Mythology of Rahu and Ketu

Still to this day many Hindus believe that the mythological demons Rahu and Ketu cause solar eclipses?

In Hindu mythology there is a wonderful story that describes how the gods and the demons once formed an alliance to produce a nectar that could give them immortality. This is the story of the churning of the milk-ocean and the descent of Lord Visnu as the Kurma avatara, the divine tortoise. When the nectar that was churned from this ocean was being served to the gods, a demon, disguised as a god, sat between the Sun and the Moon in an attempt to procure the nectar. When he was detected by the Sun and the Moon, Lord Visnu immediately severed his head from his body. Unfortunately, it was not fast enough, for the demon had already tasted a small quantity of the nectar and had become immortal. Ever since, this demon is said to wreak vengeance on the Sun and Moon whenever they come near. The head of this great demon is known as Rahu and his tail is known as Ketu.

Rahu and Ketu Mythology

In Hindu astrology Rahu and Ketu are known as two invisible planets. They are enemies of the Sun and the Moon, who at certain times of the year (during conjunction or opposition) swallow the Sun or the Moon causing either a solar or a lunar eclipse. In Sanskrit this is known as grahanam or seizing.

What perhaps sounds like a childish story is a powerful metaphor for what actually happens when an eclipse takes place. Rahu and Ketu are the astronomical points in the sky respectively called the north and south lunar nodes.

To the observer on earth, the paths of the sun and the moon appear to be two great circles projected on the celestial sphere (see the diagram). The sun’s path, the solar ecliptic, makes a complete revolution in one year. At the same time, the moon’s circular path is completed in about one month. Every month the moon will overtake the sun which moves more slowly. This is called new moon or in Sanskrit, amavasya. Usually the moon’s path passes above or below the sun’s path and no eclipse occurs. But, periodically the moon overtakes the sun at the place where their paths intersect. This causes the sun or the moon to be hidden from the earth’s view and is thus called a solar or lunar eclipse. These places of intersection are the north and south lunar nodes, or as they are referred to in Hindu mythology, Rahu and Ketu. Therefore, in the symbolic language of mythology, Rahu and Ketu are said to “swallow up” the Sun and the Moon. The ancient Hindu observers of the sky were aware of the cause of the solar and lunar eclipses and so described the process in the language of metaphor.

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Ketu significations in Jyotish

In Indian Astrology besides the classical seven Planets two Nodes of Moon known as Rahu an Ketu are also considered very important.

In Western Astrology they are sometimes called Moon Nodes or specifically Moon North Node and Moon South Node. Some Astrologers like to call them Dragons Head and Dragons Tail, still some call them Caputs head and Caputs tail.

In Arabic and Persian Astrology they are called Raas and Zanb.

In Jyotish Moon Nodes are given a lot of importance and lot of Astrological combinations are written about them an they are even used in the famous system of Dasas to time the important events in ones life.

Western Astrology has not given them the exact importance as they deserve, whereas on the other hand in Jyotish no Astrological reading is complete without them.

While during my journey in Astrology i learnt a lot about them an experimented a lot with them in my readings but one thing which i note was that a very little literature is available on the significance of them on net an even books written on Jyotish and western Astrology. So to fulfil this gap i have written some of the significances of Ketu or Dragon Tail or Caputs Tail or Zanb, with the hope that it will show the astrologers how vast are its results explored in Jyotish Ancient Literature.

So much more can be written on these two Nodes of Moon but i will keep them for further pages to be written in future.

Ketu Significations in Jyotish

It signifies:

Religion,

Astrology,

Moksha or final emancipation,

Intrigues,

Pride,

Spiritual initiation,

Religious resignation,

Sectarian principles,

Artistic Tastes,

Pride,

Literary genius,

Dissimilation,

Mendicancy,

Skull,

Bankruptcy,

Miserliness,

Ascetics,

Quarrels,

Deception,

Biliousness,

Philosophers,

Selfishness,

Occultist,

Religious show,

Charms,

Assassination,

Friends,

Amulets,

Vicious tendencies,

Secret intrigues and associates,

Back biting,

Cocks,

Hens,

Vultures,

Hunters,

Divine Knowledge,

Observing silence,

Troubles from enemies,

Hunger,

Eat little food,

Salvation,

Wealth,

Penance,

Religious austerities,

Maternal Grandfather,

Thorns,

Witchcraft,

Pain,

Stupidity,

Diseases,

Wounds,

Fever,

Outcaste,

Dog,

Horned Animals,

Company with low caste people or servants,

Highly religious,

God Fearing,

Adopts all sorts’ quackery to please GOD,

A highly dangerous fellow,

A spiritualist,

A specialist in Tantric sciences and wedded to superstitious beliefs.

Ketu has a red and fierce look. A venomous tongue an elevate body.

He is armed and outcaste. (May be a Dacoit living in forests)

He is inhaling smoke always (we can say in modern context that he is a chain smoker or work in some such a chemical environment where there is smoke coming all the time.)

Mythological Names of Planets

Mythological Names of Planets

Planet as defined in Astrology includes all of the seven heavenly bodies which ancient astrologers could see in the sky, plus the three planets discovered since the invention of telescopes.

The Planets, listed in order of distance from the Sun (with their Roman/Greek mythical links) are:

Mercury – named after Mercurius or Hermes (Messenger of the gods)

Venus – named after Venus or Aphrodite (goddess of Love and Beauty)

Mars – named after Mars or Ares (god of War)

Jupiter – named after Jupiter (Jove), or Zeus (King of gods)

Saturn – named after Saturn or Kronos (god of Time)

Uranus – named after Uranus or Ouranos (god of Sky)

Neptune – named after Neptune or Poseidon (god of Sea)

Pluto – named after Pluto or Hades (god of Underworld)

Though the Sun (a Star) and the Moon (a satellite of Planet Earth) are not planets by the usual definition, for the sake of convenience astrologers refer to them as “Planets” too:

Sun – named after Sol or Helios (also associated with Apollo)

Moon – named after Luna or Hecate (also associated with Diana)