Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mysterious Ketu in US national life

In the two Ketu planetary periods seen in the SAMVA USA chart, there have been major challenges in US national life. The first Ketu period ran from 1869 to 1876, resulting in a great social tension over reconstruction in the South. The second period ran from 1989 to 1996, resulting in a phenomenal geo-political shift for the USA, with the downfall of Soviet Communism. There were also major riots and natural disasters. The period influences are considered in view also of planetary transits and ever present natal influences in the horoscope.

In the Vedas, the Moon’s nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are described as the eternal enemies of the Sun and Moon, the major lights in the earthly sky. The nodes are seen to temporarily swallow up the Sun or Moon during
eclipses.[1] Rahu is the ascending or north node while Ketu is the descending or south node. Ketu is linked to the lunar apogee, when the Moon is farthest in orbit from the Earth, which perhaps explains why Ketu is astrologically linked to the indications of isolation and separation. [2]

The astrological meaning of Ketu
According to the Systems' Approach the Ketu has the following meaning:

"Ketu is dry and fiery in nature. Its affliction causes wounds, inflammations, fevers, intestinal disorders, aberrations, low blood pressure, deafness, defective speech and gives emaciated body with prominent veins. It is personified as a saint and inclines a person more towards mystic science and spiritual pursuits."

Ketu can bring about sudden, explosive events. In mundane astrology, it is related to people who take a spiritual path or become isolated from others due to illness or other reasons. As Ketu has to do with separation, the house of its placement is important for explaining any fear complexes.

Ketu in the SAMVA USA chart
In the SAMVA USA chart, Ketu and Rahu both afflict the 4th house of communal harmony, fixed assets, education system and natural resources. This suggests plenty of problems in regard to those indications. The placement also indicates the separative influences undermining communal harmony through racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and income conflict in US history. Although courage is seen to be strong in the USA, due to the good placement and strength of Mars and Mercury, some fear complex would be expected concerning the 4th house indications such as social harmony, fixed assets, education and natural resources. Moreover, as 4th lord Venus is badly placed in the 6th house of conflict, communal peace could be upset by conflict or participation in wars. This placement is also suggestive of housing being tied to debts, with implications for the financial stability. In fact, during the present Venus major period, a major housing bubble has burst, causing a historic setback to financial stability and massive problems for the banking system. Interestingly, banking is ruled by Jupiter (expansion through credit), which happens to be 6th lord, and the Sun (the confidence in the financial system linked to the authority of the state). Sun also happens to be 2nd lord in this chart. The US after all is known for its wealth creating abilities, big banking system and the most prominent stock market in the world - all of which have seen periods of major setbacks in history, consistent with the afflictions to the houses indicated.

First Ketu major period
From April 9, 1869 to April 9, 1876 the second Ketu major period ran in the SAMVA USA chart. During this period there were major changes in the domestic life, disasters and various setbacks to communal harmony. It is necessary to note that the events in the Mercury period, the preceding period in the SAMVA USA chart, have clearly laid the foundation for the Ketu period. The issues in the Mercury period relate to the rulership of this planet in the chart. Mercury is lord of the 3rd house of action and speech as well as transportation in the Cancer rising SAMVA USA chart. Mercury is also general indicator of analysis and communication. As it is placed in the 7th house of others and foreign policy, the issues during its period tend to see expression with regard to others and in the foreign policy arena. In the earlier Mercury period, which ran from 1853-1869, the focus was on the emancipation of the slaves, such that they would share in the constitutional freedoms of speech, belief and action. In this sense, it is not surprising that the American Civil War broke out during the Mercury period in the SAMVA USA chart. The period dealt with social impediments to action of a part of the populace. Many consider the Civil War the second American Revolution. “At its heart was the change in status of the nation’s four million slaves, their emancipation, “…elevation to civil and political equality with whites, and the destruction of the old ruling class in the South – all within the space of a half-dozen years”.[3]

Following the Civil War was an interesting period in US history termed the reconstruction era (1865-1877). This era was focused on the re-admission of the Confederate states into the Union. Moreover, the Unionists gave universal suffrage to the freed slaves with amendments to the US Constitution. The Unionists also enacted political changes in the South to enforce the new laws and in the wake of Lincoln’s murder by secessionists, they did so in a way as to punish the defeated secessionists. While the new laws resulted in major changes to Southern life, especially in the latter half of the 1860s, a gradual reaction developed in the white population of the South, including the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. In the 1870s, the situation was quickly changing with the readmission of the Southern states back into the Union. By 1873, the Unionists gave up enforcing the laws. While the laws remained on the books, they were no longer enforced. By 1877, the reconstruction era is considered to have ended, when Jim Crow laws were passed, which represented a clear setback to the blacks in the South. By the time, the twenty year Venus period rolled around on April 9, 1876, the gains in civil rights of blacks had been eroded and the communal harmony dealt a serious and painful setback. The painful change from the Mercury period (emancipation) to the Venus period (segregation), took place during the Ketu period (setback related to separation).

In the history of the United States, the Reconstruction era has two definitions, the first in reference to the entire nation in the period 1865-1877 following the Civil War. The second, for this article, refers to the process of transforming the South starting during 1863 to 1877, with the reconstruction of state and society in the former Confederacy, as well as revising the Constitution with three amendments.

A month before the Ketu period began, on March 4, 1869, the war hero General Ulysses S. Grant was inaugurated as the 18th president. He was a strong opponent of slavery and for ensuring civil rights for the former slaves. Reconstruction refers to the period after the Civil War when the southern states were reintegrated into the Union. Immediately following the war, the southern states were in disarray. Not only were many towns and cities burned, looted and destroyed, but the southern states were still not part of the United States. Reconstruction aimed to integrate the southern states back into the Union while ensuring such states were ready to obey the new laws and measures resulting from the war. Many questions arose after the Civil War, and policies and bills passed during reconstruction aimed to answer them. The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and 1868 divided ten confederate states into five military districts. Tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers were stationed in the south to ensure the tenets of reconstruction were honored. Virginia rejoined the Union on January 26, 1870. Military control of Mississippi ended and it was readmitted to the Union on February 23, 1870. Texas was readmitted to the Union on March 30, 1870. Georgia became the last former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union on July 15, 1870, and the Confederate States of America were dissolved.

The period of Reconstruction transformed southern society and culture. In the latter half of the 1860s, the newly emancipated slaves in the South attempted “land reform”, in which former slaves sought to occupy and work the plantations of their former owners. The land reform failed as the whites thwarted the efforts during the Reconstruction period. The former slaves settled for sharecropping and tenancy arrangements on small plots of white-owned land, an outcome that insured black rural poverty in the Deep South for the next century.

After the Civil War, the federal government passed 3 major amendments to the United States Constitution specifically designed to protect the civil rights of black people. The 13th amendment prohibited slavery, the 14th gave due process to all citizens and the 15th amendment guaranteed African-Americans the right to vote. The Amendments were intended to restructure the United States from a country that was (in Abraham Lincoln's words) "half slave and half free" to one in which the constitutionally guaranteed "blessings of liberty" would be extended to the entire male populace, including the former slaves and their descendants. Although President Lincoln had called for a lenient plan in dealing with the southern states, Congress enacted a plan that required the former states to meet certain conditions such as acceptance of the aforementioned amendments. The 15th amendment was passed on February 3, 1870 and ratified on March 30, 1870. Thomas Mundy Peterson was the first African-American to vote in an election on March 31, 1870. Moreover, the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1875 legalized interracial marriage, and provided black students with the opportunities to attend school. Furthermore, black people were given positions of political power in state senates. Black people became mayors, sheriffs, and judges.

Southern Reaction
The cultural transformation resulted in considerable racial tension. Secret and violent organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan, began actively to oppose Reconstruction governments. The Ku Klux Klan was active in attempting to intimidate black people. While Congress had outlawed these societies and authorized the use of federal troops to protect the blacks' right to vote, the activities of the secret organizations, coupled with declining interest in the North in Reconstruction, led to the defeat of Radical governments in one state after another. By 1876 Radical regimes existed only in Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana.
After 1877, when the government stopped enforcing civil rights, the southern white people in power, known as Redeemers, immediately sought to take away the civil rights of black people that had been granted by twisting the language of the new laws to subjugate black people. Such laws mandated racial discrimination and became known as Jim Crow Laws (named after a racist cartoon strip of a poor, uneducated black man). Jim Crow laws came in many forms.[5] The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted from 1876 with the aim to promote racial segregation, especially after the federal government stopped enforcing the promotion of Civil Rights in the south. The laws mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. In 1877 President Hayes withdrew federal troops from the South. Conservative whites regained control of their states, and Reconstruction came to an end.

Women’s equal rights
There were other areas that challenged the established order. On May 15, 1869, the Woman's suffrage movement was born in New York, when Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman's Suffrage Association. On December 10, 1869, the Wyoming territorial legislature gave women the right to vote, the first such law in the world. On February 12, 1870, women gained the right to vote in Utah Territory. In defiance of the laws of the time, American suffragist Susan B. Anthony voted for the first time in the 1872 Presidential election. On November 18 she was served an arrest warrant and in the subsequent trial she was fined $100, but she never paid the fine.

Indian wars
The rights of Indians continued to be violated and the so-called Indian wars broke out. The first Battle of the Indian Wars, at the Stronghold, was fought during the Modoc War on January 17, 1873. The Modoc War ends with the capture of Captain Jack on June 4, 1873.

There was a grave setback to the economy during the Ketu period, when the New York stock market crashed on September 18, 1873. This event triggered the Panic of 1873, a part of the Long Depression.

Natural calamities
There were several notable natural calamities during this period. In September, 1871, there was the Whaling Disaster, when 1,219 people abandon 33 whaling ships caught in the ice pack off the northern coast of Alaska. On October 8, 1871, four major fires broke out on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, Peshtigo, Wisconsin, Holland, Michigan, and Manistee, Michigan. The Great Chicago Fire was the most famous of these, leaving nearly 100,000 people homeless, although the Peshtigo Fire killed as many as 2,500 people, making it the deadliest fire in United States history. On March 26, 1872, the Lone Pine, California, earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 7.2 struck, destroying most of the town, killing 27 of its 275 residents. On November 9, 1872, the Great Boston Fire broke out. The 2-day event destroyed about 65 acres (0.3 km²) of the city, 776 buildings, much of the financial district and caused US$60 million in damage.

The second Ketu major period

From April 9, 1989 to April 9, 1996 the second Ketu major period ran in the SAMVA USA chart. During this period there were wars, disasters and various setbacks to communal harmony. The US was dealing with issues in the wake of a major shift in the geo-political landscape with the fall of authoritarian rule in the Soviet Union.

Major geo-political shift
The impending collapse of Soviet Communism had reverberations around the world. On April 14, 1989, pro-democracy protests by students in Communist China broke out. The protests were put down with force on June 4, 1989 when the communist government sent armored battalions to Tiananmen Square resulting in an estimated 3,000 people being killed. Soviet Communism then proceeded to collapse in a symbolic event on November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall literally fell. The wall was a concrete barrier built in 1960 by the communist government of East Germany to enclose the city of West Berlin, to stop citizens from fleeing from the east to west. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990. On February 7, 1990, the Soviet Communist Party gave up its monopoly on power. Six days later, a plan to reunite Germany was announced. On June 1, 1990, the US and Soviet Union signed a treaty to eliminate chemical weapons as a first step in normalizing relations. This event left the US in a vacuum as the world's only super-power. While they say it is lonely at the top, the US proceeded to exert its power as the leader and policeman of the free-world.

Persian Gulf War
The Gulf War, commonly known as Desert Storm, was a conflict initiated with United Nations authorization, by a coalition force from 34 nations against Iraq, with the expressed purpose of expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait after its invasion and annexation on 2 August 1990. On November 29, the United Nations passed a resolution stating that Iraq must withdraw its forces from Kuwait by January 15, 1991 or face military intervention. On January 17, 1991, Operation Desert Storm begins with powerful precision air strikes against Iraq forces. The war was accompanied by new and powerful computer guided bombs as well as advances in communication technologies that allowed the war to be broadcast in real time around the world. The Gulf War ended on February 27, 1991 after Iraq withdrew its forces from Kuwait but also set the oil fields on fire. On April 3, the United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 687, calling for the destruction and removal of the entire Iraqi chemical and biological weapons stockpile.

Foreign trade opened up
The US also joined hands with Canada and Mexico to increase their economic integration. On January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect, creating a free trade zone between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Many, including Presidential candidate Ross Perot, worried about a “huge sucking sound” when US jobs disappeared to Mexico. On January 1, 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is created, aimed at improving conditions for international trade around the globe. On January 31, 1995, U.S. President Bill Clinton invoked emergency powers to extend a $20 trillion loan to Mexico to avert a financial disaster that had begun on December 19, 1994 during a planned exchange rate correction between the Mexican peso and American dollar. In the chart, both Ketu and Rahu aspect the 10th house ruling foreign trade.

Economic growth remained fragile and volatile in the early 1990s, with problems in the savings & Loan industry and banking in general, undercutting confidence. Hopes of recovery proved illusory and economic malaise was associated with the Gulf War and the resulting 1990 spike in the price of oil, which increased inflation. For several years, high unemployment, massive government budgetary deficits, and slow Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth affected life in the United States.

Domestic unrest
The presence of domestic unrest was especially pronounced during this period. The Los Angeles Riots (see photo at top), were sparked on April 29, 1992 when a jury acquitted four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of African-American Rodney King following a high-speed pursuit. Thousands of people in the Los Angeles area rioted over the six days following the verdict. At that time, similar riots and anti-police actions took place all over the United States and Canada. Widespread looting, assault, arson and murder occurred, and property damages topped roughly US$1 billion. In all, 53 people died during the riots and thousands more were injured. On August 17, 1992, the Siege of Ruby Ridge is begun by United States Marshalls, lasting ten days.

There were other disturbances, including on February 26, 1993, when the first bombing of the World Trade Center by Islamic terrorists took place. A van parked below the North Tower of the structure exploded, killing six people and injured over one thousand.

The Waco stand-off and fire involved US law enforcement forces making demands of a religious sect on February 28, 1993. The stand-off lasted for fifty-one days and ended in a violent raid on April 19, with four agents and five members of the cult being killed. The Davidians then started a fire at the compound killing seventy-five members of the group, including the leader.
The Oklahoma City bombing took place on April 19, 1995, on the two year anniversary of the Waco disaster, when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols exploded a bomb outside the Murrah Federal Building, killing one hundred and sixty-eight people in a domestic terrorism attack.

On June 12, 1994, the O.J. Simpson murder case began with the discovery of the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman outside her home in Los Angeles, California. Five days later, her husband, former football star O.J. Simpson is arrested for the crime, but is later acquitted on October 3, 1995. The Simpson case was one of the highest profile murder cases in the nation's history.

In November 1995, the seeds of the Lewinsky scandal were sown, with President Clinton beginning an affair with Monica Lewinsky that would almost topple his presidency.

Natural disasters

At the outset of the Ketu major period, the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in the Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 23, 1989. It is considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur at sea. The Loma Prieta earthquake struck at 5:04 p.m. (PDT) on October 17, 1989 in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It was caused by a slip along the San Andreas Fault. The earthquake, which lasted 10–15 seconds and measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale, killed 63 people throughout northern California, injured 3,757 and left some 3,000-12,000 people homeless. The Oakland Firestorm of 1991 was a large urban fire that occurred on the hillsides of northern Oakland, California and southeastern Berkeley on Sunday October 20, 1991. The fire killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres (6.2 km²) destroyed included 3,354 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5 billion. The Northridge earthquake occurred at 4:31 am (PST) on January 17, 1994 in Reseda, a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California, lasting for about 20 seconds. The earthquake had a "strong" moment magnitude of 6.7, but the ground acceleration was one of the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America. Seventy-two deaths were attributed to the earthquake, with over 9,000 injured. In addition, the earthquake caused an estimated $20 billion in damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

The events in US national life during the two major planetary periods of Ketu in the SAMVA USA chart, conform to the natal potential seen with regard to its placement. It is a planet that is afflicting in the chart. As such it suggests problems of separation and challenges for communal harmony as well as sudden, explosive events. During both Ketu periods, separated by 120 years, there were developments that conform to the basic nature of this planet, although the expression was different, depending on the issues being worked on in the preceding Mercury period as well as the unique transits at each time (which go beyond the scope of the present article, but have earlier been described in relation to individual significant historical events during either period). In the former period, the US was dealing with freeing the slaves while in the latter the US was working on the spread of freedom around the world. In the subsequent Venus period, there were continued problems with regard to the issues seen in the Ketu periods, as Ketu and Venus are linked in the chart. By the time the Sun major period rolls around (1896 and 2016), such problems become less important in the national affairs, being replaced by a new sense of vitality.

[1] Truth about eclipses
[2] Lunar Nodes and Eclipses
and Wei-xing, Niu (2003). “An inquiry into the astronomical meaning of Rahu and Ketu.” Shanghai Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai. Elsevier Science B.V.
[3] Web resource on the Civil War
[4] Reconstruction era of the United States and
[5] Jim Crow laws
[6] Southern reaction to Reconstruction

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