Rahu and Ketu are referred to as the demons who consumed nectar and became immortal.
In almost all books of astrology of India they are referred to but have rarely been praised. It may be because of their mystic nature and a lot of mysterious stories associated with both these planets.
According to the vedic sages the point where the moon’s north node cuts the earth’s axis in the zodiac and thus makes a shadow on the zodiac is called Rahu and the South node of the moon is called Ketu. Ironically Rahu, the North Node which is looking towards earth signifies Materialism and Ketu which is in to the Darkness, as it is reversely pointed looks like tail Or symbolically an inward look in to the sub consciousness Or signifies Spirituality as Opposed to Rahu and both nodes are always 180¾ apart in the 360¾ 12-House divided Zodiac.
By the advancement in research, a lot of predictions have come out with lots of interesting aspects and significance of Rahu and Ketu in one’s horoscope. Rahu as such depending on its placement and strength etc. factors can some times give a tremendous and sudden mystical developments and great Raja Yoga karaka facilitator.
Based on the sacred Hindu mythological literature of India it was unraveled that long ago there were constant wars between Devatas and Asuras.The asuras always won with the guidance of their guru Shuckracharya’s majestic Mritha Sanjivi power, which the guru had obtained as a fruit of his penance, propitiating Lord Shiva. The power of this Mritha Sanjivini is, it can resurrect the dead, back to life. In this way, each Asura who was killed in the war by the Devas, was brought back to life by this manthra. Thus, this ensured constant defeat for the Devas and the Asuras continued to rule the heavens.
Once there was a great war between the Asuras (demons) and Devatas (gods). The Devatas were routed in the war and they went to Lord Brahma to seek his help. Brahma told them to churn the ocean.As a result they would be able to obtain Amrit (nectar) which would make them immortal and all powerful and after consuming it they would be able to defeat the Asuras. Churning the ocean was a very big job and so the Devatas sought the help of the Asuras. Lord Indra, went to heavens, and, sought for peace, and, said that henceforth, the Devas and Asuras should never wage war against each other, and, told them the need for churning the milk ocean and the power of consuming the Amrith. The Asuras, agreed, and inside their evil minds, they thought, once the churning is over and the Amrith is obtained, we will steal the Amrith.
The king of the serpents Vasuki was to become the rope, while a hill named Mandrachal offered to become the pivot. Lord Vishnu, in the form of a tortoise, became the base and the churning process began.
The Devatas held the tail of Vasuki and the Asuras held the head. Various things came out, during this churning of the milk ocean(Kshir sagar). There was a pot of Vish (poison) which created havoc in all the three worlds. Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the world, but he did not let the poison go beyond his neck which became blue in color. That is why Lord Shiva is also called ‘NeelKant’ (“one with a blue neck”).
At last Dhanvantari came out with a pot of Amrit and immediately there was a mad scramble for it among the Devatas and Asuras. Seeing this, Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini (a beautiful dancer) and offered her services in distributing the Amrit equally to both the Asuras and Devatas. She made both of them sit in two different rows but she gave the Amrit to the Devatas only.
Towards the end, one of the Asuras saw through her trick. He went and sat among the Devatas and drank the Amrit. The moment Chandra (Moon) and Surya (Sun), who were sitting besides him saw that he was a Asura, they informed Mohini. Lord Vishnu came in his real form and let out the Sudarshan Chakra (wheel) at the Asura. The Asura’s neck was separated from the body, but he did not die as he had drunk the Amrit, Lord Brahma made SvarBhanu’sson of Viparchit) head
and body join with a snake, thus, the head joined a snake’s body, came to be known as RAHU and the snake’s head joined with SvarBhanu’s body, came to be known as KETU. Lord Brahma, granted RAHU and KETU a boon for accepting this new form, a place amidst the planets, the Navagrahas. RAHU and KETU, even to this day, hold the grudge against surya and chandra, and cause solar and lunar eclipse to affect them.
RAHU and KETU’s power increases between sunset to sunrise, their power of vengeance is so strong that they cause an astrological moment called the RAHU KAALAM, that stays every day during the day for 1 hr and 30 minutes. This time is considered to be highly inauspicious for undertaking any good deeds and is only good for propitiating the divine mother.
Also there is another esoteric serpent symbolism associated with Rahu and Ketu to Kundalini Shakthi (Energy). The Head being Rahu (Signifying the different cosmic head petals of the Cosmic Snake Sahsrara Chakra or Awakening) and the tail being Ketu (Muladhara Chakra – Ganesha – or the beginning).
And yet another version is that, the Skanda Purana story of Rahu is a repetition of the same with one difference. Gods and Demons had decided to churn the ocean to extract nectar. The emphasis is that demons were as much a part of the effort to churn the ocean as gods. When nectar was got, Lord Vishnu decided to give nectar only to gods, not to demons. Rahu came to know of this decision. He assumed the shape of a god and entered the group of gods to drink nectar. Lord Vishnu cut off the head of Rahu.
Contributed By Chandana Veera Reddy