A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality

Studies Index...

Of Rahu in the 9th, Ketu in the 3rd — More on the personal shadow.

5-8 December 2013

Follow-up to Embracing the Shadow: Dynamics in an existential crisis. 23-30 November 2013.

The more I read with respect to Rahu in Dharma Bhava-9, the less I find the motives and behaviors ascribed this placement precisely descriptive of my own, but there's an undeniable resonance here, and the possibility that I'm simply splitting hairs, maintaining my disguise. So I want to look at the significance of Rahu and Rahu-9 in general terms, then consider its relevance more specifically, correlating it with personal shadow and psychospirituality.

Rahu, the north lunar node, the head of an asura, is about desires, about pursuing action and experience to a purpose, primarily for personal gain; this pursuit, the desire for experience, generates new karma. Rahu's counterpart is Ketu, the south node, the body of Rahu, is also problematic, considered both malefic and benefic, bringing spiritual refinement through sorrow, pain, material loss, focused on moksha or mukti, release, liberation from samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth. Rahu is associated with the ego, with "getting ahead",1 while Ketu is associated with humility and detachment, or, in negative terms, humiliation and dehumanization. Ketu is not a agent of positive action but a passive observer, a witness, without desires of His own; instead, He facilitates separations, detachments, break-up, scattering, dispersion — His experience following Rahu's obsessive and compulsive acts.1  Rahu crafts illusions in the interest of breaking through boundaries, violating rules and manipulating perceptions to His own ends, indicated by house placement. While many interpretations one comes across do not generally emphasize this, Rahu's initiatives are nonetheless part of a spiritual process — something I'll address shortly, in respect of Rahu's lunar mansion (nakshatra), planetary ruler and deity.

Here are a few key points from the summary on Rahu in the 9th house, by Barbara Pijan:

Rahu in Dharma Bhava-9 [→] urgently ambitious preaching [→] prestige sought via priesthood, professorship, philosophy, pontification, pomp-and-circumstance, temple ritual, world travel, ideology and dogma. [...] One feels a great desire to be recognized [...] although one has not yet legitimately earned the wisdom.

[...] Rahu is a skillful poseur by nature [...] typically a well-camouflaged human hypocrite who practices other than what is preached and is concerned not with consistency to principle but rather with achieving recognition [...] Rahu's methods are typically surreptitious and His power of disguise is nearly divine in scope [...] to camouflage the human being behind the theological-ideological message.

[...] He is interested in rising to a higher station of social privilege via the means at his disposal, the means provided by His bhava. Rahu always has an ulterior motive.

Rahu-9 wants to appear as a legitimate, credible holder of status-rank [in a class of beings such as, or as in:]

  • priests of the patriarchal religions
  • professor, preacher, presbyter
  • father, pitri, patrician, pater-noster, pontiff, pujari, pandita
  • rabbi, imam, honen, kohen, kahuna, lama
  • wise-one, wizard
  • great teacher, grandfather
  • knower of sacred scripture, exegete, hierophant, sacerdote
  • temple-keeper, holy ritualist
  • dharma-holder, religious scholar, disseminator of Truth.

In Rahu in the 9th / Ketu in the 3rd house, video and text, Sam Geppi describes the contrast between the Rahu-9 themes of obsession and quest for meaning versus Ketu-3 themes of withdrawal and self-will. Rahu's problem is that He may focus on belief systems and philosophies, eat-eat-eat but not digest (→ He's all head, no body), not put-into-practice what is learned, fail to adopt a sādhanā, "a means of accomplishing something", an ego-transcending spiritual practice of self-discipline. Geppi writes that these natives are developing "[f]aith in something higher and greater than their own will power", possibly in response to a background lacking in religion or spirituality "as a way to force them to seek a higher path", or in which they experienced hypocrisy.

The Bhava-9 theme need not emphasize religious matters — it could involve higher education, advanced knowledge, representations of unusual skill or paranormal abilities in matters of health and well-being, for instance, such as paranormal diagnosis and healing, mediumship, or psychospiritual counseling. And if, in such circumstances, one with Rahu-9 were inclined to contribute to the well-being of others by applying what he believed to be a genuine knowledge or ability, persuaded by empirical experience of its veridicality or utility, sincere representations might be made, without thought of status It must be noted that, however, that by breaking new ground, offering up a skill or ability that is not recognized in normative terms, or for which training and certification are not available, the risk of causing harm is increased in the presence of psychological issues not self-intimating or actions taken, not self-limiting. And while error may not result in overt harm, there might at least arise discordance and disharmony the unintended consequence of preoccupation with inner drives pursued at the expense of empathic resonance.

I have made many such errors of focus, a series of them around 1986 so confounding that I withdrew from social contact and remained in comparative seclusion for some 12 years, working through my own psychodynamics and conflicts of identity.

Here's the thing...

Rahu is 13°Pisces22'11.25" in the radix, so it's located in the Uttara Bhadrapada Nakshatra, ruled by Saturn and the deity Ahirbudhnya = "the serpent or dragon of the deep center of the earth's Aura → cf. Pluto" — "the Serpent or 'Dragon of the Deep' [...] a serpent of the deep waters representing kundalini energy, seclusion and psychic energy".1,2

This serpent goes deep down into the holes in our psyche, transforming our fear of awakening into a deep strength. Another of the Rudras, he is a part of Lord Shiva that is fierce and destructive / transformative.3

« Uttara Bhadra grants growth and prosperity in a broad way, benefiting the entire world » — Dennis Harness writes that the power of this lunar mansion is "the bringing of the cosmic rain" (varshodyamana shakti), "connecting us with the creative powers at the foundations of the world", and that Ahirbudhnya symbolizes the nakshatra's fertility, kundalini energy, and need for seclusion, as well as the potential for "tremendous psychic ability" and a "snake-like quality" that allows exploration of "all the nooks and crannies of life".4  Saturn, the ruling planet, "provides great depth and spiritual discipline".5

Tim Miller interprets Ahirbudhnya as similar in meaning to Neptune, and varshodyamana shakti, "the power to bring rain", as a "spiritual rain from the celestial ocean of consciousness with the opening of the crown chakra".6

Rahu is conjunct Venus at 18°Pisces47' 48.93"; ♀ is exalted, in the Revati Nakshatra, ruled by Mercury and the deity Pushan (Skt. पूषन, Pūṣan), a Vedic solar deity, one of the 12 Ādityas (Skt. आदित्य, offspring "of Aditi"), celestial gods who maintain and protect the world order from chaos and ignorance.7  Pushan is a psychopomp, like Agni, Hermes, and Charon, a conductor of souls to the other world (→ in Jungian terms, a mediator between the realms of the unconscious and conscious8). The name purportedly derives from verb púṣyati, literally, "to cause to thrive",9 or "to prosper; to make prosper"10 → Pushan causes people to thrive or prosper.11

From Barbara Pijan:

Pushan, the Conductor = pazupathi, pashupati the shepherd.

[...] Pushan = the ferryman, yearning to cross over, shooting in great curves like a star, a great arch, a rainbow, or a bridge, or the suckers of a wide-spreading plant.12

Geppi writes that Pushan is

[...] the shepherd of the Gods, leading the animals and souls home after a weary journey around the Zodiac. He also protects the road home and allows lost objects and animals to be found. He may be the most gentle and selfless of all deities.13

And from David Frawley:

Revati creates abundance through providing proper nourishment. It helps all people in their efforts. Pushan is the lord of cattle and the lord of the paths. He leads, protects and gathers the herd in their movement, particularly to new pastures. In this way he also protects the soul in its journey to the next world.

The Rahu/Venus conjunction is eminently apprehensible in terms of Uttara Bhadrapada and Revati, Saturn and Mercury rulerships, the deities Ahirbudhnya and Pushan.

Madhusudan deals with Rahu-9 and Ketu-3 in Sacred Astrology, writing that "Rahu in Pisces implies the complete relinquishment of the self in service to others", such that passion becomes dispassion without loss of compassion". On the other hand, "Ketu in Virgo shows the qualities of criticism and passing judgement [which] must be left behind" because they've been "the cause of self-undoing in the past", remain hidden in "subconscious motivations" and "need clearing". The Ketu position is most difficult to deal with because it presents rigid patterns of behavior, reliance on structures and truths which enabled firm grasp of the psychical plane, which now limit perception and inhibit growth.

The mind is so analytical that life can easily slip into the manipulation of a chess game. This individual has a sharp eye for detail and never overlooks the obvious. He is an expert at solving puzzles, willing to spend many hours tediously groping for the tiniest answer; but he can get so involved with whatever he is doing that he often loses perspective. His past-life discriminating tendencies often lead him now to pick apart what should be left together. Thus, although he is capable of immense clarity of thought, he does not experience complete peace of mind.

Through the Pisces Rahu, he must learn Faith. When he stops separating the world into neat little compartments, he will get his first glimpses of Universal Consciousness. Ultimately he is to achieve the understanding that all is one, and one is all. Before this happens, he must learn how to stop seeing himself as separate from the rest of the world. [...]

"All is one and one is all" certainly resonates, describing my experience in the gestalt of Self. But I've always found the analytic an antidote for the confusion I feel in its absence — as a saving grace, a stabilizing influence, rather than a hindrance. No? Clearly the profound hierophanous experience in my teens transcended the analytical, just as do numinous experiences on a daily basis, yet the analytic seemingly remains crucial to my well-being. This is the most difficult factor to appreciate — to the point that I revert to the Western radix, where Cauda is found in Libra, going to matters of social communication and relationship.

Regarding Rahu-9, impersonation and aggrandizement, it is not status or belonging I seek, nor an unqualified leap to heights elevated in some social matrix in which I participate at the margins or not at all. The path for me is internal. I respond to a group of principals, voices in the gestalt of an immanent divinity, a Self. The Rahu/Venus-9 descriptors ring true for me relative to the primacy of my relationship with that Self and the voices in gestalt, focusing on the rights to life, liberty and the security of each in the whole, and on the harmony of expression as a group. The many failures and and mistakes I have made in getting to that understanding remain with me, irrupting in various forms of cathartic working through, lessons of what not to do, breaking down, becoming new. It's about being led where we need to go, pursuing what we need to pursue. The discipline is working through. That seems to be what there is to do.

But I continue to experience build-ups and break-downs in identity and self-concept, undergo cathartic metamorphoses on a periodic basis. In an organizing personality, deconstruction is part of the program. How very difficult it would be to let go the analyses that save me from anxiety and despair, that make me aware of inner order and meaning. Ketu is at 13°Virgo22'11.25" (conjunct Neptune), in Hasta Nakshatra, ruled by Moon and the solar deity Savitri or Surya, the Sun.

The symbolism of Surya-Savitri is central in the Vedic Knowledge and is crucial for the understanding of the Vedic Vision. Everything is subtly connected with this symbolism of the Rising Sun and its all-manifesting Rays. It is the power of the Truth which in dynamic way reveals the Divine in its own self-manifestation. All the gods and godheads are directly or indirectly connected with and representatives of this Supramental Sun and its rays of light.

[ Sri Aurobindo : ]  "But who, then, is Surya, the Sun, from whom these rays proceed? He is the Master of Truth, Surya the Illuminator, Savitri the Creator, Pushan the Increaser. His rays in their own nature are supramental activities of revelation, inspiration, intuition, luminous discernment, and they constitute the action of that transcendent principle which the Vedanta calls Vijnana, the perfect knowledge, the Veda Ritam, the Truth. But these rays descend also into the human mentality and form at its summit the world of luminous intelligence, Swar, of which Indra is the lord.

"For this Vijnana is a divine and not a human faculty. Man's mind is not constituted of the self-luminous truth, like the divine mind; it is a sense-mentality, Manas, which can receive and understand Truth, but is not one with it. The light of knowledge has to present itself in this human understanding tempered so as to suit its forms to the capacities and limitations of the physical consciousness. And it has to lead up progressively to its own true nature, to manifest successive evolutionary stages for our mental development.

"Therefore the rays of Surya, as they labour to form our mental existence, create three successive worlds of mentality one superimposed on the other ― the sensational, aesthetic and emotional mind, the pure intellect and the divine intelligence. The fullness and perfection of these triple worlds of mind exists only in the pure mental plane of being, where they shine above the three heavens, tisro divāḥ, as their three luminosities, trīṇi rocanāni. But their light descends upon the physical consciousness and effects the corresponding formations in its realms, the Vedic pārthivāni rajāṃsi, earthly realms of light. They also are triple, tisraḥ pṛthivīḥ, the three earths. And of all these worlds Surya Savitri is the creator."

Volume: 15 [CWSA] (The Secret of the Veda), Page: 287.

The breakthrough-workthrough point or focus seems to be Jupiter:

Rahu and Ketu...

  • square  ♅  at  9°Gemini40'45.46",  Ardra Nakshatra,
  • ruling planet  =  Rahu,  deity  =  Lord of Storms, Rudra, in the 12th house;
  • trine  ♃  at  11°Aquarius41'33.16",  Satabhisha Nakshatra,
  • ruling planet  =  Rahu,  deity  =  Lord of the Waters, Varuna, in the 8th house.

From Dennis Harness (1999;2009:96) regarding the Satabhisha Nakshatra:

Satabhisha [natives] are independent people who have a strong need for seclusion. They need space in their togetherness for any relaionship to be effective. A deeply philosophical, mystical mind may be experienced here. The need for some type of meditative practice is essential for these individuals. Shatabhisha is connected with the openning of the crown chakra or the summit of creative energy through the awakening of the kundalini. Rahu is the ruling planet, representing the serpent energy and the extreme positive or negative life events that can occur under this asterism. Shatabhisha usually brings about a healing crisis leading to revitalization. The shadow side of Shatabhisha is lonliness and depression [...]

The shakti of Shatabisha is "the power of healing".14