There are many controversial topics within the jyotish community today…I daresay this has always been the case and not unique to our time. The correct/incorrect ayanamsha (as discussed in previous article) pales into insignificance beside the hotly debated question of nodal aspects.
We need to consider also the fact that, although there are certain avasthas that state a planet is harmed when conjoined a Node (or Saturn or Mars), these same group of avasthas do not even assign Rahu and Ketu an aspectual value in virupas as they are shadow planets, not planets with a form (avasthas are ways to measure planetary strength).
In the classics Rahu and Ketu are mainly ignored in this way. No doubt the planets affect (by aspect) the houses occupied by the nodes (obvious logic) but the Nodes themselves neither cast nor receive any aspect directly. The reason for this is very simple and it’s due (primarily) to the physical nature of the planets. A planet casts (or throws) it’s aspect/influence as do all physical objects in the universe. The nodes however, having no physical body, are incapable of casting any aspect. Their influence, according to the wise sages, as well as the laws of nature, is confined to their own (mathematical) position…this, after all, is just what they are…a mathematical point on the ecliptic where the Moon intersects as it orbits the earth.
Since the plane of the Moon’s orbit is tilted at an angle to the earth’s orbit, the planes intersect at a line, called the line of nodes. The node where the two intersect as the Moon is crossing the earth’s orbit traveling northward is called the ascending, or north, node. The opposite node is the descending, or south, node. Any planet conjunct (either) point at birth is greatly influenced by this phenomena…an eclipse, for instance, occurs when either Sun or Moon is conjunct a node.
Without a doubt the nodes do have a very strong and specific influence on the planets they conjoin and, because of this, they’re treated as planets in Vedic astrology. However, as they have no physical body, they’re known as the shadowy planets and, unable to act independantly, their influence is confined to the house they occupy, the planet(s) they conjoin and their dispositor (the planet who’s house they occupy).
The north node (Rahu) is compulsive and extroverted by nature and will draw us strongly towards the significations of the planet he conjoins and the affairs of the house he occupies. Rahu draws us to the things of the world and in the 10th house, if other factors support it, can indicate great fame.
The south node (Ketu) is diametrically opposite in nature; secretive and/or shy, introverted and restrictive. In 10th Ketu may well indicate an extraordinary or unconventional career, however the native is likely to remain relatively detached from the fruits of his actions. Ketu’s basic tendency is to restrict/obstruct the significations of the planet he conjoins and/or the affairs of the house he occupies…such obstructions can be difficult to define due to Ketu’s secretive nature.For instance Ketu in lagna may indicate physical problems or lack of self confidence (selfworth) that can be difficult to diagnose; in 4th house such problems might manifest with vehicles or in the home…difficulties in owning own home perhaps. Of course the position and strength of dispositor is all important but nonetheless some hindrance will be there.
Ketu’s conjunction may indicate unusual/unconventional or illdefined obstruction to the significations of the conjunct planet (and/or the houses ruled by that planet). Because of Ketu’s quality of nonattachment he is known as Moksha Karaka… moksha means enlightenment and karaka means significator. Ketu therefore is the significator of enlightenment.
Pundit Gopesh Kumar Ojha, in his book “Predictive Astrology of the Hindus”, states categorically that Rahu and Ketu neither aspect nor are aspected. Certainly, if the house they occupy is aspected, the quality of that house is influenced by the aspecting planet and, in this way, according to traditional astrologers (of the old school), we say that Rahu or Ketu are aspected by a benefic or malefic but they do not themselves come under the realm of aspects as do the other planets.
Strictly speaking Rahu and Ketu are affected by conjunction only. They show their effect through their dispositor and via the conjoined planet. Rahu often indicates a compulsive attraction to the significations of the conjoined planet, whereas Ketu can indicate restriction and/or unusual
behaviour of the conjuncted planet.
The effect (nature/disposition) of the Nodes is greatly influenced by the lord of the nakshatra (constellation) they occupy.