Most astrologers call Rahu /Ketu as ‘imaginary planets’, or ‘mathematical points’, which is doing them a great injustice. You can never understand your chart if you do not analyse Rahu /Ketu. In Jyotish the correct term is ‘graha’ .(Graha means, force, giving, holding, seizing, seizer, holder, giver, taker, etc).
You live your life on several levels. How do you look like? The human body which you see in the mirror is not even 1% of how you really look. And we are obsessed about the physical body that we see. (Sometimes I see beautifully made-up and dressed up people, expensive clothes and accessories with such filthy auras and energies, can’t bear sitting next to them. We Indians have this habit of doing namsakar when we meet others, that way we don’t need to touch them.)
Your energy, your naadi network, your chakras, even each organ looks different, the aura, your higher, sub-conscious and astral selves, everything, is so much much more. You live and work for a very tiny part of your life in the physically perceived universe and significantly more in the astrally perceived realms. So every graha has its other astral/ indescribable components. Rahu and Ketu are completely ‘other’ graha, they do not have any part of themselves visible in the conscious/subconscious dimensions. They exist at levels much more deeper than that.
All of us live out our lives in the occult dimensions as well as the physical realm. There is nothing called as a ‘past’, ‘present’, ‘future’, ‘parallel’ life. Everything is occurring in this single moment simultaneously. All of us are aware of our this multi-dimensional self, all of us. But it is so staggering that most of us shut it out, perhaps for fear that our minds will crack or that we need to resolve a few karma. Some of us keep all this open, how ‘open‘ depends on the planetary positions and the chart as a whole. If your karmic balance is more to do with these dimensions, your perceptions will be more ‘open’.
Some use sun-signs, some moon-signs, some focus on the ascendant lord but it is illogical to say which one graha is more important than the other. This ‘importance’ depends on the question that one seeks to answer. Most modern astrologers do not find Rahu/Ketu to be important and relegate them to the shadows. This is the result of our times, we are more interested in shallow materialistic things and refuse to appreciate the subtlety of our existence (nothing wrong about it, each one has his own priorities).
But on the deeper levels, the Rahu/Ketu axis is what drives you, all your aspirations, desires, ambitions are Rahu, the karmic ties which you still have to unwind. And all those detachments, apathies, disinterests are Ketu, you have saturated yourself with these objects so are now completely indifferent to them. In very simple language they represent the effect of the Earth (Bhu the first vhyarhuti) on your soul. The reason you manifest on the Earth is Rahu/Ketu.
You are the Ultimate, so what are you doing on the lowest energy level/Bhu? The answer is Rahu/Ketu. The energies of the entire chart are channelised by the Rahu/Ketu axis. You have a train full of valuables, and its engine is Rahu! It is very important to have support from the all the planets in the chart, e.g. ascendant lord – overall ‘fitting in’, Moon -stability, Sun -self-confidence, Mercury -thinking, Mars-fearlessness, Saturn-pragmatic work, Venus-esoteric knowledge, Jupiter-conventional knowledge, etc to navigate the realms of Rahu/Ketu.
Rahu/Ketu mature very late in life at 48yrs years of age, so by then you have more or less finished your material duties and can now start on your spiritual agenda. They make you work at the deepest levels beyond the conscious and the sub-conscious both.
Energy-wise Rahu is more airy/Vata and Ketu more fiery/Pitta. Both are considered to be the enemies of the luminaries, Sun and Moon. Now Sun represents your consciousness/jivatma/soul/ego also your Pingala nadi and Moon represents you at the subconscious/emotional/astral levels and your Ida nadi. Rahu/Ketu thus have the ability to occult the You in several dimensions. And from the energy point of view only when Ida and Pingala are occulted i.e. shut, can pran flow through the central Sushumna nadi complex. So now can you appreciate the vital importance of Rahu/Ketu! When Rahu/Ketu occult the Sun/Moon, wonder what shows through? Energy cannot be destroyed only transmuted. When the lenses of Rahu/Ketu eclipse the oh-so-shiny luminaries, wonder what they allow us a glimpse of?
These are considered to be Serpents. Serpents actually mean karmic bindings. If you have read this post, kundalini is also considered to be a serpent as it binds. To free yourself from the limited sense of self-identification as Priya, Amit and Manish you have to break free of the kundalini and Rahu/Ketu energy too. Serpents guard treasure, here the /Rahu-Ketu Serpents guard your karmic balance. What binds you is also what makes you free. If Rahu/Ketu have bound you, then they have the capacity to set you free too. If Devi Mahamaya has bound you through her Serpent-Kundalini then She has the power to set you free too, thus spiritual aspirants do Devi mantra/yagnya etc aradhana and Ketu is considered to be the real moksh karak.
Rahu/Ketu are the equal and opposite counter-forces of attachment and apathy. These energies are used to churn the Mahameru within you. The story of Samudra Manthan has 54 dev and 54 danav churning the Meru in the Ksheer-Samudra. The rope used for churning is again the Serpent Vasuki. So many karmic events push and pull us constantly till the infinite Samudra gives up his treasure of immortality/self-knowledge. These karmic events on the deepest spiritual levels occurring in your life are linked to Rahu/Ketu placements, dashas and transits. If truly analysed, you can see that they are indeed pulling and pushing you towards your real self-identification.
This is the real use of Jyotish the science of illumination. Of course you can answer mundane questions like, ‘when will I get married’ or ‘when will I get a job’, you will get your answers. But sometimes do analyse your chart in the spiritual context to delve deeply into your real self.