RAHU: the Obsession of the Soul

Integral to the Vedic cosmological viewpoint is the premise that the cycle of births and deaths is part of the soul’s education. All of the planetary positions in the birth chart speak to the karmas present in this lifetime, but the ‘Rahu-Ketu axis’, as it is called, has a special relationship with the lessons to be learned. Rahu and Ketu are the cross-over points (called ‘Nodes’) of the path of the Moon and path of the Sun as seen from Earth. Although they are only calculated points in the Heavens, in Vedic Astrology the nodes are given a status and importance nearly equal to the solid planets. They are calledchayagraha, shadow planets, being seen only during eclipses, when they create a shadow over the Sun or Moon. Similarly, they are like shadows in our lives, causing mysterious problems. An understanding of how the nodes function in the birth chart helps to clear up a lot of confusion about some of the built-in reactions to life’s circumstances.

 The soul’s lessons are part of a continuum arising from the prior birth. The prior birth connection is shown by the position of Ketu in the chart: the ‘inlet point’ for past life karma. An analysis of the natal position of Ketu gives clues to the unconscious behavior patterns in this life stemming from familiar activities of the past life (see the author’s article “Ketu: The Mystery of Past Lives”. Always directly opposite to Ketu in the chart, Rahu represents lessons the soul has to confront in its present life in order to continue developing. The oppositional placement of the nodes suggests that the tendency to fall back into habitual past life behaviors, as signified by Ketu, needs to be overcome in order to complete this life’s assignment. The automatic repetition of the past life patterns thus becomes an obstruction to our progress in this lifetime.

 The soul within each of us is determined to evolve; we can term it an ‘Obsession.’ This compelling obligation to experience countless lifetimes partly explains how Rahu functions in the birth chart.’  Our individuated human consciousness is generally not aware of the ‘grand plan’ encompassing our many lifetimes, thus we often experience the current life’s lesson as confusing. From a cosmic viewpoint, it may be necessary to experience a lifetime as a garbage picker; a life that from our human perspective would be undesirable. And yet, for reasons we don’t understand, this is just as much a part of God’s plan as is the socialite’s lifetime of parties and jet plane travel. Rahu’s placement in the birth chart indicates what lessons need to be undertaken in order to ‘balance out’ the actions of the prior life.

 The story of Rahu in Vedic mythology tells of the obsession that Rahu, one of the demons, had for becoming immortal. As the story goes, while attending a party of the Gods, Rahu managed to get his hands on the bowl containing the Nectar of Immortality and succeeded in getting a drop of it down his throat before being caught in the act and suffering the punishment of being cut in half by a discus thrown by Vishnu. Rahu achieved success, but not without penalty. Likewise in our own lives, the placement of this shadow planet called Rahu in our Vedic birth chart indicates an obsession with a certain type of ‘nectar’: the desire and potential for the enjoyment of success, but at what cost? The obsession, and potential suffering, that we each go through to achieve success is part of the illusion that is necessary for the encapsulated soul to take its Earthly lessons seriously. Thus Rahu symbolizes maya, the Infinite disguised as material forms, as well as the ambition to have power within the world of forms. Yet it is all an illusion: Rahu promising success while it simultaneously obscures the true, eternal nature of the soul in order to make the lesson believable.

 Your particular version of the Earthly obsession-lesson is partly shown by Rahu’s placement in your birth chart. For a person born with Rahu in the 6th house, the obsession is with ‘The Job’ and may require that they work 70 hours a week. In the 7thhouse Rahu manifests as obsession with Partnership, giving experiences in an area that has a potential for much heartbreak until the lesson is learned.  Rahu in the 8th house seeks success through enjoyment of the partner’s, i.e. unearned, wealth. In the 9thhouse Rahu manifests as an obsession with Belief, or Religion. In the 10th house of Career one gets obsessed with professional goals.

 But wherever Rahu is in your chart, the promised fulfillment, like everything gained in the ‘playground of forms’, is flawed: it is ultimately unsatisfying. Like the nodes themselves, the success turns out to be a shadow: essentially empty. Our life will come to an end; our human mind is confounded by the approaching void. Thus Rahu brings us to the realization of the true nature of the Earthly Voyage. All of the drive, ambition, craving, was really the soul’s obsession to learn and grow through participating in the drama of human existence.

2 thoughts on “RAHU: the Obsession of the Soul

  1. R.mohini

    I have rahu in my 7th house .I have suffered heart break but is there a remedy to escape out of more suffering in 7th house matters.

    1. ronberger Post author

      Rahu in the 7th house puts a lot of emphasis on the lessons of Relationship. Sometimes this means many attempts before achieving a successful partnership. Much depends on the arrangement of planets in the natal chart, and of course, the arrangement of planets in the prospective partner’s chart. Best course is to have a reading evaluating both charts.


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