Rahu and Ketu, the nodes of the Moon are very powerful forces in your chart. These two are life, the experience of living. These astral planets are linked to the karma you have to balance so that you can transcend creation. Forces generated by this axis, affect you at your deepest core. If you go with their flow and allow them to transform you, you will with time gain your own Self. These are not very prominent in souls who have just started their evolution in the human form. For those souls who are nearing their goal in the soul’s evolution their role is crucial. (I assume that my readers are either students of Jyotish or spiritual aspirants, given the content of my blog!)
Suppose you are put in jail and given good food, nice rooms and other comforts etc, will you be happy? You might feel good about the comforts for some time, you might watch the TV provided, play some games etc to distract your mind/ soul. But deep down you know you are in jail, you cannot go out. The very act of being in jail is enough to make you internally unhappy. This is Rahu-Ketu, they are the jail. The comforts etc provided in the jail are the 5 tara-graha connected to the 5 lower chakras. The Sun and the Moon are the tiny twinges which you feel from time to time which make you desire freedom from this jail. Rahu affects the material, Ketu the spiritual. They churn the very soul. Thus Rahu and Ketu are the existential sorrow caused by the very act of your individual soul being bound inside this jail called creation.
Rahu and Ketu represent the karmic forces created by your own actions from your past incarnations. And you cannot escape them. They are always 180deg away, one below the horizon and one above the horizon. One Node below the horizon will represent the past ‘fruits’ which you have no option but to enjoy/endure. This is the sub-conscious side, the choice made by your higher self at birth. The other node above the horizon, this indicates the scope of conscious choice, the actions that you can perform and the options that you will have in this respect.
Rahu/Ketu are said to be more powerful than the luminaries, Sun/Moon as they have the power to obscure them from time to time. They are the Kings of Karma. Results linked to Rahu/Ketu cannot be predicted with accuracy. The material results can obviously be predicted to some extent. But their real effect is on the astral and causal body, the mind and soul levels. This effect is very intense and cannot be predicted unless you are able to read the Sudarshan chakra chart. They indicate how you convert your life experiences into your mind/soul learning. This is actually a part of the soul’s evolution.
Eg. You marry well, a nice spouse, good children etc and your material life changes for the better after marriage. This is under the influence of the 5 Tara graha. But how does this experience affect your mind/ soul is your soul evolution. This impression is what you carry on with you in your next lives not the material life part. If Rahu is connected in any way to your 5th/ 7th houses, he will cause disenchantment with child/spouse. Depending on his power this may be more intense or less. Eg a single powerful Rahu will de-link your mind/soul more sharply and give more intense sorrow from these things on the subjective level.
Some authors say that Rahu is like Saturn and Ketu is like Mars. But do not take this literally! The nature of Rahu and Ketu is always subjective never objective.
Saturn is discipline, working out your karma systematically, restrictions, fear etc. eg If in the 5th house, Saturn can cause issues with your children. You know the specific reason for your unhappiness and you endure it as a continuous unhappiness. It is rather objective. But if Rahu is in the 5th house, the experience is very different. He will grant disillusionment with all the things connected with the 5th house on it is on the subjective level, ie he hits on the astral, psychic, soul level. First he will make you try and try for all the stuff related to the 5th house. Each time it will seem like you are going to succeed, you can taste the victory but at the very last minute it slips out of your hand. Or you over-reach and fall flat. Or you get the thing but it feels hollow. He shatters the material hopes very thoroughly. He will cause this high-low, hope-disappointment cycle again and again, grinding into your soul that this is ultimately an illusion. The deepest lesson taught very minutely. Both Saturn and Rahu ultimately will detach you from the material but they way they work is very different. Rahu, just like Ketu, operates under authority of the highest Eternal. Rahu will cause eventual dissatisfaction with the material things, shatter the illusion. Ketu will cause eventual dissatisfaction with your spiritual things! If anything shatters it gives pain, but once you look up beyond this shattered barrier, because these things were a barrier, you see your Own Self.
Mars is an explosion of raw energy, challenging, pioneering, likes explorations, is very active. Ketu also does the same thing but on the mental and soul levels. Ketu has a rare incisive intelligence which can cut through the bindings on the mind/ soul. Unafraid, actually emotionless, he uses his intelligence to rip open all illusions. This is the most cryptic and difficult to understand thing about Ketu. Your spiritual concepts, philosophy, practice, mantra etc are your life-line to the spiritual realm. Ketu will cause systematic detachment from these. (You might wonder at this statement, it sounds so crazy.) Ultimately to realise your real self, you have to leave your material desires and also your spiritual desires. ‘Spiritual desires’ again sounds like a paradox, but people feed their ego with their spiritual activity, eg you can get proud that you did some complicated puja, or learnt some cryptic ritual, or learnt by rote so many stotras or did so much pilgrimage, bought a rare 1 mukhi-rudraksh etc. These things very subtly bind you to the illusion of creation. You ‘practice’ spirituality, it is something you do for some time every day. Ketu cuts this ego created by outer spiritual practice. He forces you to search for the core, the easiest, most natural spontaneous continuous state. From ‘regular spiritual practice’ you move towards ‘continuous awareness of self’. For this to happen an apocalyptic breakdown occurs sometime in life, a sense of sheer helplessness is induced, you feel small, humiliated, you are knead to dust. Ketu thoroughly annihilates the sense of individual self-ego with his incisive sharp intelligence. After this life changing event shatters all the limits on the thinking process, the mind and the soul both are set free. He forces you to think, to contemplate, the mind is forced to enlighten itself, the soul is made to realise itself.
This existential sorrow is more intensely felt for those who have chosen to test themselves with combinations connected to Rahu/ Ketu. The Kaal-sarpa, the partial Kaal-sarpa, the Guru-chandal, or a single powerful Rahu or a single powerful Ketu in pivotal houses. If you have such powerful Rahu/ Ketu know that this life is an exam-time for you. Eg. In school there are 15days of exams in a year. For these 15days, you don’t watch TV, don’t go out with friends, you sit at home, stay up late, revise your syllabus, focus, ketugive your exams. If you are firm with yourself for these 15days, you do well in your exams, you get promoted to the next grade. The prize is worth those 15days of hard work and tests. For you similarly, this life is an exam, you have chosen it yourself. You have been preparing for so many lives now. In this life you are ready, the syllabus is all revised, now you need give your exam. Rahu and Ketu is an axis, they work together. They enforce the eternal law of Karma. To make sense of the most hard hitting life experiences which you will go through, analyse your Rahu/Ketu. Once you do this, you will come to terms with what you have chosen at birth. Because even if the tests are rather typical, the prize is well worth it.
The sorrow created by Rahu/Ketu makes one ultimately desire for Realization. The depth of emotion is so weird, so subtle, so elusive, so radical and so beyond all other remedial measures. The mind/ soul gets so disillusioned with all these material stuff and their deep impacts that it finally accepts that the only way out of its jail is self-realization.
There will be periods of periodic despair triggered by the transits/dashas. So you must find some real solid support for your mind/ soul, ie reading philosophy eg Bhagvat Gita, or Gayatri mantra jaap, or practicing Dhyan using Soham etc. These typical periods are very critical as the mind can choose to take up short term fixes like addictions, or you might take emotionally charged inappropriate decisions which will cause life-time repercussions. You might realise later that your action was ill-considered, against logic, against common sense but by then it might be too late. You will fail your life-test, thus wasting all the preparation you had done for so many lives. And you will be required to repeat the same thing, re-take the same test again a few lives later. If you have Rahu/ Ketu in power but the rest of the horoscope is unable to support their power or if you consciously choose the wrong direction in a fit of temporary passion, the effects are often dismal and can carry over life-times. Also there can be psychological or mental imbalances or addictions or immoral and perverse behaviour triggered by this.
Anything to do with Rahu/ Ketu forces you to find the strength within your own self. Go through the experience, endure and grow. It is like being initiated into the highest mystery. You are in confusion for some time, your past experiences are meaningless now, the new knowledge before you requires some time before it can be assimilated. For this small period you are vulnerable. Persevere. It is like an eclipse on the soul. During this eclipse period you have to be very careful. As soon as the eclipse opens up you are New.
The Rahu mahadasha and the Ketu mahadasha can be quite happening. Keep track of Rahu/ Ketu’s transits and the patterns that they will make with the slowest ones Saturn and Jupiter. These periods will be fairly long as Rahu/Ketu transit a sign in 1.5yrs, Jupiter in 1yr and Saturn in 2.5yrs. The faster planets will also naturally interact with them in transit, but their results will be for lesser lengths of time, ie a few month or lesser. However the intensity of the effect can vary as slower planets give rather subdued results spread over a longer time. And faster planets give intense results concentrated over a short period of time.