I was first exposed to the idea of a cosmic karmic inheritance through Dipa Sanatani’s book The Little Light. The author tells me that it’s not a particularly well-known aspect of astrology. In the author’s debut fiction novel, she characterises and personifies Rahu and Ketu as twins.
In Vedic Astrology, Rahu and Ketu are the two infamous shadow planets. One is male (Rahu) and the other is female (Ketu). You could view this as the yin and yang polarity as conceptualised by the Chinese. Ketu is the receptive force and Rahu is the assertive force. But what do these two shadow planets mean in the context of our natal chart?
In Western astrology, these are known as the North and South Nodes of the Moon. The mathematical calculations differ in both the Western and Vedic systems–leading to entirely different interpretations. In Sanatani’s novel and in her work as an astrologer, she blends the Western and Vedic systems to come up with a more holistic and balanced view on these entities.
As a core concept, the idea is that an imbalance or excess has occurred in the areas where the North and South Nodes are. We’ve created these shadows through our focus and our neglect. Over time, these areas of focus and neglect resulted in a deeply entrenched pattern that we need to breakaway from.
My Ketu is in Aries. My best friend’s Ketu is in Aries, too. If you’re friends with people who were born in the same 1.5 year time frame as you, it’s highly likely that you have the same North and South Node placement. When you first start studying astrology, it’s not uncommon to begin by studying your own chart. Then you study your friends’ charts, talk it over and see how much you have in common. My best friend is a Virgo and I’m a Leo. So personality wise, we’re pretty different. In fact, the way in which our Rahu in Libra is playing out is completely different as well.
For me, the focus of this karmic balancing has been more on my personal life and financial matters. Whereas for him, it’s playing out a lot more at work and in his work-related matters. You can look at the house placements to see where this karmic balancing is going to take place. This doesn’t mean you’re going to run into this issue in every area of your life. It’s more that there is a particular area where this karmic balancing needs to take place.
They critical point I want to make here is about moderation. Why moderation? You can think of it as a yoyo. You’ve spent lifetimes getting entrenched in a karmic pattern that keeps getting deeper and deeper. And the more you fall back on your default pattern (Ketu), the deeper this karmic trench gets.
So if you want to balance, to moderate and to temper this terrain of your life–what you need to do is begin correcting the imbalance. But before you can do that, you need to figure out what needs balancing.
I have a chat with author and astrologer Dipa Sanatani about the Aries-Libra Karmic Axis. Here’s what she said.
Dipa Sanatani Talks
(The following is a transcription of a spoken text.)
Everybody I meet with this Aries-Libra karmic axis, it doesn’t matter where the dragon’s head or tail is. They all have a hard time with their relationships. Whether co-dependent or independent–it doesn’t matter. They all have a lot of issues in their relationships.
One person felt like they were the sidekick, one person felt the other person didn’t do enough. There was always this sense of: What is my identity, who am I in this relationship, why aren’t people treating me right, why didn’t this person support me?
Recently I had quite a few conversations with people with this same placement. I’ve found those relationships quite challenging. When I look at them, I see such poor decision-making in relationships. The ‘Self’ is simply not given the room to flourish. On the other hand, I also see the flip side–where people are very dominant in the relationship and other people are not permitted to flourish.
Somehow or another, with this placement, there are always issues with one person taking the lead and one person taking the support role. Something like this always seems to come to the fore. Who is in charge? Who is not in charge? Who is here to support? And who is not here to support? There are these themes that always come up.
With Ketu in Libra, you might be tempted to conclude that this person is a doormat in relationships. This person is maybe not so assertive. They’re always playing the support role–the advisors, the assistants and the people directly below the leader. In a lot of ways that is true, but a lot of times, they are more capable and more intelligent than the leaders. But they’ve chosen to stay stuck in a support role. It could be a personal choice. Or it could be that they’re waiting for the leader to notice them and give them a bigger responsibility. Who knows?
On the other hand, with Rahu in Aries, we’ve got people who–I’d like to say are really good at asserting their will, and in many ways, they are. But I’ve also seen a lot of poor decision-making, wishy-washiness and confusion in these people when it comes to their relationships about who ‘the right person’ is. They’re actually not decisive in their relationships. Or they make a decision and it turns out to be the wrong one. They can be decisive in other places in their lives, but not in the way they handle their long-term relationships. They can have a lot of indecision and confusion.
When we talk about the Aries-Libra polarity–and it is a polarity–that’s one of the things we need to understand from the get go. These are two very opposite things–and the purpose of Rahu and Ketu is to reach some sort of balance and equilibrium.
The Job Description
With Aries and Libra, I hear a lot of people talking about ‘Self’ and ‘Partnership’. But I don’t actually think that that is what is this placement is about. This placement is about leadership and support. With this placement, you can have very strong leadership vs support issues come to the fore. You need to ask yourself: why have you chosen to lead? If you’re in a support role, why have you chosen to support this person? You must be very clear regarding your intentions.
After that, we need to define: who is the leader and who is the support. Because if we are talking about leadership and support–we are not talking about a partnership at all. We are talking about a relationship that one has with someone who is their superior.
I don’t just mean with your bosses, but anyone who is your superior in someway. This could be due to experience, age, abilities–there are many factors why someone might be your superior. So whoever is your ‘superior’, that person–whether they realise it or want it or not–will end up being in the leadership role. I didn’t make the rules. It’s just how it works.
It’s not always about your talent or your capabilities. Somehow or another, in these people’s relationships, this particular dynamic tends to play out. If you were say, a fresh graduate, and you’ve done very well in your studies and you’re a classic overachiever. You are clearly capable and talented. You get your first job, and in a way, you were very lucky, cause you landed a job which put you into contact with a person in their 40s who is accomplished and has a lot of experience. And you start off as that person’s assistant.
You don’t have to think of it as ‘an assistant’ even. You can think of it in the context of a C-suite team. One person is a CEO and one person is a COO. So you are still in a ‘support role’. It could even be a very high-level support role where you lead your own division. Ketu in Libra doesn’t always mean you were an assistant. You could have been a part of the leadership team, but you were not the one in charge. Then, when the time came for someone to succeed the leader, you were not chosen. You were passed over for someone else.
Now, if you’re looking at it through this context, it’s not that you don’t have the capacity or the capability. But you’re just not there yet. You just ended up staying in this support role. The leader clearly saw some potential in you–that you’re going to, at some point, be more than what you’ve been till now. They already see that you’re going to go somewhere. But why weren’t you selected?
For the time being, and for some reason, you became entrenched in this support role. As time goes on, however, you start to grow into your abilities. You become very good at what you do. In fact, because of the exposure, you grow very fast and you begin to get rebellious.
You start getting a big head and think, “Hey, maybe my leader is not that great. This person is really not that talented.” And you start to have all these doubts. What am I doing here? I am so much better. I should have the leader’s job. I can do a better job. How do you think your leader might respond to this? Probably not very well. You can expect that. The leader is going to say, “You bit my hand. I fed you and you bit my hand.”
Let me give you another scenario. You have to say work under a superior who is less capable and less experienced. This happens all the time. While the title here is not important, the important thing here is that it is very distinct to everybody that based on that title, there is a leader and there is a supporter. Everyone may even think your leader is not a good one, but your peers will still continue to play the support role. But the person with the Aries-Libra polarity won’t. They will find it very hard to be submissive to someone who is not up to scratch.
For some reason or another, there is a mismatch. That’s the first thing you need to acknowledge.
Anytime you have this type of Aries-Libra polarity in your chart, there is going to be some sort of inequality and inequity. Now, if this already exists in the dynamic of the relationship–how are you going to balance it? That is the question that you need to answer with this polarity.
Do you want to be in a support role or do you want to be in a leadership role? If you accepted the support role, then your role is to support the leader. You cannot try to overdo the leader or ‘take over’ the leader, even if you have aspirations to do that. Ineffective leaders tend to be even more sensitive to such slights.
Another dynamic I’ve seen–I call it the Watson Syndrome. You know Sherlock Holmes, right? It’s this whole idea of a sidekick–someone who is just there. I’ve seen this dynamic play out as well. Somebody is there. Maybe the leader doesn’t like being alone so they get someone to ‘support’ them just to be there for the sake of being there. They don’t actually have any vested interest in this relationship. It’s just someone that happens to be there at the time.
When the relationship ends, the leader is not shattered or upset by it, because they felt like this ‘support person’ was not that valuable to them to begin with. Even if they did contribute, in the leader’s eyes, they didn’t make any meaningful contribution. The support person, on the other hand, can be quite shattered. That’s another dynamic I’ve seen play out.
I see this a lot with politicians–maybe the wife does some non-profit work. Or maybe he has a few different affairs, but he’s not interested in anyone, really. The role of this ‘support’ person is very peripheral. There is a distinct dynamic in those kinds of relationships. You do have influence and access to the leader by virtue of you being there and being in that periphery support role, but you are not in charge. You end up being famous by association. This is another dynamic I most commonly see with this polarity.
I guess the ideal here, if there is one, is to consciously choose people where the dynamic is not so imbalanced from the get go. If the dynamic is very imbalanced from the get go, it’s very hard to ever have an equal relationship. That’s the trick, I think, to this placement.
So whether your Rahu is in Aries or in Libra doesn’t matter. Just be mindful when you get into a relationship with someone who is your superior. You need to be very very clear on what this relationship is and what your role is going to be by virtue of getting into a relationship with one’s superior.
So if you’re anything like me and you’ve been in a support role many times, the day might come when you finally find the courage to step into a leadership role. You will undoubtedly find that the people whom you supported are now your biggest detractors. Ironic isn’t it–that the people whom you once supported are not supporting you at all. Instead, they are acting like crabs in a bucket. And it’s not uncommon for this to happen, right?
So this is where our communication skills need to be honed in. We need to become more assertive in our way of being in the world. Because it a huge transition when it comes to ‘a way of being’. When you’ve been an assistant over and over again and then suddenly you are in a leadership role, it’s going to take a bit of getting used to; to negotiate as a leader as opposed to as an assistant.
On the flip side, if you’ve been in a leadership role your whole life, and then you step into an advisory role (which is also not uncommon–many leaders become mentors in their later years), bear in mind that you have to be sensitive to this dynamic and be conscious of the dynamic that is playing out in your relationships.
It’s not about giving orders and telling people what to do anymore. You now have to support them on their journey. You now have to support them to reach their goals. Even though you have a lot of leadership experience, you are now in a role where you have to mentor future leaders.
A lot of people I’ve met with Rahu in Libra are tired of the leadership role and don’t want to lead anymore. They want to support someone. Anyways, there’s nothing worse than being mentored by someone who is talking the talk and not walking the walk.
If you, as a future leader, were to choose a mentor–you’d want somebody who has talked the talk and walked the walk. Not someone who is giving you advise about things they’ve never done. Nobody wants that in a mentor. I think that there’s a real sensitivity that needs to be applied to this situation.
No Hierarchy in Heaven
If you look at it in the context of the world, and of God, and as a spiritual concept–we are all equal. There is no such thing as ‘a superior’. We are all equal and we are on this journey together. This means that at some point you have to lead and at some point you have to support. That is exactly what this karmic axis is about. It’s not saying that someone is your ‘superior’ in that someone is above you in the hierarchy. It’s all about this idea of there is a time and place for everything. This concept even extends to matters like leadership transition and succession planning.
When your time as a supporter is over, you step into that leadership role. And as a leader, when your time as a leader is over–and you have officially stepped down–you actually have to learn how to support the new leadership team. If you, as a leader, continue to call the shots after you’ve stepped down; your new leadership team will not be able to lead. They will always be looking to you to make the decision. They won’t have confidence in their own capabilities.
While the Aries-Libra karmic axis is a polarity, it is also a balancing act and a need to moderate oneself. Eventually, sooner or later, in the grand Cosmic Design, everything will moderate itself. That is the purpose of the Cosmic Design, to reach a sense of balance. And if you allow yourself to get stuck in the lower energies of, “I supported you and now you support me. I did this for you, now you…” This is not a good strategy. We really have to be very sensitive to the dynamic between the leader and the supporter.
If we want to avoid the karmic trench, we need to be aware of why the people we once supported us do not want to support us anymore. We also need to be mindful of people who are rejecting former leaders.
Why have they started rejecting your leadership? Perhaps the environment has changed and a different approach is required. Perhaps you were a great leader in many respects but made some terrible decisions in your relationships.
Were there pressing concerns raised that were never properly dealt with? If you are a former leader, ask yourself why you have been called to support someone in this life. If you are a former supporter, ask yourself why you decided to call it off with being someone’s assistant?
If the movie is over, it is best to write ‘The End’ and accept your new role. No soul ever wants to be typecasted. A new script awaits.