Updated: Sep 20
Rahu and Ketu are two shadow planets. They are always directly opposite to each other, 180 degrees apart. Rahu is also known as the North node and Ketu, as the South node. Astronomically they are the midpoints of the intersection of sun and moon.
How were they formed? Their Mythology
During samudra manthan, all the Devas got the amrit. A demon named Swarbhanu sneakily drank the amrit. Sun and Moon saw this and informed Mohini. Vishnu as Mohini beheaded Swarbhanu for this. Since by now for Swarbhanu had swallowed the nectar, he had become immortal. Even though beheaded he couldn't die; so his head and body became two separate entities. The head came to be known as Rahu and the headless body, as Ketu. Since it was Sun and Moon who told on them, they became the biggest enemies of Rahu and Ketu.
What do they mean?
Rahu being just the head, represents ego. Rahu is confusion. It is smoke without fire. It shows us our desires and in the Rahu-Ketu axis, it shows us our mission in this life. It is the desire our soul wanted to be born again for. It represents destiny.
Ketu is headless, there is no sense of self. It is the karak of spirituality and moksha. It represents our past life and early childhood. It shows us where our blessings and talents from our past lives lie. Contrary to Rahu, Ketu brings asceticism and non-attachment from worldly desires. It is said that a 12th house Ketu means that this life of the native will be the last on earth, meaning he will attain moksha.
Both these shadow planets are devilish in nature. They bring sudden twists and inescapable tower moments. They are responsible for causing eclipses. They are mostly always in retrograde and hence transit backwards. Their transit lasts up to 18 months in each sign. Though yes they are considered malicious planets with totally unexpected ways, ultimately what they do and the lessons they teach, are for the better of us.