KETU—STRANGE CREATURE FROM ANOTHER GALAXY
Ketu or the South Node is a combination of all our past lives and events and ideas from all incarnations and unresolved energies that are there to propel us into the future. We tend to rest comfortable on the energy of the South node because it is familiar territory and it provides a foundation for us to move forward in this life. If afflicted, it can be a burden from the past and impinge on our present life. If in dignity connected to Jupiter, it provides a deep foundation to support us in the present life with deep knowledge and devotion to religion or our Guru. Ketu has no head and it feels with heart and reacts instinctively, emotionally and intuitively rather than intellectual. The deepest purpose of Ketu is to connect the conscious mind to the subconscious and opens up mysteries to unlock our spiritual quest.
Ketu is the co-ruler of Scorpio along with Mars and as the natural 8th sign of the zodiac it is connected to mystical experience and interest in the occult. It can often become the sole ruler of Scorpio if conjunct another planet and if Mars is alone and this gets ignored often in analysis. Even if you are not ruled by Ketuas a Scorpio rising, you can have a strong Ketu signature in your chart if Ketu is in the 1st house, Ketu is in the 12th or your Sun, Moon or rising sign are in Mula (Sag. 0-13.20) nakshatra, Ashwini (Aries 0-13.20) or Magha (Leo 0-13.20) nakshatra. Ketu closely conjunct your chart lord within 3 degrees could also give you a dominant Ketu personality.
Ketu is connected to mystical and magical powers, poverty, contemplation and desire or knowledge and astrology. It tends to be rather unconscious and may have little awareness of how it appears in the world and may not be conscious of clothes or appearance. I have seen many Ketu people rejoice in wearing tattered and torn clothes and not even realize it was a problem. Ketu represents an accumulation of past life gifts and talents from past lifetimes that we have perfected over a series of incarnations and which comes naturally in this lifetime. For example my own Ketu in the 8th in Gemini conjunct Jupiter gives me past life occult and astrological talents and made learning Jyotish very easy. Ketu is fiery and governs independent thinker fixated on a cause, rebels and cannot handle criticism without getting defensive. Ketu types can have low self-esteem and self-doubt and can be self-destructive. They tend to become astrologers, psychics, yogis and are very capable of transcending their egos.
Ketu people can suffer from anxiety, self-doubt, self-effacement, self-martyring, shyness, insecurity, and gullibility. At the same time they may be overly impressionable and receptive, and too accommodating. Ketu has a tendency to explode out of no where and this is a real problem. You may think there is no problem until things go too far and there is an explosion. Ketu can be caught in fanaticism and in that case it creates blind spots in not seeing its dogmatic and rigid ways. This irrational energy can often lead to higher wisdom after chaos, disorder and surprise hit.
Ketu people, on the bright side, can be very generous, compassionate, surrendered to and devoted to Spirit, and contribute much to the world’s store of wisdom It is the karaka or signifier for Moksha or enlightenment and as the soul seeks liberation and hence it is most connected to the 12th house and wanting to reject and let go of worldly pleasures and find altered states of consciousness where there is no pain an eternal happiness. It tends to be too idealistic and may reject outer realities in search of happiness. The path of enlightenment requires a journey from the head to heart if we are to let go and transcend the limitations of the logical world and find the mystical realm of the eternal.
Ketu can be cruel if afflicted by Mars or Saturn and in the chart of Adolph Hitler we see Ketu in the 3rd house conjunct Mars and inflicted war and cruelty without any social conscious. On the opposite pole it can be selfless in service as we see in the chart of Mother Teresa with Ketu in the 12th.
Ketu people tend to be short and heavier in weight and put on more weight in older age. Their personality can be mesmerizing , and they have a strong sense of smell and they may even wear torn clothes like a beggar. I remember in my Ketu period at age 6 that I put on a pair of pants with huge torn holes and went to the library myself and I had no idea why people were looking at me. Ketu is a wanderer and is not attached to the material and is disenchaned with material things. It wants to go on walkabout, spiritual pilgrimage and often the homeless and hobos will have a strong Ketu influence. I met people in Asheville, NC who lived on the streets and they told me how they would hop on freight trains and wander through the US. This is typical of Ketu people.
Ketu is the karaka or signifier for Moksha or enlightenment as the soul seeks liberation and hence it is most connected to the 12th house and wanting to reject and let go of worldly pleasures and find altered states of consciousness where there is no pain an eternal happiness. It tends to be too idealistic and may reject outer realities in search of happiness.
The dark side of Ketu is that it can be morbid, suspicious and even sadistic if connected to malefic signs and planets. Edgar Allen Poe had Ketu in the 7th in Aries and hence it connected to Mars and brought out the darker side. Ketu is like Mars in his spiritual warrior quest to dissolve and break through and release and discover the Divine. Ketu’s chief plan is to cause pain and roadblocks and traffic jams on life’s journey to change psychic and force it to look for answers in the material world. Ketu is so powerful with its fiery energy that it may be difficult to halt its karmic unraveling. Ketu can be connected to accidents, fires, injuries and assassinations particularly if there is a Mars influence or other strong malefic influences. These might manifest in strong Ketu periods or subperiods or if Ketu transits over a key area of your char
Whatever house and sign Ketu is in, binds up to past karmic residue but at the same time give us positive impressions of the past to move us forward with past life skills. Still Ketu will keep us locked in the past and prevent moving forward to future which is represented by Rahu. Ketu can be a kind of quicksand that binds us to our difficult past emotional patterns and it may not be useful and we have to learn to let go of its grip or drown in regret. If we drive forward with always looking in the rear view mirror we will not see what is in front of us. It is not useful to live in the past with difficult compressed memories that we are trying to unravel and that make take years of therapy a waste time for many people although I do find that air signs like Gemini, Libra and Aquarius do well with it. If we spend too much time in the past, it brings it to the present.
Ketu does well with Jupiter and Mercury so Ketu in Pisces, Sagittarius, Gemini or Virgo or having strong aspects or conjunctions will allow Ketu to to move past the past and draw upon it in a positive way. In part two we will discuss Ketu’s association with other planets and signs and the impact that it has.
Ultimately, Ketu dominated people often are afraid to experience life fully and consequently may reject others because they reject themselves. They need to learn self-love, getting out there and being in the world more rather than retreating into a cave and meditating. The important adage, that was then, this is now is a constant mantra Ketu people need to work on daily in order to move toward the future and the Rahu pole of existence.
Special thanks to Komilla Sutton and Prash Trivedi for their insights into Ketu.
This is the 1st in a series of articles about the archetypal patterns of the planets and part of our upcoming new book: Signs of Planets and Consellations from another Gallaxy–Understand Vedic Astrological Archetypal Patterns.
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