Planets, Signs and Houses: The Planets, Chapter II, Part - 36


Dr. Shanker Adawal

Essential Planetary Principles:

Rahu and Ketu

Astronomically Rahu and Ketu are not planets but in Indian astrology they are termed shadowy planets (chhaya graham) Hindu mythology has these two as parts of a single body. The forces of good (devas) and evil (asuras) are as old as creation. The war between them is eternal and the aim of the creator can only be the ultimate victory of good over evil, The Supreme Lord is supposed to aid the forces which are good against the forces of evil. The churning of the ocean of life by two contending armies resulted in their obtaining a divine elephant, a horse, a physician, the Goddess of wealth and finally Amrit (the nectar of immortality). The Supreme Lord distributed the nector among the contestants. He deluded the wicked (asuras) by assuming the shape of an alluring woman (Mohini). The forces of evil fell a victim to the charms of the Mohini while the forces of good got a share of the nectar. One Asura (a member of the evil group) stealthily joined the ranks of the Devas (forces of Good) and got his share of the nectar, but was discovered and exposed by the two Luminaries (the Sun and the Moon). The Supreme Lord beheaded the Asura (demon), but as he had already drank the nectar, he had become immortal and both the Sundered parts remained alive, although separated. The head is called “Rahu” (Dragon’s Head) and the body is called Ketu (Dragon’s Tail). They hate the Sun and the Moon and a natural outcome of this incident is that periodically they succeed in swallowing the Sun and the Moon, but they escape as both of them are as immortal as Rahu and Ketu. The Westerners call Rahu as the Moon’s North Node or Dragon’s Head or Caput. They call Ketu as the Dragon’s Tail or the Moon’s South Node or Cauda.

The myth explains also other essential features to be considered because Rahu is an Asurha (demon), his passion, lust and greed are consequential. A subtle point about it is that as Rahu has no actual material body, the passion, the greed and the lust are endless and insatiable. Nothing can slake the thirst that Rahu gives the native: if he is powerful in the horoscope. It follows from this that insatiable desire causes intense heart burning, sorrow and pain, and to satisfy desire the native would stop at nothing; the strong Rahu would sweep away virtue and vice alike if it stands in the way. He would not bat any eyelid to do anything that is likely to advance his cause, truth politeness, civility included. A powerful Rahu and propitious would give the native great wealth.

It is an attribute of Rahu to enhance or aggravate the characteristics and properties of the house which it occupies or aspects. If favourable, the result is better than what would have been without Rahu and if unfavourable worse.

Because the nodal points move clockwise, Rahu and Ketu are described as having reverse motion. And some scholars equate this with previous birth. And philosophically this seems to the quite justifiable. If the seven planets, minus Rahu and Ketu and their placing in a horoscope represent their astronomical positions at the point-instant of birth and if, as the Hindu philosophy believes, the current birth is just one of an astronomical number of births and rebirths, just an urge out of innumerable urges connected like leads on threat: of garland by Samsker-experience. It is quite logical that there should be some planetary force to carry on or perpetuate the continuity.

Disease: Indigestion, disease due to accumulated gas or wind in stomach or intestine.

Colour: Rough black.

Metal: Lead.

Gem: Garnet (Gomed).

Vocation: Any kind of itinerant (travelling) job, it gives the profession of the planet, with which it is associated or aspected by.

Birth star: Bharani.

Digit: 8, 41, 4.

Strength: During solar or lunar eclipse, or when the full Moon is associated with Bharani Nakshatra or if Moon occupies Gemini Sign, Rahu is strong.

The Sun appears to move in an ellipse of which the Earth is a focus. The plane of this ellipse is inclined to the terrestrial Equator on an angle of about 23 degrees. The Moon, as the satellite of the Earth, moves round it and its path is also elliptical with the Earth as a focus, and the plane of this orbit is inclined to the Equator at an angle of about 23 degrees, so that the planes of the orbits of the Sun and the Moon appear to the observer on the Earth to be inclined to each other at an angle of about 5 degrees. When these two circles cut each other, there are two points of interception. The two points at which the orbit of the Moon cuts the orbit of the Sun are called the Nodes and they are exactly 180 degrees apart. The point of interception formed when the Moon’s motion is from South to North, is said to be ascending node or North Node and named Rahu, while the point of interception formed when the Moon’s motion is from North to South is called the descending node or South Node or Ketu. It has been observed that the nodes have a retrograde movement in the zodiac at the rate of 19 degrees 20 minutes per year or an average daily motion of 3 minutes 11 seconds.

When the transit of the Sun and the Moon is close to these nodes, the Moon can intercept the light of the Sun from reaching the Earth and thus cause a Solar Eclipse. The degree of proximity of the planets to the Nodes determines the extent or size of the eclipse; when the Moon is within 5 degrees of the Node on a New Moon day there will either be a total or annular eclipse of the Sun. If the New Moon is more than 5 degrees away from the Node and the Sun is at the Node then there is a partial eclipses. When the full Moon is formed while the Moon is crossing the points of the Nodes the shadow of the Earth falls on the Moon and a Lunar eclipse results. This too may be full or partial according as the Sun is at the Node or a little away from it.

The Westerners consider Rahu as a benefic and Ketu as a malefic.

According to Indian astrology, Rahu and Ketu indicate one born in a low caste, one who may have intrigue with girls, one whose thoughts and action will be evil; one will resort to out-castes and low-born as well as ill-bred people. One who is dissatisfied, fond of travelling, likes residences facing south, may like to go to a mountain or a big jungle or stay outside; finds pleasure in uttering falsehood, continues to speak untruth; knowing fully well that he utters a lie; one who will not mind to cohabit with quadrupeds (there are known cases of some men or women cohabiting with goats or dogs), one who is harsh in speech, one who will be looking downward or while talking with others; if a male he will use umbrella, if a female she will use chowrie and also umbrella.

Rahu and Ketu affect the spleen and indicate gas trouble and sharp pains. The nodes signify Buddhists, snake catchers, ass, ram, wolf, camel, serpent, poisonous insects, a dark place, cullet, mosquitoes, bugs, insects, owl, etc. Rahu denotes black gram and Ketu horse gram. The precious stone for Rahu is gomed and for Ketu Lahsania (Cat’s Eye). Rahu is for paternal grandfather and Ketu for the maternal grandfather.

Both can cause imprisonment. Sinking with ship or drowning, pleasure with diseased women, amputation leprosy, giddiness, wrestling, life in a cave, etc., are attributes of Rahu. Ketu signifies fear complex, insanity, allergy, leprosy, injury, fire accident, renunciation, punishment from Government, Moksha (salvation involving no rebirth), wisdom after sufferings and great experience., weakness to have pleasures with other ladies.

To live in a rented house, to enjoy life at others expense, to use others vehicles, to have an office car, to take one in adoption, danger to the offspring, pilgrimage, ill-health to the native, defective Vision, defects in children can be judged from the natal position of Rahu and Ketu.

Rahu and Ketu do not own any sign as all the 12 signs are distributed among the seven planets, one each to the Sun and the Moon and two to each of the remaining five. Rahu and Ketu act as a strong agent to the planet with which it is conjoined. If they are not conjoined with any planet then they give the results of the planet or planets which aspect. Only when they are neither conjoined with nor aspected by any planet they represent the lord of the sign in which Rahu or Ketu is posited. If Rahu or Ketu were to occupy trine houses (9 or 5), if they are in conjunction with, or aspected by, the lord of the Maraka houses, 2 or 7, then they cause death in their periods even though the lord of the houses 5 and 9 are to produce Rajyoga. If Rahu and Ketu were posited in houses 2 and 7 and if they are conjoined with or aspected by the trine lord (9 or 5) they will not cause death but they will increase one’s wealth, improve health and contribute for a long span of life. But if the lords of houses 2 or, 7 conjoin with the nodes or aspect them, they cause death.

The nodes cast one-quarter glances on houses 3 and 10, half glance on houses 5 and 9, three-quarter glance on houses 4 and 8 and full glance on house 7. They aspect the constellations of Aslesa and Svati: Rahu is exalted in Gemini 15 deg and Ketu in Sagittarius 15 deg.

Rahu positive sign (Moolatrikona) is Cancer and of Ketu Capricorn. Rahu is said to own house in Virgo and Ketu in Pisces. Rahu friends are Mercury, Venus and Saturn but some writers regard only Mercury as the friend of Ketu. Rahu enemies are Sun, Moon and Mars and Jupiter is his neutral. Some writers do not regard any planet to be an enemy of or neutral to Ketu. Rahu brings the dawn of fortune in the 42nd year and Ketu in the 48th year. Rahu and Ketu rule the South-East direction. In transit both behave like Saturn. In natal horoscopy some Indian writers are of the opinion that Rahu acts like Saturn and Ketu acts like Mars. The signs of Sun, Moon and Mars (Aries, Cancer, Leo and Scorpio) are inimical to Rahu. Deeptamsa is 12 deg.


Shanker Adawal

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