Rahu and Ketu are often known by various names such as Nodes, Shadows, Head and Tail, Caput, Cauda etc. But what is Rahu and Ketu?
As we know through common science, the moon completes one orbit around the Earth in approximately a month’s time, crossing the orbit of the Earth twice in the same period, once when it goes from south to north (Ascending) and at another time while traveling from north to south (Descending). This ascending point is called ‘Rahu’ and the descending point ‘Ketu’. These have retrograde motion in the zodiac at the rate of 19020' per year.
There is a fundamental difference between Rahu and Ketu and the other planets. The other planets are bodies of physical mass having form, shape, color, gravity, atmosphere, motion etc. On the other hand, Rahu and Ketu are two imaginary points in the heavens without mass, shape or form. They are the points of intersection of the apparent path of the Sun with the path of the Moon. When it comes to Vastu Shastra, it has been established beyond doubt that Rahu and Ketu influence an individual’s life, at times even more than that of other planets. Since they are in exact opposition to each other, their effect should be considered simultaneously.
Rahu and Ketu often radiate the effects of the lords of the signs that they are in and also of those planets which are situated with them, not having many individual characteristics of their own. They are often considered to be a part of the same entity, with Rahu being known as the Dragon’s head and Ketu as its tail. The significance is that the head is forward-looking and symbolizes the future, while the tail is a representation of the past. Hence, Rahu represents the qualities to be developed and work to be done during the present incarnation and Ketu denotes the qualities during past lives. These indicate attitudes that come naturally to the native. They are classified as Karmic planets.
According to Hindu astrology, Rahu and Ketu are known as planets of ‘gains’ and ‘losses’ since Rahu is considered as a giver and Ketu as the taker. Both of them are considered to be malefic. Ketu is considered as a spiritual force, causing salvation for the human souls and Rahu is considered to be more Earthly, indicating mundane prosperity. The effects of the Nodes are not always evil and they are also productive, thus causing Raj Yogas. By and large, Nodes play a constructive role because after making the native pass through various difficult phases, they also enable him to progress spiritually. However, all this can go down the drain if the Nodes conjoin Mars or Saturn without any benefit aspect, life is marked by misery, struggle, and misunderstanding throughout. Rahu is also considered a diplomat and Ketu a seer. They eclipse the Sun and Moon representing the soul and mind respectively. Hence, they have a great influence on the soul’s liberation or rebirth. Rahu or Ketu within 2 degrees of the ascendant gives an unusual type of personality and a very distinctive appearance.
Considering the negative traits, Rahu and Ketu signify one that is born in a low caste, dissatisfied, fond of traveling, tells lies, is harsh in speech and is involved in unnatural sex. They also indicate a change of residence, ill health, dual marriage, serpents, mosquitoes, insects, spices, southwest direction etc. Parts of the body represented by them are buttocks, intestinal tract. The diseases indicated by them are hiccups, insanity, intestinal problems, ulcer, gastric problems etc. The products represented by them are meat, wine, eggs, radish, coconut, a sacrifice of animal’s etc.
Although they are completely different, when compared to the properties of planets, Rahu has the properties of Saturn whereas Ketu has the influence of Mars. Rahu is feminine. Its gem is Agate or Lapis lazuli and governs paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother.
On the other hand, Ketu is a eunuch. Its gem is turquoise. Ketu is said to be conducive to liberation and to be similar to Mars in giving effects. Ketu rules maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother. While Rahu represents the tall, Ketu represents short natives.
Unlike other astrological entities, Rahu and Ketu are not tangible or observable. But their significance can be understood from the fact that they can still end up having more effect on a native’s life than any planet whatsoever. Hence, they are also often referred to as Shadowy Planets.
This brings us to the end of this extensive article. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto will not be discussed in this article as firstly these are very slow moving planets and secondly these are hardly considered to be significant by astrologers in India for making predictions.
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