"Jyotiṣa is a model of reality which interprets the observed conditions of the cosmos at the time of an event in order to promote insight into the nature of that event"
"A runner who stumbles as the gun fires at the start of the race sets in motion a particular outcome." Hart de Fouw/Robert Svoboda: Light on Life
There is a long story and a short story. We all need stories to live by. Some stories are healthier than others.
From an astrological perspective there are many causes to this current coronavirus crisis. Jyotiṣa or Indian astrology seeks to understand the nature of causes, particularly unseen or invisible causes.The purpose being to give advice about and prepare for possible outcomes, offering ways to mitigate negative effects or enhance positive ones. I am going to focus on the effect of Rāhu Ketu. There is a story. A short one.
Rāhu Ketu was a particular class of celestial being(asuras) often characterised as a serpent, who was possessed by an overwhelming desire for the nectar of immortality. The gods(devas) and the asuras worked together to get the nectar of immortality by co-operating to churn the ocean. In order to get the nectar Rāhu disguised himself as a god but it was his misfortune to be recognised for what he truly was and cut in two. However he had supped of the nectar prior to his dismemberment so he was now immortal, he got what he most desired but he paid a great price for it.
Rāhu is the head of the serpent, and has tremendous ideas and insights into life but despite this can never be satisfied because he lacks a body through which he can properly digest whatever he experiences. We live in a culture right now that has a strong Rāhu dominance. We spend a lot of time hypnotised by fantastic technological devices, that would have been inconceivable to our parents, and yet while these things promise much, nothing truly satisfying or lasting can be extracted. Rather we surf from one thing to the next in a ceaseless search for validation that never arrives or is fleeting.
Rāhu and Ketu are the nodes, those places where eclipses take place. They have no substance, they have no mass, they are not planets in the way we understand them, and yet they have tremendous power. They have the extraordinary ability to veil the light of the Sun( the soul) and the Moon (the mind). Eclipses in ancient times were events that were feared, for it was an upending of the natural order of things. It was as if the world might come to an end.
In Jyotiṣa they represent, amongst other things epidemics, confusion and anxiety born of this inverting of the natural order of life. There is no doubt that right now we are all experiencing a collective karma, the whole world is focused on the virus. A virus that can erupt quickly, the 'invisible enemy' , spreads unseen through the population, is difficult to pin down the cause, and is highly adaptable. All themes of Rāhu.
A planet in Jyotiṣa is called a Graha. Graha means "seizer". We are 'seized' or 'possessed' by a planetary energy that can manipulate us to act in particular ways consistent with their themes. If you are 'possessed' by Venus then you will fundamentally view the world and seek to act in the world in a Venusian way; all things being equal you will prioritise beauty and harmony in your actions and your environment.
Rāhu and Ketu are currently in a nakṣatra (lunar house) which is linked to themes of destruction and suffering. The positive side of this is that all life is born out of 'destruction'. My veg patch, or at the least the weeds in it, is in need of clearing in order for my beans and carrots to grow. It is currently causing me suffering every time I look at it. If I focus solely on the clearing away that needs to happen then I suffer more rather than focussing on the beans and whatnot that I will be eating in the future. One step at a time..
Ketu moved into the destruction house around mid January, Rāhu has been in place since September.
They both rule difficult to diagnose diseases, epidemics, fear confusion ,hysteria , mental health issues, delusion and illusion. Bearing in mind that Graha(planet), means ‘seizer’ . It is as if the whole world is being seized by Rāhu Ketu energies. As if they have taken us over and possessed us and are pursuing their own agenda through us.
We do not see clearly. I do not see clearly. We do the best we can based on what we currently know or think we know.
Rāhu moves out of Ardra in middle of May. Hopefully this will bring an easing of the current situation, at the very least it should lessen the level of intensity, agitation and restless that we are all currently possessed by. It is difficult to know what is true and what is not. Fake news seems to come from all angles. Conspiracy theories flourish.
Rāhu Ketu are restless, they turn things upside down. If you want to get a sense of how Rāhu Ketu possesses someone then look at Donald Trump. He is a happy man, right? Altruistic, always takes responsibility, never blames anyone, always puts others first, and is always clear? Yes he is very powerful, but he exaggerates his own capabilities and relies on smoke and shadows( both ruled by Rāhu) to maintain and manipulate his self image and power. Rāhu Ketu represent areas of life that are unconscious to us, blind spots, obsessions and compulsive behaviour. Often these are blindingly obvious to other people, while we ourselves are just blind.
So what can do to counter the negative effects of Rāhu and Ketu in this situation we find ourselves in? The first thing is to connect with something real. Rāhu is a head without a body, it is all about ideas, often very good and innovative ones, because technology and technical things are what it is good at but it does so in a very disembodied way, in a way that is not good for the health of the body. We live in our heads. When Rāhu (a Vāta planet) seizes us we become disconnected from our bodies and environment.
We are all living in Rāhu times , getting hooked in to screens, and the swirl of information on the internet often only increases the agitation and confusion. Connecting to something that is real, of the element of earth is a good place to start. Focussing attention on something else, somethings that nourishes like Nature, doing some gardening, nurturing a plant, connecting to the natural world in any of it s forms, feeding the birds, particularly crows and seagulls. Eating good earthy foods, and soups.
In Indian myth it is Durga, a strong protective mother, who ultimately is the only one who is able to defeat the demonic energy symbolised by Rāhu. Any honouring of the female divine aspect is going to be helpful on a personal and collective level.
Om duṃ durgayai namaḥ!
One of the symbols of the nakṣatra Ketu is in, is a bunch of roots tied together suggesting confinement and restriction, and it also connects to herbs and healing and by extension diet. All food is seen as medicine in Ayurveda. Adjusting your diet, consulting a herbalist or similar or simply taking some herbs which have a nervine action(supportive action on the nervous system). Go back to your roots and declutter your house.
One last thing connected to all of this is that Jupiter is the planet of faith, trust, good counsel, good judgement and wisdom. It has been debilitated since end of March and will be so until the end of June. This is a good time to connect with whatever it is that restores our faith or trust in the universe. And keep on connecting with that everyday. However it goes retrograde, which gives it some more strength, in mid May so hopefully there will be a gradual easing of the restrictions we are currently in, and certainly by the beginning of July.
Allow yourself to be possessed by Jupiter, a wise, compassionate and philosophical planet. Use this time wisely. As best you can given your current circumstances. There is nothing we can do except wait. We are not very patient. I am not very patient. Good time to discover the benefits of slowing down and being patient. And Umbrellas.