Ketu: the Mystery of Past Lives

Past Lives, or Rebirth as it is often referred to, is not a theory in Hindu culture; it is a fact. Generally we have amnesia about out past lives, but with the help of Vedic Astrology we can get some clues about where we came from, and how that past is influencing our present circumstances.

One of the best techniques for examining the past life is through the analysis of the placement of Ketu in the natal astrology chart. Ketu is the South Node of the Moon, one of two eclipse points: crossover points of the path of the Moon with that of the Sun, as seen from the Earth. Ketu is known as the ‘inlet point’ for past life karmas. Here the word karma is referring to past life completed actions. The prior activity of the soul comes through in this lifetime as unconscious behavior patterns, naturally familiar due to the prior experiences. The past life actions have created a ‘groove’ in the soul’s memory. Thus, in this life, we are prone to fall back into that groove.

Opposite Ketu is Rahu, the North Node, which is considered to represent the karmas (actions) that have to be encountered in this lifetime for the soul’s continued education. The relative strength of Ketu vs. Rahu has to be determined to tell whether the person tends to ‘hang out’ in the old, familiar, past life behaviors, or else embraces the new lessons shown by the Rahu position. Additionally, at different times in one’s life one or the other of the Nodes will be emphasized, most notably during the Dashas (the planetary periods) connected with that node, but also through activation from other planets when they transit over the natal nodal positions. The activation of Ketu brings up unresolved issues from the past. The activation of Rahu makes us confront dilemmas related to what we are becoming in this life’s incarnation.

If we wish to take a more active part in our soul’s evolution, and move forward in this life, it would be good to understand more about our past life. We can become aware of where we are repeating the past; where we fall back into the old groove. The Houses of the chart correspond to specific different areas of human activity. Thus, the house position of Ketu in your Vedic Astrology chart will tell you something of what activities in the former life were a dominant concern.

For instance, if Ketu is placed in the 3rd house of everyday survival, then running around doing errands, keeping busy with the affairs of close relatives and neighbors, and promoting oneself to others with gossip, etc., are familiar activities that one tends to naturally fall into. In this case, Rahu’s placement would indicate that the lessons of the opposite 9th house: the pursuit of higher knowledge, practice of religion, relationship with father and guru, are areas that need development. If the reverse is true, where Ketu is in the 9th house, then one has a tendency to study scripture, hang out in an ‘ivory tower’, and/ or stick to a religion or philosophy inherited from the past life. Rahu’s corresponding position shows the 3rd house with its practical everyday requirements, cooperation with others, and development of mundane skills to be what one has to focus on this time.

The sign that Ketu occupies gives us clues about the qualities of the person we were in the former birth that become natural inclinations in this lifetime. These qualities are particularly obvious while we are young: the past life is still fresh in the soul’s memory. The opposite sign position of Rahu shows what qualities and attitudes the soul seeks to learn to express in this birth. If Ketu is in Sagittarius, then you come in with a strong belief that your own way is best, that your own freedom to act comes first, and so feel threatened by anything that comes from another’s reality. What you need to learn is to become more ‘Gemini-like’: to be interested in gathering more data, cultivate an interest in other people’s truths, and to enjoy the exchange of ideas. Another example: if you are born with Ketu in Virgo, the past life was given over to the examination of details, with a need for exactness, getting everything right, and an attachment to order and routine. This lifetime you need to become more Piscean: be aware of the universal consciousness, surrender to the Higher Power, and trust what can’t be measured or controlled.

A more detailed analysis of the relative strength of Ketu vs. Rahu is necessary to determine which house and sign position tends to predominate in one’s life, and what potential issues will arise from the imbalance. But by simply knowing our own chart’s nodal locations we can become more aware of unconscious behavior patterns inherited from the past birth and thus see more clearly what we have to overcome to continue on our path.

30 thoughts on “Ketu: the Mystery of Past Lives

  1. raghunandan

    i have been going thru the site from morning and i could not stay back replying after reading of rahu and ketu planets. one of the best sites ever and best author among..thanks Ron.

  2. Vid

    Nice article again , thank you Ron !
    For understanding rahu ketu , do we need to see them in birth chart only or do the other chart also hold key , like would the navamsha placement …Add or subtract their strength…Or behavior…??

    Thanks and namaste,

    1. ronberger Post author

      The nodal positions in the original birth chart (Rasi kundali, from Asc & from Moon) give the most comprehensive amount of information. Going to the nakshatra positions adds some more details. The navamsa chart is useful for seeing the underlying strength and/ or weakness and for determining the navamsa lords of the nodes, which again give clues to underlying causes, karmas, etc. But I still use original natal chart positions for the primary analysis.

  3. Rip

    ” Ketu occupies gives us clues about the qualities of the person we were in the former birth that become natural inclinations in this lifetime “- is very true and difficult to let go in the current life . However Rahu does a fine job of weaving a new direction/opposite needless to say- keeping us busy.
    With Ketu ( Aquarius ) it is conflicting , however it does help in understanding some esoteric elements esp in dreams & fear of driving a car 🙂

  4. Ratna Babu

    what does ketu in 11th house in conjunction with mercury indicate? about past life karmas?

    1. ronberger Post author

      Natal Ketu conjunction with a natal planet indicates a past life involved with the significations of that natal planet. Mercury is the planet of Study & Learning. In the 11th house of Gains, it indicates having benefited from Study and Learning, from Knowledge, in the past life.

  5. Linda I Romano

    According to a chart done many years ago I am in major Ketu now, it is in the 12th house along with Mercury, Venus and the Sun in gemini. Mercury period was great. But now Extremely difficult, emotionally and physically. Had a spiritual daily practice but now can barely get through a day. Don’t want to do anything, don’t want to live, but force myself. Any suggestions.

    1. ronberger Post author

      A planet in its own sign will get a boost from association with Ketu, thus your Mercury period benefited. But Ketu period brings up Unresolved Past Karma, which in your 12th house of Subconscious could be difficult. Ketu conjunction with another planet indicates issues with the significations of that other planet from a Past Life, in your case, both Venus and Sun. Best remedy for Ketu in 12th house is a strong meditation practice.

  6. manju

    I am having ketu in my 12 the house that is in Aquarius and sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and rahu in sixth house that is in Leo. Kindly tell me about my past life and remedies for the future and can I get moksha.

    1. ronberger Post author

      You have a complicated situation with so many planets in your natal 6th house. A chart with multiple conjunctions in one sign requires digging into the details via the nakshatras, the vargas, the navamsas, etc., to understand the details. Planets conjunct Rahu indicate a lot of lessons in this lifetime; the past life position of Ketu in the 12th in Aquarius suggests a past life in a monastery or some other situation where you were supported, so this lifetime you have to learn the lessons of the 6th house, i.e., Work & Service.

  7. Gourav Kumar Goswami

    Great article Sir,
    Sir my ketu is in 5th house (Gemini) And my rahu is in the 11th house (saggitarius) and Saturn is in the 12th house (capricorn) can u say me what this combination suggests regarding my past life and would I be able to get moksha after this birth?
    Kindly help sir.

  8. Meenakshi Surendar

    Ketu in third house of cancer and mercury debilitated in 11th house having a seventh house aspect on moon. Jupiter retrograde in 8th house. When ever I look at my chart I have this strong feeling that my past life is connected to these planets. My school days were good where I have excelled in studies. My graduation started with Rahu Dasa. My studies and health slided down. From this point I never fully recovered. My marriage also doesn’t seem to be fine. I neither have children nor a profession. Sometimes I feel so depressed and trapped. Can you please tell me something about my past life and how to rectify any sins committed then.

    1. ronberger Post author

      The only way to get a true accurate picture of your karma and how it is operating, and what happens in the future, is to have a full natal reading. To diagnose based on just a few of the factors in your natal chart only gives a partial picture, which will likely be misleading.

  9. Gourav Kumar Goswami

    Hello sir very nice post!
    I have ketu in Gemini in the 5th house and rahu in saggitarius in the 11th house.
    What this indicates about my past and future?

    1. ronberger Post author

      For analysis of Rahu & Ketu, it all depends on what the dispositors (rulers of the signs of the nodes) are doing in your chart. Therefore, to analyze potential effects of Rahu & Ketu for your chart, look at Mercury (for your Ketu) and Jupiter (for your Rahu).

  10. Puneet Singh

    my rahu in4th house aquarius sign and ketu conjunct with venus in 10th house leo sign, what i bring from past ?

    1. ronberger Post author

      Ketu in the 10th house means that in the Past Life you were emphasizing 10th house activities: Career, Status, Reputation, Community, etc. Ketu in Leo shows higher likelihood of some status in Past life. Ketu with Venus indicates a past life connection with Venus significations, such as Money, Pleasure, Relationship, Luxury, Guidance, etc.

  11. Ruby

    Sir my ketu is in 12th house in conjunction with Saturn and rahu is in 6th house . Could you pls say what does it indicate about my past life and future?

    1. ronberger Post author

      Ketu in the 12th house is the mokshakaraka in the mokshasthana; the indicator spirituality in the house of spirituality. Saturn adds the element of the past life having a strong Saturn quality, ie, Harsh Reality; not much wiggle room. So this life you get Rahu in the 6th house: Time to get down to Work and Accomplish Something.

  12. Melissa

    Your posts are wonderful, Ron! I have my Asc (3rd pada), Ketu (1p), and Moon (4p) all conjuct in Shatabhisha…I still do not know exactly who I am, but with natal Sun in Mula p3, I strongly identify with death and dying, and feel that my career is strongly geared toward that. I feel that analyzing the Ke/Ra ruled Nakshatras gets a bit confusing (at least for me) when they are in exchange with each other. Thank you for everything you put into your work and for being our intrepid host!

    1. ronberger Post author

      Ketu and Rahu each rule 3 nakshatras. Each of these nakshatras display different qualities of the nodes. For instance, Shatabishak is one of the most esoteric nakshatras, and indicates the Rahu potential for attainment of Secret Spiritual Wisdom. In a general way, Ketu represents The Past; Rahu represents The Future. When Rahu and /or Ketu are in each other’s nakshatras, or have their sign dispositors in a relationship in the natal chart, it indicates having to resolve something about the Past (Past Life) by tackling the Future in this lifetime. Ketu is renonciation; Rahu is material success. Having them tightly involved in a natal chart can be an indication of needing to terms with these two seemingly contradictory impulses.

  13. Jayanthi Ravi

    Ketu in first house , cancer sign in-conjunction with Jupiter.
    Please comment on upcoming Ketu Dasha.

    1. ronberger Post author

      Ketu with Jupiter is potentially a very spiritual combination, especially with Jupiter exalted. But “spiritual” can also mean loss on the material plane. Ketu in Ascendant is not good for the physical health. For Cancer Asc, Jupiter represents 6th house of Health & Disease. Ketu brings up Past Karma, and can re-activate past disease. Therefore be careful of your health during Ketu mahadasa.

  14. Ritika Nayak

    Ketu mars sun in 7th house of Virgo for pieces ascendant.Mostly ketu n mars n closely conducted n sun is very far in degrees to them.Whats does it say about past life.Also in navamsa of virgo ascendant ketu in 7th house along with mercury n moon.

    1. ronberger Post author

      An accurate prediction can only be had via a full analysis of the natal chart. See the “order a reading” page of this website.

  15. Tejaswini

    My details:
    Date of birth: 09.12.1996
    Time of birth: 02.31 am
    Place of birth: Coimbatore

    Rahu and ketu, how would their impact be considering my past lives? To be precise, What karma do I have to resolve?

    1. ronberger Post author

      An accurate interpretation of the signification of Rahu & Ketu in the natal chart can only be had from a full analysis of all chart factors. Especially important are the dispositors (rulers of the signs) of Rahu & Ketu and how they are disposed in the chart. If you are interested in getting a reading, see the “readings” page of this website.

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