KETU – An inauspicious celestial


Ketu had two levels of appearance in Hindu mythology. Astronomically Ketu was a comet, as well as the descending node (waning) of the moon. Ketu’s mythological persona expanded from these associations. Ketu was one of the thirty-three children of Kasyapa and Danu, so that he was technically a danava and really an asura (demon). But his descending nature marked his character, as did his association with Rahu, the lunar eclipse (who tried to steal soma from the gods and had his head cut off). Ketu became the demon who created meteors and comets. He was visualized holding a sword and a lamp—a monster with a dragon’s head.

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