People sometimes say that when you're talking about past lives, as revealed by the birth chart, that you could say anything you want. That, “Hey, you were a pizza waitress who died in a tragic business accident in Chicago in 1937.” I could swear that was true and you could not prove me wrong – and I could not prove myself correct. This is a criticism that is often leveled against evolutionary astrology.
As that criticism stands, it’s of course clearly valid. We could say anything. But here’s the key to understanding why it's not quite as simple as that. The notion of unresolved issues from prior lifetimes, commonly called “karma,” a Sanskrit word that has entered popular usage in the English language, the concept of karma essentially boils down to the idea of habit. That there are repeating patterns in our lives that don't really do us any good at all, but we keep doing them over and over again. This principle, with which we're all I'm sure quite familiar, is assumed to extend from lifetime to lifetime to lifetime until we break the pattern.
The response to this criticism of evolutionary astrology is very simple. The proof of the pudding is that when we look at the karmic story, at the past life story, our assumption is that we will see the fingerprints of that story visible in the present life. Again, you cannot verify past lives but you sure can verify the patterns in the present life.
Just to go a little bit more deeply into this. If you have a friend, for example, whose father was a loving, well-meaning alcoholic who always failed her, it's a familiar enough sad scenario. Of course, it is not unusual for such a person to grow up and come into her maturity, and be trying to get the love that she never got from her father – from any man, let's say, to whom she is attracted, or woman for that matter. She might then have a pattern of falling in love with guys with substance abuse problems.
This principle of the repetition of our wounds is of course the basis of much psychological understanding just in the present existential, daily, one-life kind of perspective, where we would recognize that the traumas of childhood tend to get repeated in adulthood.
The premise of evolutionary astrology is that the traumas or unresolved issues from prior lifetimes work just like childhood, and that these things move on into the present life. Often, when I'm sitting with a client and making up a story about a past life, in other words, trying to come up with a fable or a tale that I think resonates with whatever the past life reality was, I'll have a funny experience. I'm in the midst of the story and the client looks at me sort of quizzically and says, "Are you're sure you're talking about a past life? That's already happened to me in this lifetime."
That's really the entire point. That these unresolved patterns tend to repeat. It's as if we're saying to the universe, "Set it up again. I want another look at it. I got it wrong or I was damaged by this in a prior lifetime, and I want to take another shot at it. I want to see if I can get it right this time around." The proof of the pudding of this reincarnational premise of evolutionary astrology is that the past lives on in the present. And we can observe that, and verify that – or falsify it – if it weren't true. So we see it right here and now.
- Steven Forrest