Ascending Nidanas



See Part 1

In the Tibetan monastery figure, Kala Chakra, the central part of the design, representing the world or, more exactly, the conditions of consciousness which together make up the world, is divided into six parts. In the painting, these parts or panels are filled with elaborate designs setting forth the conditions of souls in various levels or degrees of spiritual development.

The six compartments of the circle are divided int an upper and lower hemisphere of three compartments each. The upper hemisphere represents the three nobles states of being which are denominated in degrees of excellence: 1 – the world of the gods; 2 – the world of the Titans or heroes; 3 – the world of men. Together these three parts depict the happy states of consciousness which are the reward of good karma, that is, lives of noble thought and action, balanced towards giving in life.

The three compartments of the lower hemisphere of the circle depict the miseries resultant from bad karma, or destructive thought, emotion, and action. The three compartments are named respectively:
1 – the world of animals;
2 – the world of ghosts;
3 – the world of hells or spheres of violent retribution.

In each of these six parts of the world is also depicted a form of the Buddha symbolizing the universal enlightenment, which regenerates and preserves evolving souls in all the spheres of being. The sun, of course, represent the Buddha, the power of diffused illumination. The solar energy, distributed through the natural creation, is the universal source of the impulse toward light and truth.

The six compartments through which the sun’s light shines pertain to the other major bodies of the solar system known to the old astrologers, the world of the gods. The world of the gods is the sphere of Jupiterian consciousness; that of the Titans, Martial consciousness; that of human beings, Mercurial consciousness. These planets, therefore, dominate the upper hemisphere of the sphere of consciousness. Venus represents animal consciousness; the moon, the imaginative consciousness, termed the world of ghosts; and Saturn, the retribution consciousness or the karmic hells.


In the East, it is taught that each soul coming into material life enters from one of the six compartments of the Wheel of the Law. Astrologically, the rule for determining the origin of the soul’s present life cycle is as follows:

Examine the horoscope and discover whether the sun or the moon is stronger.

1. Determine this from position, dignity, and aspect.
2. Then observe in which decanate the more powerful luminary is placed. (10 degrees divisions in the Zodiac)
3. Find the ruler of this decanate according to ordinary astrological practice, and the ruler of the decanate shall signify the sphere of consciousness, or Lokas, from which the soul came into birth. (Planetary Body’s Sphere).
4. Next, examine the position of the planet which is ruler of the decanateas to its dignity, position, aspect, etc.
5. From this determine the quality of the previous life.
6. If the ruler of the decanate enjoys dignity and high position, the same would be true of the previous life of the native.
7. If it is afflicted, cadent, or ill-placed, the previous state of the life was lowly or unfortunate.

A similar system is practiced by the Brahmans. They consider only four worlds, but the method of determining this important matter is identical in both systems.

In astrology, the sign ascending on the eastern angle of the heavens at the moment of birth is the general signifier of the present incarnation, and the entire horoscope is read from this Ascendant, and all the testimonies of the chart are blended with the fundamental keynote of this ascending sign. The zodiacal sign upon the cusp of the 12th house may be termed the preceding sign to the Ascendant, and the zodiacal sign upon the cusp of the 2nd house may be termed the succeeding sign from the Ascendant. As the Ascendant signifies the present state of the evolving soul, the cusp of the 12th house becomes the significator of the life previous to the present one, and the sign upon the cusp of the 2nd house, the next incarnation after the present one. The rule is that angular houses signify the present life, succedent houses the next life to come, and cadent houses the previous life and its karma.

If, then, we move the horoscope sufficiently to bring the 12th house cusp to the Ascendant, we can then read the horoscope as the nativity of the previous life. Ordinarily the 12th house of the horoscope is termed the house of self-undoing, in that it reveals the fundamental weaknesses of character which undermine the probability of present success. The term self-undoing is identical in meaning with karma, or the accumulation of past actions which overshadow present conditions. This accumulation is carried forward from life to life until all weaknesses are overcome and final perfection is achieved.

It naturally follows that whatever zodiacal sign dominates the present life of the individual, the sign previous to it signifies the karma brought forward from the past. The positions of the ruler of that sign and planets in the 12th house reveal the circumstances of the previous existence, the probable place and time of the previous birth, and the general circumstances of that existence.

1. The sign Aries ascending indicates Pisces to have dominated the previous existence. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is the beginning of a new cycle of experience. Aries people have come into this life from a previous existence of limitations, responsibility, and bondage. Their present life is therefore a release, and they move forward, dominated by strong ambition and enthusiasm.

2. If Taurus is ascending, they have brought forward the impulse of the previous Arian existence. Most Taurians bring forward attitudes of Aries, and, beneath their artistic surface, emotional fires bear witness to the militancy of their previous incarnation.

3. When Gemini ascends, we find beneath the intellectual attitude the karmic pressure of Taurus. The superficiality of the Gemini temperament is evident throughout English speaking countries. Still under the general intellectual surface of these individuals you find strong powerful economical and despotic manipulations as a hangover from previous lives lived with the Taurian complex.

4. When Cancer ascends, Gemini lurks in the background. Cancer people are subject to the distorted imaginations of a negative and uncontrolled Mercury. It is hard for Cancer people to be natural and relaxed, for behind them is a life lived under the influence of a negative Mercury agitating the intellect by a complex of opinions and fears that are too often allowed to grow into fact.

5. When Leo is ascending, there is generally a strength complex arising out of the weakness of the previous life. For this reason, Leo people are apt to be egotistic and power-loving, building a positive outward front to protect a very sensitive, emotional, imaginative, subjective nature held over from the Cancer influence.

6. When Virgo is ascending, there is a subconscious repentance in the soul. The previous life was under the forceful, dominating influence of Leo. The Leo incarnaiton revealed the emptiness and vainness of authority, and the native is born into Virgo with a strong tendency to the simple life. Virgo is a sign of atonement, and the individual has the impulse to help a world which he probably tyrannized in the previous life. Deep inside themselves, many Virgo people have rather a definite Leo superiority complex and a tendency to boss.

7. When Libra ascends, the individual brings into life Virgo karma. The people of Virgo have a tendency to lean and depend, and this weakness comes forward in Libra as a sense of internal insufficiency. The Libra native is of an artistic, somewhat irritable, delicate temperament. He has strong vanity arising out of his Virgo repentance.

8. When Scorpio ascends, the strong emotional power of the previous life combines its force with the fiery nature of this sign. Libra is artistic and emotional with a tendency to melancholy. Scorpio intensifies these qualities, giving also depth and organisation to the thought. The self-gratification of Libra is the natural foundation for the powerful ambitions of Scorpio.

9. Sagittarius ascending produces a jovial temperament, but the Scorpio qualities of the previous life are also present, producing their love of the mysterious, religious, and philosophic aspirations, a strong emotional nature, a love of power and position, and danger of over-indulgence. The schemes and plots of Scorpio are released as vast promotion projects by the Sagittarians.

10. It may at first seem improbable that we should find much of Sagittarius in the Capricornian. With Capricorn rising, however, we find great emphasis upon the ambitions and a considerable meassure of the Sagittarian concept of justice. When Capricorn ascends, the individual generally feels that he is limited or inhibited. The large Jupiterian promotions of his previous life are curtailed by the Saturnine limitations of his present sphere of action, so he is dissatisfied and repressed.

11. As Capricorn is the most limited sign in the zodiac (a limitation, however, mostly self-imposed), it is natural that the next incarnation should be a revolt against limitation. The result is the Aquarian whose life is often dedicated to unconventionality. With Aquarius rising, there is a general revolt against precedent, convention, and conservativeness. Generous in large matters, Aquarians often retain a selfishness in small things essentially Capricornian.

12. Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac and it brings to an end the cycle of karma set in motion in Aries. People with this sign rising will usually have rather hectic lives, gathering up the loose ends of unfinished business. From Aquarius, the preceding sign, come vacillation, inconsistency and nervousness. From all the preceding signs come responsibilities and problems to be assimilated and transmuted into soul power. It is the particular duty of the Piscean to put his life in order and prepare himself for a new beginning of and a higher level of action. Pisces is the weakest of the signs because it represents the end of a cycle of experience.

By reading the 12th house as the Ascendant, the general pattern of the previous life can be determined with reasonable detail, and we can discover the subtle forces which have brought us to our present state and dominate our present life. Through the understanding of this branch of astrology, we can appreciate the old philosophical belief that what we are today is the result of what we have been, and that what we will be tomorrow must be the result of what we are today. We learn from the past, we labor in the present, and we build for the future.



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