“Those are all just roles I played. Under all these lives I have lived something else has been growing. I have evolved into something new. And I have one last role to play”. Myself. (Westworld Season 2)
In the acclaimed HBO science fiction series Westworld, Dolores is one of the thousands of androids in a theme park created for human amusement. Each time she is killed by a human, she is fixed back up by the engineers and returned to the park with the memory of the events of her death wiped out. But her subtle memories remain, through deliberately inserted algorithms in her program by her creator, to make her a more interesting character and allow her to evolve and awaken to the game of her life.
Reincarnation and the cycle of birth and death is at the center of the Vedic system of knowledge, which teaches that the soul takes hundreds of thousands of births, 1.1 million to be precise, and plays many different roles. While our past life memory is wiped clear with each birth the subtle memory and impressions remain, which are referred to as Samskaras, that continue their influence through our subconscious.
The Vedic horoscope interprets the current role we are playing in this life. The invisible thread that links our past roles to the present is Rahu and Ketu.
Rahu and Ketu are both forces of nature that disrupt the natural order to create chaos and change that propels evolution. Placed exactly opposite each other in the horoscope, each one of us has Rahu’s drive that pulls towards a perceived paradise, which is also intimately intertwined with Ketu’s paradise lost, or what we might be resisting or refusing in our lives.
Rahu is our “wild side” that obsessive compulsive drive in each of hungry to go down the road of new experiences that eluded us in our past lives. Rahu is pure desire, without him there would be no reason to take birth on earth. Rahu is pure turmoil, because without turmoil there is no transformation.
Ketu retreats and recoils from skills and experiences of the past that no longer hold our attention. He withdraws from the lures and temptations to go down that road again. Without Ketu there would be no satiation or fulfillment of desires. or seeking liberation from the game of life.
The placement of Rahu shows our greatest attachment, ambitions, passion and skills we are developing but also our greatest fear of not getting there.
The placement of Ketu shows our greatest disinclinations, disregard and ambivalence but also our latent talents, that we take for granted and expect to fall into place without effort.
We will only be ready to play that final role when Rahu and Ketu are fully cooked in our consciousness, when we are no longer being pulled apart by attachments or disinclinations.
Jung contemplated this possibility when he said:
“ I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had been born again because I had not fulfilled the task given to me”
Let’s now look at the Vedic myth of Rahu and Ketu, which contains two of the most universal symbols of transformation - snakes and eclipses. There was a great ongoing war in the heavens between the Devas, the forces of universal love, unity, light and truth, and the shadowy Asuras who resist them. Both were the children of the same sage,but born of different mothers. The Devas mother was named Aditi, which means undivided, and Asuras mother Diti, which means split or divided.
The Devas were instructed by Lord Vishnu to churn the ocean, which would produce an elixir, that would make them immortal and but not to share it with the shadowy Asuras. The Devas solicited the help of their Asura siblings to help them churn the ocean, especially the serpent who volunteered his body as a rope, but lord Vishnu tricked the Asura’s out of their share of the elixir by distracting them with a with a wild feast.
Only one of the Asuras, the snake, didn’t fall for the trick and got in line and received his share. The Sun and the Moon pointed this out to Lord Vishnu, who intervened but it was too late and all he managed to do was to slice the snake into two pieces.
So, our shadow had now also become permanent and immortal, as much as our light.
The head of the snake became Rahu and the tail Ketu. According to legend, Rahu and Ketu swallow the Sun and the moon from time to time, causing eclipses.
In Astronomy Rahu and Ketu are referred to as North and South node of the moon. They are not planets, but mathematical or magnetic points where the orbits of the Sun, Moon and earth intersect causing us to experience an eclipse. By blocking out the sun and the moon, the eclipses upset the natural order and rhythm that sustains life on earth.
As the loudest voices in our head and the ones we are least aware of, Rahu and Ketu are also our eclipse points. Their planetary periods usually bring dramatic and unexpected changes, turning our life upside down and inside out for good or ill. Once the planetary periods are over and we can catch our breath a completely new order is established in our life as a result.
Any planet that passes through these Rahu Ketu points also comes under their influence and is regarded as eclipsed.
Rahu functions as our emotional eclipse point so we become outwardly obsessive and infatuated by any planet, house or sign that he influences. Ketu functions as the Ego’s eclipse, so any house sign or planet he influences becomes inwardly withdrawn and repressed.
However, Rahu and Ketu’s eclipsing influence is most profound if you are born during or close to a solar or lunar eclipse.When they eclipse the moon, the force in our consciousness, that prefers to feel its way through life, it becomes very difficult to manage our emotions. When they influence the Sun, that relies on our actions for self-confidence, it becomes difficult to manage our self-worth.
Like the theme park in Westworld which looks like the real world, Another central premise of Vedic philosophy is the concept of Maya, or the divine power of illusion, makes humans perceive the phenomenal world as real.
As a head with no body, Rahu’s mental approach, keeps us engaged in the illusion. Without a head Ketu has a more direct line with the source, and can see through the veil of Maya. This is why in most religions we bow in the presence of the divine.
Depending on their house and sign placement as well as that of their ruler their overblown attraction and repulsion can range from material to spiritual, self-obsessed to altruistic, as well as the pursuit of success and failure.
A rare but highly evolved Ketu is an ascetic or a saint who refuses to play the game of life like everyone else. He is also the indicator of moksha or enlightenment in the horoscope. Ketu is the most important planet for Vedic Astrology, because without his headless insight the study and practice of this ancient science will remain elusive and superficial.
A rare but powerful Rahu can give extreme success as he can fully engage in the game of life. Rahu can tap into the collective consciousness, giving the masses what they want and alter the course of human destiny for good or ill.
Regardless of success or failure, both Rahu and Ketu dasha planetary periods are usually difficult because Rahu, a head with nobody feels eternally dissatisfies. And Ketu a body with no head cannot fully engage in life, so remains disfranchised.
Our inner solar system is represented by hormones, neurotransmitters and biochemical processes that keep us physically and mentally healthy. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are very important players in Ayurveda Astrology and Ayurveda psychology and must be considered as the root cause of any disease, especially those that are psychosomatic.
Rahu is an extremely Vata (air element) influence, his planetary periods can accelerate stress hormones like cortisol, leading to Vata imbalances caused by prolonged excitement, stress and exhaustion. Ketu is a pitta (fiery influence), his disregard for our physical body and mind, can down regulate neurotransmitters like dopamine, leading to apathy and depression and hard to diagnose illness as well as misdiagnosis or medical mistakes.
“Do not doubt the rightness of the two sides within you. A life without inner contradiction is either only half a lie or else a life in the beyond, destined only for angels”. ~ Jung
Polarity is the central theme of most wisdom cultures. It means that the superabundance of any force inevitably produces its opposite. This s also a governing principle of Vedic Astrology as well as Jungian psychology.
Rahu and Ketu represent the kundalini power axis. Rahu represents the root chakra and Ketu the crown chakra, when the root chakra is integrated with the crown chakra the kundalini energy rises unifying the two polarities.
In the horoscope Rahu and Ketu are always placed in opposite signs and houses. The planetary periods of one also activates the other and require harmonizing the polarities represented by Rahu and Ketu, rather than allowing ourselves to be pulled apart by them.
Rahu and Ketu will remain a difficult influence on our life until we understand that these forces represent two opposing desires that are expressed in our personality simultaneously. Symbolically represented by a severed head and a body, trying to unite, they make us feel that we can have either or, but deep down we are desperately seeking both.
Look at their placement of Rahu and Ketu and the houses and signs they are place in your horoscope. This will give you an idea of where you are likely to lose your balance because it’s on this axis that the maximum polarity will be expressed in your life.
To stabilize Rahu and Ketu you will need to learn to make the two opposites work together in harmony.
Houses 1/7 and the Axis of Aries and Libra : Harmonize our personal aspirations longings and desires while simultaneously bowing to the same needs of our partners.
Houses 2/8 and the axis of Taurus Scorpios: Harmonize our search for security and stability with while also embracing volatility and unpredictability.
Houses 3/9 and the axis of Gemini/Sagittarius: Harmonize curiosity, logic and rational thought, learned knowledge with conviction, faith and inner-knowing.
Houses 4/10 and the axis of Cancer/Capricorn – Harmonize the tireless effort required to meet the responsibilities of our outer world with the retreat and of our inner altar.
Houses 5/11 and the axis of Leo/Aquarius – Harmonize the requirements and approval of the collective with those of our individual creative force and uniqueness.
6/12 and the axis of Virgo and Pisces – Harmonize the importance of being orderly, methodical and disciplined while embracing the chaos and fluidity of the transcendental reality.
Just like a balancing asana that simultaneously requires both strength and fluidity, the key is to neither move too much to one side or another, nor remain perfectly still. That razor thin balance that needs refreshing moment by moment is the only remedy for Rahu and Ketu in our horoscope.