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[Shani] compared with Ketu

Like Shani, Ketu is associated with delay and frustration .

Unlike realistic and responsible Shani, however, Ketu in lower consciousness nativities connotes poor judgment, blaming, and ungrounded fantasizing. (By contrast, grounded fantasizing might include goal-setting and clear psychic mock-ups, which are healthy, positive mental activities.)

Separation, denial, and distancing


Stoic Shani activates the third-dimensional time-space reality of the real world. When Professor Shani does His worst, survival fears may control the mind. Either the true reality of brutally hard work, or the virtual fear-driven re-enactments of the worst dehumanizations of the native 's past will dominate the Shani bhukti. These re-enactments emerge from subconsciously stored expectations and tape-replays of ancient traumas. The native either has fresh physical experiences of survival terror , or reviews older, stored experiences of survival fears in an electro-magnetic emotional, mental, or spiritual context.

  • Shani can give very extreme REAL results of exhaustion of scarce resources; terrible poverty; inexorable aging; genocide; slavery; et-cetera. Even if the native has an auspicious Shani position which permits 'running the tapes' of ancient survival trauma in non-physical ways - such as emotional deprivation, mental slavery, or spiritual exhaustion -- there is nothing foggy or uncertain about Shani.

  • Shani gives clear and definite separations, absolute denials; real and severe pain of many kinds.

  • Shani gives authentic, inexorable, undeniable, and generally negative time/space experiences that are impossible for the five-senses human to argue with. The native must Accept the limitations imposed by Shani. The separation may be the result of death, divorce, infertility, war, or poverty - but whatever the cause, it is REAL.

  • Shani does not blur the line between fantasy and reality. Shani gives fixed, hard truth. Shani is a karaka for separation and distance, for denial of love and children, for isolation and poverty of all kinds.

  • When Shani imposes a separation within relationships (personal or professional, including one's relationship with one's own future) -- it is likely a physical separation, caused by scarce resources, and permanent for the duration of Shani bhukti .

Collapsing Ketu

Ketu is weird. Ketu is not real in the conventional time/space perception of common sense.

  • Ketu is other-worldly.

  • Ketu's results are similar to Shani's in that both Shani and Ketu produce separations.

  • But there is an essential qualitative difference: Shani separations are experienced as being enforced by the material-world rules of Time and Space and the social rules of ranking and survival. However Ketu separations are perceived to be an act of personal surrender to forces far beyond the material rules. Ketu separations are primarily psychological.


  • Ketu separations share the quality of exhaustion with Shani separations, but whereas with Shani the person is not confused about what caused the split (it is a social-material cause and the reason is survival) with Ketu the person may remain caught off guard by the event and confused about the material cause. With Ketu one accepts that the relationship is unsustainable but material conditions are often not problematic. The unsustainability is nearly always perceived to originate with the Other who has a Rahu-ish desire nature.

  • This Other (is perceived to have) through their own ambitions and their insensitivity to the effect on the stability of the social relationship so upset the normal order of things (think of the myth of Rahu-Ketu ) that there has been a catastrophic break regarding which the Ketu native (one who is presently having the Ketu bhukti) is simply powerless. Thus the only possible response is surrender and withdrawal from the union.

Surya-Shani vs. Rahu-Ketu

To understand the difference, it is important to appreciate the configuration of the nine graha. Surya and Shani are polar opposites, and bitter enemies. Blazing hot, intelligent, ego-driven and divinely inspired Surya hates freezing cold, ignorant, conformist, social-control Shani. Hates, hates, hates.

  • Professor Surya teaches on topics light, heat, and intelligent choices. Professor Shani teaches on topics of cold, dry, darkness and the no-choice rule of law. This pair is indeed locked into eternal opposition by the forces of Earth's immediate solar system * Ra. These two adversaries cannot escape each other for too long. They live out their unimaginably long lives completely at loggerheads, spending extremely long time periods completely disengaged from each other and, when they contact via mutual angles, producing bitter, hostile opposition.

  • Rahu and Ketu have a qualitatively different oppositional and separative relationship. R-K are not enemies. Rahu-Ketu are deeply bonded, two parts of one historic, coherent whole. They need each other, but Rahu's wild desire nature caused their tragic separation.

  • Ketu spends eternity looking longingly at Rahu; Rahu too"sees " Ketu during every moment of every day of His unimaginably long life. Rahu-Ketu are separated only by their different states of mind.... Rahu is obsessed with desire; Ketu is apathetic and detached. Otherwise they are simply two parts of an authentic whole - representing the two extreme valence states of the human mind (manas).

The separations of the Bhukti of Ketuva. May re-enact the Rahu-Ketu myth. Cast across the sky by the impulsive, illicit desires of His own head [Rahu], Ketu feels victimized. Ketu looks across the sky at His visible yet unobtainable mate, and knows that His mate lives in a state of craving for experience, impassioned with barrier-bending, taboo-twisting desires.

  • Depending on Ketu's lord and house in the nativity, Ketu may accept this physical separation with detached grace and pursue His own spiritual quest for deeper detachment. Or Ketu may linger in a state of fantasized reconciliation or reunion (if His lord/bhava is uncomfortable ), perhaps stuck in a state of delusion or blame.

  • It is important to appreciate that whatever the level of consciousness indicated in Ketu's response to His separation from Rahu, the Ketu-Rahu pair are on each other's "radar screen" . Ketu always "sees " Rahu; Rahu always "sees " Ketu.

  • the Bhukti of Ketuva.give the experience of one's mate or object of attention being somewhere in the distance, pursuing illicit desires. The mate is perhaps immaturely acting out their desires, or obsessed with some goal or sensation, or busily breaking taboos with "reckless disregard for consequences ".

  • Ketu periods produce life experiences where the mate is a producer of polarizing catalysis , behaving in characteristically Rahu ways, taking risks and pursuing desires willy-nilly. Ketu has no power to control Rahu and so Ketu must adapt some level of response to the situation - ranging from angry blame to gracious detachment.

But Ketu's type of separation experience is not final like Shani's. The mate does not disappear through death, divorce, war, slavery, famine, or other harsh real karma. The Ketu native can see His mate, His "Other" . And the Rahu-acting mate is also psychologically aware of the Ketu native. Despite their psychological antipathy and distancing, rahu-Ketu remain permanently, actively engaged with each otherr.

Ketu divorce vs. Shani divorce

When Ketu period brings a divorce (of the"I give up" type), there may be antagonism and mutual blaming, but the couple are unable to really get away from each other. They seem locked in perpetual mutual reaction.

  • The Ketu native seems helpless and victimized. The Ketu native cannot control the wily spouse, who pursues a reckless course of desire and risk. The divorcing partners cannot agree on anything, Yet, they are foremost in each other's minds. They are often held together by some intense bond such as children or a business, they stay in the same town after divorce, and their arguing is endless.

  • When Shani bhukti bring a divorce (if Shani = randhresha-8 or dhanapati-2) the native experiences severe and often devastating separation from the spouse. The divorcing partners move far away from each other. There is no lasting bond caused by children, business, or religion. Communication stops. Effects of the divorce may be impoverishing and punitive physically; alienating and isolating socially.

Social rank, duty, and entitlements - Shani

One of the few benefits granted by Professor Shani is clear certainty about one's location in the hierarchy of social privilege, and positive awareness of the duty roster assigned to persons who hold that social rank. Shani provides socially confirmed evidence of precisely what is expected of one , and deadlines for accomplishing those expectations.

  • For example, if one is a university student, shani enforces the academic calendar of readings and examinations. If one is a laborer, society defines the type and amount of physical labor, the amount of pay, the status attributes, and the goods-consuming power assigned to that station in life .

  • Even the premier of a great nation will find Shani's workload and entitlement definitions excruciatingly clear. Shani's periods can make an elite political leader feel just as overworked and under-empowered as a subsistence farmer, if Shani operates at full bore.

  • The point = Shani gives very clear, if harsh, social definitions. During Shani bhukti, there is little doubt about what one is obliged to do or how to do it. (There may be some reasonable doubt as to whether one can survive the workload , but that is a topic for the Shani page :))

Social rank, duty, and entitlements - Ketu

By contrast, confusion about social position , including rank and entitlements, is a central feature of the Bhukti of Ketuva. In addition, Ketu's position by house will show where social-position, ranking, and entitlement issues create confusion, distancing, or dysfunctional inner reasoning for the native .

Ketu occupying any of the angular houses 1,4,7,10 will mystify these anchor points of social definition: viz., self/body, home/education, marriage/partner, career+Leadership.

  • Ketu in lagna is often associated with eccentric appearance, psychic permeability, and drug issues - because boundaries between self and other are not clear.

  • Ketu in bandhu bhava disturbs judgment about education and licensure, property ownership-stewardship , and relationship to parents. The native becomes rather rootless and can get into trouble practicing professions or trades without proper qualifications.

  • Ketu in kalatra bhava indicates confusion about appropriate marriage partner, at least for the first marriage. Native often marries outside their tribe, acquires an unsuitable spouse with incommensurable values, and suffers much loss in partnership by trying to improve or repair an ill-fitting partner.

  • Ketu in karmaa bhava gives lifelong confusion about career, unless the native holds an overtly psychic or mystical position. Wants to serve the universe, but has no clear sense of the social boundaries, and ends up exhausted by chasing unrealistic social change dreams. Their pie-in-the-sky ideas lack real-world grounding, and although they can hold do-gooder positions for a lifetime, they rarely accomplish much.

In Tarot, Ketu is the Hanged Man or sometimes, the Fool. The only natural social positioning provided by Ketu is the hermit/yogi - an isolated, otherworldly, detached, spiritually-directed person who lives outside normal society.

If a person naturally seeks this type of isolated, dreamlike lifestyle then the Bhukti of Ketuva. May fulfill one's hopes! But the more mundane among us will find Ketu is largely a trouble-maker in the area of social ranking, the burden of responsibility, and privileger.

If Ketu's lord is unbalanced

A self-righteous but highly unrealistic, inflated sense of entitlement emerges during bhukti of Ketuva when Ketu the Releaser is giving the results of an unbalanced but naturally expansive lord - e.g., [nīcha] Surya, or [nīcha] Guru. This inflated entitlement is a compensation behavior that masks self-confusion.

If the person is unsure about their proper social station or unable to evaluate their own qualifications for various positions, they may super-compensate in the intense foggy uncertainty of the Bhukti of Ketuva. by asserting full entitlement to all social benefits whether they have earned those benefits (according to the rules of their culture) or not.

  • E.g., adomineering father with residual issues from his struggle with his own father, may become excessively punitive to his own sons during bhukti of Ketuva. He feels entitled to control although he has not earned that power through love. Ketu can cause irrational, reactive mental judgment which produces a violent, unfair, and harmful compensating behavior.

Ketu is not always soft and pliable in His effects. If Ketu gives the results of a harsh Lord, Ketu's periods can be physically harmful because they are so reactive.

Another confused-about-privilege example from my files: the uneducated, unemployed young person in the Bhukti of Ketuva. May feel encouraged to steal the expensive elite goods to which they feel righteously entitled.

  • For this native, Ketu occupied bhava-4; the native showed no respect for education nor for his own parents; being unable to identify the boundaries of social ranking based on education , he could not move step-wise through the education (including practical education such as mercantile or trade apprenticeship).

  • In typical Ketu dysfunction, the believed he should have full privilege based not on his investment in educating himself in order to serve society with trained judgment, but solely on the basis of his urgent personal desire.

  • He became a drug-dealer and a thief, acquiring expensive cars, properties, and electronic toys (matters of bhava-4) during Ketu period - largely in the attempt to provide some social definition for himself, to demonstrate his social value through flamboyant entitlements . Unfortunately in year six of the seven-year Ketu Mahadasha, he went to prison. Everything he had acquired illicitly was sold at auction.

Ketu is also associated with compensatory lying , usually fantasy-driven. Sometimes the lies are really huge! Regarding the scope and quality of compensatory lying, much depends on Ketu's relationship with Budha and bhava-2 of speech. If Ketu gives the effects of the teachings of Professor Budha which are subject to prolonged repetition of the key structural elements of the learning pathway (which are in reality multiple opportunities for accepting of gifts of understanding) Usually, via constrictive drishti.

AND there is rampant anxiety about social acceptance in the person's life during the Bhukti of Ketuva., the mental process can run amok.

I am thinking of readings for two women, one a 20-something and one a 50-something, who both claimed to be engaged to be married. Both asked me to look at the charts of their intended.

  • Neither of these women had the typical marriage markers operating (Ketu * can* be a marriage marker but only under special circumstances) - and both were in especially unsavory Ketu periods. So, ipressed them for further details of their marital engagements.

  • One of the women, whom I knew socially but at a far distance, was exposed by her friend as simply having a wild crush on a co-worker. Under severe pressure from her parents to get married, the native had constructed an elaborate fantasy and convinced herself that the object of her 'crush' had proposed marriage to her. No proposal - nor even a private date - had occurred, but Ketu period had badly blurred her fantasy-reality boundaries. She had even joined a wedding gift registry and consulted a marriage priest!!

  • Thinking of the myth of Rahu-Ketu, remember how Ketu is permanently separated from His head Rahu. But still under the curse, Ketu must gaze longingly at His unattached Other for millennia. This woman was staring intently at an unobtainable Rahu-man Other who did not even know that she (Ketu-woman) existed.

  • In the second case, the 50-something woman had been deeply embarrassed by a previous divorce . She belonged to a conservative church where divorce was disapproved (considered the woman's fault). She desperately wanted to remarry, to recover her social dignity .

  • After much questioning (initiated by me when the marriage markers did not add up, and she was obviously in the dead eye of Ketu Mahadasha ) it turned out that she had a man from her congregation"all picked out" . She had bought a beautiful and expensive full-train princess White Wedding dress (typical of Ketu, acostume inappropriate for the culturally more restrained second wedding). She had selected a church and reception venue.

She was blushing like a new bride when she told me of her happiness to have finally found the man of her dreams, who shared her passions and her values, and who would cherish her forever.

There were only two significant holes in her plan. First, she had never enjoyed more than a casual conversation with her chosen fellow congregant. Second, he was married to another church member - and had been, for thirty years.

Bhukti of Ketuva may expose the"holes in the aura" showing where the personality remains poorly integrated , weak and vulnerable due to deeply festering anxiety from past separation trauma .

Ketu's "weird" behaviors are the result of lingering, unacknowledged, unresolved inner conflict.

Ketu Mahadasha, most Ketu bhukti, and significant Ketu transits (gochara Ketu contacting lagna, moon, or the current bhukti-pat) are superb times to seek psychotherapeutic or religious counseling.


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updated: 29 March 2024

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