What is my purpose in life? The question is universal, but the answer is deeply personal. Is there a God that created us and the universe? According to both mythological tales and religious canons, the answer is yes.
Then, the question arises again, why was I created?
The story of Naga Vasuki, the Snake King of the Underworld, is an allegory for life on earth as well as what lays beyond our earthbound existence. The ocean was churned and amidst all that was created; there were treasures, but also poisons.
Each and every single one of us, it seems, is born with these treasures and poisons within us. It is in learning how to create and manifest consciously that we will finally manifest the treasure that we all have come to earth to seek. It is our birthright.
Creation myths are a universe onto themselves. They exist in virtually all storytelling traditions. They seem to possess the same cast of characters. The good guys, the bad guys–and the snake.
Naga Vasuki was the King of the Underworld. There is said to have been a great war that ensued between the gods and the demons for control over the created universe. In the beginning, Vasuki helped the gods to churn the nectar of immortality.
The gods wanted the nectar for themselves, as did the demons.
To detract the demons from their pursuit of amrita–the nectar of immortality–the gods distracted them with pleasures of the flesh–wine, women, singing and dancing. Even though Vasuki was a demon, he was neither distracted and nor was he fooled by these temptations.
He knew of the Gods’ ploy to keep the amrita for themselves. Vasuki thus consumed the nectar secretly. While both sides were equally deceptive, it was Vasuki alone who paid the price for his deception. His head was severed from his body.
Nevertheless, as a result of drinking the amrita, Vasuki too, had become immortal.
The Shadow Planets
In Vedic Astrology, the head of Vasuki is known as Rahu and the body is known as Ketu. It is an allegorical dance that began when humanity was first created. The North and South Nodes of the Moon are the two points in the natal chart that signify where our lives are brimming with unfulfilled potential.
Kundalini is the dormant power that exists within all of us and is seeking to find either its expression or its dissolution. In Vedic astrology, the Rahu and Ketu placements in the natal and navamsha charts are indicators of where our Kundalini is destined to awaken.
Rahu, as the head of the snake, wants to taste and experience life. Ketu, on the other hand, shows us the results of the digestion process–that which either nourishes us or is excreted when it no longer serves us.
By understanding our North and South Node placement in the natal and navamsa charts, we are able to transcend the limits that have been set and created for us. They represent the areas of our lives which will be churned. Through this churning process, we will find gifts and blessings; as well as poisons and traps.
It is how we navigate this tumultuous terrain that will teach us the true meaning of power.
The Cosmic dance
Rahu acts as a magnifying glass or a spotlight; whereas Ketu works behind-the-scenes, away from the spotlight. If we were to use the analogy of theatre, Rahu is the leading actor on stage and Ketu is the director of the production.
They co-exist and co-create the narrative that we are destined to live out as well as the challenges that we will face. Rahu represents aspects that we still need to enact and act out before we can move on and be cast in another theatre production.
On the other hand, Ketu signifies that we either need to complete the story we started directing; or alternatively, we need to retire from our role as being the puppet master that pulls all the strings behind-the-scenes.
One extremely important point to note, especially concerning the nodes, is that they must be read together. Rahu and Ketu are two aspects of the same being.
Rahu and Ketu signify the past life patterns that we have brought with us into our present incarnation. Planets that are in conjunction with Rahu and Ketu significantly alter the nature of the planet that they are in conjunction with. This is largely a boon, if the nature of the pattern is identified and the appropriate action is taken to either strengthen or overcome the pattern.
Planets conjunct Rahu and Ketu are said to be ‘eclipsed’. Eclipses are a rare phenomenon. During an eclipse, the Sun and Moon appear to behave in a way that is contrary to their nature.
While every planetary conjunction with Rahu and Ketu is a significant one, the Sun and the Moon have to bear the strongest and most extreme brunt of a conjunction with either Rahu and Ketu.
Ketu indicates areas where we have unfinished business and unfulfilled dreams. It is what modern psychologists have termed The Unlived Aspect. It can either give or take away. It can allow us to fulfil our unfinished business or it can help us to release it once and for all.
Ketu can, under certain circumstances, allow for incomplete work from previous incarnations to be completed. In other circumstances, Ketu forces the soul to see the painful truth so that it can finally be surrendered and released. It requires strength to let go of deeply entrenched patterns and to move on. It also requires great commitment to either finish what we started or to let go of something we once loved.
The natal chart together with the navamsa chart indicate the issues that we have incarnated to either fulfil or to let go of completely.
As mentioned earlier, in the film analogy, Rahu is the leading actor on stage. The spotlight of our life is on this area. But that doesn’t mean that it’s showing you the whole story. There’s still Ketu, the director, that’s running the show. There’s also an entire cast of supporting actors who are playing a variety of different roles in your life. To think I haven’t even started on the sound engineers and the orchestra that’s playing in the background.
Wherever Rahu is, he is either seeking the spotlight or shunning it. It may even be a bit of both. I have read stories of famous people and many of them retire from the spotlight after their time is done. At that point, they may even want to be left alone. Rahu shows where we have the potential to make an immense breakthrough in our lives. Even if there are failures, the potential for success is enormous.
Since Rahu is also a significator of foreigners and foreign lands, it shows that one could be successful in foreign lands or among foreign peoples. Above all, Rahu is there to remind us that the persona is not the person; and definitely not an accurate portrayal of the soul.
We are but actors on stage, who have to play different parts till the True Self is finally revealed.
Planets in the same houses as the nodes indicate past life karma that we have brought with us into our current incarnation. This does not apply for everyone. While many cultures have a belief in the transmigration of the soul, it is not a universal concept and perhaps with good reason. Not all souls are reincarnated and nor is everyone guaranteed a rebirth.
No one can say with certainty what happens to our souls after we die. We only have beliefs. It’s hard to prove or disprove the existence of past and future lives. As a theory, however, it is not an implausible one. I have no doubt that there are some souls that are old, in that, they have incarnated many times over; and that there are some souls that are young and only live once.
If we come into knowledge of our past lives in our present incarnation, there is a reason for it. Sometimes we feel a terrible sense of nostalgia, deja vu or whatever you want to call it, when we go to certain places and meet certain people. There is a sense that we are reuniting and meeting once again.
Is it the treasure you once sought or is it poison? Well, if it is poison, I’m sure that there is an anti-venom out there that could save you. If it is the treasure you sought but failed to find, perhaps this time around, the treasure you seek will show up at your doorstep and find you instead.
Till the next life, I bid you farewell.
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