Combinations of Power (Rahu and Ketu)
By Joni Patry, 2008
In Vedic astrology the lunar nodes, known as Rahu and Ketu, have special powers in a chart. Often referred to as our karmic destiny, they indicate our greatest gifts and our darkest issues. In prediction they are where the annual eclipses fall, and indicate the areas of our life that involve the most transformation for that year. When the lunar nodes are combined with another planet they take on the quality of that planet. Each combination will produce very different results.
Rahu and Ketu are described as shadowy planets because they are associated with the eclipses of the Sun and the Moon. These shadows developed the powerful myths and meanings bestowed on the nodes, myths of struggles with demons, serpents, and forces of darkness and light. Symbolically they may be seen as our own shadows.
In the Hindu myth a serpent slithered in the line between the Sun and Moon to partake of the nectar of immortality being given to the gods, planets, and luminaries. When the thief was discovered, Lord Vishnu threw a disk, splitting him in half, but he had already swallowed the nectar. This was the creation of the serpent’s or dragon’s head (Rahu), and the serpent’s or dragon’s tail (Ketu). Rahu is the head that is consumed with the thinking mind. The mind separated from the senses creates illusions, and Rahu is the indicator of worldly illusions. Ketu is the quality of knowing without the thinking mind. It is the perception of spiritual insights that lead to enlightenment.
The Moon’s orbit around the Earth intersects the ecliptic at two points. These two points are the nodes of the Moon. The north node of the Moon (Rahu) is where the Moon crosses from south to north, called the ascending node. This symbolizes the birth into the material manifestation. The south node (Ketu) is where the Moon crosses from north to south, called the descending node. This symbolizes our leaving the material plane for the spiritual realm. So Rahu takes us into the physical world and Ketu takes us out of it.
All this represents the cycles of birth and death into and out of this world. Rahu and Ketu are the indicators of destiny and fate, symbolizing our entrapment in this physical plane. These shadow planets control us by our desires. Our desires are our karmas. Our destiny is to release the chains this world has cast upon us. It is like the serpent’s bite. The poisonous venom intoxicates us into this world.
Rahu takes us under its spell with the illusions of this world, the promise of happiness, leaving us with a sense of wanting: “If I could only have more of the things that give me pleasure”. But of course, this only leads to insatiable desires. We can never have enough. This is the venomous bite of Rahu. Conversely Ketu strips us of the objects of our desires, revealing that nothing in this world gives us security and permanence. It is essentially the process of enlightenment, when we come to realize that ultimately, it is all an illusion. Nothing of this material world lasts, therefore; it is all an illusion or Maya. Ketu is the bringer of enlightenment through the realization of this truth. Ketu is the release of this world.
Rahu is our entrapment and Ketu is our final liberation from the karmas of the soul. Rahu will give things, but always with a price. Ketu will take away, but gives the gift of seeing or enlightenment. When the lunar nodes are combined with another planet they take on the quality of that planet, like mirrors magnifying the energy of that planet. Each combination will produce very different results. In a birth chart, the extremes caused by Rahu and Ketu will be seen in:
- the houses that Rahu and Ketu occupy;
- the houses of their (sign)dispositors;
- the nature of the planet that conjuncts Rahu and Ketu and the houses ruled by the planet that conjuncts Rahu or Ketu;
- the nakshatra dispositor of Rahu or Ketu.
All of the houses that are involved with rules 1-4 will be connected to the destiny and fate of the soul.
To get a deeper look at the results a planet will produce, you must look to the nakshatra dispositor of the planets. It is the nakshatras that determine the entire predictive system used in Vedic astrology, the Vimshottari Dasha System. This system is based on the nakshatra that the natal Moon is placed in at birth. This nakshatra determines the entire life sequence of events that occur in a lifetime.[1, 2] The ruling planet of each nakshatra will be referred to in this article as the nakshatra dispositor. What will be exemplified throughout here is that when an individual is in a dasha and bhukti of the key planets referred to with these guidelines, you will see the events of their fate and destiny manifest fully. The dashas bring into fruition through timing of events the promise of the planets.
Effects of Rahu
Rahu (North Node of Moon): Rahu has the nature of a serpent. It poisons you to the illusions of this world. It is our desires that keep us incarnating here. Under Rahu, things happen. Rahu gives, but with a price. When our most intense desires are granted under Rahu we discover that too much of a good thing ends up causing our most intense suffering. We may, for example, gain fame and fortune, only to realize we have no freedom or place to go without being mauled by fans. Family and friends disown us out of jealousy. The fame and fortune we desired only brought us separation and sorrow. Ultimately the disillusionment leads to the enlightenment of Ketu, who detaches and renounces the world for spiritual enlightenment.
The nodes are the most powerful of all the planets, for they cause the eclipses of the luminaries, the Sun and Moon. The nodes block out the light or consciousness. Rahu is the material world and all the desires it creates. It gives material things which will never bring lasting happiness. This is the illusion of Rahu. When these things start to fall away we become obsessed with trying to hold on to them. Rahu deals with fear, obsessive and compulsive behavior. It is about addictions, poisons, alcohol, and drugs. Any planet with Rahu will be magnified greatly in the chart as Rahu will take on the quality of the planet it is next to (in the same sign). This can be good or bad depending on the planet. Rahu with Venus or Jupiter can bring wealth, but Rahu with Saturn can cause suffering to the house they are in.
Key Words: Fame, status, prestige, power, worldly success, fulfillment of worldly desires, outer success with inner turmoil, extremes, obsessive behavior, addictions, psychic disturbances, collective trends, foreigners and foreign lands, epidemics, disease, poisons that destroy and heal, medicine, drugs and alcohol.
Rahu and Ketu take on the quality of the planets that are associated with them or in aspect (especially conjunct). If they are not associated or aspected by other planets they will give the results of the planet that rules the sign they are in (dispositor).
The sign and nakshatra dispositor is considered the karmic control planet.
Rahu and Ketu cast the trine aspect 5 and 9 signs away from their position.
Rahu acts like Saturn, and Ketu acts like Mars. They can be described, in my opinion, like the outer planets. Rahu is similar to Pluto or a mixture of Uranus, Saturn, Pluto, and Ketu is similar to Neptune or a mixture of Neptune, Mars, and Uranus.
Rahu and Ketu will give raja yoga whenever they are either in a trikona or kendra house and they are conjunct a planet that rules a trikona or kendra.
When the lunar nodes are combined with another planet they take on the quality of that planet, like mirrors magnifying the energy of that planet. Each combination will produce very different results. As we go through all the planets in conjunction with Rahu the qualities of each planet will be magnified with these conjunctions. Conjunctions will always occur in the sign Rahu and Ketu are in during the 18 month period Rahu and Ketu are in a sign, once with Rahu and then with Ketu. Below is a list of the conjunction frequency:
- The Sun will conjunct Rahu and Ketu once a year (during an eclipse), 6 months apart.
- The Moon will conjunct Rahu and Ketu once a month.
- Mercury and Venus will conjunct Rahu and Ketu once a year.
- Mars will conjunct Rahu and Ketu once every 2 years.
- Jupiter will conjunct Rahu and Ketu once every 7 years, and the conjunction will occur 8 signs away from the previous conjunction.
- Saturn will conjunct Rahu and Ketu once every 11 years, and the conjunction will occur 6 signs from the previous conjunction.
Rahu conjunct Sun (Surya)
The Sun is the life force of our planet. It is the soul and spirit of a chart. However it can be an overpowering influence. If it is too close to other planets it can burn up their capability to function properly. This condition is called combustion of the Sun. The Sun works best in the tenth house where it gives a sense of power and career opportunity. In other houses its forceful presence can be excessive and cause problems.
Key Words: Atma-Self, masculine, day, future, soul, physical body and health, heart, life force, courage, pride, ego, vitality, will power, stamina, sense of self, power, fame, glory, inspiration, creativity, leadership, Father, teachers, authority, law and order, bosses, political leaders, kings or presidents.
The Sun is the karaka for (indicator of) the father and leaders or Presidents.
Donald Trump’s Chart
The Sun is the atma or the self. It is the ego and rules our motivations and drive in life. The Sun rules leaders, teachers and is the karaka of the father. With the Sun conjunct Rahu his ego and sense of self worth is expanded and exaggerated. In the 11th house, this gives gains and the ultimate gift to fulfill his wishes and desires. Because Rahu indicates expansion in the physical materialistic world Donald’s gains are manifest in physical wealth. The Sun in this chart rules the 2nd house giving more credence to the gains pertaining to wealth and money. Rahu is exalted in the sign of Taurus according to Parashara, therefore, gives it great power to fulfill the indications of the 11th house, which is material gains and desires. When a planet is exalted it is in its most exalted state and has more power to produce the indications of the house it resides in.
Rahu and the Sun are in the nakshatra Mrigashira which is ruled by Mars, as shown in Figure 1. Mars is in the 2nd house of money and finance, further indicating his gains will be associated with the extremes of money. The nakshatra ruling planet of Sun and Rahu (Mars) is equally as important as the sign ruler, which is Venus, both being in Taurus.
He was born on a lunar eclipse, which complicated his life with women and emotional issues due to relationships and marriage. This is because on a lunar eclipse the Sun and Moon are in opposition and conjunct the lunar nodes. The oppositions activate relationship issues, since they are 7th from one another.
When Donald entered into Rahu’s cycle in 1999, his father died, and he ran for President of the United States. The Sun is the karaka of the father, and Sun with Rahu indicates power and leadership. Rahu indicates extremes and power. It will work as a malefic giving what is desired, but with a price to be paid. When the nodes (either Rahu or Ketu) are conjunct a planet, and the person enters the dasha/bhukti  of the node and the planet, such as when Donald entered into Rahu/Sun, then an extreme result will manifest. It can be problematic for the person if the planet is karaka, as the Sun is the karaka for the father.
Rahu conjunct Moon (Chandra)
The Moon is the reflective influence. The Sun sends out its radiance and the Moon reflects it back. It is receptive, and therefore represents the reflective mind giving consciousness. The Moon is the nurturing, protecting influence that a mother provides. It is the Yin or female influence, while the Sun is Yang or male.
Key Words: The mind, reflection, feminine, night, emotions, sensitivity, nurturing, security, past, past-lives, patterns of behavior, receptivity, caring for others, heredity, Mother, the public or masses, popularity, inner contentment, home, water, habits, subconscious mind.
The Moon is the karaka for the mother and the mind.
Effects of Ketu
Ketu (South Node of Moon): Ketu’s function is to cause inner turmoil so that the soul will seek the true essence of the individual. Whereas, Rahu is the material world, Ketu is the spiritual world. It is the headless serpent, implying the perception and wisdom that is a gut level knowing and that can give psychic or clairvoyant abilities. But Ketu can give a feeling of helplessness, self-doubt, and lack of confidence. Through humiliating experiences one becomes humble. Ketu is a wanderer without roots. It is a fiery force that can cause accident and injury. Above all, it is the karaka of loss that directs our attention back to the eternal reality, the self-realization of our essence with God. Rahu works on the outer material world and Ketu works on the inner spiritual world. Ketu with a planet will have a spiritualizing effect on it, directing the planetary energy to look within its essence. If Ketu is with Mars, the nature will actively seek the spiritual side of life, Martian qualities will be withdrawn, anger suppressed and channeled inwardly. Ketu with the Moon can give psychic abilities. Like Rahu, Ketu can cause mental instabilities, mass hysteria, diseases and plagues, and represent poisons like drugs and alcohol. However, both Rahu and Ketu can also be drugs or poisons that heal.
Key Words: Loss, negation, lack of confidence, self doubt, fantasies, confusion, indecision, illusions, drug addiction and alcoholism, psychic influences, fire, injury, death, spiritual insight, liberation, perception, wisdom.
There is an ambition for power where Ketu is positioned by house. The ambition for power comes from a strong empty feeling. The house it is in will feel like an empty void therefore, there is a need to constantly fill this void creating an obsession to refill the emptiness. This is why there can be gains and abundance for the house that Ketu is in.
Ketu has been said to negate the planet it is conjunct or aspects. A planet conjunct Ketu becomes magnified in an unusual way, the outcome depends on the houses the planet with Ketu rules; that is if the planet with Ketu is a friend or enemy to the chart. This depends on the Ascendant.
Ketu is the suction point for all incoming karma from past incarnations. This karma is processed then set forth through our life with experiences indicated by Rahu. Rahu is the future and new karmas developed during this lifetime. The controlling planets are the sign and nakshatra dispositors of Rahu and Ketu. Planets conjunct these nodes become the wild card to express this experience even more. So Ketu is the past karmas of the soul in which are put forth into action in this lifetime through Rahu. Ketu is the talents and faculties developed through past lives. Ketu deals with the inheritance of these natural abilities but the real test is to balance these abilities and not let them control us. We must reach out and develop the Rahu qualities instead of letting the karma repeat itself of the previous lifetimes. We must learn to use this power for the good of mankind instead of selfish self grandeur. Ketu is our past while Rahu is our future, and where we must develop our skills in this lifetime.
If Ketu is with a benefic planet the qualities of that house are empowered. If they are in the sign the planet rules, extremes of wealth are possible, especially in the maha dasha of Ketu. For example, if Ketu is in the second house with Jupiter it gives wealth. But, it gives extremes of wealth if Ketu and Jupiter are in Sagittarius or Pisces. This becomes activated when Ketu’s maha dasha begins. At the end of the seven-year Ketu cycle all the gains during this cycle can be lost.
Planets conjunct Ketu will be exaggerated in an unusual way. The exaggeration is due to a sense of lack that is overcompensated.
Donald Trump (chart displayed earlier in Sun conjunct Rahu section) has Moon and Ketu in Scorpio the 5th house. You would think as the Moon is the ruler of the chart by owning the 1st house, he would be weakened considerably by being debilitated in Scorpio and conjunct Ketu. But the Moon with Ketu gives intuitive powers, and in the 5th house gives knowingness as to when to make investments. It does form Raja Yoga, for the Moon rules an angle (kendra) and the Moon and Ketu are in a trikonal, although it was during his Moon/Ketu period in 1990 that he had the biggest losses financially. In order to stay afloat he had to juggle all his properties. The sign dispositor of Moon and Ketu is Mars, and Mars is in the 2nd house of money, but the Nakshatra dispositor produced the result being Mercury (Jyestha is ruled by Mercury), for Mercury is in the 12th house of losses in its own sign. But he was still able to succeed through this difficult time.