own karma and now you have two karmas to work through, your own and a virtual stranger’s karma. Good luck.  How do we look at karma in a relationship? What are the signposts? Even if you know what the signposts are, will you understand what they mean? Are both of you awake and aware enough to make this a positive experience?

Enter Astrology On a rudimentary level we can look to the nodal connections (lunar) between charts to determine if any past life connections are in play. In western astrology if the connection is tied directly to the south node, that indicates a link from the past. If the connection is most directly to the north node, that indicates a link to the future. Did you realize that eastern astrology has quite different definitions for Rahu and Ketu (the nodes)? I follow the western traditions. Since the nodes are paired, there will naturally be aspects to both nodes; so choose the strongest aspect to start, but do look at the potential of both positions. The south node represents karmic relationships that are rooted in the past, the reaping part of the life cycle. The north node represents your new direction or the developing or sowing of new karma. It is quite valuable to know whether you are drawn to a person because of your largely unconscious past associations or that you do have experiences to share in a now-to-future framework.

Not all relationships are comfortable, and that is true of those with karmic overtones. For that, you must look to the stress aspects to your nodes. Sometimes you meet a person and instant dislike arises, irrational but potent, and that can interfere with relationship-forming or can serve as a warning. Sometimes you meet a person that you feel like you have known forever even though you just met. Look to the benefic aspects. Should you encounter a person whose nodes are the exact reverse of yours, you can yell “Bingo!”.  This shows you have been tied together in the past and that you also have experience to do together in this present-to-future timeframe. Perhaps it is unfinished work, perhaps it is contemporary work, but the past from one chart should support the other as you move forward in experience.

To me the most difficult thing that humans do is to relate successfully. The underlying concept is that you take any two people, put them in a room, lock the door and demand that they relate successfully every moment, 24/7 until death do them part. That is not remotely realistic. We should learn from each other and hopefully grow and evolve within any relationship. If we are not part of each other’s growth, there is no real reason to stay in an unsuccessful relationship. It is not your “karma” to stay with a bad, no-growth-possible situation. Karma can be misunderstood to mean just that. You should both be growing or you should change experience. If, for whatever reason, you must stay together, attempt to put it on a positive footing for both of your sakes. You are here to grow and become, not to stagnate and devolve. That is both your responsibility and your choice. Do not blame karma!

Next astrologically, you would look to the synastry between the charts. Place the two wheels side by side and look at the connections overall. Remember one will be the receiver and one will be the activator in each pairing. Once you have worked your way through that pairing, reverse the charts and do the same procedure for the second person. Having one as activator while the other receives keeps the reading clear and simple, but it is just one half of the sine wave. Using the same information, reverse the activator and the receiver. That will illustrate the other half of the relating sine wave. Once you have the general conditions between the participants, look specifically to the outer planets to determine success, failure and potential karma, the difference between benefic or malefic synastry aspects.

  • Saturn can bring about responsibility, structure, duration and tenacity – or it can bring roadblocks, imprisonment and depression. Choose wisely.
  • Uranus can bring charisma, magic, and excitement but may not stick around long enough to enjoy it. Uranus will not accept boundaries, rules, or unrelenting commitment. If you can stay loose and just enjoy the ride, without demanding what Uranus cannot and will not deliver, the relationship may continue.
  • Pluto can bring about psychological depth to any relationship on many levels, but it can also bring turmoil, power and control issues, manipulation, or obsession. Pick your poison.
  • Ah… now comes Neptune. Here comes imagination, creativity, inspiration, sympatico, spirituality and all those lovely descriptions of unconditional love. But since every front has a back, we must look at the other side of Neptune to see the parts we do not want to know about such as deceit, illusion, delusion, and disillusion.

In a long-ago workshop, Astrologer Carol Rushman taught that the true spiritual partnership between two people is illustrated by solid and positive Venus/Neptune connections between the charts. These are the people who are so in tune that they know what each other is thinking, can finish each other’s sentences, can take a long drive without talking and still be comfortable with one another. That is the true magic, when two souls are in a harmony that transcends physical limitations. That sounds to me like it would be the perfect opportunity to work on that shared karma formed when two people enter into a relationship.

How do you get the best out of a relationship while working on the karmic patterns between the two of you? Talk about it, plan for it, work the plan, create non-judgmental and benign signals to work through the off moments that enter every life. Encourage each other, support each other, commit to both your personal growths in every way possible, respect, honor and promote the common good and the good of each individual. That is a tall order, but if you are committed to working through the karma and maintaining a good relationship, you can do it. Yes, you can!

Published on EZine online August 2010, republished with slight editing.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.