The orbit of the Earth around the Sun and the orbit of the Moon around the Earth intersect at two points, Rahu and Ketu. Astronomically these are just points where two curves intersect twice, but astrally these are huge chunks of conscious energies. Thus these satisfy the condition of being a ‘graha‘, a force and are called ‘planets’ in astrology. These are highly significant points representing how energy is pulled in into your psyche and then again released out from your psyche.
They represent the flow of your Experience.
You and me, all are part of the Ultimate Consciousness/Parabrahma.We are here to ‘experience’, the ‘one who experiences’ has priority. My experience is different from yours.
Rahu represents the inward pull of energy. Depending on his placement, you will want to experience the matters of his house, house owner, sign and conjunct/aspecting planets. Your sub-conscious self wants, desires, the energy of these experience. This energy is needed to balance out the karmic agenda you have decided on at your birth. Rahu represents all the aspects of life experience which you have ignored in your past lives. You are required to go through these aspects now. These have gained importance and urgency in this life, you have procrastinated long enough. And with Rahu pulling you, these events will satisfy you in a way nothing else will. Accept the energy. Maximum potential for growth exists in these areas of your life and if you sensibly use your Rahu, you will benefit.
The trick is to be aware of how much experience is experience enough. For e.g, You love your bike, the vehicle of your dreams, it can go upto 240 kmph, but would you drive so fast? No, it would create stress for you and would be dangerous too! A spectacular ride culminating in a disaster. You know you are a good driver and 120 kmph is your safe limit. It is logical that you drive safely and enjoy yourself during your drive, so you stick to 120 kmph. It is the same with Rahu, he has unlimited energy which he pulls into your inner self, but you are required to know your limits, so that you can be safe and enjoy the ride with Rahu.
Rahu is energy, how you use it is your decision. This decision requires a favourable placement of the other planets who are linked with Rahu’s matters. If he is aspected by benefics, benevolent planets, caring and loving energies, you are able to manage his desires more effectively. In a strong horoscope Rahu can take you to the heights of glory, both spiritual and material. This is a misconception that Rahu is a material planet, he is not! He is just the power of ‘desire’. Your entire horoscope, i.e. your mind-set and your conscious Will, these will indicate where this power of ‘desire’ is to be channelised. The power to manifest is always yours, You choose what you want.
The challenge that Rahu presents is this, you have extraordinary power of being able to ‘experience’ within you. How you open and channelise it is upto you. But it is essential that you immerse yourself in the ‘experience’, without getting attached to it. This is also the secret of Tantra. Immerse yourself completely in the experience so that you can transcend it. If you have experienced it all, the object loses its power to attract. Once you are satisfied, your stomach is full, you cannot eat even one more piece of your favourite sweets/mithai, you push the dish away. The desire has ended, the experience is complete. This is the challenge that Rahu puts forward before you.
Ketu is the other node – point of intersection, 180 degrees away from Rahu. Here you release the energies which are of no use to you. You have experienced these to your fill in your past lives so much so that they are of no consequence. You are apathetic to them now.
There is a hidden challenge here too, and because it is Ketu you are indifferent to his disinterested challenge. These patterns represented by Ketu are in-built, comfortable routines, which you unconsciously replay all the time. You are unaware of these patterns, but if you pay attention to your self you will notice them. And if you rely too much on these patterns you will not be able to gainfully leverage the new experiences of Rahu. See, Rahu/Ketu are always 180 degrees away from each other, the houses they occupy will be in the mirror image, fill-in-the-blanks format, seventh from each other. Rahu is offering you a load of experience, so the house he is in will experience rapid and spectacular changes. But to make sense of these changes, the house occupied by Ketu cannot remain inert! These two houses, the 180 degrees axis is linked very deeply to each other. To take control of Rahu, you have to become aware of the diffuse headless Ketu.
e.g Rahu in the 11th will desire the experience of gain, like-minded groups, luck, etc. And Ketu in the 5th will ensure that you remain apathetic to your personal self-ego, self-creativity, self-confidence etc. But if the self of the 5th house remains apathetic to the gains of the 11th, you wont know where to stop! You will continue being pushed by Rahu’s energies till you fall off! In the nebulous, market-place, environment of the 11th, the self-personality has to assert itself else you won’t even realise were you might end up. Thus this is the hidden challenge presented by Ketu which very few individuals comprehend in life.
If you have Ketu conjunct with other planets or if he is in your rising sign/1st house, know that in your past lives you have completed a large chunk of your desire for experience. These events were linked to these planets and in your past lives have changed your understanding of your self on very fundamental levels. You have transcended the experiences that these planets signify. And you have those learnings, these gift’s of experience with you on deeper levels. These gifts are often unusual, e.g. a highly developed intuition or an ability to roam in the astral dimensions. Ketu lessons are very necessary for you to progress on the spiritual level. Thus Ketu’s role as a Moksh-karak, agent of the Ultimate realization.
Ketu is linked to ‘loss’, thus you experience this astral energy of loss in this life too. Loss of relationships, loss of love, loss of parents, loss of security, loss of wealth, loss of home, etc depending on his position in your chart. It is also a challenge here. Can you accept this loss on the material, emotional, spiritual level? Will you fight to keep this energy from moving out? The experience of these losses starts early in life and continues till you become conscious of them. e.g. If Ketu indicates a ‘loss of maternal love’, try as you might, you will not be able to experience it in this life. You may search for it, you may try to hold on to it, or try to get it from others, but they cannot give it and neither can you receive it. Realistically, you cannot stop Ketu. Sometimes you have to let go of some things so that you make space for the new (Rahu) experiences entering your life.
But for the lesson to be complete, you have to be aware of what is happening, you have to be conscious of their experience-energy dynamics. Unless you register what is happening to you on the experience (Rahu/Ketu front), you will be made to repeat these again and again. Thus their perpetual retrograde motion. The movement of the nodes is quite erratic, so is averaged out and this is called as a ‘Mean Node’
Rarely I get a horoscope where the person seems to processes his experiences in a fundamentally different way. So I check out the mathematically correct nodes (True nodes) for this chart. In these cases, the nodes move in the direct motion. Direct motion occurs when eclipses occur, and eclipses are very important events creating an explosion of energy. If the birth occurs around an eclipse, there are undercurrents of different energies in the chart, which is linked to the direct nodes. These individuals can progress faster if they turn their attention to the spiritual and metaphysical.
So if you feel like it, do open your own horoscope (Vedic software). Look at the positions of Rahu/Ketu and the aspects of your life that they influence. If you have major planets conjunct with them e.g the ascendant lord, Moon, Sun or if they are located in the ascendant sign. Analyse yourself in terms of your life experience. It will be a very personal and instructive exercise which will help you know your innermost motivations and life path experiences.