Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mercury as messenger

Each major planetary period reveals unique developments in the national life according to the functional and general indications attributed to the planet involved as seen in the mundane chart. The Vimsottari dasa-bukhti periods span 120 years, which in most cases exceeds the life span of humans. In the case of nations, however, the cycle can repeat several times. One of the more interesting of the planetary periods in the SAMVA USA chart is that of Mercury. The influence of Mercury as 3rd lord of speech and action in 7th house of travel and others comes out sharply in both incidents of this period operating in the horoscope. The Mercury major period ( dasa) has run twice in this horoscope, from April 1852 to April 1869 and again from April 1972 to April 1989. While these major periods have brought out different events, like the bloody civil war of 1861-1864 and the "supply side revolution" from 1976 to 1981, the expression was also linked to different transits. More importantly, there were underlying similarities to such dissimilar events. The civil war sought to liberate black slaves and to align their condition with the freedoms promised in the US Constitution, while the supply side revolution sought to liberate businesses, which enjoy the legal status of persons under U.S. constitutional law, from government bureaucracy and regulation. Importantly, there have also been similar surface developments and this article revisits two such events. The Mercury influence has been most pronounced in the Mercury sub-period (bukhti) of the Mercury major period. These sub-periods operated from April 1852 to September 1854 and again from April 1972 to September 1974. Arguably some of the most famous national events in the history of the USA at that time were the expedition of Commodore Perry to open up Shogun Japan in July 1853 and the beginning of "shuttle diplomacy" by Henry Kissinger in his frequent trips to the Middle East in November 1973, to broker a peace. In 1972, Nixon had also traveled to the Soviet Union and China to meet with their leaders. In both cases, the astrological energy in the natal horoscope brought to the fore men of accomplishment who captured the spirit and imagination of the unique set of circumstances of their time.

The Perry Expedition
In 1853 to 1854, U.S. Commander Matthew Perry led a diplomatic expedition on U.S. naval ships to Japan. Perry was a senior officer in the Navy who had been assigned the leadership of this expedition to explore, survey and establish diplomatic relations and negotiate trade agreements with various nations of the region.[1] Opening contact with the government of Japan was considered a top priority of US government and the real reason for Perry's expedition. The Tokugawa shogunate had isolated Japan from contact with the West and other outside powers since the early 17th century. It had resisted attempts by Americans and Europeans to establish business and diplomatic ties. On July 8, 1853, Perry sailed into an officially hostile, but militarily unprepared, Japan with four warships. He presented Japanese officials with a letter from U.S. President Millard Fillmore to the Emperor of Japan, proposing peace and friendship. The main objective was to establish a coaling base for US steams ships traveling in the Pacific.[2] Perry left Japan with promises of friendship on both sides. Perry returned the next year, and on March 31, 1854, Japan entered into a treaty of peace, friendship, and trade with the United States. This was Japan's first official relationship with any Western nation other than Holland, since the first decades of the Edo period; it marked the beginning of the modern era in Japan. Perry published a three-volume account of the expedition, Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, in 1856.

Astrology of the event
At the time of Perry's sailing into Edo (now Tokyo) harbor, transit 1st lord Moon was conjunct transit 3rd lord Mercury in the most effective point of the 1st house of self and in aspect to the 7th house of others. With this act, the USA made a big impression on Japan. The arrival of Perry and his black boats is celebrated in Japanese history to this day, as the event is considered to represent the beginning of modern Japan. The nodal axis was also stationary conjunct natal 8th lord Saturn, along with other difficult placements, suggestive of the danger the mission entailed. Indeed, earlier such efforts had often been met with violence.

Kissinger's Shuttle Diplomacy
In the article 1972 I described the second Mercury major and sub-period thus:
"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 D├ętente. 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."
Kissinger, as U.S. Secretary of State, began a series of trips to the Middle East on November 5, 1973 in order to facilitate the cessation of hostilities following the Yom Kippur War.[3] Likely, the main reason was the 1973 oil crisis which started in October of that year. Since this time, the term shuttle diplomacy has been used in diplomacy and international relations to describe the action of an outside party who serves as an intermediary between (or among) principals in a dispute, without direct principal-to-principal contact. Originally and usually, the process entails successive travel ("shuttling") by the intermediary, from the working location of one principal to that of another. In the mid 1970s, Kissinger also wrote several tomes describing in detail the events that transpired during his work for President Nixon. This recalls the similar literary work of Commander Perry after his expeditions. Mercury as 3rd lord rules authors. Importantly, Kissinger began in an advisorial capacity to President Nixon in 1969, during the Saturn major period. However, his diplomatic role did not come to prominence until after the Mercury period began.

Astrology of the event
More recently, Kissinger has also explained that the aim of the Nixon administration was to stop Soviet adventurism around the globe, reduce the threat from their nuclear arsenal and to end the Vietnam War. The underlying reason was likely to improve conditions for US commerce around the globe. Economic interdependence is seen as an effective safeguard of peace. Natally, with Rahu on the most effective point of the 10th house, diplomacy is important for the foreign trade of the USA. In any event, Nixon and Kissinger decided the best way to go about this was by talking to the Soviet and Chinese leaders. In other words, the US government began to reflect the nature of Mercury as 3rd lord of speech in the SAMVA USA horoscope. The government leaders also took the initiative to talk to their foreign counterparts, another 3rd house indication. Moreover, both Kissinger and Nixon traveled abroad, to Russia and China, for these talks. Foreign travel is ruled by the 7th house and Mercury is placed in the 7th house of the horoscope. With 2nd lord Sun in the MEP of the 7th house, the US government also has much influence abroad. Not surprisingly, Kissinger reveals that the foreign leaders were keen to meet the US leaders. Interestingly, at the time of the first shuttle diplomacy trip, transit Jupiter, as 6th lord of conflict, was conjunct natal 3rd lord Mercury in the horoscope, signifying the conflictual energy surrounding these missions, to broker a peace in the Middle East after the Yom Kippur war. Meanwhile, transit Mercury had entered the 5th house of management, where it was conjunct natal Jupiter.

The astrology of these events is clear and compelling. Men representing the energy of Mercury in the SAMVA USA chart rose to prominence during both instances of the major and sub-period of this planet. The circumstances were quite different, however, the energy impelling the events in both cases was a need at the highest level to talk to foreign counter-parties, to establish lines of communication for dealings with them. In both events, the underlying motive was of a commercial nature in the realm of real-politik. In the case of Japan, the need was to establish a "coaling base" for US steamships in the Pacific. In the case of the Middle East, as is the case today, peace in the region was important for steady flow of oil to the USA.

[1] Wikipedia entry on Matthew C. Perry
[2]Why did the United States want to open Japan?
[3]Wikipedia entry on Shuttle diplomacy

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