Rahu and Ketu are shadow Grahas (Planets) that symbolize the enigmas of life. Ketu is considered the eldest of the two, representing the mystery that has already been explored in previous lives, while Rahu embodies the mystery yet to be explored.
Rahu, also known as the north node, and Ketu, aka the south node, are two non-physical planets only visible during solar and lunar eclipses. Their positions are determined by the Sun and Moon's path around the Earth over the course of a year. By considering the earth as stationary (from an observer's perspective), imagine the Sun and Moon's paths intersecting at two points known as nodes several times a year. Rahu (north node) occurs when the Moon's orbit crosses the Sun's orbit from south to north, while Ketu (south node) occurs when it crosses from north to south. Rahu's domain encompasses everything north, while Ketu's domain encompasses everything south.
The Birth of Rahu and Ketu
Rahu and Ketu represent the head and body respectively – the beginning and the ending. They were once united as one entity named “Swarbhanu”, a powerful asura who had obtained ashta siddhis (eight magical powers) and was even bestowed with the status of a planet by Lord Brahma. After the churning of the ocean of milk, the devas and asuras lined up to receive the divine nectar of immortality (amrita) but the Gods decided to offer it only to devas by deceiving the asuras. Swarbhanu was the most intellect among the asuras, and soon he discovered the deception of Lord Vishnu who was in disguise as "Mohini" (the most beautiful woman) to distract the asuras while offering the amrita to devas. Knowing this, Swarbhanu tricked the devas into thinking he was one of them and drank the amrita only to be caught by Lord Vishnu, who cut off his head. Since Swarbhanu had already consumed the amrita, he did not die, but his one body became two as head and torso (including limbs). Lord Vishnu attached a serpent's tail to Swarbhanu’s head which became "Rahu" and attached the serpent's head to Swarbhanu’s torso which became "Ketu".
All things beautiful, peaceful, comfortable, and long-lasting in life begin with a burst of energy.
Idol of Rahu and Ketu
Rahu is associated with the future, modern technology, foreign cultures, and the western world. It also represents rumors, overindulgence in food and distractions, as well as large organisms and cats. In terms of relationships, it is connected to one's paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother, foreign friends and connections. Association of faith is Islam.
Ketu represents a connection to the past, ancient technology, and society as well as the Eastern world and microcosm. It also signifies hearsay, excessive fat in the belly, traction, micro-organisms, and small animals like dogs. Ketu's relationships include paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, local friends and contacts, priests and monks. Association of faith is ancient like Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism etc.
Both Rahu and Ketu can produce sudden outcomes. However, Ketu is swifter and more covert than Rahu, as it has the head of a serpent, it acts more like a serpent. Rahu is known as the bhoga karaka (significator of abundance) and Ketu is known as the moksha karaka (significator of liberation). Typically, what Rahu gives, Ketu takes away, and vice versa. Additionally, they both symbolize time. Rahu's placement in your astrological chart indicates your future direction, while Ketu's placement reveals past events, including past lives. Rahu's position reflects your eagerness to acquire knowledge related to its house, sign, and nakshatra. On the other hand, Ketu's position signifies your desire to teach what you learned from your past lives (related to its house, sign, and nakshatra).
"We drive into the future using only our rear view mirror"
Rahu constantly eats because it doesn't have a body to digest, thus it brings material prosperity to a point where the native will become over-indulgent and an addict. On the other hand, Ketu doesn't have a head to eat so it denies food resulting in the denial of material prosperity. Since they are non-physical, they mimic the characteristics of their dispositors in their own ways. They also mimic the qualities of their conjunct planets and aspecting planets, resulting in unique possibilities. That's why Rahu-Ketu dashas are hard to predict, even for well trained astrologers.
The serpents Rahu and Ketu oscillate back and forth making you move towards the past and the future constantly. Your physical planets feed Rahu and Ketu in various ways, motivating them towards this perpetual motion. They do so through different ways, such as through their relationship with your nodes, and by transiting over your Rahu and Ketu for guidance and wisdom. Another way is when the node transits over your physical planets. But it has a negative effect as well, it may feed on immature karma due to its insatiable nature. For example, Rahu transiting over a strong Mars and Venus conjunction may ignite your romantic energy, but if Mars and Venus are weak, it can deplete this energy by bringing false romance.
Rahu and Ketu represent no gender. They mature at the age of 42 and 46 respectively. It's the midpoint of life when you get the full understanding of your past, present and future. Rahu is connected to numbers 4 and 36. Ketu is connected to numbers 7 and 39.
Rahu co-rules the sign Aquarius. Ketu co-rules the sign Scorpio.
Rahu’s favourable direction is south-west and Ketu’s favourable direction is north-west.
Rahu and Ketu are enemies with Sun and Moon.
They're tamassic grahas.
Rahu’s associated colours are UV, all shades of blue/brown and electric blue. Ketu’s associated colours are infrared, all shades of grey.
Rahu is mostly resembling the Sun, Ketu is mostly resembling the Moon.
Rahu represents air (vayu), Ketu represents fire (agni).
Time isn't linear but cyclical and we’re just time travellers. That's what the nodes denote through the image “Ouroboros”.
Rahu and Ketu have a unique relationship where one follows the other, and vice versa. This signifies the cyclical nature of time, where the past and future are interconnected (aka history repeats itself). Lord Vishnu allowed Swarbhanu to drink the nectar to maintain balance in the cycle of life and death, victory and defeat, gain and loss, happiness and sadness. The duality of nature is emphasized by Rahu and Ketu, who are polar opposites, yet connected to each other in mysterious ways. This is why they are always located seven houses apart. The 7th house represents everything opposite, and in the same way, Rahu and Ketu balance each other's energies as remedies. It's similar to how partners in a marriage are different in many ways but connected through the bond of marriage.
It shows that the 7th house from any house represents the balance of that house. This knowledge can help you find balance in any aspect of your life. That's why it's crucial to understand the nodes in astrology.