Rahu and Ketu—Intense Points of Interest in Our Lives
Astronomically, Rahu and Ketu are points of intersection of the Sun and the Moon’s paths as they travel through the celestial sphere. Rahu is the north lunar node and Ketu the south lunar node. They are always found opposite each other.
In the Vedic literature, in the Bhagavata Purana and in the Mahabharata, Rahu is depicted in conflict with the Sun, or Surya. The serpent demon Rahu has his head severed. However, the head survives as Rahu and the body survives as Ketu.
The head of Rahu attacks the Sun (and Ketu attacks the Moon) and is said to swallow it, resulting in an eclipse. Since Rahu hasn’t a body, he cannot digest the sun. Therefore, the Sun is released, and the eclipse ends.
Both Rahu and Ketu important in another branch of the Vedic literature—Jyotish, or Vedic astrology. Although just mathematical points, or nodes in the celestial sphere, they are considered to be two of the nine planets, called Grahas.
Rahu is considered to be a malefic. He represents the ego and base human desire or may represent an obsession or desperation for something. He may typify greed, passion or scheming, or may represent dullness, inertia or laziness. Jyotish points out that a strong Rahu influence may make someone want more and more at any cost. And in the end it could prove to be an illusion. People may realize that what they were chasing does not exist or it doesn’t give as expected.
Rahu indicates worldly desires and is capable of giving great power, fame, political success, money, etc. However, because the desires are insatiable, they may not provide satisfaction from the attainment of those desires.
Ketu is also considered to be a malefic. Ketu, as the body separated from the head, the serpent without a brain, can produce some intense, unconscious and impulsive behavior. Also, Ketu may signify one who goes unnoticed or be invisible to others.
Overall, Rahu and Ketu are considered to represent negative influences in our lives but may provide a silver lining from time to time.