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The Indian god Rahu.

The word Karma comes from Sanskrit and means action, also effective action. It refers to the philosophical teaching of cause and effect which applies not only to events on Earth. Contrary to widely held belief, Karma does not imply a kind of moral or ethical judgement; it has nothing to do with guilt or being rewarded or punished but in its purest form is the idea that every action has consequences which humans cannot evade.

Karma makes little sense without the idea of reincarnation because the chain of cause and effect does not end with physical death. The effects of actions which remain at the time of death - whether good or bad - are carried over into the next life. The aim is not to collect as much "good" Karma as possible by good behaviour but to free oneself from all Karma. This is the only way to escape the otherwise endless cycle of rebirths.

The teaching of Karma demands more radically than almost any other spiritual teaching that individuals take on full responsibility for their own fate. Fate thus understood does not refer to our experience of external events, heredity, upbringing or socialisation. Everything we experience is the effect or result of our own previous actions. Therein lies a great freedom which is generally misunderstood in the West where the idea of Karma is usually understood as justifying fatalism. In reality Karma means exactly the opposite. It implies that our freedom to act is also the freedom to actively participate in creating our own fate.

For esoteric astrology and karmic astrology the natal chart reveals the kinds of karmic constellations that are already present at birth, and therefore what kind of causes are waiting to be realised as effect.

See also