Rahu (राहु)

There are different names given to Rahu and Ketu like Nodes, Shadows, Head and Tail, Caput, Cauda etc. The Moon is a satellite of the earth revolving around it in an orbit inclined to that of the earth round the Sun at an angle of approximately 50. The Moon completes its orbit round the earth in about a month crossing the orbit of earth twice in the same period, once when it goes from south to north and at another time while traveling from north to south. The ascending point is called ‘Rahu’ and 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 Moon. It has been established beyond doubt that Rahu and Ketu influence an individual’s life, at times more than other planets. Since they are in exact opposition to each other, their effect should be considered simultaneously.

Rahu and Ketu give the effects of the lords of the signs they are in and also of those planets which are situated with them, not having much individual characteristics of their own. Rahu is known as Dragon’s head and Ketu as Dragon’s tail. Head is forward looking while the tail represents the past. The Rahu represents the qualities to be developed and work to be done during the present incarnation and Ketu denotes the qualities during past lives and these indicate attitudes that come naturally to the native. They are classified as Karmic planets.

According to Hindu astrology both Rahu and Ketu are malefic. Rahu is considered as ‘giver’ and Ketu the ‘taker’ and since giving and taking are results of former action, they may be considered as planets of ‘gains’ and losses’. Ketu is considered as a spiritual force causing salvation to human souls and Rahu is more earthly indicating mundane prosperity. The effects of the Nodes is not always evil, they are also productive and 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, if the Nodes conjoin Mars or Saturn without any benefic aspect, life is marked by misery, struggle and misunderstanding throughout. Rahu is also considered a diplomat and Ketu a seer. Rahu and Ketu 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 give an unusual type of personality and a very distinctive appearance.

Rahu and Ketu signify one born in low caste, dissatisfied, fond of travelling, telling lie, harsh in speech, involved in unnatural sex. They also indicate change of residence, ill health, dual marriage, serpents, mosquitoes, insects, spices, southwest direction etc. Part 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, sacrifice of animal’s etc.

Rahu has the properties of Saturn whereas ketu has the influence of Mars. Rahu is feminine. Its gem is Agate or Lapis lazuli. Rahu is said to resemble Saturn. Rahu governs paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother. Ketu is eunuch. Its gem is turquoise. Ketu is said to be conducive to liberation. Ketu is said to be similar to Mars in giving effects. Ketu rules maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother. Rahu represents the tall while Ketu represents the short persons.

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 by astrologers in India for making predictions.