December 19, 2014

Dancing With Your Shadows: The Dark & Light Gifts of Rahu & Ketu. {Jyotish}

Pablo Miranzo/Flickr

*Vedic Astrology, or Jyotish, is one of the oldest sciences on the planet and considered a relative of astronomy. It is an important and valuable part of the ancient Vedic texts. This complex, logic-based, and also intuitive science, has survived thousands of years in India’s Vedic tradition and is still considered a highly valuable tool of guidance and life insight. It is not a religion, but rather a philosophical understanding of human and cosmic existence. In Sanskrit, Jyoti means light. Essentially, the study of jyotish is the study of light and how we interact with the cosmic light- within us and within the cosmos. Vedic astrology, or the sidereal approach to astrology, casts charts differently than Western, or Tropical astrology. The meanings, implications, and purpose of jyotish is therefor different, as are the details used for prediction and the indications given below.


“What you are seeking, is seeking you.” ~ Rumi


Our darkness, our shadow parts, are mostly an undesirable topic, one that most choose to avoid.

We are good at speaking about our faults, our issues, our life problems, but this is not the same thing as willingly probing into our dark, murky inner waters, our haunts, fears and illusions. We may appear to be comfortable with our own darkness, and yet simultaneously be refusing to go deeper into it. In fact many people keep walking around and around the same darkness for years, lifetimes perhaps, with out making much change!

This refusal to go deep into our shadow parts and willingly face our deepest, darkest haunts and wounds, leaves us burdened with heavy loads that we never seem to be able to let go of or release. It’s like blindly carrying an extra appendage with us. Oh how we try to disguise it, cover it, deny its presence! And yet, this heavy, awkward limb is still attached to us, no matter how hard we try to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Going into our shadows, requires a strong willingness, and a desire to go beyond our problems. It requires that we start asking “why is this happening to me?” over and over again. And then be courageous enough to seek the answers- the answers that are likely going to be painful, that will force us to change our lives, that will expose our darkest secrets.

Just past the depth of our darkness, though, is the light. The gift. The gifts we so desperately seek. The gifts we long for are in fact hidden deep inside our shadow parts.

Most of humanity chooses to refuse their own darkness though, and deny that these parts of themselves are in fact alive within them. But just because we are unwilling to look at our darkness, does not make it unreal, or keep it from controlling us. Our shadow parts are still ruling our life whether we choose to face them or not!

The blessing of our courageous efforts and our willingness, is finding that within the darkest and most disturbing parts of ourselves, we will actually find the missing pieces we are desperately longing for; our whole and empowered life. If we are truly willing to courageously look into our own shadows we will undoubtedly find the very gifts we so desperately long to receive. Our shadows in fact hold the gifts we seek for wholeness, for our dharmic giving, our offerings to the world, and for a meaningful life.

As I continue to peel back the layers of my own shadow, my suffering, my darkness and my illusions, I find more and more pieces that affirm my dharmic gifts, and my offerings to the world. As I continue to face my grief, my struggles, pains and disappointments, I am finding more and more answers for my pain and illusions.

I’ve learned (and continue to learn), that when I quit resisting myself, there is immense awakening available to me. This comes through ideas, creativity, clarity, awareness, silence, peace and even joy. The moments when I release my grip, let go, and surrender, I find how much energy I’ve been using to resist my self, my own nature. This is my own resistance to my shadow parts and it takes immense energy to maintain this resistance.

We all have resistance. Finding the resistance within yourself and within your life, will point the way towards your own shadow parts. Remember that the energy we use to resist our own darkness takes incredible energy to maintain, and is a drain to the vital life force energy that could be put to good use elsewhere. Energy we could put into living our one precious life- actualizing our dreams, taking bold, fulfilling action steps!

We each have an attraction and repulsion dynamic within us; a push and a pull. This is expressed through the eleventh house of the Jyotish chart, the house of pluses and minuses and our container- our capacity to hold. It is also the energy of Rahu, the north shadow node, as well as the role of Rahu and Ketu in our charts. Each one of us has this drive, a pull towards what we want, which is also very intimately intertwined with what we are resisting or refusing in our lives, and in ourselves simultaneously.

What we desperately long for and desire is the core of our shadow work and points the way to all the pieces of our darkness. What we deeply long for is seeking us in other words. And it’s hidden beneath our shadows. This shadow, and working with one’s darkness in order to awaken, is the juxtaposition of Rahu (shadow) and Ketu (light) in ones Jyotish chart, and why Rahu is both darkness and compulsions, as well as desires and insatiable needs. Let Rahu drive you towards your own wholeness. Let him show you what you long for, what you need the most in this life, and let him also show you what you are resisting simultaneously.

Wherever Rahu sits in your jyotish chart (the house, the sign, the planets he interacts with, the nakshatra he resides in etc.) points directly to the main theme of your personal life story. Rahu and Ketu are quite literally karma points and they show us why we have incarnated into this body, into this life, and what we are here to learn. The dance of shadow and light, Rahu and Ketu, fully express our ability and our willingness to grow and awaken in this life time. Will we continue to resist our shadows, our darkness (Rahu)? Or will the compulsion to emerge from the illusions be strong enough to force our awakening and crack us open (Ketu)?

The power within the shadow is two fold. When we resist our darkness, we refuse and resist the healing and the medicine our life has to offer. We are essentially refusing and resisting awakening to our most essential gifts. These gifts always reveal our dharma, our life purpose, our reason for being alive, and thus there is an immense reward for our efforts- if we choose to take on the task fully. However, it is not the path of ease, numbness, ignorance and denial. In order to awaken, we must invite in our shadow parts, continue to go deeper into our darkness in unending cycles, to dive for pearls of truth tirelessly as though our life depends on it. It does.

This is why aligning with one’s dharma, one’s true reason for being alive, is not for everyone, and is in fact evasive for most people. For those of us who thrive on transformation though, the gifts are unending and continue to unfold. Artists, healers, and those here to share wisdom with the world, thrive on these cycles of transformation, change and growth. For us, our most vital task is embarking on consistent cycles of confronting and identifying our shadows and yet not get addicted to these cycles of pain, struggle, and torture. For those of us consistently working with our own shadows rigorously, we must remember to work with and to heal the vow in us that says “we are broken and will remain so.”

The shadows after all, hold our most potent power, and the wisdom we need for our life and our cycles of death and rebirth. The skill then becomes not just the willingness to go into our shadow, our darkness, but to also know when to let go of it, to release and shift into something new. For some, they will never walk into their shadows and bravely peel back the layers of their suffering and pain. For those of us who are willing to, we must also remember how to come up for air, to take a breath, to dance with both the darkness and the light, to heal and overcome our vow of brokenness, while continuing to bravely dance with our shadows cyclically. This has everything to do with integrating the darkness and the light.

Clients who come to me are walking this fine edge of wanting to awaken; there is a desire to know what their life means and how to overcome their biggest obstacles, and yet simultaneously there is a strong fear to look. This is the attraction/repulsion dynamic at play, a true expression of Rahu driving us towards answers, yet fearful of what we will find once we get there. As I continue to work with the shadow more and more in my own self development process, and also in my work with clients, I am becoming acutely aware of the reality that fear is really all part of the grande illusion of the shadow. Perhaps Carl Jung put it best, “If there is a fear of falling, the only safety consists in deliberately jumping.”


Sunday December 21st at 6pm CST, I’m teaching an online class called Resourcing from the Shadows. I hope you can join me. Sign up here.

Need some extra guidance and clarity? Schedule a session with me.

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Author: Saraswati J. 

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: courtesy of the author 

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