Updated: Apr 4
The nodes usually have a stigma attached to them but they are forces that when understood can be used to free ourselves from the cycle of births. The affect of the nodes are based on the placements i.e the house ruler, dignities, yogas, transits, dashas, etc.
What are the nodes?
In Jyotish astrology the nodes are not viewed as physical planets. They are shadow planets or Chhaya Grahas. They are mathematically calculated points that have a tremendous influence on your life whether you know it or not.
These intersecting points can be anywhere along the ecliptic where the Moon crosses the plane of Sun and Earth either going North or South. Each node is always 180 degrees away [opposite of each other] as they move in a retrograde motion. They take 18 years to make a full cycle through the 12 signs and spend 18 months in each sign at a time.
How did the nodes come into being?
In every creation story there is a good vs evil or Gods vs Demons storyline that plays out. The myth of Vasuki the Snake King of the Naga Loka is no different.
In this myth Vishnu took on the avatar of an enchantress named Mohini and began distributing the Divine Nectar to the Gods and the Demons. The plan was to share out the nectar before any was left for the Demons. As the Gods and Demons were seated in two different rows Swarbanu saw that a trick was being played. He then went over to the other side, disguised as an Asura to receive his portion of the nectar. Surya [Sun] and Chandra [Moon] saw what was happening and told Vishnu. Vishnu swiftly used his discus and severed the head of Swarbanu in an attempt to stop him from partaking of the nectar but by that time he had already received a drop. Swarbanu now divided into two, his head became known as Rahu and body was called Ketu.
Since the Sun and Moon told on Swarbanu, his shadowy nodes Rahu and Ketu forever chase them as revenge. This is reason we have lunar and solar eclipse that appear to swallow the Sun and Moon at that time.
How do the nodes influence a chart?
Rahu and Ketu rule karma. They affect you psychologically because their energy is disruptive and you never know where they will take you.
The nodes are why we continue to reincarnate because of our unfulfilled desires.
Rahu in a chart Rahu is about your future. Rahu shows the area of life that you are driven to focus on in this life. This placement may be an area where overindulgence is more likely because as the head, Rahu consumes but doesn't digest. Rahu is insatiable, impulsive and makes you overthink. He brings a sense of anxiety about the future that not be easy to articulate but the presence is definitely felt.
During the distribution of the nectar Vasuki decided to find another way to get what he wanted. Therefore Rahu thinks out of the box and his innovative tendencies can be put to good use. That depends on the placement and the evolution of the being.
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Ketu in a chart Ketu is about your past. Ketu represents what you have brought from a past life in the form of a behavior, pattern or skill. The house Ketu is placed in can represent an area you have mastered- or focused on more heavily in a previous life or over multiple lifetimes.
Where Ketu sits in your horoscope the focus will be more internal because Ketu is a liberating energy. Ketu wants you to go towards Moksha.
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Additionally, much can be said about the nodes and their function. They have both positive and negative effects and do not discriminate when it comes to delivering what is promised in a chart. To learn the full scope of what these energies can do you can start to understand them by studying their placement in your own chart.