Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

March/April 2017 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

What is Karma?

This article was written by Florence Wagner McClain on May 14, 2002
posted under Past Life Regression

Karma is the law of cause and effect. Simply that, and nothing more. Of all the misunderstood and abused aspects of reincarnation, karma heads the list. When something unpleasant happens, it is very common to see people who don't even believe in reincarnation shrug their shoulders and hear them say, "Must be my karma." This is unfortunate because it perpetuates the idea that anything bad or unpleasant is karma, and gives a distorted idea of what karma is. If you want a definition of karma in Biblical terms, karma is reaping what you sow. Or, you might define karma as the meeting of self.

For every action there is a reaction. This is a Universal law, and is unchanging and beyond our control. What is within our control is the action we do or the cause we set into motion, and the attitudes with which we deal with the reactions or effects.

Since karma is neither good nor bad, then it is the applications we make of it which makes it into a negative or positive influence in our lives. Karma was never intended as a system of rewards and punishments. The intent of the law of karma is to teach us that we are personally responsible for our lives, and to help us learn to live in harmony with the Universe.

Through the use of past life regression, it is possible to gain an overall view of the various causes or cycles that we have set into motion in other lifetimes that are continuing to have an effect on this present life. This is like opening the doors of a treasure vault. Laid out in front of you is one of the greatest treasures man can have—knowledge. You can see the error in judgment you have made, and the results of those errors. You can see how to take advantage of the situation, turn it into something beneficial, and avoid repetition of those mistakes.

The Treasure Chests of Recovered Knowledge

In those treasure chests of your far memory is all the knowledge you have acquired in all your many lifetimes. That knowledge can be reviewed and retrieved. In other treasure chests of your mind there are the skills and talents you have developed in other lifetimes. Those skills and talents are there for you to remember and use if you choose.

In still other niches of your mind may be the emotional records of traumatic events which may have happened in other lifetimes. These events may hold the answers to that terrible fear you have of fire, heights, snakes, or the dark. The fact that you starved to death in another lifetime may just be the last piece of information you need to get in control of that weight problem. Being able to remember the events which are at the roots of such problems, one can understand, release the trauma or influence, and no longer be affected by it.

Part of our responsibility in dealing with our karma is to make certain that we are not allowing ourselves to be controlled by such past events. Also, through past life regression we can determine whether we have exercised our free will in the wisest manner in choosing how to deal with our karma.

If a person still believes that karma is meant as a system of punishment and reward, he or she may have chosen a hard and unnecessary pathway for himself or herself. For instance, if he or she caused someone to suffer mentally or physically in a past life, he or she may have chosen a life filled with suffering as a means to atone. To deliberately generate more suffering and misery in the world does not atone, and does not benefit anyone. If, however, through a desire to make up for suffering caused in other lifetimes, he or she turns his or her efforts to the alleviation of suffering, this brings positive benefits for all concerned.

Perhaps the saddest misunderstanding and misuse of karma is the person who uses it as an excuse to avoid helping others. More people than one might suppose use a distorted idea of karma to avoid personal responsibility. "Oh, I wouldn't dream of helping that person. It may be his karma to be... (sick, hurt, hungry, in danger, etc.). I wouldn't want to overrule God's will." This presupposes several things, and expresses much arrogance. First, it suggests that it is "God's Will" that people be miserable in some way. Then there is the arrogant assumption that if it was God's will, they could overrule it. That doesn't say much for some people's opinion of a Supreme Being. But—if you want to suppose all the above, then how do you know that it isn't your karma to help that person? None of that philosophy fits into the balanced, logical framework of reincarnation and karma.

In the Major Arcana of the Tarot, the Fool goes on a journey. This is similar to the Hero's Journey in mythology, and some view the ups and downs of the Major Arcana as the pathway the Fool takes to wisdom. Most people take the "Fool's Journey" several times during their life. If we hold the journey up as a template against our own life, it can... read this article
Five Aids to Magical Thought: Dion Fortune and the Path of Occult Fiction
The Angels of Your Sun Sign
Twelve Ways Your Chakras Can Enhance Your Decisions
4 Simple Steps to Receiving Angelic Guidance
The Hearth Witch in March

Most recent posts:
5 Ways to Make the Cards Your Own
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Melissa Cynova, author of the new Kitchen Table Tarot. I've been reading cards for nearly 30 years,...

How to Really Bring the Tarot to Life
Bringing the Tarot to Life In my many years of acquiring books and decks for Llewellyn, I’m always looking for something that is new and...

Learning from Childhood Magic
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Penny Billington, author of The Path of Druidry and The Wisdom of Birch, Oak, and Yew as well as...




Journey of Souls Journey of Souls
Case Studies of Life Between Lives

By: Michael Newton
Price: $17.99 US,  $20.95 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN
Animal Lessons Animal Lessons
Discovering Your Spiritual Connection with Animals

By: Danielle MacKinnon
Price: $15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN
Subtle Energy Techniques Subtle Energy Techniques
By: Cyndi Dale
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Sacred Rebels Oracle Sacred Rebels Oracle
Guidance for Living a Unique & Authentic Life

By: Alana Fairchild, Autumn Skye Morrison
Price: $23.95 US,  $27.95 CAN