A major contribution of Vedic Astrology is its statement of your incarnational life meaning: why you are here.
This is stated in terms of the position of the Nodes of the Moon in your Vedic natal chart. The Nodes of the Moon are the intersection points in space of the orbit of the Moon around the Earth with the apparent orbit of the Sun around the Earth.
There are thus two Nodes: the North Node and the South Node.
The North Node is called Rahu; the South Node is called Ketu. The Nodes are actually demons, because they are the eclipse points and they even have the power to devour the luminaries: the Sun and the Moon, but – because Vedic astrology is Tantric – everything is inherently connective to the Divine: even adverse circumstances, even what could be called ‘bad’, but only if we perceive these difficult states in the right way. Anciently, the Nodes were depicted as a dragon.
The Dragon’s Head is the North Node called Rahu:
The Dragon’s Tail is the South Node called Ketu.
What is the spiritual gift of these demons?
Rahu, The North Node
Rahu is where we in terms of life circumstances will put our obsessive, instinctual driven energy of ambition. Our obsessional drive can be dark and destabilizing but the experience of it can impel us to see God, and that we are not cut off from God but actually one with God (and one with everyone else). The North Node represents the area or life our future destiny us calling us to. Of course we need to learn to handle this driven energy in a more spiritual way. In Vedic Astrology, planets mature at certain specified ages. The nodes of the moon mature at age 48 and it is often about that time that we really learn to work with our demons in a spiritual way.
Ketu, The South Node
Ketu is where in terms of life circumstances we will find that everything will dissolve. This experience can terrify, but Ketu dissolves that which needs to die in terms of our need to be reborn and go forward to meet our spiritual destiny in this incarnation. Ketu is our past lives, the opposite of Rahu which is the area where we are driving forward. Rahu is the advancing army; Ketu is the occupying army. The word Ketu represents the occupying army’s flag flying over the area of life we previously conquered.
In Vedic Astrology, the Nodes of the Moon are interpreted in terms of the following four factors:
The Houses that the Nodes fall in in your natal chart. This is the most important factor for assessing your incarnational life purpose. The Nodes are always opposite each other in the heavens, in the chart. Obviously the Houses are time of birth sensitive, so if you don’t know your correct time of birth, counting Houses from the Ascendant created by a wrong time of birth will give wrong results, though one way round this is to treat the position of the Moon as your First House (this can be nearly as good depending on certain astronomical circumstances).
The Signs that the Nodes Fall in in your natal chart. Please note that Vedic Astrology does use the 12-sign zodiac familiar from western astrology, but the two zodiacs are actually 23 degrees apart. Your planets may therefore be shown as being in a different sign in Vedic Astrology from western astrology. The zodiac used by western astrology is known as the Tropical Zodiac; the zodiac used by Vedic Astrology is called the Sidereal Zodiac.
Any Planets which conjunct your North or South Node
The Lunar Signs which your Nodes fall in in your natal chart. In addition to the familiar 12 signs of the Lunar Zodiac, Vedic astrology also uses a far more ancient Lunar Zodiac of 27 lunar signs, or Nakshatras, which is an immensely powerful pointer to the true nature of your magical and dream time self.
Your incarnational life purpose is thus assessed in terms of the position of the Nodes of the Moon in your Vedic natal chart.