Wednesday, June 23, 2010


A major transition took place in US national life in 1972 that coincided with the beginning of the Mercury major period in the SAMVA USA chart on April 19, 1972. The period which lasted until April 19, 1989, saw the intense Cold War begin to be defused through increased dialogue and negotiations between the opposing sides, in a process known as Détente. Political decisions were made that soon ended the last cold war, the Vietnam war. The thaw in relations brought the joint US-Soviet Appollo-Soyuz mission into space. The mercurial Henry Kissinger came to the fore as a world class diplomat by introducing Shuttle Diplomacy. The term Deep Throat became a household name, first as a film and then as the term for the hidden source of the Watergate scandal, which emerged in 1972 and later toppled President Richard Nixon. That year, John Lennon got on the wrong side of the Nixon administration for his outspoken role in protesting the Vietnam War. The period also saw the victory of the last cold warrior, World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. The Mercury period brought technological advances ushering in hand held calculators and the technology that became the basis of the home computer and the internet. The rigid currency system of Bretton Woods, developed around the US dollar, gave way to a floating exchange rate system as the new period dawned. As the Mercury period advanced, Ronald Reagan, a key proponent of market liberalisation, was brought to power. All of these developments are consonant with the major planetary period of Mercury in the SAMVA USA chart.

Mercury major period
Mercury is the lord of the third house in the SAMVA USA chart. As such, it has functional rulership over such things as communication, transportation and new efforts. Mercury is also the general indicator of analysis and high tech activities. As Mercury is placed in the seventh house, its indications manifest primarily in the area of foreign affairs. This period succeeded the Saturn period, which saw the Cold War begin in earnest with the Korean War. The Cold War escalated in the Cuban Missile Crisis and reached a peak in the Vietnam War. At all times, the threat of mutually assured destruction by nuclear bombs was in the background. This is explained by Saturn being the eighth lord of obstacles and death in the SAMVA USA chart. As it is placed in the fifth house, which rules young people, creativity and universities, the anti-war movement had its strongest expression among young and creative types on university campuses.

Détente emerged from a diplomatic effort by President Nixon in 1972 to improve relations with the Soviet Union and China as the Cold War adversaries of the USA. The word Détente means the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. It is most often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the United States and its Communist adversaries after the peak of the Cold War. In the Soviet Union, détente is known in Russian: as разрядка ("razryadka"), meaning relaxation. On February 21, 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing for a meeting with Chairman Mao. The U.S. acknowledged the notion that all Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait maintain that there is only one China. Nixon and the U.S. government reaffirmed their interests in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question agreed by the Chinese themselves. The statement enabled the U.S. and PRC to temporarily set aside the "crucial question obstructing the normalization of relations" concerning the political status of Taiwan and to open trade and other contacts. However, the United States continued to maintain official relations with the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan until 1979 when the U.S. broke off relations with the Republic of China and established full diplomatic relations with the P.R.C. On May 22, 1972, President Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit the Soviet Union for a meeting with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. There they talked about arms limitation and avoidance of military confrontation. One of the main purposes of the meeting was to confirm and build the relationship between the U.S. and the USSR in international politics. On May 26, 1972, the first Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty, or SALT I, was concluded. These developments, when the formerly hostile parties began to talk to each other, an indication of Mercury as 3rd lord of communication in the 7th house of others, were of global significance at the time.

Vietnam War ends
The Vietnam war, a Cold War military conflict, which cost 60,000 American lives and over 300,000 wounded - in addition to the over one million Vietnamese lives lost - became the central issue of the 1972 U.S. presidential election. Nixon's opponent, George McGovern, campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam. Nixon's National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho. In October 1972, they reached an agreement. On 15 January 1973, Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on 27 January 1973, officially ending direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Despite the Paris Peace Accords, signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued. The Case-Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress prohibited use of American military after August 15, 1973 unless the president secured congressional approval in advance. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese army in April 1975 marked the end of the Vietnam War.

Apollo–Soyuz program
Another result of Détente was the joint U.S./Soviet “Apollo–Soyuz Test Project”, which flew in July 1975. This is all the more interesting as this represented a complete break with the intense space race during the Saturn period. After joint planning and preparation, the first U.S./Soviet space flight was the last Apollo mission, and the last manned US space mission until the first Space Shuttle flight in April 1981. This joint venture involved the most advanced technology for the purpose of transporting humans into orbit for joint scientific experiments. This is very consistent with the Mercury period.

Shuttle Diplomacy
The term Shuttle Diplomacy came to prominence in the Mercury period and was first applied to describe the efforts of United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, beginning November 5, 1973, which facilitated the cessation of hostilities following the Yom Kippur War. A shuttle is a transport vehicle ruled by the 3rd house. As Mercury is placed in the 7th house of diplomacy, it is unique that these terms were combined in this way - so fitting of the major period. Kissinger, himself, was a very intelligent man and writer, yet another indication of Mercury.

Watergate scandal
On June 17, 1972 at 2:31 AM local time, five men were arrested by police on the sixth floor of the Watergate Hotel building in Washington, D.C., inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Police had arrived on the scene after being alerted by Frank Wills, a security guard, who noticed that a door leading into the hotel had been taped open. The situation was unusual because the five burglars had $2,300 in hundred-dollar bills with serial numbers in sequence, some lock-picks and door-jimmys, a walkie-talkie, a radio scanner capable of listening to police frequencies, two cameras, 40 rolls of unused film, tear-gas guns, and sophisticated devices capable of recording all conversations that might be held in the offices. At least one of the men was a former Central Intelligence Agency employee. This person, Jim McCord, Jr., was at the time of his arrest a security man for President Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President (also known by its acronym, "CREEP", among Nixon's political opponents). Notebooks were found on two of the men containing the telephone number of E. Howard Hunt, whose name in the notebooks was accompanied by the inscriptions “W House” and “W.H.” The scandal immediately attracted some media scrutiny. A protracted period of clue-searching and trail-following then ensued, with reporters and eventually the United States Senate and the judicial system probing to see how far up the Executive branch of government the Watergate scandal, as it had come to be known, extended. A pair of young Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, wrote the coverage of the story over a period of two years. The scandal eventually was shown to involve a variety of legal violations, and it implicated many members of the Nixon White House. With increasing pressure from the courts and the Senate, President Nixon eventually became the first and only U.S. President to resign, narrowly avoiding impeachment by the House of Representatives. The main stars of the Watergate scandal were the two reporters who broke the story - again Mercury and the third house!

Deep Throat, the film
Deep Throat is a 1972 American pornographic film written and directed by Gerard Damiano and starring Linda Lovelace. One of the first pornographic films to feature a plot, character development and relatively high production standards, Deep Throat earned mainstream attention and launched the "porn chic" trend despite the film's being banned in some regions and the subject of obscenity trials. The movie was glowingly reviewed prior to its debut in New York city on June 5, 1972. It officially premiered at the World Theater in New York on June 12. The film's popularity helped launch a brief period of upper-middle class interest in explicit pornography. Several mainstream celebrities admitted to having seen Deep Throat, including Truman Capote, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Carson and Barbara Walters. Shortly afterwards, the FBI launched a crack down, in an effort to stop the showing of the film. However, the effort proved largely unsuccessful as the mafia had taken over the distribution and showing of the film. The movie embodied the conflict between decency and free speech - the latter being an indication of Mercury.

Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal
Of greater interest is the term Deep Throat, which became a pseudonym for the secret informant who provided information to Bob Woodward of the The Washington Post about the involvement of United States President Richard Nixon's administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal. Deep Throat was first introduced to the public in the 1974 book All the President's Men, written by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. For more than 30 years, the identity of Deep Throat was one of the biggest mysteries of American politics and journalism and the source of much public curiosity and speculation. Woodward and Bernstein insisted they would not reveal his identity until he died or consented to have his identity revealed. On May 31, 2005, Vanity Fair magazine revealed that William Mark Felt, Sr. was Deep Throat. It is of interest that a term which relates to speech would gain such cultural prominence during the period of Mercury, the lord of speech in the SAMVA USA chart.

Birth of home computers and the internet
Even more understandable is the fact that high tech advances became the most notable economic trend at the onset of the period of Mercury, which rules such activities. While home computers, a class of personal computers, didn‘t enter the market until 1977 and became increasingly common during the 1980s – with the Mercury period running for most of the decade, the hardware and precursors of the technological application were being born already in 1972. On April 1, 1972, the 8008 microprocessor was released by Intel. Computers built after 1972 are often called 'fourth generation' computers, based on Large Scale Integration (LSI) of circuits (such as microprocessors) – typically 500 or more components on a chip. Later developments include VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) of integrated circuits 5 years later – typically 10,000 components. The fourth generation is generally viewed as running right up until the present, since although computing power has increased the basic technology has remained virtually the same. In 1972, Norsk Data launched the Nord-5, the first 32-bit supermini computer. The first handheld scientific calculator, HP-35, was released by Hewlett-Packard in 1972. The engineer's slide rule at long last became obsolete. Anther major advance occurred in 1972 concerning the internet, when the first international connections to ARPANET were established. ARPANET became the basis for what we now call the Internet. In June 1972, Atari Inc. was founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Pong was the first game developed by Atari Inc. Pong is one of the earliest arcade video games, widely recognised as the first popular such game. It represents a tennis sports game featuring simple two-dimensional graphics. Finally, the “C“ programming language was developed at The Bell Laboratories in the USA by Dennis Ritchie (one of the inventors of the Unix operating system) in 1972. It was the successor of the B programming language – also from Bell. It is a very popular language, especially for systems programming – as it is flexible and fast. C was considered a refreshing change in the computing industry because it helped introduce structured programming. The successor to C, C++, was introduced in the 1980s, and in turn helped usher in the era of Object oriented programming [As an anecdote of interest to astrologers, Brian Conrad wrote the excellent vedic astrology program Jyotish Tools more recently in this programming language]. The developments are very consistent with the Mercury period, as the planet is the general indicator of high tech and analytic activities.

Bobby Fischer: the last Cold Warrior
From July through September 1972 in Reykjavík, challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States and defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union played for the World Chess Championship. Fischer won the match 12½-8½ and became the 11th World Chess Champion. The Cold War trappings made the match a media sensation. It was called "The Match of the Century", and received front-page media coverage in the United States and around the world. Fischer's win was an American victory in a field that Soviet players had dominated for the past quarter-century, players closely identified with, and subsidized by, the Soviet state. Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman calls Fischer's victory "the story of a lonely hero who overcomes an entire empire". It is interesting that a game of analysis, so indicative of Mercury, should grab the world headlines at the opening of this period. At the same time, it appears that Fischer at some stage began to feel let down by the US government, which was intent to move beyond the dangerous phase of the Cold War. As an individual, it seems he didn't fully comprehend the change in global sentiments taking place at the same time that his personal triumph was being realised. Perhaps this is because he had used the match to become a personification of the conflictual trends of the earlier Saturn period.

John Lennon vs the US
The Mercury period also saw the famous Beatles frontman, John Lennon, get into the cross hairs of the Nixon administration for his outspoke views on the US involvement in the Vietnam War. Evidently, FBI agents at the behest of the Nixon White House began to monitor Lennon, not least due to his associations with controversial anti-war radicals like Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman and the violent civil rights oriented Black Panther movement. On February 4, 1972, Senator Strom Thurmond told Attorney General John Mitchell that John Lennon should be deported. In March 1972, John begins a four-year fight against deportation. While the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the deportation order on October 5, 1975, the government persecution affected Lennon, who dropped out of view for five years, becoming a house-husband after the birth of his son Sean Ono Taro Lennon on October 9, 1975. John Lennon was forever silenced by a deranged man outside his appartment building in New York city on December 8, 1980. Lennon became an example of the "freedom of speech" so important to Americans, even if they don't agree with the speaker. Moreover, he became a leading spokesman for his generation. All of it is consistent with the Mercury period and with this planet ruling speech being placed in the 7th house of others.

Breakdown of Bretton-Woods
Bretton-Woods was global monetary system, based on the convertibility of US dollars into gold at a fixed price of $35 per ounce. Due to the decision of President Nixon to end the convertibility in August 1971, the system was doomed and by 1973 a new system was born. In February 1973, the Bretton Woods currency exchange markets closed, after a last-gasp devaluation of the dollar to $44/ounce, and reopened in March in a floating currency regime. This is interesting for the fact that the Saturn period, which is often characterised by rigidity, gave way to the Mercury period, which is often characterised by flexiblity. As such this momentous change is also consistent with the period change in the SAMVA USA chart.

The Mercury major planetary period in the SAMVA USA chart, like all the others explained in earlier articles, fits the developments in national life very well, notably the change in emphasis from the Cold War to the thaw in US foreign relations at the time the period began, along with a growing emphasis and major developments in the field of free speech, communication and high tech advances.


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