Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology: Planetary Transit: Transit of Nodes, Chapter X, Part - 1

Dr. Shanker Adawal

10.1 Introduction

10.1.1 The Nodes-Rahu & Ketu, are not planets in real astronomical sense, but in Indian astrology, they are termed shadow planets (Chhaya graha). They have no mass, form or shape, but are mathematically calculated super-sensitive points, based on points of intersections of apparent orbit of Sun around the Earth and of orbit of Moon around the Earth. Both the orbits are elliptical in shape and are inclined to the terrestrial Equator at an angle of 23 degrees and as such to an independent observer on Earth, the planes of the two orbits are inclined to each other at an angle of about 5 degrees. The two orbits cut each other at two points. The point of intersection formed when the Moon’s motion is from South to North, is said to be ascending node or North Node/ Rahu, while the point of intersection formed when the Moon’s motion is from North to South, and is called descending node or South Node / Ketu. The two Nodes are always 180 degrees apart and have retrograde motion in the zodiac at the rate of 19 degrees 20 minutes per year, little less than 19 months per sign with an average daily motion of 3’-11”.

10.1.2 As the two Nodes have no mass, Western astrologers do not ascribe any role for them in astrology except mathematical sensitive points like M.C. or Sahams etc. They call them Moon’s Nodes. But in their literature, more so recently, they have often referred and discussed the Rahu as Dragon’s head or Caput Draconis and the Ketu as Dragon’ Tail or Cauda Draconis. However in Vedic astrology, they have been accepted as full- fledged planets forming famous Nau-grahas. Unlike other seven planets they do not own any sign, but do own three Nakshtras each (Aridra, Swati & Shatbhisha by Rahu and Ashlesha, Magha & Moola by Ketu) and have their dasha periods as well. They are very mysterious and important planets, next only to the two slow moving planets-Jupiter & Saturn, requiring maximum attention in natal charts and during transit. They are termed Karmic planets their depositors have gained additional importance as Karmic Control planets. If they conjoin in a good house, they give Rajyoga. In any chart, they serve to mark the high or low points specially when associated with other planets. Some scholars equate them with previous births. The placement of Rahu in birth chart, shows the area in our life that requires special attention; and the Ketu’s placement indicates what the native carries over from his previous lifetime. It is said that Rahu depicts the state of past sins committed by a native and the Ketu provides the means for mitigating the evil effects of those sins and so acts a balancing power. Rahu is more earthly and gives mundane prosperity, while Ketu signifies salvation to human soul when well placed & aspected. Rahu is extrovert, affirming, attached, ambitious and cold, while Ketu is introvert, negating, detached and hot.

10.1.3 As the nodes are lunar points of references and sensitive conduits of cosmic energies, have strong bearings on the events and their influences in astrological delineation are interesting, provocative & wonderful. They are known to give sudden, unexpected, unconventional and unorthodox results in both good and bad directions. When they are conjoined or associated with other retrograde planets, whether in a birth chart, transit or in dasha/ antar-dasha of one another, the events related to the things are returned, restored, regained or compensated such as restoration of lost property or getting compensation thereof. Probably two negatives joining together give positive results. Very little is available about the transit results of Nodes in classical Sanskrit texts except by Varahmihir in his book “Brihat Samhita” and in traditional Tamil texts “Periya Varushadhi Nool and Jodhidak Kalanjiyam”, but only in brief. However there has been a dictum “Shani Vat Rahu, Kuja Vat Ketu” meaning that generally Rahu acts as Saturn and Ketu as Mars. It has been observed that during their transit or dasdha/ antar-dasha Rahu & Ketu at times deliver the results of Saturn & Mars, had the later been there. Another common perception is that Rahu has the influence of Jupiter-Venus conjunction, giving much opposition and respect for the area of the house, sign or planet where Rahu is located or transiting. Ketu has the influence of Mars-Saturn conjunction. Mars represents energy and Saturn, a cycle of time & discipline. Saturn may produce fear and hold the Mars action back. There is an ambition for power or salvation, where Ketu is located by house or transit.


Dr. Shanker Adawal

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