Woody Allen said, “I believe in karma and reincarnation, because nothing else explains how I could get so far behind in just one life.”

Half the world’s population believes in reincarnation, which obliges us to be reborn again and again, working on our soul’s multiple-life lessons, like some poor kid who can’t get his college degree until he passes Ethics 101.

Karma and reincarnation are linked. According to Universal Law, every action generates consequences sooner or later. Therefore, actions in one life may carry over into consequences of subsequent lives, creating conditions of happiness or sorrow for reasons we don’t understand.

Karma is pretty complicated, which is why Mahatma Gandhi said, “After inventing karma, God was finally able to retire.” And because God wasn’t satisfied with just a “one-size-fits-all” karma, He actually came up with four different models.

“Sanchita” karma is accumulated, like an eternal biography in which all of your actions in all of your lives are recorded for posterity. If you were Cleopatra in a previous life, it’s written. If you were naughty or nice, it’s been noted.

“Prarabdha” karma is ripened, like fruit on a tree that falls when it’s now ready to be eaten. If your accumulated karma is a full deck of cards, your ripened karma is the hand you’re dealt, to play as best you can in this game of life.

“Kriyamana” karma is action, the exercise of your free will. Perform good or bad deeds, chances are you’ll be rewarded appropriately. If it happens in this life, we jokingly call it instant karma.

“Agama” karma is thought, whether you act on it or not. Although it’s a grey area, the Bible warns us that it’s almost as bad to commit a sin in your mind…

Some people’s karma is “fixed” and no matter how much they try, they’re stuck with it. On the other hand, some karma is “flexible”, and if people exercise sufficient free will in performing right actions, they can rise above it.

Your astrological birth chart provides a map of your current life’s karma, which is why astrology is considered a divine science. But it takes training, experience and judgment to assess the balance between fate and free will, which is why the practice of astrology is considered a divine art.