In his song, That’s Life, Frank Sinatra looks back on his life, and croons about who he might have been in a past life:

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate

A poet, a pawn and a king

I’ve been up and down and over and out


And I know one thing

Each time I find myself flat on my face

I pick myself up and get back in the race

As we live our current life, many of us are haunted with a perplexing question: who were we in a past life? What karma have we carried into our current birth? What should we have learned? How can we use our past experiences to have a happier, more fulfilling life in our current life?


First of all, what is karma?




1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences; also: destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

Understanding your Horoscope (i.e. birth chart) may give you the answers you seek about your karma and who you were in a past life.

As you can imagine, this can be a complicated discussion, especially for non-astrologers. Therefore, I will keep it simple. There are many ways to look at your Horoscope to learn about what might have been your past life. For example, some astrologers look to the planet Saturn, retrograde planets, and the North and South Nodes in a birth chart to interpret someone’s past life.

But there is another more basic way to learn about your karma and past life experience. It is by knowing your “rising sign,” which is also known as the “ascendant.” Keep in mind that your Horoscope is divided into 12 equal segments, called “houses.” Each house is ruled by a sign of the zodiac. And, each house represents a department of life, such as your personality, finances, communications, home, family, children, work, partners, secrets, education, travel, spirituality, friends, goals, hidden secrets and your past karma.

The 1st house of your Horoscope shows your ascendant (or rising sign). The ascendant sign describes your personality and who you are in the outer world “in this life.”

However, if you imagine rotating the wheel of your Horoscope down by one sign, the result is that the 12th house, now becomes the 1st house. By doing this – you now create a window into your past lives, your karma, what you’ve learned, and the issues you are meant to work on in this life.

Here’s an example to make sure this is all clear. Keep in mind that the order of the zodiac signs is always, ARIES, TAURUS, GEMINI, CANCER, LEO, VIRGO, LIBRA, SCORPIO, SAGITTARIUS, CAPRICORN, AQUARIUS, and PISCES.


(1) To find out your rising sign (or ascendant) you will need your exact birth time. Go to the FREE Transit Calculator and put in your birth information.

(2) You’ll see all the planets that are in your Horoscope. Find your rising sign. Then, look at the interpretation below to learn about your past lives and karma.

12 Ascendants:

Aries: If you have Aries rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Pisces. So, in your previous life, you were likely spiritual and deeply introspective living a dutiful life in service to others. Your Aries rising says you are ready for a new beginning, learning to live a life that is free and independent where you serve yourself not others. Your challenge will be to avoid being too selfish. Your karma is to avoid being a victim. You may have been a poet, a mystic, priest, healer, a shaman, or even someone imprisoned, or battling some addiction.

Taurus: If you have Taurus rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Aries. You are coming out of a life of having been aggressive or even a fighter. So in this life you’re initiating, creative and even a bit impulsive in your drive to achieve material success, enjoy creature comforts, and the sensual pleasures of life. Your karma is to avoid being domineering. You may have been a warrior, a general or a successful merchant running your own enterprise.

Gemini: If you have Gemini rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Taurus. In that life, you had an earthy nature and were consumed with sensual desires. You are now looking for a life that is mentally stimulating, filled with interesting experiences that keep you engaged. Avoid losing your grounded nature and becoming vacillating and “flaky.” You have the opportunity to be a great communicator through teaching, writing or some intellectual pursuit. Your karma is to avoid being too rigid. You may have been a painter, musician, gardener or a wealthy businessperson.

Cancer: If you have Cancer rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Gemini. In that life, you were intellectually, but not emotionally expressive. Your easy-going nature allowed you the freedom to flit from one activity to another with no commitment. In this life, you’re ready to pay more attention to your inner emotional nature. Now you are focused on a more responsible life that includes a home and family. Your karma is to balance your emotions with your intellect. Avoid letting your mind overrule your heart. In a past life, your superior skills as a communicator allowed you to be a great salesperson, orator, teacher or writer.

Leo: If you have Leo rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Cancer. As a Cancer you were filled with deep emotions, fears and insecurities about not being fully loved. Now, you are feeling self-confident, romantic, and desirous of sharing a passionate love with someone. While you tend to be egocentric, you generously give of your heart. Your karma is to avoid being egocentric, and to overcome your fears of being abandoned. You can do this by freely loving and knowing you are worthy. In a past life, you took care of others, perhaps as a Mother Superior or a superior mother.

Virgo: If you have Virgo rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Leo. In this past life, your focus was on yourself and being the center of attention for all to cater to your needs. Now you are drawn to being responsible and of service to others, and doing for them. In this life, make sure to not do so much for others that you forget to pay attention to your own needs. Your karma is to focus on a life of service where you give back to those, who in the past, sacrificed for you. In a past life, you were of royalty, be it a king or queen, or a court-jester or wealthy landowner.

Libra: If you have Libra rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Virgo. In that life, you labored tirelessly to serve others, often at the extreme sacrifice of your own needs. In this life, you seek to find a balance where you can please yourself and your aesthetic needs while still giving of yourself. Your sense of fairness and justice is what drives you to serve others. Your karma is to avoid living a life where your main focus is being a pleaser. In a past life, you were a nurse, a chef, craftsman, technical writer.

Scorpio: If you have Scorpio rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Libra. You lived your past life trying to find balance, often superficially, with a focus on satisfying your sensual desires. Now you are only interested in deep and intense encounters. You look for opportunities to dig deeply into the mysteries of life and the people you meet, even though such encounters bring emotional conflict into your life. Your karma is to bring a balance to your past tendency to be superficial and current one to be too intense. In a past life, you were a diplomat, lawyer, judge, painter, or a beauty contest winner.

Sagittarius: If you have Sagittarius rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Scorpio. The deep thinking and investigation you did in your past life now gives you the ability to share your knowledge whether through philosophizing or teaching about what you’ve learned. Your deepest need is to be totally unrestricted so that you can continue your journey in a quest for new adventures. Your karma is to not allow your free spirit to keep you from enjoying the intimacies of a one-one-commitment. In a past life, you were a scientist, mystery writer, psychologist, sex researcher or criminal.

Capricorn: If you have Capricorn rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Sagittarius. In that life, having fun, traveling and experiencing adventure were of paramount importance. Now you are ready to be serous and take responsibility for achieving your lofty career goals. Unlike in your past, you are committed to working hard in a disciplined fashion to achieve your ambitions. Your karma is to not let hard work and your desire for material success stop you from travel and adventures that help you grow as a person. In a past life, you were a professor, attorney, ship captain, world traveler or comedienne.

Aquarius: If you have Aquarius rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Capricorn. You are now tired of the discipline and hard work that has restricted you from experiencing life in a more free-spirited way. You don’t like being conservative, since you prefer living your life as an individual – in an unconventional manner with no rules or boundaries. Yet, you want to make a discovery that will allow you to give back to the society you live in. Your karma is to not operate your life as a “rebel without a cause.” Work toward a practical purpose. In a past life, you were a politician, policeman, a doctor, or president of a company.

Pisces: If you have Pisces rising on your first house now, your most significant past life was associated with Aquarius. In your previous life, you enjoyed your freedom to be an individual who makes his/her own rules. You made discoveries that improved society for future generations. Now, in this life, you want to change your focus to connect with others on a more spiritual “heart” level. You feel called to be of service to those who are suffering and need your healing abilities. Your karma is to realize that you must “serve or suffer,” (for not serving). Yet, you must also take care not to ignore your own needs, lest you become a victim. In a past life, you were a technology genius, politician, a tv star, or a scientist.

Each life that you lead teaches you lessons you can bring into the next one you live. The karma of one life can guide you to the areas where you have the opportunity to grow as a human. If you commit to your own evolution you will better fulfill yourself and the lives of those you touch.

To learn your Rising Sign (or Ascendant), go to the Free Transit Calculator and enter your birth date. It will compute your personal transits for 2016 AND the planets in your birth chart AND rising sign. Then, make sure to scroll down to the end of the page, where you’ll see your Rising Sign (i.e. Ascendant).

And, if you’re curious to learn what your Horoscope says will be happening in your future – this year, in such areas as your love relationships, and marriage prospects, as well as career, investments and health in 2016: Order your customized Report: Your Horoscope & Future in 2016.

If you want to learn about your unique personality, strengths, weaknesses and talents you were born with, order your: Personal Horoscope Report. It includes a copy of your birth chart.

If you’re in love and want to find out if you’re really compatible for marriage (or partnership) with another person, go to the FREE Love Compatibility Calculator and enter your birth date and theirs. And, if you want a customized report on your compatibility together, order Your Love Compatibility Report.

Larry Schwimmer is an astrologer in private practice. For private consultations, contact him at: or go to

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